Attica Question #9 ~ Writing Style

by Garry Kilworth

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Attica Question #9 ~ Writing Style

Unread postby Liz » Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:14 pm

Keeping in mind that this is a “young adult” book, what did you think of Garry Kilworth’s writing style?
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Re: Attica Question #9 ~ Writing Style

Unread postby nebraska » Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:29 pm

I know that Garry is going to read this, but I really am not trying to butter him up. :whistle: I have been know to really put my foot in it when I didn't like something.

I thought the writing style was excellent. The characters were well-defined, the various areas of the attic were clearly described, the action moved along quickly. All of this was accomplished without a bunch of boring description or long explanations. He achieved these things by telling the story -- the sense of terror when the voodoo dolls were coming, the feeling of calm when petting Nelson......a bit about Chloe's character when she was charming Mr. Grantham in the garden. When straightforward descriptive passages were required, they were brief and they were vivid. I thought the book was skillfully written for any age. :bouquet:

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Re: Attica Question #9 ~ Writing Style

Unread postby ladylinn » Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:50 pm

I agree with all you said nebraska. I found the writing style flowing and kept the story moving. We learn background on all the characters without too much indepth information. Jordy, Chloe and Alex each had their own story and Garry blended it in smooothly without losing the pace of the story. The attic descriptions were great - scarey, suspensful and kind. I call a book like this a "real page turner". Couldn't hardly wait for the next adventure.
Maybe we are "buttering" you up Garry - but we really liked your book! :ok:

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Re: Attica Question #9 ~ Writing Style

Unread postby Bix » Wed Sep 16, 2009 6:21 pm

I really liked Garry's writing style, too, for all the reasons you have already stated. And I also never felt as if I was reading something that had been "dumbed down" for younger readers. I really respect that in an author, because young readers are very smart and don't need to be talked down to or held by the hand. So it's a thumbs up from me. I really enjoyed the book.
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Re: Attica Question #9 ~ Writing Style

Unread postby Liz » Wed Sep 16, 2009 6:40 pm

I agree with nebraska, that it is a book that was written in a style/level that would appeal to all ages. As Bix so eloquently pointed out, it was not dumbed down. After all, look how many tidbits we got out of it. On the other hand, it was written in an easy flowing style, like nebraska and ladylinn said, that would keep the interest of younger readers. And the use of certain plot devices kept us interested in reading further (i.e. Jordy’s temporary disappearance).

I want to share that when I was trying to locate the book and trying to figure out when more books might be available, I called the buyer at my local indie bookstore. When I told her the name of the book, her response was “I loved that book!” This was from a woman, at least in her 30s, I’m sure, who lives and breathes books day in and day out. She obviously didn’t think it to be too young for her.
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Re: Attica Question #9 ~ Writing Style

Unread postby Theresa » Wed Sep 16, 2009 8:42 pm

I really enjoyed Garry's writing style....and the story, too. I noticed that he would change the tense depending on whose story he was telling. The children's adventures were always written in past tense...they explored, they walked, they did; but every time we moved over to the story of the board-comber and his bat, and Amanda with her owl, the story shifted to present tense...for example, on p.324: Safe inside the forest, she turns and looks at him standing there, until finally he enters the dark patch behind him. When the children are present and talking to the board-combers, the conversations and actions are written in past tense.

Interesting...I might think the story is written that way because time doesn't move in the attic, so all time is the present; but the boretrekker's time alone is written in the past tense.

Whatever the reason, I really think it works for the story. It pulls the reader into the conversation between the humans and their animal companions. Hey, maybe the reason the boretrekker and the Removal Firm's stories aren't past tense is because they don't talk to their animals. Just a guess....

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Re: Attica Question #9 ~ Writing Style

Unread postby nebraska » Wed Sep 16, 2009 9:05 pm

Theresa wrote:I really enjoyed Garry's writing style....and the story, too. I noticed that he would change the tense depending on whose story he was telling. The children's adventures were always written in past tense...they explored, they walked, they did; but every time we moved over to the story of the board-comber and his bat, and Amanda with her owl, the story shifted to present tense...for example, on p.324: Safe inside the forest, she turns and looks at him standing there, until finally he enters the dark patch behind him. When the children are present and talking to the board-combers, the conversations and actions are written in past tense.

Interesting...I might think the story is written that way because time doesn't move in the attic, so all time is the present; but the boretrekker's time alone is written in the past tense.

Whatever the reason, I really think it works for the story. It pulls the reader into the conversation between the humans and their animal companions. Hey, maybe the reason the boretrekker and the Removal Firm's stories aren't past tense is because they don't talk to their animals. Just a guess....


Theresa, that is an amazing observation. :applause2: But now that you mention it, there was a different feeling to the parts where the attic residents were involved -- almost a sense of immediacy or urgency. I didn't quite "get" what was going on at the time, but I did notice there was a difference.

