Every writer knows that some days you can’t get anything down and other days your work just flows. This also happens when constructing novels, different sections take different amounts of time. There are parts where you cannot think of a first line and others where whole chapters just flow out of your fingers. For me this week has, I am happy to say, been the latter. I have been writing ‘Islands of Hope’ section by section, concerned that I would soon run out of material. This week, however, my brain exploded with ideas like a new year’s fireworks display. I quickly got about a thousand words down and completed the whole of Chapter 4. Rather than rush off and write even more, I focused on editing it earlier in the week so I could write some other stuff. More importantly my poem for National Poetry Day is done, it is short and sweet but I have mulled over it in my head for hours. You will have to wait till the actual day to read it. Anyway, back to ‘Islands of Hope.’ You will be happy to know that something is now actually happening, there is a tiny bit of action and the story feels like it is moving in a good direction. I hope you enjoy it and feel free to give me any feedback, both positive and/or negative.
As usual it has been uploaded to wattpad. You can read Chapter 4 here or start from the beginning here. Oh yeah, I even thought about a cover this week. But yeah, I didn’t do any more than that. A cover will come I promise.
Just a small update this week due to two reasons; firstly I have been really busy and secondly I wanted to finish on a section that makes people want more. I hope I have done that. I have therefore only finished off Chapter 3. This also gives me some time to work on my poem for National Poetry Day. I know that is a little way off but I am already getting ideas together.
Saturday is here once more and that means an ‘Islands of Hope’ update. Bit more of a confusing one this week as I managed to finish Chapter 2 and start Chapter 3. I was going to hold back the start of Chapter 3 but felt that was not in the spirit of the project so it is all there for you. I also feel the story is starting to get moving so it might be a good time to get into it if you have not read it yet.
Now my son is a bit older I have been reading him longer books, or as he calls them ‘Chapter Books.’ The standard of young children’s fiction these days is a lot better than I remember as a child. Gone are all the twee stories about brothers and sisters or adventurous pets (well there are still some of those) and in come ones with jokes about farts, silly bad guys and lots of action. We have read the likes of Captain Underpants, Billy Bonkers and Dirty Bertie but the one that has really stood out is ‘King Flashypants and the Evil Emperor’. It is a little longer than the others but it really has some good humour in. I can only really liken it to Monty Python for kids. Silly sections where they need to stick their toes up their nose, peasants having a discussion about the pros and cons of revolting, the youngest seeing through the Evil Emperor’s plans but no-one listening to them, and no one wanting to go to a place on holiday because the name is too long to pronounce all add to what I could sum up as very British humour. Maybe it is because I am British that I get it, maybe it is because I find these things silly. All I know is that the main critic is my son and he loved it. He liked the previous books mentioned and would tell me about bits of the story and say, “that’s funny,” but with King Flashypants he was actually laughing. The drawings are great as well, I love the way they are annotated in places to give a bit more humour. I also like the fact Andy Riley laughs at the stereotypical by using it in such silly ways such as explaining the difference between King Edwin and Emperor Nurbison’s castles. I think I felt a connection between this work and Super Lizard, reading it almost made me feel like I had done something right with my series as I could see many of the jokes working in both books. Maybe then it was that more emotional connection, something that made me think that this was the sort of book I would write if writing for that age range, in fact I have one planned and if it is even half as good as ‘King Flashypants and the Evil Emperor’ I will be happy. Let’s move away from my works, you can look at them if you want but you really need to read ‘King Flashypants and the Evil Emperor’ because it shows how children’s literature should be done, both accessible to children and the adults who may read to them. If you are not sold yet just think of it this way, I am a 34-year-old man and I can’t wait to read the next one in the series! So all I have to end with is this, “what is a King without a crown?” As my son puts it, “just a normal person!”
Well I said I would update ‘Islands of Hope’ every Saturday and my promise has lasted for at least the first week. Unfortunately I have not been able to complete the whole of Chapter 2 but I have uploaded about 700 more words. It is not getting too exciting at the moment as it is more world building really. I had hoped to end on a bit of a cliff hanger but life got in the way. I will endeavour to complete Chapter 2 for next Saturday’s update. I also still don’t have a cover but I am getting a few ideas. So here’s to next weeks update.
