#wpad

8 July : A day in the life of me #wpad

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This prompt a day blog challenge is the one that I have been least looking forward to writing.

Why? Well because my life to most people would be extremely dull and it’s a sure fire way to lose followers on the blog and on twitter. I am still in the “honeymoon” period of feeling grateful every time  a person subscribes to my blog so scaring them off by telling them what happens in a day in the life of me may tip them over the edge.

The way I see it – the people that are supposed to be friends and family aren’t interested in what I do from one day to the next so then I am sure a group of strangers aren’t either.

Plus, each day is different. Yes the day job stays the same, but the tasks that I do vary, the people I deal with vary, the meetings I attend vary etc. Then depending on what day it is will depend on what activities I get up to in the evening. Netball matches, ice hockey training, theatre reviews all keep me busy. I love my life and the people that are close to me but it’s not a television show and my personal life is not about entertaining others.

What I will say is that last week a complete stranger didn’t like a theatre review I had written. I suspect they were a family member of one of the cast or creative of the show. They then used information that I had written in the blog to publically criticise me in a comment attached to the show. The fact that a stranger reacted to a review like that perplexed me, so when I knew that this blog entry was coming up I made a decision then to not personalise myself too much online.

Who needs to read about that?

This is a post for www.writesofluid.com blog writing challenge.  One blog post a day for all of July.

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7 July : Writing fuel #wpad

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Like most writers I get my fuel from real life situations.

Conversations between colleagues at work, listening to family members, friends and the most golden fuel is listening to people travelling on public transport. Sometimes it doesn’t need to be between two people, thankfully due to the lack of privacy that people seem to have I have listened to whole conversations between people on a mobile phone. It still amazes me that people don’t end their phone conversations when they are getting on a busy bus or tram, but great for us writers who can use these snippets of dialogue for future works.fuel 3

Facebook is also a fantastic resource when creating characters. There are people whose posts entertain me no end, and they make great characters as their flaws are sometimes exposed in their status updates.

Documentaries are a rich source for potential stories too. One of my ideas which has been shelved for now due to existing projects, came about from watching a documentary about social services last year. One woman in the programme kept having children and because her partner and herself were drug addicts then the babies got taken off them. I didn’t want to write that story but as a character she was so flawed as she couldn’t read, write and had no self confidence. This gave me the idea to use her and write a story about what would happen to that relationship if she did learn to read and write.
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I always have my notebook to hand whenever I hear something that I could use in a script or an idea for a character. Reviewing for theatre is also a great way to not only watch some great plays, but generally it is good to immerse yourself in different stories and characters as you never know when something will stand out intrinsically and could lead to a new idea.

News stories are also a great fuel for writing as these events have already happened either in a newspaper or on TV. The challenge as the writer is to create characters and a storyline to recreate that event. Such as the movie Argo, the story of the film crew pretending to be shooting a movie to smuggle out American diplomats who couldn’t leave Tehran. That really happened but what the writer did was to enhance that experience to create a movie.

I find fuel in having a peaceful, clutter free environment to type in, preferably with no access to the internet so that I cannot be distracted. I work better to music, and even better after a glass of wine. However, due to my no alcohol before 7pm rule this isn’t always the case.

The best fuel a writer can have is just to sit down and write – stop procrastinating and just get on with it. Oh if only I could practice what I preach!
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This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of July.

6 July : Self evaluation #wpad

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As part of my masters degree in scriptwriting, a part of the assessment criteria is to provide a self-assessment report after each script.

It is a really helpful way of stepping back and recollecting the process that was undertaken from coming up with a pitch, writing a treatment and all the other steps that are undertaken before the final script is handed in.

For each script that I’ve written there has been something that has resonated with me which has changed the process that I have undertaken for the next one. Some things which I know if I did differently would assist me such as not leaving the script until the last minute, although I am aware of this, I still manage to carry on with the same sloppy behaviour.

Perhaps I just work to a deadline, and I react to pressure better when there are not many hours to go until the script is due.

A short but sweet blog entry for challenge six.
This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of July.

5 July : Planned or spontaneous

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Before I even start on this blog post please refer to the following paragraph.spontaneous

THE VIRGO WOMAN
Governed by Earth, the Virgo woman is inherently practical, basing her thoughts on reality, not imagination. Sensation and experience are more important than emotion and fantasy to the Virgo woman. The Maiden walks with feet firmly on the ground, stepping gracefully and gently in her sensible reality. Detail oriented, she will be the only person to have brought a tin-opener to a camping cookout, and then offer the china plates – that no one else thought to bring – to serve dinner on. This is a dynamite of a woman, who literally does think of everything. And where would you be without her, is the supporting refrain. Virgo women like systematic approaches and planned routines.

