Is screen writing an art form?

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Without a shadow of a doubt, the answer has to be categorically no!

My fellow writer and friend here in the UK, Andrew French decided that he wanted to turn one of his books into a screen play. So, with ‘how to’ suggestions from someone involved in the scriptwriting industry here, away he went.

Andrew said to me yesterday, “I don’t want anyone else adapting my work. It wouldn’t be the same.” From that point of view I can completely understand why he did it. After all would you allow a total stranger anywhere near your baby? No neither will the author of a given work, if they’ve got any sense… Far too many good stories have been ruined in the past by total Philistines ie editors. Or in this instance scriptwriters!!!

When you read a book, through the use of your imagination you become part of it to the point where if you close your eyes, your right there with the characters. Not so with a script. With the latter what your reading is nothing more or less than simplistic writing in the form of an instruction manual for totally unimaginative ninnies, devoid of everything that you experience when reading any work of fiction.

Give me the book over the darned film any day…

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I’ve always suspected this to be the case…

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… but until now there was precious little evidence to back up my theory.

If you live in a country like England, when it comes to making it as a serious writer, believe it or not the two things that will always determine whether or not you succeed are your social class and which school you went to. If you are working class and attended a state school, forget it the publishing houses simply aren’t interested!!

Yesterday the BBC showed a program about why most of today’s top British actors are no longer working class.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31110063

The same criteria applies to many of today’s writers here in England, unlike Scotland who treasure their working class authors, actors and artists.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/feb/07/loneliness-working-class-writer-english-novelists

Fact – unless you are the product of a privileged upbringing (upper middle class or above), meaning you went to a public school like Eton or Harrow and then on to Oxbridge, you will never be taken seriously as a writer in England! After you have read the articles for which I’ve provided you two links, I defy anyone to prove otherwise. Believe it or not acceptance by the publishers has got damn all to do with talent and everything to do with who your people are!

Bah humbug

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Morweth’s Speech

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In every fantasy story there is always good and evil. In my anthology Globular Van der Graff’s Goblin Tales, one of the good guys is the ancient white wizard Morweth. To give you a flavour of him, here is a speech he delivers right at the beginning of part two of ‘Beware on Crellen’s Mine’.

