How often do you take time out to consider the things you value most? Like me, I suspect, not often enough but given it is so easy to be bogged down by the pressures of life and cynicism in general, I thought I would take time out to look at what I value most. The reasons why are self explanatory!
Well, I was, and it was great to meet up with Janet once again and, later, to meet Roger Clark, fellow CFT contributor. Many thanks to Janet for the selfie (and I guess you could have called this an outdoor editorial meeting!).
Image Credit (or blame as you see fit): Unless otherwise named, the culprit behind the images is Allison Symes.
I preferred the weather at this year’s event as it was reasonably pleasant with a good breeze. Last year’s event was baking in every sense and I managed to go home with a slight tan, which was definitely not planned!
Image Credit: Many thanks as ever to Stuart Wineberg, Lionel Elliott and the Chameleons for the wonderful pictures.
I went to see the latest Chameleons’ production Spring Trio of Plays on Thursday 25th April. I like the mixed assortment of plays they often put on in the Spring as you have a variety of entertainment which have a powerful impact. None of the three plays were long enough to stage alone (at least not in this form) but worked very well in a trio format like this.
The plays were Effie’s Burning by Valerie Windsor, Ghost of a Chance by Brian J Burton, and In by the Half by Jimmie Chinn. There was a dark and sad side to all three plays. All had a strong emotional impact though I would say Effie’s Burning was probably the strongest here. I’m going to review each play on its own and then review how they worked as a whole.
By the time this goes live, I will have been to the Chameleons’ latest production Spring Trio of Plays at the Ritchie Hall. Review to follow. I like the “selection box” of plays in productions like this given each play has a different flavour to it. It makes for a good evening out.
Images below both from Chandler’s Ford Today archives.
Does it seem like an odd thing to do for a writer to regularly analyze stories? Does it take the joy out of reading? I suspect many an English Literature student, at whatever level, may well say yes to that, but I feel that would be a shame. It certainly isn’t the point of analysis.
Regardless of what you write, no two writers have exactly the same journey (whether it is to publication or just to produce work they value for their own pleasure).
There are, of course, many elements in common, not least of which is the fact every writer goes through highs and lows as they try to make progress. We all have to work out how to deal with these. Yes, even the highs, because while they are wonderful, life as a whole is not one long continuous good news chain so why should the writing life be any different?
So what are the highs and lows of the writing life most writers can expect to experience?
One great thing about playing Scrabble is it does increase your vocabulary. It’s amazing just how many three and two letter words there are. I play on a mobile app so there are no worries about losing any of the tiles either!
Mind, there have been times many years ago when I’ve played the traditional board game when I would happily have stuffed the Q, X, V, and Z somewhere I could guarantee they’d not be seen again but that’s another story! I’m less hostile to the Q now I know you don’t always need the U to go with it.
I’ve also recently discovered the word “xeno” which means strange. I’m looking forward to using that one at some point. It should score well!
What are the signs of spring you love the most?
I adore the lighter evenings and start to spot these in February (though that’s weather dependent). Being out with the dog a lot, you notice when you have that little bit more daylight before needing to get the torches out.
Of course, this weekend with the clocks going forward by an hour, we’ll have even more daylight in the evening to enjoy. (Mind, I do wish they would pick one unit of time and stick to it rather than make us all adjust the clocks twice a year. The only good thing about that is it can be a good time to remember to test your smoke alarms but you could set your own date for that).
What would you say were mankind’s top ten accomplishments? I’m not sticking to a specific field, nor are these in any particular order.
There will rightly be many tributes to the late Barbara Large, who founded what is now known as the Winchester Writers’ Festival. She will be much missed by many writers, including me.
Barbara’s gift was the knack of knowing how to encourage writers. As for her drive in getting the Winchester Writers’ Conference (as it was first known) up and running and then keeping it going for so many years, that was simply incredible. The Winchester Writers’ Festival is one of the most renowned writing conferences and it is all thanks to Barbara’s drive and vision. In my view, it is her finest legacy but what exactly does that mean?
