Saturday, 28 November 2009

Need a stunt man?

Check out Vinnie Wilson's showreel.

He's looking for more hours on film to go towards his quota for joining the guild. So if you need someone to: set on fire, or throw off a building, drag behind a car, or just kick the crap out of Jackie Chan style, Vince is your man!

Enjoy the showreel!
(The 2008 showreel and the Year In China showreel are also worth a look see.)

You can also visit his website to find out more.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Self-publishing - Part I

I've just received the finished artwork for the second of my two tarot books, THE YES / NO TAROT ORACLE, and I am extremely happy with it. Jo Spaul is a very accomplished illustrator, you can look at examples of her work on her website, here.

And I thought some of you might be interested in my experiences so far while trying to get published.

Basically, I've written two books on the Tarot* and have been unable to secure a publisher for either of them, so in the end I decided to do it myself.

Initially I was going to use LULU, but after some quick research decided against it (the new owners had increased postage rates to non-competetive levels, and some authors claimed they were having trouble getting their work taken off the site when they wanted to go elsewhere [I haven't checked them out since. So whether this is still the case, I don't know.]) - and in amongst the complaints thread someone recommended another self-publishing company, Authors OnLine. To cut a long story short, I decided to go with them.

Their fees are reasonable, with a low annual fee for remaining in publication, and the books are Print On Demand - so someone places an order, the book gets printed and shipped out. Quick, easy, no need to store quantities of books. Also a PDF version of each book will be available for those who prefer electronic media.
Best yet, the books they sell are available to all the usual book retailers - so whether you prefer to buy via Amazon, or via your local bookshop, or direct from them, you can!
As the author it is up to you to advertise your book. Just because it's published, doesn't mean it will necessarily sell any copies.

So far I have found the process pain-free, which is always good. Although they tell me that it does generally take about 2 months to get into publication from the date you sign the contracts.
The Christmas rush (which starts in August!) combined with a flu outbreak has delayed things slightly, but I am expecting both books to be available from January 2010.

I am using the delay to do a final edit on THE YES / NO TAROT ORACLE, while I await confirmation of the ISBNs.

I'm providing the text PDF files, they are doing the covers (under my direction) - Which makes my 'Control Freak Self' very happy.

They do various different packages to suit your needs, and they are very friendly, very helpful, and very busy (at the moment).

If everything continues according to plan I expect to be a very happy customer.

... Should you plan to use them, they are quite happy to vanity publish for you (for example, if you want that green crayon text, unspell-checked book of "My Favourite Moles in Dresses" that you wrote when you were six, published to show your friends), but if you are looking for a more professional publication that will be available in the shops, they do require a basic level of competence from their authors.

So far, so good. If things change, I'll let you know.


Read Self-publishing - Part II here

Wednesday, 25 November 2009


As a writer, you will be feted and courted and asked to achieve the impossible ... the person asking this will promise various things.

The question is, if they then delay implementing those promises
(for example providing a contract for work they want you to do by such and such a date, on a deferred payment basis - - and then don't even send you the draft version of that contract for discussion / haggling / wrangling over until well after the date they really, really, really needed the script by - How long are you supposed to wait? Are you supposed to wait? At what stage are you allowed to disembowel them?)
... do you:

A) Throw a fit, then write the screenplay anyway, and then refuse to hand over the finished document until the contract is finalized, signed, and delivered?

B) Throw a fit and refuse to put pen to paper until they come forth with the contract - even though this will mean definitely missing the deadline?

C) Roll over and wipe yourself off, hand them the script without the contract in place, and then go and cry behind the rock you normally hide under?

D) None of the above.


I'll just go put pen to paper then.

Any grinding of teeth, or swearing, you hear over the next few weeks will be me. After that, if you hear a large explosion (as of a bomb, or a fire, or high velocity ammunition being fired) - It wasn't me! ... You are such a lovely, supportive person. Will you be my alibi? Pretty please?
*grinding of teeth* *muttering punctuated by prolific swearing*

Where's the alcohol?

UPDATE: 26 November 2009, I've just emailed the producer the soft version of the riot act. We'll see what happens. He may have a completely legitimate excuse?
... Yeah.

UPDATE: 29 November 2009. Hmm. Apparently the project is not a priority, he'll get back to me about contracts next year.
Well, that's that one shelved for now, then.
(If you're keeping score, the answer was option B.)
It's good to get these things clarified. I shall concentrate on one of my other projects instead.
*gentle simmer*
... and moving on.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009


Misfits 4oD has previous episodes available on catchup here

It's dark and brilliant. If you are unaware of it, go check it out.

Ghost cats & other monstrous phenomena

Okay, Halloween is long gone, but I shall tell you a chilling tale of the other night.

Okay, it's not chilling at all. It was quite nice. But it reminded me of the time ... and then there was also that other time ...

Yeah, I'm a brilliant story teller me, you can see my career is gonna go far - - probably down the nearest drain! LOL.

So, the other night. ... Hmm, maybe I better go back aways, to when I lived in Reading, and before.

When I was little we had a cat called Wormsley.

