A thought or two on reading and writing

Reading: Relentless

I recently finished Robin Parrish’s Relentless and found it to be quite enjoyable. I’ll admit that it did have me hooked and wanting more. Not I-can’t-sleep-until-I-finish hooked but looking forward to the next chance I had to read. How did it do this? By constantly asking questions that I as the reader wanted to know. How did this guy’s consciousness get swapped into another body? Who is hunting him and why? What is it all about?

It is a constant-action type story, which could be characterised as a sci-fi version of 24.

There were a couple of memorable quotes that I liked:

“You feel like a doormat in a world of boots, I imagine.”

“The winding canyon roads suited the Corvette perfectly while the stalled traffic surrounding them now was like making a Thoroughbred pull a plow.”

“Blood in his eyes and death in his heart,…”

Writing: FREE

I’m a bit of a sucker for FREE even if I’d have to admit I’ve read more content that should never seen the light of day just because it was FREE. Except for the occasional novel (i.e. Relentless) most of what I’ve read for free isn’t worth the time invested in it. This makes me question the value of giving a way a book for free. Does a price – however tokenistic – elevate the novel above the sea of slush? Or does free mean worthwhile exposure for the new author? Is giving a way the first book in a series a good way to grow a readership? So many questions…

Not to mention the real danger of reading too much low quality free that it will impact negatively on your writing skills. (Caveat: I’m not saying there aren’t also good quality free also available).

Writing & TV: Theme Clips

I’m not sure what the official word is but for the purpose of this blog post let’s call the start of a TV show where they run the credits and show the characters ‘theme clips’.In ye old days theme clips were quite long. Some horribly so (Star Trek Voyager, Deep Space Nine). But in the more recent TV series these theme clips have almost become non-existent, some lasting just long enough to flash the name of the show on the screen.

I think this should tell us something as authors. I posit the reason why theme clips have shrunk to minuscule proportions is because they have no value to the viewer. In an instant-gratification society we don’t want to spend 30 seconds seeing who the actors are. If we are a long-term fan then we know who they are, or we can look up IMDB to see who they are.

This then translates to writing: what are we doing, perhaps habitually, that has no or less value to the reader? I fully intend on having a ‘thank you’ section in Vengeance Will Come because there are certain people who deserve recognition for helping me through this journey of writing. The ‘thank you’ section however will now be at the back of the book not up the front. The entertainment value of my book should come before the acknowledgements section. That is what I choose to do anyway.

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