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100th Post: Reflecting on Nearly 3 Years

It’s really surprising to see that I started this blog nearly three years ago. And to find that this is my 100th post. Have I really had that many interesting things to say?! Excuse the self-indulgence here, then, as I look back at what’s changed since my very first blog post on 30th April 2010. (In no particular order…)

1. I’m now a freelance writer.
2. I’ve interviewed Matt Smith. (I know; I haven’t said anything about this massive event on this blog yet. But stay tuned!)

Matt and Moffat

3. I launched the Make Mine A Marvel Omnibus site in October 2010.
4. I had my first article printed in Real Travel magazine.
5. I work for the Doctor Who site, Kasterborous.
6. Amy and Rory left the TARDIS last year. (Don’t press me on the matter; I’m still a bit teary.)
7. I have an FdA in Professional Writing. (You can read more about that course here.)
8. Spooks has finished. (Thank God for DVDs!)
9. I’ve started my first novel.
10. I’ve written for the Weston College Higher Education Prospectus.
11. I did the web copy for Lovarzi’s Fourth Doctor Scarf for both their own website and Amazon.

doctor-who-scarf-4

12. As well as doing the official press release!
13. I’ve started my first children’s book.
14. The Amazing Spider-Man reached #700.
15. I’ve worked for Kasterborous’ sister site, CultBritannia (and you can read my first article here.)
16. I’ve learnt how to add videos to my blog!
17. I wrote The British Comedy Guide’s 10th anniversary celebratory article of The Office.
18. I’ve started a few scripts…
19. … And am searching for an agent.

Armstrong and Miller Guide2Bristol review

Armstrong and Miller Guide2Bristol review

20. I reviewed the Armstrong and Miller Tour for Bristol247
21. … And for Guide2Bristol.
22. The latter of which has been quoted on the official A&M website!
23. I copy-edit regularly for Kasterborous.
24. I reviewed the Day of the Daleks: Special Edition DVD for Kasterborous in two parts (here and here).
25. Then reviewed it for ItchyBristol here.
26. I’ve ran two blog advents across December 2011 and 2012.
27. I’ve worked on four Doctor Who ReKapped articles (learn more about that here), with another one in the works.

A Town Called Mercy 3

28. Clara Oswin Oswald has joined the TARDIS (sort of).
29. Neil Armstrong has passed away.
30. And so has Sir Patrick Moore.
31. The Killers have released a new album, Battle Born (and you can read a review of their single, Runaways here).
32. Avengers Assemble! has been released.
33. My review of the Doctor Who graphic novel, The Dalek Project went online here.
34. I’ve contributed two features to the upcoming Kasterborous Magazine (stay tuned for that).
35. Ray Bradbury has died.

The Illustrated Man

36. I’ve joined Twitter!
37. I’ve reviewed the last episode of Sherlock, The Reichenbach Fall, for Cult Britannia.
38. I have worked in a shop, Giggs, during the Christmas 2011 period – a shop which has since gone bust! (Nothing to do with me, I might add.)
39. I’ve read countless books – and you can see my top 10 reads of 2012 here.
40. Two episodes of 1960s Doctor Who have been found!
41. I reviewed Mission to the Unknown for Kasterborous’ Doctor Who@50.
42. The Gunfighters too! (And that’s certainly not the last of my involvement in the project.)
43. I created the Introducing: Doctor Who series for Kasterborous.

The Gunfighters 4

44. Doctor Who Confidential has been axed. (And was voted the best show ever on BBC3. Typical.)
45. I previewed Forbidden Planet’s Doctor Who Fun Day for ItchyBristol.
46. And in a short piece for The Mercury.
47. And finally for Bristol 247.
48. … For whom I also reviewed it.
49. The price of a 1st class stamp has increased to 60p.
50. I reviewed Lovarzi’s Fourth Doctor Scarf.
51. I write a regular column, Bristol Comics Corner, for Guide2Bristol.
52. Death in Paradise debuted on BBCOne.
53. Tuition fees increased, with a cap at £9,000.
54. … Something which I argued against in this Bristol247 article.
55. Brandon Flowers released his first solo album, Flamingo, and I reviewed it here.
56. I was thanked for my article about Jack Vettriano’s Bristol exhibition.

