If It Ain’t Epic, It Ain’t Worth Doing
If it Ain’t Epic, It Ain’t Worth Doing, is a monthly 2018 series where I read an epic fantasy novel and fire off a piece of analysis or reaction based on a specific aspect of either the book or the epic fantasy genre/form as a whole.
After I wrote an epic fantasy novel, it dispelled some of the magic when reading other, better, novels and replaced that magic with mechanics. I see the underpinnings now and have a personal feel for the years long process of creating one of these silly things. This hasn’t reduced my enjoyment of the genre, but it has recast how I see and react to epic fantasy novels. Usually this means I’m mentally chewing on a secondary aspect of a novel instead of more straightforward review-type subjects. There’s an added bonus of knowing I’m in the middle of a knockout 5-star book when I’m not getting lost in secondary or mechanical attentions.
In the past, I’ve only written out and shared a handful end results of these internal debates. This series is a synthesis of previous experiments in non-fiction writing about fiction (See: Blinded by Stormlight or Narrative Breakdown: Pillars of Eternity), an attempt to formalize the whole mad process.
Here’s the format:
1) A single epic fantasy book will be chosen for the month.
2) Before reading a single word in the text, I’ll dash off an introduction containing my initial questions or focus of attention for the novel, along with any preexisting impressions I have toward the author or series, if applicable.
3) Read it. Mid-read updates are optional.
4) Crank out a reaction piece, whether on the initial topic or something different that cropped up in the middle. The subject of the closing essay is open-ended.
As for why…because I find it satisfying, mostly. Call it the “Watch Film” part of being a fantasy writer. Call it a glorified book club of one. Call it thinly veiled content creation for the front page of my website.
Call it whatever you wish. All I know is If it Ain’t Epic, it Ain’t Worth Doing!
…perhaps I need to work on integrating the non-negotiable title.