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I am an aspiring writer living and working in Hull. I working on a novel, as well as writing short stories to keep my writing skills fresh. I decided to start a writing blog to connect with other writers. So please, take a look around and leave some comments - I'd love to read some of your writing blogs too. Nari X

Tuesday, 12 October 2010


The day was not more productive. It has now been four days since my last post, and I have very little to report.

However, I have just finished reading Ted Dekker's Obsessed, and I have very mixed feelings. For a long time, Ted Dekker has been somewhat of a hero of mine, with a captivating and intelligent writing style, storylines that wrap themselves around your mind and have you on the edge of your seat wishing never to put the book down. But I have to say, I was a tiny bit dissapointed by this book. There were just several things that sprung out at me that I desperately wanted to edit. 

The first is perhaps me being completely pedantic, but it really bothered me. Exclamation marks. I am really not a fan. At all. I would place exclamation marks in the same category as cling film. Horrible stuff. So...clingy. It just should not exist. Unfortunately, it is a necessary evil, on those rare times that a tuppaware box or tin foil won't do the trick. Equally, exclamation marks should only be allowed to be used very sparingly, when the words alone do not convey their meaning. 
Let me explain. I feel that using an exclamation mark at the end of a sentence cheapens the words you use. It suggests that you are not in control of your language use, that the words you have used are flimsy and meaningless on their own. When you are telling a story, this just won't do! See what I mean? 

One of the things I had always loved about Ted Dekker was that he always seemed to be in control of the language he used. In The Circle Trilogy I was drawn his use of single sentence paragraphs to mark the intensity of the words, whether it was a realisation, a revelation to the reader, or a clever play on imagery. 
In Obsessed, don't get me wrong, he keeps this up, but quite often, to my horror, with an ugly looking exclamation mark plonked on the end. It completely over exaggerates a sentence, and weakens its severity.

And the other thing that bugged me about the story was the amount of time that Stephen spends trying to get into the safe.
For those who have not read 'Obsessed', I shall give some context in the form of an outline of the story. Stephen is the protagonist, a realtor who, until recently, had no idea who his mother was. A story in the paper covers her recent death, and reveals that she was a Holocaust survivor. On exploring her house, Stephen finds a safe in the basement which then becomes the object of his obsession. Unfortunately, a German man buys the house before he has got into the safe.
I understand why he spends so much time trying to get into the safe, of course to show just how obsessed he is. That he is losing his mind to this thing. But Paul Auster manages to do this very same thing in a third of the amount of time, perhaps less, in City of Glass. I would much rather have spent more time actually looking for Esther. Or I would have liked more about the present day killings, instead of watching Stephen try in vain to get into the house.

And the final point I'll make this afternoon is about the character of Sylvia. At the beginning of the story, I thought she might be a strong character, integral to the plot. But she dies almost without regard, having no effect on the protagonist whatsoever. Which makes me wonder why she was included in the story at all.

Ok. Criticisms aside, I was pleased with the ending. It was disturbing and full of action, bringing all storylines to a head in the pinnacle moment. I absolutely loved the scenes in Torun, the Nazi labour camp, as they were so full of emotion and character - I really got inside the heads of Ruth and Martha. The sick game of Gerhard Braun was well written and thought out.

I should really be finishing an application form. I fear I have already missed the deadline, but the person who e-mailed me the application form didn't mention anything, so lets hope it doesn't matter.

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