Category Archives: presentations

2015 – My review

2015 – My Review

Hello Dear Reader

Well 2015 has now passed and often people reflect on their year, a personal review you might say. I am no different than millions of others, so beware spoilers ahead. (Well for time travellers at least).

2015 has, just like many other years, been filled with ups and downs across the board. It is often thought that the downs tend to come to the fore at this point and yes there were a few scary moments. It has not been the best of times but things did pick up towards the close. One of the up’s was the pleasure of seeing Michael Palin live talking about his dairies and what he wrote about. It did make me think and yes write a blog about them. Maybe more people need to remember what a dairy is all about. Another odd good moment was a trip down memory lane to the Tower Ballroom at Blackpool and yes sitting watching a lot of people waltzing around the floor. Of course there were many other good moments most of which ended up in a blog or two. I also added to my list of achievements two presentations, one for the Keele Creative writing society which I was extremely proud. Add to this a very interesting trip to Buckingham Palace, one of the afternoon BBC Proms and an evening meal surrounded by most of the cast and writers of Sherlock. Now that was different.

Normally in the past I have reviewed a few good films, so why spoil a good format!

There have been a number of blockbusters yet again and surprisingly the best was saved for last (I am sure you can guess). Here are my top films (in no order whatsoever );

Avengers: Age of Ultron

The Man From U.N.C.L.E

Ant-Man

Jurassic World

Spectre

Minions

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Of course they are all action based adventure films and the ones I saw at the cinema. There were a few I missed, noticeably Steve Jobs, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, The Martian and a few more.  It seemed as if each movie, for me, kept on building towards one of the best kept secrets of 2015. In this day it was surprising to find that there was little real information about Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The Man from UNCLE started a short series of spy movies this year, along with Bridge of Spies and Spectre. The latest James Bond movie, rounded what was a very well put together story and left at least one person with a dilemma. If you wish to read my review on this film here is the link; Spectre. The Man from UNCLE was good in the sense to tried to explain the origins of the lead characters. Will there be a squeal? Bridge of Spies was one of those films I missed which was a shame, but there is always rental.

In keeping with the past few years, hard to think there was a time before them, we had the latest two Marvel films. Ant-Man introduced us to the smallest of Marvel’s characters, while the Avengers (still no Steed) came back to battle their own demons. Both films gave us more to enjoy in this growing universe, well at least to the non-comic reading part. Again I enjoyed them for differing reasons; Ant-Man was more of a comic feel, the humour fitted well as did the story. It is always difficult to present a 60s or 70s comic version so taking the best from the whole comic range seems Marvels plan. Age of Ultron on the other hand showed that sometimes it is best not to mess about with alien technology. It will lead into a series of films that could tear the audience apart.

Minions, cute, yellow, strangely understandable at times and one of those hits that was not meant to be. Why? Well they were sort of supporting characters (even in animation) that just took off. There first movie and who knows what else will turn up, was funny predictable and ok. Also returning was the Park, Jurassic one, remember that? It was a major hit of the summer and well worth it. It combined the old with new, basically the Park opened as Hammond always wanted and of course someone decided to play God and well guess the rest. Another good escape.

So finally the film of the year. You can’t argue with facts and figures, not these. Even before the film had been shown it was breaking, cinema servers and records. I have not reviewed this film as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. However I did post just one word after I watched it … Emotional. It was all that everyone has said. It did take me back and yet did not reboot as many thought. It moved forward in a logical fanshion. The sets where real, the characters believable, the effects better, the story fine, yes there might be the odd plot hole but sometimes, just sometimes you have suspend everything. It was one of the few movies I could have just sat through a second time without moving. I did in fact see it twice already and plan to see it again given the chance. Many people tend to want to find problems with any film they see, I myself see plot mistakes – take IronMan 3. However, I don’t believe in just denocensing a film just because it does not explain where character A cane from.

So what else has happened that was memorable? A number of things really including having one of my poems published in the first Keele Creative Writing anthology. Completing my first book, which is due to be published in 2016, was a major achievement. That for me, is a goal I have slowly pushed for. It won’t be to everyone’s taste and I doubt it will gain me anything other than self pride. I will be able to say  not only have I written a book but it’s a published one.

Writing has been one of the more enjoyable outlets over the past few years. I have published more blogs in 2015 than before and branched out into posting photographs and a small video. I do plan on producing another short video in 2016.

To close then. 2015 another year to talk about.

Roll on 2016.

Tagline:’Are we there yet?’

 

Why do Writers … Present

Why do Writers …

Present

Hello Dear Reader

I recently had the honour to give a presentation to the Keele Creative Writing society on magazines. In my many years, I have given numerous presentations to a variety of people on a range of subjects. There have only been a few times when I felt really connected with the audience. Presenting to the KCWS was certainly one of them and it gave me a positive feeling. To stand up in front of any group of people takes more than just self-confidence. Not all writers can do this or in fact need or want to present.

So why do some writers put themselves at the mercy of such events? There are, of course, many responses to this question, many of which can be put down to the simple one of ‘my agent made me do it’. Now this does happen and in this media driven world, there is a huge demand both from the commercial side and the fan base, so long as your book has one. And here can be an interesting problem. Take the following fictitious example. The man in the café has been working on a new book, Matches of Seats. It is just about to become popular but before it does only a few people have read it. How then do you make something popular? By using social media and talking about your book or more to the point, the world you have created. Now starts the game of how to get readers to sell your book or sell your book to get readers.

You want to pitch not just to the agent who will attempt to sell your book but to the, at first niche fan base that might want to enter into your world. Matches of Seats has a number of streams it taps into, dragons, mythical worlds, blood, gore and soap operas on a grand scale. It can rise quickly if not quicker, if it becomes a television sensation. That may cause the writer to be in demand to talk about his book, so more presenting and less time writing. Each book takes time to write and there is that balance between promotion and creation.

There are however other forms of presentation. For myself, giving my presentation was both enjoyable and fulfilling as I was talking to very like-minded writers. It also gave me the chance to talk about an article I had submitted to a magazine and how I had to think about what I was writing. Many writers share their knowledge through their books this way, you need this, otherwise how will others become engaged both in reading and writing. It is difficult, I can imagine, these days to become popular and remain away from the social network.

In the café we find our writer pondering what possible success could bring him. Fame? Money? Maybe the pressure of another successful novel? Success breeds success or so they say. So why did it take one writer nearly 50 years to publish another novel? Others just keep on publishing book after book without what appears a moments breath. It certainly is a diverse universe writers live in not just in what they write, why they write but how they tell others.

As for me, well I certainly was glad of the chance to talk about my magazine article and in turn my book while hopefully giving others ideas.

Tagline: “Read the mag! It’s out in December!”