drawnonwords - A Writers Tale

My own views, posts, musings, stories and the odd picture for all to enjoy and let others know.

Category: Bond

Why do Writers …

Hello Dear Reader

Write Alone?

After my first article about why do writers write, I decide to ask another question of both myself and others. I know what makes me write, but why do I and others write alone? What is the joy and pain of sitting without contact for hours on end. But is that the real case?

Most times, a writer creates their own worlds, characters and more. In order to write you have to sometimes forget the real world to enter your own ‘real’ world. This is where a writer is often never alone, sometimes lost mind you, more so than in the real world. No matter how short or long the work is, there is a world of sorts. Each piece has a doorway to allow both writer and reader to enter.

This in itself is its own world. Although this is a work of fact, I am imagining what many other writers might be doing. To do this, I have to create my own world and populate it with what? Straight away I can be creative, take the writer who once more is sitting in the café. He is surrounded by people, yet is sitting alone. As soon as he opens that document, be it on a computer or paper, he can either enter an on old world or create something new. Therefore in theory he is not alone. Yet to be alone in the real world allows a writer to use those around him to create the imaginary world. Sounds like a migraine I can tell.

Writing alone means you are in control of what you create up to a point. Why? Again I guess it goes back to what a writer is trying to write. I, for example, once wrote a poem about a girl on a train station platform. She was sitting alone on the floor in a doorway trying to be unseen or so I decided. You see, I saw alone in my thoughts about the poem yet not alone with others who I was travelling with. The girl was alone and I created in my poem my view.

Sometimes, you have to write with another person, say on a script for a film or television show. To do that the group have to agree the world, the boundaries and parameters. Writing with others for me, means having some control taken away. You could not suddenly introduce a fire-breathing dragon into Victorian period drama, unless it was sci-fi. There are always exceptions of course. Authors do work with others one example is Clive Cussler who with others has produced a huge range of adventure novels. I often wondered what it would feel like to try to write a story in someone else’s universe. In order to do that I would imagine you have to understand the said universe in detail, even better than the originator. How would they feel if you found something new in their favourite character? Should you even try? Take one iconic figure, James Bond as penned by Ian Fleming. He did give some details about Bond, how he acted, his job and some of his character. Now we have new books written by others, should they change his appearance for example? Have they the right to change what someone has created?

Clearly you can play in another world to a point. But these days there is much more than just a book to consider. Copy-write attempts to protect those worlds. Yet fan fiction is found in many corners of the interweb often crossing boundaries without a care. I tried to write one particular story regarding Doctor Who. It took me almost ten years to complete. I started it due to making a daft bet that I had a better idea than someone else. Never make bets like that. I knew the universe I was entering, I was alone in my writing but felt the years of other writers as I built my story. Let alone the various characters I had at my disposal, I still had to create some of my own. When I finished it, I felt very happy. It needs work, it needs reviewing and more but I completed something.

Now I have my own worlds, my blogs and more. I still write alone as I am now in the café. Only I can see what my worlds are until I let them loose. It is an odd feeling, surrounded by people no-one paying attention as I write.

Why do writers write alone? To allow everyone else to be surrounded by their imaginary friends.

Tagline: “Are you sure it’s ok to open that book?”

Spectre – My review

Dear Readers

Bond is Back

When reviewing any film I find sometimes you have to wait a time to let everything sink-in. I recently watched the latest James Bond film, Spectre. I have seen every Bond film many numerous times and can remember both the plots and memorable moments both good and bad.

After Skyfall, I thought it would be very difficult to push Bond further, in fact as Skyfall finished I did think that was a perfect end to both a good story and Daniel Craig’s time in the role, if he wanted. But both he and the franchise came back.

