My theme for the A to Z Blogging Challenge this year is a mishmash of books, movies, writers and TV shows that have in one way or another taught me something about writing and helped me be a better writer. Some inspired my own stories and a few taught me what not to do. Each post is a one minute lesson on writing. Find some inspiration to get you through the last week of the Challenge at the IWSG blog.
Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan is the first book in a three book series. It seems the simple tale of two friends who make their way in the world as thieves, taking on impossible jobs and getting them done. Right away the reader knows there's more to these two men than what they appear. Hints are sprinkled throughout from Hadrian's impressive skills with weapons and Royce's uncanny abilities with all sorts of things. At first they seem like happy go lucky wanderers until a caper lands entangles them in a big mess. Throughout the book that mess expands into a war and many near-death escapes for the heroes. And the entire time, Sullivan parcels out more clues to the origins of these two friends. Even when the
reader thinks they have it figured out, there is more twists that will keep you reading to the last page. And like many buddy stories, these two friends will win your heart. Their relationship is the bedrock of the story.
Lessons: A tale that starts in the middle and only gives hints of the characters' origins can be very gripping. Start with a simple plot, like the theft of a sword, and slowly blow it up like inflating a balloon and increasing tension. Drop hints of back story instead of giving it all away at once. Two protagonists with complementary skills make interesting duos for the buddy-like story line. In the years since the third and final book of this series has been published. Sullivan wrote two shorter novels exploring the beginnings of this unbreakable friendship. Each one covered about a year so I'm hoping he keeps writing them until he catches up to Theft of Swords.
Here's some of the clever banter between Royce and Hadrian
“You didn’t really hold back on Braga so Pickering could kill him, did you?” Royce asked after the two were left alone in the hallway.
“Of course not. I held off because it’s death for a commoner to kill a noble.”
“That’s what I thought.” Royce sounded relieved. “For a minute, I wondered if you’d gone from jumping on the good-deed wagon to leading the whole wagon train.”
“Aren’t you going to say, I told you so?” Hadrian whispered.
“What would be the point in that?”
“Oh, so you’re saying that you’re going to hang on to this and throw it at me at some future, more personally beneficial moment?”
“I don’t see the point in wasting it now, do you?”
Do you enjoy reading prequels to a book or series? Do you like the buddy/friendship trope in a story? Can you think of a great duo in literature, TV or movies that had great banter?