Thursday, 16 December 2010

Making mouse sounds ...

I received another e-mail yesterday from an Agent (or at least the representative of an Agency) regarding the Horseshoe story. It started off as the standard form rejection mails: 'Thanks for your opening chapters, which we read with great interest ...' but there wasn't a 'but' after it.

Instead she asked if I was still looking for representation, and would I send her the full manuscript?

After a minute of re-reading the mail to make sure that I'd read it properly I started to dust off and polish the rest of the story. It took about six hours altogether to go through and touch-up the rest of the chapters: taking a comma out here, putting one in there, changing some of the words around, taking some out, putting some in.

I called her a short while ago to make sure that she was OK with me sending it as an attachment, and she genuinely seemed eager to read the rest of the story. Eeeek. Now I know that this really doesn't mean anything and it may not pass the next hurdle, but it's at least a step with forward motion. Now the waiting game continues ...

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Latest news

With the lack of posts, you'd think I was busy...

I guess I am, but not in the way I'd like. The rejection slips are coming in nicely and one wall is almost fully papered in the. Still, the stories and articles continue.

My old Birmingham Youth Theatre mate, Andrew Tiernan, has posted a new show reel of his work on YouTube. He may be an old friend, and as such I might be biased, but I really do think he's an underrated actor. With a mug like his ( I can say that as a friend) he may never play the romantic lead, but if it's a character actor you want then he's your man. From Shakespeare's Edward II to Life on Mars, from The Pianist to 300, he's shown himself to be both versatile and talented. I wouldn't be surprised that one day soon he suddenly becomes an 'over night success'.

Next year (hopefully, if post-production actually gets sorted) he's in the leading role of Martin Stone in the feature film War of the Dead. The trailer I saw for it a while back looked amazing and it'll hopefully be the commercial success it deserves. Keep your eye out for it.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

The last week

Has it been over a week since I was here? Seems like a lot has happened.

I've amended the opening chapter for 'Oliver Drummond and the Four Horsemen', following a swathe of rejections. I had the first real constructive comments from an agent (Elinor Cooper) and have acted upon them. A HUGE section of the opening pages went and the action now starts with a real bang. What's good is that I was able to include maybe half of the cut section (an astral projection scene revealing backstory) much later into the novel, which fits in nicely.

On the back of this I've submitted to a number of other agents - god bless the Writer's Handbook and their website.

Also, last night was the local 'writer's meeting' I attend in Taunton. There was only two other guys there last night - I suspect the others were watching 'The Apprentice' - but it was a great night. Richard and Michael are really nice guys and the few hours in the pub fly by. Richard's a published author who's worked in TV for many years and Michael's an aspiring writer like me. What was good was just as we were about to go I asked Michael what he was currently working on, and he said one of the most intriguing concepts I've heard in a long time. I won't repeat it here, as he's cracking on finishing the first draft script, but it's not something I've heard before and sounds really exciting.

That's one of the benefits of meetings like this - listening to what other people are doing and bouncing ideas around.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Another rejection!

This time from Elinor Cooper at A P Watt Ltd. However, she did offer some positive, constructive comments, which was a first. Her comments centred mainly on the opening and not cutting to the chase fast enough.

Done and done. Six pages have already been cut from the first chapter, most of which is back-story which I should be able to incorporate back in later on, at suitable points. It may be another rejection but it feels as if I'm getting somewhere.

Monday, 15 November 2010

New articles

I've just posted a new film review article up on the Blueprint Review site for 'Cop Out', the Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan caper. And '10 ways to help imrove your chances of winning a writing competition' up on the Triond 'Writinghood' site - experience I've learned from running the Meridian Writing website for the last eighteen months.

