Friday, 29 February 2008

American, godly, and vampiric, quite oddly...

To celebrate the 7th anniversary of his blog, comic book legend, novelist, screenwriter and alround lovely and philanthropic fellow Neil Gaiman has released one my favourite novels, American Gods, for free via the internets.

And here it is, in it's entirity. Magic.

And the online generosity doesn't end there, either, hoh no. The inestimable Dark Horse have released the comic Antique on the line pro bono. It's written by Drew Goddard - most of you would have seen his work recently in Cloverfield. Linkage here.

Hooray for online altruism (supported by ads), for comics and novels and vampires and gods and ephemeral things, hooray.

Monday, 25 February 2008

I hope you like irony...

The common perception of Cornwall as a racist county is clearly founded on some crazy liberal fantasy, probably by a woman or a gay. Why, only this weekend, I found an excellent source of ethnic-specific toys in my local indoor market.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Being cheeky...

People who've been with the blog for a while may remember that I had an idea about a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost sharing a flat, only to find out that some nobody called Toby Whithouse (apparently he's written for some low-key medical drama, Doctor Who) had not only had the same idea, but had written a script, got it commissioned, had it filmed and all other sorts of nonsense.

Watched Being Human last night. Bloody brilliant. Funny, genuinely scary, well acted for as long as nobody tried to be too serious, and production values that rivalled anything I've seen on the telly-box. It wasn't afraid to mix 20 something comedy with secret meetings of vampires in abandoned nightclubs, and unlike other programmes I've seen recently, it respected its audience and its premise.

So, the following two things need to happen:
  1. A full series needs to be commissioned immediately; and
  2. I need to be be one of the writers. Please. Thank you.
Now, you may think 2) is a bit of stretch. Okay, it is. Stretch Armstrong would be spilling his weird corn-syrupy insides should I stretch him so far.

But, aside from independently having the same idea, showing just how much of a tuned in meeja type I am, if any BBC execs happen to be passing through and visit the writing page, they will there find Seven Spires, a contemporary horror dramedy with a Jewish lead. Now, I don't like to overuse the phrase 'shoo in', but...

UPDATE: Sign the petition in support of Being Human here.

UPDATE THE SECOND: Oh, thanks very much.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

I'm that influential, pt 2....

In addition to kindofsortof inspiring a post on Den of Geek (I like to think, anyway), I've now kindofsortof interviewed Mark Greig, one of the writers on the quite good* Life on Mars follow up Ashes to Ashes, over at his Wordface.

Which is to say I cheekily posted some questions on his comments thread and he very kindly answered them. You can see my wonderfully constructed questions here:

* Bloody awesome, so far, actually.

Monday, 18 February 2008

The Plan, such as it is...

I leave the blog alone for five minutes and you all make it filthy, don't you? I'm ashamed and disappointed in all of you, I hope you know.

So here's the plan. It's not much of a plan, hardly anything at all. But here it is.

Nightshift's done. It's gone off to the right people. Enquiries have been made to a couple of agents. A few more e-mails have to be sent, then I'm done with it.

A couple of days of not writing was pleasant, but I started getting itchy again.

I have an idea for a big blockbusting British movie (which makes me sound like a complete wanker, but honest to Zeus' beard, I do), so I shall be applying to the UK Film Council's First Feature Film scheme. This means writing up a half page of plot, half a page of why I want to write the film (because it's gonna be ace - again, wanker, sorry) and the a three to five page treatment. I've done genuine, proper research on this one as well, rather than just setting it in Cornwall and/or Brighton. I almost feel like a proper writer.

I also had an idea for a sitcom, so after the planning on Alexandrina is done, untitled sitcom ahoy. I'll need the time I take from Alexandrina to come up with jokes and plot for that.

Alongside both of these, and combating two needs - that a) Alexandrina will be all planning, with no dialogue and little description at this point and b) that the sitcom will be only 25 pages long, and I'm worried that everything I write is getting shorter and shorter - I kind of sort of started writing a novella, without planning it an awful lot. So again, the w word, and I apologise.

Mostly I apologise to people who actually write novels, as me using prose as therapy to counter things that I'm worried about, screenwriting wise, by cranking out a thousand words a day is insulting to their work. I don't expect it to be a proper book. It's purely for me. This isn't helping at all, is it? Oh, I don't expect it to be easy, or good. There we go. That's as good as I can do.

Finally, I saw No Country for Old Men last night. Ye gods, those Cohens can be frustrating, can't they?

UNRELATED UPDATE: Woooooooo, I'm going to see Ladytron in May, wooooooo!

