Monthly Archives: December 2011

Out with the old in with the slightly different

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As we approach the end of 2011 and the dawn of 2012 I decided it was time for a new look here.

Astonishingly I’ve resisted an almost overwhelming urge to change the theme on my blog yet again and instead I’ve done a little bit of house-keeping and reorganisation.

In an attempt to find some structure and focus for this blog I’ve decided to make use of the WordPress categories system.

So, for now, we have three categories:

Writing – The majority of my posts to date fall into this category. All things relating to my journey as a writer, including what I’m reading and of course the odd review.

Photography – My photographic experiences and some of my photographs.

Creativity
– A new category to chart and explore my forays into the worlds of crafting and baking, something I hope to do a lot more of, hopefully with the help and support of the wider world!

I have in mind a fourth section for all of my off-topic musings about my world, but we’ll see if I come up with posts for that category before I give it a whole section.

I hope that this will help me to channel my writing and also for you to get to what interests them.

Have a wonderful New Year’s Eve, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. May 2012 be good to us all!

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Wizarding in Puzzlewood

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Those of you in the UK may know that season four of the BBC’s Merlin is coming to a close on Christmas Eve. I’ve watched the series since the first episode in 2008 and have largely enjoyed it.

There is a real challenge in taking such an ingrained myth and re-working it and you will never please everyone. I believe that the great value in storytelling is the new embellishments added generation on generation that take a short tale to an epic myth. With this in mind I respect the efforts that the BBC have made to do justice to the legend of Arthur whilst bringing it to a new audience.

Unfortunately, I’ve felt that there are times when the script writers and directors have let themselves down, some episodes have seemed rushed and cobbled together. There has been an embarrassing array of contrived actions that make little or no sense, with characters acting unthinkingly as if to avoid a deeper or more complex storyline.

Yet I am conscious that the original myth is even more simple, painted in broad strokes so do we want realism or just rip-roaring fun with shallow, easy to follow, heroes and villains?

Is the BBC just trying to walk a fine line between the two? Read the rest of this entry

Christmas wishes

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Everyone was standing really still, like when we play statues at school, most of them were looking up at the sky. Mummy was holding my hand very tightly and looking around at the frozen high street. The rain had stopped and now great big giant snowflakes were floating down to the ground. I stuck out my tongue and tried to catch one, but they kept floating away from me, or landing in my eyes, which stung a bit.

I could hear Christmas songs coming out of the shops and cars in the distance but it seemed all muffled a bit like when I hide under my duvet at night, I think the falling snow was soaking up sound. Some people had their mouths open like me, but I don’t think they were having any more luck catching snowflakes than I was.

A car drove past hitting a puddle, splashing a woman who was looking like she was going to be sick. The giggles rose up through me like a big bubble. I couldn’t help it, they came popping and hiccupping out of my mouth, and even though I tried to hold them in with my hand they squirted out of the sides and made my body shake. I knew it was rude to laugh but the lady looked so funny, her clothes all soggy and her hair all straggly with water dripping from her nose. Read the rest of this entry

Focus

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“You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” Mark Twain

When researching blogging the overwhelming advice was to have a focus. Plenty of people out there are posting on anything and everything that crosses their minds, but blogs that have a specific focus have a target audience and get followers. Well, that’s the theory.

However, a theme can be restrictive. Imagine, if you will, a blog on chickens, there is eventually a limit to how much one can write about chickens. Even the author may get bored, although as I write this my head is filling up with ideas for chicken related posts.

With this advice in mind my focus is my journey as a creative writer. Yet I find my inspiration lacking from time to time, of course there are topics and I do my best to honour them, but not enough to keep the posts flowing with the regularity I would prefer.

Whereas there are so many things coming into my field of vision every day that I would love to post about, not least the topics I’m coming across as a result of my time with Women’s Views on News (WVoN). For example shouldn’t I be talking about the story of the man who cut off the fingers of his 21-year-old wife when he found out she was studying for a degree without his permission (WVoN story here)? Or the fact that the National Women’s Council of Ireland have just had their budget cut by a massive 35%, just days after finally pushing through a bill to ensure women are represented in government through a quota system. Or how about the incredibly uncomfortable but powerful website Unbreakable?

How do I keep my focus and keep a lively and interesting blog? What is the true value in a blog, the true nature and reason for it?

Is the issue here that my theme is simply not focussed enough? Perhaps chickens provide you with such a focussed subject that you really can drill into each area, whereas ‘creativity’ ‘writing’ are such subjective matters that one will always struggle to stand out from the crowd?

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl – Audio book Review

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I’ve blogged a few times about my love/hate and yes, ambivalent attitude towards Twitter, but this is a story that begins with an example of why I love it.

Barry Lyga, author of The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, tweeted asking if anyone would review his audio book. Feeling more than a little cheeky, I replied that I’d love a copy and to my surprise he asked for my address.

So, onto the review.

First impressions count and I really like the packaging design (see picture). It has all the feel of a graphic novel without being garish and the cover says far more than you might realise at first. Best of all it will look pretty cool on my shelf too.

The trouble with audio books is that someone else is reading it to you. Consequently the characters speak and think in tones chosen by someone else which, of course, colours the story, unfortunately that’s not always in a shade that suits me.

Scott Brick narrates this book. An extremely well-respected and ‘in demand’ narrator of audio books, Scott was named Narrator of the Year by Publishers Weekly in 2007 and has many awards under his belt. I’m not surprised, he was extremely easy to listen to.  Scott’s voice is reminiscent of Christian Slater bringing back memories of Heathers and Pump up the Volume (favourite old-school movies of mine!), lending this story just the right edge of ‘teenage angst’ without melodrama. He also successfully and believably brings a different feel to each of the characters without missing a beat or breaking the story’s flow. Read the rest of this entry