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Most of you know the background. Author Jay Lake has been fighting colon cancer for four years, and he’s running out of treatment options. Catherine Shaffer and Mary Robinette Kowal put together a fundraiser to try to pay for whole genome sequencing for Jay, which might suggest other ways of attacking the cancer. They rallied various people from the SF/F community to perform various “acts of whimsy” as rewards for meeting fundraising goals.

I volunteered to read excerpts from the very first story I ever wrote, a 50,000 word piece of Dungeons & Dragons-inspired sword & sorcery, starring Nakor the Purple, a character I totally-didn’t-rip-off-from-Raymond-Feist. Not only that, but I would read this IN COSTUME as Nakor. You see, back in college, our D&D group put together Halloween costumes of our characters, and it was awesome. Because that’s how we rolled back in 1995.

Sadly, I no longer have the prosthetic elf ears, and I couldn’t get the sword to stay on when I sat down to read. I also think I looked better in this costume back when I had long hair. But ah well–any excuse to wear a cloak!

I won’t lie to you. The story is pretty bad. I’m tempted to make a drinking game. “For every unnecessary adverb, take a drink. Every time a character raises an eyebrow, take a drink. Every time the villains sit around waiting for the heroes to do something, take a drink.”

The first time I went to record, our dog Casey heroically tried to save you from having to watch. And then, after waiting three hours for the video to upload,  YouTube deleted it because I had a setting configured wrong. But as you know, you can’t stop the signal, and I eventually got 42 minutes of bad fantasy uploaded for all the world to see.

For everyone who believes the myth that professional authors were just born knowing how to write, I offer you the following proof that you could not be more wrong…

Jay’s fundraiser runs through the end of the month, and while they’ve already raised enough for the genetic sequencing, four years of cancer leads to some serious medical expenses, even with insurance. Click on over, check out the other acts of whimsy, and consider donating.

I guess I can’t stall anymore. I present to you now, Jim C. Hines reading the first chapter, a scene from the middle, and the climactic battle from his very first story.

And please remember. I got better!

If the embedding doesn’t work, click through to YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFbHgpH9bf0

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.


( 31 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 13th, 2013 04:02 am (UTC)
Woohoo! I will watch this with a drink in my hand.
Jan. 13th, 2013 04:33 am (UTC)
Grab the bottle...
Jan. 13th, 2013 04:53 am (UTC)
My housemate and I just watched the entire thing, giggling like madpeople. Which we are. So, you know.

I salute you, sir.
Jan. 13th, 2013 05:00 am (UTC)
I got to "watched contentedly as the sun continued to sink towards the horizon" before I had to pause and go get a hard cider. Bless you, Jim Hines!
Jan. 13th, 2013 05:47 am (UTC)
I want an audiobook of you reading the whole story! And an e-book, too--I may know the beginning, the end, and a bit from the middle, but I want the rest! Complete with cat sneezes.
Jan. 13th, 2013 03:39 pm (UTC)
But...but WHY???
Jan. 13th, 2013 07:47 pm (UTC)
Easy. Because it was cool. I really like the characters and situations, and you did a really good job reading it. I think you'd be good at reading audiobooks. Plus, the husband is into D&D, and I'm into medieval stuff and such, so it's easy to relate to.
Jan. 14th, 2013 04:04 am (UTC)
As ultimate proof that Jim C. Hines will never ever be able t be blackmailed.
Jan. 13th, 2013 06:03 am (UTC)

Yes, you got better. *g*
Jan. 13th, 2013 03:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you. That's reassuring :-)
Jan. 13th, 2013 08:11 am (UTC)
I've looked back at some of my old stories and the only word that comes to my mind is ... why?
Jan. 13th, 2013 11:59 am (UTC)
Thanks for sharing that, Jim. It was ... educational. :-)
Jan. 13th, 2013 01:09 pm (UTC)
If it makes you feel any better, C.E. Murphy is going to humiliate herself...er...take part in the fundraiser...by doing the same with her first book (which has apparently spent the intervening years buried in her garage, away from all human eyes).

Looking forward to watching your video, but I think I need coffee first.

And the most amazing thing to me, frankly, is that you still have most of the costume!
Jan. 13th, 2013 03:38 pm (UTC)
Pat Rothfuss posted a snippet of his high school writing as well. It definitely helps that I'm not alone :-)

And of course I still have the costume. The boots, the cloak, the belt...how could I possibly give those up???
Jan. 13th, 2013 06:23 pm (UTC)
Well, they WERE pretty snazzy boots.
Jan. 13th, 2013 04:23 pm (UTC)
It's official: I have a crush on you. Not for the bad writing--no, no. For the willingness to bare your earliest (and possibly worst). In costume (the earring makes it). And for the gusto with which you did it. And because you made me laugh like a laughing thing. I promise not to stalk you--not any more than I do already on LJ. :-) But you're awesome, Jim. Thanks for helping Jay, and being so cool in doing it.

