In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood

In Cold Blood tells the story of Perry Smith and Dick Hickock who were behind the murder in 1959 of a Kansas farmer and his wife and two children. Truman Capote vividly, hauntingly and brilliantly brings to life these two young killers and the effect they had on those involved in the Kansiniansdeath.

As I started this book, I was told it was ‘disturbing’. And it was. Is, I should say. Unfortunately, I had to keep reading this book, as it is for college.

To read a work such as this, you have to have quite a strong stomach. I was nearly physically sick a couple of times. All right, maybe I’m just a wuss. Nevertheless, read with care.

As it is based on true events, this is a creative non-fiction – it uses real statements, dates and people but things like conversations have been invented. It is the first book of its kind I have ever read. I quite enjoyed the style – it is not just fact after fact, and there is enough prose to split it up and keep you interested.

The subject matter of this book is, as you will know, not a pleasant one. It is very graphic, and not for the faint-hearted (I may have already said this once or twice). Although it seems there are only 4 murders, there are, in fact, many more – and each one horrifically and vividly described.

Usually, murder fascinates me (no, I’m not a murderer, and I don’t plan to be, I don’t sympathise with killers and I am not a psychopath). The Clutter murders did as well, but the vivid way it was told did not.

Capote is an exquisite story-teller, and weaves fact and fiction in this well-written piece of work. I would recommend it, but not to younger audiences.

Explore the minds of Smith and Hickock and relive the struggles and terror the police and public faced after these murders.

Read more book reviews here

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5 Ways to Keep Writing During School

Ugh. School. A word that fills many youngsters with regret (I like education, but not the people). Especially writers. Suddenly, your entire writing day has been cut to an hour (and that’s if you’re lucky). Some give up. Some stay up to early o’clock frantically scribbling and then spend the next day in doo-lally land. Some weren’t stupid enough to start in the first place.

But don’t worry. There’s hope. Even during my GCSEs I carried on writing. I’m going to sixth-form college this September (I’m terrified) and I’m going to carry on. Because that’s what writers do, isn’t it? Just keep putting one word in front of the one before.

Here are my top 5 tips to keep writing when you’re at school. Believe me, if you don’t do it, you’ll get out of practise and may never write again (surely that’s enough to scare you to carry on!). Even if you’re not at school, these still apply to you by the way (you can’t get out of reading that fast!).

1. Make a schedule.

Boring, I know, but if you do it there’s a faintest chance you’ll stick to it (and that’s better than nothing). During my exam period, I’d have between 9pm – 10pm to write every night. An hour is better than nothing. Hell, even if you write in for 15 minutes in bed before you go to sleep, that’s better than nothing! Just make sure that every single day you have writing written in – on your phone on the bus in the morning is okay enough!

2. Separate work and writing.

Don’t write and do your homework at the same time (if anything, you’ll get confused and accidentally kill off a prominent historical figure, letting your character evade death). Also, if you do this, you’re likely to start to think of writing as homework, a chore. When you put your school books away before you start writing, get up and do something different, even for a few minutes. Make a cup of tea, bounce on the trampoline (maybe not in the snow though), go for a walk. Even have a shower. You need to differentiate, or you’ll confuse yourself.

3. Just remember that school work, unfortunately, comes first.

This is a harsh fact for young writers to accept. Unless you have a book deal (if you do, well done you!) school work does have to come first, and writing second. It doesn’t mean you can’t write, but if you have to choose between an essay for the next day or the next chapter of your book that can (albeit regretfully) wait for a while, choose the essay. Despite what you say, your teachers will prefer you to get grades rather than another character death to add to your tally.

4. Damn the bullies.

Now, I might do another proper post on bullies and haters another time, but this is another thing you may find happens when you go back to school. You get the, “So what did you do during the holidays?” If your answer is, “Writing,” you could get laughs, snide looks, perhaps comments like, “But s/he can’t spell ‘because‘.” Ignore them. If you can’t ignore them, put them in your book and kill them (then who’ll be laughing?!). The fact is, some young people aren’t reading books nowadays, and even less are writing. Keep your chin up, and your pen scribbling.

