2010: The Year in Review

December 31, 2010

2010 has been a really big year for me. Here are some of the things I’ve done this year.

Year 12: I finished school this year and graduated.

Finished the rough draft of my novel: I finished writing the rough draft of my WIP in July and I’ve been editing it ever since. I’m making slow progress, but it’s still progress.

Published: I submitted a short story for a national competition and had it published. (Now that I think about it, I’m not sure I blogged about that achievement. That will be a story for next year).

Travel: I went to Vietnam in September on a school trip (again, I think I forgot to blog about it) which was amazing, and I also flew north for an end of school holiday (Airlie Beach, near Mackay, for those who have an atlas handy). The travel bug has been re-ignited, and I’m eager for 2011 to be filled with exciting new destinations!

How has 2010 been for you? What exciting things did you do? What were your achievements? What are you hoping 2011 will bring?


Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2010

The title says it all. Have a safe and very Merry Christmas.

Little Scribbler.

Guantanamo: My Journey, by David Hicks

December 22, 2010

In Australia, David Hicks and Guantanamo Bay are controversial topics lately, as David Hicks, and Australian man found guilty of providing material support to terrorism (as stated by Wikipedia) by the US Government. Hicks was released from Guantanamo in 2007 and finished his sentence in an Australian prison before being released in December that year. He has since released an auto-biography titled Guantanamo: My Journey.

I’m not writing this post to start a debate on terrorism, or Guantanamo, or whether Hicks really is guilty or not, but I want to share with you just how awesome his book is.

I copped a lot of criticism for wanting to read his book, most of it along the lines of “you’ll be supporting terrorism!” so I borrowed it out from the library.

I loved it.

The first part of the autobiography reads like a travel diary. Hicks details his journeys around the world, from central Australia and Eastern Europe, to Japan and Afghanistan. I thought part one would be boring, but I got really sucked into it, to the extent like I felt like I was really there.

Part one ends with Hicks being captured by Afghan militants and sold to the US military. The second part describes Hicks’ time in Guantanamo, from his trial to his alleged torture.

The writing style of the book was great, and I think Hicks missed his calling as an author. The descriptions made me feel as if I was actually there and the voice was friendly and inviting.

I loved this book and found it really interesting. I’m not sure if/where it’s available in the US, but it should be available in Australia in all department stores in libraries. It was a fascinating read and definitely recommend it, even if you only read part one.

Writing Update

December 20, 2010

I’ve been pretty much absent for about a month, so I thought I’d give you an update on my writing.

I’m making slow progress with the revisions on my WIP, but I’ve finished the read through an decided my chapters are too big. I’ve decided to cut them all and half, and right now, I’m writing a new beginning, but then I’ll be going through each chapter and making alterations as per the notes I took in the read through.

I’m writing an action scene in chapter Three, which I’m struggling with. Writing this chapter has really become work.

I’ve also been reading lots more since school ended. I’ve got four more novels reserved at my local library and with Christmas around the corner, I’ll have stacks more. The latest novel I’ve read, Crusader Gold, has been a bit of a dud. I felt it was 300 pages of dialogue and info dumping, and no sense of an antag until 100 pages in. Even then, the protagonists didn’t meet him until the last quarter. I was really disappointed because the first book was good, and there aren’t too many archaeological thrillers out there, so I have to take what I can get.

How has your month been, reading and writing wise?

BBC Book List

December 6, 2010

This meme via Merrilee Faber.

Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here. I’ve seen this going around the blogosphere, and because I have nothing else to post about, I thought I’d give it a go.

• Copy this list.
• Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety.
• Italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish or read only an excerpt.
• Tag other book nerds.