I am not going to give away anything from the plot that has not already been said in the media or the trailers. So down to basics, the film is very good. It takes a step further than Skyfall, which is very hard to do given its success. The opening of Spectre is one of the best I have seen in ages. It is ambitious to say the least, the action starts calmly, almost nonchalantly as we watch. With one single shot, that pace changes dramatically. It is gripping, you get drawn in, you cannot help it. Craig is Bond. Even the theme song as its place when you see it. It makes sense.

For the record here is the promotional summary of the plot. A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organisation. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.

The story has much more to it pushing boundaries and there are reasons. It digs deep into Fleming’s past regarding Bond. What is most interesting for me, is how Sam Medes has woven so many threads into this film. You do have to watch and listen, the clues are all there. There are so many respectful nods to past Bond stories I suspect only a few will see.

The pace of the movie is such that I had not realised the passage of time. That is the mark of a good movie. The first just flew. There are some parts everyone should be able to figure out, but you still have to watch to see if you are right. I was.

The production was at its best, the most locations visited in one movie and a couple of memories again. There is a car chase, its in the trailers, its Bond. The supporting cast does have more to do yet again. There is more of M, Moneypenny,  Tanner and Q. They do support both the story and Bond. Music to many films is now a key part and once more there is the old and the new.

Many critics will review this movie with a differing eye. For me I see these as what they are, hours of escapism, entertainment forged to please as many as possible. The one element of this Bond movie is the end. Now, I am not going to give anything away here so do not worry. We all know there is a villain in Bond movies and we do meet him. Again it is clever. But the end is what I think will cause the greatest problem not for Bond himself but for Daniel Craig. This is his fourth outing and by the looks of it the most popular. And here is what I think is the problem. The movie ends, but it also can be a start. Will Daniel Craig start the next movie? The way this one has been put together is basically to say, it took four to complete the story. So will the next story take one movie or two or more? If he starts the next would it look odd to change actors in the next? Is that what weighs on his mind?

The prior actors all had single stories in so much as how Fleming had written them. Yes, we had bad guys who popped up in other stories and one group kept on appearing but, the stories were self-contained until now. That has been partly driven by other franchises and their success, which meant Bond had to adapt.

Spectre is good in my view. There are plot holes but tell me a film which does not have at least one fault? Given some films and how they drifted from the books, this has no book to follow, like Skyfall. There are few left to be honest. Daniel Craig is excellent as Bond, along side Lea Seydoux and Christoph Waltz in the main roles. They are support from the newly promoted Ralph Fiennes as M, Ben Whishaw as Q, Naomie Harris as Moneypenny, Rory Kinnear as Tanner returning to their roles.

I am sure it will do well yet again and ensure Bond will return. I would give this 4.5/5.

Tagline: ‘Is the ghost of the past the Spectre of the future?’

Spectre

Picture this

Hello Dear Reader

I struggled this week to think clearly what to write about, a number of events have happened. Sometimes, there is a desire to want to write everything, warts and all. A certain sense often kicks in, call it common or fear or whatever, it changes what you want to discuss.

Having been around the interweb long enough to know that the old saying ‘walls have ears’ is true, so I decided to concentrate on a couple of things. One, which has already generated interest, was the new Bond trailer for the fourth coming film ‘Spectre’. There is a dark foreboding element to this trailer, gone are in the light-hearted in jokes. These last two Bond movies are much more in keeping with the novels in my view. They may well be influenced by other spy thrillers and franchises, but Bond is always Bond. One noticeable element of the trailer was the use of old theme music. It just added to the atmosphere. Of course, we now wait for the song.

There is one never-ending issue with films that run for such a time. Bond is 50 in film years. If he was going now he would be approaching his 70s. At some point there will be a call for a new Bond but who? Here, I have an issue. According to the books, the author, the man who created the character, Bond is remarked to resemble the American singer-songwriter Hoagy Carmichael (below), except with a “cruel mouth” and a “coldness in the eyes”.  There are various descriptions of him in different books. Some people wish to see the character played by someone who is not what the author wrote. So who is right? For me, it is the author, set it in stone not to be changed. He can’t be female, he can’t be a 16 year old boy, he can’t be …

I don’t care what others say, it’s the author who made the character. The same goes for another beloved character, Doctor Who. Again this character has been set out 50 years or more as male. The Doctor or Professor as Ace often called him, is another icon who for me can’t be changed from male to female. Again, I don’t care what the current show runner wants or feels is right for him. He has no say in changing that fundamental element of the show. This is not about disliking female Timelords, it is about being true to what has already been created.