[My mother, going to find a kitten: "Ugh! That cat's got worms!" Said kitten runs over and rubs against her leg purring.]

She was always a feature of my life, as she was a member of our household before I was - until we moved to Exeter and she moved into the old people's home next door, for a quieter life (our household was chaos incarnate much of the time). She was getting old and thin and we would occasionally see her sunning herself on our front lawn or the low wall beside it, and then about nine months later we saw her no more....

Many years later, while I was at University in Reading, I was rudely awoken in the middle of the night by a hurly-burly of of spectral cats - imagine a constantly moving ball of hyper cats playfully screaming and scratching their way across the landscape as they travel from one place to another on their joyous, tumulous, straight-out-of-the-witches-handbook, tangle of cats journey. Wormsley was one of them, and they had stopped by for a brief visit. They were in the area for two days and then they continued on their hurly-burly way.
It was a bit of a surprise, but I have had more freaky encounters than that, and it was nice to see her again + having fun with her friends.
(That same year the ghosts of our pony and our dog also came to visit me.)

A few years later, still in Reading, I was at the cinema with a friend and as the film ended we both felt the nice warm furry black cat (that had settled there unnoticed at some point during the movie) get up and jump down as we prepared to stand up. We both looked at it as it jumped down and there was nothing there - just the physical sensation of a cat departing. I scanned the floor between the seating but could see nothing. "Was that a cat?" My friend replied, "I think so." "Where is it? I didn't see it?" My friend, "It was a ghost, I think." I blinked a bit, but that tallied with my experience too. It was just a bit of a surprize having one turn up mid-cinema, during a sunny and otherwise uneventful afternoon.
The cinema staff were unaware of any cats, or of any ghosts, in screen 3. I did check....

And now we catch up with me living back in the safety of the Wilds of Devon - I think I mentioned previously that I inherited my mother's cat when she died. He was called Ubiquitous, otherwise known as Black Cat, and he was lovely in his own extremely scraggly Evil, Black & Midnight way. I changed his name to Monster shortly after I adopted him, after The Kingfisher Incident. (But then this was the cat that was witnessed by 3 other people, and me, folding up a swallow in mid-air after it made the mistake of flying in to my mother's kitchen.) I can only assume the kingfisher was ill or asleep or ... but then again Monster was a teleporting cat:

Cat in a locked box on the passenger seat. Cat by my elbow while I'm driving. Locked box empty. Hmm.

I used many far less flattering words to describe him that kingfisher day, but Monster seemed to fit him better than Ubiquitous or Black Cat, and Evil Black & Midnight Cat is not something you want to be shouting when it's his dinner time: so Monster became his name.

I never did really sense his presence when he was alive, unless he was actively hassling me - I think that may have been part of what made him such an astonishingly good hunter - and after he was killed in a hit and run, I still didn't really feel his presense strongly, although you could see him when he was around if you looked through the corner of your eye.
I first realised he was around again when I nearly tripped over him ... Have you ever done that? Seen something virtually under your feet as you are walking and trip as a result - only to realize there was nothing physically present for you to trip on?
He visits a lot, but I usually only sense him as something unseen out of the corner of my eye, or as I nearly trip over him.
(That cat was always getting under my feet! He's even worse now.) ...

But the other day, I woke in the middle of the night to visit the smallest room in the house - which is on the landing next to the stairs - Monster was around and getting under my feet as normal. As I left, I glanced in to the stairwell and got the shock of my life (okay, I have had worse - but this freaked me nearly as badly). A large animal was looking at me, eyes reflecting in the darkness. It lunged up the stairs at me - - and as my heart lept in to my throat, I realised it was our wolfhound, Brit. She died about 20 years earlier and she'd come for a visit. Give me a heart attack or what, why don't'cha! *rolls eyes*
This sensing the ghosts of pets can be problematic....

After I'd got over the shock, I gingerly got back in to bed - incase there was some other spectral something-or-other hiding under it. Well you never know.
There wasn't. Phew!

Well, that was the not-really-chilling-at-all tale of me getting freaked out by the ghost of our pet dog. If you're not familiar with wolfhounds, she was quite a small one, she came up to my hip when she was standing on all fours. (Her dad was 10 inches taller at the shoulder.)

As an adendum, my favourite of my step-mother's many, many cats came to visit a few nights ago. He was always a very heavy cat, who was the purryest thing you ever met. He is still excessively heavy as a ghost. You know it when he's curled up on you. Sheesh.
I knew he had been ill and wasn't expected to survive. When I rang the next day, sure enough he had succumbed.

Ah well, at least they're all happy.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Girl Number 9

I'm taking a brief procrastination break from the final edit of the second Tarot book, to let you know that Danny Stack has a great post which reminded me about the internet sensation Girl Number 9.

So if like me you don't tweet - 'cause face it there are more than enough other ways to procrastinate, or you do but you missed it, then now is the time to check it out.

All the episodes are free to view on the Girl Number 9 official website until the end of November and after that you can purchase the DVD with lots of behind the scenes goodies on board.

YAY! :)

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Do you really want to be a writer?