I have read:

  1. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  2. The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
  3. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
  4. Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  6. The Bible
  7. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
  8. Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
  9. His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
  10. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
  11. Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
  12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
  13. Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
  14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
  15. Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
  16. The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
  17. Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
  18. Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
  19. The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
  20. Middlemarch – George Eliot
  21. Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
  22. The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
  23. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
  24. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  25. Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
  26. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  27. Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
  28. Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
  29. The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
  30. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
  31. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
  32. Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
  33. Emma -Jane Austen
  34. Persuasion – Jane Austen
  35. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis
  36. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
  37. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
  38. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
  39. Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne
  40. Animal Farm – George Orwell
  41. The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
  42. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  43. A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
  44. The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
  45. Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
  46. Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
  47. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
  48. Lord of the Flies – William Golding
  49. Atonement – Ian McEwan
  50. Life of Pi – Yann Martel
  51. Dune – Frank Herbert
  52. Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
  53. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
  54. A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
  55. The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  56. A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
  57. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
  58. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
  59. Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  60. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
  61. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
  62. The Secret History – Donna Tartt
  63. The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
  64. Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
  65. On The Road – Jack Kerouac
  66. Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
  67. Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
  68. Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
  69. Moby Dick – Herman Melville
  70. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
  71. Dracula – Bram Stoker
  72. The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
  73. Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
  74. Ulysses – James Joyce
  75. The Inferno – Dante
  76. Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
  77. Germinal – Emile Zola
  78. Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
  79. Possession – AS Byatt
  80. Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
  81. Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
  82. The Color Purple – Alice Walker
  83. The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
  84. Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
  85. A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
  86. Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
  87. The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
  88. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  89. The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
  90. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
  91. The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
  92. The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
  93. Watership Down – Richard Adams
  94. A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
  95. A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
  96. The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
  97. Hamlet – William Shakespeare
  98. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
  99. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

Character Meme

December 1, 2010

Schools out, and I should be doing something purposeful. Instead, I’m completing this character meme which I got from Mary Jensen.

I have to choose 10 characters, and answer a series of questions. The characters I’m choosing are from my WIP.

  1. Lily Ashwood: billionaire, archaeologist.

  2. Joseph Craig: Linguist, ex mercenary.
  3. Stanley Garor: Searching for the Trident, CEO of GarorOil.

  4. Nick Roble: Geek, computer technician.

  5. Charles Miller: Archaeologist, geek, know-all on all things ancient. A minor character.

  6. Jean-Pierre Roux: Mercenary leader

  7. Fleischer: Mercenary second in command. Now that I think about, I don’t think he has a first name…

  8. Lawrence Hudsburry: Lily’s butler.

  9. Jason Andrews: Ex army, now mercenary. Only mentioned a few times in the WIP, so let’s see if I can flesh him out from this exercise.

  10. Samantha Richardson: Another character only named, Lily’s friend.



4 invites 3 and 8 to dinner at their house. What happens?

Roble invites Garor and Hudsburry. Hudsburry would be happy to accept, as he and Roble get along, and Garor would initially be confused as to why Roble would invite him. He would perhaps think it’s a trap, or try to kidnap someone.


9 tries to get 5 to go to a strip club. What happens?

Andrews tries to get Miller to a strip club. I can see why Andrews would want to go, but Miller would decline. He’d be embarrassed in that situation, and if forced along, would probably leave early.


You need to stay at a friend’s house for a night. Who do you choose: 1 or 6?

Stay at Lily’s house, or Roux’s? I would choose Lily’s house because I know she wouldn’t torture me to change the ending of the story. It could be fun to stay with Roux for a night. I’ve never really thought about his house, but I suppose it would be quite large and well furnished. Not that Roux is ever there to live in it.


2 and 7 are making out. 10 walks in. What is their reaction?

Craig and Fleischer making out when Samantha walks in. Her jaw would drop, and she’d leave quickly. She would find it really ackward to be around them (not that I blame her. I mean, really? Eww.) Samantha would tell Roble and Lily, who would tease Craig and Fleischer.


3 falls in love with 6. 8 is jealous. What happens?

Garor falls in love with Roux, Hudsburry is jealous. I guess I can understand why Garor would fall in love with Roux, seeing as they work so closely together. Roux would keep the releationship professional, though. Never would have though Hudsburry would be homosexual, but it seems to fit him. He probably keeps it quiet, and wouldn’t do or say anything.


4 jumps you in a dark alleyway. Who comes to your rescue: 10, 2, or 7?

