Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The sum of its parts...

Second week of the holidays, I'm slowly chipping away at the tasks that need doing, and hanging with my kids. Saw 'The Other Guys' with them at the movies yesterday which I thought was less than the sum of all its parts. And too slow. Edit people, edit! Some genuinely funny bits in there as well but not enough to get the movie a big thumbs up from me. I've been watching a bit of the Australian version of the X-Factor lately and I have to say the whole x factor philosophy/psychology goes a long way to explaining why some things succeed, from books, to movies, to singers, actors etc ... Its chutzpah, magnetism, charisma. Its why even when they are standing at the back of the chorus some people just stand out. Its what publishers are looking for when they read your manuscript. Is your story more than the sum of all its parts?

Finished reading 'Wasted' by Nicola Morgan. Great writing. Compelling and complete characters. Intriguing narrative voice, although sometimes I was more conscious of this than I wanted to be. The author makes the story predictable as she explores its central themes - issues of fate, chance and luck - and challenges the reader to toss a coin to decide the outcome of certain events. And this predicability ultimately raises questions and gives possible answers about the randomness of life. Very smart stuff. An important book for young adults I think.

I also finished 'Surrender', this year's inaugural Pindar Prize winner by Donna Malane. At first I was conscious of a few gumshoe style cliches but as the first person narrative voice kicked in these fell by the wayside. The story is fast paced and exciting with plenty of character development to keep readers satisfied and two parallel running mysteries provide plenty of interest. The author wrapped things up well at the end although I had guessed who one of the bad guys was (I inherited this skill from my mother who always figured out the bad guy before the end of the movie or tv programme). The only jarring note for me was the descriptions of pain experienced by the central protag but this was a minor niggle in what was an otherwise
entertaining and well written read.

Had a fun morning at the Mt Roskill Library reading The Were-Nana at last saturday's storytime, a special one devoted to grandparents. That's me in action up the top of this post. Children's book lovers and librarian's, Marion and Danielle run a great programme and local library goers cannot help but be infected by their enthusiasm.


Old Kitty said...

Awwww look at you in your action boots!! Great to see all the kids enthralled - wonderful!!!

No please don't compare writing with the x-factor!! LOL!!! I don't know about the aussie version but the Brit version is so fixed - you just know whom and why they want this person over a more talented one (currently the allegation is that one more talented one didn't get chosen because of problems with her visa!). Mind you publishing is pretty cut throat so maybe you are right!! :-)

Take care

Melinda Szymanik said...

Hi Kitty - its not so much the X-Factor programme, its the x-factor concept: that indefinable thing that demands attention and a positive reaction, that quality that makes you tap your toe unconsciously, or smile quietly to yourself. We can't say exactly what it is but we know it when we see it.

even my word ver has it - 'jifyince'

Pen said...

I love the Were-nana! It gives me giggles of satisfaction, probably because her mean brother gets his comeupance. Ah, the scent of justice is truly a sweet thing. :D