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Re: Attica Question #9 ~ Writing Style

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Sep 16, 2009 9:11 pm

theresa, that is a very interesting observation that I had not noticed either. Hmm... Garry?
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Re: Attica Question #9 ~ Writing Style

Unread postby trygirl » Wed Sep 16, 2009 11:03 pm

Theresa, your answer is really great. Maybe the moments with the children were in the past because time did move for them. In their mind, time remains of the essence. Their days aren't void of time yet. But all of this could be reaching on my part. The kids are completing their actions and for Atticans, they're sort of just running in place. Nice discussion ladies.
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Re: Attica Question #9 ~ Writing Style

Unread postby gemini » Thu Sep 17, 2009 12:29 am

I am late and see that the subject is pretty well covered. I agree with everyone that it was written well and being an adult I enjoyed it as much as a child might. To be honest I didn't notice the tense changed from character to character but I like the fact that it seems to apply to the time boundaries of the story.
I didn't notice that the bortrekker didn't talk to his rats either. I know he named them Arthur and Harold and they rode in his pockets. There is a line where Jordy says the rats seem to not be used to the bortrekker talking to another human. It made me think either he didn't talk at all or maybe they thought he only talked to them. Maybe he only played music for them.
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Re: Attica Question #9 ~ Writing Style

Unread postby deppaura » Thu Sep 17, 2009 1:24 am

Because of the nature of this discussion I guess I should add my "two cents" here. Most aspects of Garry's writing,which have been described here also appeal to me . I share all favorable commentary. Theresa's comments surprised me, as I too had not noticed the tense changes and certainly wonder why they were used. The mystery of the author's inspiration and purpose. I got caught up in the word "style" in thinking about the writing. O.K., Garry has a background in science fiction writing, so that is a particular "style" of writing? A style greatly borrowing from the imagined, unknown, fantasy and explorative thinking? Sort of projective thinking? Sorry, but, I do get carried away!! Minds do operate in different channels. So, some of that writing background is evident in Attica. Almost linear. But the intriguing part of his writing is the combination of "science" along with an ability for fireside story telling. I think both talents were evident in this story. It made the experience of Attica very special.

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Re: Attica Question #9 ~ Writing Style

Unread postby Liz » Thu Sep 17, 2009 10:26 am

Deppaura, I got a little caught up in “what is style?” when I was working on my answer yesterday. I think it can mean a lot of things. And I think we’ve covered quite a bit of territory in that regard. Your point about his combining science with “fireside storytelling” is quite astute. I view his writing as being much more than sci-fi or fantasy.

Theresa, that’s a very interesting theory about the tenses and time. I had not noticed the changes myself. I really hope that Garry will weigh in on this one.
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Re: Attica Question #9 ~ Writing Style

Unread postby Garry » Fri Sep 18, 2009 12:04 pm

Theresa, you got it in one. Obviously you have a good analytical mind!

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Re: Attica Question #9 ~ Writing Style

Unread postby gemini » Fri Sep 18, 2009 6:16 pm

Theresa wrote:I really enjoyed Garry's writing style....and the story, too. I noticed that he would change the tense depending on whose story he was telling. The children's adventures were always written in past tense...they explored, they walked, they did; but every time we moved over to the story of the board-comber and his bat, and Amanda with her owl, the story shifted to present tense...for example, on p.324: Safe inside the forest, she turns and looks at him standing there, until finally he enters the dark patch behind him. When the children are present and talking to the board-combers, the conversations and actions are written in past tense.

Interesting...I might think the story is written that way because time doesn't move in the attic, so all time is the present; but the boretrekker's time alone is written in the past tense.

Whatever the reason, I really think it works for the story. It pulls the reader into the conversation between the humans and their animal companions. Hey, maybe the reason the boretrekker and the Removal Firm's stories aren't past tense is because they don't talk to their animals. Just a guess....

Garry said " Theresa, you got it in one. Obviously you have a good analytical mind!"


I do agree that Theresa was certianly attentive and on her toes. I certainly don't have an analytical mind but I do have a curious one. Now I am trying to figure out why the bortrekker is differnet from the other atticans. Am I the only one in the dark here?
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Re: Attica Question #9 ~ Writing Style

Unread postby Liz » Fri Sep 18, 2009 6:52 pm

gemini wrote:
Theresa wrote:I really enjoyed Garry's writing style....and the story, too. I noticed that he would change the tense depending on whose story he was telling. The children's adventures were always written in past tense...they explored, they walked, they did; but every time we moved over to the story of the board-comber and his bat, and Amanda with her owl, the story shifted to present tense...for example, on p.324: Safe inside the forest, she turns and looks at him standing there, until finally he enters the dark patch behind him. When the children are present and talking to the board-combers, the conversations and actions are written in past tense.

Interesting...I might think the story is written that way because time doesn't move in the attic, so all time is the present; but the boretrekker's time alone is written in the past tense.

Whatever the reason, I really think it works for the story. It pulls the reader into the conversation between the humans and their animal companions. Hey, maybe the reason the boretrekker and the Removal Firm's stories aren't past tense is because they don't talk to their animals. Just a guess....

Garry said " Theresa, you got it in one. Obviously you have a good analytical mind!"


I do agree that Theresa was certianly attentive and on her toes. I certainly don't have an analytical mind but I do have a curious one. Now I am trying to figure out why the bortrekker is differnet from the other atticans. Am I the only one in the dark here?

Gemini, you are not alone in the dark. I'll have to think on this a bit.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


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