Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Review of "The Memory Man," a short story by Helen Smith



Summary:
The Memory Man is an intriguing new short story from bestselling British author Helen Smith. Two women become friends in an abandoned post-apocalyptic building. A psychic makes contact with a lost soul. His apprentice tries to find news of a man he has lost touch with. Fragments of memories are traded and twisted. Friendship provides comfort, but the recovery of memories brings torment rather than reassurance - until truth becomes secondary to survival.

Review:
I can't help but like Smith's style.  Even after ruthlessly throwing her characters into a grim situation the tone of the story always remains cheeky.  This allowed me to instantly connect with the characters and feel genuinely interested in their fates in a comparatively short space of time.

I would say that, as a whole, I liked The Memory Man.  But it did seem to suffer from one major flaw: transitions.  Not quite enough attention went into providing backdrop for the tale.  The summary actually reveals more than the story ever did.  This would have been fine if it weren't for the occasional switches back and forth from some sort of "dream state" to reality.  By the end I found myself confused with more questions than answers.

Still, I liked the journey.  Short stories, to me, are about the experience.  They aren't long enough to become involved in a world so the impression you are left with is everything.  I found this story engaging.  I just wish a few more loose ends had been tied up.

3/5 stars
Review by Alain Gomez

Buy this story on Amazon.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Pacing and Consistency Continued

A few months ago I wrote about how my writing schedule had to change for 2015.  I felt the need to follow up now that some time has passed.

So far I've remained extremely consistent with sitting down to write each weekday.  I still haven't been able to work myself back up to a strict word count but I don't see this as a sign of losing steam with my writing.

Quite the opposite, in fact.

For about a two years ago I made the decision to treat writing like it's my job, which, for the most part, was a good thing.  It made me buckle down and get serious about my publishing schedule and keeping track of income and expenses.  It made me start the process of really honing skills.  I haven't mastered these skills yet but I feel I'm heading in the right direction.

But I'm starting to realize more and more that my treating writing like a job was a source of deep frustration.  It was a necessary act to push me to the next stage but now I'm glad I was forced to change my pace.

Someone once told me that you don't decide to become a full time writer, the writing decides for you.  I always saw the wisdom in that advice but I think I subconsciously ignored it as I doggedly went about my daily word count minimums.   And while the consistent publishing helped me to become a better writer, it really didn't have any life-altering effects on my sales.  The numbers continued at their own pace no matter how much mental agony I put myself through.

I now feel at peace with the writing and publishing process.  If the numbers can move at their own pace, why can't I?