Vettriano on the Bristol247 homepage

Vettriano on the Bristol247 homepage

57. I previewed the Slapstick Festival in 2011.
58. I created my own website, using Moonfruit…
59. Then deleted it, as I wasn’t happy with the inability to update.
60. The Dandy ceased publication. (Read my article on that here.)
61. I’ve submitted an article to the Doctor Who book, Celebrate, Regenerate.
62. The Doctor Who Experience opened in London –
63. – Then moved to Cardiff.

JLC dress and Dalek

64. I reviewed Mack the Life, Lee Mack’s autobiography, for The British Comedy Guide.
65. I interviewed comic writer and artist, Jerry Holliday.
66. The Ice Warriors have been confirmed to return in the second half of Doctor Who, Series 7.
67. The world didn’t end on 21st December 2012. (Always a good thing, I find.)
68. The Bristol Comic Expo returned to Brunel’s Old Station.
69. I previewed the 2012 Expo here.
70. And reviewed it here.
71. The James Bond film franchise hit the big 5-0.
72. My former tutor, Marc Leverton, who’s a freelance writer, has written a guest blog post about his experience of publishers.

How To - Journalism

73. A review of his book, How to work as a Freelance Journalist, can be read here.
74. Steven Moffat has left Twitter. (Again, nothing to do with me!)
75. I’ve seen Steven Moffat at the Doctor Who Experience!
76. Sherlock burst onto television in July 2010.
77. I’ve helped Kasterborous begin their 50th anniversary celebrations with monthly Introduction articles.
78. January’s was Frontier in Space.
79. And this month’s is Vengeance on Varos.

Frontier 3

80. Tying into this, my editor called a second Frontier in Space piece I wrote one of the best articles the site has ever published. A massive compliment. You can read The World Behind: Frontier in Space here.
81. I reviewed Lee Mack’s Going Out live tour for Guide2Bristol
82. … And Bristol247!
83. I’ve visited the National History Museum for the first time.
84. Colin Baker appeared on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!
85. My article, Room with a View?, was the most-viewed article on Kasterborous in 2012!
86. I’ve begun work on a number of non-fiction books – but researching is a long task!
87. I reminisced on the anniversary of Matt Smith’s debut as the Doctor, Karen Gillan as Amy and Arthur Darvill as Rory here.
88. And celebrated Matt’s Doctor here.

The 11th Doctor

89. I’ve started a short story collection.
90. My jewellery article, With This (Time) Ring…, was surprisingly popular, making the Kasterborous top 10 list of the most-viewed articles of 2012.
91. I looked at the top 10 guest stars in the Tenth Doctor era here and here.
92. I’ve started reading the Sherlock Holmes novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
93. T4 On The Beach (held in my hometown) has been cancelled.

David Tennant

94. I’m working on a particularly-exciting documentary idea – though it’s only in development in my head at the minute!
95. I’ve seen Peter Kay live at Manchester’s M.E.N. Arena.
96. Parts of Doctor Who: The Snowmen were filmed in Bristol, as were bits of Night Terrors.
97. I previewed tours by Micky Flanagan, Ed Byrne and Stewart Francis for my local newspaper, The Weston and Worle Mercury.

Micky Flanagan Mercury preview

Micky Flanagan Mercury preview

98. I’ve seen the asteroid, 2012 DA14!
99. I’ve added a new section to my blog: Testimonials.
100. I’ve written 100 posts!

But don’t go anywhere. This is just the start.

Thanks for sticking with me this long.

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Top 10 books I read in 2012

I read a lot of books, a lot of graphic novels, a lot of comics. It’s my craft; it’s what I love.

