I have created a new blog here: My Robot and Other Stuff
Archive for the 'Writing' Category
We are now officially living in the future as Apple have finally released a tablet. The name made many people cringe, as it kind of sounds like something that belongs inside women’s underwear when it is that time of the month.
Anyway, it looks fantastic and I’m sure it will be a success. Everybody will want to use the iPad to read ebooks. Ebooks are not available on iTunes instead you need to download the iBooks application and buy ebooks through that. Alternatively you could still buy ebooks online from Fictionwise or somewhere like that. This is a minor irritation compared to the fact that due to geographical restrictions the vast majority of ebooks aren’t available in Australia.
I want my ebook
According to the Fictionwise website ebooks are not available in Australia due to the way the book publishing industry works. The publishing industry has always worked on the idea that the rights of books could be sold to publishers according to geographical region. This idea is basically incompatible with the idea of the Internet, but these contracts still apply to ebooks. Publishers are legally obliged to make sure their ebooks adhere to these contracts.
The result is different publishers produce the same titles in different countries and each individual publisher needs to release ebooks in the different countries before they can become available.
Even if a company wants to sell all ebooks to Australians they can’t. That is correct: I can’t buy ebooks because I’m Australian.
Legally that is
This forces many e-book fans to download ebooks illegally using filesharing networks. I personally do not feel comfortable doing this and would much rather be able to buy ebooks legally.
There is also the choice of buying them illegally by using a foreign friend’s credit card or using IP masking techniques.
The inability to buy ebooks is an irritation for most people, but there are many people who can’t physically read a book. Someone with muscular dystrophy such as myself can have great difficulty holding a book and turning the pages. With an ebook all you need do is press a button or click a mouse. There are mechanical page turners available, but they are very expensive and don’t work so well. I am also not a fan of audio books as it tends to go in one ear and out the other and what about people who can’t hear.
I am hoping that the release of the iPad will increase the number of Australians wanting to read ebooks and this will force the hand of publishers to be more ebook friendly.
I also plan on finding out as much as I can about the reasons why ebooks are not available in Australia and to fight for the rights of Australians to read ebooks.
Yes I am reading Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. After Harry’s performance at the end of Order of the Phoenix I did not want to read about Harry Potter anymore. So it has been two years since I finished Phoenix.
For some reason it doesn’t seem like as much care has been put into this book as the others or maybe I’m just forgetful. JK Rowling is a very skilled novel writer. Her characterisation is excellent, the same can be said for plot, structure and imagination. Her writing skills on the other hand…
Rowling’s major weakness is when attributing dialogue. ‘Blah blah blah,’ said Hermione, [slyly, slowly, darkly, quickly, inquisitively, boldly, softly, loudly... pick one] you get the picture. This drives me completely round the fucking bend. If I see more than three of these misused adverbs on one page, I’m forced to put the book to one side and take 10 deep breaths.
I am not the only one who feels this way. What makes it so frustrating is every other part of Rowling’s storytelling is so strong that she could simply delete all the adverbs and make the story even stronger.
Hopefully, book 7 is better.
The other night I was watching the first Tuesday book club. This show is on ABC 1 on the first Tuesday of every month and is hosted by Jennifer Byrne with permanent guest roles filled by Marieke Hardy and Jason Steger. This episode the guest reviewers were Judith Lucy and Julian Burnside. The first book they reviewed was The Memory Room by Christopher Koch. Comedian Judith Lucy absolutely detested the book and proceeded to shred it with acidic wit.
Here is a snippet from the transcript of the show:
Judith: This little paragraph sums it up for me; ‘He was physically possessed by her in a way that sometimes disturbed him’; God knows it disturbed me! ‘Since any addiction is disturbing. This possession has partly been achieved through the manner in which she continued to swing between opposite poles in their love making. In the dark and frenzied and aggressive maenad would appear, sinuous and surprisingly strong, pinning his shoulders with both hands, her flesh unnaturally white, her narrowed shining eyes and thinly tightened lips expression a passion closer to anger rather than love only to be replaced by a humble won nymph who abased herself in front of him, her hair hiding her face’ now this is where I’m going wrong with my love making! Because I do not swing from the creature in Predator to a slightly mentally challenged child! Which is obviously what you guys like!
It was bloody funny and I really did laugh out loud. But the poor author would have been humiliated. I hope that Christopher Koch doesn’t watch that show is this review would have destroyed the ego of many writers.
Being a writer myself I know how angry I get when someone doesn’t like my work. Luckily I am blessed with high self-esteem and a solid ego, but most writers aren’t so lucky. It seems many creative people are also quite sensitive. They have to work with the door firmly shut in case someone peeks over their shoulder and criticises an early draft.
I’m sure Mr Koch will eventually recover. In the meantime I will not be reading The Memory Room.
Last Sunday my brother talked me into going to Poetry Idol. This is an event held in the lead up to the Melbourne Writers Festival. It sounded boring as batshit (and I’ve only written one line of poetry in my entire life), but one of our friends was in it and it was a literary event and there was free wine and cheese. All this meant I had to go.
