This tab contains blog posts submitted by network members. When writing a blog for your profile you have the option to submit it into this tab for other members to read.
The ‘Movie’ Look.
Wordless communication. Not something we here who play with words for amusement and acknowledgement can use in our efforts. A nod, a smile, a frown. To convey the thoughts and feelings behind them is a daunting task.
In the military (collective eye rolling from the reading audience 'here he goes again!'~) we learned hand and arm signals and could have simple conversations without a sound. Her-indoors, to my astonishment has learned most of them from life with me. But she can also use BSL so I should not be surprised.
Here in Mudlfat this winter, with the bad weather and my recent abstinence, Her-indoors and I have had the time to plough through a fair few films in the evening. The reality cooking shows, the predictable games shows, the cops chasing drunks shows have all surprisingly lost their allure to us.
The film nights have been equally balanced. Love Actually vs Private Ryan. As Good as it Gets vs Full Metal Jacket.
Certain scenes in films seem to provoke an odd type of communication between us. There is a scene in Full Metal Jacket where the Marines are resting in a ruined city before going back into the fight. A hooker arrives on a vespa scooter and an argument takes place among the Marines about who should go with her first. The machinegunner wins the argument and as he walks away with the hooker, one of the others shouts:
‘Hey Animal, hurry it up. We move out in thirty minutes.’
He replied; ‘Don’t worry, I’ll skip the foreplay.’
Her-indoors slowly turned her head towards me and held her gaze. I refused to notice. She held it further. And slowly, I smiled... And there we had an unspoken conversation about our sex life. Critique and acknowledgement.
A few nights later, watching ‘As Good as it Gets’ Jack Nicholson is playing a very successful Mills and Boone type author even though he has severe and anti social OCD. He is in his publisher’s office sorting out something and a young secretary gushes to him about his books.
She says: ‘Oh I just love your books. How is it that you can write and understand women’s feelings so well?’
He twitches at the unwanted attention, rocks on his heels a bit and replies:
‘I think of a man, then I take away reason and accountability’.
I got to slowly turn my head to Her-indoors. She pushed her glasses up a bit and seemed to lean a bit towards the telly in an attempt to ignore me. Slowly the signs on a crushed smile appeared on her lips...
Another wordless communication. Another message sent and received.
So, do you lot do this? Can you convey without words? Are sometimes wordless conversations better and more fun than the wordy ones?....
Answers on a £5 note. Send to Prop’s Rat Race c/o The Duck & Dive, Mudflat-on-Ditch.
When doing a cover, always try to make it as unique as possible.
Or this might happen....
The treatment of the two photos is nearly identical.
Only a minor crop and colour correction separate these two.
Different patches on the suitcase and some colour correction aren't enough, especially with the two authors' names in a similar typeface.
Stacey Wallace Benefiei
It would've been great if these were two books from the same series. Unfortunately, they're two books from completely different authors, and no amount of purple or glitter can hide the duplicate photo.
Another flip and recolour (purple seems to be popular for recolouring?). Both titles are set in a white, ornamented typeface, which doesn't help.
Jennifer L. Armentrout
It's interesting that one of these designers took the time to completely change the forest background, but didn't retouch the models even slightly.
It would take significantly more smoke to disguise the fact that it's the same photo on both covers.
So did the blonde grow her hair for the second cover, or cut
it for the first one?
Meanwhile, the typesetting isn't helping this case of clone-itis.
Laurell K. Hamilton
I like to imagine there's a whole series of covers using this photo, but after about the 7th it's so small you can't see it any more.
Sorry, the bubble effects aren't enough to disguise the duplicate photo.
Vastly different typesetting doesn't help when the photo is so stark and simple.
One of the designers has put in the effort to change the background and clothing, but the photo is too recognizable for that to be enough.
Various (edited by Paula Guran)
No less than 17 authors and 1 editor now have a cover with this photo on it.
You know how you have this dream, to get on and do something useful with your life without passively waiting for handouts and instructions? You want to feel alive, proactive, incentivised. Be a can-do person.
Perhaps you want to make super sandwiches, redesign the fire extinguisher or adopt an orphan.
You make plans, see how it could work, get excited. With enough stamina, hard work and creativity, the dream can happen. Can’t it? Possibilities open up. You do research, you do sums. In X months or years, this will fall into place, then that, and it’s all good.
You consider the pitfalls. What if you get bored with sandwiches? There aren’t enough fires to support the industry? The orphan turns into a psychopath?
Never mind. Positive thoughts. You’ll deal with problems as they arise. With all your vigour, nothing can get in your way.
And then things get in your way.
You find that before you can even consider the possibility of doing anything at all, you need to tick four thousand boxes on form TOSS-1 and get a licence from H&S Stop-It-At-Once and apply to the Bureau of Bureaucracy for Bureaucracy Training and a shiny certificate coloured in brightly, which will cost you a very reasonable £3,000, and you must bone up on employment law in case you give next-door’s teenager a Saturday job.
Then there’ll be the Indemnity Insurance required against a dodgy indemnity policy you may have already taken out before you realised it didn’t comply with the European Commission’s protocol on Money Laundering. You’ll need DNA tests and passports in triplicate to prove you’re not an illegal immigrant and a certificate from HMRC and you’ll have to register with the Council who will want to do inspections and make sure that your soap dispenser is clean and changed regularly. They’ll ask to see your records.