What I read, obviously, influences what I write (and vice versa), and so pinpointing the ten best books I read last year helps me focus on what I like in a story. It seems variety is the key! So, in no particular order…

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Cast of Sherlock

The massively-successful Sherlock TV series on BBC1, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, spurred me on to discover the work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – and I’m so glad it did! A Study in Scarlet was a revelation, and I eagerly picked up The Sign of Four. I now have all the Sherlock books, and so I began 2012 by reading the third book in the series, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. It’s the first of the short story compilations, and once again, Doyle’s wonderfully easy but genius style made it an absolute pleasure to spend time with Holmes and Watson. This year, I’ll endeavour to read the next three books, ready for Sherlock returning to screen.

Fahrenheit 451

I picked this up on a whim, but it started my love of Ray Bradbury’s writing. It’s such a cliche (a phrase which, ironically, has also become cliche!) but Fahrenheit 451 really spoke to me. The level of thought that had gone into the novel, the amount of love and passion, came through instantly. It’s a book about a world without books. It’s a terrifying thought, but you completely buy into it. It’s still as relevant today as it was when it was published in 1953, if not more so.

Crooked House

Gemma Arterton is set to star in the film adaptation of Crooked House

Gemma Arterton is set to star in the film adaptation of Crooked House

Agatha Christie, whom I’ve been a fan of for quite some time now, is brilliant. I love her work, and The Agatha Christie Book Collection is a perfect way to fuel my imagination and fascination. Crooked House is so ingenious, it blew me away. Nothing is quite how you expect. (Although my Mum figured out who the murderer is, I hadn’t got a clue!) It’s a surprisingly disturbing novel, and the end is really shocking. It’s the definition of a ‘whodunit.’

Fatherland

Fatherland

What if the Nazis had won?

Once the notion was planted in my head, I couldn’t escape from it. I needed to pick up this book by Robert Harris. It’s so simple – why hasn’t every novelist done it before?! Maybe because they couldn’t beat the quality of Fatherland. In its anniversary year, I couldn’t put this down – even if, with German insignia on the front, it made me look like a Nazi sympathiser!

The Girl on the Landing

I’d read Paul Torday’s previous novels (his first, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, being his most famous) but this altogether different. It’s more disturbing than those that preceded it, and leaves a lot to the imagination – but that just makes it more unsettling.

The lead character is a normal, boring bloke – until he sees the titular girl on the landing, who may or may not be real. Things soon spiral out of control and you soon can’t put the book down.
Though The Irresistible Inheritance of Wiberforce is my favourite of Torday’s books, The Girl on the Landing is up there with the best.

Mack The Life

Lee Mack is, by far, my favourite comedian, and his autobiography is hilarious. In fact, it’s the first autobiography I’ve ever read in its entirety; I’ve tried others, sure, but they’ve never gripped me as much as this one.

For all my thoughts on this revealing book, take a look at my review for The British Comedy Guide.

Casino Royale

Casino Royale

Spurred on by the exceptional Skyfall (and watching Daniel Craig’s previous outings as the famous MI6 agent), I was surprised at the debut of James Bond in Casino Royale. It was everything Bond encompasses, but it was also sensitive and heartfelt. The main action was over midway through the novel, but Casino Royale is about Bond falling in love: a brave step to start out an action/thriller series. Live and Let Die waits for me on the bookshelf.

The Ghost

I nabbed The Ghost, another book by Robert Harris, when it was on offer at Waterstones for just £2.99, and I’m massively glad I did!

The Ghost

Harris’ style is pacy and pleasing, intriguing but warm. The interaction between characters is just as important as the mystery behind the new PM, Adam Lang. It really got me into the conspiratorial mindset for my script, A Writer’s Retreat, and was a thoroughly entertaining novel.

The Illustrated Man

Ray Bradbury came up with the clever idea of bookending a collection of short stories with an intensely unsettling tale of the Illustrated Man, whose tattoos come alive and tell the chilling and thought-provoking tales.

It’s especially interesting to see Bradbury’s exploration and obsession with this idea as just last week, I finished reading Something Wicked This Way Comes. It’s also interesting to note how Bradbury’s writing style changes – and yet stays the same, or, at the very least, recognisably Bradbury. Perhaps this is because his fairytale-esque tinged with horror tone comes through in whatever he writes?