Check them out if you have a moment, and let me know what you think.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Query Shark query template

The Query Shark (Janet Reid) in her latest post has once more included a very simple breakdown of what she expects a good query letter to consist of:

  • What does the protagonist want?
  • What's keeping him from getting it?
  • What choice/decision does he face?
  • What terrible thing will happen if he chooses A; what terrible thing will happen if he doesn't.
The point she keeps making is that the writer has to make the reader care about the protagonist, want to know what happens to them and how they resolve the problem.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Triond articles

I've recently begun posting writing-related articles via the Triond network. These are currently being posted on the Writinghood website, in their 'online writing' catagory . The widget on the right of the screen will show the current articles - just click on the link to read them.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Blueprint Review team

I've joined the Blueprint Review team after a call for reviewers was put out on Shooting People. It's a site which reviews Films, Books, Music etc and has a real slick look about it.

So far (after fighting with some image amendment software) I've posted three reviews: Knife Edge (slightly amended from the one below), Skeletons (Nick Whitfield) and The Cottage (Paul Andrew Williams).

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Rejection light relief

I may not like the rejections I get but at least I'm not this bad. I've copied this from the 'Slush Pile Hell' blog as the latest installment. Classic ...
'If you do not care for my book premise, spare me, please, please, the smug, stock, pre-packaged rejection replies which are, oh so, very, very tiresome to read. A simple no is sufficient.'
The response was:
"What a cute little man you are, and I’m sure you’re just loaded with talent. Unfortunately my prestigious literary firm could not possibly handle another client at this time, as we are in the midst of countless 7-figure negotiations for clients far more important than…
Oh, sorry. That was my smug, stock, pre-packaged rejection.
I’ll try to keep it simple: No. Your book blows."

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Knife Edge

I've just watched 'Knife Edge' (Directed by Anthony Hickox, 2009) and couldn't believe that in today's economic climate such a dreadful film was given a green light.

The storyline was pretty thin. IMDb lists the teaser as - 'A successful Wall Street trader returns to England with her new husband and five-year-old son, but their new start together turns into a nightmare when they move into a country house which contains a terrible secret.' But in reality it's a string of cliché-driven set-pieces from the off. I was even shouting at the TV when the leading woman was in the bathroom and opened the mirrored cabinet door, and sure enough when she closed it there was a 'shock' moment that only she could see, and when she turned around it had gone. Yawn. And the whole dead-spirit boy thing was so old-hat it was laughable. The sound of wind whistling in the old house - no matter where the characters were - was, I'm sure an effort to convince the viewer that the house was creepy and haunted, but after a while it became an annoyance - like static, and very quickly began to grate. Less is more, boys.

The bad guy is telegraphed so early on I thought that it must be a double-bluff, but no, sadly not. About twenty minutes in I was still waiting for something to happen. What doesn't help is that Natalie Press (the protagonist) is, I'm sorry to say, absolutely dreadful. Pretty much every line she delivers sounds like it's coming from a wannabe am-dram queen: weak, stilted, no emotion (or the wrong emotion) and 'false' - she'd learnt the lines but there was nothing behind the words. I read a post on the IMDb page suggesting that she get the 'Worst Actress' award. Her sister in the film - Tamsin Egerton - would have been a far better casting choice, as she can at least deliver a line convincingly. Joan Plowright was the only other notable as the doddery old house-keeper, and the brother - Andrew (Lorcan O'Toole) - sounded like he based the characterisation of his character from a class of society that he's only ever seen or read about. Terrible.

Hugh Bonneville was on top form - as usual - as the family friend/trust-fund administrator, until he has to become 'evil' and then he, sadly, goes into pantomime villain territory. The ending chase sequence was laboured to the point of becoming a joke and the final despatching of Hugh's character was neither stylish nor clever, despite the fact that I'm sure the director thought it was.

A real shocker of a film, and for all the wrong reasons.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Rejection Central

Two more rejections received in the last two days. Wow.

