Monday, March 31

To answer Steve's question from the previous comment section:

Some of The Lies of Locke Lamora may have vaguely reminded you of my style because Scott Lynch was, at the time of its writing, still a pretty hard-core Caine fan . . . but mostly, really, it's just that Scottie's a fuckin' genius, and great minds sometimes think alike.

I've said it before: Scott Lynch is what I'd be if I were younger, smarter and better looking. Since I am none of those things, I am forced to settle for being me.

I never recognize my own style in other people's writing; to me, I don't even have a style. I just try to write the best I can. I suspect Scott works the same way. I mean, if it wasn't for my name on both covers, I seriously doubt many people would have tumbled to the fact that Heroes Die and Revenge of the Sith were written by the same guy. Maybe if some hard-core Lit Geek were to analyze the word-frequency and check for my own coinages and shit -- like they do when they're trying to figure out if Shakespeare's plays were written by Shakespeare or by another playwright of the same name -- they might come up with some kind of positive match, but short of that? I dunno.

I just write it the way I'd like it to be if I were reading it instead. If Scott's style really is similar to mine, that could be part of why I like his stuff so much. It might also just be that his stuff's really good, and I have good taste.

Who knows?

32 comments:

GREENE said...

Long-time listener, first-time caller sorta thing, yadda yadda.

Style, as far as I am concerned, is bullshit. As most people identify it, it is the basic core of your wordchoice and sentence structure, your rhythms and thought-processes, once everything else is stripped away.

But...

You use the words, the rhythm, the structure, the processes, and just about everything else to tell the story. And you choose the ones that tell the story best.

If you choose a "style" because you like viewing yourself in that way, you're short-changing the story. You're not writing You if you're trying to write You. It's only You if you don't have to try at all.

Besides, Lies is written in a tone that is MUCH more hopeful than anything ever to bear Caine on the cover, in my opinion. The Acts of Caine have a sadness that is visible in just about every page.

steve said...

Thanks for the answer Matt, I am really thoroughly enjoying Scott's book, as the last novel about thievery et al that I read was Take A Thief by Mercedes Lackey.

So thanks once again, both for the answers and the recommendation, for without it Scott's genius would have been lost to me.

The above comment is quite correct, and being deeper into Lies at this time I haven't gotten that almost deja-vu feeling since.

Adam said...

So just how much like MWS is Lies of Locke Lamorra? I'm not much into modern fantasy (I loved Heroes Die and Blade, but only read them after a friend advised me to). Really, I'm more of a Classics kind of guy (Iliad, Aeneid, Roland, Herodotus, Ammianus Marcellinus, etc). What are the chances I'd be into this Locke stuff?

Team_Felix said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Team_Felix said...

Adam: I bought and enjoyed Lies of Locke Lamora based entirely on the recommendation of MWS. It’s good but Hero’s Die and Blade of Tyshalle were much better for me. Try Joe Abercrombie’s “The First Law” trilogy. It has the same oppressive vibe as Matt’s work. The First Law is the only series I’ve found since discovering the Caine books that I will purchase extra copies of to give away.

Matt: Can’t wait till your new books hit. You’re the ONLY author I will buy a hardcover book from. (Which is pretty sad….since I read a book per week and I can’t find any other sci-fi/fantasy writer whose name alone will make the sale).

Robert said...

Adam,

Personally I thought the book was brilliant. If you find you like caper stories (such as the Oceans's films) or theiving stories with plenty of mischief, you'll probably love it.

Thanks again Matt for your reccomendation, else I would never have heard of the book at all.

As another note: Steve and I recently sucked yet another friend into the world of Caine with Heroes Die. One more fan created!

steve said...

Before long the entire state will be inescapably sucked in.

Also, Adam, you can't go wrong reading Lies, regardless of liking the story or not the book is so far a whole lot of fucking fun.

HeyRed! said...

Well, if his style is like your, and if he's a genius........
Don't want to state the obvious! ;)

Billy said...

