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About River of Entanglements

Previous Entry River of Entanglements Nov. 11th, 2009 @ 12:33 pm Next Entry
So I see that I haven't posted in months about my writing, and I thought it was time to rectify that. The novel I had been working on for about a year and half has been set aside. I was, at the time of its dismissal, one quarter of the way through revising a draft worthy of showing people. A curious problem had come over me, which was that my shorthand and not very accurate way of describing the novel ("Conquistadors in the Amazon jungle") suddenly, and tauntingly, seemed vastly more interesting than the story I was actually writing. So I called my other draft part of the learning process, set it aside and started again from scratch. My new project is to be lean and mean. As of right now I'm just about at the halfway point, which means I should finish a draft by the end of year. It'll be a short and awkward length for a novel, and perhaps not publishable, but the conquistadors will at least be out of my head and I can start concentrating on something else.

In other news I read a great book a few weeks ago: The Cardboard Universe by Christopher Miller. I was a fan of Miller's previous book Sudden Noises From Inanimate Objects, and this one is even better. It's written in the form of an encyclopedia on the life and work of obscure science fiction writer Phoebus K. Dank. (One entry incidentally talks about a character Dank created named Philip K. Dick.) Miller's fictional PKD is like a more extreme version of the real PKD: a worse prose stylist, fatter, and with a more messed-up personal life. Some of the entries are written by Dank's sycophantic housemate and some are written by a former friend turned bitter enemy. The time of writing is shortly after Dank's murder. It's hilarious and sad, though a bit more of the former.

Additionally, I answer some questions about myself here: http://www.shimmerzine.com/authors/author-page-caleb-wilson/interview-with-caleb-wilson/
opine
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From:misterjimmy
Date:November 12th, 2009 12:37 am (UTC)
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I like the P K Dank/P K Dick device: belated happy birthday.
A friend of mine gave me a new Frisbee for my birthday. It is the greatest thing to happen in the history of the flying disc world since the original Frisbee. It's a Frisbee with a micro-battery in the center and LEDs around the rim. We get out after dark and throw with it. Can't even see the guy your throwing to, just that illuminated Frisbee. It's like a UFO! We finally resorted to attaching blinking LEDs on our shirts/caps so we could spot the general area. Cars slow down to look; people walking in the neighborhood stop to watch and wonder!
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From:uberuberhip
Date:November 12th, 2009 05:29 am (UTC)
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heyyo, that's exciting! looking forward to reading it.
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From:bruorton
Date:November 12th, 2009 02:44 pm (UTC)
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We were just doing "conquistadors in the Amazon jungle" this week in my anthro class, including a Nat'l Geographic special on the "lost cities" in that area, which also covered Percy Fawcett's early 20th century search for the "City of Z" -- and some pretty amazing discoveries, naturally exaggerated in implications but in substance still very cool.
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From:astrobolism
Date:November 12th, 2009 05:14 pm (UTC)
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I read a recent book about Fawcett -- interesting story if a bit jumbled in that particular telling. My novel is about a group who tries traveling up the Amazon at around the time Francisco de Orrellana is drifting down river. Thanks for the link!
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From:bruorton
Date:November 12th, 2009 07:16 pm (UTC)
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Aha! I finally found a link to watch the full special online, not just a preview. Pretty fun as those things go. It also turns out that Dartmouth has the 1934 translation of de Carvajal's book, if you want me to check it out for you -- unless your Spanish is sharp.

Whatever might help as grist for the mill, you know!
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From:astrobolism
Date:November 12th, 2009 10:16 pm (UTC)
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Yes--I have that! Well, I don't know if it's the same translation, but it appears of about that vintage, in a book called Discovery of the Amazon. Also has articles on the various names of the river (such as the Rio Maranon, which is what I'm calling it, which might be (but probably isn't) a slightly mangled translation of the "River of Entanglements") and a list of all the people on Orellana's expedition, which is where I got many of my characters' names.
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From:emusnare
Date:November 12th, 2009 05:37 pm (UTC)
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I've been wading through an interesting article in the Atlantic (March '02) on the pre-Colombian Americas
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From:astrobolism
Date:November 12th, 2009 05:48 pm (UTC)
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Ooh, that does look interesting, thanks!
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From:emusnare
Date:November 12th, 2009 11:57 pm (UTC)
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No prob. Looking forward to your novel.
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From:bruorton
Date:November 12th, 2009 07:18 pm (UTC)
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Sweet! Our seminar tomorrow is on Cronon and Changes in the Land. How timely!
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From:emusnare
Date:November 12th, 2009 11:41 pm (UTC)
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Nice. Let me know if class consensus is thumbs up or down.
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From:bruorton
Date:November 12th, 2009 07:25 pm (UTC)

Also:

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you know about this Brad Pitt vehicle coming out next year, I assume?

It might be worth shopping your novel(la) around after all, you never know who might be looking for a way to capitalize on the buzz that will follow. Just because it's a side-track for you doesn't mean it's not viable....
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From:emusnare
Date:November 13th, 2009 05:24 am (UTC)

Re: Also:

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Speaking of flicks, The New World and Apocaplypto both feature intriguing depictions of Native Americans.

Oh, and I think Pitt would definitely try to capitalize on all the buzz surrounding a screenplay by Wilson :]
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From:angelofmusic_81
Date:November 15th, 2009 11:24 pm (UTC)
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Can't wait to check out the novel! And by the way, I do not think you play the sax poorly... ;)
(opine)
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