Darley Anderson Children's, and A M Heath - who apparently could not see a market for it. That's pretty damning. Good job I'm thick skinned.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Jason Arnopp's 'Stormhouse'

The ever-busy Jason Arnopp has announced the details of his latest work - it's a horror (surprise, surprise) feature called 'Stormhouse', directed by Dan Turner. Set in 2002 it centres on 'ghost whisperer' Hayley Sands (played by Katie Flynn) who is brought in to communicate with an 'entity' after it has been captured by the military. Then, apparently, everything goes ghost-shaped.

Jason's full post can be seen on his blog -

It looks and sounds great - as you'd expect from him after all of his work with the Dr Who franchise, and all started with just five words from Dan Turner: 'the military capture a ghost'. Brilliant. Obviously a rounded story has to be crafted from this, but what a concept. Is the 'ghost' good, is it evil, does it just want to get home, is it not in fact a ghost at all and just a personification of someone's mental ability? I don't know what the base storyline is, but knowing Jason it'll be something pretty good.

Details have yet to be announced about the release date and locations, but I reckon it'll be something to look out for.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Two down

Another rejection from the e-mail submissions.; this one from Eve White.

Doesn't know what she's missing ...

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Latest rejection

Out of all the e-mail submissions I made late last week, I've had the first rejection. Julia Churchill at Greenhouse Literary Agency decided that it wasn't for her. Fair do's. It'll be printed out and join the collection.

Greenhouse have a policy of having a cover 'letter' and the first five pages in the body of the e-mail itself. She wrote that she thought the story had merits but ... well, you know the rest. It may have been genuine - and I'm sure it was - but it may have been standard rejection soft-soap, so not to annoy.

Writers always moan and bitch about rejection, but how many of us look at it from the other side? If an Agent gets 300 submissions a week then at least 290 (if not more) will be probably be rejected instantly, so what must it be like to send that many rejection letters or e-mails out? Not easy. I'm guessing a thick skin would quickly be grown.

Anyway, never mind. Rejection's all part and parcel of this crazy game.

Never give up, never surrender.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Submission Anxiety

Its been a busy few days for me. Not with my regular job, you understand - the restaurant's holding on, but not by much. No, it's been the writing that's been busy.

Late yesterday afternoon I started to email submissions to a number of Agents selected from 'The Writer's Handbook'. I'd highlighted a number of potentials; based on info in the handbook, and then looked at their websites to see what the current state-of-play was. Some aren't looking at the moment, some have full lists, but a number are still open to unsolicited material in the area I'm aiming this work at - the YA market.

I emailed ten Agents yesterday and another two this morning with three to go in the post on Monday. A little earlier I got a mail from an Agent at A P Watt Ltd asking for the first three chapters by email. My first thought was that I'd forgotten to attach them in the original mail, but no. A P Watt ask for the synopsis to be included in the initial cover email. So maybe the synopsis looked okay.

I know it's nothing to get excited about but it's a step forward. If she doesn't like the chapters then I'll have at least learned something - the synopsis is okay but the writing still needs work. Now the wait begins.

I guess like all writers, particularly new ones, submitting work to the slush pile is a daunting task. Maybe the work could do with just another look before I send it anywhere? I've re-visited the Horseshoe story so many times that I'm not sure any more polishing will make a difference at this point. It's time to send it out into the world and see if it can stand up.

I've had rejections in the past, and undoubtedly will have more to come, but if I don't send work out, then I'm not a writer, I'm a dabbler.

Who knows - maybe in a year or so - just in time for Christmas, perhaps, 'Oliver Drummond and the Four Hosremen' will be available at all good bookshops and online retailers. If it is, it'd make the perfect present for your little darling ...

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

The Road, and The Book of Eli

**Spolier Alert**

Two films, both alike in grime, In dystopian future, where we lay our scene.

I wanted to wait until I'd seen 'The Book of Eli' before commenting on 'The Road'. You may know that I'm a big LoveFilm fan and watched 'TBoE' yesterday. Both films have similar themes - post-Apocalyptic, striving to stay alive, the desire to reach 'somewhere', and having the protagonits die before the end. But that's about all they do have in common.

