Tag Archives: writing

What about our many Fans?

Photo by Plush Design Studio from Pexels

We seem to live in a creative lull at the moment. That is not to say that we don’t have great TV and films to watch but consider this question: How many films and TV shows can you think of released in the last few years that have no connection to anything that has gone before? Maybe I am just out of touch but what I see is a saturation of reboots, remakes, prequels, sequels, adaptations, and based on real events.

Photo by Craig Adderley from Pexels

Star Trek: Discovery is technically a prequel and not a reboot. However so much has been changed and retconned it might as well be a new show. My question is why isn’t it a new show? Answer: Money.

Dollar signs! Money! I didn’t build this ship to usher in a new era for humanity. You think I wanna go to the stars? I don’t even like to fly. I take trains. I built this ship so that I could retire to some tropical island filled with …naked women. That’s Zefram Cochrane. That’s his vision. 

Zefram Cochrane (Star Trek: First Contact)

I look at any work of fiction from a writing and creative standpoint. I am however aware that they are also a business. If a series is being created, and millions spent on it, then it will need to have views. In order to have viewers they need to make it as accessible as possible. And a connection to something that has gone before is as easy a way as any. However I think that that attitude is in danger of alienating the established fans. That is certainly how I feel when looking at Star Trek: Discovery.

…it… it wasn’t our world anymore. They made it theirs.

Willow (Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Prophecy Girl)

The problem with science-fiction is the speed at which technology marches on. Discovery needs to look superior to today’s technology while looking interior to a 1960’s version of the future. This is, of course, impossible.

…well mostly.

I still think Enterprise had many issues but the look of the show, particularly the internal sets, was well done. It really gave the feel of a ship that was more advanced than today but still less advanced than the 1701. There are, naturally, a few compromises but it is never going to be completely cohesive.

Discovery doesn’t seem to have the same care and attention. Having touch screen controls makes sense but the series didn’t need holograms to work. I like continuity and a cohesive universe. In my view if a writer doesn’t want to be concerned with continuity why not begin again… well I have the answer to that above… Discovery has given me an appreciation of Enterprise as now I see the good and can ignore the facepalmingly bad.

https://www.pexels.com/photo/city-man-person-people-34802/

Well ignore might be too strong a word.

Many people are enjoying Star Trek: Discovery and that is wonderful. I truly mean that but it is not for me. One of my friends who likes it said you have to forget about the other shows. Again why not make something new?

Photo by Lucas Ettore Chiereguini from Pexels

In other news the BBC is adapting His Dark Materials.

Doesn’t it look good?

And I can’t wait! I know that this contradicts all I have been saying above. I am not against books and TV shows based on other things. I would just like to see lots of new things coming out along side them. Said the man who hasn’t been to the cinema in ages and will probably next see Star Wars: Episode IX.

I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.  

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Done!

Hands Typing Typewriter Ancient Retro Classic Keyboard I have just validated my novel. Yes 50,000 words written in a month. This is only the beginning of course and many cuts will have to be made – and maybe the story isn’t even any good.

Nevertheless a story exists now that did not before and now all that remains is to finish it… more words and edit; edit; edit.

After all as someone wise once said: ‘You can’t edit a blank page!’

Woo hoo!

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I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

***

The picture here is from: https://www.pexels.com/

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Nanowrimo 2017 – Half Way

pexels-photo-261510 It has been more than a fortnight since I last posted. That is because I have been working on Nanowrimo.

Juggling my writing, work, housework, and food is not easy. This is part of the reason the washing up has rather piled up in the last few days, why my flat is even more of a mess, and why I had a wired meal just now of: steak, a bell pepper, and Doritos. I have to leave for work in about an hour so I really should snap to it – by it I mean washing up – met writing target for today.

The novel is going well. One of the chapters is at nearly 15,000 words. For the finished piece I’ll have to edit it to at least seven chapters. The point is it is going well. That is due, in a large part, to drawing inspiration from my own life. Write what you know. Am I write?

I have a week off next week so the target will be reached. Here’s to the final push!

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I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

***

The pictures here are from: https://www.pexels.com/

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Nanowrimo – 2017

pexels-photo-261510 Nanowrimo is almost here. And once again I am going to attempt this rather difficult feat.

Last year I failed to meet the 50,000 word target. Also Thor, my laptop, died right near the end of it. I lost none of my work though as I have backups of everything.

