Rules of Writing

I saw something interesting on BBC News this morning. It was an article about Sophie Kinsella’s Top 10 Tips for Being a Best Selling Author. I agree with a most of them but some I found myself questioning one or two. I think it’s best I tackled those that I don’t necessarily agree with and let me stress now, this is my PERSONAL opinion. I feel it shouldn’t have too much of a bearing on others write.

“4. Don’t talk about what you’re writing”

I can’t agree with this one in its entirety. Of course there are writers who would rather they kept their work to themselves but I also think all writers should talk to others they trust with their story ideas so they can discuss any problems they are having. I also feel that most writers need at least one beta reader who they can give their completed work to, to read through and tell them honestly what they think, what they like, what they don’t like, etc. This is necessary as writers don’t always see their mistakes, even after leaving the work after so long, plus the beta reader will be reading it as a reader will read it. They will gain their favourite characters, their favourite parts and that can only show to a writer what is good and bad about their work.

“5. Forget about genre to find your voice”

I agree for the most part in regards to this point but would add that, once you do find your voice, be aware of the tone, codes, conventions and reader expectations of a genre. A writers voice and reading habits will heavily influence one another and in turn will probably decide what genre they write but if the writer wishes to move into another genre, then an awareness and reading books in that genre would definitely be advisable I feel.

“8. Plan your books”

Some people plan, some partly plan (like me, know the vital points, etc.) and some people just go by the seats of their pants. Whatever works for that person but Kinsella does suggest a good way to plan in the article so I do recommend still reading this point carefully.

Despite not agreeing with all of it and, I have said this before about something else, but this article is perfectly timed with NaNoWriMo due in November and is one to have saved somewhere for your own information.

International Literacy Day-September 8th, 2014

Today is UNESCO International Literacy Day 2014, a day designed to champion literacy and how it can create sustainable development for the people of the world. More information can be found by going to UNESCO’s website.

If I had known about this before, I would have posted about it a few days ago however it must have been fate that I only found out today anyway as today is also the day that the Daily Mail, a UK newspaper, and BBC News are carrying reports that children and adults alike are struggling with their literacy and, in the adults case, numeracy.

The Daily Mail is reporting that the UK’s literacy levels are down and they are predicted to be even worse by 2025, particularly among white boys from poorer homes whilst BBC News says that adults are unable to gain the vital skills they need because they cannot access the training they need.

You can read these reports if you are interested by going to 1.5m Children “Won’t Read Well”- Daily MailHalf of poor white boys struggling to read at 11: Children more likely to read text messages than books, study finds – Daily Mail and Urgent Help Needed For Adults With Poor Skills, Say MPs – BBC News.

This seems crazy that children and adults are growing up and struggling with the very basic skills that will help them getting GCSE’s (the very basic level of qualification necessary for most jobs in the UK), holding down jobs, doing household bills and administration and so much more. The closure of our libraries certainly do not help as, for many families, this is probably the only place they would have access to books for free to read. We also have a state education system designed to give everyone the chance of getting the very basic skills in literacy and numeracy.

Therefore, I definitely support UNESCO’s International Literacy Day.

Frank Skinner to Star in Doctor Who

BBC News are reporting that Frank Skinner has been given a role in the next series of Doctor Who.

What role he will play is unclear however the episode he is going to be in is known to be penned by Jamie Mathieson, a writer from another BBC series, Being Human. Steven Moffat, the show’s Executive Producer, has said that the comedian has been asking him for a role ever since he took over.

Moffat has said: “It’s no secret that Frank’s been pitching vigorously to get into Doctor Who for a while. He’s been volunteering to be ‘third monster on the left’ as long as I’ve been in this job. But now, in Jamie Mathieson’s sparkling script, we finally have a part that can showcase all of Frank’s famous wit and charm. Hopefully he’ll get out of my garden now.”