Doctor Who: The Silent Stars Go By

Ice Lord

The final novel I read in 2012 was this considerable narrative by Dan Abnett, which sees Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor, Karen Gillan’s Amy Pond, and Arthur Darvill’s Rory Williams come up against one of the Doctor’s most-notable enemies, the Ice Warriors.

It was a real pleasure to read, with great characterisation, a well-thought-out plot, a big twist or two, and a wonderfully creepy-yet-beautiful backdrop. While the ending wasn’t perfect, the novel, as a whole, is a gem – and a must-read for Doctor Who fans!

 
 

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Did Titanic sink Wild at Heart?

ITV’s Wild At Heart has been axed after seven series, and – according to The Daily Mirror – the cast are blaming the Julian Fellowes-penned drama, Titanic.

An undisclosed ‘source’ supposedly told the paper:

“The feeling is that they sunk so much money into Titanic that they are having to make savings elsewhere and we are bearing the brunt of that. We’re all gutted that it has come to this. There are shows that would kill for 7.5million viewers.”

The show has been rumoured for the chop since February, and I can’t really see how this is a valid argument. Titanic was a lavish, costly production, obviously, but Wild at Heart is a popular family show that has run its course.

Jenna-Louise Coleman in 'Titanic.'

Wild at Heart – created by the fantastic Ashley Pharaoh (Life on Mars; Ashes to Ashes) – tells the story of the Bristol-born Trevanions adjusting to a new life in South Africa. The show’s strengths lay in its beautiful vistas and animals, strong characters and insight into another life.

The show has remained a firm favourite of many families since its initial transmission in 2006, returning to screens every January, and running into March. However, the average number of viewers has dropped, with series one getting an average of 9.67 million and has wavered around the 8 million mark ever since. Last series, though, dropped to an average of 6.73 million – a rating that still dented BBC’s Upstairs, Downstairs – taking a hit opposite the immensely popular Call the Midwife and Sherlock.

ITV's 'Titanic.'

As the ‘source’ says, though, the ratings are still competitive… but surely it’s best to end it on a high than let it dwindle away into obscurity.

The series will be given a 2-hour finale, to be filmed in September, and broadcast next year; something that many cancelled shows don’t get the privilege of.

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2012 in Television, Unpublished work

 

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Steven Moffat on writing for TV

Steven Moffat, showrunner of Doctor Who and Sherlock (the latter with Mark Gatiss), has discussed his career and television in general with The University Observer’s Emer Sugrue.

I make no secret that The Moff is my main inspiration for writing, especially screenwriting.

Even though he wasn’t the sole writer of Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (he was initially involved until he was offered the top job on Doctor Who), his influence is certainly felt throughout the brilliant film. It’s very simple to say things like, ‘get rid of exposition; make it more visual;’ it’s quite another to pull it off masterfully. But he’s an expert. Tintin is a must watch – because it comes from an ingenious creative team.

So interviews with Steven Moffat are a great help with getting your head around the TV industry, and in this particular one, he talks about some of the things that really concern me.

Firstly, I’m constantly worried about the state of children’s TV; CBBC has really dumbed down, and doesn’t feel as comfortable as it always was – with a few exceptions, naturally – while ITV has junked CITV completely! I think we forget how important kids are, and Moffat has previously written about how we shouldn’t alienate them, because clever storytelling should appeal to all ages. He elaborates on this:

“[Coupling’s] ‘The Man with Two Legs’ was a very funny show – my son would love it, I’m sure – but it’s just a bit too naughty. But with just a little bit more inventiveness and a little bit of cover phrasing you could make that show for a mainstream audience as opposed to a niche audience. What is the point of addressing a smaller section of the audience? And God knows kids love telly, so actually stopping them watching is stupid.”

