Monday, 30 April 2012

The Hunger Games



I finally bought The Hunger Games off Amazon ad downloaded it to my Kindle, and rereading it is just as awesome the second time around! I’m getting to relive the reaping, the inferno inside the arena, and the tracker-jacker swarm.

I downloaded it Saturday night after I finished reading another trilogy, and I’m already half way through it, nearly two days later. Not as fast as the first time I read it (which I did completely in less than 48 hours), but I’m definitely progressing through it faster than any other book I’ve read in a while, which is great. I reckon that I should be ready for the next book (which I can never remember… it’s Catching Fire, isn’t it?) by the middle of the week!

I am surprised at how close the movie followed the book. I’ve found that even some of the dialogue is identical in the book and film. Which is great – I really hate films that don’t follow the book closely.

So, your turn now! Tell me, what book are you excited about at the moment? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, 27 April 2012


Natalie Whipple posted on goldfish the other day, and I thought it was a pretty interesting topic. I have goldfish too, two of them who swim around in a tank on my desk. One is orange and used to have black tips on his tail, and a little black smudge on his face that looked like a moustache. The other little guy is white with a gigantic red spot on his head. They’re pretty cute.
They don’t really have names because I’ve gone through so many goldfish. …That kinda makes me sound like a goldfish serial killer, doesn’t it? Don’t worry, I’m not. I want to point out that I’ve had so many because I’ve kept fish for years, and although Natalie pointed out that they can live for up to ten years, my fish don’t live quite that long.

But as short as their lifespans may be, I become quite attached to them. They make good writing companions: they don’t think I’m crazy when I talk to them about writing, and they always come up with good advice when I find a plot hole… at least, I’m sure they do. I haven’t mastered goldfish language yet.

What about you? Do you have any writing companions? Are they fluffy, furry, or feathery? Or are they scaly, or even slimy? O.o Let me know in the comments!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Changes to the Blog!

Since I started the blog back in July, there’ve been a few things left incomplete or needing changes. Like the Writing page which was “under construction – check back soon” since Day 1. I’ve finally got around to updating it, and while I was at it, I changed a few other things. Here’s what’s new!

Works in Progress: Previously titled “Writing”. Now has actual content! Check out information on all my current WIPs by clicking the Works in Progress page button up the top (or you can click here, whatever’s easier).

New header: Just minor changes to the header. (If I didn’t say anything, I doubt you’d notice!) Got rid of the “Matthew Dodwell presents” thing because, yanno, everyone knows it’s my blog. I made the title larger and (hopefully) more noticeable. I’m thinking about changing the title soon because I feel it no longer fits: when I first started the blog it reflected my slow plod – writing one page at a time – but now I feel like I’m working faster… well, in general, at least. Right now maybe I should call the blog “One Page Whenever I’ve Got Some Spare Time”.

About Matthew: More really minor changes. Again, if I didn’t say anything, I doubt you’d notice. Just updating information really. I might have to update again soon, to incorporate the fantasy element into my bio.

Follow by email: Yay! Now you can be a follower/member through Google OR you can follow by email. Whatever floats your boat! Heck, you can do both if you want!

So that’s all the new stuff! I want to point out that I write this blog for YOU, and so your thoughts are important! If you’ve got any recommendations for things which could be changed, let me know! Tell me what you like and dislike, and perhaps some things you’d like to see in the future. Let me know in the comments!

Friday, 20 April 2012

What Christopher Paolini Teaches us about Writing

Despite his flaws, Christopher Paolini is a successful author. Creator of the Inheritance Cycle, Paolini has sold more than 25 million copies, and his books have won several awards. There are a lot of things we can take away from reading Eragon, but I’ve picked three things that I think are important.  

(Spoiler alert: be warned that there may be spoilers in this post. If you haven’t read the entire series… well, you’ve been warned.)

Age shouldn’t be a barrier: Christopher Paolini started writing Eragon after being home-schooled and graduating from high school at fifteen. Four years later, Eragon was published by Paolini’s parent’s publishing company. No matter what your opinions on self-publishing are, age shouldn’t be a barrier to being a published author. If you’re thirteen and you think you’re ready to be published, go for it. (Actually, I’d advise to be critical as to whether or not you’re really ready, but if you still think you are, go for it.) Just because your age starts with a ‘one’ doesn’t mean you can’t be as good as someone who’s twenty, thirty, or forty.

Follow your dreams: As I said, Paolini’s parents self-pubbed Eragon when Paolini was nineteen. But the author didn’t sit back and say “now just wait for the royalties to roll in”. No, he worked hard to make Eragon successful. Paolini toured over a hundred schools, library, and bookstores in the US promoting his book (along with reading in general). But not only that, he did in medieval garb. Honestly, he probably looked like a dork. A mega-dork. A Mega-King of the Dorks. But that didn’t stop him. Because Paolini had a dream of being a success author and so he followed that dream. Following our dreams isn’t always easy, but they’re dreams for a reason – because we really want them. Would you be willing to go out in public dressed as a foot soldier in the name of success?

Love doesn’t have to have a happy ending: As I was preparing this post, this lesson stood out. I posted on Wednesday that I wanted to have a romance in my fantasy novel but I didn’t know who the love interest should be, or how it would develop. So I think this lesson is important. You can have a failed relationship. Eragon and Arya’s relationship didn’t work out, and in fact I think (from a writing perspective) it’s pretty cool. It’s different not to have a happily ever after.

Your turn now. Do you agree with my points, or do you disagree? What other important lessons do you think we can take away from Christopher Paolini? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

That Awkward Moment When No One Loves You

No, this post isn’t about me. I swear. Everyone loves Matthew.

This is about my characters in the Untitled YA Fantasy Idea. Particularly the female MC. She’s smart, funny, pretty, and she’s a princess. Her father is murdered in the beginning of the novel, so once she’s finished the adventure she becomes queen.

There are two other MCs and they’re both boys. One’s a fisherman, while the other is a petty thief. All three of the MCs are going to become pretty good friends and I want to develop a romance (because all good novels need a romantic subplot).

The only problem is, I can’t figure out which lucky MC gets to date the princess. Both have pretty good reasons not to be the love interest, which leaves me with a very unlucky princess. So, should I force a romance, or just write the story and see where it goes? Or do I create a secondary character to hook up with the princess? Maybe a prince in a neighbouring kingdom? What are your thoughts?

And tell me, have you ever tried to force a romance before? Did the characters eventually cooperate, or was there a divorce before page 300? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012


Just a quick update to let you know how I’m going with my must-catch-up-with-Project-2012-before-I-fall-behind:

I’ve nearly caught up with March’s work on EXCALIBUR, and I should be ready to progress onto the second phase of Project 201, which focuses on individual chapters, in the next couple of days!

My Untitled YA Fantasy Idea is also making progress. I’ve been hard at work drawing a map for the world. I hand drew (or is it ‘drawed’?) the map, and considering how bad my drawing skills are, I’m really impressed. I didn’t even get any smudge marks on it! (If you’re left handed you know what I mean.) Once I come up with a plot outline I’ll be able to put any finishing touches on it (extra towns, cities, natural terrain, etc.), but for now I’m happy with it.

For the comments, how’s your week been, writing wise and in real life? Let me know!