Sunday, 30 October 2011

A Good Weekend's Writing

I started a new job last Monday and as everyone who starts a new job knows, it can be fairly full-on for the first week. The job is teaching in a controlled, secure environment and with some very strict protocols and procedures.

As such the working day is pretty tiring and by the time I get home writing is one of the things which doesn't rank high on a to-do list. I'm hoping that once I get settled in, the writing will once again feature in my evening schedule.

However, I made a concerted effort to get some words down this weekend and, as I'm within sight of the 1st draft completion of Tiberius Found, I'm happy to say that I've cracked out another 1,400 words bringing the current total to just over 73,000.

I'm on to the last chapter which is pretty much the tie-up and tidy-up chapter. The big climax has just been done and all that's left is the wrap up.

Tomorrow should prove interesting as I'm back at work and then have the continuation of my eBook writing course/woorkshop at the Queens Park Centre ...

Saturday, 22 October 2011

40 out of 48

That's the number of hours I worked Thurs-Fri on the Skype 'Happy Birthday' shoot at Elstree Studios. A number of other similar shoot were taking place across the world - LA, NY ... Bristol - where bands/musicians were filmed singing a 'happy birthday' message to someone via a Skype multi-person web-call.

Directed by Adam Coop of Angelic Digital the two bands we used were Scarlet Grey - an Indie rock band from LA, and Kill The Young - a trio of brothers from Manchester.

Very long two days but the result looks like it's going to be good.

Today I have mostly been sleeping.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The Final Curtain

For my original six-week eBook writing course at Queens Park Centre, anyway.

I've been really pleased that the turnout for the classes has been pretty constant and, if the feedback given is to be believed, very well received. The Centre seem really happy with the response saying that the previous 'writing classes' haven't been as well attended.

When I originally approached the Centre back in the late spring we didn't know who or how many people would be interested in the course so in the current (autumn) Centre brochure we agreed that the listing would only show it as being a six-week run, with no carry-on after the upcoming half-term. What we've now agreed is that in the next brochure (winter) we'll advertise two six-week courses running either side of the first half-term in the New Year.

For the guys who've just completed the course I've agreed to run 'workshops' in the intervening weeks to help with any issues/problems they have in developing their stories. What's been really interesting is that a few of them have shown an interest in having one session dedicated to screenwriting, to give them a basic overview of how it works and the differences between narrative and screenplay format.

Dammit, I didn't win the Booker

But then again I've not been published.

Congratulations though to Julian Barnes who, for the third time of asking, has won the Man Booker prize (and £50,000) with his novel The Sense of an Ending. Julian has been previously shortlisted in 1984 (Flaubert's Parrot), 1998 (England, England) and 2005 (Arthur and George). In his acceptance speech he is reported to have said, "I'd like to thank the judges ... for their wisdom and the sponsors for their cheque."

There has been some criticism levelled at the judging panel for 'putting a focus on "readability" over literary merit', but Chairwoman Dame Stella Rimmington said that the winner had been chosen unanimously, describing it as having "the markings of a classic English literature."

At just 150 pages it's the second shortest novel to win - the shortest was Penelope Fitzgerald's 1979 winner Offshore, coming in at a whopping 132 pages.  *** Update *** I've just read on The Bookseller website that Random House is re-printing 75,000 copies of Julian's book following his win.

My own writing is continuing and one day, one day ... Okay, maybe not. I don't think I write quite what the Booker judges are looking for. However, my Tiberius Found story is squeakingly close to completing first draft. I had a good day yesterday and cracked out nearly 1,300 words, taking the current count to just over 71,000 words. I'm at the point of pretty much the climax of the novel where SECTION DELETED TO PREVENT SPOILER INFORMATION. So, pretty exciting stuff, I'm sure you'll agree. I reckon a few more days like that and it'll be ready to leave for a month before I get back to it.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

In The Mood screening

This morning I went to a screening of Adam Coop's In The Mood - his short film set on VJ Day about a village girl whose G.I. boyfriend is about to be shipped back home. Adam wrote and directed the film - through his Angelic Films production company - as a vehicle for the three central characters who in real life are 'The Polka Dots' an American-style close harmony swing trio consisting of (from left to right) Michelle, Ella-Louise and Laura, managed by Scott Jordan Entertainment.

I acted as a 'Runner' for the shoot - spending most of the first mammoth day asking people to be quiet - and the second (much shorter day - only twelve hours) as the only Runner but also helping out the Art department. It was actually very interesting - as a wannabe writer, seeing it from a production perspective was an education.

There were about a hundred cast/crew/family at the Empire Cinema in High Wycombe this morning and I thought that the present cut was pretty good. It really does have a 'big screen' feel. The film still needs a little cleaning and when that's done (and after Adam's sorted out some copyright issues over the music) it'll hopefully be entered into a number of festivals.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Happy writers

The scheduled, penultimate, week of my eBook writing course at Queens Park Centre in Aylesbury went ahead last night. Now, when I originally planned this course with the Centre administrator we didn't know how, it at all, popular it'd be - previous writing classes there hadn't been well attended at all - so in their brochure we only stated a six-week course.

However, I'm really happy to say the guys on the course are really enjoying it and tell me that they're getting a benefit from it. They're coming back each week, so that's a good sign. So, I'll be running the same course starting again in the New Year which will have identical promo material as this course had, but to keep the momentum rolling I'm going to be continuing the monday night meetings (after half term) with the current people as more of a casual writing 'workshop'.

A couple of the guys have also asked about including some time to cover screen-writing, as well, which is nice as it gives me something else to get my teeth into.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

More sad news

It seems that the news is full of obituaries, of late.

It's been announced that George Baker died of pneumonia on Friday, following a stroke. He was 80 years old and had a career spanning nearly sixty years.

He was best known for playing DCI Reg Wexford in the TV adaptations of the Ruth Rendell stories, and at one point was considered for the James Bond role.

But my first memories of him was playing the role of Tiberius in the splendid 1976 adaptation of Robert Grave's I, Claudius, acting alongside Derek Jacobi, Sian Phillips and John Hurt.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Steve Jobs - 1955-2011

It seems that the sad news of Steve Jobs' death following his long-term battle with cancer has had an effect on people worldwide. Perhaps not on a similar scale of the Diana-phenomenon - thankfully - but is indicative of the influence Apple, and the products that Jobs spearheaded, has had on the way we all communicate with each other.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Up and Downs

My fourth week at Queens Park Centre and my eBook writing course went off last night, with almost a full house. We had nine of the ten that have ever attended.

Some are getting really into it and have already generated cover art-work. In fact one of them - an artist, already - has produced a cover that wouldn't look out of place on a professionally published piece of work. I'm even thinking about commissioning her to do my next cover.

Those that have produced work for me to offer feedback have received my notes well and have already began to amend their work. They all seem to be really enjoying the class and it's nice to think that I'm helping them.

I've received two rejections this week. One for a very short story; they liked my writing style (which is good) but not the story subject matter. The other for the short screenplay I wrote for the script call off Shooting People; Anti-Thought Crime.

All part of the game, I guess. Keep smiling, keep writing.