Thoughts for the week – a little jewel on writing too

climate changeWriting

Authors will likely stumble upon the phrase ‘unpacking a sentence’. I did recently. Writing can be arduous.  A lot of thought goes into a story. It’s easy to grow careless and write a sentence that ‘tells’ the reader something but doesn’t ‘show’ them much. I found this article that outlines how to unpack and transform dull, but necessary, text. If the text isn’t necessary, delete it. Click here.

Climate change

Global warming. We all know about it: ‘Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities,1and most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position’. This information is provided by NASA. Click here.

Some climate sceptics may hang onto the words ‘very likely’. They might say it doesn’t mean definitely. In fact they could somehow interpret these statistics to mean ‘definitely not’. If I went to 100 doctors, and after a rigorous physical examination 97 % of them agreed that I needed to take action or my health would deteriorate rapidly, I would take their advice. To use this analogy, some climate sceptics wouldn’t. Good luck to them.

Current Events that I found interesting

Rather than calling someone a ‘drug kingpin’, I prefer the term drug dealer. Let’s not rank the filthy scumbags. They’re all the same. Click here.

I love this article – perhaps humanity is truly beginning to realise that beauty definitely isn’t skin deep. The younger generation frequently nudges evolutionary changes in perception in the right direction. Well done, young’uns. You’ve got my vote. Click here.


Love – is it science, sex (just to spice up the title) or something else?

love poemI watched About Time on Valentine’s day. Rachel McAdam’s is the Queen of romantic comedy. It’s not as good as Love Actually, although I liked the time travel thing. The movie got me thinking. It’s logical to assume love is a chemical reaction, a biological process that science can take all the credit for.  Biblically ‘God is love’. If you’re not convinced there’s a divine being, perhaps you’re inclined to believe there’s a chubby little cherub flying around with a bow and arrow. Some people think love is a deep, spiritual connection between two people. I lean towards the latter. Although I love science – I want to own a Bunsen burner because it sounds cool and I like alliteration – I want to believe that the feeling I get when I truly love someone, or something, is more than a bunch of chemicals. Nobody can change my mind on this one – I won’t even allow my brain to question my firm (and so what if it’s fanciful) belief that love is one of the few things in our universe that is truly infinite.

So there

Jonathan K Benton

Lessons Learned – if I could impart one piece of advice to first-time authors this would be it.

chapter oneI am a perfectionist, in terms of my writing. Most authors probably are. This doesn’t mean we think our writing is perfect. It means we’ll never be content with the finished product. I’m constantly looking for ways to improve the craft.

I’m halfway through my second manuscript. Fate – or perhaps chance – has introduced me to a brilliant young woman. She is helping me craft my next draft (very Dr Suess – ‘craft the draft’). Based on the work we’ve been doing, I now think it’s essential to have someone to bounce ideas off through the drafting process. Joelene is somewhat of a connoisseur of young adult literature. She asks the hard questions of my work, like: Why does Laika (a principal character in my next book) behave like this when she’s in that situation? Why does Jack (the main protagonist) say this when previously he’s said that? Is there a reason this character has no friends? What’s your motive for creatures in this world doing that? Why does the main antagonist choose this weapon, when surely that weapon is far more menacing? If I cannot answer Joelene’s questions, I need to revise the text. Each word is chosen for maximum impact. Every action has to have a reason, every scene a purpose. This is why I love writing.

Descriptive writing is one of my strengths – Queensland’s largest paper, The Courier Mail, agrees with me in their fantastic review of A Wicked Kind of Dark (click here to read the full review). I love creating beautiful images and unique phrases. If you want to read a book ‘dripping with descriptive language’ look no further than here. Joelene is ensuring that my weaknesses become strengths in my next novel. Her vast knowledge of the YA market is proving invaluable.

Writing is a deeply personal thing. It is your voice that distinguishes you – nobody else’s. However, I’m discovering the very real benefits of bouncing ideas off someone well-versed in the genre I write. The text is singing. I wish I’d met Joelene earlier!

Ckick here for another useful article I found for authors about to take those first few steps:

Happy writing


Jonathan K Benton.

Arthur Benton is in da house – and some post-baby philosophy!

WP_20140130_005He’s arrived, my second child, the once and future king. Arthur weighs 4.2 kilograms and is 56 centimetres tall. These impressive statistics suggest he won’t be called on to play the hobbit in twenty years if they remake the film. Arthur will tower over his 6 foot 2 dad. There’s still time for me to prepare ingenious ways to beat Arthur in sports where height is an advantage. I will design a basketball hoop that possesses an invisible, ball-blocking barrier activated by a remote control (conveniently located in my pocket). Backyard basketball matches will be mine for all eternity!

Life trumps art, every time. Life inspires art. One look at my beautiful family and the metaphors start to flow, the plots thicken. Spending time with loved ones also puts things into perspective. It helps to reset the compass after a bad day.

Peppa Pig (my oldest boy’s favourite show) puts things into perspective too. It should be mandatory for politicians to sit down together and watch an episode of Peppa Pig before making decisions that affect our children’s future. The leaders I admire the most are the ones who don’t lose touch with their inner child. I’m not suggesting turning parliament into a bouncy castle, but please put the miracle of life (in all its wondrous forms) at the centre of every decision.

Enough about politics. Arthur is practicing his smiles on the couch with his mum now. I’m about to practice my similes for my new book, like a sailor tying knots before a boat race (I’ll have to lift my game based on that example!). As Roberto Benigni said in the title of his film: ‘Life is Beautiful’. So is Arthur Benton.

Signing off

Jonathan K Benton – one very proud dad