The Enid Blyton Society

The Last Summer - Robert Houghton

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Re: The Last Summer - Robert Houghton

Postby Rob Houghton » 22 Dec 2017, 14:32

MJE wrote:
pete9012S wrote:I'm always mindful that The Enid Blyton Dossier was one of the best books about Enid Blyton ever produced and yet it ran into unforeseen difficulties.

     Ahh... what happened there? It was one of a few books about Enid Blyton I had intentions of looking for some time, but life got in the way and I never quite got round to that.
     So is it out of print now? Possible to buy used still? I think that is one that would interest me.

Regards, Michael.


it can still sometimes be bought on Amazon and eBay - but I think most are second-hand copies. :-)
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: The Last Summer - Robert Houghton

Postby pete9012S » 22 Dec 2017, 15:44

I hope in view of all the positive comments and constructive criticism, you will still consider unleashing, sorry releasing an exciting children's book that you have already written Rob - even if only in kindle format.

I would be most interested to read that.

Regards

Pete
" A kind heart always brings its own reward," said Mrs. Lee.
- The Christmas Tree Aeroplane -


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Re: The Last Summer - Robert Houghton

Postby Rob Houghton » 22 Dec 2017, 15:48

well, not so sure about 'exciting' but I'm certainly considering it! Watch this space as they say! though you may be 'watching' a while! :lol:
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: The Last Summer - Robert Houghton

Postby Courtenay » 22 Dec 2017, 15:58

MJE wrote:     For some Australian accents, maybe not an oxymoron. We do have some shockers here, sometimes - nasal, distorted vowels, gabbling, cutting off letters. If it's bad enough, I can hardly understand what's being said.


Very true. I was half joking about the "horrendously Aussie" bit — I've never had a really broad accent and I'm told I've lost some of it since moving to the UK. But if I hear myself recorded, I do think the accent stands out a lot! That could just be my perception of it, though.
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Re: The Last Summer - Robert Houghton

Postby pete9012S » 22 Dec 2017, 16:57

I will await your next release with patient, bated breath Rob.
I trust there will be no murders in your books for younger readers? :wink:
" A kind heart always brings its own reward," said Mrs. Lee.
- The Christmas Tree Aeroplane -


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Re: The Last Summer - Robert Houghton

Postby Rob Houghton » 22 Dec 2017, 18:35

sort of...! Not strictly true in some ways, as one revolves around a witch and the idea that she might have helped someone on their way in pretence of curing him..>!!!

Also some children die in a fire in one book and appear as ghosts.
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: The Last Summer - Robert Houghton

Postby pete9012S » 22 Dec 2017, 18:57

Well I don't mind a bit of fictional non-gratuitous violence if it serves the plot Rob.

Courtenay will of course be livid (but hopefully not murderous) if she stumbles across these plot teasers - but both books sound good Rob!

Regards

Pete
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Re: The Last Summer - Robert Houghton

Postby John Pickup » 22 Dec 2017, 19:21

Moonraker wrote:
Rob Houghton wrote:I'm sure saying this will make me look like a villain - but I was quite surprised at the many mistakes in your book, if I'm honest -


I'm not sure villain is the word, but I do think you have overstepped the mark, Rob. This thread is beginning to look very spiteful, and I don't think comments such as you made show you in a particularly good light. I am sure you didn't mean to be hurtful or come over in this way, but that is how your post appears to me. If I were Julie, I would be very upset.


I think Rob's comments were ill-advised too. I've read Julie's book and didn't particularly notice any printing errors or typos. But, if they exist, perhaps it would have been better if Rob had sent a PM to Julie pointing them out and not discussing it on a forum which could embarrass the author. I hope that Julie hasn't been put off writing more books in the future.
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Re: The Last Summer - Robert Houghton

Postby Anita Bensoussane » 22 Dec 2017, 19:30

I tend to agree with Keith that once a book has been published it's up for public discussion - and that includes criticism as well as praise. And as Keith said, if the author is made aware that there are errors they can be rectified for future editions. I think very highly of an author called Julia Golding, especially her Cat Royal series, but I was surprised to see quite a few mistakes in one of her Darcie Lock books (including several references to Miss Havisham from Great Expectations with 'Havisham' spelt incorrectly as 'Haversham'). When writing about the book online, I mentioned the errors along with some more positive points.
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Re: The Last Summer - Robert Houghton

Postby Rob Houghton » 22 Dec 2017, 19:52

My serial stories are heavily proof-read - five or six times by myself, then by Tony, then by Anita. I'm always glad of the feedback anyone gives.

It's important to remember that I have criticised myself on this thread more than I've criticised anyone else - and have not criticised Julie personally - only her publisher, who should have picked up any typos before they published her book. Julie herself noted that it had been professionally proof-read - so I was simply expressing surprise that a proof reader should miss the typos etc.

My Last Summer first draft was littered with errors. Some have been pointed out to me, and I altered them - three times. I'm sure there are still many others. With my self-published book, the blame must be laid squarely at my feet, as no others were involved - whereas Julie's book was handled by several professionals. The point I was making was that they have let her down, in my opinion. Nothing to do with Julie's story - which was excellent.

