Why Does the Universe Hate Me?

August 27, 2010

1. Melbourne Writer’s Festival begins today. I am not there. I am not in Melbourne either. I am not even in the right state. Grrr.

2. My library book was due back yesterday and I had not finished reading it. I couldn’t reserve it either, because there were 17 other reservations. Sadly, I was not even close to finishing. I was barly a quarter of the way in. Way to go, school work.

Does the Universe hate you? If yes, why? If not, why the heck not? Life isn’t fair.


Going Through My Mind

August 23, 2010

1.  School, school, school: So many assignments, so little time. Right now, I’m working on a fifteen minute speech on ancient literature in Greece, Persia, and China. I love history, but this not fun. This is boring. I also have an English feature article to write by Friday, a maths exam to study for, also by Friday, and two other assignments due next week.

2.  Mental Procrastination: Why am I writing this post if I have so much to do? I’m procrastinating like I’ve never procrastinated before. I’ve been sitting at my computer for about an hour, and school wise, I’ve got… nothing. I did some research into Greek drama (which has so far turned up no results), but then my internet time branched off into You tube (book trailers, other miscellaneous crap, etc) and Wikipedia, where I was reading up on action heroes (because I’m weird like that). Heck, I’m even writing this and thinking up more posts.

3.  Writing: I’m dying to keep editing my WIP, virtual dust is gathering on my computer documents. I want to write a new fight scene (a ninja-type one), make changes to the MC, and just keep working in general.

4.  Book Trailer: What would my book trailer look like? I imagine one with lots of action and animation. In my head, the book trailer kinda looks like a movie trailer. The real thing will never look like that.

5.  Writing Comp: There’s a writing competition for my school magazine. 600 words. Due last day of term 3. That’s about a month away. I’ve got nothing. No ideas. With all this school work, how on earth am I going to get it written?

6.  School, school, school:
I’ve already written about this. But it’s a big one.

7.  TBR Pile: Local library = no need to buy books = no need to have a physical TBR pile by my bed. I tried recording the books I want on the library website, but it keeps deleting them. -_- Now I can’t remember all the books I wanted. Double    -_-

8.  Chocolate: I want chocolate. I’m craving for chocolate. Just writing about it makes me want it. Nice, brown, chocolaty chocolate… But, I do not have any chocolate. This is not good.

That’s a look into what’s whirling around in my head. As you can see, it’s pretty crowded in there. I’ve trying to draw Thoughts 1 and 6 out with a promise of chocolate. But it isn’t working. They know I don’t have any.


5 Lessons Writers can Learn from Reading Andy McDermott

August 20, 2010

Andy McDermott is easily one my favourite thriller writers. I finished reading his latest novel, The Sacred Temple, recently, and thought I’d share some of the lessons I learnt from reading McDermott’s books.

Globetrotting Characters: I love books with multiple locations across the world, and Andy doesn’t let me down. In The Sacred Vault, the characters jump locations frequently, from San Francisco and India, to Greenland and the Himalayas. It gives character interesting and unique obstacles to overcome. Speaking of unique…

Extraordinary Action Scenes:
Andy McDermott does a great job at creating unique scenarios and action scenes, which is something I try to replicate in my own work. In The Sacred Vault, McDermott’s characters have survived a plane crash in Greenland, and fought mercenaries in a Himalayan temple using ancient war machines.

Dastardly Baddies Are Good: McDermott has created some really interesting bad guys. In The Sacred Vault, the antagonist is a wealthy Indian who uses a Google-like search engine to try to cause a war. Kinda like an evil Bill Gates. The minions are even worse. One sidekick used a fake glass eye to hide a garrotte (wire used in strangulation) which she used as a secret weapon. I liked the idea very much.

Twists Can Only be Used Once: One of McDermott’s key twists is to reveal that the antagonist is really the good guy, while the protagonist’s sidekick is really the bad guy. If you want to read the books, I won’t spoil it, but McDermott used this trick twice. Sorry, Andy, but it’s only cool once.

Plots Can Only be Used Once:
Speaking of things only cool once, plots should be unique each time. I felt that during a few of his books, McDermott took out the outline for one of his previous books, and changed the names, location, and mythological item. Perhaps it can be hard sometimes, but writers really need to be able to create new plots each time.

Andy McDermott’s books have sold in 30 countries, and 25 languages. He has a website and Twitter.


Ode to the Termite

August 18, 2010

I wrote this a while back, on a sunny afternoon while watching some termites scurry around their nest (nowhere near my house). It’s a fun piece which I’ve been meaning to post for a while.

An ode to the termite,
A small humble beast.
White in flesh and naught in brain,
This creature is ‘simple’ at best.

Your daily schedule is work, work, work,
But at night you feast, feast, feast!
And feast you do, on wood and bits,
Surely, you must consume heaps!

And as the sun rises,
To work, you must go back.
And regurgitate last nights meal,
hack it up, yes, hack! Hack!

It’s for your house, your home,
A beacon in the barren.
A mighty fort it must be,
to prevent yourself from becoming ant carrion.

These beasts from hell, these evil ants,
From every mile they do come.
They come with a single intent,
Slay, slaughter and overrun

Defend yourself!
Your goal when they attack.
Defend yourself with jaws enlarged,
Big enough to bite back.

You may fight for minutes,
You may fight for hours.
But rest assured,
You’ll fight those six-legged beasts until the fort remains ours.

An ode to the termite,
A small humble beast.
White in flesh and naught in brain,
This creature is ‘simple’ at best.

You mean no harm,
Although because of your city dwelling cousins it may be.
You work and eat and work and sleep,
And that doesn’t bother me.

To read more of my work, check out The Bookshelf.


This Blog is Not Dead

August 16, 2010

Just a short note to let you know that I’m still alive. Buried under assignments, but still alive. It’s only been a week, yet it feels like ages since I’ve posted.

I’m trying to get back into the groove of blogging three times a week. I promise. On Wednesday I’ll post some of my work.


Why do you put a Book Down?

August 9, 2010

Following on from Wednesday’s post on Putting the Book Down, I thought I’d ask the primary reason for putting the book down.

As far as I can remember, I’ve only lost interest in two books. The first was a few years back, and although I can’t recall the title, it was a spy-thriller. I also can’t remember the exact reason for putting it down. One day, I simply finished a chapter, put the book down, and never opened it again. The next day, I began reading something else. I guess it was the plot I didn’t like. I must have gotten bored. I’m also guessing the prose was a factor, because I recall that the writing wasn’t all that sophisticated.

You heard about the second book I put down. I couldn’t stand the writing in this one either. So again, prose was the reason I put the book down.

What about you? In the comments, tell me why you put books down.


Putting the Book Down

August 4, 2010

I’m reading a book at the moment (Golden Serpent, by Mark Abernethy), and I’m not enjoying it. I don’t feel as though I know/care about the characters, and the plot is so-so. But what is really irking me is the writing itself. There’s just something about the prose that I don’t like. My inner editor says that the book is badly written.

I’ve been reading the book for over a week now, yet I’m barely 100 pages in. Reading the book has become a chore.

So, my question to you: When do you put the book down? If you’re really not enjoying it, what do you do? Put it down as soon as you begin to dislike it? Read the first 100 pages before putting it down? Or do you toughen up and get through the book?