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Language, violence, sex, other...

Due to my deplorable potty mouth, people often come here looking for "fucking" in its various forms. The "veggie fucking" people, whatever they may be looking for, most often.

This one came through yesterday:
"Mild fucking scenes."
Mild? Surely the verb itself suggests some kind of vigour?

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Failing to see the funny side...

I bought a car on Saturday. I drove it into work for the first time today.

Someone has just driven into the back of it. Whilst it was parked.

What, I am wont to wonder, the fuck?

An unhealthy interest in the undead...

Chip very kindly tagged me to come up with some good filmy books, then caddishly took at least two I'd recommend. The cad.

So, not looking at what anyone else has recommended for fear of having to change my selections again:

The Book of the Dead by Jamie Russell. A complete (and I do mean complete) history of the zombie film. Invaluable, if you like that sort of thing.

The Evil Dead Companion by Bill Warren. The complete (and I do mean complete) history of a zombie film. Invaluable for makers of low budget films, especially if you like demon-possessed corpses.

Which Lie Did I Tell? by William Goldman. The best book ever written, ever, ever, ever, on film or otherwise. So, yes, better than Adventures in the Screen Trade for my money, and the biggest influence on my writing. Just invaluable, even though there aren't any zombies in it.

Tagging the Arnopp and Lucy.

Friday, 8 February 2008

100th Blog Post Spectacular...

Well, not that spectacular. Let's say drab. Drab is good. What we have for you today is: a rant.

Though the slap-dash stylings of this blog may lead you to believe otherwise, in real life I am a Grammar Nazi. If I put an apostrophe in the wrong place, I flagellate myself for weeks on end. Unfortunately, I am a fast typist and a poor proof-reader, so this happens a lot.

One thing I can and do do is correct other people's grammar. The following three crimes against language are now punishable by social ostracisation and mockery. It is job, your duty, to enforce them, when proof reading, at work and especially when talking to a bloke in the pub. Yes, you will be an asshole, but you will be right.

Literally not.

You may not say "literally" and then follow it up with a metaphor. It is not a point of emphasis, it means "actually". You are not "literally" on fire when you're feeling hot, though I imagine you would feel hot if you were literally on fire. You do not "literally" hang around the house all day unless you are a) a bat, or b) a suicide. The word you are grasping for is "metaphorically", or perhaps "figuratively". I would love to hear a chav announce that they were figuratively on fire.

Degrees of uniqueness.

You are either unique, or you are not. You cannot be "quite unique", or "a bit unique". You may be "unique to an area" or similar, but in this case, "peculiar" is probably more appropriate. Unique is binary, people.

Infer-nal damnation.

This one's the Americans' fault. The same castrated language that gave us the phrase "could care less" to mean exactly the fucking opposite has also confused the words "imply" and "infer". They are not INTERCHANGEABLE.

I'll let the Oxford English Dictionary do the talking here, as it will explain it better than I could, probably without saying "fuck":

The words imply and infer do not mean the same thing. Imply is used with a speaker as its subject, as in he implied that the General had been a traitor, and indicates that the speaker is suggesting something though not making an explicit statement. Infer is used in sentences such as we inferred from his words that the General had been a traitor, and indicates that something in the speaker’s words enabled the listeners to deduce that the man was a traitor.

So there we go. Go out, spread the good word and the properly formed sentence. If I have made any grammatical mistakes in this blog post, please pick me up on them. I am literally asking for it.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Short and grumpy as all hell...

I have approximately 14 pages (I'm giving myself 15) to fit in the following:
  • Establish a science fiction world;
  • Introduce characters who will carry the series;
  • Establish the antagonists for the episode;
  • Get them to a point where they can happily clash.
Not. Fucking. Easy.

Friday, 1 February 2008


Perhaps the most exciting blog entry I've read recently (and I don't read any sex-blogs, for those of you arf-arfing at the back) went like this:
"I've written about eleven easy pages today, and cannot wait to get back to it. If I'm still awake and writing I may pull an all-nighter."
This from Neil Gaiman.

Thrilling for many reasons:
  • Neil Gaiman's writing something. Always a good thing.
  • He writes largely pointless blog entries about the progress of his writing, because he's excited about it, just like me. Yes, a good many million more people care that Neil Gaiman has a new work in the ... works than care about my scribblings, but the intent is the same.
  • I feel involved.
I'm easy to please*.

UPDATE: My boss has just asked me to search for pictures of zombies as part of my day job. I have this strange feeling that my life may be complete...

* and quick to anger.