Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Monday, June 25, 2007

This is a writing blog!

I just realised that this is supposed to be A WRITING BLOG and I haven't blogged about writing in AGES! Not surprising really. I've been writing, but it has been HARD, not flowing at all and every word wrung drip by drip from the old rag of imagination. Things are looking up though, and the drought seems to have broken. Waters of creativity are once more flowing, filling up the reservoir of inspiration.
Mmmm... sounds more like a weather report than a writing update. I think I've over done the metaphor.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Stargate owes me! *spoilers*

I am so depressed. I have just watched an episode of Stargate SG1 which has stolen the entire plot from my Iserie Valult novel, 24 Hours. (Look away now if you don't want to find out about either the book or the Stargate episode)
In the episode there are alien bugs, they are active in the dark, they have a prodigious reproductive rate and they can consume a human being in seconds. Also, they lay their eggs when they bite your flesh and eat you from the inside out. I know the idea wasn't exactly original (nothing special, as one reviewer noted) but it is depressing to see Stargate do it (and not pay you any royalties).

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

My top 5 favourite romantic scenes

The Times online are running a competition to find out what their readers favourite romantic scenes are. The top prize is 20 romantic movies on DVD. To inspire their readers, they mention lots of scenes, from West Side Story to An Officer and a Gentleman. Now, those movies make me feel sick (no offence), so I thought I would do a rundown of my top five romantic scenes from movies (and tv shows) that I can actually watch.
No. 1 - Terminator.

Kyle time travelled for love

Kyle Reese has been saving Sarah Connor from the Terminator all day and now they have a few moments of respite in a motel, where they spend their time making bombs. In the lull before the storm, Sarah whiles away the time by asking Kyle about his former girlfriends (there weren't any - so much pain). Then he turns to her and says:-
'John Connor gave me a picture of you once. I didn't know why at the time. It was very old, torn, faded. You were young like you are now. You seemed just a little sad. I used to always wonder what you were thinking at that moment. I memorized every line, every curve. I came across time for you Sarah. I love you. I always have.'
Aw. By the end of the movie, we know that Sarah was thinking of Kyle at the time that photo was taken and that Kyle is John's father. What a romantic use of a time paradox.

No. 2 - Futurama

There are so many wonderful romantic scenes between Fry and Leela that it is hard to choose. How about the time he writes a holophoner opera for her, (the most difficult musical instrument in the world to play) Leela, Child of the Stars, and makes a deal with the robot devil so that he has the skill to play it, but when the deal goes bad and he loses his ability, Leela is the only person who stays to see how the opera ends. In simple, childish notes, Fry depicts Fry and Leela waking hand and hand into the sunset.
How about the time Fry spells out his love for Leela in planets
When he sat by her bedside for weeks without sleeping or washing, waiting for her to come out of a coma

Leela goes mushy for Fry's talent

OR... ok, the list could go on. My choice is the scene where Fry first plays the holophoner for Leela. Gifted with amazing talent by a troupe of parasitic worms, Fry turns his feelings for Leela into pictures and music. While the worms may have given Fry the talent, you certainly can't doubt the truth of his feelings.
No.3 - The Princess Bride

The best kiss in the world - apparently

Every scene in this movie drips romance - from Westley's 'As you wish' in reply to Buttercup's commands, to his whispered last breath of 'True love'. However, I'm going for the final scene when, villain Prince Humperdink defeated, Westley (or his dashing alter ego Dread Pirate Roberts, if you prefer), Buttercup and friends ride into the sunset on a brace of beautiful white stallions. Buttercup, still in bridal gown (for her wedding to Humperdink) and Westley bring their horses side by side, lean forward and kiss.
'Since the invention of the kiss there have been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind.'

No.4 - It's a Wonderful Life
Once again, it is hard to choose a scene from this movie. There is the scene when George and Mary, both children, are in the drug store and George bends down behind the counter. Mary leans across the counter top and whispers in his deaf ear - 'George Bailey, I'll love you til the day I die'. And then there is the scene where George and Mary walk home from the dance, after falling into the swimming pool, and George promises Mary the moon. Or there is the scene where George, grumpy because of his brother Harry's marriage (which means Harry isn't coming back to Bedford falls to look after the Building and Loan while George goes to college) wanders over to Mary's house. He behaves horribly, but as they come close together to talk to Sam on the phone, his love for Mary overwhelms him, almost against his own will (I'm never going to get married, he shouts at Mary, seconds before he kisses her).

