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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Why Write A Blog Advent?

ADVENT DAY TWENTY-FOUR: Christmas. It’s not long away. And to celebrate advent, new content will be added to this blog every day in the countdown to the big day. You’ll see reviews, opinion pieces, links to some of my other work, videos – maybe even a short story! Remember to check back every day (in between the mad rush of packing presents, getting the freezer stocked up and watching Home Alone on repeat).

This is the second year running that I’ve done a blog advent, updating the blog every day. But why? It’s certainly a big commitment. But there are good reasons…

Rockefeller 2012

Writing

The biggest task of all for a writer is to write. It sounds stupid, but to actually sit down and write… takes a lot of effort. Personally, I always think to myself, ‘if I do it now, I won’t do it right.’ It’s not me being lazy – it’s a genuine concern. And I know I’m not alone.

But once you start, it’s fine. Enjoyable. And this blog advent is a strict regime: you have to do it once it’s started! Sure, it’s tough, but when you’re on a roll…

I’ve clocked up nearly 8,000 words in this blog advent alone. That’s nearly 8,000 words more than I had at the start of December. It looks much better than a blank page, believe me.

Improvisation

A blog advent stretches your skills. I don’t get up and know what I’m writing. It’s improvisation. It’s reacting to what’s going on around you; what you feel like writing; and what you want to say.

Sure, there’s some planning involved – but plans change. I knew, for instance, that I wanted to do a Doctor Who quiz again this year, with a separate post for answers. But I certainly didn’t know when I was going to do it. They went up merely when the time was right.

It’s a skill that comes in handy if you’re trying to write daily; if you’re trying to get into journalism, or continue your career or even just hone your trade.

Learning new things

On the search for new content, I learnt a few things. Not necessarily things that I’ve even turned into a post – but things that I researched just because they interested me. The idea of perceptual adaptation really grabbed me… and who knows? Maybe I’ll write a post about it once day.

A bigger audience

Google loves a regularly updated blog: one with links, and a range of topics; quotes and pictures and videos. The more content – no, the more good content you have, the bigger an audience you’ll reach. Maybe someone will find your blog by searching for Looney Tunes cartoons, but then visit again and again (even subscribe) because they’re also a fan of The Killers or Doctor Who.

2012 Bauble

Showcasing your work

Also, the more content you have, the more work you have online to show off your skills. Editors, fellow journalists, friends: they all need to know what you can do.

Show them.

Deadlines

To be able to show editors you can be responsible and stick to strict deadlines is invaluable. This is what editors need to know.

Yes, they also need to know you’re good at what you do – but proving yourself reliable is half the battle.

And if you don’t think that updating your blog every day isn’t a challenge… try it. And if you still don’t… I’m impressed. Also, a little concerned.

Develop

Writing style is important, as is understanding language, syntax, grammar, spelling, rhetoric… I could go on. To develop these, you have to write. Something which forces you to write is surely a brilliant thing to help your writing grow.

Naturally, your writing shouldn’t ever stop evolving – or else, why be a writer at all? – but a little annual kick along the way must help.

Who I Am

Your blog is a reflection of you. Remember that. Everything on it says something about you. So tell people who you are.

Oh, and by the way… Thanks for reading.

Have a very Merry Christmas.

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2012 in Blog Advent - 2012

 

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Doctor Who: Series 7, Part 1 Quiz Answers!

ADVENT DAY TWENTY-THREE: Christmas. It’s not long away. And to celebrate advent, new content will be added to this blog every day in the countdown to the big day. You’ll see reviews, opinion pieces, links to some of my other work, videos – maybe even a short story! Remember to check back every day (in between the mad rush of packing presents, getting the freezer stocked up and watching Home Alone on repeat).

So how did you do on the Doctor Who Series 7, Part 1 quiz I posted a few days ago here? Let’s find out, shall we…?

Dinosaurs 1

1. In Asylum of the Daleks, which planet was the Doctor lured to by Darla Von Karlsen?

Skaro.

