Things have been a little strange over the last few weeks and months. The brain-assassin, that annoying part of my mind that seems determined to lead me to destruction, has been working overtime recently, and to put it bluntly the effort required to ignore her is wearing me out.
So far in the Art Of Writing we’ve looked at structure, outlining and characters. In this article we’re going to examine the use of dialogue, and how to make it an effective part of the story. This will include discussing the use of dialogue tags and ways in which not using dialogue can be just as effective as when you do use it. We’ll also take a look at how to frame dialogue in such a way as to make it a part of the action, and not just a way of dumping information on the reader.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I picked up a copy of this book for free through a Kindle promotion over the Christmas period, and as I’m a bit of a fan of hardboiled detective stories I finally decided to give it a read. To be honest, I’m having a mixed reaction to this one.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Parable Of The Sower is the first half of Octavia Butler’s Earthseed series, and introduces us to a near future dystopia in which society has all but disintegrated following an ecological collapse. While the novel centres itself on the Western seaboard of the USA, it is implied (though not specifically confirmed) that the effects of the collapse have been felt worldwide. The story is presented through the eyes of the novel’s protagonist, Lauren Olamina, a teenage girl who initially lives with her father, step-mother and step-brothers in a walled community on the fringes of what’s left of Los Angeles. Lauren also has a condition which Butler calls ‘hyperempathy’, an ability which causes her to feel the perceived pleasure and pain of those around her.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
[This review may contain spoilers]
Beyond This Horizon, is the second of Heinlein’s published novels, and introduces us to a future utopia where poverty no longer exists and genetic engineering has advanced to a point where it is possible to selectively breed children for increased health, intelligence and longevity. The biggest problem faced by most of this world’s denizens is what to do with their time, leading to a society in which decadence is the norm and duelling with sidearms is considered an acceptable way of resolving disputes. Non-advanced citizens also exist, known as control normals, and are seen by the majority of others as a baseline with which to compare the genetic improvements found in the general populace.