In 'The Road' (based on the book by Cormac McCarthy) Viggo does a fine job of not smothering his whining son (played by Kodi Smit-McPhee) whilst trying to get somewhere better, and not be eaten in the process. For me it was just an endless sprawl of 'woe is me', 'life is hard' moaning that was just far too depressing. Don't get me wrong, in the world of the film I think I'd whine and moan, but a film has to entertain, and I just don't think this did. At the end I asked myself what it was all about? What was the story? To be honest, I'm not sure it had one. Nothing was really achieved. Nothing was really resolved. And what was the family who wanted to help the boy at the end, all about? They'd been following them for ages but only wanted to say 'hi' once Viggo had shuffled off is mortal coil? Please. And they had a son, daughter and a dog? God bless stereotypes.

Acording to wikipedia (so it may not be accurate) it cost $25m to make and has so far grossed just over $26m. So that's a loss, then. The book may have been a Pulitzer prize winner (yawn) but it just shows that what high-brow literary types deem a cracking novel doesn't always make that story transferable to the big screen. It was 113 minutes of tortoise-slow drivel.

Now, on to something different.

'The Book of Eli' - directed by the Hughes brothers (Albert and Allen) and writen by Gary Whitta has Denzel Washington (everyone loves Denzel) 'heading west'. The world is just about as bleak as it is in 'The Road', but people aren't whining about it. There are still marauding bands of killers and cannibals (Frances De La Tour and Michael Gambon's couple are great - she reminded me of Julie Walter's Mrs Overall from Acorn Antiques) but the characters just get on with it.

Gary Oldman's small-town boss, Carnegie, wants 'the book' so that he can use the words within to control the masses. The book in question is a bible. After the 'war' - which was blamed on the book, or religion as a whole, supposedly all copies were destroyed. Denzel found one and wants to take it where it'll do good. It's just the same and 'The Road' in that it's a journey destination film, but it has a purpose. There's a story, a reason behind the action. It isn't just words - there's cause behind the actions of the characters. The supporting cast of Ray Stevenson (Pullo, from 'Rome'), Jennifer Beals and Mila Kunis. There's also a nice twist towards the end which works quite well. Although I'm not sure about the being blind thing...

Again, according to wikipedia, 'TBoE' cost $80m to make and has so far grossed $157m. What does that tell you? Sure, marketing etc plays its part, but word of mouth is crucial. You see a film and like it you recommend it to your friends, you don't like it you tell them to avoid it. 'TBoE' was 117 minutes of smart action, world-building, character clever, story telling.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Another submission

Today I finished polishing the first episode (of three) of my political/action/drama script - 'The Killing Ground' and posted it off to the BBC writersroom. I've only sent them one thing before; my first ever attempt at a script - 'He Came Back'. It was about a girl who's convinced that the man who assaulted her as a child has come back into her life, even though another man is still serving jail-time for the crime. Despite many etiquette faux-pas's (such as 'we see' and 'we hear') it still got a full read - which I later found out was only about 10% of all submissions they receive - so I was very happy with that.

We'll have to wait and see how this one does. I'll be disappointed if it doesn't get a full read, as I'm confident that it's a damn site better than 'HCB', has sound characterisation and a good, dramatic reveal at the end of the episode. Of course, the only trouble with writersroom is the length of time it takes to go through their system: three to six months on average. Still, if they get a move on it could be on the TV by Christmas 2011. Yeah, right.

Now that leaves me with a decision to make. Do I go back to 'Tiberius : Found' (my not-too-distant future story of a lad who finds out he's been genetically engineered), or start something new? I've plotted out the 'TB' storyline, but at the moment nothing's grabbing me about it so maybe it needs re-looking at, at some point.