If you’re lucky enough to have an indoor toilet, it shouldn’t be within walking distance of the kitchen, because of the risk of contamination. And you’ll need a special alarm installed, in case your psychopathic orphan gets its head stuck down it while trying to drown the rabbit.
Then you’ll have to provide suitable posters, prominently displayed by the peanut butter sandwiches, informing your punters that they may contain nuts.
Because if you don’t comply with all these regulations, whatever goes wrong – in the night, in your staff’s private lives, or in Albania – will All Be Your Fault.
And if you're not aware of the Environmental Act of 2002, Part 11a, you could lose your house.
It’s wall-to-wall fitted frustration. Roadblock after roadblock, all in your way.
You wilt. The dream withers and dies. Safer to do nothing.
Hitting your head against this insurmountable wall of rules, paperwork and meaningless guff designed by a small child, is just … what? Stultifying? De-motivating? Yes, but there’s got to be a stronger word that sums it up.
Can’t for the life of me think what it is.
This Jack Reacher has become arrogant; he kills and mains because he can, not because it's necessary (in this Reacher world).
And Lee Child's creation of Susan Turner comrade in crime, the new CO of Reacher's old regiment, is a cardboard character with no substance or depth, and falls too easily into Reacher's feral arms. Typecast. Maybe Child was thinking of another movie deal...
I was hoping...and still am. His next book - Personal - is out later in 2014, which actually sounds more promising as the setting is in France and the UK - with a story line like Day of the Jackal, but it won't be as good as Forsyth's mega blockbuster.
And yes, I've read them all, but there comes a time when enough is enough. Child should have ended it with 64 hours.
I had a fabulous day - read about it here - and I hope that there are some young folk tonight who feel very proud of the stories they invented.
Having to plan things around the flaming word 'fatigue' can be
sooooo tiresome. But on saying that, advanced planning can
help make trips so much more enjoyable.
First trip to the theatre in almost a 12 month. So excited.
Having already booked half day at work I hurriedly finished my current job, switched the well behaved computer off, grabbed my bag, donned my coat and headed for the door. Massive smile on my face as I said my turra's to the office and in response heard them shout back, 'Enjoy the show'.
Off I walked, very briskly to the car.
At home I ate my lunch, drank a nice coffee latte and snuggled down for a cosy afternoon snooze with Skip, my dog.
An hour later, my coat wrapped tight around me, scarf around my neck, hat snuggly over my head and around my ears I walked up the street with Skip's lead in my hand as he trotted so nicely beside me.
He's been through so much again poor little dab. The complication of the Addisons Disease makes for a painfully slow recovery from his toe amputation which was a bit precarious at times. I referred to it as 'slipping and sliding around a hazardous corner', the vet referred to it as 'walking on eggshells, and the eggshells are holding'.
But he's doing very well for such an old boy.
An afternoon snooze can do you the power of good and I felt refreshed and ready for my drive to Cardiff to the New Theatre to see 'Black Coffee'.
What a trip. Sirens screaming all over the place, massive fire by Gabalfa round about, a man the other side of Cardiff threatening suicide.
What a trip.
Parked up and waited for my friends who got stuck in the traffic from the other direction. What a trip.
The play was called BLACK COFFEE.
Apparently the only Agatha Christie 'Poirot' story that David Suchet hasn't done. (Can't confirm that).
Production was by the 10 year old 'Agatha Christie Theatre Company' and as always, perfectly performed.
Starred the usual crowd, Liza Goddard, Gary Mavers, Ben Nealon etc (no Mark Wynter this time unusually).
And of course, the starring role of Poirot was none other than, Robert Powell. (Difficult at first to picture Robert Powell as Poirot as the main image that always comes to mind when I hear his name is the scene from the film The 39 Steps where he hangs from the clock face of Big Ben in London.)
He was very good and it was very enjoyable. True to form there were a few red hearings, clues a plenty but not too obvious, classic misdirection was top form, I tried keeping up with what was happening with the coffee cups but the audience was given 3 possible suspects to decide for themselves until Poirot brought it all together.
I'd not even heard of this play let alone read the book so it was completely new to me. I didn't even read up on it before I went to see the play.
Anyway, Just to conclude, 'Mouse Trap' is touring again if anyone is interested. Odd story but a fun play to watch.
Ahhhh! Soo looked forward to my hot water bottle and bed, as by 10.30pm I was well and truly 'done in' but happy. :o)
I wonder if I could run something past you writerly lot, please.
One of my novels is about student life at Queen's in the late 1960s in the period just before the start of The Troubles. The love-lives of the two MCs - its ups and downs (to coin a phrase) - is a thread running through the adventures they share. I'd value your opinions on the following, as possible titles:
THE COURSE OF LOVE
THE COURSE OF TRUE LOVE
COURSE OF LOVE
NEVER RUNS SMOOTH
Bringing people and events to life is, for me, the ultimate writing kick, the experience that keeps me writing. But like any drug, take too much of it, and expect some wayward consequences.
I'll enjoy it while I can – but don't expect me to be a civil, fully functioning human being over the next few weeks. I'm likely to be somewhere else, enjoying a legal high.