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Pitch-slapping: It’s awkward, but you can do it to yourself

So, I played with my “pitch” a little today, and I was curious what people think. Half of it is still what the helpful Canaries worked out for me – for which I am most grateful – and while I like it, I’m still a little iffy on whether it is how the final pitch should read.

Anyway … if you’ve got an opinion, I’d love to read it:

Llew can heal herself, but it’s at the expense of whatever she’s touching and it’s proportional. When she dies, she comes back, but she is surrounded by death.

Leaping from the frying pan, she finds herself in the fire: travelling with a man carrying the one weapon in all the world that can kill her for good – a beautifully crafted knife.

The last of his warrior race, Jonas is surrounded by the ghosts of his loved ones. At his side, the knife that took their lives. His oath to keep it from claiming more souls is a heavy burden, made more so by his half-brother, the devious magician Braph, who is hunting for a new source of blood to fuel his power.

And Llew’s unexpected and unwanted presence may finally bring his resolve to breaking point.

Oh, yeah. I do realize I’ve used a cliché. At the moment, I’m happy with that, but I am pondering other options, too.

Review: Joe Abercrombie – “The Heroes”

The HeroesThe Heroes by Joe Abercrombie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this book after someone recommended I read “Best Served Cold”. My book-buying budget has dried up, so I had to go to the library. “Best Served Cold” was out, so I picked “The Heroes” up instead (and had to drive to the Mosgiel library to get it as even this one was out at the town library). I still plan to read “Best Served Cold”…

It took me a while to read this book (end of September to early November). This is due to my inability to prioritize my reading in a busy schedule, rather than a poor read. There were nights I read another book instead of this, but those were nights when my bed-lamp would have disturbed my husband’s sleep and so I read an ebook under the covers, instead of the paperback (ebooks were good when the baby slept in our room, too…).

(5 November 2011) Finished. And, I liked it. While there were several word choices and turns of phase that threw me out of the narrative a little, it was a good read. The characters were well developed and I kind of liked most of them. I was saddened, though, that the only character that I truly got excited about whenever he turned up in a chapter ended up dead. Part of me guessed he might, but I had hoped… and the way he died… tragic, really. In fact, on the night I read that part I stopped caring about any other character until a few nights (my time) later. Yes, I was that gutted. So, I guess that is a sign of good writing when a reader cares that much for a character. It’s just a shame there was so much left to go.
A lot of the characters didn’t think too highly of themselves and, while it’s preferable not to be stuck in some egotistical idiot’s head, it does get one down as a reader.
This book was basically a collection of character arcs, with little in the way of plot, strictly speaking. There was a war (we don’t even know exactly what started it, not that that matters) and it lasts for three days, then is over. That’s it. The point of the story is to follow the characters and see how they get through it (or not).

Read more…Review: Joe Abercrombie – “The Heroes”

Last day…

Last day, nearly eight pages down. My own cold has settled in my head, I fully sympathize with my character… although, I didn’t burden him with the sneezing or the runny nose – he doesn’t have anywhere to keep tissues or a hanky, so I decided for a little mercy. Baby J sleeps – hopefully for another hour. Hubby sleeps… hopefully as long as Baby J does – I need the thinking space. Sun is shining… wish I was out in it, but my 7 year old laptop is not as portable as a laptop should be… oh Slate PC, why aren’t you in the country, and why can’t I afford you, even if you were? Woe is me.

Still… eight pages down. It’s Sunday morning. Nearly lunch time, but who’s counting? Dog is sleeping. Cats are sleeping. Wonder what Chino (mini horse) is doing?

I was up till 2am last night. Wasn’t my intention, but I agreed to babysit. Yes, I should probably have done it on my own and taken my laptop and have finished this challenge… But, I’ve never been good with other people’s kids, and having a friend there made the imposed late night more bearable. I think I would have been very grumpy indeed if it had been me alone.

Let’s chuck on some music to lighten the mood and get this done. Winamp, what have you got for me?

This, by the looks of it.

The gauntlet has landed…

So, you may know that CanaryTheFirst has challenged me to write 10 (double-spaced) pages of a story (presumably short) in three days.

By standard theory, as read yesterday, one page is 250 words, so 10 pages is 2500 words. Doable, I thought. Turns out that Time New Roman 12pt on A4 (the standard here in NZ) is more like 330 words, so I’m probably looking at 3300… Still doable, I guess. A bit tricky when the 1 year old is transitioning to one sleep a day (means I get grumpy when he doesn’t want to sleep when I expect him to… it’ll be better next week when I learn not to expect that writing time). Never mind. I have nearly completed 2 pages. I still have a little time before my brain completely shuts off for the night (actually, that’s debatable, it may have already done so), so let’s see what I can churn out.

In the meantime, this is what I happen to be listening to right now:

Well, alright, in reality, I’m already on to the next song… but, if you’re really curious, check out my last.fm “currently playing”. (Edit: October 2019: Or, I guess, these days it’s all Spotify…)

OK, enough procrastinating… time to write.

Book Review: Iain Banks – “The Wasp Factory”

The Wasp FactoryThe Wasp Factory by Iain M. Banks

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It would do this book a great injustice to say that one of my favourite parts (of my edition, anyway) is the selection of reviewers’ comments in the opening pages – especially the negative ones! They are hilarious, and are followed up by a highly enjoyable, if controversial, story. Yes, it is a challenging read. But, heck, I am a total animal lover, a pacifist and totally unimaginative when it comes to human cruelty, and I love this book. Somehow, Iain Banks writes a character who regularly sets wasps up to kill themselves in his little “factory” (sometimes with a helping hand), and has no trouble setting alight a rabbit or a sheep, and is, yet, not a total turn-off to read (and it’s written in first person!). I don’t know that I would say that I could identify with Frank, but I could handle going along with him on his misadventures. And that last page makes it all worth it…

You know what? I haven’t read this book in YEARS… I think it may have to go back on the “to-read” list…

View all my reviews

“Writing is easy…

All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.”  ~Gene Fowler

I had to look this quote up.

This one is very similar: “There’s nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.”  ~Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith

Basically, this is how I have been feeling of late. And, writing is hard. And, just because a scene or chapter isn’t flowing out of your brain easily does not mean that it is flawed. It just means that you realize how important it is to get that scene just right.

I had a discussion with a friend the other day. A friend who has taken writing courses (I’m learning as I go). I was struggling with a scene. After many discussions on what I could do with my characters, and how ‘because you make the rules for the story, you can change them’, I was ever so close to scrapping everything and embarking on an epic fantasy tale not unlike “The Balgariad” (which I loved as a teen, by the way). But, when I got to that point, my instincts kicked in. “Hold up!” they said. And then they went on to explain to me that if I tossed the rules that I created in order to write the story I am writing, and if I changed the histories of my characters to more fully fit this epic fantasy idea that my friend had in her head (please note, she hasn’t read any of my actual story), then I wouldn’t be writing my story, I would be writing hers… in which case, she should write it. She told me I could either stick to my ideas and write my story just for me, or I could write a story with a hope of selling… (all without reading a drop of my tale) Yeh, she did. We’re still friends, too…

Read more…“Writing is easy…

Writing Music: Jonas’s Song

Ever since I started writing this story I have considered The Deftone’s song “Knife Party” to be ‘Jonas’s Song’. I am inspired by music, and find that listening to a certain selection of it helps to inspire my writing. I want to write an action story packed with emotion. So I love that this song is so emotionally powerful and, of course, mentions a knife.