At the top of my hit-list is getting the first three chapters of my 'Oliver Drummond' story polished and sent out to Agents. Gasp. I'm pretty happy with it but I'm sure a touch of tweaking will make me feel better about it. Still, yet to hear back from the 'test group' which either means that they hated it or just weren't interested to begin with. A friend of mine - David Gullen - has had another short story accepted, I think he's up to mid-20s now, and is a writing machine. One of his philosphies is submit, submit, submit. And I don't mean give in.

I know that this is partly a numbers game. Write what you like, improve your 'inner voice' and get better at this crazy gig called writing. Hopefully, if you're really any good at all, it's only a matter of time before your work is recognised. It won't be long before David's pulling in big numbers, and with any luck I won't be far behind him.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

And the first draft is done ...

I've spent the last couple of days going through the first episode of 'The Killing Ground'. Cutting, or should that be hacking, out crap that in the distant past seemed a good idea to include. It was one of the first things I tried to write so was full of 'we see' and 'we hear' along with interior monologues and 'emotional thinking'. Sheesh. No wonder Lucy at Bang2Write ripped it apart.

Still, time and experience (I hope) has led me to make it a better, sharper and more detailed piece of work. Gone are the page-long speeches, the ten-page scenes and the superficial nonsense. Scenes are broken up at logical points and hopefully I've started them as late as I should and left them just as early.

The relationship between the protagonist and the love-interest has been amended to make her not seem so much like a bunny-boiler, and his reaction to what happens to her later on holds some justification now, rather than him appearing to be an angry teenager.

It's come in at 58 and a half pages long. Now, a short break. Then I'll take a look at the other chapters I wrote to see what state they're in. I've already pre-cut 20 pages from ep. 2, so it'll be fun. Or a bloodbath.

Still, never give up, never surrender ...

Monday, 4 October 2010

No Classes Yet

A lesson plan was compiled. Sample short scripts were printed out. A work-list prepared. There was only one thing missing: anyone interested in the class.

The guys at Minehead Eye say that they probably didn't do enough publicity for their courses - and I don't think that mine is the only one to suffer from lack of interest - and that a lack of awareness is the more likely reason for low or no interest. We've left it now until after half term (three weeks time) and see if places can be filled for a re-start when the new term kicks in.

Still, that gives me more time to re-develop a script I started a few years back - got hammered by Lucy Hay at Bang2Write - and left on the metaphorical shelf. I recently went back to it and looked at it with fresh eyes.

The glaring issues with it that Lucy raised are now apparent and I've been re-working it to cut out the dross, the redundant exposition and internal narrative and think I'm making headway. So far I've cut 15 pages of 'filler' or 'not needed' from the first episode as was - 60 pages down to 45. I just need to re-fill the time with suitable scenes which drive the story on and add either to character or plot. I've already pre-cut 20 pages from the second 'episode' which had scenes that explained why a particular character acts the way they do. I might re-shuffle this and keep about a page. Write, re-write and edit. Words to live by.

It's a 3-part action/drama set in 2023 with the back-drop of religious terrorism, political double-crossing and knowing who to trust. The current working title is 'The Killing Ground'. I'm sure either the guys at BBCWritersroom or Red Planet (next year) will snap it up. Mmmm, wishful thinking, perhaps.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Scenes without words

I watched 'Cemetery Junction' last night - the Ricky Gervais/Stephen Merchant feature and was pleasantly surprised. I'm a fan of the pair but thought 'The Invention of Lying' just didn't have the legs to warrant a full feature, and went into 'CJ' apprehensive.

The main trio of Christian Cooke, Tom Hughes and Jack Doolan had great chemistry and screen presence but the scene for me which took the film was when Bruce Pearson (Hughes) - after finding out the truth about his father's action over his mother's infidelity - went back home. It looked like he was going to go through his usual routine of ignoring his father, changing the TV channel and sitting back in an armchair, but instead he went and sat next to his dad, opened a beer for him then reached out and put a hand on his dad's arm. No dialogue needed. Pure genius. It conveyed more than 'I'm sorry' or 'It's ok' could ever manage and, as I say, it took the film.

