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What’s In A Name

August 25th, 2017

One of the most exciting things about starting a new short story is the god-like capacity you have to create any character you want. You have the power to name them, dress them, decide where they live and so on.  At least you think you do. Until, that is, you get up the next morning after an evening of inspired writing to discover that your sensible Dr David has transformed himself overnight into trendy, jeans wearing Dr Nick. After a prolonged keyboard quarrel, you give up. OK you think, if you want to be called Nick then so be it. And Marion hates her name too. Please can she be something less staid like Naomi. And while you’re at it, there’s no way she’d live in a bungalow.

It happens a lot and the interesting thing is that the characters usually know best. Some of them don’t like swearing, or curry or red shirts. Mostly I’ve given up arguing and go with the flow.

And then there are the ones who won’t go away. You finished their story months ago, but they don’t like it. Raymond for example has never forgiven me for getting him arrested for being drunk and disorderly.  It wasn’t his fault he was drunk – his wife had just left him – he wasn’t responsible for his actions and the least I could do was make it clear to the readers. So I’m rewriting it from his point of view and he’s quite pleased with it so far.

And then there’s the sad, the lonely, the overlooked. I think of them often – Mr Pollock, Joyce, Benjy and Pierre. I wonder what they are doing now that I’ve abandoned them to their respective fates. I hope they’ve found happiness. Last week one of my writing group wondered how Daniel was getting on now he’d returned from Switzerland. I wonder that too. Maybe he’ll pop up in a future story and let me know.

I hope so.

 

Christine loves writing whether it is short stories, flash fiction, plays or poetry and has been successful in a number of local, national and international competitions. She has had two short plays performed and has read her work at the Cheltenham Literature Festival and on local radio. She recently published a book of short stories on Amazon  entitled ‘The Road Ahead




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Literary Vending Machines

August 18th, 2017

First, thanks to Elise for last week’s blog. It just goes to show how different writing for film or TV can be from writing a novel. In the former, you have to be able to produce something visual for your audience whereas when writing a novel you are providing the structure and the ideas which will allow your readers to use their own imagination to understand and visualise your story.

I read an interesting piece this week in Writing Magazine about vending machines having been installed on 35 French railway stations. But these aren’t your standard machines offering drinks, sweets and crisps – instead they provide short stories. If you get to the station and have forgotten your book, or don’t want to fiddle with your mobile phone, you can press a button and print out a story. And you’ve even got a choice of length – do you want a one minute read, a three minute read of a five minute read? (Don’t worry, if you’re train is delayed you can always go back for another as they’re free!) Read the rest of this entry »




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Achieving Cinematic Vision

August 11th, 2017

I am coming to the end of my course with the ‘Writers Bureau’ and I am writing a screen play for BBC TV entitled ‘Punjabi Girl’. My screen play is about a young Asian girl named Sunita who is trafficked and sold to a talented but quite disturbed musician. The biographies of the two characters provide a dichotomy of love, hate and passion. Finally after travelling the continents of Europe with an entourage of musicians and in a shocking revelation Sunita gains her freedom. Read the rest of this entry »




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What Kind Of Writing Course Is Best For You?

August 4th, 2017

First, thanks to Maria for last week’s blog. It must be great to attend one of her courses in such a wonderful setting. I can feel myself turning green just thinking about it!

Like her, I’ve no interest in criticizing taking a master’s degree in writing, but there’s no getting away from the fact that this option is now horribly expensive and I have talked to a number of people who really have been quite disappointed by the experience. Whereas they wanted (and expected) something practical, instead they have been faced with theory and found themselves no nearer publication at the end than at the beginning. In addition, they’ve felt there has been a lack of interaction with their tutor.

So, my advice would be to always do your research thoroughly before making any decision – or paying any money! Look at all the options, whether it’s a university course, a week-long course (like the one Maria runs, or those organised by Arvon at their various sites) or a distance learning course where you have one-to-one contact with and feedback from your tutor. Then decide what’s best for you. Read the rest of this entry »




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