What are your favourite types of fictional characters? Mine include:-
1. The deserving hero/heroine. (This is one reason why I love fairytales, they’re full of these!).
2. Those who ensure justice is meted out to those meriting it but in the right way. Sam Vimes, Terry Pratchett’s wonderful creation in Discworld, is a great example of this kind of character.
3. Characters who develop over several books so you can see their progress (or lack of it). Vimes, again, is a classic example. Over a few books he goes from a drunk to a hero and there is much more to his development than that but I would happily urge you to check the Vimes novels out. (Good place to start is Men at Arms where Vimes really begins to get into his stride).
[Read more…] about Character Types – and Why It Matters to Get Them Right
Do you like adaptations of your favourite stories? I guess the answer to that is “yes, if it works” and then it is up to us to decide whether it does or not.
Famously The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock is an adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s short story of the same name so it isn’t just about novels being “translated” to a different media. [Read more…] about Adaptations
Why is the weather always a topic of conversation in Britain? I think this is due to:-
1. We have such a variety of weather (and often in the space of one day), it simply has to be talked about. I’ve experienced a wide range of weather in the space of an hour especially when I’ve been in Scotland. They’re hardy souls there for a reason! [Read more…] about The Weather and Its Uses in Fiction
I’ve talked about my writing journey before but how about the reading one? Do you remember which book you first read by yourself or the one that was always read to you as a child because it was your favourite?
I can’t remember what was the first book I read myself though it wouldn’t surprise me if it was a picture book. Once you pick up a few words, going through a picture book to find those words for yourself because you can now read them, is special. This is yet another reason why a well produced picture book is important in a child’s reading development. They build confidence in reading and with that comes the wish to read other things. A child that lacks confidence in reading will be reluctant to try something they don’t already know. [Read more…] about Reading Journeys
It is a pleasure to welcome back Anne Wan to Chandler’s Ford Today and also to welcome her illustrator for her latest book, Manners Fit for the Queen, Sally Goodden. [Read more…] about Picture Books and Other Hooks: Interview with Sally Goodden and Anne Wan
Image Credit: Stuart Wineberg, Lionel Elliott, and the Chameleons.
If there were ever such a thing as a Chandler’s Ford Today “works outing”, it is when Janet and I go to the latest production by the Chameleon Theatre Group. This time it was to enjoy the classic fairytale, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.
[Read more…] about All the Fun of The Panto: Ali Baba and The Chameleons
THE QUEEN, CHANDLER’S FORD LIBRARY, ANNE WAN, AND SALLY GOODDEN
What do the above have in common?
They will be appearing in Chandler’s Ford Library on Saturday, 2nd February 2019 between 10.30 am and 12 noon.
Hang on… let’s revise that a moment. [Read more…] about BOOK EVENT NEWS: Anne Wan / Sally Goodden – Chandler’s Ford Library
The origin of stories is an interesting one in itself – oral was king long before print became a reality. It had to be given the lack of literacy as we know it now but what I find great is that the oral tradition is still hugely important and will remain so. This to me implies a consistent flow of stories over the centuries and long may that continue. The world of stories should not remain static (otherwise it will stagnate and what stagnates dies). [Read more…] about The Story of Stories – Ali Baba
Right now is the height of the pantomime season and I’m looking forward to seeing The Chameleons’ production of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves soon. It should be great fun (as Robin Hood was before). One common element to pantomimes is the use of magic. It comes in somewhere to make the character change directions or to rescue them from what seems an inescapable problem.
So let’s pretend the fairy godmother has turned up for us and, being the kindly soul she is, offered us three wishes. What would you go for? Firstly, the ground rules (you knew there would be some, bureaucracy gets everywhere!). [Read more…] about Three Wishes
Over the years, you pick up many useful writing tips and then you need to work out which are the most useful to you. Following on from an earlier CFT post of mine about writing tips, I thought I’d take a look in greater depth at why I use the tips that I do.
In general, I don’t look at those tips for playwrights, given that’s not my specialism, but one that is aimed at them (read your work out loud) is good advice regardless of what type of fiction you write. It also works well for non-fiction given it can help you pick up on whether your prose flows as well as you thought. So how do you deduce which writing tips are the most useful? [Read more…] about Tried and Tested Writing Tips