Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy be your Christmas!

Happy Christmas everyone.

I hope you have a fabulous break and a prosperous 2012.

With love always,



Saturday, December 10, 2011

"In the end, winning is the only safety."

While my memories of Doctor Who dribble all the way back to 1979 and beyond I was a teensy bit young for Blake's 7 the first time around. I have a few memories of watching the series from between my fingers* but it wasn't until UK Gold reran the series in it's entirety in the early nineties that I finally got to appreciate the show. I think I went a bit Blake's 7 mad for a while. 

I think I've gone a bit Blake's 7 mad again. I don't know what's caused it. It might have been playing through Mass Effect 2 or reading Iain M. Banks' Player of Games**. It might have been finally getting around to listening to the first of the B7 media audioplays, Rebel, two or three months ago (it's good stuff). It may just have been a rising pitch of excitement since Big Finish were revealed to be preparing a new series of audio dramas and novels. Squee doesn't come close to covering it. I've even dug out issue one of the Blake's 7 poster magazine*** and now have a tatty picture of the series two Liberator crew adorning the study.

Anyway, after talking about it for many years my good lady (or woman, as Gan would say) and I finally started watching the series from the beginning recently. She has never watched it before (well, maybe a few episodes when the DVDs were coming out) and I am well due a rewatch. I might post some notes here as we go. If you are, or were, a fan of Blake's 7 I'd be delighted to have any comments, notes or disputes offered via the comments****.

* I've mentioned this before
** (if the main character isn't at least partly inspired by Kerr Avon I'll eat my hat (and also, I've often thought the AIs in the Culture seem very similar to those of B7))
*** There were only seven issues, and I only ever saw one in a shop, worse luck.
**** I'm not too interested in knocking the effects. I think that's been pretty extensively covered in the last three decades. Of course, I wouldn't let that stand in the way of a good gag.

Friday, December 09, 2011

The Road to the Red Planet

This update is late, sorry. I meant to do a 'What did I learn from NaNoWriMo' type post last week but time has rather got away from me. I will try and do something like that soon but in the meantime I'll just say that it was a really good exercise, got me in to a nice (if intense) routine and I'm happy to have met the traditional target. I hoped initially to write 60k words rather than 50k, and on learning of the Heartlands opportunity I amended this to trying to finish a week early, but due to a family emergency type situation I lost a few days and failed both of those self-imposed targets.

Although it was fun to write I can't see me ever going back to revise the book. It will require a lot of work to make it into a sellable, or even readable, manuscript and the potential for the market is teeny-tiny. Still, the exercise was the important thing. I didn't really set out to create something sellable, just to test myself. On the other hand I could see myself harvesting the plot for a feature script one day...

I definitely want to write another novel, whether I will leave that until next November or get underway sooner I don't know. Having shown myself that hey, I can do this! I think I would like to set a more demanding wordcount target for a fully prepared novel intended for publication.

No sooner had I wandered, dazed and confused, over the NaNoWriMo finish line I was thrown head first into revisiting a bottom(top?)-draw script which I felt was the most appropriate thing I had to enter into the BBC's excellent Heartlands opportunity. It's kind of funny really as I have never known quite what to do with that script but it seemed perfect for Heartlands, or that's my feeling. Fingers crossed they have a similar view at the Beeb. In any case I had a day or two to work that up and send it in. It was pretty rushed but hopefully I managed to make it shine. I genuinely like the script. Actually, while rereading it, I laughed out loud at a couple of lines. I hope that's a sign that the script is good and not a sign that I've lost all perspective on my own work!

The Heartlands shortlist will be announced on Tuesday. Good luck to all.

So now it's all about the Red Planet Prize again. This time I'm going to write something from scratch, specifically for Red Planet. In previous years I've sent in what I thought was my most suitable existing script (as you may remember they passed on what is still my favourite effort last time, sadface). I don't suppose it really makes any difference but I have some superstitious idea that it will infuse each word with extra special Red Planet-ness that will make it a winner, fingers crossed.

Obviously I won't say too much about the script, mainly because I'm not commited yet, I'm still kicking around a couple of ideas, but I'm very excited about writing a new script.

The Red Planet deadline is January 16th.