As others have said - we put our books out to the public and expect criticism. I once put The Last Summer on a writers forum, where books could be uploaded to receive critical feedback. I got quite a lot - all bad - it was too slow, it was boring, it didn't keep people reading, the characters were unbelievable, etc etc. All this was public. It makes the writer a bit indignant. I was indignant - but everyone is entitled to their opinion, and as I had put my book out there, I had to take the criticism they gave. None of it was constructive, and all of it was negative!
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: The Last Summer - Robert Houghton

Postby Wolfgang » 23 Dec 2017, 08:01

Anita Bensoussane wrote:I tend to agree with Keith that once a book has been published it's up for public discussion - and that includes criticism as well as praise.


It's a pity that the word criticism isn't defined by Kant's approach any longer, which includes both positive and negative aspects of the discussed matter. The way it's used now it usually focusses on the negative aspects :-(.
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Re: The Last Summer - Robert Houghton

Postby Moonraker » 23 Dec 2017, 10:01

Yes, I can see both sides of the argument here. I find it easy to criticise a work by someone unknown to me - for example a writer who slaughters an Agatha Christie book for a TV adaptation. I think when it is a friend, it becomes more difficult. If I were to write a book (or anything, come to that) and was told that it was littered with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, I think I would be a bit upset - especially after it had been published and had gone beyond alteration. I have noticed mistakes in the Society Journal, but would never dream of pointing them out on the Journal thread. I suppose that is different to a degree as it is a self-published magazine and not on general sale. Jane, (my wife), had a book printed/published - an autobiography. I proof-read it at least five times correcting typos and so on. On seeing the finished article, there was a mistake on the first page - a glaring one which I had missed five times! This book is only for family use and not intended for publication, so I suppose it isn't that important. It is strange how you can read a Word document many times, but spot mistakes once you read it in book format. Jane thinks that writing on a computer leads to more typos as you type so quickly. If everything was hand-written, there would be far fewer mistakes. She might have a point.

Anita wrote:I tend to agree with Keith that once a book has been published it's up for public discussion - and that includes criticism as well as praise.


Constructive criticism, yes. However, as I said above, my feeling is to try not to hurt someone's feelings, all the same. Especially when that someone is a friend and we are writing on a public forum. "It's a pity that your publisher missed a few typos" might sound better than "I was surprised at how many mistakes there were in your book." I'm not having a go at you Rob, I may well be being too sensitive and I have written things in the past that I later regret - not that I am inferring that you might be regretting your post - after all, you wrote as you saw it. I'm just saying how I would feel if it was me. It's a bit like having a baby and people saying, "I was surprised to see how ugly it is!" All right, I know that's rather a silly comparison, although one's first book must be rather like your own baby.

I think this sums up my feelings:

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
― Maya Angelou


Again, I'm really not casting you as a villain, and that quote isn't directed at you, Rob! After all, apart from two people, everyone seems to agree with you. I suppose once you are published, you have to harden your shell. No-one likes criticism (unless it is in proof-reading stage)! All credence to those who thrive on it!

I'm sorry your book thread has been taken over by Julie's book, which already has its own thread, Rob! You very kindly sent me your book before it was published, and I did enjoy it. Just saying that to bring the thread back on topic! :D
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Re: The Last Summer - Robert Houghton

Postby Anita Bensoussane » 23 Dec 2017, 10:32

Moonraker wrote:"It's a pity that your publisher missed a few typos" might sound better than "I was surprised at how many mistakes there were in your book."

The first comment is worded slightly more tactfully, though they mean much the same. I don't think Rob intended "mistakes" to sound horribly negative as he used the word when talking about his own book earlier. Besides, "typos" really only refers to the odd letter being wrong. "Mistakes" also covers things like problems with tense or phrasing.
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Re: The Last Summer - Robert Houghton

Postby Moonraker » 23 Dec 2017, 10:34

Yes, I know the difference between typos and mistakes. I was trying to be tactful.
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Re: The Last Summer - Robert Houghton

Postby Rob Houghton » 23 Dec 2017, 11:31

I was really only commenting on the publisher, not on Julie's work. She has been published legitimately, not self-published as I have - so one would assume that there would be no errors in the manuscript at all after professionals have looked it over. That's all I was saying, to be honest.

I am very, very critical of myself and my own work and always have been...maybe that's why I come across as rather harsh. I believe in saying it how it is - with my work as well as anyone else's! Nigel - when you read my very early non-proofed draft of The Last Summer, it was awful - so many errors, which you were kind enough not to point out, but I wouldn't have minded if you had. My serial stories always have loads of mistakes, despite proof-reading five times...the difference is, in Tony and Anita, we seem to have expert proof-readers who know what they are doing!

I understand the 'public criticism v private criticism' thing, but as Julie and I don't always see eye to eye, I think a private message to her might have caused even more upset. Anyway, I really didn't feel I was criticising Julie because I know that all manuscripts are littered with typos and errors before being proofed. Its usually pretty common! No one is perfect, and mistakes and typos happen - its called being human!

My book still has mistakes now - but the difference is I can always remove them, as my book is in permanent 'draft' mode. I guess that's the difference, compared to a legitimately published book like Julie's - its unfortunate that the publisher didn't make it the best ('cleanest' as Keith would say) version they could, before printing it. I can't understand why they didn't. It would certainly give me pause if I ever thought about submitting a book to them!
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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