Have you guys read some of the reviews about Heroes Die And Blades on Amazon? Now i know that there was only two bad reviews out of 39 for Heros but those two really pissed me off. They called his dialog silly and his action boring! Makes me want to go punch them in the throat.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
MWS said...

If I'm recalling the right review, I believe he's a Henry James fan.

Not exactly Caine's ideal audience.

Oh, and, to the previous poster?

Anonymous posts are not allowed on this blog. Even when I agree with them.

Alex said...

I don't usually read user submitted reviews, but after Billy's comments, I figured I check them out; for entertainment's sake, if nothing else. At first I felt a little annoyed at the negative reviews, and then I found one for Blade of Tyshalle that used the term "f-bomb" at which point I realized that people who use that term clearly don't have a head attached to their shoulders so their opinion is clearly worth little, if anything. If you can't bring yourself to use a word in it's true form, not some simplistic and childish euphemism, then you really shouldn't be writing reviews at all.

Shane said...

That's a bit extreme.

Not completely untrue, but not exactly what I'd call wisdom either.

Cyborg Fighter D said...

I think we've read the same review, and if Blade was the first time that guy read a book where a kid says "fuck", he's not reading enough books beyond the Berenstein Bears.

October cannot come soon enough.

Alex said...

Wisdom has nothing to do with it. Why should I offer respect to a person who doesn't even have the courage to face his own language head on?

Wisdom is never something I've claimed. Being 21 pretty much excludes me from that particular club due to sheer inexperience. The fact is though, that knowing what deserves respect and acknowledgment is something that even the most naive person can make a judgment on, even if it may be a poor judgment with relation to one's own particular beliefs/ideas.

Shane said...

In this instance, you should be respectful for the same reason you should be respectful of someone who hangs a Confederate flag inside their house, or buys a flashy yellow car. Even if you find it stupid, deeming their opinion worthless or saying that they "don't have a head attached to their shoulders" based on something as small as that speaks more about you than it does about them, even if you're not entirely wrong.

And mind you, I'm not even saying you're entirely wrong; it's just a weak generalization to make.

And yeah, everyone, even a naive person can make a judgment on what's deserving of respect, just like everyone can be wrong (well, except Matt, but y'know...), but why in the hell would you want to be on the naive end of that stick?

Alex said...

Firstly, being respectful of the Confederate flag which at least theoretically could have the ideals of states rights behind it is one thing. Respecting drivel is another. I respect their right to hold that opinion, and nothing is finer than them having that right, but like hell I'm going to respect them. That's like saying that I should respect Hitler because it was his right to believe Jews were cattle (and was his right to believe that, and only believe) and not deem him a black hat because he's entitled to his opinion. As for him not writing reviews, clearly, I've a tendency for the hyperbole. Of course I think he should write them if he feels like it. Why the hell should he care what I think? Just don't expect me to not think less of him when he writes bad ones.

Shane said...

Look, again, you're headed for the extreme, which if you recall was my original complaint.

I never said you should respect people's opinions, or that people's opinions shouldn't make you look down on them. I just said that deeming somebody's opinion worthless and them thusly stupid as a result for pitter-pattering around the word "fuck" is pretty goddamn retarded.

Even if it's not completely false. Which it's not. There is some merit to that opinion, and to some extent I even agree with it. Just not to the extent you seem to take it, which now seems to be in the vicinity of Hitler.

steve said...

Hey, Godwin's Law.

MWS said...

Everybody be cool.

On Shane's side: yes, snap judgments can be off-target, and one should be somewhat cautious with them, especially when based on limited information.

On Adam's side, however: sometimes snap judgements can b MORE accurate that considered and reasoned analysis; there are certain signifiers that we intuitively assign to being the product of a mind that is -- if not inferior ("nukular" springs to mind) -- assigning value to considerations that carry no weight with us. And likely never will.

Use of a particular vulgarism is not, in my opinion (nor in the opinions of readers I respect) a valid concern in assigning value to a work of art. Those who find it a valid concern MAY have other things to say that MIGHT be worth reading -- but the odds are overwhelmingly in the other direction.

