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.