5. Make friends with other writers or join a creative writing club.

I don’t really have any real-life writing friends. Many of mine are online (but I’m a terrible communicator so it doesn’t go great a lot of the time). If you can, make some writing friends. You can support them and they, in turn, can support you. And, if you join a club and they set tasks for you to do, technically you can pass it off as homework. Technically.

Have a great schooling year guys, and, even if you’re not at school, I hope you had a great summer and have a great rest-of-the-year!

Accidental Hiatus

Hi guys!

Uhm. Whoops. So this is the first post in a week…

I’ll try and keep updating. I’m really sorry, I just don’t really know what happened. I guess I wasn’t feeling like it – so all of my posts would have been crap!

Me 

I’ve been out and stuff over the past week – Salisbury, Stonehenge, shopping (my mum bought me some great Doc Martens because I got my results and I didn’t fail) and today I tidied up my desk so I can actually see what I’m doing!

Haven’t really done any writing, though. 😦 I’ll do some more this week. 😀

The Blog 

It’s the one year anniversary! 

Yay! Thank you for making this such an awesome year. Lots more to come!

In other news, I don’t know if there’ll be a WWC this week. Don’t like the challenge, and I have other writing to do (still on the script)!

For/Against Mentally Casting People as Your Characters

Let’s face it, we all do it. You see a picture online and think, “Ohmygod, that’s [insert name of character here]!” I know I’ve done it. I once found my character, Scott, but didn’t know who the model was (for a long time, I did find it eventually, I think I’ve lost it again, though):

Scott :)

Scott 🙂

But once you have that image of a character in your mind, it’s pretty difficult to get rid of. In some cases, this works in your favour. In others? Not so much.

In the script I’m writing at the moment, I have cast my characters. I’ve even broadcast to the world who I want to play who! I find this useful; I’m using actor’s appearances to my benefit.

However, in prose, I don’t like to think about who would play them. Scott was an exception – I saw the picture, and gasped out, “That’s Scott!” It was just something that happened (it’s kinda scary how much that guy up there looks like Scott).

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Back Home

Hello everyone!

Me

I’m back from France. *sad face* I had such a great time and I really miss my friends, so yeah. However, on the way home I wrote an entire story, which will (hopefully) be published on Kindle, Wattpad and Figment by the end of the holidays (but hopefully in the next week or so).

And that’s about it, really.

The Blog

I think I’ll try and do two book reviews this Sunday, because I missed last week, and I don’t know if there’ll be a WWC because hopefully some friends will be coming down from London. 🙂

So yeah, I hope you all have a good week! Rock on, buddies.

How To Create a Memorable Quote

Before you read this post, pause for a moment. Think of the most memorable book quote from a book you have read (that also happens to be your favourite). Cast your mind around for a while. Look at the books on your shelves if you have to. Got it? Great.

Throughout the ages, there have been many memorable quotes. They have been said in speeches, such as by Nelson Mandela, appeared on the internet, such as users on Tumblr and Twitter, or, most commonly perhaps, they have been written in books.

JK Rowling managed to make tons of people cry with just one word: “Always.” She also managed to make one of my favourite ones:

“Mischief Managed.”

So quotes can be long or short. For example, one of my favourites is from The Great Gatsby and the entire sentence is 36 words long. When I started writing this article, the first quote that came to mind was, actually, “Always.”

You want – need – to make your readers remember you. Sure, you can do that with a lot of words. I remember plots of books, rather than certain bits. But think about the great series’ and books out there – if you google for posters for them, you’ll often find a picture of a quote. You only need one to make the desired effect (although lots are loved as well).

Making a great quote is harder than it looks (believe me, I’ve tried). Sometimes, they just come to you. That’s the most often way to do it. But if you really want to make it memorable, a fan-favourite, then there are a few things that can help you:

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Shroud of Sorrow [Doctor Who Book] by Tommy Donbavand

Shroud of Sorrow

I am a self-proclaimed Whovian, along with my father. Therefore, an entire half of one of my bookcase’s shelves is dedicated to the Timelord, his many faces and the array of companions he tends to acquire. Is it really a surprise that one of these books is turning up in a review?

Whilst many people think these BBC books are for children, believe me when I say they’re not. ‘Adult’ themes, such as death, are commonly talked about, and often at least one person dies in a horrible way. This book was no different.