2. In what year is Dinosaurs on a Spaceship mainly set?

2367 AD.

3. In A Town Called Mercy, who says, “Violence doesn’t end violence; it extends it”?

The Doctor.

4. How long are the cubes in The Power of Three initially active for?

47 minutes.

5. According to their gravestone in The Angels Take Manhattan, how old were Rory and Amy when they died?

Rory: 82; Amy: 87.

6. What name does Oswin give the Daleks waiting outside her cell in Asylum?

Intensive Care.

7. The beach that’s actually the engine room in Dinosaurs on a Spaceship is most notable for being Bad Wolf Bay in Doomsday. But what planet did it also feature as, and in which serial…?

Alfafa Metraxi in The Time of Angels/ Flesh and Stone.

8. In A Town Called Mercy, what was the Gunslinger’s real name?

Kahler-Tec.

9. The Shakri, in The Power of Three, serve the word of… what?

The Tally.

10. In The Angels Take Manhattan, what is the title of the last chapter (just before Amy’s Afterword)?

Amelia’s Last Farewell.

Series 7

BONUS QUESTION:
What was the last scene filmed by Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill together?

At the end of The Power of Three, when the Doctor, Amy and Rory walk into the TARDIS…

So how did you do? Leave a comment – and get ready for The Snowmen!

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2012 in Blog Advent - 2012, Television

 

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Manhattan – in 100 words

ADVENT DAY TWENTY-TWO: Christmas. It’s not long away. And to celebrate advent, new content will be added to this blog every day in the countdown to the big day. You’ll see reviews, opinion pieces, links to some of my other work, videos – maybe even a short story! Remember to check back every day (in between the mad rush of packing presents, getting the freezer stocked up and watching Home Alone on repeat).

Manhattan

A monolithic aeon, fizzing at the free air; reaching out, stretching.

Rabbits on the road. An endless river of metal; yellow, blue, red, yellow, blue, red. Cutting corners around jigsaw buildings.

In God We Trust as we Walk, Don’t Walk. Thankfully, every hour is rush hour.

Breathe.

Pulp and pop crack the spinning spectrum, speckled windows burning bright in fearful symmetry. Screaming glass and broken sirens signal the storm in glittering squares and blinking warmth. No matter. Get on with life.

Amidst this, a smile.

People climb and people fall, caught in beams of light. Many hearts with one beat.

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2012 in Blog Advent - 2012, Short Stories

 

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It’s Not the End of the World

ADVENT DAY TWENTY-ONE: Christmas. It’s not long away. And to celebrate advent, new content will be added to this blog every day in the countdown to the big day. You’ll see reviews, opinion pieces, links to some of my other work, videos – maybe even a short story! Remember to check back every day (in between the mad rush of packing presents, getting the freezer stocked up and watching Home Alone on repeat).

Today isn’t the end of the world. You know it; I know it; the Mayans knew it. So where does this myth come from?!

Mayan Ruins 2

Today, the 13th Baktun of the Mayan calendar ends – and some have interpreted this as meaning the end of the world. Indeed, many are going to Yukatan to experience… well, something. But according to The Guardian, even the Mexicans are baffled by the ‘prediction’:

“Told that a lot of conventional wisdom behind the doomsday scenario in the rest of the world supposedly derived from ancient Mayan texts, they politely replied that they were not aware of any such prediction or text.

In every place we visited, whether in a large city like Merida or a smaller town like Celestun or Uayamon, we found the local people going about their business in perfect calmness without any concern for any impending apocalypse.”

There’s very little foundation to the ‘apocalypse’ rumour – it’s just a misinterpretation. And no, I don’t mean between languages. In fact, the end of the 13th Baktun just means the start of a new era. It comes every 5, 125 years – and the last one ended at the start of the Mayan era.

So today isn’t the end of the world. Not in any way. In fact, according to the Mayan culture, today is the start of a new world.

