November 13, 2008

The Battle of the Labyrinth ***

*** The Battle of the Labyrinth, Rick Riordan, 2008

Shockingly, this is the first Rick Riordan book I've reviewed here. Shocking, because I'm a major fan since running across a copy of The Last King of Texas in a Honolulu bookstore. I'm particularly a fan of the Tres Navarre PI books. But more about that when I finally read Rebel Island.

The Battle of the Labyrinth is book 4 in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Rick was a middle-school English teacher before his writing consumed so much of his time that he had to leave it behind. A teacher-of-the-year kind of English teacher. Back in 2005 I had the pleasure of attending a half-day session Rick did for the Writers League of Texas on how to write a whodunit. It was apparent in a matter of minutes that he was indeed a teacher-of-the-year kind of guy. And a read of any Percy Jackson book makes it clear that Rick knows his audience.

I won't go into the details of the plot of this or the other PJatO books. Just know that if you like this sort of thing (young adult book of fantasy, magic, mythology, etc.) you will love Percy Jackson. The first movie is scheduled to release in 2010.

November 6, 2008

Making a Good Writer Great ***

*** Making a Good Writer Great: A Creativity Workbook for Screenwriters, Linda Seger, 1999

Third of the three Linda Seger books I bought recently, making four of her books total that I've read. This book is endorsed by Ray Bradbury, which carries a lot of weight with me, as a Bradbury fan for almost 40 years, now.

This book is largely a set of creative exercises to get the juices flowing and take it to the next level. I typically shy away from such works, since I typically know what I want to write and how to write it, so if it hadn't been Linda and hadn't been endorsed by Bradbury, I probably wouldn't have picked it up. But I have great respect for both, so I snagged it along with the others.

It's worth the read. One paragraph in particular caused me to start re-thinking the rewrite on my current project. Other sections, such as mining your dreams, didn't do much for me. But you can't have everything. Where would you put it all?