Having recently fallen in love with X-Men – First Class especially – I have begun to have more of an interest in the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis and JFK – and that’s where this book starts.

It is the day after John F. Kennedy’s assassination and the faces of the dead are everywhere. PC Reg Cranfield sees his recently deceased father in the mists along Totter’s Lane. Reporter Mae Callon sees her late grandmother in a coffee stain on her desk. FBI Special Agent Warren Skeet finds his long-dead partner staring back at him from raindrops on a window pane. Then the faces begin to talk, and scream… and push through into our world. As the alien Shroud begins to feast on the grief of a world in mourning, can the Doctor dig deep enough into his own sorrow to save mankind? (Synopsis from Goodreads)

The prologue had me immediately terrified (didn’t help that I was reading late at night and am a scaredy cat anyway). But it was a good terrified (if there is such a thing), and I continued to read.

I liked how Donbavand introduced another planet during the book – I’m kinda tired of stories about Earth in Doctor Who, and human companions (I say that, but there are many that focus on alien planets). Still, I liked this new planet and felt that it added to the plot. It could easily have done it without it, but there you go.

There’s a bit of a twist on the main alien, the Shroud, which I also liked – especially as it threw up more obstacles and didn’t just change your idea of it (eg making you sympathise with it) or something like that. You know, it actually had an affect on the story.

The Doctor was all right – wacky as always. Clara was all right, too, although I wish Donbavand had written about her dead mother (which was shown in the TV show) instead of an uncle we have never heard of. I was expecting it all the way through, and was disappointed when it didn’t come.

However, I would still recommend this book. You don’t even have to know a lot about Doctor Who to read it (although I guess it helps) – it could just be seen as a sci-fi novel. So yes, have a go – you may enjoy it, but let’s hope the Shroud don’t really come to Earth, eh?

I Don’t Know Where I Am

‘Sup peeps?!

Me

Currently, I don’t actually know where I am or what I’m doing because this is a scheduled post (do you find this weird, cause I do). So yeah, here’s hoping I’m writing, and I’ll try and update this before it goes live, but if I don’t, you’ll know I’m just having a good time.

The Blog

Just a reminder that there’ll be no more Tuesday posts until November!

I don’t know if there’ll be a Wednesday post – shall we wait and find out? That sounds like fun.

Toodles until next time!

Adios!

Why Summer is Terrible for Writers (Although Some Like It)

I get it, summer’s great. Pools and parties (eugh, socialisation) and ice cream (actually, I like the ice cream). But, summer isn’t great for everyone – such as polar bears or those mop dogs.

Mop dog

There’s another species summer is not great for: the writer.

There are many sub-species of the writer, but one of them is the indoor-dweller. I happen to fall into this category (aside from many others).

Summer [tends to] = heat. It’s all right today, as I’m writing this, but it’s been in the 30s this month (that’s Celsius, by the way!). And heat means that it’s pretty difficult to write in, especially when you’re sitting outside because the glare of the sun means it’s practically impossible to see what you’re writing, and, let’s face it, longhand is just painful after a while. Not to mention the sweat you build up when you’re stuck inside, because if you take the comfy cushion off that chair, you might get butt-cramp.

Also, if you’re eating ice-cream, you can’t write at the same time – what if it drips? *le gasp*

And if you do go out in the sun, you might get sunburnt, and then you can’t sit comfortably and you have to keep applying after sun which just makes everything sticky.

The only thing summer is good for is reading. Reading is great. I love reading. You read so much in the summer, I find – hot nights which make it difficult to sleep are just invitations to read instead, and even if you prefer an eReader, you can still see the words in the sun (genius!).

Some writers love summer. Basking in the heat, dropping down about 10k words in an hour because apparently summer is the greatest time of the year (okay maybe that was a slight exaggeration) and okay, I get that it’s great for inspiration. I actually really like the beautiful sunsets and it’s nice to not be in constant darkness, but I don’t think that I could live in, like, Australia. I’d melt before I stepped off the plane.

More of an autumn person, me.

Questions, comments, thoughts? What’s your opinion of summer? What are you reading this summer? What are you writing this summer? 

Ps- sorry it’s not the usual article!