Wednesday, 11 April 2012

J is for Ten Sorry Tales by Mick Jackson






 I could cheat on this post, because I wrote a review of this book here some time ago. Wow, it's a good book! Feel free to check out the link, I'll wait...

Goodreads
Are you back? Good.

I love this book because it shows how easy it is to create strange - really peculiar - characters and still draw your audience in. Most of my characters are rooted to the real world; I hesitate to write this kind of larger-than-life weirdness because I worry about making them believable. I worry that readers will throw their hands up in despair that I haven't taken the time to make them more sympathetic and real.

Of course, Ten Sorry Tales is a collection of short stories, and I know from experience it's much easier within a short story to dump your reader in an odd situation with odd characters and never have to actually explain yourself. What made me laugh is that the things I adore in this book are the very same things that people on Goodreads have disliked.

I've tried to make some of the characters in my current WIP slightly more abstract - it's a novel at the moment, but who knows what it will end up as. I've got a man who likes to write all over his body, and a woman who's so shy she practically disappears into the soft furnishings. They may or may not work in the environment I've put them in, but I've got the confidence to try.

44 comments:

  1. Good luck with those characters! That's one of the reasons I like being able to read reviews by regular people; you can read something they hated and realize that it would work great for you.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse, co-host of the 2012 #atozchallenge! Twitter: @AprilA2Z

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    1. Goodreads reviews are great, aren't they?

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  2. I like the sound of your abstract characters!

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  3. Your characters sound fascinating as does this book. I'll have to check it out.

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  4. Aren't reviews tricky? What someone else doesn't like you may love! My characters seem to evolve themselves lately. It just happens.

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  5. Those characters sounds intriguing! Maybe - if you're afraid they might be "too much" to center a novel around - they would work better as more minor characters than major ones?

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    1. I'm building up to a read-through next month, so hopefully they'll be smoothed out a bit then.

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  6. Love a god characterization. Hey Nice to meet you.

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    1. Thanks for the follow. I'll be over to yours soon!

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  7. I love - reading and writing - quirky characters. That sounds like just the book for me.

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    1. Let me know if you read it, I'd love to see if other people agree with me!

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  8. You've made it intriguing enough that I'd like to read this book. Thanks! Enjoyed your post and look forward to reading more. Happy Wednesday! ☺

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    1. Thanks Larrie. Is it Wednesday already? I'm just thinking of it as J day - so many Js :-)

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  9. coming from a social work background, I can honestly say, strange is more normal than anyone would believe.

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    1. That's what I'm hoping for my characters. Like Mick Jackson, if you've got a reason why characters are the way they are, the reader shouldn't be too lost - well, that's my take on it.

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  10. 'I know from experience it's much easier within a short story to dump your reader in an odd situation with odd characters and never have to actually explain yourself.'

    That's a good point -- an interesting bit of flexibility, there.

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    1. I love not explaining myself - some readers get it, other readers just beg for answers!

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  11. I agree with Elizabeth, people in general are strange. When a little bit of it comes our way in literature it can be a relief. A slice of truth. Thanks for the post.

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    1. As long as you don't overdo it - if I wrote about some of the people I've met in my life, you wouldn't believe me! Thanks for dropping by.

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  12. I haven't heard of this one, it looks fabulous :) Thanks for sharing!

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

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    1. It's quite old I think. I found it in the library and was intrigued.

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  13. I'm always wary of creating characters that are too weird. In response to Elizabeth's point, they do say that life is stranger than fiction. Sometimes you can't get away with the totally weird stuff from real life because it sounds too unbelievable... I think that's what I mean, anyway!

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    1. Yes, I've just replied something similar to someone else. It's a fine line.

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  14. Another book I haven't (heard of) read! You're definitely sorting out my holiday reading for me this year :-)

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    1. Lol - you'll need a bigger suitcase Linda :-)

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  15. I can relate to your shy girl character! *wink* You're right though, sometimes bigger than life characters come off as unbelievable...but you won't know until you try! :)

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  16. Sounds like my kind of read :) I love the weird and the wonderful! New follower!

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    1. This will definitely fit the bill, Jessica. Thanks for the follow!

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  17. hah, I love obscure charactes...those that add a flair of humor and intrique to a story! interesting..;.

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    1. They definitely help to keep my interest!

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  18. sounds like a fun read. Have to support short story collections. As always enjoying your a to z.

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    1. I do have a lot of collections on my shelves. I don't own this one, I borrowed it from the library, but I might have to buy soon. I'm glad you're enjoying my theme :-)

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  19. I've never heard of this book. I'll have to look it up! Thanks.

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    1. Let me know what you think of it, if you do read it.

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  20. They sound like great characters. Even in real life we all have our eccentricities.

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    1. Eccentrics make the world go round. (They say it's money, but it isn't...)

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  21. Hello, uniquely named Annalisa! Way to take inspiration from a fresh read and use it to make your writing better. I have to be in the right mood for oddball characters (like Johnny Depp's outlandish portrayals) but they can be a lot of fun. Good luck with the challenge!

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    1. I take a lot of inspiration from others - I hope my writing is unique too, but knowing others have gone further than I plan to AND managed to publish makes me more confident of the same!

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  22. Some people can do strange, peculiar, oddball characters SO WELL! I am not one of them. I'll leave that one to the experts!

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    1. I'm not sure how well I do it, but practise makes perfect!

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Please comment - I love a good chat!