Saturday, August 30, 2008

Literary Den Book of New Fiction - The Present, and the Future!

So you've seen me delighted to have my copy of the book. And now it's time for opinions!! First off, I'll just say it was a delight to get to read the works of the people who have, since it all started, become my friends. Each story was different, thankfully, and gave me a great read.

The Anthology was compiled by Andy Walker, cover designed by Claire Hack, and the poster will be done by Chris Stewart. We wish to continue the Anthology as an annual tradition in the Den, although there is no telling what might happen.

An idea has been suggested for a Literary Den Magazine to give other members a chance at publication. A quarterly magazine, it is suggested, would contain poetry, songs and other such things (including essays of the journalistic sort), as well as news from the Den, and perhaps reviews. Nothing is certain as of yet, except that myself and Rachel Phipps have experience in magazines. It may end up that we be the editors. Then again, maybe not.

So far one person has responded. He's not happy with the idea of poetry. However, if Rachel and I can find a way to persuade him, then it'll go ahead as planned. Hurrah!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Lit Den Book - Here!!

I got the book today! It took nine days! Longest nine days of my life. But it's worth it. Now I can put pictures like the one below on the internet.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a book to read!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Geneticide - Reviewed!

I received a review from Ellie Dyer today, as part of our review trade off. Though she was afraid I would think her to be harsh, I'm actually appreciative of the review. It makes good points that I will be keeping in mind.

"I enjoyed reading this - the style is simple yet lyrical. Dialogue is used sparingly but to good effect, and free indirect speech moves the action forwards effectively and gives us a deeper insight into the characters. I would like to see a little more in terms of physcial description and differentiation. Saying that, there is a lot of movement and plot development in the early sections, and I managed to follow it all without getting lost; testament to the author's ability to plot carefully.

I'll admit to being a little confused by the use of analepsis and prolepsis - the later chapters in particular jar when you read 'four weeks before the events of chapter 7' - perhaps this would be better done with a date? There are a few typos and syntax errors here, which I'm sure will be rectified with editing. On the whole, this is a remarkable piece of writing for such a young author, and I wish him luck in finishing it - it will be one hell of a story."

Previously I received some other great reviews. The first one I'll post is from NicTei, a mad American author who always puts himself down. I'll have to settle the score with him and leave him a review. Anyway, here's what he had to say:

"Well, I read everything you've got up so far, and let me tell you, it's a great read. That being said, there were some interesting spelling errors that made me reread sentences until I figured out what was supposed to be said.

However, the errors were minor, like a late space (i.e. 'them an' instead of 'the man') or common errors caused by your fingers developing minds of their own while still on the keyboard (i.e. 'teh' instead of 'the').

In conclusion, I found this to be a refreshing read, though I can't say that it's one of the only good things on Bebo. I've lead a sheltered life on the Bebo Authors feature, and have really only read stunning books by the likes of Chinaren and Andy Walker, among others. However, this reaches pretty close to the top of the list, and I'll likely be back if you post anything new.

Keep writing!"

A very friendly review from NicTei. And not too harsh. One of the reviewers who understands a typo when he sees one!

The third of the reviews I'm posting is from China Ren. Yes, the self-praising author I complained about earlier. Here's China Ren's extensive review:

"It's not bad. The theme is possibly a little hackneyed, but what can you do?

As I say below, you need to put more colour into the story. Put some time and work into describing the characters and the world. Take it a little slower in parts as well. There's a bit of a rushed feel here and there.

There are various places in the story that I think could do with a re-work of punctuation. EG:

- She was Emily Quigley. And she was a thief -

I think this should be one sentence with a comma. (And it’s not ‘good’ English to start a sentence with ‘and’ of course, though I understand you are doing it here for impact).

You should try and make sure you use contractions where applicable too. Eg:

- They had received

–“They’d received”

There’s also a lot of ‘telling’ rather than ‘showing’, though this does improve a bit over the course of the tale. Here’s an example:

- Brock was at his car when a white van pulled up beside him. He got ready for a fight; it was just a plain white van, and in the front two men in black. –

You need to try and put more ‘life’ into the descriptions. For example, maybe the above could read something like:The sound of tyres skidding on the road brought Brock out of his reverie. A serious looking white van screeched to a halt nearby, forcing him to dive out of the way. He just had time to glimpse a couple of shapes in the front, men dressed all in black, before the rear doors flew open with a crash…

Sorry, there’s simply not enough room on Bebo to do a really full review. If you post on I’ll try and do a more detailed crit there."