Michelle Lipton has a great post discussing what you might want to take into consideration if you decide you really, really do want to be a screenwriter. Or, alternatively, if you already know in your bones that you are a writer, and you think maybe script writing is for you, then you really should read what she has to say. IMO. (click on her name above)

There are plenty of other screenwriters out there posting on the net that you might want to familiarise yourself with too - check out the links, over on the right.

The key concept is SELF EMPLOYED. Which is likely to go hand in hand with full time, or part-time, work as an employee in a day job that pays for the roof over your head and the food on your table. Because writing takes a long time to bear fruit - Terry Pratchett told me he couldn't give up the day job until he'd published his 6th book. In the event he waited until he had 7 books out, to be safe. (I quizzed him briefly at a book signing several years back as he kindly put his signature on my latest prized purchase.)
Even Phillip Barron has a day job, ask him, go-on. He may kill me. LOL.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Sad bast*rd.

I'm talking about me.

How many years has it been since I first saw the Welsh Whore and fell head-over-heels at first sight? Longer than I like to admit, 1994 ... when was that? Been a while.

And I haven't clapped eyes on him since 1998.

And now, I hear he's out and about again - - and my obession has switched itself from dull glow to fire on the hearth. Luckily it's not back up to full roar, but I guess that's only a matter of seeing his ugly mug again.


Bollocks. I'm supposed to be writing and recouperating, not pining for someone I can never have. GRRR!!!

'Scuse my language, but FUCK!

What else has happened this month?

Oh yes, Producer No#1 is making encouraging noises about The Grim (A.K.A. The Legend of the Beast) again. :)

So, in the last few weeks:
* 2 books (full swing),
* the American Collaboration Rewrite (full swing),
* The Grim (peering at me from the darkest jungle),
* and the Welsh Whore is hogging all my thoughts.

I have to concentrate on writing.
Someone send me an "anti-love potion"? Please?

[UPDATE 21st November 2009: Thank you for the anti-love potion. :) Greatly appreciated!] *evil laughter*

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

da-na ... da-na-daa ...

Well, I could write all about my current health issues which are impacting on the day-job, in addition to the added stress of the Evi-- Wi-- (erm, I've said waaay too much) . . . the lovely lady my Father loves and dotes upon and won't hear a word said against: my Step Mother, who ... and it is nightmare-ish for all concerned, especially her ... has been diagnosed with a serious form of cancer (although no one is using the T word, or palliative) but they found it early and she should pull through fine after a long and trying dalliance with chemo, radio, and drugs over the next 6 months, probably.
And no, I wouldn't wish this on her, despite everything. But it reminds me of the HELL that was 2004/2005 when my mother died.

But all of the above is boring and painful and generally crappy. So instead I shall write about something wonderful!
When you're as low as you can get, anything nice that happens is wonderful, but this really, really is. Maybe.


Okay - health impacting on day job, has also impacted on my self-esteem, so in order to regain my feelings of self-worth and the illusion of power, I decided to self-publish my two Tarot books (I'll point you at 'em when they're out - should be the next month or so).

So I'm doing the final edit on both books, getting them shipshape and up to scratch - basically quite a lot of work (as I'm having to learn some functions in word and in PDF that I've never used before), liaising with artists, and beginning to think I'm a bit busier that I wanted to be. But what the heck, I'm achieving my dream of seeing my work in print, and if no bugger buys them at the end of the day, so what. At least I'll have tried! :)

... and then ...


Just when you thought The American collaboration had completely expired, and the producer was long gone, ... he's circled back. :) And I swear I saw him lick his lips!

Basically he wants a finished script in December.

We're still discussing. It's early days. But suddenly my workload seems to have grown exponentially.

And thankfully, you can write from your sick bed. - - Otherwise I'd be totally stuffed, mainly because I'd have already eaten through my arm with boredom.

Anyhow, WAY-HEY! :)


For those of you interested:
I had what was most likely swine flu back in July, and it doesn't go particularly well with Asthma (I was one of the first to get it just after they'd stopped testing and said "Ring your doctor"), and the after effects - for me - have been unpleasant. I was doing okay, but feeling crappy, and then in late September I got a temperature (a brief lurgy of some kind) and since then I have been totally wiped out. It really ain't pleasant. The doctor says post viral crapness can go on for many, many months. All I can say is, I hope not, because this ain't fun.
If you have the chance to get the vaccine, I would say take it... but obviously it's your choice and I'm not qualified in any way to give medical advice. It's just my opinion, for what it's worth.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Time to Nest

It’s that time of year again, when the nights are drawing in and dark o’clock comes earlier and earlier in the evening and hangs around far too long in the morning.
You try to ignore the clock and stay snuggled in bed, nesting.
(Sadly without the cat – my evil black and midnight Monster was run over last year by some scumbag who doesn’t believe speed limits exist at 3am. I found it very traumatic, I don’t want to talk about it.)

Snuggled in bed, nesting....

