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Slowly getting there…

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It’s been a wee while since i last updated this blog.

During that time I’ve written four complete first drafts of short stories and struggling through the fifth.

The thing I’m struggling with most is dialogue. Its quite hard to make sure that every word of dialogue is moving the story forward and not wasting words.

As the stories are short stories aimed a children i have to be careful with how many words i use to get a point across. short stories need the pace to be fairly fast and simple, and lets be honest, children don’t have the best attention spans. so keeping to the KISS principle is a must.

Saying that the first story I’ve finished I trailed on my son. I can’t think of a harsher critic as if he doesn’t like something he just gets up and walks away. He’s done this while I’ve read him published stories with nice pictures.

So a little nervous of what the cruel six year old judge would say i started. no pictures for him to look at as i cant draw to save my life. just my messy badly spelt, even worse grammar handwriting for him to look at.

I finish the first A4 page and look at him, he’s sat with a smile on his face. I carry on, the only time he  moved was to snuggle up to me as I read. with what i thought was a nice flourish i bring the story to an end.

“that was brilliant mummy, fantastic.” shouts my son. I’ve never heard him use those words before so with a tear in my eye, now there really is no pretending his a small child any more, (even though he’s the tallest in his class and missing two teeth in my head he’s still a baby) i dare to ask him if he thought there was anything missing.

“fart jokes!” no denying my son is a true boy with that remark. “fart jokes and things falling over”

yes in six year old heads slap stick is still the best go to comedy you can find. And some how not as easy as you might think to crow bar into a story about dragons while keeping an eye on the word count.

But nearly five stories in and while its not getting any easier the ideas keep coming and soon i hope to have a good handful of stories that can take the next step to having pictures drawn for them and be fully edited ready for other six year olds to enjoy. If there anything like my son i may need to have a few back up ones.

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Harry Potter

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I was a lateish comer to the Harry Potter book series. Most of my mates had read the fiorst two books and where eagerly awaiting the third. The press was all abuzz with the release of the third and the movies where yet to be made. And, me in my infinate wisdom of a 13 year old declared that i would never read it. Why would i want to read about a wizard boarding school when i was looking down the barrel of adulthood by chosing subjects for my gcse’s. My bday is only two weeks before the age to be the oldest in the year below.

All that changeed when our local asda had a two for one deal on the books. My Parents knowing how much i love reading and being their wonderful selfs bought the first two for me. I wasnt that impressed at the time. But, not having anything else i hadn’t read waiting to be read i picked them up and read both in just over 12 hours. I fell in love with them and demanded having the third bought for me as soon as it came out.

My mother and father read the books and coming from a time of grammer schools and 11 plus’ there was quite a lot in it that they where able to associate with. Being them my siblings chose to wait till the books were turned into films. Not long later their wish was realised.

The films burst onto the screen and there was a race to see if  Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings would win the box office battle. In my house we loved them both. My sister loved the Lord of the Rings films so much she watched the extended versions to the point where she could recite the entire movies and most of the bonus material.

Whilest my family where enjoying watching the movies my friends and i where busy talking about how they got bits worng. Like leaving out screens we all agreed should have been left in or how they took dialog from one scene in the book and put it another. Anything really to not have to talk about school work or actually do the work!

I really dont think that you could ever compare the books and the films. They are both good for very different reasons.

With books you can dip in and out of them, use them to pass hte time waiting for a meeting or on the train. Its purely up to your imagination exactly what the world and its people look like. You’ll never meet someone who has exactly the same image in their minds as you do.  No matter how much detail the author gives.

Thus was the case with Harry Potter. It was only with the release of the movie that everyone got firm ideas about what so and so looked like and how things worked. It lead to a lot of arguements (not just in the school yard!), about who they cast right and wrong. Weather they got the different setting right, or even if they had managed to convay the right things onto screen.

The films have got people into reading who didnt have much intreast in readying. My sister who i mentioned before only started reading because she had seen the films. She still prefers the films to the books but was waiting with me for the bookshop in town to open at midnight for the last three books.

We have heard of others who also only started reading after seeing the movies and didnt want to feel like they were missing out on something.

With the complation of the books being turned into films an era has come to an end. Sad but true. Hopefully watching the movies will encourge other kids to read. Unlike a lot of book to film adaptions i believe that you really can enjoy both versions with out having either ruin the other.

Laurell K. Hamilton (review as work in progress)

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I love the worlds that Hamilton has created in her Anita Blake and Merry Gentry series.

For even hough they are set in a parrell world to ours there is soch included in her world that ties it to ours in such a way that you can believe with out too much prompting that they could exist.Within her stories she drawas a lot of infulance from myths and legends that we are all aware of in one form or other.

The Anita Blake series consentrates more on what i term the darker side of the myths. Blood thirsty vampires and zombies sest on revenge. Witches and were animals, be they wolves, leopards, rats, loins, tigers etc.

She takes the idea of vampire clans on step futhr and has them living in a deadlier from of poltical soicety then we currently do. But one that centuries ago people in power would have reconized without a missed beat. This is helped by the fact that alot of the vampires who hold the powerfl poistions within her books where around when court, and government life would have been like that.

The detail that she puts into making sure that the courts run by the vampires are as real as possible make other forms of “vampire lit” pale into folly in comparison.

The Merry Gentry books on the other hand are slightly ligther then the Blake books and deal with more of a bringin a land and people back to life.

Merry is a princess within the dark unseelie court and it is her job to get pregant before her evil cousion gets someone else pregant so she can carry on living. As the story progresses she gains new powers and helps others re-gain their lost powers through sexual acts.

As Merry is a fairy princess in a world that knows about the existance of fairies and is highly intreasted in everything they do. The fairies are like stars of hollywood and are followed everywhere by the press. which means that everyone wants to know about every aspect of their lifes and do the best they can to look and act like the fey.

Religion plays a small part within both series. Blake is an christian who had to find a new church after people like her (animators/necromancers) are decreed as evil by the Pope. Merry on the other hand is much more Wiccan in her beliefs often praying to the goddess and being used as a vessel for the goddess to do her good work within the world.

Anita mes and associates with a wider range of people and supernatural beings then Merry, but the fey that merry meets and makes pacts with more then make up for the lack of different species.

Both women are small and fiesty. Anita uses a gun and later in her books using vampire powers she’s gained through her bond with master vampire and lover Jean-Claude. Merry depneds a lot on guards shes gains early on in the series and magical powers she gains called the hand of fleash, and the hand of blood.

Merry has a hell of a lot more sex scenes then Anita, but she was brought up in a world wher sex is openly talked about and participated in. Where as Anita as a strong christian never really feels comfortable with the amount of sex she has to have with different people thanks to a different power she gained through her bond with Jean-Claude.

I think that if you haven’t read either of these series yet then you are missing out on a world that feels as real as book set in the here and now.