And that got me thinking about how many good or great films have scenes like this, rather than the fall-back position of redundant dialogue. This is the mark of quality in the writing and direction/acting of such scenes. One that I think all writers should aspire to.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Reviews and Classes ...

I'm still waiting to hear back from the kiddies - sorry, the young adults - who were given the opening chapters of my supernatural mystery to read. My teacher friend was ill yesterday and didn't get in to see her class, so it might be another week before any feedback comes this way.

And I also found out today that the Screen Writing classes that I'm going to run, and which are due to start next week (28th) haven't had any up-take as yet. This may be down to two things; 1) It's a dull subject and no one's interested, or 2) Minehead Eye have only been advertising their autumn courses online, and only today were a couple of people sent out with flyers etc to 'spread the word'. Mmmm. I know that they don't have much, if any, of an advertising budget but simply relying on online views and in-house posters doesn't really cut the mustard. It'll be interesting to see what happens.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Reviews pending

The first ten chapters of one of my stories went to a test group yesterday - half-a-dozen young teenagers in a friend's tutor class. Ten chapters may be too much for them but they've only been asked to read as much or as little as they want and will hopefully fill in a questionaire next week, as to what they thought.

Scary. But maybe a good indicator as to whether the start is enough to keep them reading. Only time will tell.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Separated by a common language

One of the sites I regularly visit is Query Shark - a blog site for 'query letters' touting stories. It's run by American Janet Reid and, if you're not familiar with it, she comments of query letters sent to her as to their style, content and overall quality.

It's great and a must-read for all novelists - wannabes and established.

She doesn't pull any punches; her advice is straight-to-the-point and quite often brutal, but that's as it should be. In the real world prospective agents or publishers wouldn't be any different and it's a way to learn how to hone the query letter to make it short and interesting.

One query that I read recently (#123) was from a British writer and the language in his/her query provoked many comments from the mainly American readers - mostly along the lines of that they couldn't understand what the author was meaning or whether they were genuine words. One didn't understand 'John's out the nick', 'handing out money to all and f*cking sundry' and 'blowing up the bastard screw'. Many couldn't understand what they called 'the slang' and ended up confused.

I think that in the UK we've had so much US tv shows and Hollywood films over the years that we've become accustomed to 'America-speak', and understand pretty much all of what a US author writes, but transpose that and they seem to hit a wall. And they also seem to think that slang is centred only on London and within the sound of Bow bells at that ...

So what can we learn from this? If we want to appeal to a wider market (i.e. the US) do we have to curtail the use of colloquialisms and 'dumb down' the language? Or - like Guy Ritchie - beat them round the head with the stick of rhyming slang? Personally I think a mix of the two is the ideal - use a colloquialism but show the meaning through a visual description. I don't think that American readers will baulk at UK-slang if they're shown what the word, or description, means. I'm sure that some deep-south US slang would leave us all baffled on this side of the pond, but if it were 'explained' through action then it wouldn't seem out of place.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Minehead is the New Hollywood

Okay, well maybe not quite.

I had a meeting today with Molly Studley from Minehead Eye today. Minehead Eye is the new youth and cultural centre based a stone's-throw from Butlins in (unsurprisingly) Minehead. Thirteen years in the planning it's having its grand opening this weekend and has fun and games planned for everyone who goes.

Apart from the skate park, music studio and dance area it also has a Media Lab, and from the 28th September for eight weeks (excluding a weeks' break for half-term) I'll be running an evening screenplay/scriptwriting class for teenagers. The hope is that during the course the people attending will be able to produce one or more 5-10 minute scripts that will (hopefully) be filmed and edited using the centre's brand new equipment. So if you see zombies walking the streets of Minehead later in the year, it may just be one of the films being made and nothing to worry about. But then again ...

