Sunday, 27 May 2012


So in case you hadn't noticed, the sun has been out this week.  Out and glorious and marvellous and all too wonderful to miss.  Thus, I have spent a good chunk of this week sat in the garden, drinking up that sunshine before it inevitably disappears behind a curtain of cloud.

This has meant, however, that I haven't been doing all the things which I ought to have done this week.  Take this here blog, for instance.  I fully intended to write a post on Tuesday but then the sun thing happened and here we are on Sunday with my finally having gotten round to it.

I also intended to finish the final tweaks to my latest Hide and See draft, ready to send off to a volunteer beta reader.  And have I done it?  That would be a no, what with the computer being inside and the sun being outside.

I haven't been completely useless this week, however.  I've finally started doing some writing for book two, long-hand, thereby making it compatible with the whole sitting-outside-ness.  I've written several scenes which, while I know they'll occur towards the beginning of the book, I'm not yet sure of the order or what chapter they'll fall in.  I'm focusing on getting the feel for the book at the moment: I don't want to over-plan the thing to the point that it feels sterile.

I also read a book: Generation 18 by Keri Arthur.  I'd read several of Arthur's books for my dissertation last year.  Her books were definitely the best of all the Primary World fiction I read during that time, with many others tending towards cliché and repetition.  I found Generation 18 for sale in Totton Library.  20p: how could I resist?  Alas, it is the second book in a trilogy but I managed to follow it well enough and rather enjoyed it too.  Considering hunting out book three.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green tells the story of Hazel, a teenager with terminal cancer.  At a Support Group she meets Augustus, and the pair fall in love.

The subject matter of this novel should have made for a thoroughly depressing book from start to finish, and yet John Green has managed to weave a tale full of light and bubbling humour.  There were several bits which made me laugh out loud, and yet it is done with such good-heartedness that it is impossible to find it inappropriate.

But don’t be fooled by this humour – it is a book that will make you cry.  I have an icy chasm instead of a heart and I cried.  I’m not one to cry at books – my rationality tends to override my sentimentality (how am I supposed to read the words if there is all this water in my eyes?) but with this book, I couldn’t help it.

At one point I even said ‘F*** you, John Green’ out loud, which really should be taken as a compliment.  It is a testament to his skill as a writer that his work led me to yelling swear-words at him for making me feel all these emotions.

Even though the book starts cheerfully enough – and in fact continues to do so for the majority of the book – there is still a sense of impending tragedy in some intangible way.  The story manages to be simultaneously happy and sad, and I have no idea how he does it.

In a way, I was already predisposed to like this book.  I’m a subscriber to the ‘vlogbrothers’ youtube channel, which is run by John Green and his brother Hank, where they create and upload videos on a variety of subjects too numerous to list here.  As a result, I am a nerdfighter – a member of a ‘bizarre internet cult’ made up of ‘intellectual loners’ (thanks for that, Daily Star).  So I was already a fan of John Green, thus making it inevitable that I would love his book, right?

Well, not necessarily.  First off, I’ve talked (i.e. ranted) before about my views on having high expectations.  Secondly, this genre is very much outside of my comfort zone, there after all being no magic, mutant powers or epic battles, and the only gunfights via the characters playing video games.  I would never normally have picked up this book – and so, despite the uncharacteristic crying it induced, I am very glad that John Green makes such funny and informative videos or else I would’ve missed out on this little gem of a novel.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Brain Battle

The vague plot for Hide and See's sequel is solidifying in my head.  It's not concrete by any means but I don't think it can be until I'm actually writing it.  I've done firm chapter plans before, right at the start with a different book and have ended up having to change it halfway through because of how the story evolves organically.

On the whole, I've enjoyed this planning process, even if there have been points when I've thought of an idea, been really pleased with it, then realised a few minutes later that it is in fact complete bollocks.  I suppose it's better that I figured that before I wrote it but it can be frustrating sometimes to look at my notes and think 'how could I ever have thought that was a good idea?!'

For all that the planning process has been good, I feel like I really need to start writing now.  I'm getting that grumpiness I feel when I haven't written for a while.  The problem with this, though, is when I'm in this grumpy mood my head tells me that everything I'd write is going to be shite anyway so I might as well not bother and that I should just wallow in my unproductive mediocrity and eat a lot of chocolate.  While I do not on principle disagree with the chocolate idea, I desperately need to not listen to the voice that said it would be pointless to write anything.  Because no writing equals even more grumpiness.  And so on and so forth.

So this weekend my head is playing host to an epic battle between two sections of my brain: one that produces the words and one that says I ought to just stay in bed and watch all those recorded episodes of The Mentalist which I need to catch up on.

In other news, I'm reading John Green's The Fault in Our Stars and hope to write a review of it when I'm done.