Posts Tagged ‘Novel’

This week saw a rare event, and one that gives me the opportunity to flex my reviewing muscles.   I have children, 2 small boys that require a great deal of time.  We don’t have babysitters, mostly because family are too far away and we just have not found a suitable sitter.  So, we rarely go out.  My boys, this week, had a little holiday and went to stay with their grandparents.  We had a whole day and night off.  And we were not going top waste the opportunity!

A busy day was planned.  Our first port of call was to the Medieval cathedral town of Salisbury.  Driving up the A-338 north towards the town you drive through some stunning and inspiring country.  Rolling hills, green fields and suddenly, coming over the crest of the hill you see the spire of the cathedral.  As your elevation increases as does the stunning scene of the monumental cathedral as it is revealed to you.   It is magnificent and a wonder to behold, it dominates the skyline and is simply breathtaking.  But, that is not why we were there.   We were there to follow the Barons Charter trail. 

This might not mean a lot to you.  It is a charitable ordination that has created 25 statues that have been uniquely decorated.  The Barons Charter was a group of landed gentry who were intent on enforcing the laws of King John, including the Magna Carta. It is the anniversary of the Magna Carta this year, 800 years since it was signed, and this is part of the commemoration.   It seems to be a strange thing to try to visit, and something that may not hold much interest, except for one statue.  Decorated by Paul Kidby, Discworld Illustrator, he created a baron that memorialized and represented the life and work of Sir Terry Pratchett.  As many of you know he is one of my favourite authors, and I felt obliged to visit this as a memorial to the prolific and comedic author.  

To learn more of the barons visit the website here:  http://www.thebaronscharter.org.uk/

Part 2 of our day off was to leave Salisbury and head to Bournemouth.  I love Bournemouth, I have lived there and it is a wonderful place.   We walked on the beach, had a paddle.  It is something I have to do.  I love the sea.  I love the smell of the briny ocean, I love the feel of the sand between my toes.   I cannot express how much the beach and the sea means to me.  I have an attachment to it.  Although, oddly i prefer to be in it than on it.  I don’t get seasick I just don’t like boats particularly.  Much rather be in or under the sea.   It was a nice sunny afternoon, the sun was hot, the water cool.  Lovely!

But the evening was a departure from our routine, we went to the cinema.  We have not been to the cinema since before the boys were born and I was so excited to see Jurassic World.  Here is my review:

Jurassic World is exactly what you would expect.  The Park has grown into a successful and profitable attraction and from that respect is amazing.  It is great to see what it could have been following the first film.  Expectedly the dinosaurs escape and eat people.  This is all it needed to be.  There are subtle undertones of corporate greed, military interference and conspiracy and also the risks of genetic manipulation.  It has all the themes that Michael Crichton warned of in his original novel.  unfortunately it was all there in short supply during the film. 

What was missing was characterisation.  It was effect heavy and unfortunately the characters were wooden and predictable.  Which is not to say it wasnt a good film, it is what it is.  It was enjoyable and vast in its scope.  The 3-D was some of the best I have seen.  Not a bad effort, but it has very little relation to Crichton’s superb original work. 

My review in a word:  Passable.

Which is not to say that it was not an enjoyable film. it has many subtleties to the plot.  It just felt that some of the characters did not come across well and is just a cash cow for the studio.  A shame as there could have been so much more to it, perhaps the next one will have more substance.

And to Top things off an update on the writing front.  I have been working hard on submissions for the Hodderscape open submission window and also a few short stories which I think are working well.  But I am having a bit of a rethink.  It has been often said to me that my historical fiction is better than my Sci-Fi, I have a style akin to Ken Follett.  I studied History at university and have an in-depth and working knowledge.  I was always criticised in my essays at uni for being too literary in my writing.  Perhaps this is a way to go? 

I have an idea that utilises my knowledge and passion for the subject.   I have been criticised that I am not finishing projects, I get stuck and move on to the next one.  This is disheartening for me.  I lose the thread and the impetus and lose the momentum because I feel that it is not working.  It is a curse I have.  Frustration takes over.  Very annoying for me.  I know have new ideas pinging around my head and it detracts from the ideas I was running with.  My time is very limited I work a lot of hours in a week and my writing time is short .  I try to write when I can but do struggle when I am tired.  so, I need to sit and finish a project, them start a new one.  Arrgghh it is so very frustrating and I spiral into lack of production as a result .  im sure it is an affliction that affects all writers.  I hold out hope that other great and prolific writers took years to produce work, to find their own style and voice.  Time, that is what I need, Time!

 

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This weeks blog does not have any deep meaning or any analogy or metaphor for why the writing is not working.  No, this week I am continuing on the positive note from last week.  I spoke of the resurrection of a novel that I shelved a year ago and since then I have written an additional 5500 words towards it.  I am very happy with this and I am very happy with how its coming together.

I thought a lot with what went wrong with writing it before.  I was going great guns, lots of ideas, lots of twists and lots to add.  Unfortunately all the things I was researching were detracting from the story and I got myself bogged down in details. I am focusing solely on writing the story I want to tell.  I am developing the characters.  I have learned that by adding events, that although effect the storyline, but are not necessarily needed to be described in prose, is just extraneous, time-consuming and actually breaks the story up.  So instead of describing how an oil tanker is assaulted and researching the Suez canal and tanker security processes, (My thanks to the merchant seamen who provided a vast array of info), I have decided that it is enough just to put in a line or two explaining that the event happened.  It does not break the story up, it does not detract or distract the reader from the flow and pace of the piece. 

I am learning so much.  every day I discover new ways to write, new styles and perspectives.  I think, and it is in my own mind, I am finally back on track.  To write 5000+ words in a week is amazing and I am taking a short break just to write this entry and will get back to the WiP. 

But, I have not just been focused on the novel.  Oh no!  when I say I have been productive I really have.  I have written 2 short stories for competitions.  Stretching my style and also my genre.  The first was a story of lost love and the second a children’s story.  I have never been a mushy type of guy, sentimental, yes, mushy no.  so a love story was a bit of a divergence. I really enjoyed writing it and hopefully it will do well.

And yes i did say i wrote a childrens story.  I exploded the word count of 1500-1750 words and ended up with a piece that was 2250 words long.  I had, somehow, to cut 500 words.  I am actually gals i did because it forced me to edit the shit out of it.  As a result i think i have a much better piece of work that has a much higher tempo and flows better, without some of the extraneous wordiness. 

I vowed, when i started writing in earnest agin, to write a competition entry a week and so far, over the past 6 weeks, i have done so.  Even if some of those were just flash fiction, i have met my targets.  As a writer it is important to have targets.  It keeps you focused, it keeps you determined.  Deadlines are a writers friend.  There are necessary.  My advice of the day is to set targets but importantly meet them.

With that in mind i still have a daily target to meet so off i go.