George and Mary only have eyes for each other

However, the most romantic scene for me is at the dance, when George and Mary have that first look across the dance floor. George hasn't seen Mary in a few years and is moaning about being asked to take his friend's kid sister for a dance, and then he sees her, and their faces light up as their eyes meet across the crowded room, everything else fading out into the background. You know that they are destined to be together for ever after that.

No.5 - Emma

Not my choice, but Mr Knightley and Emma having a romantic moment

I'm sorry I don't have a proper picture for this scene, but I don't own a copy of this movie and had to look else where to illustrate it. The scene I have picked doesn't actually involve Emma and Mr Knightley (as pictured) but rather MrKnightley and Emma's protege, Harriet Smith. Now, I know there is no romance between these two characters, but I still think this scene is really romantic. All the usual suspects have gone to a dance. Mr Elliot has been touring the floor looking for someone to dance with him, but with no joy. Finally it is suggested that Harriet would like to dance with him, which she affirms, but Mr Elliot suddenly realises that he is an old married man and no longer wants to dance. His put down to Harriet is in no way subtle, and you can feel her pain as he walks away. Then in steps dashing Mr Knightley to the rescue. Although he never dances, he graciously asks Harriet if he could have the honour and whirls her around the dance floor as if she was the only woman in existence. Now, that is some man. They don't make them like him anymore. *sigh*

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

This news made my day!

I found Nathan Fillion's blog and myspace page! His posts are very humorous and intelligent.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Movies - v - Books: Part 1

As you all know, I love books and I love movies, and sometimes I love stories that are both books and movies. A lot of the books I've been reading recently have been adapted for the silver screen. In fact, the reason I read books like The Prestige (by Christopher Priest) and The Bone Collector (by Jeffrey Deaver) is because I had already seen them as movies and was curious to see how different the book was. And different they always are. Even the most faithful book to film transfer is going to change in the translation. That is because of the very different nature of the two media. Books allow the author time to develop characters, to go deep into a character's thoughts and feelings, to slowly build up a layered three dimensional perspective of who the characters are. You don't need that so much in a film. You already have an actor standing there, embodying everything that the character is. In books, it is the thoughts and feelings that make the character, but in movies, as in real life, it is the actions that maketh the man. We can't see their thoughts so we have to rely on what they say and do to understand what kind of person they are.
I have noticed that there seem to be two types of movie book.
Type #1 - Based On
The first type is when the film is as faithful to the book in all intents and purposes as it possibly can be. Ok, so they don't include all of the characters, subplots and minutiae (because there just isn't enough running time in the whole world) and true fans are bound to be disappointed, but the movie makers have made a really good stab at getting what the book is about down on film. These kind of films can be very hit and miss. Sometimes all the fundamentals are there, but the spirit of the book hasn't been captured or poor direction, bad acting and rubbish budget have let it down. Occasionally, what made a good book just doesn't translate to a good movie, or the book wasn't that great to begin with. On a rare few occasions, the written word and the moving image combine to make something wonderful. Very, very rarely though.
Type #2 - Inspired By
The second type plays much more fast and lose with its original source material and usually with better results. The books might have contributed as little as one single idea, a character or a pivotal event, but the creative process has continued and led to something bigger and better than the original novel. While the movies can often be as bad as in Type #1, they more often soar to heights that the source material could never have reached (BladeRunner, anyone?)
In the coming weeks I intend to compare and contrast several movies and their books that have inspired me in either medium and put them into one of the above categories. I will be limiting my choices to books which have been adapted only once, so there won't be any classics (don't get me started on the various adaptions of Dracula, Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice) and even the wonderful I Am Legend (and the two very far from wonderful movies inspired by it) will not be mentioned (because of the two very far from wonderful movies inspired by it). Likewise, books like Eragon and (sorry to mention them in the same breathe, so to speak) The Lord of the Rings will not be mentioned, because I haven't see the movies. While I don't have to like both the book and the movie, I will definitely like at least one of them, otherwise it will be no fun to write about them!

