This isn’t going to be a book review – at all – but I felt compelled to voice my opinion about the last book I read; Precious Blood by Jonathan Hayes.
Now, before I continue I would like to point out that reviews and things of the like are, to me, utterly pointless. Why? Because art, in all its forms, is completely subjective. What I love you may well loathe. One mans trash and all that.
Yes, I suppose the critics are there to ‘guide’ us, to help us decide on a book, restaurant, movie, pair of jeans – the list will go one. But who really reads (and takes heed of) a review anymore? 3 people love the new Japanese sushi bar and 4 people think its ok and 2 people think it sucks and 1 person wants to marry the chef. Where on earth do I fit in there? You see where I’m going with this?
So, back to the book. I guess I’m frustrated. In an anti climatic way. It was building up to be one heck of a story and mid way through, it flopped – sorry – and then by the end it had completely shriveled up back into its shell. I kept reading out of duty. I’ve stopped reading a book midway through a couple of times – you know when you just can’t go on anymore?
There is nothing worse than finishing a book and having that sinking, unsatisfying feeling. Absolutely nothing worse than thanking God it’s over! So, once the back cover was closed I popped on over to Goodreads and read its reviews and more people than not liked it. Quite a few people gave it 4-4.5 stars. Me? I gave it 3 and that’s only because the beginning was very cool and fast paced. But see how that works? People all over the world raving about it and me doing the exact opposite. Pointless? Maybe. Sometimes. My point? Reviews confuse me.
On that note, I hope everyone has had a lovely extra long weekend. I went to the beach for a relaxing stretch…….
…..then came home to my chocolate bunny
Yes, I have resurfaced. I didn’t go away (as is evident from my still-live blog) but I needed to take a break from blogging for a while – it really was becoming a bit of a burden and for a while there, I didn’t feel like I had anything constructive to offer anyone. All I seemed to be doing was ‘updating’ my ‘writing progress’ – how many times do people want to read about stuff like that? Yes, we all know I write. Thank you and goodnight.
That’s how it felt, anyway.
Even though I spent all this time buried under my little rock, I couldn’t (and didn’t) stop thinking about my blog. I was surprised to see 2 new followers even though I hadn’t updated for nearly 3 months! Now, that was motivating. To be honest, I needed to reevaluate what Poeta Officium meant to me. What did I want to achieve with it? You know, I’m a humble sort. I’m not after fame, fortune, celebrity. I just want to write. And I want to connect with other writers like me – the beginners, the intermediates and the advanced.
So I am back. But I’m not going to promise much for the next month or so. I’ll write when I write. I may do a little cosmetic updating (the black and white theme is a little too sombre). Basically, I’m resurrecting and making this blog the best it can be.
I hope everyone has been well and writing and happy and writing. I will definitely be catching up on your blogs over the next few weeks and I really do look forward to seeing what everyone has been up to.
Ciao for now
Oh, and ps – I finished the first draft of my WIP’s first 6 chapters (these make up the first part of the book). Very happy about that!
Yes people. I am very pleased to report that in the past week I have finally put pen to paper. Literally, pen to paper. I found that having my notebook nearby helps with writing on a whim – just like the old days. Laptops are so cumbersome, it’s not like I keep it on all day so when I get a flash of inspiration it’s quite an effort to boot up the computer and wait…….for it to finally open a word document.
It just goes to show how much we rely on our electronic devices. I remember when I was much younger, having a pen and notebook in every nook of the house. By my bed. On the coffee table, kitchen table. On my dresser. And given my obsession with stationery, shopping for notebooks was so much fun! I still love stationery and still love shopping for notebooks but now they sit empty in the cupboard for ages.
I digress. The main point here is that I contributed to my beloved WIP! The first night was last Monday while I was in the middle of a crossword puzzle. The second night I had to make the decision to put down my (new) book and write. The third night I didn’t pick up the book at all – not until after I had written, anyway.
