Category Archives: television

My Week In Writing (23/4/2017)

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Also I made lemonade

Settlement 359 is still trucking along. Part 6 is sitting at about 10k, so I should probably find a way to wrap it up and move on to part 7, which (all going well) should be the climax. Hopefully. Maybe. Then there’ll be an epilogue. I think.

I’m now 10 chapters (out of 13) into editing Summer. Unfortunately I’ve spent most of this week too tired to substantial re-writes so I’ve just been marking passages to come back to later and then realising that I can’t re-write a related passage in the next chapter till I do the earlier passage so I just highlight that one too… you get the picture.

I’ve started working on a story for The Temporal Logbook II, a charity Doctor Who anthology. No idea if I’ll get my story finished in time for the open submission day, though – I decided to take some advice from one of Big Finish’s writers (I forget which one) and try to come up with the best possible Doctor Who story, so I’ve ended up with something very ambitious that might not be doable in <8k. We’ll see. I’m making a spreadshet.

I went to the Creative Salon at Summerhall, where we heard some poetry, which was a nice change of pace. Lot more writers than usual, so I got to chat to some people about my novels.

I finished reading The Snake Wand and reviewed in on Goodreads. Now I’m reading the newest issue of Popshot (which I submitted a story for and didn’t get into, boo). The artwork is gorgeous as ever and the theme is ‘future’, which means the stories are right up my alley.

I’m really enjoying the new season of Doctor Who. Smile was sincerely frightening in that paranoia-inducing way that New Who’s so good at, though I had a curious sensation of deja vu – I’m sure I’ve seen almost that exact premise in a Doctor Who story before, but I can’t place it. But on the up side, Matt Lucas was barely in it, which is a plus.

I listened to two Doctor Who audio plays, both from Big Finish’s Lost Stories range: Point of Entry, a very gothic piece about Christopher Marlowe (which was originally to be scripted by the author of one of my favourite Fifth Doctor serials, Enlightenment) and Crime of the Century, the first in a trilogy of stories featuring the Seventh Doctor and Raine Creevy, the companion who would have been introduced had the show now been cancelled.

Point of Entry does a really good job of capturing the tone of the Sixth Doctor era (it’s got this grungy, rough around the edges feel to it), though in many respects it harks back to the Hinchcliffe & Holmes era. I don’t think I know enough Christopher Marlowe to properly appreciate it, though. I was a bit less taken with Crime of the Century, which I found oddly dull for a story that features the Doctor’s companion sword fighting a giant insect…

I’ve also been listening to The Adventure Zone by the McElroys, ie, listening to a group of very funny and creative people play D&D. I gather the plot goes to some very exciting places (I know a lot of people who are really invested) but I’m still trying to get caught up.

Next week I’m planning to start reading Slade House by David Mitchell (which I literally JUST realised is a companion piece to The Bone Clocks – which is fine by me because I’ve read it and loved it, apparently threw some people!), finish listening to the Raine Creevy trilogy (I’ve heard mixed things so we’ll see how that goes) and make a proper start on writing this Doctor Who story. Just as soon as I get it planned out. It’s gonna need a very detailed plan.

I’m also hoping to go to Edinburgh’s Literary Salon – no idea who the feature is and don’t especially care, I jsut like getting to hang out with some writers for a few hours.

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Review: A Series of Unfortunate Events

5db16efdb30f9cd831a2484f3af36cad6cb97ee7A confession: I didn’t think the 2004 film of A Series of Unfortunate Events was all that bad. Sure, a lot of the changes it made irritated me (Klaus doesn’t have glasses! Why does Klaus have no glasses?) but compared to some book-to-film adaptations… it was pretty okay?

As such, while I do prefer the new Netflix series, I just don’t see as much to choose between the two. In my head they’ve already turned into a sort of Unfortunate blur. Doesn’t help that some elements in the series are actually from the film rather than the books!

Anyway. The aesthetic and tone of the series are absolutely perfect – they really nailed it there. Including Lemony Snicket himself as a character was a masterstroke. And I love the theme song!

I also loved all the new material. Introducing the VFD arc earlier was definitely the right way to go and it was really nicely done. I especially liked the whole Zombies in the Snow sequence, which is, if I recall correctly, a dramatisation of a very strange chapter of Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorised Autobiography.

However, the big downside of the extra material is that it does sometimes diminish the Baudelaire siblings. Ideas they came up with themselves in the books are now indicated to have been orchestrated by VFD agents. It makes the children into less smart, less active protagonists, and it kind of takes away from the ‘you’re on your own now’ feel of the books.

And, I admit, I’m still not sold on Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf. He does a perfectly good job – it’s just that Neil Patrick Harris is such a distinctive actor that I can’t see him as anyone other than Neil Patrick Harris. I never found his Olaf fully convincing or, to be honest, threatening enough. Similarly, Patrick Warburton is a fantastic narrator, but he’s not how I imagined Lemony Snicket.