Shane (and very likely the rest of us) no doubt can point to multiple anecdotal exceptions to this particular rule of thumb -- which is why it's a rule of thumb, after all -- but the exceptions do not overrule the general utility of this particular signifier.

Shane said...

It's all good.

I don't disagree with what you said. But I didn't completely disagree with what Alex said either; I just think it's pretty extreme to base a person's entire opinion on whether or not they chose to use a swear word.

Not wrong, mind you. Just a bit further to the right than I think makes rational sense.

But then again, I hadn't read the review he was basing his statement on either, and I imagine if I had I probably would've come to the same conclusion by the time he used the term "f-bomb."

Bah. Since when do you break up the fights instead of incite them, anyway?

MWS said...

Can't we all just get along?


(Actually, it seemed to me that the two of you were kinda talking past each other . . . as though both of you might have been reading things into the other's comments that may or may not have been intended. I was only hoping to clarify matters before there was any bloodshed . . . I'm the only person on this blog who's allowed to draw blood.)

Alex said...

Shane: I was only going to a ridiculous extreme (i/e Hitler) as a way of pointing out where I felt your argument was lacking. Were you to know me, you'd know extreme is one of the least likely adjectives to apply to me. Which brings me to my next point, which is that basing an entire opinion of a person on whether they use "profanity" or not is not extreme when that's the only criteria one has for judging them. I don't know him, so this one little quirk of his is all I have to evaluate him. Similarly you are getting the impression that I'm extreme and maybe a little hot-headed, because all you have to evaluate me with is something that I had an opinion strong enough to actually break out of my usual lurking behaviour and post on.

Matt: Absolutely no blood will be shed due to me, I'm quite enjoying the discussion with Shane. It's nice to know that people online can think (probably more accurately and clearly than me); my usual internet haunts (embarrassingly a Star Wars roleplaying site) are populated by...less than sensible people.

Alaina said...

Beyond the reviews on amazon (and closer to the original blog)...has anyone seen that 9/10 times there will be some kind of bargain at the bottom of Heroes Die or Blade? The one it is showing now is "Buy this book with The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch today!"

Coincidence or no?

Mastadge said...

Has anyone heard from Scott? Is he okay? He's disappeared from the online community, Gentleman Bastards 3 has been pushed back more than 6 months, his short stories that were supposed to appear in anthologies didn't, and his novellas are still nowhere to be seen. . .

Nathan said...

So, um . . .
we haz covr.

Shane said...

Huh, interesting.

I like it, but it's a little weird too.

And I think they may have taken the black knife thing a bit too literally.

Shane said...

Hm, looking at the amazon page for the book, it's coming in at 368 pages. I could be wrong but if that's accurate this might be Matt's shortest non-Star Wars book to date.

Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I guess that means he got that minimalist thing he's been talking about down and working for him pretty good.

Can't wait, it comes two weeks after my birthday.

Alaina said...

The Black Knife cover has the same feel as Blade, which I loved. Anything is better than the Heroes cover (sorry Matt...Matthew...Mr. Stover...I honestly don't know what to refer to you as). Its hard enough trying to convince my friends that "sci-fi/fantasy" titles are indeed REAL books...let alone when one has a cover kin to that of a romance novel.

That aside...beautifully done sir, beautifully done.

MWS said...

Wow.

That's the first I've seen of it. Schleup described the concept, which I approved, but this is the first actual image.

I really, really like it.

Still haven't heard from him about the HD and BLADE re-issues; if they re-issue HD, I believe it'll feature new cover art.

Sure do like seeing that New York Times Bestselling Author tagline, too.

MWS said...

Oh, and it's not my shortest Non-SW book. That honor, as I have discovered in the course of the various copyedits, still belongs to IRON DAWN by a margin of roughly 5,000 words.

Anonymous said...

Hi Matt...just wanted to tell you that I attended the Star War's Exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota today..it was very interesting and one of the best things was when I saw your books in the gift shop. I waved the book around and told ALL the people in the gift shop that you were my friend. Hope I didn't take too many liberties! Hope to reading your new books very very soon!
Cheers,
Claudia, the former Clucky1