Hello my lovely readers, I have been absent for some time due to numerous finals and an incredibly stressful work schedule that has taken over my life, but I’m back now! After a few requests from some aspiring writers, I am going to start a review series where I offer feedback and open things up to discussion in hopes to give advice and inspire the writer.
This week I’m reviewing an excerpt from one of Jackson Williams’ latest novels, which is so new it is still untitled. I have been following him for quite some time now, and from what I have read, he is incredibly talented. We all have that favorite author who seems to speak to us on a personal level, someone who we can identify with, and that is Williams. I’m not completely sure if it’s because we are so close in age, or because we are both suffering in the rainy, Pacific Northwest, but whatever it is, I’ve completely fallen in love with his writing.
Williams opens up the scene with a dramatic blow to the head … literally. “Consider our hero: an hour ago he was sitting in his small apartment alone, imagining and pondering and for obvious reasons replaying over and over and over a scenario where he grabs the little pistol that he kept for protection against various vague threats that had small chances of coming true and, then, with an air of finality, puts the little barrel of the pistol in his mouth and pulls the trigger, just like that and oh so easy, sending a chaotic spray of skull and brain matter against the wall behind him…” Now, you tell me that you don’t want to keep reading after an opening such as this. Williams has a certain power over his readers that draws them in and puts them in a chokehold until the very end. He continues to set up a scene where the main character or “our hero” ponders life and death, introduces age-old questions and introduces himself in a way that can only be done by a number of talented writers.
Suicide, drugs and vulgar language are three of the most sensitive subjects that a lot of people tend to avoid when writing or reading anything in modern society. However, with the right context and the means to deliver such topics, your writing can be successful. Williams samples from these three elements in his draft, which can be difficult to deliver to an audience, but with his fluidity and metaphorical stances, these elements have no negative affects on the writing. In fact, the vulgarity and substances tend to add to the ambiance and help form the characters.
Lastly, near the end of this excerpt, the author notes that the hero is, in fact, himself. “As soon as he had this feeling of awareness, mixed in with drugs and the deep darkness that none of us ever want to face in our own lives, Jackson Williams — that would be me — began to become convinced that he was living inside of some poorly written satire that was devised over a weekend, a true hack-job…” This truly is an inception-esque twist in his writing, where it left me questioning what I had just read previously in the excerpt. After becoming informed that the writer is also the main character, I immediately felt a sense of closeness to Williams. Needless to say, I don’t know how much of the story is actually related to his life, but I felt like I got to know him on a deeper level, nonetheless.
I’ve read this excerpt nearly a dozen times, and not because I’m writing a review on it, but because every time I reread it, a tiny part of me is hoping that the author has added more to it. This peek inside his book left me thirsting for more, and if a writer can get their reader hooked in roughly 1,000 words, they’re doing something right.
Please, leave your comments, suggestions and feedback for Jackson Williams below: