Speedreading

Hello everyone and welcome to November, 2016! Or as I like to call it, complete chaos.

I know the title’s a bit cryptic, but after having to speedread my way through a 329 page autobiography (it took me 2 hours) I wondered for a moment about the distinction between speedreading and, well, taking one’s time. Personally, I’ve always been a fan of taking my time with a book. Sitting down with a cup of good tea or coffee and immersing myself in the words. As a writer, I’ve always intended for my own books to be taken slowly, but looking at examples like The Silmarillion or other particularly long books makes me wonder if a shorter novel is the way to go. The proof is in the pudding, as they say, or the proverbial finished product. Guess we’ll see how it pans out.

How do you all like your books? Short and sweet, or long and languorous?

Now back to knocking over today’s word count.

AdmiralCarter

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Updates, and Camp NaNo April 2016

Hello readers!

Apologies for being so absent lately. Last month has been slightly crazy in between catching up on reading, Camp, a holiday, and my job. So let’s start from the top, shall we?

The beginning of April marked the first round of Camp NaNoWriMo, which I started participating in last year. As some of you may (or may not) know, I recently went through a major case of writer’s block which left me without words for the better part of 6 months. This was mostly because I was adjusting to my new job (which isn’t so new any more). As a result, work on Dreamstealer came to a grinding halt and it sat at onto 800 pages for far too long. So when April started, it was kind of a kick in the rear to get back to work. Except… I still had no motivation. My solution was to start working on Book Two of the Dreamstealer chronicles, which I’ve called Dreamchaser. I’m not even a full chapter in, but so far its turning out to be a far darker work than its predecessor. Once I have the ground work done, (and the third book done and dusted, its funny how one book can suddenly turn into a trilogy) I plan on going back for edits, beta reads, and then the big publishing day. I’m both nervous and incredibly excited that the Dreamstealer series is going to be my first book. It’s a huge task, but I never said I didn’t like a good challenge!

Besides Camp, April has been full of nerdy pastimes including a trip to Supanova on the second week of the month with my boyfriend. It was great fun and I came home with way too much loot. I also played a bit too much Skyrim, and may or may not have generated a new idea for a sci-fi novel. In between all of this I decided I would finish reading Robert Louis Stevenson’s  Treasure Island, which has been sitting on my bedside table for goodness knows how long. It was… an interesting read, which I’ll detail in my next post because otherwise this one will be humungous.

So, happy May, and onwards to the review!

-P

Another day, another chapter..

Hello all!

Thought I’d give you an update on what’s happening since it’s been a while. I’ve been darting between a bunch of different books lately, including the Dune chronicles by Frank Herbert, The Road to Dune, Angus Konstam’s Blackbeard biography, a novelisation of Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, and other various books from the local library which have all been aiding me in writing Pirates of Time. It’s all been a bit of a whirlwind in that regard, not to mention the nine secondhand books I picked up from the Lifeline Bookfest this past weekend. The teetering tower beside my bedside table has returned, except its now capped by my DnD figurines and my flower press. I’ve also been playing way too much Skyrim, but have had to give that a break due to a lack of health potions and a need of a new strategy.

Now that I’m well and truly back on the writing wagon, I find that my creative drive has changed somewhat. I’ve had to switch over writing programs from Microsoft Word to a handy little fullscreen program called Q10, which is great for writing without distractions and aiding with the short creative bursts I seem to favour these days. On top of that, inspiration has struck me square in the face once more and Pirates of Time is getting a sequel. Now, I know what you’re saying. I haven’t finished the first book. And I know, but I’m getting ever closer with each chapter and now that I can see the horizon it’s easy for me to finish my pantsing and really get into the nitty gritty of my planning. I’m one of those people who start out with a general plan, which is slowly built up over time and then cemented as I get closer to the end of the piece. It isn’t the most efficient way, but who said writing had to be efficient if it was meant to be creative?

The sequel is slowly in development. It still has no title. I do, however, know what I want it to be about. I’ve talked about it a little on my Facebook page, but no more details until then! Speaking of my page, I’ve recently decided to take up a nom-de-plum for the sake of my slightly hard to pronounce surname. I’ll see how that goes.

What are your thoughts on nom-de-plums and novel planning, everyone? Fill up that comments box, I love getting to read about your thoughts. Hopefully I’ll get up another book review soon it’s been too long.

Until next time and never stop reading!

AdmiralCarter.

Yo ho, yo ho, an author’s life for me

Hello everyone!

I do apologise for my absence. My dear Jeremiah has been taking up almost all of my time lately and staunchly refusing to let me work on anything but my novel. As most of you know, Pirates of Time is my current project and although I’ve been working on it since November of last year, it’s only now that the realities of being a writer have sunk in.

