So… instead of writing about my Good Things Jar I made these:
I know that isn’t the line exactly, but when I thought of this post, this track is what I thought of. Yes, I do like it.
Last time I talked about my characters being likeable. To start, I thought I’d just say that while Ileandra doesn’t start as a likeable characters, other characters of mine do. It’s just her that I wanted to work for it. :p
Today, however, I want to talk about writing other than my own.
Early last week I started rereading a series of books I’ve owned since I was about fifteen. As usual with posts like these, I’m not going to tell you who the series is written by or what it is called, I’m just going to talk about it.
At fifteen, my tastes were very specific and I didn’t branch much out of a specific genre while reading. This series fitted that niche perfectly and I gobbled them up one after the other. The main character to my mind was strong, funny, practical and loveable.
After a gap of a good twelve years I came back to the series because I realised that there were far more books after the point that I’d stopped collecting them. So I started from the top.
The moment I started reading I got another clear and frightening glimpse of how much my tastes and style have changed. For one thing I think these books are poorly written. Extremely poorly written. Description is bland and repetitive, the main character focuses on clothing in a way I’ve never seen outside a character that wasn’t superficial and material. The narrative, though written in first person, is clunky, even for that and littered with irritating clichés. Worse than that, is that the editions I own are absolutely packed with typos.Worse than this, was the main character. I had always loved this person and taken elements of their personality to help bulk out some of my roleplay characters. Now, this person is selfish, arrogant, inconsistent, petty and a bit of a sociopath. What I thought was strong is just plain savage. What was once practical is now ruthless. Loveable has become bloody annoying.
I no longer like this character at all.
And yet I have bought five more of the books to fill in the holes in my collection. I’m reading them at a rate of one a day, even with the kids, work, writing and sleeping to do. I still love them.
That confuses me. Without giving too much away, I can’t talk about all the things that draw me to these books, but I can say I don’t understand myself. I can also say that my reaction to this book and the character gives me more hope for SORB. Yes, Ileandra may not be a likeable character, but neither is this one I’ve been reading about. I certainly don’t have the incredible fan base that this author has, but I know that there are people out there who will still read about main characters that aren’t particularly likeable. And mine grows to be more so, while this one gets more arrogant, selfish and crazy.
Go on folks, tell me about characters you’ve come to dislike. Or characters about whom your opinion has drastically changed. I love hearing from you and remember, for each comment you make on posts throughout August up to September 26, your name will be put in the draw to win one of four free copies of my upcoming ebook. What are you waiting for!
Following my mini moan about Freelancer the other day I decided that I’d look into how Freelancer has worked out for others. I trawled through review after review and was stunned to find that many people are of the opinion that the site and everything about it is a terrible, terrible scam. They say that it is impossible to get your money once you’ve earned it and that Freelancer employs people to make fake profiles and post jobs, encouraging freelancers to bid. And of course, with the free subscription you only have so many bids a month, so very soon you have to take a paid subscription to give you more bids in an attempt to find work.
Needless to say this was all very upsetting. In all my searching I have found only two positive reviews about the site and the way it function. The rest is very damning. My own experience is such that I’m not best happy with it at the moment. Even as a new freelancer I had hoped to find some work, but even the job I was invited to bid for by the host, went to another freelancer. I assume it did anyway; all communication with the chap involved stopped dead as soon as I placed my bid and provided my ’100 word sample’ to ‘show off my skills.’ I did think it was a bit peculiar that the test was an article when the job was a proofreading role, but I thought I’d give it the benefit of the doubt.
That, however, is neither here nor there. The point of this post is to tell you that reviews are difficult to trust in any forum. Folk are far more vocal about things they don’t like, which is why it is so easy to find negative reviews about something. However it has recently become the trend for businesses (and some authors) to pay people to write reviews for them and leave them to be found scattered across the internet. When I was searching the internet for a good place to host The Write Feeling, I found lots of glowing reviews about every single host company. However I had to visit blogs to get what I felt was a real and true account of what people had actually experienced. After all, no business is going to post negative testimonials about themselves on the internet are they? My testimonials are from people I’ve provided a service who were happy with the end result. Why would I ask for a testimonial from someone who wasn’t happy (not that such a thing has happened – so far)?
Since everybody depends on word of mouth these days, reviews should be incredibly helpful. And yet, these days, I find that I trust them less and less because everyone, from those posting them, to those writing them seems to have an agenda. To that end, how do you know whether a review, positive or negative is true? How do you guys handle it? When picking a new service what helps you make the decision about who to go for?
