Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Novel Excerpt - Chapter 1

I wrote this chapter about a month ago, and have rewritten it too many times to count. Decided to post a bit of it on here:

Chapter 1 -

“Jason! What in God’s name do you think you’re doing?”

Jason looked over his shoulder. His mother stood in the doorway of the family sitting room, annoyance apparent on her face. His sister, Lily, stood beside her, raven pigtails sticking out of her head at different angles. She stared at her brother curiously while chewing on her fingers.

“Jason!” his mother shouted again.

The six-year old boy hummed quietly to himself, ignoring her. He had pulled a chair over to the family fish tank and opened the lid, exposing the various tropical fish that his mother liked to collect. A thick book was carefully balanced on the edge of the aquarium. Jason observed the fish silently, watching their brightly coloured scales flit around from above. He picked the book up and, with an air of solemnity, tore a page out of it. His fingers made quick work of the page, ripping it up into little pieces. When he had finished the task, he tossed the paper bits into the water. He watched them get soggy and start to sink. Jason smiled to himself as a few of the fish rose to the surface and nibbled on the corners of the smaller pieces. Mission accomplished.

Suddenly Jason’s mother was right beside him. She snatched the book away. Her eyes bulged out of her head as she turned it over and recognized the cover. She let out a hideous shriek.

“Jason Stewart Thompson!” Mrs. Thompson only used her son’s full name when she was really mad, and it frightened Jason. She grabbed his arm and yanked him off of the chair. His feet hit the ground hard.

“Ow,” Jason complained. But his mother didn’t care. Within seconds he was bent over her knees, pants down, and receiving the spanking of his lifetime.

The Solitude of Prime Numbers: A Review

My God.
I haven't been this thrilled with a book since I read Lolita around two years ago.

Haunting, beautifully composed prose. It's easy to why this book is an international bestseller.

This is a book that you don't have to, but should, read slowly. I read it over a series of several weeks. Not because it wasn't enthralling, because it was. I read it slowly because it was just so damn good that I didn't want to rush through it. I spent a lot of time mulling over parts and rereading bits.

The use of words in this novel flowed like so well, it was poetic. Without being incomprehensible, haha. I dislike most poetry.

The story follows Mattia and Alice, two "prime numbers" as they live their lives, searching for something that neither of them seem to be able to discern. Both their lives are influenced at a young age by a tragic event, and it shapes them into who they are for the rest of their lives. Haunting, incredibly sad, but incredibly amazing to read. This is one I will definitely hold on to and read again in perhaps a year's time. And I am not usually a fan of multiple reads.

This book actually helped me in trying to decide the sort of angle I want to take in my own writing. I like the third-person shifting viewpoint.

The ending was reasonably unpredictable for me. It was what I thought would happen, but I really, really, really didn't want it to end that way, so I hoped for another. So 50/50.

I would recommend this book to quite literally anyone. I think anyone could take something away from the lives of Mattia and Alice. I think this book has given me a deeper understanding of human nature and its capacity for healing. It is disturbingly realistic.

Seriously. If you haven't read this book, for your own sake, do so. Please. Do it.

It is definitely in the higher part of my top 10 list of favourite books.

Currently reading A long way gone: memoirs of a boy soldier by Ishmael Beah. More on that later.

Also, am anxiously awaiting the release of THE DIVINITY GENE by someone whose name I can't remember. It is about the what-ifs of cloning Jesus Christ. Ohhhhh, my brain. I love spec-fic.