It's not hard to see why I got so annoyed with him, is it? He tells me how to write it for crying out loud!

Geneticide - Getting the Info #2

Time for installment number two! I had an epiphany the other night. I had just finished watching The Phantom of the Opera and realised that Geneticide was not dark enough. Sure, Number One puts the lives of many in the balance, and he's essentially a dark soul, but I'm not happy with him. He could be crueler. And furthermore, there needs to be a darkness outside of him, one that outs "mutants" in danger.

My thoughts - not-so-short stories about characters, mutants I might add, and the dangers they face for being the way they are. One is a blogger, though he never writes it. Another is an unqualified doctor. The third is about a killer and two private detectives bent on taking him down. The fourth is a golem, an iron soldier, a cloud of dust and more. Vague descriptions? that's what I'm aiming for. I will not be revealing the abilities of these characters. Nor will I be revealing their names.

So that's one step to creating a darker Geneticide. And obviously I will be making the villains more evil. I'm going to drop some of the earlier dramatics, go into more depth on my descriptions, and hopefully come out with something that contains the heroics of X-Men, the care of Heroes and the madness of my own mind. A good end result!

Be aware, there will be a re-write!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Forever Story for Autistic Children

On the 30th of June, 2008 Nick Hornby wrote:

“For the first nineteen years of his life, Johnny Razor wasn’t Johnny Razor at all. He was Malcolm Weatherly, and he was born in Mile End Underground station on the night of 17th September 1940.”

These are the opening 35 words of The Forever Story.

It is a concept which encourages people to contribute to the world’s longest collectively-written story. The more people who join in, the longer the story will be, and the more money will be raised for children who find it hard to join in; children with Autism.

For every single contribution to the story via our website, £1 will be donated to Treehouse. We want to reach our donation target of £50,000 and to do that we’d like people to have the opportunity to write alongside some of the world’s most well-known and respected writers.
What we need from you? Just 35 or so words to continue our community-driven epic. The result of which will be more donations to Treehouse .

If you would like to join The Forever Story to help write the longest ever story and do no-end of good, go to:
Taken from:
I myself have entered a passage for The Forever Story (I like supporting charity, sue me).
"The pair decended the stairs, cautiously and slowly. Each step lit up underneath them, fading to a dim glow when they stepped off. Further into the darkness they went; curiosity drove Malcolm on."
Yes, I misspelled descended. My badness, as they say. I realised after I'd posted it that I'd made the mistake. Oh well, there are worse spelling mistakes made throughout the story.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Review - Death's Shadow

The Demonata #7: Death's ShadowAbout the book

Death's Shadow is the seventh book in Darren Shan's Demonata series, where we enter once again the eyes of Bec. In a newly formed body, Bec finds herself 1600 years in her worlds future. When the world becomes threatened by a powerful demon known as Shadow, Bec and her gang must travel through the universe of the Demonata to a ship in the middle of the ocean, thanks to Kernel's ability. Following the usual epic fight, the reader is left perplexed as to what will happen next - we have no idea who lives or dies, how many lies have been told by Shadow, and whether or not certain things perceived in the eyes of Bec really did occur (I'm being as vague as possible with the details so as not to spoil the plot)


Death's Shadow is in keeping with the rest of the Demonata series for its blood, gore and suspense. While we leave the mind of the most common protagonist, Grubbs, to explore the renewed Bec, we are not let down for the usual humour in the narrative. As Bec has the mind of Bill-E, she acts very similar to the way he and Grubbs used to act. This gives the reader an air of familiarity, all the while leaving many questions unanswered. A great read and a must for lovers of the series.

Did Death's Shadow meet up to the standards of the other books in the series?

The simple answer - yes. And not only that, it has set us up for a sequel where we hope to get some more answers. I cannot fault Shan for anything he did... besides confuse his audience about some details.

Most like?

It's a series novel... what do you think?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Honest Reviews, Honest Awards

Honest the Book Reviewer took Bebo Authors by storm. Honest, impartial reviews are offered to give authors a chance to improve on their own work. She has already provided the service to many authors, and has a long list lined up currently. Her hard work and dedication are what make her so unique on Bebo, and she doesn't just review, oh no. She runs a group called Honest Book Awards that help further to promote her name and give writers the praise, recognition and esteem they deserve.

