Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Writer's View: As The World Dies, Untold Tales Volume 1 by Rhiannon Frater

From Goodreads: THE FIRST DAYS: AS THE WORLD DIES introduced Jenni and Katie and their harrowing journey to the makeshift fort in the Texas Hill Country.

But theirs is not the only tale to be told.

In the first volume of the AS THE WORLD DIES UNTOLD TALES experience three terrifying tales of those who are forced to face the unrelenting and hungry walking dead.

Deep in the Texas Hill Country, a man and his little dog takes refuge in a bed and breakfast located in the hills above a doomed town where an infested rescue center might unleash the hungry undead…

On a deserted highway slicing through the desolation of West Texas, a woman struggles to survive as she faces the horrifying aftermath of the rise of the zombies…

And finally, discover what happens on the first day to Katie’s beloved wife, Lydia, as the world dies…

The Writer's View

I am totally flipped out over Rhiannon Frater's As the World Dies trilogy. Seriously, it's been a long time since I've been this in love with a series. I go to bed at night dreaming about zombies, which I think worries my husband a little. I think the last time I was this obsessed, it was with the Hunger Games. But I can't even compare this series with The Hunger Games -- they're nothing alike.

I'm just about finished with the third book in thes series, which I'll post about later. In the meantime, I couldn't just read one As the World Dies book at a time -- I had to get this first collection of short stories from the same series, which features other characters from the main books. It's what I consider a crowd pleaser. If you're into the books, these stories are a blast. I wouldn't recommend reading them without reading the main series first -- they won't pack the emotional punch, IMO.

Technical Craft vs Creative Craft

I began thinking about the craft of writing while I was reading Frater's As The World Dies, Untold Tales Volume 1. In my opinion, there are two sides of the coin when it comes to writing: technical craft and creative craft.

I define technical craft as the nuts and bolts of writing: correct spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc. I think the technical craft of writing can be mastered by anyone. Sort of like anyone can learn how to multipy and divide.

The creative craft is less tangible. It's that umph factor in a book -- stellar characters, magical worlds, and rip-roaring kick-ass plot. Being a master of the Creative Craft isn't something that can necessarily be taught. I'm pretty sure Ray Bradbury or Jane Austen didn't take any Creative Writing classes. Writers like Bradbury and Austen are born with a gift. To continue with my math analogy -- I can learn how to do a certain amount of math, maybe up to algebra and geometry, but there comes a point where my brain just can't take the next step.

There are a lot of typos, mis-spellings, and gramatical errors in As The World Dies, Untold Tales Volume 1. So many, in fact, that if I wasn't a die hard fan of the series, I wouldn't have finished it. But I love-love-love the characters and devoured these extra stories. For me, the Creative Craft trumped the lack of Technical Craft.

This doesn't happen very often. I get annoyed when I see lots of typos and errors -- it distracts me from enjoying the story. I was surprised to find myself so engrossed in the world and the characters that I could ignore the typos. I think this is a tribute to Frater's natural gift for storytelling.
What do other readers things about Technical Craft vs. Creative Craft? Is one more important than the other? Can one be overlooked if the other is present? I'd love to hear thoughts on this.


  1. There was some confusion when we uploaded the original file for publication. We uploaded the unedited version. That has been fixed now. I suspect you got an older copy. My editor, Felicia Sullivan, is really good at her job. She works for Permuted Press as one of the major editors. It was my mistake, not hers, for the messed up file.

    I am glad you enjoyed the stories though!

    1. @ Rhiannon - I just finished Siege yesterday. I think I cried for almost 5 hours straight. (I was listening to the audio version and had a really long car ride.) I completely ruined my new pair of contact lenses from all the crying and had to get a new pair this morning! :)

  2. I think I agree with you, Camille, that creative craft can trump the technical craft, so long as it is done well. Look at it the other way around. If a story is spotless technically, but made up of a poor story with weak characters, I'll drop it like a bad habit. I read not to see perfect punctuation, but to read a story that will entertain me, if not blow me away. As long as it does that, then typos can abound. Yeah, they're annoying, but only when I don't like the substance of what I'm reading.

    1. @ Cathy -- I agree! At the end of the day, a great story is all that matters. Perfect grammar can't make up for a boring story. :)

  3. It bodes well for me that you think creative craft will trump technical craft because I am so bad at the latter. My one biggest fear about writing is that my books will be riddled with grammatical errors. As a reader I can put up with a lot from a writer whose stories and characters fascinate me. I'm actually reading a book at the moment that is so badly formatted I want to scream. But it's so well written I can't bear to put it down. If it were perfect but boring I would have given up a long time ago.

    1. @ Lan - I have my own issues with grammar, etc. I hire a copy editor. I highly recommend a copy editor to all my friends considering self-publishing. The expense is worth the peace of mind to know you are putting something mostly error-free out there. (I say "mostly" because even pro books have errors.)

  4. I love blogs like your's and Cathy's. I tend to write my reviews from more of an, I don't know, emotional(?) standpoint. I don't break down my likes and dislikes in such a technical manner. And I like that you do.
    I completely agree about creative trumping technical writing. I read a series last week that made me cringe a few times with the run-on sentences and bad grammar. But I loved the story so much, I couldn't stop reading. It was crazy.
    That's too bad you got an unedited copy of the book. I'm glad that problem was fixed b/c I've heard Frater's books are great.
    Nice review, Camille.

  5. @ Andrea - Thanks for stopping by my blog! I hope you get a chance to check out Frater's As the World Dies trilogy - it's really great!Even though I write technical reviews, I definitely have my own emotional reactions to stories, esp ones I love!