Don’t tell anyone but I am a huge control freak. I totally am, a massive controller of freaky behaviour.

It would please me no end to just drop everything and whisk myself off into an adventure on the spur of the moment, but unfortunately I would suffer with anxiety if I didn’t have a plan of action to follow. Not only will a plan be in place, but there will also be a back up plan in case the plan A’s go tits up.

Writing is the same. As I have mentioned several times in this blog, I love to write dialogue. For me, that is the idea of heaven. But I find that I can’t just start writing dialogue for a character without a structure in place. I therefore begin with a treatment, plot, longer treatment, character biogs and then step outlines for each scene.

Only at that point when I have the step-outline (which I dislike doing) will I then start to write dialogue.

Everything in my life is exactly like my writing and it frustrates the hell out of me. Always planning, then planning for if the plan fails.

I hate to admit it but I am the token Virgo woman, and yes it means there are elements in my life which are slightly mundane. Would I have it any other way? Mmmmm

This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of July.

4 July : Fave Film Character #wpad

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This is one of those answers that will change on a daily basis. Having something as favourite this or favourite that changes depending on how you feel, and being able to remember them all.

Having seen many films over the years, for this blog entry I will mainly recollect those characters that have stood out for me for one thing or another.

ALONSO HARRIS FROM TRAINING DAY

“Why is he my friend, because he knows my first name? Roger sold dope to kids. The world is a better place without him. This man was the biggest major violator in Los Angeles. This is the game. I’m playing his ass. That’s my job. That’s your job”.
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Why is Alonso Harris possible the greatest villain in a movie? He is driven throughout the film by control. He must control the rules, control his partner, control his friends, control his enemies and even control the odds that he will be caught breaking the law. Anyone, including his rookie partner who refuses to comply with his orders, will be sliding down a slippery slope of self-serving “justice.” Alonso is like a time bomb waiting to explode and the first time I saw this movie I really did not see how Officer Hoyt was going to make it alive from that bath. Harris’s arrogant swagger enforces intimidatation as a distraction when his scheme of swindling his gambling debts look like it is the end for him.<a

ELLE WOODS FROM LEGALLY BLONDE

“Isn’t it the first cardinal rule of perm maintenance that you are forbidden to wet your hair for at least 24 hours after getting a perm at the risk of deactivating the ammonium thioglycolate”

Elle Woods starts out in the film as naïve, and underestimated even by herself. People around her assume that she is a dumb Pollyanna character, but unknown to them she is tested by fire and change. They presume that being bubbly and sweet means that this is stupid.
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THE BRIDE FROM KILL BILL VOLUME I

“Those of you lucky enough to have your lives, take them with you. However, leave the limbs you’ve lost. They belong to me now”.

Anyone who can slay the crazy 88 and still be standing deserves to be recognised as a great movie character. And it’s even sweeter that the character is a strong, kick-ass female who pulled off the fight of her life, while dressed in a replica Bruce Lee “Game of Death” outfit and donning her Hattori Hanzo samurai sword. Avenging the brutal attack on her wedding day which left her in a four-year coma and without child sparked Kiddo on a crazy, rampage of revenge.
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GUIDO FROM LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL

“If you speak my name, I vanish. What am I? Silence”

Guido is a Jewish waiter who, with his friend, is traveling through the beautiful Italian countryside to a small town . Guido is essentially a bit of a clown, but is a hopeless romantic. He uses light hearted humour to get his son though the days in a nazi death camp, inventing games that his son believes are all part of staying in the camp.
The son is told by Guido that the Germans will award a prize to the winner of the “game.” The courage and determination to make good from a bad situation and in the end sacrificing himself make this character stand out for me. He is the epitome of a good father with strong family values.

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JACKIE PEYTON FROM NURSE JACKIE

“You want it? You gotta work for it”.

So technically not from a movie but I like this character so much that I had to include it. Jackie Peyton is a strong-willed, but spectacularly flawed New York City nurse who juggles her life in a busy hospital with an equally challenging personal life. With an addiction to pain killers and conducting an affair with the hospital pharmacist, I love this character as she depicts normality but will bend the rules to provide justice. I would love to have Jackie as my best friend, she is both interesting, witty and you would want her on your side.
Nurse Jackie

KIRK LAZARUS FROM TROPIC THUNDER

“Yo asshole! This motha’ fucka’s dead. Ain’t no Chris Angel Mindfreak, David Blane trapdoor horse shit jumpin’ off here!”

