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My copy of The Hobbit

I have been reading The Hobbit to my seven-year-old son. He is loving it as his bed time story and I am enjoying re-reading the childhood classic I loved. It was one of the early books I selected for myself and I whizzed through it when I was 11.
But during the bedtime re-read I have noticed something – and it is a bug bear I have with other books – the pacing.
So, the first 10 chapters cover about 200 pages, with some chapters pretty heavy going (just before the woods, the slog through those woods, the bit with the elves) but the last 9 chapters cover about 100 pages and quite quickly zip along. Short and to the point, the plot moves much faster than in earlier chapters.
Sometimes I feel like I am reading a completely different book.
Now Tolkien has form for poor pacing in my opinion, when I was reading The Two Towers at 12 years old, I was aware of the weary trek of Frodo and Sam which went on and on and on . I nearly gave up on that book , abandoning the two of them to those marshes. Much later I would laugh heartily at Clerks 2 with the comment on the film adaptations: “even the trees walked in those movies”.
But, back to my point. It feels like two different books, kind of jammed together. The long saga of The Unexpected Journey and the fast pace of the adventures at the Lonely Mountain.
How did this happen? A fast approaching deadline, perhaps? A change of editors halfway through the job.
Don’t get me wrong. I loved the book when I first read it and I am enjoying the re-read with my son. If not for this book, many of the books I have enjoyed would never have happened.
And Tolkien is not alone in having pacing issues. I often find myself frustrated at books, films and tv series for this exact reason. I may blog about another more modern example at some point, but for now, feel free to tell me if you agree or disagree with my view of this legendary and much loved book.

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An article here about the issues authors have with publishers over what the book cover should be like.

Having sat on both sides of this debate – as an author and as someone who has worked with author’s on brining their books to publication, I feel the author should have their say and the publisher should listen – but the final say should go with the publisher as they have the experience of doing more book covers than the authors have (and te cover is one of the top items of advertising for any book, and needs to work on a physical object and as an Amazon thumbnail) – and crucially are not as close to the book as the author’s inevitably will be.

The same is also true of the editing process, but that may need to be another blog post!

Found this excellent interview with a sci-fi great, Arthur C Clarke, who grew up in Somerset, UK.

if you havet heard of him (tsk) he was behind the movie 2001: A Space Odessy and the book of that name as well as Childhood’s End (similair in themes and content tyo the later TV series V ) and the Rama series of books

For the next five days my short story anthology “Fragments” is available for free lending from the Kindle library.

If you have a Kindle, please do have a look at those stories.

If you don’t have a Kindle (or if you do and want a sample) check out my short story, Minehead:

Minehead_EdwardKeating

If you have a Kindle and are enrolled in the KDP lending library scheme, you can borrow my novel, The Joy of Ex, for free for the next five days.

Joy Of Ex Cover Front web

The first chapter of The Joy of Ex is below as a free PDF to have a sample of what the novel is about.

JoyOfExExtract_ch1_

The book is available from AmazonĀ in Kindle and paperback.

Joy Of Ex Cover Front web

 

 

Found a great review of my book The Joy of Ex left by a reader on Amazon.

If you have read the book, you should post a review on Amazon too – what’s stopping you?

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