Let me clarify. For those of you who write regularly, I’m sure you’ve had the experience of telling someone about your novel, only for that person to immediately get excited and ask you for a first copy or an autograph. I’ve had many of these experiences myself, but never have I been asked for an autograph. Until today.

Most people I’ve spoken to have loved the idea behind my work: a former naval officer, turned privateer and then pirate for the sake of taking vengeance on the British state and patriarchy which had so wronged him in his childhood, only to then find himself stuck in the middle of an international fight for power and the arrival of creatures who wish to own the planet for themselves and have for years been working in the background to accomplish their goals. He’s faced with the choice of saving the planet, or forsaking his own morals and drive for the good of the British Empire. And so it is that Captain Jeremiah Carter of the HMS Excalibur finds himself faced with the greatest of calamities on the high seas and in the skies, and a brother who will stop at nothing to destroy him. I guess it’s a good feeling to know that people like the idea enough to read it (at least four suggested I turn it into a movie but I am a shocking scriptwriter), but it still freaks me out a little when people get excited. It makes me wonder what I’m to expect once I publish, and how things might change in the future. I hope good things but we never can tell until we get there.

Alas my tea has run out and I am in need of more.

Don’t stop reading,

AdmiralCarter

Gene, by Stel Pavlou

Ahoy there, readers, and welcome to another blog post!

As per my last entry, I have been ploughing my way through Stel Pavlou’s second novel, Gene, and for me it was something of a double-edged sword. Gene is one of those rare books which has a theme so attractive, that despite any discontinuity in the plotline you can still read and enjoy it. The strangest thing about the discontinuity is that it’s there by nature of the plot itself, which probably sounds like a more confusing concept than it actually is. So, let me explain.

The general idea behind Gene is one of eternal life. Specifically, the eternal life of Athanatos over that of Cyclades, two warriors who both fought and ‘died’ during the Trojan War. Cyclades is possessive of a ‘gift’ which makes it impossible for his soul to perish with his body, instead reincarnating itself every few years with the goal of defeating Athanatos, his enemy. Athanatos is of course trying to find a way to either emulate Cyclades’ ability, or steal it from him by means of killing him, and the book follows the progress of these two old souls after their reincarnation during the 21st century.

Athanatos, however, has a trick up his sleeve. He also gets reincarnated, but at a much faster rate than Cyclades does. In an effort to rid himself of his enemy, somewhere along the line he managed to get samples of Cyclades’ DNA and produces artificially inseminated clones of Cyclades himself. He studies these clones for their weaknesses and attempts to strip the soul of Cyclades of his memories, but when the novel’s protagonist and most recent reincarnation of Cyclades – Detective North – discovers what is going on, he decides to put a stop to the process and hold Athanatos accountable for his crimes.

What follows is a twisting and turning plot full of unexpected surprises as we follow North through his experiences and his journey to stop Athanatos. Inside of this, we get to see an interesting side of North when he begins to suffer from induced psychosis as his latent memories – belonging to Cyclades – start to come to the surface. This psychosis is what makes the book necessarily discontinuous. North’s mind is scattered and confused, and the book shows us exactly how this is, in all of its crazy psychosis glory. It’s easy to sympathise with North as he struggles with his reality, but it’s not so easy to understand Athanatos and his captured Cyclades. Athanatos’ storyline is, to say the least, confused. He has even less of an idea than Cyclades does about who he is, and is struggling to change something about himself without seeing the nature of himself in the first place. This goes to the detriment of the work as it clouds everything up, and even though the idea behind the work was fantastic this level of confusion does take away from the book’s final impression.

Gene, then, is a mixed bag. The characters are lively and vibrant, but the plot could have been less convoluted for the sake of the reader. The idea behind the plot, is awesome. All it needed was a little more development and clarity to make it something that people wouldn’t hesitate to re-read. As for whether or not the book contained a lesson? I’d say it wasn’t really the focus here. Gene is a book more about plot than anything else, and sometimes that’s all a person needs.

I know this is a short one, but there really isn’t much more to say on the subject. Besides reading, I’ve also been putting quite a few hours a day into working on my own novel, Pirates of Time. Everything is coming along swimmingly now that I’m into the thick of it. I’m also in the process of reading The Road to Dune, which details Frank Herbert’s process in constructing the Dune series. I’ll have to interrupt my reading to focus on the Dune chronicles themselves; Road has a number of deleted scenes and I think context is going to be necessary here.

That’s all from me for now, hope you’re keeping well wherever you are and that you never stop reading!

AdmiralCarter

Moby Dick, by Herman Melville; and NaNoWriMo: The Aftermath

Okay so I’m going to be counter-intuitive and start this review in the reverse order to the title.

