Welcome to my blog - a collection of thoughts and musings on the world of writing, books and all those wordy type things.

Monday, 23 July 2012

50 Shades of Go Away?

Is it just me, or is anyone else a little teed off with not being able to turn around without bumping into this book, or something related to it?

As always, there are fads of things, and I'm pretty sure this is just another one as the reviews I have seen aren't actually all that good. Possibly the subject matter is more the draw for some than the quality of writing. I can't comment on it personally as I haven't read it, and frankly, don't have an inclination to. Several years back when Dan Brown was the rage with his Catholic Church conspiracies, I decided to try The Da Vinci Code, just so that I wasn't slating it without basis. I wasn't. It was dreadful. In my opinion, anyway. When dialogue needs to be held up with scaffolding, then personally I don't think that's such a great book. But the huge hype was much the same and people bought it by the droves because it was the trend.

The other issue with this latest trend is that publishers are frantically looking elsewhere to see what they can sex up and sell as Erotica. And, apparently, they have no boundaries, because they are going for the Classics! Yes, on your local bookshop's shelves shortly will be erotic versions of truly wonderful books like Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey and Jane Eyre - all great favourites of mine, and perfect just as they are! The relationships in them are of their time, although the feelings are just as relevant today. The moral and expected standards of the time heightened any emotions between the characters, exactly because they weren't able to just act on it! That's what makes us think - Oh! But he's nuts about you and he can't tell you! It drives us to keep turning the pages to see if he ever does get to tell her that - or her him.

Taking these wonderful classics and throwing them into the Erotica field is wrong in my opinion. I have absolutely nothing against the genre - but I think this is publishers taking an easy way out. There are plenty of great authors out there writing new erotica novels. Give them a chance instead!

I'm not slating 50 Shades of Grey, because I haven't read it. If you have, and enjoyed it, great! I'm just not a great fan of bookshops and publishers putting all their eggs onto one bandwagon - and trying to ruin wonderful books as they do it.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Getting Inspiration from TV...And What Not To Copy

I usually prefer to write without distraction but having said that, I do possess the ability to tune out if I need to. This knack comes from having once worked in an AV Company's service department. They were great lads, and I loved it, but believe me, there are times when you want to tune out from nine engineers (no offence, chaps!).

But back to my point, when I'm not writing but am doing something vaguely related (I like to think...), I am happy for some background diversion. One of these is the 'alibi' channel. It tends to show crime dramas, light and dark. Having had it on at times during the past couple of days, one forensic based show has caught my eye. The storylines are fine..as much as I've followed them, but the one thing that has caught my ear, if not my eye, is the amount of cliches in the script.

This is a glossy, American show and I'm hearing lines that would make many a writer go 'Eew!'. Me included. It has just amazed me that something that's clearly had plenty of money thrown at it, is brought down by some hackneyed dialogue. It just jars. And if it jars with me, how come it didn't sound trite, and naff to the team of writers?

In real life, people do use cliches, and we don't tend to think too much about it, but when a character on screen or on the page starts talking in them, unless it's a defining trait of theirs, it throws us out of the story, and whoops! there goes our suspension of disbelief.

There are certain programmes and films I would love to have written because the writing is great, but this particular one...hmm, I don't think so.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

The Delights of a Postcard

When was the last time you sent a postcard? Odd are, it probably wasn't that long ago. Even in the current age of social networking, email, instant messaging and text, there's something about writing, and sending off a pretty picture of the place you're visiting that still appeals to us.

I definitely think there's a pleasure in poring over the options, eventually choosing one and then finding a way of putting the most information in a very small space, without the need for the recipient to be holding a magnifying glass in order to read your holiday prose!

And of course, there's the joy of receiving postcards! Whose face doesn't light up when they see a brightly coloured card tucked in amongst all the white and beige envelopes that collect on the doormat each day. It's a break from the routine, and brings pleasure to us, knowing that whoever sent it took the time to sit down and write to us personally. It is for us alone, and not for the plethora of people who 'read' a Facebook wall. These words were thought up for us, written for us, and sent to us.

Let's hope that the postcard continues to live on, and continue to bring joy to both senders and receivers. And next time you're out, even in your own town, pick up a postcard and send it to someone, thereby brightening both your day, and theirs.

Are you a postcard fan? Please leave me a comment and let me know!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Crime Writing Competition with Stylist magazine

Some of you may remember that I entered a couple of writing competitions earlier in the year. Sadly I didn't place anywhere, but I did get a buzz from the process of completing the entry and sending it off. That, in my opinion, is an accomplishment in itself.

In the wake of these entries, I decided to try and do some more, one of which is the crime writing competition, currently being run by Stylist magazine, in conjunction with Faber & Faber - you can find the details here. However, I've had a long think about it, and have made the decision not to enter.

One of their requirements is that the main protagonist is female. And whilst I have a main female protagonist, I think it could be argued that my other protagonist is very central - and he's male. I could easily see that some may argue he is, in fact, the main character, although that's not how I wrote it, or how I see it, but I'm not convinced others will agree.

There definitely seems a plethora of female led crime dramas around at the moment, both in books, and on the television. I have absolutely no objection to this. I just am beginning to wonder as to whether my choice of a male detective for my book might be a bit out of step with current choices and trends. Not that I am going to change it, because it's central to another thread of the story. And I like him.

So, that's my current thoughts on things - do you agree?