June 2004 Review

Writing Progress

So it's June and holiday time. Well, it would be if I were on holiday. As it is I am not, so it's June and I'm still working. Work, or the day job I suppose you would call it, tires me out so much that by the time the weekend comes around all I want to do is sleep. I think I'm in somekind of lull following the completion of “The Friendly Ambassador”. I'm lethargic and tired all the time. I want to get on the computer and get on with “A Fine Woman” but I just can't get out of bed. And when I do, I'd rather do something else.

I suppose it's because I don't have any other active hobbies. I used to, but I shelved them all for my writing. And let's face it, sitting down at the computer writing with a constant supply of hot drinks and snacks supplied is a damn sight easier than toiling in the garage on a twenty-seven year old sports car that doesn't go. Especially in winter. So now that I have finished my last epic I feel like something else for a while. I just don't know what.

I've read a book.

To you this may seem unimportant, but I haven't read a book or a story written by someone else for several years now. I used to read quite a lot, devouring books in one night on some occasions. When I first went to school aged five years I couldn't read or write a letter, but by the time I was eight I had already read “Gone With The Wind” and many other books. I read everything during my childhood, from classics like “To Kill A Mocking Bird” to science fiction books like the Lensman series by E.E. Doc Smith, and even all the James Bond stories by Ian Flemming. I also read history books and books about dinosaurs and paleontology. I suppose I was a bit of a bookworm nut. But you are your childhood.

I think that “Gone With The Wind” had a great affect on me in my early years. Of all the books I have read, this book has the strongest female character. I've since read Anne McCaffery's Crystal Singer books which I also like very much. Again they feature a strong leading female character. Books that don't feature women very greatly I have slowly begun to find less interesting as I have grown older. The same applies to music and bands. All male bands leave me cold. But add a single woman lead singer and I am hooked. I can't help it, I like women, so I like to listen to women singing, and I like to read stories with women in them. So back to the book.

I came across this book at work by mere chance. Someone had bought it and read it and then passed it on to a friend. I think I was the third or forth one in this chain. I noticed it only because of the title, “Atlantis Found”, so having just finished “The Friendly Ambassador” I just had to take a look. Well, what a surprise.

“Atlantis Found” is written by Clive Cussler, who also wrote “Raise The Titanic”, so its full of detailed references to the military and Chiefs of Staff, Washington, and what-not. I suppose its similar in style to John Grisham or Michael Crichton, or something like that. I liked all the references to Atlantis and a lost civilisation rediscovered, but not so much the cloak and dagger stuff. And what female characters there were seemed to be only window dressing. This was an action thriller, so the body count was high. It was okay in the end. I enjoyed it and handed over the book to the next person with some sadness. But the lasting feeling afterwards was that the writing technique wasn't that much better than mine. I am sure that in some areas it was better. Clive Cussler spends a lot more time describing characters, even minor ones, in great detail, and even the towns and districts get a history. I think I'm far too impatient to do that all the time, especially with characters that disappear far too quickly. But in general I don't think I'm that bad. That was both heartening and annoying. So I think I might read another one.

I'm going to have a browse in a bookstore when I'm next out and about and see if there is anything that I would actually go out and pay for. I will probably stray into science fiction and fantasy, but you never know. And when I'm ready, I'll finish “A Fine Woman”.

What do you think of it so far? Email me!