A further point of interest is the difference between drama and comedy:

 “I don’t think there’s any excuse really unless you’re making people cry when you should be making them laugh. I wrote comedy before I officially wrote comedy because Press Gang was always funny. I honestly don’t change the approach very much at all; the difference is when you’re doing a sitcom, you’re actually thinking ‘they’ve got to be laughing on this page and this page and this page’.”

I recently workshopped a drama, and got quite a few laughs, just from the banter between a couple. It was a lovely surprise: the scene was low-key, but relatable. Comedy and drama shouldn’t be mutually exclusive, as Moffat says here:

“I think comedy sits better in a drama – the way its sits in life, really – but then successful comedies come often from dramatic elements. The line can be blurred because comedy is an artificial distinction unless you’re actually talking about a comedian: if you’re talking about narrative comedy then it is just story telling.”

Moffat, on the set of Couplings, with his wife, Sue Vertue.

A big worry when writing a script is length and timing. Steven, here, offers insight behind the length of Sherlock, compared to Doctor Who:

“I think the longer length in some ways is a blessing because, I mean, I think I spend most of my life trying to get Doctor Who episodes down to 45 minutes and that can be really, really tough. Whereas, you know, when I was doing [A Scandal in Belgravia] this year, it was deliberately set over a year so you got a big chunk of their lives. Things like the Christmas Day scene would never make it into a normal length episode because it’s just a bit of indulgence – no doubt could be called self-indulgent! But the 90 minutes allows you that degree of character, in effect. And character is very important in that show.”

When a show is shorter, it can occasionally lack depth; however, a great writer should be able to seep character into every line of dialogue. It’s tough, but you shouldn’t be a writer if you don’t love what you’re doing enough to put some serious man-hours into it.

Finally, a foray into Doctor Who territory, as he remembers first writing for Doctor Whoin 2004:

 “It felt impossible that we were actually doing it and could go to the set and see the police box. It hadn’t been on for 15 years, it was so incredibly exciting! And I remember sitting down for the first time and thinking ‘bloody hell, I’m actually writing Doctor Who.’ That never completely wears off to be honest; I’m always very excited about writing Doctor Who but it’s now harder for me to recapture the feeling of it being entirely a novelty.”

I’m using a clip from Doctor Who: The Lazarus Experiment in my script, and – even though it’s somebody else’s words – it was so, so incredibly exciting to write ‘THE DOCTOR.’ I hope I get to write it a vast amount of times!

Tone is always important, and Moffat shares his thoughts (and those of Gareth Roberts’) on the subject in Doctor Who:

“Gareth Roberts [The Shakespeare Code; The Lodger], one of my fellow writers on Doctor Who, had a theory that you write the Doctor Who you remember; he tended to remember the funny ones, so he writes funny Doctor Who and I remember just being terrified of it so I tend to write the scary Doctor Who. Neither memory is more accurate, it’s all kind of nonsense but I do like the fact – the sort of weird sense of transgression of it being slightly wrong to have a television show whose mission statement is to petrify kids. Try and pitch that and get it made today!”

And to end… we all know Amy and Rory leave the TARDIS later this year, and Steven has stated it ill be ‘heartbreaking.’ I’m 100% sure he’s right. But he has elaborated with this lovely sentiment:

“Heartbreaking doesn’t mean unhappy.”

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2012 in Unpublished work

 

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Review: Sherlock – The Reichenbach Fall

Sherlock may have finished, but the internet has been set alight with theories on how the Consulting Detective survived The Reichenbach Fall.

Far be it from me to take wild stabs in the dark, but I have been writing about the incredible show for Cult Britannia, a site run by my Kasterborous editor, Christian.

My biggest challenge was reviewing the final episode. You can read it here.

Elvis lives in the Mind Palace.

It was tough, and I felt a bit of pressure – though none from Christian – after the reviews of A Scandal in Belgravia and The Hounds of Baskerville.

Plus, it’s such a brilliant show. Hard to do it justice. I’m very happy with the end result, though.

"Well, that was tedious."

And just before that, a news item on The Daily Mail giving away Sherlock DVDs… and how it’s a bit of a rip-off!

