Monthly Archives: June 2014

The Fault in Our Stars

Earlier this week I went to see The Fault in Our Stars. I’ve read the book and its always interesting to see how a book is transformed into a film – in particular, for me, because I hope to be making films myself one day.

I liked the book but didn’t think it was fantastic. Most of the reviews I’ve come across seem to be a little OTT. While I like John Green, and his books, I feel his books can be a bit samey. One theme is a family collecting strange things – in Paper Towns it’s Black Santas – and in The Fault in Our Stars it’s encouragements. In both Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska a boy is just a little obsessed about a quirky girl.

If anything I think the film was better than then the book. Shailene Woodley does a wonderful job in the lead role and it is a very faithful adaptation. I think the scenes, and kiss, in the Anne Frank House works better than in the book. In the film we can see what a struggle it is for Hazel to move. So it makes sense, to me at least, that their would be applause – maybe I’m just a hopeless romantic.

In closing I would like to direct you to the blog of my friend Shelley Taylor. She’s got a pod cast in which she talks about bedtime stories.

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I Joined a Gym

After thinking about it for a while I joined a gym this week. Will I use it? Who can say. I figure if I use it 3 times a week it’ll be worth it.

Before this I was exercising using Wii Fit – yeah I know not the best way. Unfortunatly it made too much noise now that I live in a flat.

So the gym will, I’m sure, be an interesting experience. I shall now take bets as to how long I will keep going for – and, after that, how long it will take to get round to cancelling the membership.

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Going Through the Motions

I said at the beginning of the year that I wanted to post every week. Unfortunately I’ve had a rather busy week this week – so I’m going to fulfill my promise by sending you else where.

I’m subscribed to a blog called: terribleminds.

There is a lot of interesting stuff about writing on this site. I’m just read a post called The Varied Emotional Stages of Writing a Book.  As you’ll see it was written a little while ago, I’m going through an email backlog, but it really spoke to me as I’m sure it will to many writers.

Of particular note for me is talking about being 50k in and the main character hasn’t appeared yet. That’s the boat I’m in. What began as back story has now become a novel in its own right. I suppose that’s good as I might now have two novels, or even three, where I thought it would be one.

So hope you like the terribleminds post and I’ll be back next week.

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I spent some of today trying to draw a map for my fantasy novel. I quickly learned that I can’t draw to save my life. Of course it rather begs the question of when drawing would save your life.

Part of the problem was that I wasn’t sure about the scale. I don’t know if it’s confusion between kilometers and miles but I find distances hard to visualise. I was also looking up population densities trying to deiced how densely packed the Kelpies, Centaurs, and Elves in the story should be.

It got me thinking though there are two ways to go about this. The first is to decide the basic plot and draw the map based on that plot. The other idea, which is perhaps more interesting, is to design the world first. If the world is designed first the story can be built around the geography.

There was an art program, it was probably SMart, many many years ago that made a paper mache planet. This isn’t it by the way – but you get the idea.

On SMart they used a beach ball. It was done in such a way the when it dries you can just deflate the ball. I might actually do this as it would give me an over view of what the planet looks like.

I won’t bore you with the storyline but there is another idea I’ve had. Just use Earth. Is complicated but the basic premise is that on this world it was magic that took off, rather than technology, and an Earth twin might work for that – but maybe I’m just lazy doing it that way.

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The Bridge is Too Well Guarded

JMS says, I’m paraphrasing here, that when writing is going well it becomes effortless. He knows his characters so well that his writing experience is one of observation. He can set up the situation, put a character in it, and he knows how they will act.

I dream of that experience. Writing is still a struggle. At the moment my characters are fairly interchangeable. Making dialogue unique for each character is difficult. I think this is something that comes with time. Everyone knows that the first draft is always utter rubbish! In my mind the first draft should be the bare bones of the story. When that is down you can go back and change things. Maybe you deiced a particular character never swears. So you go back and change the words. A friend of mine used to say ‘bar steward’ as a swearing substitute – though she did swear too. This is just the start then you can change other things and slowly build up a better idea of character.

The most important thing when writing is to finish the damn thing. That is the part that I still struggle with. It is getting there though – very very slowly. The characters I’m dealing with aren’t human and that is a little difficult. My Centaurs speak like Teal’c.

The hardest part of writing is, what I call, bridging chapters. I.e you can write the stuff about the troubled teen – you can writer the upstanding Police officer but getting the one to the other is difficult. If the transformation is too slow it becomes dull – too fast its unbelievable –  and just jumping ahead feels like is cheating.


Teal’c: If we are discovered, you will be brought to Apophis along with us.
O’Neill: Well, we’ll just have to cross that bridge when we come to it.
Bra’tac: No. The bridge is too well guarded.

Bloodlines – Stargate SG-1 – Season 1 Episode 12.

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