Tuesday 31 July 2012

Rewriting Scenes In Your Own Style . . .

Sounds like plagiarism, rewriting scenes in your own style, and maybe it is but it served for a great writing exercise last night at our writers group. 

A colleague read a scene from a chosen book, a scene that was only half a page long.  The book - I forget what it was called - was told from the POV of a cat on the run from cat catchers, and the scene had them trapped in a ...shed?... and the cat catchers burst in and captured one. 

The point of the exercise was to practice our genre telling.  We had to rewrite the scene in a different genre and in our own style.  Out of the whole scene read, one part gripped me, and that was the magpie that flew in, crying it's warning to lock the door before flying to rafters above.  With this in mind, this was what I churned out:

When Angels Fall

The other angels gathered in the abandoned church whilst one stood on guard outside.  The night was long and dark, and the clear skies had allowed the frost to settle on the ground and forgotten gravestones earlier than usual.  The stars sparkled above them.  There was no moon.

He remained silent, a skill angels were created with, and his black, pupiless eyes roamed the shadows.  He felt uneasy, fearful, but knew this meeting was inevitable.  The three angels meeting inside were discussing their rebellious fall from the heavens and were planning their next move.  There were more like them out there.  At the time of the riots, twenty or so angels had escaped and swept down to the lands below in a bid for freedom after centuries of being cooped up.  Every one of these had gone their own ways, treading their own paths - and all aware of the Black Angel that had been assigned to follow and deal their punishment.  

This was what he was on the look out for.  He trusted that what ever plans his fellow angels would come up with would be wise and would take them to safety but he had to ensure that their choice had its chance to be made.  

His black eyes studied the darkness of the surrounding churchyard.  A light breeze drifted across the back of his neck.  He turned.  The shadows loomed, their thick masses sneering at him, and he gave an uneasy shudder, ruffling the feathers of his wings.  

Nothing moved.  There was only silence.

He turned back, not liking the niggling feeling that ate away at him.  Something was wrong.  By the time he saw the large, black wings swooping down towards him, he knew it was too late to retaliate.  The size of them tripled his own, and there was no chance of defeating such a ferocious being.  Thrashing around, he swung through the opening of the church.

"Lock the door!" he yelled. 

Startled faces peered back at them.  He repeated his command as he opened his wings and lifted himself up to the rafters but there was no time to follow them through.  Instead the other angels scarpered, desperately seeking for a hiding place.  He saw from above as two disappeared in the shadows for protection, but it was too late for the third as the menacing form of the Black Angel stormed through the opening and pinned him to the ground, his large black wings enveloping him and his talons piercing through flesh...   

Friday 27 July 2012

Pic of the Week . . . Jim Warren

This week, weather wise, has been blinding.  After all those weeks of constant rain, we've finally been graced with some sunshine.  The temperatures have soared, and I swear I have a little colour on my shoulders ;)

Anyway, to celebrate this sudden change in weather, I wanted to go for a colourful, happy pick this week.  And who better than Jim Warren.

Jim Warren is the master of DreamScapes and his work is bright and vibrant yet mellow and soothing - and most of them incorporate a sunny beach and crashing waves in some way.  What better way to dream of spending a lazy sunny afternoon... 

Enjoy and have a happy, sunny weekend . . .

Friday 20 July 2012

Pic of the Week . . . Tim Sale

I know I'm like a year - two years - maybe even three years behind, but hey!  I've just finished watching the first series of 'Heroes' and am now working my way through the others.

I saw a couple of random episodes when the show first hit TV, but you see, I don't watch TV as a rule.  Even though I thoroughly enjoyed watching the episodes I did see, and telling myself that it would be a good show to keep up with, I never did.  I don't pencil in my mental diary times that I need to be sitting in front of the TV so I can catch the next instalment of something.  Usually I'm writing, or drawing - or maybe watching a film (I do love films) but I can't make myself sit down at the same time every week to watch a whole series of something.  Maybe I'm missing out on a lot, but it's how I roll. 

Then along came a little thing called Netflix, and BOY am I getting my money's worth, especially when it comes to series like Heroes.  Anyway, for those who remember, there is an artist in the first series who could paint the future.  I was taken by those paintings.  I loved them.  And it turns out that they were all created by the artist, Tim Sale.  He's a comic book artist and I love some of his work. 

Here's a quick reminder of some of those paintings from the first and second series:

Even though I loved these paintings, there was one in particular that captured my heart, a sketch, and one that I thought deserved to be Pic of the Week. I just love this piece.

Enjoy and have an Heroic weekend :)

Wednesday 18 July 2012

A Walk In The Park . . .

This was a writing exercise that we took part in the other week.  The phrase given was 'A Walk in the Park', and this was I produced within the ten minutes we were given.