It was at the St Kilda public library across the road from the town hall. As soon as I got in there I was pleasantly surprised it wasn’t that bad as I thought and I found myself having fun. Most of the poems were humorous and the performances entertaining.
In all there were 25 poets 4 would win a place in the final. Our friend, Rose, in my opinion was easily in the top 4 – but some junky won instead.
Poetry Idol will be on next week Sunday at 2pm in the St Kilda public library – go and check it out.
I donâ€™t understand the trends in popular culture or why they change â€“ for example pirates seem to be very big at the moment. Everyone is speaking pirate there are pirate parties, pirate movies and pirate T.V shows. I am sure this must be more than just a testament to Disneyâ€™s marketing skills.
I thinking the next â€œbig thingâ€ to take over popular culture will be science fiction. I say this for the following reasons.
1. Two of the most popular shows on TV Battlestar Galactica and Heroes are both science fiction.
2. Transformers! â€“ need I say more.
3. A science fiction novel wins the Pulitzer.
4. Intelligent Design â€“ The religious right thinks science fiction is so wonderful they wish to teach it in the science classroom.
These reasons prove that science fiction will be the next thing to drive us nuts. It will be all over the T.V all over the radio and the best thing all over the movie screen.
Are you disturbed or delighted by this science fiction trend?
After centuries of contempt by literary types a science fiction novel, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, has won the top literary prize for fiction, the Pulitzer. The Road is about a father and son traveling through a post apocalyptic future world.
Prizes such as the Pulitzer are usually strictly limited to what is known as literary fiction. Literary fiction is a term used by stuck up academics to put down the average reader. A literary novel is one that is driven by the characters rather than the plot, of high quality that does not fit into a traditional genre mold – of course there are many exceptions to this rule. Books that are both genre fiction and literary fiction may include Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and now The Road.
Many people would argue, desperately and pathetically, that this book is not science fiction. Science fiction is any story that is told in a plausible future. The world in the road is one that would be very similar to Earth after a large asteroid or comet strike â€“ sounds like science fiction to me. (I canâ€™t really say anything much about this book, as I havenâ€™t read it â€¦ yet.)
Many awards and magazines that publish fiction have strict rules – no genre fiction. Over the years I have become very tired of defending science fiction from those who hold it in low regard – of course these people have never read a science fiction book. These highbrow snobs are trying to tell me that every single book that I have on my shelf has zero artistic merit because it is science fiction.
Finally, the end has come to this ridiculous distinction between literary and genre fiction – we can hope anyway.
From the lack of activity on this blog you probably know that I am a lazy bastard. Well it gets worse. I’ve always been a bit lazy, but it was not until I was introduced to World of Warcraft almost three years ago that my laziness has started to fuck up my life. I am studying professional writing and editing I should be doing a lot of reading, but I don’t – I play Warcraft instead. Sometimes I remember that I have an assignment due, but I will not have the willpower to stop playing and actually do something constructive.
I have become really good at making up excuses, I am sick, or I had a meeting, I need time to for me to go over it in my head or I have writers block – I never actually have writers block. I believe because I am in a wheelchair people are far less likely to question me. And come on – it is really low for me to use peopleâ€™s ignorance of disability to my advantage in this way. Laziness affects my business as well: I make websites with my brother, well I should make websites, but generally I don’t do much.
I really feel my laziness is getting worse and it manifests in my addiction to Warcraft. Everyone tells me I am a good writer, but I never write anything. This has to stop and the only way is if I come clean. I actually tried to come clean the other day, I told my tutor that I hadn’t done my assignment because I was lazy – she laughed.
My rules are now: no Warcraft until 5pm on weekdays. I donâ€™t believe I should give it up cold turkey because I know that just would not happen. If I give myself ridiculously strict rules I will rebel and a few days later it will be business as usual.
I am not one to believe in all this crap, but I just don’t seem to have the motivation to blog. So my new years resolution is to write more and submit some of my short stories to competitions. For my first attempt I am aiming high, The Womanâ€™s Weekly short story competition. For this one I have to write a 3000 to 5000 word short story any genre with a female as the main character. The only problem is that I have never written a short story with a female as a main character. I could take the advice of Jack Nicholson in As good as it gets, “think of a man and take away reason and accountability.” Can do!
Nah, I am too much of a feminist to do that. so i will just write a soppy story about a brave women who lost her entire family in some terrible accident, the terrible accident being the high point of her life. Women who read the Womanâ€™s Weekly love tragic stories it a known fact! But I hate unhappy endings so…. oh. Apparently I am wrong. A friend of mine just noticed that it says on the spine of the Womenâ€™s Weekly sitting here, “We want excitement, we want happiness, we want Womenâ€™s Weekly.” Ok so then itâ€™s got to be about an insanely happy housewife who roots the gardener and the milkman and the…weekly!
Well anyway I better get writing or it isn’t going to happen.