Skinner is currently on tour with his stand-up show Frank Skinner: Man in a Suit. An excited Skinner, when talking about his role in the series, said: “I love this show. I subscribe to Doctor Who magazine, I’ve got a Tardis ringtone, a five-foot cardboard Dalek in my bedroom and – when I got the call saying they wanted me to read for the part, I was in the back of my tour bus watching episode three of The Sensorites.”

Series eight will air in Autumn with new Doctor, Peter Capaldi, and other confirmed stars, Samuel Anderson, Ben Miller and Keeley Hawes. Find out more by visiting the BBC News website.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers New Movie

This one is right in the childhood.

The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers are getting reinvented for a new audience in a new film. The original version of the Power Rangers, the series was based on a Japanese series and ran for 3 series before getting renamed. It featured 5 teens selected to battle evil and protect the Earth.

The new film is said to be a collaboration between the original creators Saban and Hunger Games film studio, Lionsgate. The studio has stated that “with an extensive and extremely devoted worldwide fan base as well as a deep and detailed mythology, the Power Rangers are primed for the big screen.” They went on to say that the new Power Rangers will be “a group of high school kids who are infused with unique and cool super powers but must harness and use those powers as a team if they have any hope of saving the world.”

There will no doubt be concerns about the new film from fans, partly fuelled by the trailers for a film based on another successful 1990’s series, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, being panned by quite a few. The Michael Bay film, due out in August, could very well leave fans dreading what will happen to the Rangers.

Check out the BBC News article on the new Power Rangers film at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-27327962 and watch the trailer for the Turtles film here:

JK Rowling paid damages by Daily Mail

The UK newspaper, the Daily Mail, has been made to print an apology and pay “substantial” damages to JK Rowling, BBC News reports.

In September last year, the Daily Mail printed an article on suggesting that JK Rowling told a false “sob story” after being stigmatised by church goers when she was a single mother. The story was based on an article Rowling wrote for Gingerbread, a single parent charity. (You can read the original article here: http://www.gingerbread.org.uk/content/1901/J-K-Rowling).

Rowling sued the paper for libel, saying that the article was “misleading” and “unfair”, caused her great distress and embarrassment and had injured her reputation. In January, the Daily Mail admitted liability and promised to print an apology and pay damages. The BBC has said that all the damage money has been donated to charity by Rowling.

Read the full article by BBC News for further details at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-27312080.

Shakespeare’s Birthday, World Book Night and St George’s Day

The 23rd April is a busy day this year, 2014, with three different events all happening on the same day!

England’s patron saint, St George, has his feast day today (sadly, it is not celebrate unlike St Patrick’s Day on March 17th). The BBC has posted an article looking at why he is seen as a Palestinian hero. You can read all about it at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-27048219. Want to know more about England’s patron saint? Head over to the BBC website again but this time check out their article called “St George’s Day, celebrating a mythical martyr?”:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/0/22166363.

It is also  Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday! Unfortunately, he also DIED on the 23rd April, 1616 so I guess today is also his death day. The folk’s over at Interesting Literature have compiled a list of five factors about the celebrated word smith. Head on over to http://interestingliterature.com/2014/04/22/five-fascinating-facts-about-shakespeare/ to read them. The BBC have been on the trail of Shakespeare’s England, finding out what stands there today. You can find out more by visiting http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-coventry-warwickshire-27041828.

If Doctor Who is to be believed, the great Bard also fought the Carrionites with the Doctor and Martha Jones! Watch their encounter here:

 

Need something new to read? Then don’t forget about World Book Night! You can find out more about the event and this years book selection by visiting http://www.worldbooknight.org/. One of this year’s books is Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch! Check out my post from yesterday for the Rivers of London rap music video and a lot more by going to https://sleepybookdragon.wordpress.com/2014/04/22/rivers-of-london-rap-video/.

So happy St George’s Day folks, happy birthday (and sad death  day) to Mr William Shakespeare and have fun with World Book Night! You never know, you might just find your next favourite book!