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Morweth ended a heated argument over what they would do with the black wizard Crellen when they finally caught up with him. He knew only too well that this was the time for wisdom, magic and cunning not simple blind angry revenge. “No, no, no, Crellen must not die! Goblindom exists because it is in total equilibrium, unlike the world beyond our magic border. Life and death, growth and decay, summer and winter, and in magic’s case, good and evil, all contribute to keeping us hidden from prying eyes. Should any of these elements necessary to our very existence cease to be, the magic barrier will simply dissolve, and our part of the world will be ended forever, overrun by the hated humans. If you will dear friends, Goblindom and everything in it will soon be forgotten. Our capability to live in peace together and converse with each other, be we witch or wizard, raven or eagle, humin or goblin, wyvern or griffin, ogre, troll, elf, mountain gremlin, even dragon, will also end. The human’s world beyond our barrier is in a state of chaos. The different kinds living in it cannot understand each other anymore. Consequently they live in fear and kill rather than live side by side like us. Any mutual trust between all living things that they may have had is gone for all time. It’s a case of balance, do you see.”

~~~

As Bejuss the one eyed lisping raven with the twisted beak would say, were he actually here and not merely flying around in my mind, “Well that’th yer lot – rarrk!”

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Is it worthwhile advertising your book(s) on Social Media?

Social Media Logotype Background

Given that nearly every Social Media site is based in, and controlled from the United States where 25% of the population freely admitted that they haven’t read a book in a year, the jury is still out!

My old mate Derek Haines and I had a brief discussion on this very topic using Facebook’s only saving grace – its Chat feature, a few days ago. We both came to the same conclusion that as most sites are predominantly the playground of people who don’t normally read anything longer than a Tweet or the headline of a Facebook post, the answer appears to lean towards the negative.

Even though there are many book related groups on Facebook, in many cases, only writers ever bother to peruse and intereact usually by just ‘liking’ a post’s picture, while a few actually bother to click on and read the original article. But the number of people concerned with the latter practice is low in the extreme.

Of all the Social Media sites, always providing you are prepared to endlessly repost a tweet, you will get a response of sorts on Twitter. Usually this consists of other writers retweeting your contribution to their followers. About once or maybe twice a year if I’m lucky, I get a response in the form of a like for anything I post on Google+. I walked away from contributing to LinkedIn Why? Because despite what is said about it, it is a business networking site and nothing else. While I post to Pinterest, I don’t expect to find anyone has read the post on that site, as it is primarily for pictures.

One other Social Media site I post to from time to time is Medium. But as it is exclusively set up for Americans by Americans, the chances of anyone reading any of my posts is extremely low. Why? Because Medium specialises in childish dross for the home market.

Does any of what I have just said mean that all Social Media sites are a complete waste of time regarding book promotion? Well let me put it this way – Derek and I agreed that Social Media sites are today’s equivalent of the old sensationalist gutter press daily newspapers, just like today’s Social Media – full of mindless drivel. But with one fundamental difference. Unlike newspapers, you cannot reuse Social Media sites to wrap fish and chips up in to take home for your evening meal.

Nor can they be used as emergency bog paper if you run out of the real thing. The only thing sites like Facebook are any good for is keeping up with your friends. Just take a close look at whats on offer on Facebook. Its News Feed mostly contains family photographs, politics, pet photographs or total trivia like the utterly childish ‘Only 1 American in 10 will be able to answer these questions’ competitions, which the average non-American can easily answer if they’ve got nothing better to do.

To get back to the headline of this post – Is it worthwhile advertising your book(s) on Social Media? In our opinion (Derek’s and mine) – not really. But we both continue to do it anyway…

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High Praise Indeed!

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Bernard Cornwell OBE

The other day following the first Amazon review of my latest work Autumn 1066, its author Sally Cronin paid me the ultimate compliment in one of her comments below the post, comparing me to one of today’s finest writers of historical fiction – Bernard Cornwell OBE.

These days for most lovers of historical fiction on television, while they may not know, or care, who is responsible for the original works of fiction which television series are based upon, even the mentally challenged among them will at the very least be familiar with two of Bernard’s best known fictional heroes – Richard Sharp (Sharp’s Rifles) and Uhtred of Bebbanburgh (The Last Kingdom).

When it comes to Indie writers like myself, most of us count ourselves lucky that what we write is not immediately  panned, or heavily criticised by the army of armchair critics, pedants and literary snobs lying in wait for the next book written by one of us. Which is precisely the reason why I deliberately published my latest effort as a paperback only. Most attacks only occur when an Indie’s book is only available as an ebook (preferably free).

When someone does dare to speak up for a book written by an Indie, it makes an extremely rare and pleasant change. So now all I have to do is hope and pray that Autumn 1066 becomes a best seller, while I search for another moment in history to write about, probably once again from the Dark Ages, starting in a few month’s time.

PS – one of my favourite books was written years ago by Bernard – Stonehenge 2000BC. As I recall it was heavily criticised as being sluggish, boring and long-winded, which by the way it isn’t. But then again, what can you expect from utterly ignorant individuals who wouldn’t know a good book when they see it?

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I just had to share this with you…

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Autumn 1066 isn’t even ready for publishing quite yet. But that didn’t stop one of its beta-readers Martin Bradley from feeling he had to not only write the pre-publication 10 – 12 word advertising review I asked for, but also a full length one.

Here is what he said:-

In Autumn 1066, author Jack Eason gives a great sense of ‘place’, of detail. The reader is right ‘there’ in that poignant year, marching, shivering with September cold (as ‘…no warming fires were allowed lest ‘enemy spies would soon spot their approach.’) From the very first few lines, Eason, practising his unique drycraft, begins to weave his particular brand of magic on his reader. Eason glamours with well-crafted dialogue, drawing his reader into the time and into the action. To accomplish this, the author proffers a gentle blend of informative nomenclature coupled with familiar speech, to ease the reader into his story without distancing with words too unfamiliar, which is a criticism frequently made of Bernard Cornwell’s epics. I long to read more.
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If Martin’s reaction is any indication of how history buffs in general will hopefully receive it once its published. then maybe Autumn 1066 will become my magnum opus. Who knows?
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Here are all three of the pre-publication advertising reviews that will appear on the rear cover:-

The events are insightfully brought to life. Prepare to enter Dark Ages Britain . Andrew French, author of the Michael Prentiss series

A new look at a series of battles that changed Britain forever. Colin Noel-Johnson

Great sense of ‘place’. The reader is ‘there’, in that poignant year. Martin Bradley

 

I’ve just added the final elements to my historical novella before I sent it off to be professionally formatted, prior to publishing. Hopefully by the time the bill for the service arrives, PayPal will have stopped playing silly beggars. Some moron in Djakarta tried to gain entry into my account with them. Because I no longer have a telephone I had to email them. Nothing ever goes to plan does it? If it’s not one damned thing, it’s another.

PS – Grrr! It’s the following day and I’ve still heard nothing back from PayPal!!!

More later

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Now I wait…

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The weapons traditionally used by the Anglo-Saxons – the shield, the hafted axe, the double-edged Sweord, the single edged Scramasax and the spear

Well, I sent the text for my novella Autumn 1066 off to its beta-readers a couple of days ago.

In the process I picked up a third one – Martin Bradley, via ‘Writer’s Group’ on Facebook. When I told him that I was only planning to publish it as a paperback, he informed me that in that case he would not be able to read it. He has had books he bought and paid for, sent to him via the Royal Mail, go missing in the past. As a consequence he now only reads books in e-book form on his tablet. As I’m not publishing this one as an e-book, I decided to send him a read only .pdf copy of the text. That way, at least he could read it…

Now I wait to hear back from Martin, and Colin, not only for their comments, criticisms and suggestions, but also for their pre-publication reviews which I will insert inside the end product. Andrew got back to me yesterday in the affirmative. Now all I need from him is his 10-12 word pre-publication review. So, one almost down, two to go…

Chris The Story Reading Ape, bless his heart, sent me a link yesterday for an article in a historical magazine concerning the three battles in my book – Fulford, Stamford Bridge and Hastings.

The day before yesterday, my mate Jamie came round to mow my lawns for me. After he had done, I gave him the text to read through. His reaction was also in the affirmative.

Yesterday I received an email from a chancer in the US of A (no names, no packdrill), purporting to offer his services as a beta-reader. Needless to say, if I smell a rat, in other words I don’t trust the individual concerned, he won’t become one, end of story…

More later

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