The Frog and the Grog

Review and discuss Christopher Stasheff's new short stories.
Falchion Wielder
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Re: Too Much Magic

Post by Falchion Wielder »

'Sounds' good to me. A wizard with a frog for a throat, and everything else. Interesting notion. So how did it end? And don't tell me he croaked!
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Ortho the Frank
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The Frog and the Grog

Post by Ortho the Frank »

Thumbs-up? Thumbs-down? Questions? Comments? Critiques? Put it here!
Batchman
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Re: The Frog and the Grog

Post by Batchman »

I was not ready to comment on this, based only on the first chapter. While it was kind of interesting, there was not yet enough to fully grab me.

With the addition of the second chapter, I have more of an idea of the things that will be involved in the story, and now my interest is piqued a bit. This is looking to have some nice possibilities.

Looking forward to hearing more about the progress on this!
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cstasheff
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Re: The Frog and the Grog

Post by cstasheff »

(Blush, blush) Well CVadfavan only croaks at the beginning of the story. Tell all your friends -- I might be able to interest a publisher if I can prove I have a few hundred readers interested. Prince Edmund, of course, will link up with Cadavan, but no fair telling who else.
kf6eml
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Re: The Frog and the Grog

Post by kf6eml »

I like the story already.

One thing in particular I like about your stories is how the characters are all 4-Dimensional. The stories themselves are somewhat formulaic - and I don't mean to imply that that is a bad thing - but it is the characters, their personalities and how they grow over the length of the story (or the series) that are the real heart of your work. All too many books I have read have a decent story line, but the characters are all cardboard cut-outs. If I made a cartoon of the story, they would all be unpainted and interchangeable except for the names.

Rod. Fess. Gwen. Magnus. Geoffrey. Cordelia. Gregory. All of these names have a personality attached; I can tell them apart, and I have an idea how they would behave in a certain circumstance. I can even remember the names without looking them up or having read one of those novels in more than a year.

I cannot remember the names of any of the characters in the last Tom Clancy novel I finished, just two days ago, and all of them seem pretty much the same, where personality is considered. The same can be said of about two-thirds of the books I've read.

But some of the greatest works: A Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist, Uncle Tom's Cabin... They remain popular because the characters come to life as you read. They have a beginning, they learn and grow, and sometimes they die. These are human beings, albeit fictional, and not just literary space-fillers.

As I said, formulaic is not bad - When you think about it, the Harry Potter books were practically a 1-2-3-2-3 paragraph formula (Do they still teach that in schools?) of good versus evil. The extraordinary popularity of that series is not so much the plot as it is the characters. I have never heard a critic mention the story line as the attraction, but every one of them has said, in one way or another, that it is a rich and colorful universe filled with deeply developed and colorful individuals.

And this is my attraction to your work. The stories are interesting, sure, but if I want secret agent on a mission to change the government, there's Tom Clancy or Ian Fleming. If I want wizard/dragon/princess and so on, there are countless fantasy writers. Travelling actors.... umm.... Okay, you got me there. But your stories consistently make the top ten in my list when I recommend books because your characters feel so alive.

I'm sure it will be an interesting and exciting story about how Edmund - or rather, "Ned" - gets his kingdom back, but the best part of the story for me will be watching him meet his friends, and learn how to be a real King. (Even if he has to endure torture, humiliation, and inhuman puns along the way) Make it available, and I'll buy it - eBook, paperback, tattooed on the back of some very large animal... (Okay, maybe not that last one. We just put in new flooring, you see.)
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cstasheff
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Re: The Frog and the Grog

Post by cstasheff »

For anybody who's interested in theater fiction, THE GOOD COMPANIONS by J.B. Priestly is a good read -- and, of course, WAITING FOR THE GALACTIC BUS. I also recently read WANDERING STARS by Sholem Aleichem, a story aout the Yiddish theater at the turn of the centrury. If you've seen FIDDLER ON THE ROOF and want more, you might enjoy it.

I didn't get my charaters from them, of course. I stole them from Dunlap's HISTORY OF THE THEATER IN AMERICA, starting in the 1700s -- and from every company I've worked with. Actors show remarkable consistency down through the centuries.
kf6eml
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Re: The Frog and the Grog

Post by kf6eml »

Story's coming along nicely. Personality is starting to emerge.

As someone who has worked with kids, though, I have to add my two cents:

I've never known a kid who is as reasonable as "Ned" seems to be.
Perhaps while he's feeling sorry for himself after being beaten up would be a good time for him to remember his mentors and how they would react to his attitude - and emphasize his grief over losing them. A ten-year-old wanting to be good: not so believable. Same grieving kid wanting his father figures to be proud of him? Much more so.

A long story of him fighting to supress his impulses under the teachings of his lost and beloved mentors, who take on more and more of a heroic status as time distorts their memory into near sainthood... You're good at that sort of gradual character development.

<edit> Bildungsroman! That's the word I was looking for!
kf6eml
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Re: The Frog and the Grog

Post by kf6eml »

Progressing well, and in a couple of unexpected directions.

A pretty good story is fleshing out on the skeleton of the "dispossessed king."

Any publishers nibbling on this one yet?
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Ortho the Frank
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Re: The Frog and the Grog

Post by Ortho the Frank »

Looks like you're back in the States, judging by your profile location? If so, I'm glad you could make it home for the holidays! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

To the best of my knowledge, Frog & Grog has no publishing nibbles yet - but this is also the third or fourth revision of the manuscript. So who knows? Maybe some day... and there's always self-publishing...
feaelin
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Re: The Frog and the Grog

Post by feaelin »

Hopefully, I'm not hijacking this thread too badly...

I agree completely with kf6eml about the memorability and distinctiveness of the characters. I have never difficulty keeping the protagonists distinct with any of the Gramarye/DDT, Wizard in Rhyme, or even the Harry Potter books.
kf6eml wrote: As I said, formulaic is not bad - When you think about it, the Harry Potter books were practically a 1-2-3-2-3 paragraph formula (Do they still teach that in schools?) of good versus evil.
I have no idea what that is....what is it? If it were taught in school, what class would it be in? English Comp III? Only thing I remember about paragraphs for writing is the "5 paragraph" rule/model for writing papers.

But...I took very few English classes in high school and college...only those forced upon me. :)
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