New Who Companion Revealed

Clara and the new Doctor are getting a new friend to join them in the TARDIS. BBC News are reporting that Samuel Anderson, who has previously appeared in Gavin & Stacey and Emmerdale, will play Danny Pink, a teacher at Coal Hill School with Clara. Little is known about Anderson’s character but Anderson himself  has said:

“I was so excited to join Doctor Who, I wanted to jump and click my heels but I was scared I might not come down before filming started. It’s a quintessential part of British culture and I can’t believe I’m part of it. It’s an honour to be able to work alongside Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman and I can’t wait to show people how my character becomes involved with such a fantastic duo.”

Episodes four and five are currently being filmed of series eight.

Find the BBC News article here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-26320817

Harry Potter Theatre Show Announced

English: J. K. Rowling, after receiving an hon...

JK Rowling has announced that she is to co-produce a stage show focusing on Harry‘s early years as an orphan.

Details are sketchy but it has been confirmed that characters from the books will be featured in the show. The show is to be developed with two other producers: Sonia Friedman, who has worked on shows for Broadway and is currently involved with a BBC project adapting Hilary Mantel‘s Wolf Hall, and Colin Callender, who has had many successful West End shows.

JK Rowling is NOT writing the script however she is penning her debut film script for Warner Brothers which is Potter-related.

For more details, read the BBC News article here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-25466653

Waterstones’s reply to Amazon’s Air Prime

Yes, I know! I am late with this! I’ve been busy but since Waterstones produced such a funny reply to Amazon’s idea, I had to post it!

So Amazon is planning to use robotic drones to deliver people’s packages to them. Maybe a publicity stunt for Cyber Monday yesterday but if you want more information, have a look at the BBC News article about it here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25180906

Many other retailers might shrug this off and carry on with business. Not Waterstones though, no. They posted a video about their new delivery system: O.W.L.S., Ornithological Waterstones Landing Service. Have a look:

 

Why do we need to protect our Libraries and their Services?

I wasn’t intending to post today however, whilst having a look on the BBC News website, I came across an article saying that there has been a drop in visits to our libraries here in the UK. You can read the article concerned here.

It got me thinking about the impact of the Coalition Governments cuts and how they are effecting everyone as they filter down from Central Government, to local level then down to the impact on the normal everyday person on the street. It might only have been at voluntary level but I have worked in my local libraries service for 3 out of the last 4 summers and through that, I have seen how my local community uses the library service. I have also used my local libraries and the libraries in my university area to help with researching for assignments for my degree and for writing Camp NaNoWriMo and November NaNoWriMo.

Firstly, I feel I should dispel a long-held view of libraries I often get levelled at me when I talk about them: no, libraries are not just for books and no, the librarians are not old women always going, “Shh!” That might have been the case in the past but now, libraries act as community hubs.

Libraries often host sessions which help children, young adults, adults, the elderly and the vulnerable. Certainly, the library I worked at had Baby and Toddler story and rhyme time events, summer reading challenges, arts & crafts and games sessions for children, job hunting help for the unemployed, citizens advice had a drop in session once a week, knit and natter sessions and coffee mornings. Computers are available for anyone who needs them (members and guests alike) and of course the books to educate and entertain people.

For some people, their trip to the library is their only contact with other people for that week. For other people, it is their only access to computers and the internet and when people are job hunting, they can only get so far with looking at newspapers. Children may not have access to books at home for whatever reason so a trip to the library, either with a family member or school, might be their only way of being able to read, free of charge. For college and university students, they offer quiet spaces to work, access to some books that would otherwise be out of reach (either by cost or unavailability) and give them the ability to work on their essays, assignments and dissertations. They can also give those work spaces for people who want to work on their own things, like anyone working on a novel for Camp and November NaNoWriMo’s, and some libraries provide rooms for groups to hire to hold their own sessions.

So why do we need to protect libraries and their services?

We have already seen a drastic drop in library services here in the UK and we cannot afford to continue losing these services. They give so much to communities and they are used in so many different ways that losing them could potentially destroy communities, isolate people and remove such important opportunities to our children, which will affect their literacy levels and futures both in school and in their careers.

Somehow, some way, we have to protect them!