So, I read a book last night and tonight, and it made me want to go back through my story and pump up the emotional volume. It was awesome, reading how well every character responded to the situations, and oh there were situations aplenty. Last week I read an article somewhere about ensuring that sure your writing doesn’t just have action, but that it also has the character reactions afterward. Pretty sure this book just nailed that point to my forehead.
Dead Things by Stephen Blackmoore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I casually read the sample. No big deal. Do that a lot. Usually don’t buy the book.
This was different. The world completely sucked me in, with evil guns and creepy tattoos and a terrifying… pocket watch?! And bad guys. Oh the bad guys: Awesome, amazing, fear-factor-and-hate-factor-ten-thousand bad guys.
Our lead? Necromancer. Eric. Doesn’t mean he’s a cloak wearing weirdo with pet bats and zombie minions, nope. He’s hopping parallel dimensions back-and-forth between gritty L.A. and the land of the dead, slugging down bourbon almost as quick as he’s splashing around blood, and whipping souls out of the evil-dead like nobody’s business. But it isn’t nobody’s, it’s his, because he’s a spook hunter for hire, a bit like a ghost buster sans backpack, meets the exorcist, meets some kind of dark wanderer…
I liked the supporting cast, a cheeky barmaid, a forgotten friend, an old flame. They all made great contributions to the action. I found myself wishing there could be a bit more stability in at least one of these friendships though. This was a bit like Changes by Jim Butcher, only we haven’t had a dozen books to lead up to it, we’re just thrown right in at the deep end.
I’d still read the next one. Hell, I will read the next one, might even read it this weekend. Because books like this don’t show up very often.
So question: do you often have a moment (while reading a book) when you realise something about your own writing? What did you realise, and what were you reading?
Yup. Back in the day as a young(er) writer, I was reading Artemis Fowl by Eion Colfer. I realised that during dialogue between two characters, you don’t always need to refer to the speaker after every sentance. for exmple:
“Hey!” Called Bob.
“Hey.” Responded John.
“How are you feeling?” asked Bob.
Novice lesson, and others ‘momenst’ have happened I’m sure, but that one came to mind.
So true, and a good example. Hey, I’m sure I’m still learning novice lessons that just haven’t sunk in yet. Seems every time I read something I either pick it apart or pick apart my own by contrast…
A useful skill, hopefully doesn’t take the joy of reading away for you too much!
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