After She’s Gone by Lisa Jackson

Goodreads Average Rating: 3.51 out of 5

‘He watched. Carefully. Paying attention to every detail as the rain sheeted the night-dark sky and streetlights reflected on the wet pavement.Two women were running, faster and faster, and he smiled as the first passed into the lamp’s pool of illumination. her face twisted in terror; her beautiful features distorted by fear.’

– Lisa Jackson, After She’s Gone – Prologue

Novel by Lisa Jackson, After She's Gone, Australian CoverAfter She’s Gone follows the story of Cassie Kramer and what happens after her younger sister and movie star, Allie, goes missing. Cassie deals with her own sanity while trying to find out what happened to her sister. The third instalment of Lisa Jackson’s Northwest series. This book brings a new mystery for readers to enjoy.

Much like Stephen King, I never heard of Lisa Jackson when I was given this novel. After She’s Gone was given to me, from my sister, for my birthday this year. At first glance I wasn’t sure what my sister had brought me, but as we are all told from a young age: ‘Never judge a book by its cover.’ Flipping over to inspect the book further, I couldn’t help but feel intrigued to read it soon as possible.

The opening to After She’s Gone is one of my favourite ways to open a story. Without giving it away, I was pleasantly surprised by how Lisa Jackson twisted the beginning to not confuse her readers, but surprise them. It filled me with excitement for the story to come and I wasn’t disappointed.

The overall story was filled with twists and turns that kept me guessing and I loved how Lisa Jackson wrapped the story up. I found it satisfying and was sad the book came to a end. The character interest me and I wanted to know more and more about them.

I feel the story has a bit of everything for most readers. If your not really interested in a mystery than you probably wouldn’t bother buying this novel, but there is plenty of stuff going on. There are family issue, sibling rivalry, mental issues, lover quarrels, etc. the list is endless. I like how the story touched on all these issues and they really made the characters feel like real people.

However, Lisa Jackson did spend a lot of time with Cassie’s internal dialogue. I felt like the story wasn’t balanced enough. It seemed like there was more time spent in Cassie’s head than experiencing the world around her. The pace also dragged a bit more than I would have liked.

The over all experience of After She’s Gone was interesting and an good read.

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Character Profile

Character profiles can be one of the most important elements when writing. They can help characters seem vivid, real, and alive. The purpose of a character profile is: to assist the writer in creating a character that is as lifelike as possible and to help with continuity issues in the story. It is a simple tool that can help organise your thoughts and ideas about a certain character, and it can help keep track of a character’s idiosyncrasies and relationships. It can also help you think about certain traits or details that you would never have consider about your character.

If, however, you want to write a character from the ground up, a character who is as real as any person living, yet wholly your own creation, then there are three aspects you need to know in depth: the physical, sociological and psychological.
— mooderino, quote from The Three Dimensions of Character

Character profiles are something that I personally don’t always like to use. When I first begin writing a story I like to discover the character as I write. The more I get into the story, the deeper I dig, the more I learn who my character is.

Even if you find the bad guy generally repulsive, you need to be able to put yourself so thoroughly into his shoes while you’re writing him that, just for those moments, you almost believe his slant yourself.
— K.M. Weiland, quote from Maybe Your Bad Guy Is RIGHT!

In some situations though, you can find yourself struggling to move through the story. This can be for a number of reason, but one common reason is because you don’t know your character well enough. An easy way to do this is to answer some questions and you can begin to see your character in a new way. You understand them, and new twists and turns in your story can become clear.

Usually, we combine internal and external conflicts for a richer story. That means we have to understand how our characters approach and resolve conflict.
— Jami Gold, quote from Using Conflict to Understand Our Characters

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The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King


Goodreads Average Rating: 
3.96 out of 5

“I’ve made some things for you, Constant Reader; you see them laid out before you in the moonlight. But before you look at the little handcrafted treasures I have for sale, let’s talk about them for a bit, shall we? It won’t take long. Here, sit down beside me. And do come a little closer. I don’t bite. Except…we’ve known each other for a very long time, and I suspect you know that’s not entirely true. Is it?” – Stephen King, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams: Introduction

51tR6+p5KSL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_I am new to the world of Stephen King but what I have read so far I have enjoyed. I first stepped into the world of the ‘King’ in 2015 when I read his novel Revival. The book was something that intrigued me from the first page and kept me flipping. When I found The Bazaar of Bad Dreams at my local Kmart I took it right off the shelf and brought it home with me. I didn’t bother a glance inside or at the blurb to see what it had to offer. All I knew was that I wanted to explore another world just like the one Stephen King had provided in Revival. (I didn’t even realise till I got home that the book was a collection of short stories.)

Some readers think that buying a book without looking it up or at least having a glance through to see if it is something that would interest you is silly. Normally I would agree with those readers, since I am a cautious reader. However, reading Revival introduced me to a whole knew author who I knew existed but had never explored. The end of Revival left me wanting more of Stephen King’s work and that desire came flooding back when The Bazaar of Bad Dreams appeared.

I am pleased to say that it didn’t disappoint. I wasn’t left sitting in my room at 2 am wondering why I wasted my money. I wasn’t thinking why didn’t I look it up first. I was left sitting on my train halfway between Laverton and Newport sad that it had come to an end. This collection of shorts stories sent me through a whirlwind of emotions from immensely intrigued to snorting with laughter. I loved Stephen King’s dark humour and plot twists; his cliff-hanger endings were exciting and left me with a fun cluster of built up curiosity.

Putting the book down at night to sleep, or closing the book and putting it away to get off the train was hard. I love it when a book pulls me in so much that I just can’t get enough of it. It is hard to find a book that keeps me wanting more. In this case it is an author I want more of and cannot wait to pick up more and more of Stephen King’s books.