Roble jumps me. Who rescues me? Samantha, Craig, or Fleischer? Samantha wouldn’t do anything, she’s too timid. She would pretend she didn’t see anything. Fleischer is a bit sadistic, and would probably watch, before killing me and Roble. Craig would rescue me with a swift punch to Roble’s face. Craig doesn’t not like Roble, but I don’t think he’d be in a hurry to defend Roble’s actions. Craig would enjoy breaking Roble’s nose.


1 decides to start a cooking show. Fifteen minuets later, what is happening?

Lily starts a cooking show. I can’t see that being a success. Lily isn’t a whiz in the kitchen, and would probably burn her food. But then again, maybe she’d surprise everyone.


3 has to marry either 8, 4, or 9. Whom do they choose?

Garor has to marry Hudsburry, Roble, or Andrews. Hudsburry is apparently closet gay, and would probably push Garor into it with a few select words. Roble would think it’s a weird joke and would be confused. Andrews would kick Garor’s butt. I think if Garor had to choose, his first thoughts would be Andrews, but would choose Hudsburry out of fear of being hit.


7 kidnaps 2 and demands something from 5 for 2’s release. What is it?

Fleischer kidnaps Craig and demands something from Miller. He’d be looking for the Trident for himself, and would demand it from Miller. Miller would inform Lily, who would be torn as to give in or not. Eventually, she would hand over the Trident… in return for Craig’s corpse. She’d go out for revenge.


Everyone gangs up on 3. Does 3 have a chance in hell?

Everybody gangs up on Garor. He has no chance. Even if there were no guns or knives, he’d be dead in minutes. Garor couldn’t defend himself. He’d beg for Roux to help, but Roux, who would be watching, would probably deliver to death blow. Perhaps if Garor had one of his anger explosions, he could take out a few of the feebler characters.


Everyone is invited to 2 and 10’s wedding except for 8. How do they react?

Everyone’s invited to Craig and Samantha’s wedding except Hudsburry. He’d be devastated, but would pretend he doesn’t mind. After all, he’s only hired help, he’d justify.


Why is 6 afraid of 7?

Why is Roux afraid of Fleischer? Roux is the boss, and he’s quite intelligent, so he would know that Fleischer is very ambitious and conniving. He’d know long in advance that Fleischer is trying to take control. He’d take Fleischer out early on.


1 arrives late for 2 and 10’s wedding. What happens, and why were they late?

Lily is late for Craig and Samantha’s wedding. She’d be having an internal struggle on whether or not to go – after all, Craig was her boyfriend, but Samantha is her best friend. She’d be late because she didn’t want to go, but Hudsburry would persuade her to go. She’d slip in quietly, maybe punch Craig at the reception. Actually, she’d kick him in the groin. No visible marks.


5 and 9 get roaring drunk and end up at your house. What happens?

Miller and Andrews drunk at my place. Eeek. Perhaps Miller did enjoy himself at the strip club. He’d be throwing up EVERYWHERE. Andrews would be playing with his automatic rifle, destroy everything in my house, and probably end up wounding himself. Ambulance and police would quickly rock up and take them both away, which would leave me explaining what happened. My parents would not be happy.


9 murders 2’s best friend. What does 2 do to get back at them?

Andrews murders Craig’s best friend. They were once workmates and friends, so Andrews would know exactly who to kill. Craig would be pissed as hell and stalk him, before filling him with lead.


6 and 1 are in mortal peril and only one of them can survive. Does 6 save themselves or 1?

Roux and Lily in danger. Roux would save himself. He doesn’t give a damn about Lily.


8 and 3 go camping. For some reason they forgot to bring along any food. What do they do?

Garor and Hudsburry camping. I can’t see why Garor would be camping, he hates the outdoors. He’d look for any excuse to make his way back to the city.


5 is in a car crash and is critically injured. What does 9 do?

Miller in a car crash. Andrew wouldn’t do anything. He’s pretty cold hearted, and would leave Miller there to die.

This was an interesting exercise, and I learnt quite a bit about my characters. I particularly learnt a great deal about Jason Andrews, who as I said above, is really only mentioned a few times. Perhaps now I’ll give him a bigger role. I found it hard to come up with