I think this is an important book, like a modern reworking of 1984 but with a more positive outcome. The latter is possibly because it is written in a style accessible to teenagers – great, get them interested in questioning things, empower them to take action rather than bow down to oppressive regimes. People need to be politicised!
It made me laugh out loud in a few places, e.g. “The web browser we used was supplied with the machine. It was a locked-down spyware version of Internet Explorer, Microsoft’s crashware turd that no one under the age of forty used voluntarily.”
It works as a story; it works as a warning; it works as a believable interpretation of many governments, since we learn more and more about how much they spy on us, how unclear the law is on the matter, and how they silence people who spread the truth with imprisonment and draconian laws. (My favourite recent UK example is http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jan/31/footage-released-guardian-editors-snowden-hard-drives-gchq ).
The other thing about the story – it works at making you angry. Angry at the assumption by those in power that they are not our servants, but rather, that we are theirs. To be secretly spied on. And most countries have systems whereby your only vote options are between parties that will let this continue. Is it any wonder that people feel disenfranchised by the formal political systems? Politics is about how you live your life. Politics is about the right to express yourself free from interference. We don’t have this. Legitimate concerns and dissatisfaction are interpreted as ‘terrorism’ by Governments, showing how out of touch they are with the people. And this book captures that zeitgeist.
Today and tomorrow you can also get some of my stories free on the Kindle (if you don't want to use Smashwords). Three People: Stories About Life At The Edge (UK; US) Three Horrors: Stories About Darkness In Unexpected Places (UK; US)
My current Smashwords tag cloud (click to enlarge) - pretty varied, ranging from naughty boys and Aberystwyth, to pregnancy and space empires!
I recently decided to take a break from editing my new novel and instead to polish up some of my short stories and make them available for free on Smashwords. When you're trying to get noticed it helps if you have a range of quality content. One of my future plans is to create two full anthologies of short stories: a horror one, called Long Shadows, and a relationship one, called People Stories. Some of the freebies below will fit into one of those when I eventually get round to compiling them. In the meantime, feel free to have a look - and, as ever, if you like what you see then consider leaving a rating, or review, or even trying one of my novels. I'll list the stories and each image acts as a straight jump to it, or just find the whole lot on my profile page.
Traditionally we talk about apostrophes as being there to show omission and possession. The issue of omission is quite straightforward, and I'll link to some good guides on that. The idea of possession is not quite so simple though, since it does not fully explain the many cases where there is no possession or ownership in any traditional sense.
"That is Karl's book." This is straightforward. I own the book. But then we come across cases like these:
There are various stages involved in writing a novel. This is a simplified view, which generally represents my own process.
First is the 'gathering ideas and thinking' stage. This doesn't mean planning everything out, but does lead to convincing details, key plot points, and ideas about some of the characters. And although some of the research can come after the first draft is written, with the imagination filling in the blanks for now, at least a bit of research is appropriate here since it will save you time. The system I use is quite efficient. I have folders for future novels, and even though I am not working on them yet I save snippets whenever I come across a phrase, description, bit of information or scene idea that is relevant. By the time I come to start that project I will already have a lot of material to work from.
Then you will write a first draft. I'm not going to say much about that today. During the process you'll also do some editing and further research.
The mysterious process of 'rewriting'. More on this below.
Probably an external literary editor. This is a bit like a game of snakes and ladders: if you are unlucky you might get sent back to the rewriting stage. If you rolled a six then you can move on.
Make the changes and edits your literary editor suggested. Keep polishing the stone.
Get it proofread. Do some tweaks, more polish, and then you could be finished. Celebrate with some cake and a nice glass of ginger wine.