(And just as you’re questioning if I’m a real writer because, frankly, this is all getting too philosophical… You can read my short story, Yukatan, here!)

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2012 in Blog Advent - 2012

 

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Looney Tunes: One Froggy Evening

ADVENT DAY TWENTY: Christmas. It’s not long away. And to celebrate advent, new content will be added to this blog every day in the countdown to the big day. You’ll see reviews, opinion pieces, links to some of my other work, videos – maybe even a short story! Remember to check back every day (in between the mad rush of packing presents, getting the freezer stocked up and watching Home Alone on repeat).

It’s Michigan J. Frog!

I’ve always loved cartoons, and this was probably my favourite as a kid. I still love its uniqueness, wit and ingenuity. The storytelling is exceptional and it’ll forever be a much-loved classic.

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2012 in Blog Advent - 2012

 

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Exclusive Interview with Jerry Holliday

ADVENT DAY NINETEEN: Christmas. It’s not long away. And to celebrate advent, new content will be added to this blog every day in the countdown to the big day. You’ll see reviews, opinion pieces, links to some of my other work, videos – maybe even a short story! Remember to check back every day (in between the mad rush of packing presents, getting the freezer stocked up and watching Home Alone on repeat).

Yesterday, my interview with local comic writer and illustrator, Jerry Holliday, as part of my regular comics column, Bristol Comics Corner, was published.

Jerry Holliday

Jerry has launched Bonafide Comics with his graphic novel, Doxie the Dog in Ambienceworld, and I caught up with him to discuss why he’s decided to bring back a character he first created in the 1980s, why he’s gone with independent publishing and the actual creative process. Here’s a quick preview:

“There are definitely advantages (and disadvantages) to self publishing. I’ve always enjoyed it, from printing zines and distributing them when I was 14 years old to this most recent project. Publish on demand is a dream come true for me. It enables you to get your comic, novel, whatever it is, out there without the inventory costs.

On the other hand you have to put a lot of work in with marketing, promotion and distribution, so a publisher can be pretty handy for that if you just want to focus on the product.”

You can read the full interview over at Guide2Bristol here.

Thanks to Jerry, who was a pleasure to interview, and I recommend checking out Bonafide now!

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2012 in Blog Advent - 2012, Published work

 

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Doctor Who: Series 7, Part 1 Quiz

ADVENT DAY EIGHTEEN: Christmas. It’s not long away. And to celebrate advent, new content will be added to this blog every day in the countdown to the big day. You’ll see reviews, opinion pieces, links to some of my other work, videos – maybe even a short story! Remember to check back every day (in between the mad rush of packing presents, getting the freezer stocked up and watching Home Alone on repeat).

Celebrating an exceptional run of five Doctor Who episodes this year, here’s a quick quiz to refresh your memory, ready for The Snowmen. Come back later this week to see the answers.

Asylum 2

Good luck!

1. In Asylum of the Daleks, which planet was the Doctor lured to by Darla Von Karlsen?
2. In what year is Dinosaurs on a Spaceship mainly set?
3. In A Town Called Mercy, who says, “Violence doesn’t end violence; it extends it”?
4. How long are the cubes in The Power of Three initially active for?
5. According to their gravestone in The Angels Take Manhattan, how old were Rory and Amy when they died?
6. What name does Oswin give the Daleks waiting outside her cell in Asylum?
7. The beach that’s actually the engine room in Dinosaurs on a Spaceship is most notable for being Bad Wolf Bay in Doomsday. But what planet did it also feature as, and in which serial…?
8. In A Town Called Mercy, what was the Gunslinger’s real name?
9. The Shakri, in The Power of Three, serve the word of… what?
10. In The Angels Take Manhattan, what is the title of the last chapter (just before Amy’s Afterword)?

A Town Called Mercy 5

BONUS QUESTION:

What was the last scene filmed by Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill together?

Try not to cheat – but if you really must, might I suggest perusing my ReKaps? Or you can just wait a few days to find out…

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2012 in Blog Advent - 2012, Television

 

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