This morning it wasn’t my internal clock that woke me, it was a sound I recognise from way back when I was little and we lived in the middle of nowhere – the harsh, abrasive sound of a mouse chewing its way through cardboard.
Better than a rat, most definitely – I’ve got nothing against rats per se. Pet rats are lovely. But the wild ones ... they get my hackles up, when they’re not caught being very cute in that brief second when the light comes on and then they vanish at light speed.
Both sets of rodent are considered vermin, both sets can be very cute and “ooh-aah, look at its little nose, and its ickle paws. Aah.” And both sets can be very, very destructive. Chewing through cardboard is the least of their sins.
Mice like nesting in paper. As a writer I have a fair bit of paper hanging around; carefully stored in boxes – ideas and inspirations noted down over the years, to work on later.... So I guess mice love my environment as much as I do, but in a way that makes me panic.

I have set up two live traps (self-made, so it may be a disaster), and baited them. Hopefully I’ll catch the little bugger and transport him away somewhere safer. He, or *horrified gasp* she, can spend the winter nesting somewhere well away from me thank you very much.
My nest is mine, I tell you. MINE! Grrrrrrr.

Friday, 11 September 2009


So, where have I been? ...

Holiday, followed by family crisis, discovering facebook, writing, researching, mulling.

What am I doing next? More research and mulling, maybe some writing ... unless I procrastinate by getting the rust off the car and all the fun of discovering how to paint bodywork badly, that that involves.

In short, sorry about the lack of posts. I'm in hiding for the mo. Back as and when.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Phill has an excellent post on:


If you've been having a rant about how scripts are supposed to be formatted, you should seriously go and read the above post. Follow the link you lazy writery types!

Saturday, 18 July 2009

The future playground?

So how is the film/tv/internet story venue changing?

We are currently in the process of changing over to a new business model - from 'scarcity controlled' to experience based 'when you want it, where you want it, how you want it'.
Interesting times for anyone in the visual media business.

Barrett Garese has an essay on the subject you might find interesting, here.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Creativity comes when you call.

Steve has this gem in his current post:
"I think the most important thing here is something I've always known but it can be difficult to convince yourself: Making the decision to create is what actually makes the creativity flow. It's not the external thing that many people would like to think. It comes from you and your decision."

For years I've convinced myself I can't write poetry unless the Muse hits, but then I don't generally want to try writing poetry most of the time anyway. So not a problem.
When it comes to story writing though, I realise I've been doing something similar: somehow seeing the delay-time needed to get into character as an external factor working on me rather than being a fully internal process that I can control.

Getting in to the heads of the people that you are writing ...
Craig Mazin has a great post on this You Need To Be A Little Insane, go read it!
... while I definitely didn't have this under the same Muse-only category, I know I can force myself in to it; it is just hard work and serious concentration to put myself back in the correct shoes until I've got to know the characters well enough that they start talking to me.

Plot is also a sit down and make it happen thing for me, but generally so intimately linked to character ... I find I create both as I go along, and I generally don't get the story locked down in any real way until I'm about three quarters of the way through the story outline/treatment. And I find I can't start writing "good" dialogue until the characters are talking and acting/reacting of their own free will.

I think this is part of why it takes me so long to write anything on spec.
[Does this make me a method writer, rather than just a writer? No. Wrong analogy. ... Ah ha!*]
And I know that this is where the gap lies between being a professional writer whose career and money earning come from writing, and a writer who just writes.
And that is something I've been wrestling with for years.

I want to be a professional writer. I'm going to have to refine my approach even further. *sigh* At least I've twigged this part of it consciously now. *rolls eyes* Took me long enough.
Thanks for the inspiration Steve! :)

*The Ah ha! was me realising that I need to embrace my insanity rather than shy away from it. ... Which might make me even odder than I already am. Ah f*ck it! We're all unique in our own special ways, mine just might be a bit more special. ;)

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Blinking vandals!!!

rduht [] has left linkspam all over my previous posts. ... Well okay, on one post. But I ain't happy.

Anyone know how to delete this shit?

It's worse than bl**dy seagulls crapping all over the place.


It's okay, after I calmed down a bit I worked out how to stick his/her/its spam-covered behind permanently in the round file.



Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Mountain or mole hill?

At what point do we stop worrying?

I suspect never. Afterall each rewrite brings something new, more polished, to the table.

Okay, so you've found your producer, they like it, they want to make it. They give you notes. You tweek accordingly. They appear happy. It's good. They vanish off to locate funding.

Which gives you time to think....

And on reflection you know the story can be better.

If you rip half the story out and start all over again, potentially the next version will knock your - and everyone elses - socks off. ... Or it might not.

The producer is happy with what is there. And there's no guarantee that the new version actually will be better. You might wind up destroying the certain something that attracted them to that particular story in the first place.

Bit of a tight rope to walk.

So you don't. You leave it. And you worry.

You really don't need to.

Either the film will be made, or lets face it - smoke and mirrors - won't be made. It's out of your hands.


All writers are control freaks. Let's face it, crafting a story - influencing your characters lives ... feels pretty close to being a divinity. Even if only in the world you've created.

Being powerless over the fate of your story => fear => worry.

We all go through that fire, that torment. Part of being a writer.

I think once the producer has said yes, they like it, they want to make it, ... I think you are allowed to stop worrying and move onto the next project. Relax, have an hour or two off, and then dive into the next story.