Very exciting times ahead. I've been running a short story critique service for the last eighteen months, but this is something entirely new to me and is both thrilling and terrifying in equal measures.

Now all I have to do is work out the lesson plans and hope that people are interested...

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Random words

Can the burst suggest an orchestral microprocessor?
Often the writing of random words can lead to tangental ideas and sub-plots.
The random sentence at the top may be a piece of dialogue in a sci-fi setting. 'The Burst' may be an elected position and the thing he/she/it is suggesting might be a tracking device which enables our hero to eavesdrop an crucial meeting, or it might be the opposite - it enables the antagonist to learn a crucial piece of intel about our hero.
Random writing is one way I help to deflect the dreaded 'writers' block', although I'm not sure it's everyones cup of tea...

Quality research

To help me get a feel for how current horror comedies are, I turned to I have the package where you can have two discs 'at home' at any one time with no limit per month. And boy did I pack a lot of films in.

Good films (in my opinion) -
Black Sheep: a Kiwi-set 'zombie' sheep film with some great lines and set pieces. Tag line: Get ready for the violence of the lambs.
The Cottage: what starts as a kidnap ends in death and murder, starring Andy Serkis, Reece Shearsmith and Jennifer Ellison (boy, has she got a dirty mouth). The first half is pure comedy - great writing and spot-on acting/direction. Tag line: Sleeps four, bloody comfortably.
Shaun of the Dead: 'nuff said.

Bad films (in my opinion) -
Dead Snow: zombie Nazis in Sweden/Finland? Very run-of-the-mill slasher. The best thing was the tagline: Ein, Zwei, Die
Doghouse: yawn-inducing zombie 'lad' flick starring Danny Dyer. WTF?

Now all I'm waiting for is my mate, Andy Tiernan's film to come out next year. It was originally called 'Stone's War' (he plays Capt. Stone) but it's been re-named 'War of the Dead'. The rough-cut trailer I saw a while back looked amazing and I hope that the final cut lives up to it. Not so much comedy, though, I think in this one.

Where did those two years go..?

Wow. It's been two years. Saying it like that it seems such a long time, but when you're going through it, it goes in a flash.

I bought the lease on a restaurant in May '08 - just in time for the economy to crash and people tighten their wallets - and have been hanging onto it by my fingernails ever since. I'm chef, pot-wash and everything else but waiter. Talk about an albatross around my neck. Some weeks are great others it's a ghost town. No pattern, no reason.

Never mind.

The writing has been continuing. A novel finished and rejected multiple times. Then I decided to re-work it - changing the protagonist and all associated elements - and I think it's better for it. It now has clear identity and who it's focussed at. 2nd draft has now been completed and is ready to go to a test market - kids, who'll no doubt give a VERY honest opinion.

A second novel is well under way. Based from two short stories I wrote for a competition last year. It's in the YA market as is the other story, but very different - a future setting as is like a cross between Alex Rider and Jason Bourne. The arc is going well and I'm happy with the skeleton so far. Now I just have to write the thing...

I reached semi-final stage last year in the Kaos Films BSSC, which is one step further than my previous entry, so I'll win it in a couple of years at this rate. The slightly tweeked script has just been sent off this morning to a guy (director) asking for short scripts from the 'Shooting People' scriptwriters bulletin - it's now called 'Coffee, Biscuits and Bullets'. A quirky tale of a hitman being visited by some of his past kils, but that's only the start of his evening ...

A horror/comedy screenplay has been started as well. Still working on the act beats but so far so good. I'm billing it as: As quirky as 'Black Sheep', as funny as 'The Cottage' and as bankable as 'Shaun of the Dead'. I'm not sure any of them hit the mark, but I can try. Celtx is great. If you haven't got it, get it. It's free and does a great job.

Anyway, it's good to be back - I know that I've said that before, but it is.