A couple of posts ago I mentioned I wanted an interesting arc to add to my main characters life and I think I’ve found it. It has a lot to do with religion and the controversial side of it although it will be the underlying story because the main point of my WIP is mental illness – I really don’t want to detract from that. This new development has added a little more of a challenge to my writing because I’ll be alternating between first and third person – it’s the only way it will work. If anyone has any experience on writing in both perspectives, let me know how it was for you. I’m very interested to know. I’ve not written this way before so I do need to be careful
OK, so, I must go now and write. Till next time….ta ta
Unfortunately, yes, the week that has passed was completely consumed by the book I was dying to finish but dreading to finish at the same time (because it was uh-maaaay-zing!) – Stephen Kings’ 11-22-63. So writing was – again – put on hiatus.
I’m not complaining because as I’ve mentioned before – the book was a wonderful read and I was sorry to see it finish. It was one of those can’t-put-it-down situations once I got to the last 5 chapters. I can’t say the ending was what I’d hoped (and not because it wasn’t well written) but it was a nice closer to the immensity of it all.
I’m not the best reviewer so I wont bore you with my incredibly biased opinion of it but if you’re a fan of Mr King I do recommend reading 11-22-63. If you’re not a fan and have never read any of his works, I still recommend reading it. Just as an aside, while I’m thinking about it, if you’re a newbie writer I 100% wholeheartedly definitely absolutely recommend Stephen Kings semi memoir, On Writing. Google it. Read reviews (or don’t) and then go and read it for yourself. I learned a heck of a lot by the end of that one. It’s a brilliant motivational read for newbies and aficionados alike.
OK. Enough about Stephen King. You’d think he was paying me to endorse his books (he’s not). Writing-wise, I’m dry yet again. I do blame the immense amount of reading I did this week but I also look at it as ‘study’. As they say, if you want to write you really do have to read. And because 11-22-63 is written in first person (as is my WIP) it really did highlight ways to change the pace a little so it doesn’t read like someones diary.
King broke chapters up into scenes which kept the narrative interesting and I think the clue here is to know when to do it. Breaking up too many paragraphs loses the tone but splitting up the scenes keeps the reader eager to finish the chapter. Chris Carter is another writer who comes to mind. He writes very short paragraphs. Some of them are only a page long (not consistently throughout though). It made me fly through his books, keeping the pace super charged. You didn’t know what was coming next. This is a system I have adopted and it does work really well for first person narrative.
So, you have some food for thought there And off we go, another week commences. Lets hope this week gives me the opportunity to tap out some words
So here we are, post time of the week I hope everyone has had a fulfilling week full of words.
I know I haven’t. Not the best start to the year, huh? Well I won’t go as far as saying that, I’m not going to start getting too hard on myself. I know for a fact that I don’t want to lose sight of the whole ‘writers journey’ aspect of my blog so I think it’s important that I talk about my WIP – which I do think about all the time.
I’ve been thinking about ways I can challenge my main character, Emma. Just to refresh your memory (and to all my newbie followers) Emma is suffering psychosis brought upon by a relationship breakdown. She thinks she has murdered her ex-boyfriend (she hasn’t) and doesn’t understand how everybody wants to help her (she is institutionalized). So. After writing many many paragraphs between her struggles with coming to terms with her psychosis the story became a little stale. Yes, it’s written in first person so it’s very much like a diary but even a diary can get repetitive. I don’t want to throw anything ‘lovey’ in the mix – after all, this is not a love story. But I definitely want to add something. Of course, almost all stories need a twist….Stay tuned.
I’m happy to tell you that for the past week and a half I have been immersed in a new book I’m reading. It’s Stephen Kings’ 11-22-63. I’m about to praise the hell out of it so be warned. I am only half way through (and after a week and a half I can’t believe it – we all know how HUGE his novels are….) but once I start reading I cannot put it down. What I find utterly marvelous is how this man can have such wonderfully developed characters so soon into his books. By the second page of 11-22-63 I feel like I’ve known the main character for years. And there aren’t any spangly descriptions. Just superb writing skills. I’ve never read a book with such well-defined characters this early into it. It is so inspiring. Mr King deserves to be Knighted. Or be made a Saint. He really is (in my humble opinion) Gods gift to writing. Once I’m finished I will review it properly, I don’t want to give too much away (spoilers). But if you have read it, let me know what you think.