I still haven’t finished that novel. I have several unfinished novels. I know that that isn’t good. I still enjoy the process of writing. Beginnings are always fun. In those moments you create a new world. After the first few chapters it is easy to become a little lost. It is like when playing with toy soldiers as a child: I’m not sure I ever did but it works for a metaphor. green plastic toy soldiers

When playing such games we imagine the great battle, the establishment of a beachhead, and the destruction of enemy forces.

We rarely play the aftermath. There are computer games for the Battle of Britain. They don’t make computer games where you have to work out the minutiae of the Paris peace treaties.

A novel is still a tall order but one I feel I will achieve some day.  The words ‘some day’ are a curse but there they are.

This year I am going to attempt something a little different. I won’t be working in my usual genera but in romance.

1280px-Narrowboats-at-tardebigge It will be about a lonely man who lives on a narrowboat and finds love. It is a story that has been brewing in my mind for a while.

I have no solid idea of exactly what is going to happen in the story but I am excited to see where it goes.

If you are attempting Nanowrimo this year I wish you the best of luck. See you on the other side.

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I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

***

The pictures here are from: https://www.pexels.com/

The narrowboat picture is from: 

Norman Rogers

en:Narrowboats moored up near en:TardebiggeEngland.

 

 

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I’m Pretty Sure I Had an Idea a Second Ago

light-bulb-current-light-glow-40889 A few minutes ago I had an idea for this post. I know I know – it is not good to have two posts in a row that talk about ideas or lack of same.

Actually in general ideas are fairly easy to come by. I think if you’re serious about writing you will probably find this to be true. Of course having an idea, or a concept, is no guarantee of turning it into a workable story. Sometimes when writing I hit a brick wall pexels-photo-207142 with writing because I lack a certain piece of knowledge.  And finding out some information can be very difficult.

I’ll tell you one idea I had a while ago in a bit – but first let me destroy a concept that some people have. Giving a writer an idea does not mean you have done a significant part of the job. It is the tiniest part of the whole thing. For instance the concept of a TV series like ER or Casualty is quite straight  forward – the drama of hospitals – life or death – and the drama of the staff too. To write that? You have to lean so many details of diseases, treatments, and so on and so on.

When starting to think of a TV series I have heard two, in a broad generalisation, ways a show can be pitched. The first is to say that your idea is this meets that. Deep Space Nice could, arguably, be a western meets space opera. A workable metaphor. Sisko is the mayor, Odo the sheriff, Quark runs the saloon/brothel, you get the idea. The second way to pitch is the what if question. The TV series The Man in the High Castle, based on a book, is: ‘What if we last the war.’ It is a quick way to explain an idea.

So here’s my idea: What if a Roman Legion, or other primitive society, discovered advanced alien technology.    pexels-photo-339805

To me this idea has great potential. Romans were advanced for their time and it would be interesting to explore what they would do if the galaxy was opened up to them.

However to write this story would be so difficult. I know very little about Roman culture, tactics, cuisine, and so on. I think the Legate, in charge of the legion, discovered this technology he would probably use it to take over the Empire.

This could be an excellent story, if I do say so myself, but writing it might be beyond me.

Although, now that I think about it, maybe there is another way. Maybe I don’t have to be historically accurate. Maybe I could invent my own pre-industrial society and work with that – but an idea does not a story make.

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I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

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The pictures here are from: https://www.pexels.com/

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17 Days

How is your year going?

For me, in those seventeen days, I have utterly failed to go to the gym. So that’s one thing that hasn’t changed.

Writing though is going well. My long worked on novel is finally all coming together. The key, it seems, was to have a narrator. She is able to pull the threads together and tell the story. Plus she can act as an author surrogate and speak in a more colloquial fashion.

Today is Sunday and I have the day off. Outside my window it’s so misty I can hardly see the tops of the mountains. It may be 1339 here but I haven’t been up long. Last night I didn’t sleep well and on waking it took a while to get out of bed.

This is ramble in case you hadn’t noticed.

I’ve set myself the task of reading 52 books this year. So far I’ve read: Gaslight Carnival, The Hobbit, and The Five Orange Pips. The Hobbit I actually listened to and the other two are short stories but I’m still counting them. 52 books should be doable.

The version of The Hobbit I listened to was read by Rob Inglis and it was excellent. I remember being bored by the book when I was younger but this time it was very good.

I’m keeping up with leaning Welsh though I’m not sure how much of it is sinking in. I can’t write it here as I only know how to say it. Also if I can’t handle English gamma and spelling do you really think I could handle it for Welsh?

Yesterday I didn’t leave the flat, and may not again today, that’s okay though. I will create worlds, play Mario Kart, and try and tidy up a bit.

This is a strange post I know. I’d make it a poem if I knew how. Maybe that is something to work on.