Fires of creation burn better and hotter than the cool fire of torment.

Have at it, says I. On to the next inferno! :)

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Want a laugh?

Not enough dark humour in your life?

Check out Phillip Barron's new masterpiece Just For The Record. You can find the trailer on his blog by clicking here.

Trailer makes me giggle. Can't wait to see the film!

Put the word out, it's gonna be good. :)

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

"Just tell the story"

"Just tell the story." He said knowingly.
"But -- " I started...
He interrupted by capturing me with those lovely brown eyes of his.
You ever had anyone do that to you? Ever had an actor you think is sexy capture you with his eyes? Ever had Bruce Campbell do that to you? It's a pretty amazing experience.

Sorry, felt in need of a writing-related gloat. My insecurities must be playing up today.

The reason I bring it up, is, I think in the last few days I stumbled on to a key bit of wisdom. Something just clicked as I've been plotting a rewrite. It's about the writing process - and the bitch of it is, I have no idea where to start explaining it using words.
Pretty poor show for a wordsmith.

It is to do with getting emotion on to the page during the treatment / outline stage ... or, if you are into cards pinned to a board, then.

And it all links back to "Just tell the story".

SCENE A) informs how we feel about a character, what we know they have just experienced, SCENE B) builds on SCENE A, so you don't have to explain exactly what's going on - because the audience can see the image in SCENE B and make a reasonable guess about what is going on emotionally with the character.

In this instance, in SCENE A someone is tense, scared, has been messing with supernatural powers that they shouldn't have, it all reaches a crisis point ... SCENE B we see them again, in the same location, relaxed, character smiles gently - - and we know they have very likely been possessed. ... But we don't need to show the possession, and we don't need to explain in the action line that the character has been possessed - because we don't want the audience to know for sure, until a bit later in the story when it becomes really obvious that that's what is going on.

Again it's to do with the off screen story. In this case the villain's.

See, I've not explained it very well.

But I have finally grokked it. I knew this stuff before, but I didn't grok it. And now I do.

I wanted to share it with you.

If I can work out how to explain it any better than this, I'll post again later on.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Want a good scare?

Go see Drag Me To Hell.

...N'ah it's by that Spider-Man bloke... ...and it's PG-13**...

You are a died in the wool horror fan? Yes?
You loved Saw.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (the original) made you shudder delightfully.
In short you like a bit of sickness with your horror-high.

If you don't already know about Sam Raimi's horror chops, I guess you've never seen the Evil Dead films. Shame on you!
(If Evil Dead II changed your life, this is better!)

Next thing you'll be telling me you haven't seen Peter Jackson's early work. *rolls eyes*

Go educate yourself. How can you call yourself a horror fan if you don't know about Sam Raimi?

Drag Me To Hell is one of those films that is packed with scare. Ignore the teen friendly rating, it means nothing. This film made me terrified of a handkerchief for Dog's sake!

It will make you jump - a lot. It will gross you out - yes, even you! You too will be scared of a humble piece of cloth with some nice embroidery on it. It will make you laugh in that sort of "Oh my god that's sick!" kind of way. There are some satisfying visual references to other horror films - - who can forget that house? And generally you'll spend most of the film about a foot above the seat of your chair* - which lets face it, you don't really want to be sitting on anyway because you spilled your coke all over it in the first few minutes, and then accidentally dumped the popcorn on it a few seconds after that.

Okay, so you take my advice, you go to the cinema, get comfy, the film starts, introductory scene shows promise of what's to come, and then it goes to the meet the characters section and for about 5 minutes you are wondering why you came to watch this boring ass film ... that Eleanor doesn't know what the f**k she's talking about.

But don't leave.

Trust me on this.

As soon as the gypsy turns up - and then the action kicks in in the car park, you (like me and my friend) will not be able to take a toilet break (despite a serious need to relieve yourself from drinking too much coke before the film started) for fear of missing something.

I haven't nearly wet myself in the cinema for so many years! Sam Raimi really is the master.

Go see it.

The cinema was half empty when I went on Saturday night to the 7pm showing. I couldn't believe it. Get the word out. This is a film all horror fans need to see!
It uses old school horror methods to grab you by the throat and give you heart-attack after heart-attack, and as a result it gets the teen rating - despite being a film I wouldn't let any teen** in my care go and see. :) Nice one Sam.

*jumping in shock and terror!
**PG-13? They're nuts!!!

(Most films are lucky to get 7.# from me. I almost never give out scores like this. Films that have rated 8.0+? I can count them on 1 hand.)

Friday, 5 June 2009

Guttering: emotional impact and momentum


Steve posted recently about creating momentum in story by cutting scenes correctly, in late - out early, contrast the scenes to build conflict, and letting the audience fill in the blanks in order to heighten their investment in the story being told because they have become co-creators in the movie/story process.

I definitely agree with all of this. And it is difficult to build these things into the story you are telling - that's why writing is work. It has to be said that this kind of finessing is missing from the majority of scripts that are out there that I've read [mine included, embarrassingly].

