Thursday, August 20, 2009

Audio version of "The Tower"

Sorry folks, I kept meaning to post about this, and then totally forgot. Anyhow, I've only just had chance to listen to it myself.

My story "The Tower", which was published by New Fairytales magazine, has been turned into an audio, available now to download as an mp3: (it's the third one down)

I'm really, really impressed with it. The very talented actor and the sound engineer have made my story sound amazing. I really couldn't be happier with it.

If you like it, please consider donating to the charity Derian House Children's Hospice. The magazine was set up to raise funds for it, and I think it's such a wonderful idea. You can donate if you click on the link above and follow the instructions in the text above the downloads.

Anyway, no pressure! Go listen to my story, and check out the others (which is what I'm going to be spending my lunch hour doing).

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The End is in Sight!

OK, so I've reviewed Inter Vivos, after what I wrote in my blog post here, and I find, actually, that it's not that bad. Shocker.
So, in actual fact, I don't need to rewrite 25,000 words. I went through it, and I think I need to make 16 minor changes, and then write a slightly different last scene and I'll get rid of my passive heroine and tie up all my loose ends without it seeming too devised.

I found, on rereading the six penultimate chapters, that I liked my novel. And not just that, but I like my characters too. In my head, Nox is played by Nemi; Cyrus by the old man (now deceased) who was the blind man ("Duncan") in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; Thaddeus by a young Jared Leto; and The Captain by Chris Pine or Eric Lively (who I've never seen act in anything, but he looks about right in this imdb picture). A motley crew indeed.

So that's what I'm working on at the moment.

I'm also trying to decide what is going to be my next NaNoWriMo project - the banshee story, or the Nevada story (of which Corrie Flint is a part). I'll end up writing both eventually. Well, I still have another 2 months to decide.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Back in Leicester

Well, so much for blogging everyday about the Fringe! I just didn't have time in the end. It was so busy and - I don't know - frenetic, and I completely over-stimulated myself. Learned how truly unfit I was when almost passing out after climbing up some stone stairs leading off the Royal Mile. But had a brilliant time.

The shows that I saw:

Broken Holmes (twice)
Icarus 2.0
Over the Threshold (see review in previous post)
The Big Comedy Breakfast
(pretty funny, and still quoting "past life related" from Sarah Pearce's routine with my friends!)
A Stroke of Genius (really inventive staging and use of props and multimedia, genuinely made me laugh and the lead actress was amazingly good - reminded me of Shirley Henderson).
Orphans - great dialogue and acting, slightly disappointing plot (flaws of logic in the main premise and the first act a little dull).
Perfect Pitch presents...(free showcase of some of the new musicals on at the Fringe)
The World's Wife (Excellent one-woman show performing Carol Ann Duffy's work of the same name)
The Great British Soap Opera The Musical (really well structured show, catchy songs, great acting, although one of the actresses seemed to have a problem with her belt - that's her singing, not her accessorises!)
Baby (Cambridge Uni version of the musical - a couple of the male actors playing it up for the crowd, but generally really good).
The Rap Guide to Evolution (this was funny, but not a parody. Really explained the theory, but also put it into everyday context and related it to rap music. Great lyrics and beats).
A-Team the musical (really funny silliness, though the songs - and singing - were poor).
Ophelia (Drowning) (bizarre yet beautiful play staged in a swimming pool. Got splashed quite a bit, acting good from the "Ophelia" and the "Gertrude" but I would have cast Gertrude as older, without the Claire's accessories tiara, and the bloke in it was just a bit weird).
Plus a seminar on "How to Sell a Show at the Fringe" and a quick visit to the Museum on the Mound.

I also watched a bit of a terrible free comedian at one of the Laughing Horse venues quite late at night, but we left when we realised that this guy clearly had no friends to tell him "hey, you're not funny".

My favourite shows of the bunch (Broken Holmes aside of course), were The World's Wife, A Stroke of Genius, The Great British Soap Opera (not because I found out that I guy I know wrote it, but for the fact that I still have one of the songs in my head now - 4 days later) and the Rap Guide to Evolution (which, for the month of August you can download for free here. Funny and educational - do it!).

It was really great seeing loads of uni friends, old school friends and meeting new people too. It did make me want to write a play again, but at the same time, the question kept coming to me - do I have the energy anymore to do all that promotional work, all that press liaison, all that flyering, etc for three straight weeks? Morph is looking to take a play next year, to continue on the "Semper Theatre" name. Guess I'll have to find some energy from somewhere before then!