So, this was the week that was. Hopefully, by next weeks post I will have contributed more to the WIP. Wish me luck!
What can I say? It has been well over 2 weeks since I have posted anything but its OK. It gave me a chance t think about blogging and why I got involved. It has been nearly a year since I started writing this blog and to begin with, I was using it as a tool to motivate me to keep writing stories. Which I did. Then, in about August/September my main focus became blogging. Especially when I started introducing themed posts. Coming up with content for those posts started to stress me out a little, I’ll be honest with you there. However, I continued blogging and after a while (November time) I was almost resenting it. Why? Well, I stopped working on my WIP. All of my posts on writing goals were completely futile. I wasn’t even looking at my work let alone contributing to it.
Come December, I decided to do something a little different with Poeta Officium….shake it up a little. Which would mean more work on blogging. With the little spare time I do have, I was concerned that my WIP was getting thrown to the side completely, collecting dust on the shelf. Which it was. And is. And I don’t feel particularly happy about that. It seems that the blog somewhat took over.
So I’ve decided to cut back on blogging to once a week at this stage. Saturdays work well for me and I will set aside some time in the evening to post. I still want to actively participate in your blogs but to keep up with 3/4 times a week on mine is simply shifting too much focus on what I originally set out to do – which is to write a novel.
I’m a little saddened about this – part of me feels like I will be missing out on a lot – however something has to give at this stage. I’m guessing it will only be for a month or so because the kids go to school at the end of January. I will suddenly have 5 days a week of semi freedom which will give me much more time to get back to a couple more days of blogging. But for the time being, I need to cut back to only one.
My Saturday posts will be longer than normal – still full of goals and inspiration, motivation and writing-related. I’m thinking its time to participate in another writing challenge but I think I’ll wait till I have more time.
Oh, and one more thing before I sign off – I’ve received some awards during my absence and I will graciously accept those in my next post
Finally, I’d like to welcome one and all to twenty thirteen – I hope everyone had a superb holiday break! See you next week
Earlier today, I was scrolling through my Twitter feed and came across this quote that was tweeted by @Shelfbuzz; “Anyone who is going to be a writer knows enough at 15 to write several novels.” — May Sarton”. It got the wheels in my head spinning frantically.
Do we really know enough at the tender age of 15? Enough to write ‘several novels’, as Ms Sarton puts it?
I wonder if she was referring to teens that may have experienced heartbreak – by losing a close loved one or suffered through a parents messy divorce? Because generally speaking an average 15-year-old is still taking in so much of life – would they be capable of banging out a couple of novels or more? What are your thoughts on this? Agree? Disagree? What were you like as a writer at the age of 15?
Tags: Blog, Books, Creative writing, Fiction, Literature, Novel, poems, prose, Reading, writer, writing
You may have noticed my sporadic posts of late….I’ve been thinking a lot about my blog and it has become a little monotonous for my liking, very samey and predictable. I guess that’s not a bad thing when it comes to blogging however I feel I’m becoming very stale and with that come the excuses for not wanting to write. And so and so forth.
Over the next week, I’m going to try a few new things. Spruce the blog up a little. Make it fun to write again. I was going to start today but we were out for most of the day and night – as you all know, this is probably the busiest time of the year for most people. I’ll start fresh tomorrow – still keep to the ‘Thoughts’ theme but make it a little punchier.
Change is as good as a holiday, right?
I don’t know if it’s the ocean spray or the sound of the waves thundering against the sand…..all I know is that the beach has always filled me with a beautiful calm. Not much in this world has the ability to sedate me, to lull me into a peaceful state of mind. The magical ocean in all it’s glory…..