Part of our writer's toolbox should be understanding the importance of creating the Off Screen Movie as this can lead to a far more involving movie-going experience for the audience. - - The link goes to Terry Rossio's description of his awakening to that realisation when watching Schindler's List. Follow the link and read it, you'll be glad you did!

I had a similar revelation myself when reading *Black Orchid where the blood in the gutters totally blew my mind. It was like my subconscious screaming at me - -
...story can happen off-screen in a very powerful, emotionally involving way, if you hint at it correctly.

It completely changed the way I look at telling stories, and reinforced exactly how important it is to cut from scene to scene in the right places and how we should hint at our off-screen story in a way that allows it to be a living entity in the background of the unfolding tale. The landscape, if you will.

In short, I believe that in an ideal world the offscreen story should be part of the arena of the film as well as being an intimate part of the viewer's emotional experience of the story being told.

Screenwriter bollocks? Maybe. But IMO that doesn't make it any less true, or any less important to the process of crafting a very satisfying, emotionally moving tale.

... Now all I have to do is work out exactly how to do that....

Steve says that it's all a matter of planning. I think he's right. Annoyingly.

Sunday, 31 May 2009


Blimey that was quick! I didn't even have time to catch my breath properly.


Well, at least I can move on to targeting the next corporate victim. ;)

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Rejection pending...

Sent off the Tarot book to yet another publisher. So won't wait for the rejection letter, I'll get straight back to the writing.

See, I'm learning.

"Don't wait." is rule number# ...? something. According to ... someone or other professional's blog I read ages ago.

Way hey! At least I've learned that much. :)

Monday, 25 May 2009

Have I told you about ... ?

Producer no#3.

Another beautiful, muscular shark sliding silently through the water, swimming by on his way to ... somewhere else.

He seemed very nice, if rather laconic. When he wanted to cross the threshold / take the relationship further, like a good prostitute I requested a conversation about finances and - - he was never heard from again.

I think enough time has passed that I am safe writing / telling you about this. And let's face it I'm not exactly giving you the longitude and latitude of his secret base. ;)

Makes me wonder if I'm blowing opportunities, or being sensible for once in my life.
Hopefully the latter.

Oh well.

Back to writing.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Dead in the trenches...

;) Okay, so I ain't dead - but I may as well be for the amount of life that's speeding past full throttle while I waste my time on day to day crap.

Sooner I can reduce the hours I spend on the day job the better. - - Which means I need to be earning money from my writing so that I can afford to do that.

Which means I need to get the F*** on with it.


Apply bum to seat.

Start typing.

Keep typing.

*narrows eyes*


I'll do some more of that then.

Saturday, 25 April 2009


What is the difference between 3/4 and 4/3?

If you're me, about one month. -- Yeah I know. Did you really want it to make sense?

If you are everybody else (i.e. sane, or mathematically inclined, or just able to cope with the concept of time) the quantity: one and a third, ... or 4/12ths depending on whether you can translate Eleanorese.

Friday, 24 April 2009

The NEED to write.

I have just looked at the date, and realised it's nearly May!



Quarter of the year gone already, and I have done virtually nothing ... well okay the usual procrastination of watching film and TV that us writers like to call "research" - okay, it kinda counts, general absorbtion of story and story telling techniques - but not the focused research of an active project (at least not until this week). I've done some writing, some plotting, vaugue writing type stuff, dancing with producers, ... but nothing concrete, focused, driven ... and the NEED TO WRITE is beginning to tickle the back of my brain.
-- Bout time too.

I've been allowing life to get in the way so far this year; from end of January onwards, really.

And that's NOT. GOOD.

Have to apply a bit of focus and will power ... and make myself get on with it if I hope to stand a chance of achieving any of this year's plans.

I'm off to apply bum to seat.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Unimportant things - doesn't amount to a hill of beans

1) Put the link of the person who tagged you on your blog.
2) Write the rules.
3) Mention 6 things or habits of no real importance about you.

Well, I haven't officially been tagged, but since Piers tried to nick my brain one time ...

Piers and I have 1 unimportant thing in common, and he describes it very well, so I shall lift directly from his blog:
I'm cross-dominant.

Surprisingly, this isn't a kinky sex thing, but means that while my dominant hand is my right (for throwing, catching, and so on), my dominant eye is my left.

This is not generally a problem in everyday life. However it's a known problem in target shooting.

Should I ever wish to take up shooting - or alternatively, should I be forced to fight for survival in a terrifying post-apocalyptic world - I should try and shoulder the weapon on my left, rather than my right, in order to aim correctly.

We may have many more unimportant things in common, but I don't know what they are, so you'll have to be satisfied with that. :)

2nd unimportant thing - Foot-in-mouth syndrome, otherwise known as not engaging brain before saying something. I suffer from this a lot. It has plagued my life, despite my best efforts to avoid it - any time I get excited or passionate about something I forget to monitor what I say. And I really, really should. At all times.

3rd unimportant thing - Forgetfulness, for example I rarely know which day of the week it is, or what the date is. Always hazardous as we reach the end of March....