Honest has had the awards going for just over a month now. She has, since then, awarded 10 Honest Awards, some being Members' Choice Awards, and an additional 2 Super Shorts - awards that are given to commend short stories of merit. Every bit of feedback she has received has been appreciative, regardless of what she said in the review. This is largely down to two reasons. One is that the author requested the review, so he/she should not be unhappy when they receive it. Beggars can't be choosers and all that jazz. The second contributing factor is that for once, a review on Bebo is telling authors how to improve, not what the reviewer thinks the author wants to hear or simply telling the author off.

I myself have applied for an Honest review... still on the waiting list that hasn't shifted in a week or so... or more. Still, Honest must have some excuse lined up!

And guess what, that's not all! Honest Book Award Competition aims to help authors improve a certain skill, from what i've interpretted. This time around, Honest has decided on a setting. I've entered a place known as the Crystal Wood... though I don't think I'll win. Ellie Dyer has better fitted into the rules. Hopefully Honest won't be too harsh in her judging.

Geneticide - Getting the Info #1

Geneticide is my latest novel in the making. What I describe as a mesh between Heroes, X-Men and my own personal madness, is a story of real life heroes, with extraordinary abilities. To keep things on a small scale, the characters cannot overuse their abilities (Ted Sprague's induced radioactivity in Heroes and just about every X-Man are examples of when abilities have been used to breaking point.) Should a character overexert him/herself, they would first begin to have headaches, followed by a nose bleed, and leading into crying tears of blood. A sign of strain I often use in the book, particularly when one character, a teleporter, uses his ability too frequently.

In one extreme case, overexertion caused one character to lose his ability temporarily. That man is known to the world as Number One, a name he gave himself. With visions of grandeur and an ability of induced evolution (the simplest term many of the characters have come to believe gave them their ability), Number One tries to take over the world. His army of haf-turned humans cannot use their abilities to harm him, and only a small number are naturally gifted. The half-turned suffer from the process by receiving a change to their vocal chords and a change in colour of the iris of their eyes. Each one has a peculiar voice and violet eyes, though males are more prone to dramatic changes in the former.

In combat against Number One are the unwilling heroes of Geneticide. The first we encounter, and indeed a series favourite, is Emily Quigley, a young woman with the ability to walk through solid objects. She lives with her friend Brock, a fire thrower (his ability is known as pyrokinesis), in a small apartment that acts as their base of operations. From there, they are trying to take down a company known as Horizon Inc. The secret to their mission lies in a story known as Welcome to the World of Emily Quigley.

WWEQ is but one story of many I have planned that will form a book known as Geneticide: Origins. Yes, the name comes from Heroes: Origins, although the idea is much different. Heroes planned to use Origins to introduce new characters into the show. Geneticide is simply giving the origin of the characters in their own individual plot. So far there are three written - WWEQ, The Secret Life of Stephen Doyle, and Eva Untouched. Eva is a secret, so don't bother asking.

Geneticide has a large cast of characters - last time I checked, the series had 97 characters on record, though the full plot so far spans a time of 80 years. Why that is, I cannot tell you. I'd be revealing some plot secrets doing that. I can tell you that the plot will have some serious bangs!

There will be more on Geneticide in the future. Until then, feel free to read the chapters I have online by clicking the title of this post!

Slán go foill.

Review - The Invisible Girl

First thing I can say about this book - I wish I'd started reading it sooner! When it came to a stage where the day was ending, I had to leave the final three chapters for this morning. I hate leaving a book like that these days, but in the end I thoroughly enjoyed reading it this morning.

While there is obviously some work to do as regards editting, as every book needs, I can only find fault in the typos that may have occurred. The book was flawless, from every last detail that was revealed. The characters were consistent and believable, and never strayed too much from who they really are. They visibly matured as the story progressed and gave a true sense of realism to the story.

In diary format, the book flowed wonderfully. Each day that passed in Ellie Dyer's life was quick and easy to read, and let me get through each chapter quickly. In no time at all I was nearing the end of the tale, and I loved every last minute of it.

The author, Ellie Dyer, has confirmed that the story is based on her own time training to become a teacher, adding in various twists that provide the story with some extra flavour. Even knowing this, I found it hard to decipher fact from fiction.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants a good read, filled with emotion and scandal that provides the reader with a sense of wonderment.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Adrian Sudbury RIP

I am sad to report that Adrian Sudbury, a cancer sufferer for nearly two years, passed away two days ago. He had two strains of cancer, but he never stopped fighting.

