Friday, December 16, 2011

Writing Horses: The Fine Art Of Getting It Right - Judith Tarr

Writing Horses - The Fine Art Of Getting It Right
Judith Tarr
Book View Cafe
Copyright: November 2010

The amazon.com product description:
How far can a horse travel in a day? What does a horse eat? When is a brown horse really a sorrel (or a bay, or a dun)? What do tack and withers and canter mean?

In this long-awaited and much-requested book based on her "Horseblog" at Book View Café, author and horse breeder Judith Tarr answers these questions and many more. She looks at horses from the perspective of the writer whose book or story needs them as anything from basic transport to major plot device, and provides definitions, explanations, and links and references for further research--leavened with insight into the world of the horse and the humans who both use and serve him.

How fast can a horse run? What happens when a foal is born? How have humans and horses evolved together over the millennia? And above all, what mistakes do writers most often make when writing about horses, and how can the educated writer avoid them?

Here is a guide to the fine art of getting it right. 
I first read and reviewed Judith Tarr's guide to writing about horses back in February. Back then, I enjoyed the read on my e-ink Kobo E-reader. This time I was reading on the Kobo Vox, the new tablet style colour e-reader. Partly because of the surprise I had when I opened the book out of curiosity, I have to admit. This wasn't on my planned reading list at all. I'd just thought "I wonder", and decided to see if the images were in colour or not. They were, and at the same time, I found that the humour in the writing was even more apparent.

Not only that, but the little tidbits of information I didn't have, but would find useful as a writer were also more numerous than I remembered. Maybe it was the addition of the ability to highlight passages that made me keep an eye out for them more. All sorts of things that aren't always there in the riding manuals - genetics of which colours certain breeds don't have, for example and what kinds of personality traits are more suited for certain kinds of tasks - war horses etc.

And, there's several sections on how certain kinds of stables are run - breeders etc. That kind of thing is just not there if I'm remembering rightly the books I have. All of that, plus suggestions of how to write certain kinds of things - possible plot ideas to interwork, how things would be done in a lower technology society etc, are all very useful.

As I noted in my last review, the fact that my e-reader doesn't cope with links is rather frustrating with this book - it's littered with links to sites for specific breed registries, podcasts on various horse-related subjects etc, and I can't even mark down the url to go look from my computer because it's not listed anywhere. That, honestly, is my biggest gripe with Writing Horses: The Fine Art Of Getting It Right.

It's certainly an enjoyable and thought-provoking read though.
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