Wow. November was a complete whirlwind. I knocked over 55,ooo words of Pirates of Time, winning NaNo in the process, but there’s still so much more to go and I hope you’ll all keep up with me as the novel progresses. I’ll be posting regular updates here, on my Twitter, on my Facebook page, and on my Tumblr for those who follow me there at AdmiralCarter. Hope to see you there!

With Christmas on the horizon I’ve also been caught in a whirlwind of present-buying, and freaking out about money which is not a thing I have a lot of. I’m presently in the process of hunting for a job, which when I get will seriously hinder my writing time and general blogging time.

So anyway, that’s been me lately. I’ve just finished reading Thomas More’s Utopia, which I’ll detail in a future review.

For now, let’s stick to Melville and Moby Dick.

“There she blows!- There she blows! A hump like a snow-hill! It is Moby Dick!”

Rarely does one ever find a book in which the main character is a hunted albino sperm whale. Even rarer is it that one finds a book about whale hunting, especially in this day and age. Not so rare in the 19th Century, an age when whales were seen as the great leviathans of the deep; creatures to be feared and awed, and moreover defeated for their spermaceti, oil, bone, baleen, and flesh.

Moby Dick is, largely, a book about conquest, bravery, and a cautionary tale warning that those who seek to be gods will suffer the mightiest of falls when blind pursuit comes into play. Saying that, it’s also a book with an educational side to it. Not only does it teach readers about the whales themselves, but it also teaches about the history of whaling, and the history of society in relation to whaling. It’s a very interesting and comprehensive overview of the state of the times, and quite an illuminating one.

Our narrator – Ishmael – is a man who yearns to explore the oceans. Exploring the docks, he comes across the birthed whaling ship the Pequod, which is to become his home for the next few months. In securing passage for himself, he finds out that they are after another harpooner and Ishmael happens to know just the right person. Queequeg; a cannibalistic native from the islands who happens to have been in Nantucket at the right time. And who also happens to have befriended Ishmael in a strange twist of christian-meets-heathen.

It isn’t long before Ishmael discovers that Captain Ahab – the captain of the Pequod – has a vendetta to destroy Moby Dick for taking off his leg. The rest of the book is them chasing whales and killing them for their contents, and occasionally bumping into other whaling ships which are either full, looking for whales, looking for supplies, or looking for lost crewmen who have been taken overboard by whales or otherwise. Many of the people on the whaling ships, we discover, are in the business for the bravery that comes with having been a whaler or, even better, a harpooner. It’s considered a highly dangerous and even lethal occupation, and those who make it back alive – nevermind in one piece or not – are hailed as heroes.

It isn’t until the very last ten chapters that we begin to catch sight and hear word of Moby Dick itself. The whole 400 odd pages previous has extolled to readers the fierce, cunning, and bloodthirsty nature of this particular whale; so by now we hold high expectations for the battle ahead. And indeed these expectations are more than fulfilled; the Pequod sinks after being rammed by Moby Dick, and the whale itself takes Captain Ahab down with it amongst a set of tangled rope lines. He takes down his nemesis, but in doing so he also destroys himself, his crew, and the ship that he holds most dear.

For me, I found reading Moby Dick a literary and historical pleasure, and a realistic pain. I’ve always loved whales ever since I was a toddler and first saw models of them in the Queensland Museum gallery, and have even had the pleasure of encountering a few pods of Humpbacks up close. They are the most majestic, playful, gentle, and honourable creatures I have ever met, and the thought of killing them and finding glory in it was and still is completely repulsive to me. Whaling was the major cause for the near-extinction status of many species of whales around the world; in fact it did kill off some species. So reading Moby Dick was quite a saddening experience for me. This fact, and the novel’s sheer lengthiness and verbosity, were the only drawbacks for me. Overall, it’s a great novel and I seriously recommend you read it if you are at all interested in whaling or the history of said occupation, but also if you’re interested in sailing of the mid to late 1800’s. Its extremely descriptive, extremely detailed, and will challenge even the most dedicated of readers.

If you’re like me, and you like a good challenge, go get a copy of Moby Dick. If not, then try it anyway. You could learn something interesting, and you get bragging rights. Just, whatever you do, always remember to not be Ahab. Be Ishmael, the guy who lives to tell the tale of the madman captain and his lifelong quest for vengeance on a whale.

Now that NaNo is over, my updates will be more frequent.

Never stop reading, and until next time!

AdmiralCarter.

Novel!!

So I may have achieved the 50k for NaNo, but the show must go on! Head over to Facebook and give Pirates of Time’s page a like, have a browse around, and I’ll keep you up to date with everything you need to know! Love you all!

https://www.facebook.com/AdmiralCarter

Never stop reading!

AdmiralCarter.