Monday, 31 January 2011

Vanishing act.

I know, I vanished, again. You're probably getting fed up of that by now.
You may have noticed me mention that I had been ill since New Year? Well it kind of all came to a head last weekend. I've spent most of the last two weeks in bed or curled up on the sofa under the spare quilt. And given that my Uni course starts in 5 days, my priority is to be ready for that rather than getting back into my blogging/tweeting/vloging/AWing swing.

Wednesday I'll try to give you a video and a sensible blog post, Friday I'll post an extract from The List and Monday I'll be reviewing a book my wonderful husband bought me for Christmas called Zombies vs Unicorns. Keep an eye on the Twitter if you want to know how things are going, I'll try and keep it a bit more up to date.

Thank you for sticking around (if you have) and I apologise once again for my wonderful vanishing act.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Matched by Ally Condie

I picked this book up just after Christmas and read the whole thing on New Years Eve. I hadn't even finished it and I was recommending it to Race.

Matched features an MC called Cassia who lives in this 'perfect' world where everything from who you marry to where you work and when you die is decided by the Society. On her 17th birthday, Cassia attends her Match Banquet where she finds out who the Society has decided she is to spend the rest of her life with. It turns out to be a boy she knows, Xander. Yet, when she tries to view the files the Society give her about Xander, it is not his face which appears on the screen, but that of someone else she knows, Ky. For the rest of the book Cassia tries to decide between Xander, who the Society have chosen and Ky who's face she saw by mistake and then starts to become closer too.

The Society have tried to make everything perfect for it's citizens, unfortunately this leave the world feeling a little bland which is also reflected in the writing. After the Match Banquet there isn't really another time where as much attention is paid to the details of the scene. Which kind of lets it down a bit and in places makes things hard to visualize. Though I can sort of understand why it might have been deliberate to leave out any descriptions and thus enhance the blandness of the world the Society has created.

Featured in the book is a poem by Dylan Thomas called "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night." which speaks about raging against the inevitable which is kind of what Cassia tries to do for the whole book. She breaks a lot of rules to get to know Ky better and forces her friends to break rules for her too. Whether it actually makes a difference is hard to say. The ending of the book isn't very strong, it is book one of a trilogy and it does leave it very open. However, I think the story might have been stronger if the Condie had been forced to write it as a stand alone.

I did enjoy the story, I seem to be developing a thing for dystopia, and it wasn't like anything I'd ever read before. I would recommend it but not everyone will like the blandness of the text and the slight predictability of the plot, it does after all feature one girl and two guys and we all know she's not going to pick the one someone else chose for her, and certainly not in the first of three books.

I've just re-read this and i think it's possibly the harshest review I've ever written. And yet I loved the book completely. Yes, some might find it bland, but I was too caught up in it to notice. Yes, some might find it predictable, but if you read a lot everything becomes predictable. You should have seen me bounce when I heard this was one of three. I am soo looking forward to reading more of Ally Condie's work.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Lots of stuffs

So I missed Friday and I honestly can't remember why since I don't think J or I did very much that day. Shall we start with the info about The List I promised?

This week I've started work on it again, I estimate it's between 15 and 20k from being finished so am giving myself 2 weeks to get that all done. Then it will just be a case of sorting it into the right order and starting the fun process of editing! I'm going to pretend I'm looking forward to that and maybe I'll convince myself that it really won't be that bad. Editing is hard, you should see what happens when I edit essays... there are many tears there. And I don't even care about the essays, The List is my baby.
*deep breath*
It'll be fine when we get there.

Now, I mentioned last week that I'm planning a little competition. This will be a special competition related to The List so, you know, can't take place till I at least finish the first draft. It will take place EITHER when I reach 30 subscribers OR after the first round of The List edits. This competition will be special for 2 reasons, one being the way it will be awarded (more on that when it starts) and the second being the prize. This competition will be to award one lucky person the first ever read through of The List before any other beta readers get hold of it. Sound good? Stay tuned because that may well be happening at the beginning on next month.

Now Mondays are normally book review day but I have cut two of my knuckles making typing difficult so you will have to wait until Wednesday for my review of Ally Condie's Matched.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

My Study

There was supposed to be a video to go along with this but technical difficulties felt otherwise inclined to let you have one.

Our new house (apartment really) has a spare bedroom. This room houses, surprisingly, a single bed and an extra single mattress for guests who might want to stay. It also houses my pet finches, the book case for my course books and a desk. Oh and usually at least one rack of clothes fresh out the wash and trying to try in the warmest room in the house.
It's a bit multi-purpose, it's a bit cramped at times and it smells a bit funny most of the time but I lovingly refer to it as 'my study'.

I have a tiny desk with my tablet and a printer on it. I have drawers full of pens, pencils, notepads and assorted stationary. I have a widow, I have birds to watch. What more could I possibly want? It is from here that 3 times I week I'll be posting from and hopefully here that 5 times a week I'll be writing. I'll also be studying and job hunting from here as well and generally surfing the net.

It's nice to finally have a specific place to do these things as I get a whole lot more done than if I sit in the lounge. It seems like I need to have a purpose if I'm in the study. Hopefully this means more writing will be done and we'll be on to edits soon.
Do you have a set place to write and work? Is it as multi-purpose as mine?
Stay tuned for some List news and a competition tease on Friday.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Obligatory New Year post

Yes, I know it's now the 4th, and that it's not even Monday. I had being going to do this yesterday but something else came up that took me all day to sort out. I'm sure none of you mind anyway.

So, new year, new pile of books to review, new writing group to go to, new resolutions.

Let's start with the resolutions... but let's call them 'aims' instead.
1) I aim to post a blog every Mon/Wed/Fri (doing well on that so far).
2) I aim to comment on 3 blogs per day (I realise I may need to increase my blog reading to do this).
3) I aim to tweet at least 3 times a day (I should probably add 'and make them sensible' to this... but I wont).
4) I aim to post at least twice a day on Absolute Write
5) I aim to read and review 1 book per week.
6) I aim to post 1 video per week
7) I aim to have The List query ready by the end of the year.
8) I aim to get a paying job.
9) I aim to pass my University course this time around.
10) I aim to exercise 3 times a week

There, that should do it. Mainly I want to gain more writerly friends, which is why I've also joined a local writing group that started as an off-shoot from NaNoWriMo.

Tomorrow I'll post a bit about my new study and possibly a video tour of my house and on Friday I'll let you all know where things stand with The List and what's happening there. I'll also tell you a bit about a competition I'll be running soon.