2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,800 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

In case anyone is interested.

Resolutions and Goals

Not sure I could do the first one but the other two are achievable I suppose.

This is more of a beat myself up for failing on one of my goals last year than making New Years Goals and Resolutions for next year. That may yet become a separate post.

On the first of January this year (2014), I posted this post on here: Happy New Year! Goals instead of Resolutions Anyone? The goal I am talking about is the second one in regards to my novella. I have barely touched it! In fact, the only thing I have done with it is actually prepare more notes and world build through other stories, such as NaNoWriMo challenges and through recent things happening in my personal life.

I know it’s stupid of me to beat myself up so much on the matter when I have been struggling with getting a job and other issues which should take precedence over other matters but it is important to me personally so it makes me feel down that I haven’t got as much work done as I would like.

I suppose an early goal should be for me to at least try to write something either every week or every day if possible. I haven’t completely hit the every day target I made after November but I have managed a some writing in the last few weeks via doing the notes and world build. I guess that counts, right?

Writer Problems: Weird Searches

I think a lot of writers can relate to this. I do worry about what certain people would make of my searches, like baby name websites, the location and structure of The International Criminal Court and it’s associated prison and just what is the most common drug to be used in my local area, and that’s just for the crime elements of my stories!

Where Landsquid Fear to Tread

Sometimes, Squiders, I’m thankful I’m a fantasy author. Well, a lot of the time. But, in this case, I get to avoid some of the more macabre searches that mystery and other genre authors probably have to do.

Luckily, in this day and age, your search history is between you and the NSA, and you don’t have to, I don’t know, make friends with police officers or surgeons or undertakers to get information or whatever it was people did before the Internet existed.

But we still need information, and in order to make stories interesting, sometimes we need really strange and disturbing information that would make people think you were a serial killer if you brought it up in normal conversation.

I imagine mystery/thriller writers have it the worse, what with having to come up with new and inventive ways to kill people. But I’ve had to make some odd…

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Chocolate and Fiction

Things happening in my personal life got me thinking about this. Christmas being just around the corner and being almost synonymous with chocolate makes now a good time for me to post about it.

Does chocolate show the light and dark of societal inequality? Source: GoodSearch Images

Food is often read about in books, both to tell the reader more about the characters as well as to fuel the characters. I have been thinking specifically however about chocolate and it has led me to realise the possible symbolism of chocolate in children’s literature (as I could only think of examples from children’s books).

The first story that came to mind was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the obvious one. Now, I want to admit I have only seen the original and remake films of the books and have never read the book. Please bare with me! In the classic Roald Dahl story, chocolate, in my mind, represents childhood and wealth. Charlie Bucket is poor. He buys the chocolate car with the little money he has. He is one child among many. In comparison to the other children who are desperate to get a coveted golden ticket to visit the fabled Wonka factory, he merely wishes to eat the chocolate because it is so rare for him to be able to have chocolate.

The same story plays out in the most recent remake film of the story, starring Johnny Depp. This suggests that chocolate is still seen as a luxury item within modern society and possible divides the haves with the have-nots, an issue that has popped a lot as of late in America and here in the UK. This I find quite extraordinary considering that the book was first published in 1964, the original film released in 1971 (starring Gene Wilder) and the remake in 2005.

The inequalities in society that chocolate could represent in fiction then led me to think about the Malory Towers series. I will grant that the books were set in a different time frame but the same themes and ideas are represented. When chocolate is mentioned in the stories, from the first book with Darrell to the last with Felicity, it is bought as a luxury item and by brand name, Cadbury’s. When a scholarship girl or a girl who is at the school thanks to a kindly uncle or other relative sees another buy some chocolate, they are described as staring or being surprised at the ease at which the chocolate is bought.

Specifically in regards to childhood, chocolate and sweets of any kind are talked about much more often in the earlier books of the Harry Potter series. There is an element of wealth involved as Harry buys practically everything off the trolley that the witch brings down the train. In the earlier books, before the stories become very dark, Harry, Ron and Hermione are very young, childlike. There is a certain innocence in the earlier books that’s lost as they grow older and things get darker, particularly after the third book. The third book is about family. Chocolate is also mentioned as a healing substance in Prisoner of Azkaban and I read Goblet of Fire as the story that effectively ends Harry’s childhood specifically.

Perhaps I am reading too much into things but in children’s literature at least, the possible symbolism of chocolate and what it says about our society seems staggering to me. It is especially so, to me at least, that the stories that have stood the test of time (and being remade for a modern audience) still carries the same message that permeates through our society. Have you any examples in other types of literature? Am I reading too much into it or do you think the same? Don’t be afraid to comment below.