And by the way, that's still the kind of geek you are--there is no past tense here. And that's a Good Thing.
Jan. 13th, 2013 04:33 pm (UTC)
Hm. We could do a mini fundraiser toward buying you a ridiculous wig for more fundraisers? It would have to be really scary looking, like one of William Shatner's toupees----seriously, does he recycle those old winter bomber caps? Because his toups always look like they should have earflaps and be washed on the rug cycle.

Also, why am I not surprised you have a cloak at the ready?

Also (let's over use that word!) we could make sure you have the ears for the next fundraiser. You know, just in case.
Jan. 14th, 2013 12:48 am (UTC)
My daughter has a white, vaguely Einstein-style wig that lights up. Would that work?
Jan. 13th, 2013 05:17 pm (UTC)
Worth every penny I donated!
Jim, thanks for this. It was stupendous. Worth everything I donated!

Oh. My. Sides.
Jan. 14th, 2013 12:47 am (UTC)
Re: Worth every penny I donated!
I just saw that you were tweeting the whole experience, too. Awesome! :-)
Jan. 13th, 2013 09:41 pm (UTC)
I raise an eyebrow to comment.

You are a brave man to have done this. It wouldn't have been enough to just post the story; the dramatic reading is what made it. I was very fond of the guard with the "large broadsword"---avoids the problem of all those fantasy characters with those dinky little broadswords.

And of course you have a cloak---I certainly do.
Jan. 13th, 2013 09:51 pm (UTC)
oh my gawd oh my gawd OH MY GAWD. *tears streaming down her face*
Jan. 14th, 2013 12:47 am (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 14th, 2013 12:46 am (UTC)
I got that reference!
Jan. 14th, 2013 12:01 am (UTC)
Awesome. (I'm only at the end of ch 1 so far.)

I love how it's simultaneously hilariously sub-Jim-standard and SO MUCH BETTER than what I was writing in 1995 :P :P

Also: that is a most excellent cape, sir.
Jan. 14th, 2013 12:48 am (UTC)
What gets me is that, in a few places, I can see the seeds of the books and stories I wrote later. I can't decide if this is cool or disturbing.
Jan. 14th, 2013 01:58 am (UTC)
Yeah, I noticed some of that too. I occasionally have the same experience when I run across something I wrote years ago ... I'm gonna go with cool ;)

And honestly? It has so much potential! At least you've actually got a story happening, with a beginning and some action and some characterization; it's just that it needs to be shorter, with fewer pauses for lovingly detailed descriptions and backstories. What I see when I look back at my mid-1990s writing is mostly ... dialogue. Endless, endlessly emo dialogue. From the middle of something that could be a story if it also had a beginning and an end, but, because it doesn't, isn't.

Always fun to look back and see how far one has come, though ;)

Jan. 14th, 2013 04:06 am (UTC)
I rather enjoyed that. I mean, i recognized the badness of the writing in some places (as the sun continued to sink...) but the dramatic reading actually helped. However, the line that made it for me really is "I am never having a character raise an eyebrow again."
Jan. 14th, 2013 04:14 am (UTC)
ETA: I also wasn't planning to add to any more charities since I have made more donations this year than i have in a long while, and I don't actually have enough income, but I figured if I'm enjoying the rewards, I should at least send him a bit.
Jan. 16th, 2013 08:54 pm (UTC)
My wife and I are belatedly honeymooning in Paris, and this evening, we were picnicking in our apartment. I found this video about the time we opened the bottle of wine, and we decided to play the drinking game. The two of us finished a bottle of quite decent French wine during your reading of the first chapter. My wife is now giggling maniacally and making suggestions for how people could kill themselves with hard liquor during the first chapter, including the following:
- drink for every needlessly repetitive sentence
- drink every time something is lifted directly from D&D, with no attempt at concealment
- finish glass for Tolkien reference(s)
- drink every time something begins/began/begun/beginning/etc
- drink for every homoerotic subtext (sword measuring? REALLY? clearly, you weren't a folksinger at that time)

We vaguely regret we did not get a second bottle of wine, but perhaps that is for the best.

PS: Wife says the wine was very good.
PPS: Wife says the wine was very good, but it went down better with giggles.
PPPS: We NEVER finish a bottle of wine between us. Clearly, we have developed Magical French Superpowers! Or else it was your story.
PPPPS: Okay, perhaps I am somewhat tiddly as I write this.
Jan. 21st, 2013 02:38 am (UTC)
This whole story/comment just makes me smile.

I hope you had (or are still having) an amazing time in Paris!
( 31 comments — Leave a comment )


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