Sunday, 27 November 2011

The Killing II

The new series of the fantastic The Killing has just aired parts three and four over here in the UK. And what a long time coming it's been.

Forbrydelsen II, as it's called in it's native Danish, once again follows Sarah Lund (played by the award winning Sofie Grabol). But this time, following the disgraces heaped upon her at the end of the original series, she starts the new ten-part story working at a remote border control point. After the brutal murder of a woman with ties to both the military and political circles, Sarah is 'invited' to help out. Naturally she takes a different viewpoint from her new colleague and sees clues / has instinctive reasoning which others do not.

The trail of deaths continue which impact on the higher levels of Government and the military, and (so far) suggest a link to events which happened in Afghanistan a few years before, by a small military unit which is quickly losing its remaining members. Similar to the original series there are red-herrings galore and the line between good-guys and bad-guys are blurred. One of the good things that the writer(s) and director(s) does/do is conceal the true motivation of some of the characters, so the viewer doesn't know if they're genuine or just very, very dodgy. Are the murders terrorist-related? Are they revenge for what happened in Afghanistan? Or is there a more sinister reason?

The Killing 2 is half as long as the original - ten episodes - shown over five weeks. Two back-to-back episodes are being aired on Saturday nights (in the UK) on BBC4 9 - 11pm, with a repeat on Wednesdays 10.30pm-12.30am. The third series, I understand, is currently being filmed. What's the chances of another one after that?

Grabol continues with her character's po-faced hardness but has deeper scars now following the events of the original series - the death of Jan Meyer, her relationship break-up and the disgrace the Copenhagen police hierarchy landed her with.

However, some things have changed. Gone is Lund's famous cream and black sweater from series one to be replaced by a red number. With Christmas just under a month away I expect sales have already gone through the roof.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Tiberius feedback

Early feedback has been coming in for the the first (draft) of Tiberius Found. Not that it's really the first draft, just the first full, complete version of the story. The early chapters - maybe about half of the story - have been worked on a fair bit and tweaked for this version.

So far most of the comments have been about word repetition (or using words with a similar origin) and multiple uses of a particular descriptive action. Which is fair enough as the story - from start to finish - took about eighteen months or so to write. Descriptive actions that I used early on would have been forgotten about with the later work, so I can forgive myself their overuse and change them accordingly.

Local author and artist Julie Cuthbert has agreed to do the cover art and the discussions we originally had about it seem to fit the style of the story and the target market. I'm looking forward to seeing the first prototypes.

As for Oliver Drummond and the Four Horsemen - the re-worked blocking structure is going very well. Some major changes to revelations and secondary character motivation/action meant a pretty hefty alteration to the storyline with the knock-on effect of everything from the start of the second act onwards having to be amended/tweaked/dropped like hot coals. But the new version, I think, will work much better for the market I'm aiming it at.

Writing will begin soon.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Writing Block

Not writers' block. The blocking out of the revision of Oliver Drummond and the Four Horsemen is going well. So well in fact that I'm tempted - like a great many other writers - to start running before I've re-learned how to walk.

The amendments to sub-plot and the shuffling around of sequences as well as the holding back of information / character intent is all starting to fall into place. But I know that starting to write before the whole picture is in place leads to ruin (at worst) and major re-writes (at best) but I can see how tempting it is. I'm a writer damn it; I want to write.

Self control, Andy; self control. I'll have the blocking finished in a week or so and then the writing can commence. Oh, yes. And it will.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Q R Markham apologies ...

... but did he use someone else's apology?

Q R Markham, the pen name for Brooklyn poet Quentin Rowan, has apologised (at last) for his uber plagiarised novel Assassin of Secrets. The article in today's Guardian can be read here. Basically he says that the pressures in confidence of his own 'voice' - "to conceal my own voice with the armour of someone else's words" - led him to copy wholesale passages of other authors works including 007 story writer John Gardner.

I'm not sure what level of understanding or compassion there will be for him within the publishing / writing world. Sure, I can comprehend the fact that there must be huge amounts of expectations with the first novel (I think it was his first novel) of a bestselling poet, but hey there must have been a point where he thought 'I'm not going to get away with this' and just come clean - hopefully way before the printed books were due to be placed on shelves.

His UK Agents Little, Brown are, apparently, highly embarrassed over this - and with good reason. Everyone concerned - both in the UK and in the US - should have picked up on the plagiarised elements way before it got to the print stage. School boy errors made by people paid high sums to do better.

Tough month

November's proving to be a tough month.

I started a new job at the tail-end of October, which is pretty much full-on and doesn't leave me a great deal of time (or energy) for writing. What has been good is that (as I said in my last post) is that I've completed the first full draft of Tiberius Found - my near-futuristic YA adventure. I've got two people reading it and so far feedback has been positive but at least one edit / re-draft will be done regardless (probably more).

I'm also starting to block out the amendments to my period YA adventure Oliver Drummond and the Four Horsemen, bearing in mind the Agent's feedback comments I received on it a while back. The amendments and alterations are proving to be a little awkward as they have a fair amount of knock-on effect with a lot of other elements - introducing a new sub-plot level, holding back significant details until a later point as well as a general tidy up.

But I know that the story will be better for it. Why didn't I write it like that to begin with? Ah, if only ...

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Yes, success!!

It's been a long time coming but the first full draft of Tiberius Found has been completed. Coming in at just over 75,000 words it's pretty much bang on for my estimated word count.

It's more like third or fourth draft than first, as the vast majority of it has been gone over multiple times but it's the first full length version complete with ending.

Happy day. I have one pre-reader so far, who's happy (in fact very willing) to read and look for a) typos b) errors and c) just plain crapness. Hopefully there will be a) not many b) one or two at most and c) none.

There will be a hiatus now as I give the story a chance to settle before going back to it with a re-writer's eye. Not that I plan to be idle as I've been itching to get back to the period YA adventure that I need to re-work Oliver Drummond and the Four Horsemen. I had an Agents notes back on a full-read of the last version, so there are areas which I'm keen to amend and strengthen.