I only came to notice this as I decided to read his blog for the first time. With the release of The Literary Den Book of Fiction, we were to have a review from him, if he would give us one. It is unfortunate timing for us, and a horrible tragedy all the same.

On behalf of the Literary Den, I offer my condolances to his family. May he Rest in Peace.

Chinaren's Books

China Ren is a Beboer that has, in all honesty, cast himself into the limelight. He set up his Chinaren's Books Bebo Group page a couple of months ago, where he promised to review stories people wished for him to review. I'm not going to say I didn't appreciate the review I got from him on Geneticide, but it's actually the page he set up with that I have a problem with. He blows his own trumpet, a lot. The entire section where one is meant to describe the group is filled with links to his Bebo Author pages. He never claims to put his own tastes for a genre aside when he reads a book, and gives only his opinion, not a verdict, on a book he reads.

Every blog and forum post that I can see on the page is from him, usually about something he did. And it's not just on his group page. I've seen other pages where he invades the forum space of the group in question to tell even more people about his work. I know authors are supposed to get themselves noticed, but what he does... I'm not very fond on that idea. I've seen similar pages to Chinaren's, but none seem to boast themselves so much.

Another thing he does, worse than other sites I might add, is his certificates. He has three different types - Good Read, Great Read and Awesome. Personally, I think comparing authos likes that is a bit harsh. I know I didn't appreciate the Good Read cert. Not when he immediately gives other authors a Great Read. The star rating is there on books for a reason.

He awards are too impersonal for my liking. Three awards, and that's it. And once he's reviewed you, that's it. He'll leave a public comment on his page, then a few comments later and no one can see it anymore. No archive available to the public. It's just his way of getting noticed!

He even tried to tell me how I should write my book! The nerve! I never make suggestions in actual prose format. I might say where someone can improve, but I never leave the way I would write something. That's downright insulting.

I'm not going to say he's a bad writer, but I cannot judge him fairly after he treated my work the way he did. I find hacking him to piece with this to be much more beneficial for me anyway. Stress relief, and all that jazz.

The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword... and it won't get me in half as much trouble.

Review - Mostly Harmless

Mostly HarmlessAbout the book

Mostly Harmless is the fifth book in Douglas Adams' "trilogy." It follows the same main characters as before, only in ways we've never envisioned. Much of the first few chapters is spent by the reader trying to figure out exactly what's happening. When a story begins with a space ship that has literally lost its mind, and the main characters aren't where they're supposed to be, it leaves much to the reader to try figure it out. The answer is given in the form of the third axis in the continum of the universe. The first two are "space" and "time" while the third, and possibly most important depending on how you look at things, is "probability." For this reason, we find the Guide has changed, Arthur is lost in an infinite number of Earths that aren't Earth, Ford is super annoyed and Tricia is a reporter in two different places - one on Earth, the other travelling through space and time to deal with stories that may never happen.


Overall, a hilarious and enjoyable read. Once I got over the initial problem of not quite knowing where anyone was, the book joined its predassessors as a great Sci-Fi Comedy. I would recommend it to anyone who wants a good laugh, although it's probably better to start with The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. It's much less confusing, equally as funny, and once you've read the book, you can watch the movie.

Did Mostly Harmless meet up to the standards of the other book in the series?

When it comes to plot, it just about pulled itself together. It almost didn't make it there, but I decided when everything finally made sense that the plot worked. But it was a lot harder to follow.

It was as funny, if not funnier than, the other four books. We return to Arthur Dent being completely uselss at anything space related, and he's still rather confused by just about everything Ford Prefect can throw at him.

Most like?

The other four books, of course.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Literary Den Book of New Fiction 2008

The Literary Den Book of New Fiction 2008 is the first book ever that I'm in. I was very excited when Claire Hack (AKA The Rainbow Powered Rocket Rabbit) suggested the idea on our forum! A Literary Den book! After only 6 months the group were planning a large project like no other any of us had ever seen. That is, no one but Samantha Priestley. She was introduced to us by Chris Stewart when her first book, Despite Losing it on Finkle Street, went on sale. So with one published author, a whole bunch of hopefuls, a marketing expert and a very keen editor!

As a group, our first task was to get a name. Many were suggested and shot down in an instant, but finally we ended up with our final title. Then it was Claire Hack's job, after she made a first version, to make a cover for the book.

