Posts Tagged ‘Sir Terry Pratchett’

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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It has certainly been a slow but positive start to my new writing lifestyle.  I have invested in writing guides, looking through Amazon at the plethora of self-help guides was, frankly, uninspiring!  Seems that a lot of people who have a single story published miraculously become writing experts and can write an eBook guide.  However, I have settled on a trusted name which was the Writers & Artists guide to writing a short story and novel.  They might be useful, they might not be.  I shall read and review them here next time. 

Another aim was to go on some courses. I have investigated this and decided that I will register in the first instance for a beginners course for creative writing.  This is run by the local arts university and, although a bit more expensive than the local college course may be more of what I need.  The course does not start until September so until then I will examine the writing guides and writing magazines for hints, tips and stratagems.

Now to the slow start.  Following my scarlet fever it has been a hard week at the day job.  Working 10 hour shifts for 6 days has been trying and exhausting.  However, I have written something, i have started a paranormal short story that has ballooned into a longer piece than I thought and I am continuing to write it to see where it goes, I am thinking that it might be more of a novella.  I showed my partner and her comments were very positive.  buoyed by this I entered a flash fiction competition of 120 words at the Bath Ad Hoc Flash Fiction and will see if I am voted as a winner.  The field is very strong, and as a result I am not holding out too much hope, but, it has to be attempted. 

In other news, I have found a submission for entry to an anthology in memory of the late Sir Terry Pratchett in aid of Alzheimer’s Research.  Sir Terry has played a massive part of my life ever since I read Mort and laughed ’til I cried.  The competition is a short story with a humorous bent around the subject of memory.  I think that, by following Sir Terry’s own rules, I can concoct a funny, fantastical story that will entertain and amuse.  I, myself, lost my grandfather to Alzheimer’s related illness, I remember seeing him in the latter stages of his condition in the secure ward.  I was about 25 when I last saw him and he thought I was still 14! He kept asking me about school, and what did I want to do when I grew up.  It was heartbreaking to see the Second World War veteran of the RAF reduced to only knowing who I was a quarter of the time, and my father only half of that. 

Which brings me on to the next point that of motivation.  A writer needs to feel motivated.  Motivation can be the difference between a magnum opus and drivel.  It is my weak spot.  things get in the way, work, family television the excuse that I am researching.  I need to be determined, focused and most of all motivated.  and this competition certainly sees me gain motivation.  I am determined to produce a piece of work that will not only entertain but make it into the anthology.  I want to help preserve the memory of one of my literary heroes who showed how bravely one could face up to a terminal illness with dignity and earn the respect of so many, but also to help preserve the memory of my grandfather. 

It is a little bit of a downer speaking of relatives passing away especially with such a disease that eats away at the very core of who someone is.  But let’s be a little cheery.  The focus is on the writing.  and that is what  I am off to do

 

Write this day, write the next day, write everyday!

 

If you have been affected in any way by the issues discussed today, then i do always welcome comment.  Just, i ask, that you keep it friendly.