Kirk Lazarus, is a white A-list actor who undergoes a medical procedure in order to change his skin colour to match his character inside of the movie within this movie. Kirk holds nothing back as the Sergeant and the comedy is that the character then begins to develop black pride which is hilarious. A complex, yet simple character who really makes the film iconic.
Kirk Lazarus

DARTH VADER FROM STAR WARS

“I find your lack of faith disturbing”

In a nutshell, Darth Vader gave me nightmares as a child. He was the ultimate villain as far as my ten-year old self was concerned. The most disappointing story for me was that the demise of Vader was all down to his obsession with losing his supposed “love” which drove him to the darkside. I wanted it to be something far more sinister than that.<a

JOKER FROM THE DARK KNIGHT

“If you’re good at something, never do it for free”

The Joker is the definition of pure evil. Arguably a psychopath but with a brilliant criminal mind. Who can forget the trick with the disappearing pencil which set his character up amazingly during the Dark Knight. The contrast between himself and Batman can cause arguments into which one of them is actually the true villain. Stereotypically we view villains as dressed in black, low voices, menacing and manipulating. The Joker wears clown makeup, is witty, funny and is trying to cause havoc in Gotham. Of course the reason that this character worked so well was also down to the Oscar performance by Heath Ledger.

the joker
There are a few of my favourite movie characters, what about you? Have you any favourites and what is it that you enjoy about them?

This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of July.

3 July : Aspirations #wpad

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aspirations

“When I grow up I want to be a bin-man” I used to say as a four year old. I soon changed my mind after the first time I watched the assistant in Booths, Garstang serve my mum behind the deli counter with luncheon meat.

I watched in awe as she took out a clear sheet of plastic, place it onto the weighing scales, take out her serving tongues and weighed out a quarter of corned beef. As she wrapped the corned beef up, printed out a sticker and sealed the bag I knew that being a bin-man would never be as glamorous as serving corned beef with metal tongues. When I got home I made paper corned beef, and borrowed my mum’s knife and spoon to make serving tongues. If I was going to be doing that job when I was old enough to work – I better get the practice in.

In my teen years I then wanted to be a primary school teacher. I’d always enjoyed primary school and did my work experience in one. Not sure I would ever feel fulfilled looking after a group of thirty kids all day but that was the dream. I also toyed with the idea of being a journalist until a careers advisor told me I would probably have to move to London.

London? That was the other end of the earth as far as I was concerned. I loved to write, but I also loved living in Preston and thought I would stay there forever.

I’ve ended up doing neither of those in my career, and moved to Manchester when I was twenty. However I still remember having those aspirations as a youngster when it feels like it’ll be forever until you are an adult.

As you get older the aspirations that you have change too. You realise that you are at work a long time in the week so it’s best to do something that you enjoy doing. I have had many jobs in the past many of which I detested and would be clock-watching every day and counting the days until the weekend. Without those naff jobs though I wouldn’t know what I will and won’t do in employment.

I’m not in that position now, so the aspirations that I have are personal ones.

In terms of what I would like to achieve creatively, the answer is simple. I’d like to achieve at least one broadcasting credit, hopefully in the medium of radio. I’m fortunate that I enjoy my day job, so a complete career change is not something I am looking at for the moment. However, it’s always good to be prepared and have a back up plan should things change.

The other creative dream is to have a play performed in the Greater Manchester Fringe festival in the next couple of years. With theatre being a passion of mine, I would like nothing better to be able to sit in an audience and see actors come to life in characters created by me, with dialogue which has been typed from my fingers.

One thing for certain, I won’t give up until I achieve at least one of these personal aspirations.

On a personal level, I have only one dream and that is that when my kids are all grown up and have families of their own, they will say that growing up was a happy time for them. I hope they feel that they were given opportunities to develop, experiences that shaped them and are thankful for growing up in such a loving environment.

It’s few years off that, but like any parent you hope that your parenting methods haven’t damaged anybody for life.

This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of July.

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2 July : Why I write #wpad

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To be honest, the amount of time I spend on social networking sites such as faceache and twatter it’s a wonder I actually ever get any time to write.

The reasons I wrote as a teenager are much different than the reasons I have now. As a teenager it was a form of escapism that I was in control of, which was really important back then. Nowadays, it’s because I enjoy putting words onto paper and I have a real sense of satisfaction each time I complete a piece of writing.

I consulted http://why-i-write.tumblr.com/ for one-liner answers to this challenge and these are the answers that rang to me.

why I write 8

why I write

why I write 1

why I write 2

why I write 3

why I write 4

why I write 5

why I write 6

why I write 7

This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of July.