Friday, August 6, 2010



Just a quick note... my fictionpress is now up and running. If you want to see any of my short stories and bits, my username is AutoFail.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Working Introduction

I've finally stop mucking around with the characters and their personalities and have just started to write. Here's a snippet of my progress as of now:

I’m the kind of person that lives with one foot in the past and the other in the present.
         I try not to be, but I’m beginning to think it’s unavoidable. Every time I try to lift my feet, they catch on something. That thing holds me there, and I tug and tug until it suddenly releases me and I fall flat on my face, breaking my glasses. And when I get up again, my feet are still in the same spot they were to begin with, and I’m short 300 bucks.
        Everyone has a reason to dwell on the past, to remember things that are better left forgotten, I know. I’m not really any different from anyone else on this planet, after all. Everyone in this world has at least one event that haunts them, that makes them who they are for the rest of their lives.
       Mine happened when I was seventeen.

I know, I know. It's a work in progress.

Hero by Perry Moore Review

Damn, I had such high hopes for this book.
I won’t lie and say this book is terrible. I read several stellar reviews for this book though, and I was hoping for a lot more than it was. It wasn’t good, it wasn’t bad, it was a big ole cup of “meh.”

Here is what I liked about the book:

The fresh perspective. I haven’t read very many books whose main characters were gay, and I know there aren’t a huge amount out there (which I hope to counterract), so I always appreciate when an author tries to do something different, or just not soaked through the mainstream. I definitely empathized with Thom, even though he was a dumb as a bag of bricks (more on that later).

The addictive quality. This book I literally couldn’t put down until I finished reading it, which was at around 4:30 a.m. on a Saturday. Or into a Saturday, rather. The book is very action-oriented, so it’s impossible to get bored.

Here is what I didn’t like:

The predictable plot. This book was written by someone who has been in around the movie industry, and that really shows through. It has the basic plot of any superhero movie you’ve EVER seen. Think X-men. Boy discovers talent. Boy has family problems. Boy meets other superheros. Boy trains. Boy wins big battle. The end.

The stupidity of the main character. And this isn’t slight. The main character is a stereotypical “jock” in many ways, including in that his intelligence is severely lacking. This kid is so dumb I just wanted to tear the hair out of my head. Things I had figured out within the first few pages of the book, this character didn’t clue in on until the end of the novel. GAH! A lot of wasted potential. I just can’t stand characters that are this damaged in the head.

Overall? Three stars (of 5). Don’t waste your money on a new copy – buy it used.
I am currently reading The Solitude of Prime Numbers, which I am LOVING atm. Also, my never ending throng of National Geographics, which I hope to make a table out of one day. More on that later.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: A Brief Review

Okay, so since my blog is all about me and my attempts to write a book, however long that may take, I thought it might be good to document some of the books I’ve been reading that may influence me later on.

I finished reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies about a week ago. I bought it in January, but alas, I was too busy finishing university to get to it until now.

While it certainly dragged at parts, I would say that the book was overall an enjoyable one. It took me a couple of weeks to get into it, but once I got into it, I read the majority of the book in a couple of days. And to be honest, the parts that dragged for me were the parts that seemed largely unedited by zombies and katanas.

The book wasn’t actually as much about zombies as I had expected. It was more as though the writer, Seth Grahame-Smith, had taken the original Jane Austen and turned it more into an action/adventure story, coupled with romance. The zombies did not often venture into the body of the story, although the fact that Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy were both famed zombie slayers did play a rather interesting role in the novel.

Along with zombies, I was pleasantly surprised to see ninjas introduced into the book as well. While they certainly did not hold a candle to the extreme skill of katana-wielding, bloodthirsty Elizabeth and the swordbearing Mr. Darcy, they certainly added to the story’s entertainment, if not plot. The occasional presence of rather descriptive gore was an interesting add in as well.

I would say, overall, that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a lighthearted, fun read. If you are looking for deep literary merit though, I suggest you look elsewhere.

Currently, I am reading Hero by Perry Moore because of the highly positive reviews I have read about it. More on that later.

What am I doing?

I sure don’t know.

Hello, and welcome to Re: Speculate. I moved this crap over from Wordpress because, uh, Wordpress sucks. :X Sorry.

I intend for this to be a fun blog, so YAY! Have fun. And talk to me. I am friendly.