I really am fed up of editing, at the moment I check my stories myself at least twice, run them through Pro Writing Aid and sometimes get beta readers. That means it takes a long time to get anything ready. As I am a hobbyist writer I cannot afford an editor so it is up to me to do the best I can. I really just want to release my work. To alleviate this frustration I have started a new project entitled ‘Islands of Hope.’ I have had a brief idea for a story in my head for some time but have ignored it due to all my other projects. I am determined to stop flitting from one story to the next and actually get one finished!
Talking to a friend recently I had a great idea, why not release a book as a serial. If I commit to adding to it each week I can edit as I go. It is also exciting because in the world of writing I am a planster but I am going to approach this project as a pantster and just see where it goes. I am not going to give a specific amount I will upload each week just that I will put something up. Using wattpad will allow me to do this and I will notify everyone via twitter, Facebook and on this blog.
So before I go further I suppose I should give you a brief synopsis…
The year is 2145 and the Earth is largely controlled by Princips Ltd who have monopolised by slowly buying up different companies. The rich now live in mega cities whilst the poor dwell in slums. Countries have been reassigned as numbers and there are only a few independent states left. The one thing you do not do is cross Princips Ltd, break the law and you can be jailed or even killed. When Kira steals some bread for her starving mother she is caught and put up for slavery. Her new master is known for being brutal but reputations are not always what they seem, especially when you are taken to one of the most beautiful islands in the world, a far cry from the deprivation of the slums or bright lights of the city.
So there it is, not particularly original but should be a lot of fun. The first chapter is now up on wattpad and I will be updating something (maybe a whole chapter, maybe just a paragraph or two) every Saturday. You will also notice there is no cover, haven’t got around to that yet but it will come.
My only real concern about the project is that it will distract from my other writing and getting a full novel released with take even longer. Oh well, at least it will appease me for a bit. Keep checking back on Saturdays for updates. Oh yeah, you can read it by going here.
Well this is a strange post for me, I am not a massive Disney fan and I shy away from any of their princess stuff. Maybe I am heading into that territory as I have a daughter now.
Anyhow, on with the post. We recently went to Granny and Grandad’s house where we found that Granny had recorded Moana to watch with the kids. After having seen parts of Frozen and being left very cold (pun most definitely intended!) I was not exactly excited at the prospect. My only other knowledge of Disney princesses had been the twee loved up sort who seem happy to be subservient as long as they get to marry the handsome prince, live in a big castle and be supplied with beautiful dresses. The sort of rubbish that stereotypes little girls and almost tells them that material goods are the most important thing. Strangely the only Disney princess movie I have every really wanted to watch is Mulan and I have never seen that one. I am guessing it is different to the others.
Basically I ducked out of the viewing of Moana and was then bombarded with how brilliant it was. I had to watch it so I could at least make jokes at the movie’s expense. However, when I watched it I actually thought it was pretty good. Yeah it is cutsie in parts and there is a lot of singing but it was fun and the songs are actually quite good. The thing that struck me most was the lack of a love story. Moana is not there to marry a pretty man, she is there to save her people. She is more like batman than a princesses (which is awesome!). She is strong, determined and intelligent as well as having a heart by caring for her family and friends. These are the attributes I would like my daughter to have not just a wardrobe of pretty clothes (although she can have that as well if she can afford it).
Moana is also not overpowered, her strength and speed are in balance with how it would be in real life. She just uses her intelligence and determination to get jobs done. Apart from the fact she is a cartoon, she is a real female and a positive role model for girls. I think the thing that makes the writing of her so strong is that Disney have thought about what makes a good character and not a stereotypical girl. She is not full of the classic princesses but also is not all girl power. In fact, if you got the two main characters of Moana and Maui and changed their genders it would not change the story one bit. In my opinion that is great writing. Yes there are some nuances that only males and females have but I would rather see well written characters in general rather then a well written man or well written women.
So, something I do not say very often, well done Disney. Moana is the princess that young girls need to show they can do whatever they want, not with flitting eyelids and feminine charms but with intelligence and determination. I get the feeling that Disney’s response to this would be, “you’re welcome!”
Finally, a film can’t be bad if it has the line, “oh I see what she did, she covered a barnacle in bio-luminescent algae,” in it! I seriously laughed for about ten minutes after that one!