So for me now, post Edinburgh, it's back to the writing. More Inter Vivos, and I think I'm going to start my next novel a little earlier than planned. I was saving it for NaNoWriMo, but after what happened with Dorcas Grubb (where I basically had run my inspiration dry by waiting too long to actually write it) I'm a bit scared to leave it much longer.

So short term goals are currently: lose the extra inch I've gained in Edinburgh whilst surviving on a diet of nachos and fried breakfasts; finish off Inter Vivos in the next two weeks; start something new.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Icarus and Over the Threshold

Saw two shows today. The first, Icarus 2.0 was good, but a little weird. Actors were superb, proper pro actors (or so it seemed) rather than people pretending. I loved their closeness, the absolute trust they seemed to have with each other. The play was good in parts, but I think needed to be tightened up a little bit. The "twist" seemed almost too sudden, qhich spoilt the foreshadowing that had gone on nicely before.
The second show was a new musical, called Over the Threshold, that made the hairs on the back of my arm stand on end. Really stunning, emotive storytelling, with a really talented cast. I did think the guy playing Charlie was a bit miscast. I wasn't sure whether he was a yuppie or a player. Also, one of the numbers wasn't as clever as it thought it was. Still, it was really good, and I'm really glad I went. On my own now, killing time until we all meet up again. Edinburgh is buzzing, it's quite exhausting. Anyway, more shows tomorrow.

Edinburgh and Broken Holmes

Am now in Edinburgh, tired already, but it is great to be back. We're staying in Edinburgh uni accommodation, and our room is really nice - double bed, TV, views of holyrood park. Much swankier than the student digs I've known.
I went to see Broken Holmes last night, and I really enjoyed it. I love Robin's writing; his quirky combination of elegant Wilde-like (Wildean?) wit and the cruder parlance of today is seamless, and in BH, every line is a zinger. As a rule, I don't like farce, but this play is farce without the extreme silliness, as found in Orton and Fo (though there is silliness there; a green snake sock puppet comes to mind).
Not only is it elegant farce, but it is also farce with a heart. The characters of Holmes and Watson aren't merely stock 2 dimensional caricatures, but fully functional disfunctional individuals. Robin has built on our conceptions of these characters and given them a believable reinterpretation, raising Holmes to true antihero status and giving the whole story a refreshing 21st century shake up. Watson is a giant of a man, quite capable, one feels, of knocking the abusive Holmes to kingdom come with a single punch, had Holmes not already demasculinised him. The show is on for 3 weeks at venue 45, so if you are in Edinburgh or are going to be coming up, I recommend that you try and see it. It was a really nice way to end a busy day.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Inter Vivos and Edinburgh - Here I Come!

I've been reading Stephen King's On Writing again (I don't tend to like "How to" books, but his is brilliant, part memoir - part installation of work ethic), and for some reason whilst reading about his difficulties when writing The Stand, it struck me what the problem is with Inter Vivos. The ending always felt to me a little tacked on, possibly because of how it came about - not organically, but made up on the spot because I needed to write a full synopsis in order to secure a meeting with an agent. So, presently Nox sort of hands herself over to the Big Evil, and then has an operation, and it all ends happily ever after. But this never quite sat right with me. My spunky heroine hands herself in (that I could deal with - she's going through shit at the time) and then she offers herself up to the slab, goes willingly, puts all her faith in the evil guys and a bloke with a shady past, which just never felt true to me. Not to the character. She's already been betrayed by someone she thought she could count on, and then a couple of pages later she's a trusting moron again. So the whole thing's got to go. Yay for sorting this all out (finally, after a whole year!) but boo to the fact that this means I'm going to have to scrap the seven chapters that I've already written, all 26,600 words! That's just over a quarter of the book. Still, at least it means I'll hopefully be on the right track now. I have a vague idea where that track might lead, but I'm going to try to make it more organic, work out what Nox would do in those situations, rather than trying to make stuff happen. And make it scarier. The world in Inter Vivos still feels a little 2D in places and that's got to change.
So on I go, working on the novel that I seem never to be able to finish, no matter how close I get.

In a blog related note, I'm off to Edinburgh for the first part of the Fringe on Thursday, and am going to try to post some reviews of the plays I see on here whilst I'm away, if my BlackBerry holds out. I've already booked tickets to see Orphans and The World's Wife, but I have a list of approximately 5 shows a day that I want to see, so I may be very busy!