Some people just want change because they want to shake up the universe. Some shows can handle change and very well. I don’t often mention certain shows, however, soaps such as Eastenders and Coronation Street change their characters with ease. But they themselves never (and I don’t know this since I don’t watch them) change a man to woman or pick a new actor to play the same role. Now I know that is not always true as child characters do change but that is just growing up.

Why call this blog ‘Picture this’, because I want to make sure the right picture remains, for at least two well-known characters.

Tagline: “Bond is Bond, Who won’t change no matter what”

Marvel Reboot

Hello all

In the comic world there are a number of major players, the top two being Marvel and DC. Many of their titles have run for well over 50 or 60 years now. With the rise of new multi-million dollar (not pounds sorry) movies and television shows now appearing, there is a point when the big bosses take a look at what they have. Sometime ago, DC comics entered into what they called a ‘Crisis’ storyline which basically involved merging universes into one and producing a new comic line called ‘The 52s’.

This offered DC the chance to start again or reboot as in the IT term. Now Marvel have announced their version of the ‘Crisis’ story. In some respects, there is only so many ways to tell a story with the same characters. Take Doctor Who for example, they have had the same evil characters throughout the past 50 years. So how do they keep it fresh? I think for them, they sort found their reboot by accident when they introduced the Doctor’s regeneration. That allowed a new actor to face each bad guy in a different story. Has that damaged the Who universe? Not one bit. It has kept going (just about) for 50 years and has no plans to stop, as yet.

However, Doctor Who is just one main character and he always becomes the Doctor after each regeneration. There is the Tardis which sort of regenerates as well yet stays the same on the outside. The odd lick of paint makes it a bit brighter but its the same each time. Sometimes his time travel crosses universes but unlike DC’s merging, the Who universe does not really recreate a character. Yes the Daleks and Cybermen look new but they are just production changes.

The problem for DC and Marvel, any major universe in fact, is how to keep the same while changing and not lose readers or viewers. It’s a very difficult time when you pen the words, ‘and the world exploded killing everyone’. Many writers face the same problem, when to draw a conclusion to their favourite character. Many fans can never understand why a writer would wish to end their favourite character. Why do you have to stop?

Ian Flemming faced that very problem when he decided to kill James Bond after only a short time. There was an out cry and he came back. For some writers, a character or characters take on a life of their own and they can also take over the life of the writer. They invade their thoughts, they almost stalk the writer calling out for new stories. Write me, write more for me, a character might say to his writer. The writer has to decide what is best.

For me, the decision by Marvel to rewrite its own universes into a new one is a bold and maybe dangerous step. DC took that same step and it is still here. Is the new DC universe any better? I don’t know, but the new television series of Arrow and The Flash certainly have made an impact. Marvel movies and their television show has upped the stakes. Marvel comics have a huge fan base, very loyal and very passionate about their universe. There is the problem for any writer of any  long-standing character or universe, the fans.

How do you explain to them that all will be fine as you rip apart what they love? How do you explain that as the writer you can no longer find another version of the same story. That is the tough part.

The Marvel announcement will no doubt cause many posts on many web pages with many points of view. Stan Lee has already commented on the change in a positive way. One idea is to take a trip back in time and start again or bring back old dead characters or rip up all the past of a character and bring them back to something. Whatever happens, whatever the plans are it will upset someone and bring someone new to the universe. Wait and see.

 

Tagline: ‘Hang on, wasn’t the universe a different colour a moment ago?’

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