Monday, June 11, 2007

I don't understand

We all know that Darren Shan has sold 10 million copies of his books world wide (he tells us at every available occasion) and that is an amazing achievement (and must have made DS a tidy sum, even allowing royalties of 50 cent per book). You all know what I think of the Shanster, but you can't deny that he appeals to a certain audience (he is big in Japan apparently) and his fans do buy his books.

Now, consider Garth Nix, Antipodean fantasy author. I am a big fan of this guy, especially the Abhorsen trilogy. I think he is original, imaginative and writes really well. I find him inspiring and I would like to think my writing is on a similar wave length to his. Doing a little googling yesterday I discovered that his total sales amount to 4 million. Ok, that is a brilliant amount of books to sell and he doesn't have as many books as our Darren, but I was surprised. 2 million in the USA and Canada, 1.3 million in the UK and Ireland and the rest in his native Oz and NZ. I suppose I was shocked that one of my favourite authors who I consider writes excellent literature hasn't even sold half as many as Darren Shan who writes... well, I can't think of a polite word for it. That's my opinion anyway. Obviously 10 million people think otherwise.

Book Pledge: 45/150

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Sad News

As you all know, Darren Shan was signing copies of his new book - Blood Beast - in Waterstones in Drogheda today. I had planned to go with VT, wearing my glittery Shan-tastic t-shirts and getting my photo taken with the wonder that is Darren. Unfortunately, I didn't make it and it seems I have lost my chance to meet the Shan-Star for a while as he has jetted off to tour England and is then travelling to Japan, Thailand and Korea. I'm gutted.

Taking my tongue out of my cheek, and on a serious note, to be fair to Mr Shan, he does work hard for his fans. He does a lot of tours, signings, talks, replies to fan mail and updates his website and blog regularly (just as well you can't see me blushing with shame). He has also sold 10 million copies of his books, so he must be doing something right.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Muffin's Anniversary

I can't believe that Muffin has been dead a year already. I still cry when I think of her. She was a very special dog.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Convention Mania!

Me with friend at Dr Who Museum in Blackpool

I went to my first science fiction convention this weekend. It was in Blackpool and was called Starfury Decalogy (as in the ten year anniversary of Starfury conventions run by Sean Harry). There were plenty of guests there (Sean's favourite guests from the ten years, apparently) from lots of shows like Angel, Buffy, Firefly, X files, Battlestar Galactica, Andromeda, etc. Most of the fans were Angel fans and everyone wore their show affiliation proudly on their chests (i.e t-shirts).

Here I am with Christian Kane (Lindsey from Angel)

All the guests were really nice. My stand outs for guest talks was Armin Shimerman. He is a very intelligent, witty, well educated, entertaining performer and gave brilliant answers to all the audience questions. I didn't get to meet him in person, but I gather he was as nice in person as on stage.

My personal favourites were Christian Kane (Lindsey from Angel, pictured above) and Juliet Landau (Drusilla from Angel and Buffy). Christian wasn't great on stage, but was really genuinely nice when I met him for my photo and at the autograph session. Plus he asked how to pronounce my name and said he loved it! (what a charmer). Juliet was equally friendly. That is not to say that the other guests I met weren't nice, it is just that Christian and Juliet stood out in my experience. Honourable mention also goes to Mark Sheppard (Badger from Firefly and Cecil L'Ively from The X Files) who loved my Nathan Fillion t-shirt and was very chatty.

My new best friend - Kaylee from Firefly (AKA Jewel Staite)

All the other people at the convention were really friendly and united in their love of the tv shows. There was a great feeling of camaraderie and even though there were a lot of delays and a lot of queuing, there were no unpleasant moments.

As for Blackpool. Well, it has 11 miles of sea front (mostly lined with hotels, amusements arcades, tattoo parlours and pound shops), lots of dogs, a huge roller coaster, a conspiracy museum, a Doctor Who exhibition, a sea life aquarium and lots and lot of slot machines. It also has a nice little Italian. The people in the shops and the hotel were very friendly.

If there was a down point to the convention, it was that the dealer room was poor. I expected lots of interesting stalls and a huge room full of merchandise, but it was a small room with a couple of tables and enthusiasts. I managed to pick up a few nice things all the same, but I was hoping to get some cool t-shirts (and this lovely serenity, firefly, browncoat lanyard I saw) but there were none to be found.

Now that my inner fangirl has finally been allowed to have her head, the only question is - when is the next convention?