This is the final version Claire made. It went from being grey, to burnt, to finally ending with the blue tint. Every member voted on what option to use, and we finally ended with this:

The charity was pretty easy for us to agree on. Andy Walker, our final editor, suggested it at the start. We all knew in our hearts it was the best way to go. A charity that helped people our age was a message we liked. After so much hard work put in by us, we want to know it'll be put to good use.

The Laura Crane Trust is the only UK and Ireland based charity that fund research into cancers affecting young people between the ages of 13 and 25. Based in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, the charity was founded by Jacquie Roeder, Laura's mother after the latter's untimely death only two weeks after her seventeenth birthday. As cancer in young people can be extremely damaging to their health and their esteem, the LCT aims to improve their lives during treatment as well as funding methods to battling cancer. Cancer in young people spreads and grows quicker than in other age groups because teenagers are going through growth spurts. This makes cases of cancer much worse for them, despite cases of cancer in this age group being rarer.

After months of hard work, the Literary Den had released their book to help the LCT. The battle against cancer just got one more ally. Help us prove that The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword.


Greetings all! Welcome to Mightier Than the Sword, a home for the written word. My name is Paul Carroll. I'm one of two founders of The Literary Den, an avid reader, editor for my school's magazine and a writer. Over the course of this blog, I will be leaving reviews on books I enjoyed, be they hardcopies from a bookstore, or internet available books (such as those on Bebo.) I will also be using this chance to tell you all about my own books and work, explain more about The Literary Den, and hopefully persuade you to support our most recent cause - The Literary Den Book of New Fiction.

I'll begin there, if you don't mind. The Literary Den Book of New Fiction was first suggested in September 2007 by a Literary Den member, Rocket Rabbit. Over the following months, fourteen members produced a total of fourteen stories, all in aid of one charity. That charity, is The Laura Crane Trust (reg. 1058464). Set up to fund research into cancers affecting young people between the ages of 13 and 25, The Laura Crane Trust became the first charity The Literary Den decided to support. After a lot of hard work from Andy Walker, a source of knowledge in the Den, as well as a might horror writer, The Literary Den Book of New Fiction 2008 became available to the public. And it hasn't been out too long either! It was only yesterday that I found out it was on sale, due my lack of being online the day before. However, since it's release on Tuesday, it has already sold a fair few (and I mean a few) copies. The Literary Den, and indeed The Laura Crane Trust, need your help to make this project work.

As to my own work, I'll tell you that it is most often compared to X-Men, for my use of the term "mutant." The story is called Geneticide; it's based in a warped version of Ireland, without actually saying that, of course. The term "mutant" is media given, and adopted amongst those with abilities as a way of identifying themselves. There are two generalised views amongst them - those that feel different for having their ability, and those that feel superior for having it. The latter are, of course, the villains. One man in particular, who has given himself the name Number One, despises humans. While the reason for this is revealed in a side story (as part of my Origins stories), I can tell you now, it is not because he was abused for his ability. In truth, he simply enjoys the power.

Now, before I go any further, I suppose I'd better tell you a little more about myself. I'm seventeen years of age, I live in Dublin, and I've got the weirdest tastes in music. Not that the music is weird, just that the genres don't quite fit together. During Transition Year (early 2007 I'm on about now), I got into Soul music, thanks to Irish writer Roddy Doyle and his novel, The Commitments. Sometime around then, my older brother David got me into Muse (I'm sure most people know who they are now.) And most recently I got into Nightwish, the symphonic power metal band from Finland. I also enjoy artists such as Leona Lewis and Rihanna, I can stand to listen to Kanye West, and let's not forget the all important factor that I'm in a gospel choir. Not that I can sing, but my best friend set it up and asked me to join, so I did. We're based in Beaumont if anyone's interested!

As to my tastes in books - the first book I ever truly enjoyed was In Deep Dark Wood by Marita Conlon-McKenna. I read every book in A Series of Unfortunate Events, and the Harry Potter books. I love His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman, and anything I've read by Garth Nix I've loved. Darren Shan is my connection to horror (and oftentimes mindless slaying) and the cherry on the Kids' Section cake is Michael Scott. I've gotten into Steven Erikson's books (The Malazan Book of the Fallen) and I've read a few David Gemmell books. I read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and the books following it, and I've started reading Stephenie Meyer's books. I've read everything Dan Brown has published, despite the often pointed out repetitiveness of them. I've also read some titles you may not have heard of, such as Greely's Cove by John Gideon and Despite Losing it on Finkle Street by Samantha Priestley (a member of the Literary Den.)

That's it for now, but remember - The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword.