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War And Peace In The New Year

January 8th, 2016

war-and-peace-blogI’d like to wish you a healthy, prosperous and happy New Year, but before we go any further just let me reassure you that, despite the title, I’m not going to spend this post trying to put the world to rights. Though after watching international news over the past few days many places could certainly do with a helping hand!

No, I’m thinking of the BBC’s new, six-part adaptation of War and Peace which started last Sunday. I talked before Christmas about the Instapoets and last week Neill mentioned the way social media, and its short forms, is impacting on language (thanks, Neill, for your humorous take on life), but we still seem to be suckers for a good, long read.   I know I certainly am.

So I was curious to see how a novel that stretched to 1225 pages in the first published edition could be successfully shoe-horned into six hour-long episodes.  After watching the first one, I think I know the answer. Most of the characters appear to have been lobotomised – they aren’t characters any more. They are simply a group of well-known actors put into a drama that is so glossy and beautifully presented that it is bound to sell around the world. Let’s not worry about characterisation and nuance; it looks terrific, the cast is popular with the public, so the job’s a good’un.

What also made me smile was the fact that in the credits it was ‘written by Andrew Davies’. What’s wrong with the term ‘adapted’? Tolstoy must be turning in his grave (or having a quiet laugh at the BBC’s expense).

So will I be watching it again? You bet! Like the majority of the British public Sunday night is a time for vegging out and preparing for the week to come. As the TV programmers know only too well, we don’t want anything too taxing, do we?

The judge for our 2015 short story competition, Iain Pattison, has now prepared his shortlist and he’s busy sifting through it trying to decide who the worthy winners will be. So, keep your eye on our website as we’ll be announcing this soon. And shortly after that our 2016 Flash Fiction Competition will be launched. It was extremely popular last year and the standard was particularly high – though I’m sure you can do even better this year.

Also something to look forward to is our 2016 Writer of the Year winner and runners-up. We’ll be making the announcement within the next couple of weeks and their stories are always interesting and inspiring to anyone trying to build a career from writing.

My guest next week is Sneha Tipnis, who has blogged for us before, with tips on how to increase your online visibility. So until then…keep writing!




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