I plan to work for Cult Britannia again soon – and hopefully, we won’t have too long to wait for series three!

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2012 in Published work

 

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Four problems with my script.

I have been toying with four main problems with my current scripting venture, an action-thriller with brushstrokes of politics. Think Spooks meets Exile.

1.       Inferiority.

I’ve written my script in two main chunks so far. On the whole, I’m happy with how the first chunk sits; it has to do the so-called ‘hard work;’ introducing characters, themes, motifs – all that.

Sherlock's Mind Palace

But the second part just doesn’t feel right. It does all it has to (maintain characters, while showing development, advance the plot, set up the ‘final act’ of episode one) and yet…

I think I know what the trouble is.

When I watch blindingly good drama, like Sherlock or Doctor Who, my script just pales in comparison. I think it’s quite a good script, just not… Steven Moffat good. I know he’s had many years in the industry – I know he had to learn too – but that’s not how an audience will see it.

I guess I’ve got to remember that I’m not writing Sherlock. I’m not writing Doctor Who. (However much I want to.) My story is wholly different to those. For one, my main character is just a normal guy. He’s not a Time Lord, and he’s no Consulting Detective, either.

I just have to remember that.

2.       Timing

Most people live by the ‘minute-a-page’ rule. But I’m not so sure. Few scripts for an hour-long episode are about 60 pages. It just doesn’t happen like that.

Particularly for me. If a scene is fast and action-packed, I want this to bleed into the script. I like to split paragraphs up, so each main ‘story beat’ is on a separate line. Personally, I think this works better for the production team and the actor.

Sure, in quieter moments, I let this slide. But I still write how I feel is right. And ‘chunking’ is never right.

Because of this, I figure that 40-odd pages of my script is about 30-35 minutes on screen. Yet there’s that nagging feeling that I’m wrong.

And it’s worse than that. I need to work out if I have time to do all I plan to in my synopsis.

Oh, I do workshop. But this isn’t the same either. ‘Action’ has to be read out. It is, in turn, slower and quicker than it might be on screen.

So I just have to guess. I can’t let this stop me. I need to write the whole episode, then figure it out. Things can always be cut. After all, it’s only the first draft.

3.       The Cliffhanger.

2x 1hour episodes. That’s what I aim for. That’s what I’ve planned for.

But I have two cliffhangers battling for the same space.

One is quieter – perhaps more affecting. The other is full of running and darkness and guns. It’s typical action-thriller.

But which is better? And which fits better into the plot?

I mean, both slot nicely into their respective places, but for the ‘running through a forest’ one to take place, I have to have enough time in the first episode without sacrificing any of the emotion or plot development.

It’s all down to timing again…

But I think I have a solution. I’m just not sure it’ll sit nicely until I actually try it out. The first episode can end on the quieter moment – laced with a bit of dramatic irony – then the second can have a shocking pre-titles sequence! Excellent!

Maybe.

4.       Scene transitions.

When I get down to it, it all depends on timing. That’s the root of my problems.

I need the pace to be just right – because if you tune in to see a thriller, that’s exactly what you want. I need fast moments then a come-down; those quieter bits that advance so much in plot and character, and give the audience precious room to breathe.

But all this takes time. I need it to be realistic. It doesn’t feel right to have one guy saying he’s going to the police – then suddenly, he’s chatting to a DI. I need something to separate those two scenes.

Some shows – like Sherlock and Not Going Out – have a cityscape on a time lapse.

Die Hard With A Vengeance does it with style. New York; a busy city bustling with noise and character, and – a huge explosion.

That doesn’t fit in though. Sure, it works on other shows, but mine’s not like that. Tonally, it doesn’t rub shoulders with everything else that’s going on.

This is particularly a problem when all the action follows the main character – all the others are doing ‘boring’ stuff like surveillance or driving. But the main guy is running for his life. Why would the audience want to be sidetracked with a man typing on a computer?

Unless… it builds tension. It alludes to something.