It’s not perfect, and I’m not as excited as a lot of people seem to be. But it was a very enjoyable and very faithful adaptation and I look forward to the next season.

 

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Introductions!

Salutations, internets!

My name is Katie. I’m a twenty-something student at the University of Edinburgh, reading Classical Studies. I’ve been blogging on and off for around seven years now, but since I am now reaching the point in my life where attempting a serious career in writing has moved from ‘what I shall do when I grow up’ to ‘what I’ll be doing when I graduate’ to ‘what I’ll be doing in a year or so’, I’ve decided starting a proper writing blog would be a very good idea. So here is an introduction to me!

My Studies

I’m reading Classical Studies, which is effectively Classics lite Classics without the language requirement. My main area of study is cultural history. Occasionally I accidentally wander into sociological and cultural history and flirt with archaeology. These are dark times but sadly necessary for a well-rounded education.

My other main interests are classical literature and reception studies. When it comes to the former, my personal favourites are Virgil’s Aeneid, Aeschylus’ Oresteia, and basically everything Catullus and Sappho ever wrote. Reception studies – looking at how classics has impacted on modern literature and culture – is the chosen area for my fourth year dissertation, so expect to hear more about that. And yes, if Classical Studies is Classics lite then reception studies is Classical Studies lite.

My Interests

I’m a big fan of fantasy and sci-fi literature. I was a voracious reader as a child – I went through a phase of challenging myself to read a book a day, it went better than you’d expect – but sadly university tends to eat up my pleasure reading time of late. Check out my Goodreads widget to see what kind of books I’m reading, but in brief: my all-time favourite book is Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman; my all-time favourite author (and subject of the aforementioned dissertation) is Diana Wynne Jones.

Outside of books, I love Doctor Who, both current and old school and BBC’s Merlin is my favourite guilty pleasure. I’m currently watching How I Met Your MotherCommunity and Legend of Korra; regarding shows that are not currently airing, I eat up everything Joss Whedon has ever produced, plus Being Human and, naturally for an ancient history student, I, Claudius. I’m currently almost finished re-watching Avatar: The Last Airbender and I’m planning a review of it, so stay tuned for that; I’m also working my way through various CBBC shows from the 90s, so look out for that too.

When it comes to films, I’m the kind of old-school, unoriginal nerd whose favourite film is Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Other than that, I love animation, including Disney, Dreamworks’ better stuff, and less mainstream films like Belleville Rendez-Vous and The Secret of Kells.

I love to bake, particularly cupcakes, though I’ve recently discovered a passion for loaf cakes. I have a box full of collaging supplies tucked away in my wardrobe that is, as of a fit of procrastination, very nicely organised; this will probably last until I actually want to make something.

My Writing

I generally say I’m primarily a fantasy writer, but in reality I hover somewhere between fantasy and science fiction. My fantasy tends to have a sci-fi edge to it and my sci-fi is generally dipped in fantasy. I have, very occasionally, written stories set in the real world, but not very often. I have fantasy on the brain.

I’ve been writing more or less continually since I was ten years old and I was inventing stories for a long time before that. At present I have two novels on the go plus short stories in various stages of writing and editing. A handful of my short stories are at the submission stage. I’m hoping to get a few more to that point by the end of the coming summer.

I sometimes write poetry and I’ve tried submitting that a few times as well, mostly because there was nothing to lose. I can’t say I’m much of a poet. Although perhaps I just don’t know it.

I’ve recently moved more into non-fiction writing and I’ve worked as a reviewer at the Edinburgh Festival in the past. I’m hoping to get some reviewing done here, since I have thinky-thoughts on most of the things I watch/read and no-one to share them with!

My Career

Comes 2013, I’ll be graduating university. After that my intention is to go into postgrad, either creative writing or research classics; in the long term, I hope to be able to make a living off writing fiction some day. At the moment I’m hoping to get a job in either publishing or journalism – at some point I should probably make up my mind!

My Politics

I’m a queer-feminist-socialist-atheist internet slacktivist. Hurrah! Being an internet slacktivist naturally encompasses opposing all -isms everywhere, but in practice the issues that are most dear to my heart are sexism, heterosexism and heteronormativity. More specific issues like the death penalty, censorship – particularly internet censorship – and, for some reason (I’m not really fussed about animal rights the rest of the time), battery chicken farming are also instant-rage buttons for me.

Expect occasional rants on any of the above topics.

~

I’d say that’s probably the best summary of me you’ll get in under a thousand words or so. My life at the moment is mostly eaten up with my studies, with occasional breaks for internet usage and to spend time with my friends (who for mysterious reasons are almost entirely physicists or computer scientists; no, I don’t get it either). I enjoy flat parties and dinner parties, sometimes the right sort of pubs, and very occasionally night clubs. I’m the stay-at-home type of student – I need a lot of sleep to function!

I’m hoping to keep this blog updated semi-regularly, so stay tuned!

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