4th unimportant thing - Gullibility, mainly because my gut instinct is that everyone is nice, and always tells the truth (unless they wear a great big warning sign) which in combination with points 2 and 3 frequently results in me being a Fool, in this particular instance an April one. Cue tiny violins.

5th unimportant thing - One of my ancestral relatives wrote a book, Elinore M Havers. I only know about her because my mother pointed out her book, called Wigwam Island, as we share the same name ... kinda. I have no idea whether she was any good as a novelist, because I didn't read it. And it's only on researching her (just now) that I find she wrote more than one book. ... Drat! Ancestral competition. I must try harder!

6th unimportant thing - Nigel Havers is also a very, very, very distant relation, but he wouldn't know me from Sheila. *sigh*
Great I've resorted to name dropping. Why? I guess desire for wish fulfillment: he's potentially a contact, assuming we ever meet ... which we most likely never will - - unless I stalk him, which is not cool. So that ain't happening - - Argh, I'll just shut up now then, shall I?

Anyhow, there's my list of 6 things or habits of no real importance about me.

Feel free to consider yourselves tagged if you haven't already done this one. :)

Sunday, 22 March 2009

The Villain has the story

I dunno about you, but I love villains.

The stories I write need a great villain to counter the hero at every turn - frustrate, annoy, get under their skin.

This morning it struck me that I should probably write the Villain's story first since they are the ones with THE PLAN - 8 times out of 10 - and then rewrite that story from the Hero's perspective, as it impacts on the Hero's life. It may take a lot more work, but it will probably produce a better story ... so, I think I need to change the way I go about constructing a story.

I usually start with the Hero and construct the Villain accordingly.

I'm going to try starting with the Villain. ... See where that takes me....

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

The Grim - update

Just a mini update on The Grim, since many of you (okay, Racicot) seem interested. :)

Well, a brief note on the events around Christmas...

If you've been paying attention, you'll remember that Producer No.1 loves this screenplay and wants to make it. Hooray!

He showed it to the production company he works for - lets call them Production Company A - and they too loved it, initially ... and then decided they weren't going to expand their film slate any more as they want to make TV instead.

(The gnashing of teeth you can hear in the background is me.)

But Producer No.1 was not to be deterred. He was already setting up a production company of his own - lets call it Production Company No.1 - to make one of his other pet projects, [Which sounds brilliant by the way, a Romantic Comedy, I'll tell you more when I'm allowed to.] and he still wants to make my Horror script, now via Prod Co No.1.

All this is gonna take time, but things are progressing in the background. He's working his producer magic.

So while he's doing that, I shall get on with life, and writing, and blogging, and buying my new car.

I'm picking her up on Saturday. She's lovely.

Friday, 6 March 2009

How to succeed in the business of writing

Ooh-er, what a title. That'll take some living up to....


But luckily Alex Epstein has already written the post for me! ;)

There's a link to Paul Graham's website under "creative types" in the side bar. He's definitely worth checking out. A lot of his advice on business startup type things either applies directly to life as a self-employed screenwriter, or gives an excellent metaphor for the same.

I'm currently - and have been for some time - falling foul of his point 10. Avoid distractions.
"Nothing kills startups like distractions. The worst type are those that pay money: day jobs,..."

*rolls eyes*

Best get back to the day job then ... *sigh*

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

vaguely organised chaos

Well, I'm de-stressing a bit ... possibly I'm just getting used to living in chaos, but mostly because it turns out I have a knack for blowing up computers. ;)

*rolls eyes*

I think it's actually because the hormones are kicking in - I'm one of three women in an office of over 100 men. Lucy would love it! And troubleshooting computers is turning out to be a bit more fun than I thought as well. So double bonus! :)
- - Nothing like a bit of problem solving to lighten the day.

And lets face it, that's what writers are essentially, problem solvers. So I get to use that part of my brain that gets me high when I write, kind-a, in a non-writing way.

Also definitely good for research. Encountering all sorts of techy things that will come in useful when constructing worlds / stories / characters that make use of this stuff.

Actual writing is a bit thin on the ground at the moment though, because I'm spending much of my spare time on computer homework ... I haven't done homework in over a decade! LOL

I'm ignoring much of the other chaos that's happening. Prioritise needs, that's the ticket. Deal with what needs dealing with first and do the rest later. The car situation is inching its way up to the top of the list pretty quickly though.

Writing is nagging me in the background as well, as soon as this training is over I'm going to dive back into that with a vengeance.

Saturday, 14 February 2009


Life, can upon occasion be very frustrating.

Changing jobs, impending change of car, and a whole lot of personal things I'm not going to go into here are all conspiring to cause me stress.

I am however managing to write in the little spare time I have - in between researching how to make computers explode. :) ... Some of the writing is even readable. :)

*rolls eyes*

Feeling unsettled really doesn't help me relax. Hopefully this period of prolonged chaos will be over soon and I can unwind again.

Until then, if you meet a wild-eyed woman grinding her teeth noisily, and perhaps growling from time to time ... it's probably me.

Oh yeah,


Tuesday, 27 January 2009

The day job.

Firstly, I have to say BLECH!

I've been doing really well in the limited amount of time I have to maintain actually writing every day. So Hoorah! ... Except for the last two days. *rolls eyes* Blech.