Instead, I’ve got the main antagonists stewing over their next course of action.

Yes, that all takes time, but frankly, I’ve got it.

I have two hours to stretch my legs. And that’s what I’ll do, thank you very much.

When Steven Moffat spoke about getting rid of the two-parters in the next series of Doctor Who, he said that no story is too long for 45 minutes.

I’m sure two hours will do me just fine.

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2012 in Unpublished work

 

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Summer Daze

Everyone is supposed to think summer is marvellous. Yet all those I talk to dislike it. I completely concur, by the way.

Aside from anything else, it’s far from productive. The sun seems to pop up, birds sing, flowers bloom, and I look away in disgust. No, that’s not quite true. I like the jovial nature of summer; it’s the inescapable heat that drives me to distraction. I’ve not been a typical lazy student (I do so hate stereotypes), but I probably should have done a bit more than I have. At least it’s given me more time to indulge in my other loves. For instance…

I’m absolutely loving, loving, loving Brandon Flowers’ Flamingo album. Well done to him on that masterpiece. And here’s to the next The Killers album.

My comic and graphic novels collection has grown once more (though this will never be exclusive to summer), picking up massive omnibuses as often as I can. I’m currently working my way through the brilliant Brubaker/Lark run on Daredevil, in case anyone’s wondering. My find of the summer is probably the complete Man Without Fear miniseries by Frank Millar and my favourite artist, John Romita Jr. Near mint, cheap and off eBay. Never thought I’d say that. I’ve had a couple of comic-related surprises creep up on me too. X-Force: Sex and Violence had the perfect coupling of brilliant writing by Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost, and beautiful art by Gabriele Dell’Otto. One Month to Live is based on a lovely, deep concept; Hawkeye and Mockingbird is lively and clever; while Daredevil: Black and White has been the best read all season. All this and I still haven’t had time to read Shadowland and its many tie-ins.

For you non-comic fans out there, this has been the summer of ideas. I’ve had a lot. That’s not bragging; a lot have been awful. But I’ve hand-picked a few I’m actually quite happy with. Many are still in development, but at least they’ve been picked from the ether. My tutor, Marc, has convinced me to write ideas down, so there are a couple of scribbles in a notebook somewhere. I’m not used to it, really. Writers actually writing?! It’s all a bit alien to me.

Quirky, comical, serious, factual. Ideas just everywhere, and some development on something that began festering about two years ago. Hoping to complete that by next summer.

I’ve begun writing down comic storylines, in case Marvel suddenly beg me to write for all of their characters. I’m prepared. I’m making some progress on an ongoing Daredevil storyline that I’m pretty pleased with; which is also true with a Deadpool plan that’s been brewing. You won’t know any details until Marvel really do beg me for work. So don’t hold your breath.

Where do ideas come from? Well, anywhere. A recent idea for a trilogy of stories (based on OAPs, like all the best ones) emerged while watching Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Best not to ask at this stage.

I haven’t just been sitting in an idea-stew though. I’ve written… things! A couple of features, many-a-review, and scripts (comics and otherwise) ’til they’re coming out of my ears. Now and again, I find myself watching my beloved Coach Trip, thinking, “AREN’T I SUPPOSED TO BE PITCHING STUFF RIGHT NOW?!”

Television hasn’t been very inspiring over the summer. Summer telly is infamous. I find myself in a state of despair every time I see the likes of Big Brother (it’s not George Orwell’s fault, you know) and The X-Factor (of course it’s all staged, you goon!). A couple of gems have stood out, however; Agatha Christie’s Marple: The Pale Horse was excellent, as always; Sherlock was genius and inspirational; The Deep was mostly superb; and Doctor Who (which just nuzzled the edge of summer) was, of course, the best. But best not to look at the rest of the schedules.

Ah well. At least Spooks is back.

Summer: it’s been a mixed bag. But I think I’ll remember the good stuff.

(PS. I, also, have some exciting news, but that’s going to have to wait until I get everything sorted out. So come back soon, won’t you?)

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2010 in Unpublished work

 

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