I received notification of not having won a short story competition the other day. It’s the taking part that counts though. Someone read it which is good. It means I have something to submit to another magazine.

Hope your year is going well and I’ll be back soon.

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I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

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Why I Write

I’ve been interested in telling stories for as long as I can remember. Somewhere I have a story written in crayon from when I was five. I believe I’ve wanted to write, or just tell stories, for as long as I’ve been aware of language.

I remember telling, possibly annoying, dad a story while climbing Cadair Idris. I would’ve been quite young. It was a story about the founder of an alien religion. Her name was Qwan and she spent a retreat in a cave on a mountain. Dad said afterwards that he let me continue as it meant I didn’t notice the progress I was making.

Writing is a compulsion. If it was cocaine or alcohol I might have dscn0620_37352048_oa problem. Many of the actual minutes of writing can be quite a struggle. The translation of a beautiful scene in my head to the page is not always an easy one. As evidenced by the amount of times I’ve restarted my novel.

I have an MA in Scriptwriting and this has made me rather critical. When watching a TV show, film, or reading a book. I start to think of how I might have approached a story differently. The advantage of first person over third person, whether a chronological structure is best or if a non linear approach would give more possibilities. The films of the Hunger Games are interesting on this point. The books are first person but the films, deciding not to have a narrator, are able to show the story from more perspectives.

I fear that writing has made me somewhat arrogant. I sometimes look at what has been done and feel I could have done that better. This perhaps is perfectly normal. They say that art is never finished only abandoned and perhaps every piece of film and TV has that one scene, or line, which the author wishes they could rewrite.

The foundations laid by works like: Star Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and any other can be taken20130609_154715 in knew and exciting directions. I’m not talking about fan fiction or writing stories in those universes but about the sparks that they can engender. Star Trek or Star Wars cannot take ownership of space for a story telling frontier but they can inspire new stories.

Sometimes I’ll watch a film and think I know where the story is going. When it veers off in another direction and that is wonderful as I can write the story that that film sparked. In this way I write because ideas arise in my mind from everything I see. Ideas for silly stories, ideas for serious stories, ideas that would take a lot or work, and ideas that might never work.

I said in a previous post that making the ideas stop is the problem not coming up with them. I write because I have to write. My mind gets over loaded wi20130609_152814th ideas. I have characters in my head and I want to tell their story: Michael Wisdom, Stephanie McKnight, Virgil Noxon, Stacy Tanner, Tina Hilton – those are some of my characters that I hope will be know to the world one day.

Writing is always there in the back of my mind. Sometimes I’ll spend hours staring at a computer and get no where. Then a walk to the shops, a trip to the gym, or just doing the washing up and the problem unclogs itself and I can finally figure out the problem.

I’ve yet to experience that wonderful moment of my characters speaking to me. It sounds so magical that, when the foundations are laid, the story practically writes itself. I have had the wired magic of a character telling me about themselves.

Sometimes a character’s full background is irrelevant. You can tell the story of the brilliant Doctor/Detective/Wizard or whatever it might be without delving into his or her background. It’s nice to know these things though. Once you start thinking about these things the ideas flow to you.

You see your character as a child and you imagine what their life was like. Then, out of the emptiness, ideas pop into your mind like a firework.  dscn0416_11670707_oI had this experience with my character Virgil Noxon. I knew he was black and the first officer of the Sovereignty, the starship in my story, but that was about it. I needed to know more.

So I started to write a scene of him visiting his father. The idea came to mind that they had a very formal relationship. They had a good relationship but I could more easily imagine them shaking hands rather than hugging.

And the strange thing? His farther was white. So this gave a new direction for the character. He was adopted and had two younger siblings: Morgana and Wyatt. Incidentally he was named Virgil after Virgil Earp. Wyatt was a natural choice for his brother and Morgana came from Morgan Earp – his father just wanted to change it a little as he’d had a daughter instead of a son. The names just seemed to fit.

With Stacy Tanner, one of my novel’s central characters, I knew she was an only child from the get-go and I can’t say why. Michael Wisdom is a middle child, Stephanie McKnight, has one older brother, Tina Hilton has a younger sister and her mother was a teenager when Tina was born.

I don’t know where some of these ideas came from. The random nature of ideas arising in the mind is probably the primary reason I write. Whether my stories are any good is another question entirely but I know I can’t stop myself. Writing is a compulsion you become like a God to your characters and get into the wired situation of thinking about who you have to kill to get to the next plot point. Writing is my addiction there’s nothing else to say.

This post was written in response to a prompt from Chuck Wendig at terribleminds.com

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