A Walk In The Park

"Once you've done it a couple of times," they said, "it will become easy.  The weapon will become like an extension of your body, of your being.  You will disassociate yourself with any emotional implications that often follow such tasks.  You will feel nothing, you will be numb.  It will be like a walk in the park."

Of course it's easy to say these things, easy to imagine.  People who fantasise about such things fall in love with the power it can give them, the prospect of money, of stealth, mystery and travel - but yet put them in this very spot and I bet they feel as I am now.

I press my finger gently on the trigger, not enough to let the round off, but enough to stop myself from trembling.

The life of an assassin promised me everything I had dreamed of.  I had spent months training with a firm that fails to exist in the eyes of the public, a firm that can track you down within minutes, no matter where in the world you are, and a firm who will quickly and brutally put things right if you mess up.  

Yes, the fantasies of being an assassin are delicious, but in real life it's not so easy, it's not just a walk in the park - as my target is about to realise.  The street he's strolling through at the moment is heaving with people.  I hide at the distance, in the trees, waiting - and it's a wait that is allowing doubt to flood through.

I begin to wonder if my first kill will ever happen . . . 

Friday 13 July 2012

Pic of the Week . . . HR Giger

A teenage favourite; I remember when HR Giger first came to my knowledge.  Back at school I was verging on the Gothic side.  I was the strange one, the weird one, and a lot of the time I illustrated that with my art.  My Art Teacher often couldn't wait to see what interesting, weird and wonderful things I would produce next.  So when I first discovered HR Giger, I loved him.  I had numerous pieces of his work stuck on my bedroom wall.

Now I look at his work and wonder.  Don't get me wrong, to say he's an absolute fantastic artist is an understatement.  To think of what he's contributed to many films - films that will go down in history as classics, such as Alien and Dune - is mind-boggling.  Then there are all the other things he's produced, such as the microphone stand for Johnathan Davies, the frontman in Korn.  He's a marvel to the world of dark art - but now I can't help but cringe at some of his work.    

Years ago, this wouldn't have bothered me.  In fact, it didn't.  But as I grow older I'm mellowing out, and there are certain things that I just don't like for anymore - such as gore.  I've never been a fan of films such as Saw or Hostel, films where their soal intent is to shock you with how many different ways they can cut up or kill their characters.  It makes me cringe.  Some of Giger's work now does that for me.  He mixes the mechanical and biological.  If ever the human race were invaded and farmed, his work describes exactly how I would picture it. 

But he still has some wonderful pieces that I can comfortably handle, including this piece.  And I do believe I even copied this for an art project back in my school days, although I can't remember if I ever handed it in or kept it...hmmm...

Enjoy and have an awesome weekend...

Wednesday 11 July 2012


They say that the world is to end this year, that Nibiru is already stalking us behind our moon and that it will collide with us on the 21st December (the day before my birthday!  How inconsiderate!); or that we will have used up all our natural resources and the world will retaliate; that a huge climate shift will kill us all; or maybe some man made disaster in the form of WW3 will wipe us out.

For those who believe this, I can only imagine what is going on inside their head, of the panic and the fear.  I'm not a believer, but if I don't reach my 32nd birthday then I'll eat my words and be proven wrong.  In the mean time I'll simply believe that the Mayan society run out of stone when carving their calender and could go no further than 2012.

However, this year does seem to be having a negative effect on me so far, and the biggest change to come about is the fact that I lost my job just over a week ago.  I was made redundant after seven years.  I understand completely, from a business point of view, why this needed to happen, but I can't deny the fact that I'm gutted.  I loved my job.  I'm also the sort of person who likes stability, and when I get settled into something I'm there for good.  The thought of having to look for a new job and then settle in somewhere new isn't really doing me any favours and I have a whirlwind of emotions running through my mind at the moment.  I am at unease.

Still, one good thing to come out of this is the realisation that I should go off and do something that I want as opposed to something that I need to do for the wage.  Obviously any job will be taken if needs must (and becoming a full-time writer just isn't viable at present), but I've also decided to put myself through a course to learn all there is to know about the Adobe Creative Suite.  I'm pretty nifty with photoshop already, but there's still a lot it can do that I don't know about.  Then I'm going to freelance myself in my spare time and do book covers and book trailers for all those wonderful writers out there who have reached the exciting point of publishing their work.  It'll be something that I love doing and something I'll enjoy.

Another little thing I saw that shed some light into my surrounding 2012 darkness was a review on Amazon for my book, 'Son of Jack'.  It came just when I needed it and put a well needed smile on my face:

"This is an excellent psychological thriller about what happens when a town is plagued by a serial killer. We see the different reactions of the four main characters and their various spirals into madness. Although the killer is a constant presence, he is kept "off stage", which in my opinion only made events more chilling and added to the suspense. The pace was not too rushed, which allowed the drama to build nicely. I was gripped by this book and this author is one to watch!"
Thank you, Nick Wilford.