As blogged previously, I am "at risk of redundancy" in the remaining job, working as a telephone monkey. Yeah, it is as thrilling as it sounds. - - However, my employers in their wisdom have offered me the chance to retrain and broaden my skills into the role of telephone technical monkey solving customer enquires as to why the customer's computer just went BANG!

If you know me, you'll know that I can barely work the kettle without electrocuting myself, never mind allowing me to drive a computer ... one of my other personalities takes control of my hands and types my blog for me (and she ain't very technical either). - - Men in white coats? Where? Quick, leg it! ... Oh, it's only Igor again. Grrr!
"Not the criminal brain Igor! Piers has already told you about this, move along."

Anyhow, in their wisdom they are attempting to *rolls eyes* upskill me. Good luck with that, LOL. But as a result I am spending precious time researching computers and what makes them tick ... or even explode, (that part can be kind of fun) instead of spending that time writing.

So I'm not doing what I love, but I am doing what is needed for future earning ability. Blech. I wish life didn't involve these priority decisions. Or rather, I wish writing could win in these decisions every time, but until it starts paying its way ... *sigh*

Maybe I should investigate e-publishing for my tarot books ... ? Hmm ...

Maybe if I look at this as research for future story background ... Hmm. :)

Research, rather than retraining.

Research, that's far more palatable. :)

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Credit crunched!

So, after I was made redundant from the factory job I thought I was going to be okay financially for a bit, at least until the end of January ...


However, my main job has just informed me that they have lost their contract with a company that I was handling sales and service enquiries for, and that I am now "at risk" of redundancy.

Deep joy.


No immediate panic though, as they are fighting hard for new business. And if they get it then I won't lose my job ... ... and they need to pay me for 4 weeks even if they do make me redundant, so I've got a month clear to find something else if worst comes to worst.

Now that I have cheaper rent I don't have to be so picky about wages, so theoretically this should be very survivable. The jobs are out there if you're not fussy ... although they are very thin on the ground where I live. Fingers crossed.

Great incentive for getting off my bottom and actually finish the rewrite I was supposed to be doing on the fantasy script last year, or maybe even get writing one of the other story ideas that I have in my HUGE pile of scripts-to-write notes.

Decisions, decisions.

Whatever the case, I'll be working on the American collaboration rewrite, and also finishing the last polish on my supernatural horror script for producer no#1 ... which is currently seeking investment (if you happen to have a spare $14 million lying around).

Goals for 2009?
* Find a new job
* Complete the American collaboration rewrite for producer no#2
* Finalise the sale/option of the supernatural horror screenplay
* Complete at least one more spec and get a producer seriously interested/sold
* Earn some money from my writing

Lofty goals, perhaps, but currently my attitude is "F*ck it! This is the year I make it happen!"

2008, what happened ...?

As we all do, I started the year with good intentions, I had a writing regime in place ... I even managed to stick to it for about 9 months, more or less. After that the year was pretty much lost to the chaos of the day jobs taking over, although I did still manage a fair bit of writing despite that.
So writing regime, failed. Darn.

I was going to rewrite my fantasy screenplay - failed. Did a bit on it, but then life got in the way, so NOT GOOD. I shall add it to the list for 2009.

I was going to apply for a grant from The Film Council. Never got around to that either. I think I'm going to take that one off the list of stuff to do for the time being.

I blogged a bit about procrastination and writer's block, amongst other things. Still working on the whole good procrastination thing....

Nearly sold a tarot book: first they said they were going to publish me, YAY! ... And then they changed their minds in September ... B*ST*RDS!

In May, I got a second job, working part-time in a ceramics factory, and in addition I hired some heroes to move my shit to a cheaper dwelling. Went very well. Both of these things have helped solve my crippling financial problems. :)

In June I decided to give up on learning 3 act structure on the basis that I already know it, I just don't know that I know it, and constantly trying to learn about it was getting in the way of my writing.

In July I started getting depressed about my lack of progress with screenwriting ... but then at the end of August producer no#1 requested a supernatural horror. I frantically did the rewrite I'd been putting off for almost a year and sent it to him. He read it and loved it. Thanks are due to Lucy and everyone else who gave me notes on this one! :) [The plot thickens on this one which I will be blogging about in a couple of weeks ... but that's a post for the 2009 category.]

September, I spent a week in Scotland on holiday. Had a lot of fun! Go visit Aberdeen!!! :)

Got the bad news about the tarot book. Grr.

Days later in October, producer no#2 saw my screenplay on and said he wanted to option it, and also asked me to work with him and another writer on rewriting one of his projects. The option never materialised (although I didn't chase it as I was already working closely with producer no#1 on a rewrite of the script in question), however the rewrite of producer no#2's project is progressing. :) [More on the American collaboration screenplay in 2009]

Beginning of December I got credit crunched. The factory job said my services were no longer required. I heaved a sigh of relief as I was beginning to go slightly nuts from all work and no play ... had enough saved that it wouldn't be a disaster until end of January ...



Friday, 2 January 2009



Back soonish.

... oh yeah,