Author: Graeme Reynolds
Title: High Moor II – Moonstruck
Genre: Horror, beautiful, beautiful horror!
‘The people of High Moor are united in horror at the latest tragedy to befall their small town. As dawn breaks, the town is left to count the cost and mourn its dead, while breathing a collective sigh of relief.
John Simpson, the apparent perpetrator of the horrific murders, is in police custody. The nightmare is over.
I’m such a shameless fan girl. I can’t help it. It took me long enough to get around to this review (I’ve not written one for AGES) but I think that’s primarily because I’ve been guzzling books like water on a hot day. This book, however, needs my review. I need to talk about how much I freakin’ love this book.
So first, I should say that there is a book previous to this. I believe we’re looking at a trilogy. I’ve reviewed the first book already and when I finished it I didn’t expect another.
Graeme was kind enough to send me a copy of Moonstruck and though I took my time in getting to it, when I finally started, it was a three day job to read. Yes, that’s not that fast, but when all my reading is confined to snatched moments while breastfeeding a baby and sitting on the loo, I think I did pretty well.
Anyway! The story picks up where the previous one left off, diving straight into the action. It may be confusing if you’ve come to the story without having read the first book, but the drip feed of info, for me, was perfect. I’d forgotten every character’s name and most of the events of the previous novel (I only have so much head space, so sue me!) but it soon came rushing back.
I’m not giving you any spoilers. I’ll just say if you’ve read High Moor then you need to follow it up with this gorgeously (is that a real word?) gory, fantastically intense and breathtakingly fast paced sequel. If you haven’t read High Moor, then do that first, then follow it up with this gorgeously gory, fantastically intense and breathtakingly fast paced sequel.
I found this post in my ‘drafts’ folder and felt a pang of shock when I realised that it’s a year old. I haven’t sat on my yoga ball since I was pregnant, so it must be almost year to the day! I’ve no idea why I didn’t post it at the time, but here it is now. Enjoy!
So I watched Secretary a little while ago.
I remember being drawn to the cover of the DVD (what’s not to like about a woman bending over and gripping her ankles like that?) and then realised that it had both Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader in it. I’ve adored James Spader since Stargate, where he played this lovely, long-haired, linguistic geek, but I’ve not really seen him since. I’ve just not looked. Realising that Stargate predates Secretary (by almost eight years!) I figured it would be nice to see James again.
I started out watching the film on my yoga ball, stretching out my back because I’d been sitting in a not-so-great position all day. Maggie came along, kicked things off, but as soon as she got to the office, I realised I couldn’t sit on that ball and expect not to fall off.
James Spader was so deliciously creepy! I mean really, totally, wonderfully creepy (!) and realising that was how he played the character meant that I had to sit properly to pay attention. A couple of scenes made me really pay attention and I came away from the whole thing with a little tingle in my legs and a short story forming in my mind.
By the time I made it to bed and pulled my laptop into my lap, I had two characters in mind and the outline of an opening to the story that I knew would stop me sleeping if I didn’t start. So I did. At the time of writing this post, I’m 491 words into a story of undetermined length, featuring a loud mouthed, domineering business woman who works beneath a dull witted, meat-head of a man who has just brought his son into the company to be her secretary.
The second I started writing I realised that Raven was loose. Not that it wasn’t me, but more that the subject I had picked and the direction the piece was going was already far removed from my usual fantasy head. I had stepped very quickly into that headspace where Raven is most at home and when she rules the roost. I have to say… I liked it! I still like it and I can’t wait to see what comes out of me when I next put my fingers to the keys on that piece.
In fact, this is how I opened it:
There is something utterly delicious about leaning over my desk.
I don’t have to be doing anything special; just leaning over it is enough to send little thrills of pleasure shooting up and down my legs. When I take my hands back to the tops of my tights, underneath my skirt where the sheer fabric slides beneath my fingers like silk.
Another sensation I enjoy.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. I suppose I should explain how I got here in the first place and why on earth I would be leaning over my desk, tights exposed in the middle of my office on a busy Wednesday afternoon.
Naughty, naughty, naughty.
I’l keep you posted on how it progresses.
I haven’t written any more of this story, although I have found it again. Reading it now, as one might expect, gives me a little wriggle of amusement as I realise that even in the space of a year my writing has improved a ton! I know that sample is only a first draft, but I’m still gratified to see that even those have improved in the space of a year.
Have you guys rediscovered any writing recently? Maybe half completed stories, or blog posts you never managed to publish? What are you going to do with them?