Thursday, 18 August 2011

Aiming for better

It was on a dark and stormy night... that I finally got round to updating my blog again.

Okay, 'stormy' might be a bit of an exaggeration.  Apparently we had one instance of lightning and thunder this morning but I was in the Asda car park at the time, doing my best impression of a drowned rat, and thus missed it.  But it has been frickin' miserable all day.  I'm hoping for a better weekend (Bournemouth Air Show!  Whoop whoop!!)

As you can see, I am celebrating my first blog post since coming back from France by doing the British Thing and talking about the weather.  I have also, since Sunday, been eating a ridiculous amount of marmite.

In my previous post I ranted about my reading options for the holiday.  In the end I didn't take The Curse with me, which is fortunate as I didn't actually get round to finishing The Magician's Apprentice until this past Monday.  This isn't to say that the book wasn't good - far from it - but it is a bit of a brick.  Seven-hundred pages of brick to be exact.  And I was reading for pleasure this time so there was none of that speed-reading Middlemarch-in-three-days kind of shenanigans going on.

I'm very happy that I bought The Magician's Apprentice from the nice fellow at the car boot all those months ago.  I haven't been so impressed with a book in a fair while.  It made me realise that all of the primary world books I read so far for my dissertation have been alright, but nothing special, and often with gaping plot holes or character inconsistencies that I've just sort of ignored.

It's difficult to get out of the workshopping mind-set, I think, especially with those novels which could do with improving.  I often found myself making alternative suggestions in my head, rephrasing sentences so that they flowed better.  This is all very well in a student's work but in published novels?  Maybe I'm just not reading the right books.  Anyone have any suggestions?

By contrast, the biggest criticism I had for Trudi Canavan was that her characters smiled 'crookedly' a little too much.  Or maybe this only bothered me because it reminded me of Edward 'Twishite' Cullen?

I'm back to writing now.  My first draft of the dissertation is still making me unhappy so I'm continuing on, hoping that the following chapters will be better.  I've been thinking about them a lot and even had that real urge to get some dialogue down (sat on the footbridge at Ashurst train station, forcing the commuters to squeeze round me) - this, I'm choosing to believe, is a positive sign.

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