Writers Update

So I started this blog in the hopes of being published, this goal/objective/milestone/dream Is kind of two fold. I’m looking either for one of my screen plays to be taken up by a studio (which I think is a long shot, looking at the masses of competition out there) or convert one of the screenplays to a novel and self publish (which is a more achievable goal I think.)

So what stage am I at? I hear you ask in wonderment and anticipation… Perhaps a little bored of my droning…

Well, so far I have written two screenplays. Both thrillers, both stories quite unique (well I think so anyway… I may be totally wrong but I do think I’m quite objective when it comes to assessing my work, besides I do get put in my place when I get feedback off the people that actually review my work) I’m currently in the middle of another..

I’m actually thinking of putting one of the screen plays up, a few pages each week just to see the general reaction from yourselves my dear bloggers. But it’s just a thought as of yet, a thought that I would certainly like your opinion/feedback on.

Anyway, the main reason for this post was just to give you guys a heads up on the various opportunities that are available with the BBC.

They basically have various workshops, and opportunities to submit your work. Every month seems to be quite different, some times offering workshops providing help and advice on potential scripts to novels. Other aspects include script submissions for various competitions and things. As well as holding a library of helpful hints tips and resources, do go check it out.

This is Mr J signing out


Links and all that jazz;
BBC writers room

Writers Update

Food Wars

Healthy eating?! What’s that all about eh? When I was growing up all I had was some meat and a few bones to go with it! All bought with the 50p I had in my pocket, which I earned working a 24 hour shift with these very hands! And that 50p use to run the house for a month!! Now give her some proper food!

Quote – my father

Yes father, I say. Trying to shovel some food into the mentalists mouth! Imploring her nay, begging her to take a mouthful as my parents watch me trying to feed my youngest.

I lost this battle before meal time, I think to myself as I smell the faint aroma of cheese strings on her breath. Note to self: move the cheese strings out of reach… I’m full daddy! She says, as I look at the full plate of food before her.

At this point, she gets a stern warning from her firm but fair father (me). That she’s not going anywhere until shes finished her plate. Right on queue she gives the old puppy dog eyes to my mother, who pushes me aside and insists she’ll feed the mentalist.

I watch my mother, coax the mental one into eating something. Well, up until she drags my mother to her room for a quick bout of colouring. Is it me or is this feeding thing getting more and more difficult? All she wants to do is watch ceebeebies and gorge on anything cheese related!

As they both come down the stairs, mentalist clutching her latest masterpiece. ‘Look daddy!’ ‘That’s nice’ I respond,’what is it?’ I ask. ‘Its me and it’s you, eating mash’ now I know where this is going as I look over at the abandoned plate of veg on the table.

‘Can I have mash and some beans daddy?’ At which point my mother promptly moves to the pantry and starts prepping. I hang my head in defeat looking over at my daughter.. Grin on her angelic face, adjusting her mop of a bob… Well played mental one.. Well played…

So how do your kiddies defeat your sense of purpose to get their own way?

This is Mr J signing out


Food Wars

The Watch List – The Conjuring

As a rule I tend to stay away from most horror movies, not because I’m scared, frightened or afraid of nightmares… After all I am a man grr!! (Bares teeth and flexes muscles)

I just get tired of the same age old formula, you expect something like…a creaky door followed by a long pause then the usual demon, possessed victim or spiritual entity popping out giving you a little jump. I think most of us can usually predict when and where the next jump and/or scare is going to come from. Especially when it’s based around a haunted house, with the ever present basement… As no haunted house is complete without spooky basement.

So what’s it all about? Lets first move onto IMDB for the plot line..

Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren work to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse. — IMDb Plot: The Conjuring (2013)

So the movie itself is based on true events, but more on that later. The story revolves around the Perron family who move into the house and as per usual start hearing things go bump in the night, as well as the usual initial sightings of strange figures.

The story itself is two fold, on the one hand we are given a quick glimpse into the lives of the paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine. Kind of like the ghostbusters for the paranormal, disproving any fakery and helping those being haunted by evil spirits.

On the other side we have the Perron family who move into this home and gradually begin to experience a lot of supernatural occurrences. As usual, starting with the children. Then moving on to the adults, needless to say we have the formulaic and usual case of jumps, scares, possessions, exorcisms and ghostly figures.

So is it any good? The answer.. Well it’s a mixed bag. We have some good scenes, a little jumpy at times and tells the story more from the paranormal investigators viewpoint rather than the Perron family.

It does sometimes feel like there is a little too much going on, bouncing from one family to the other with some references made throughout the film that don’t really tie in. For me it was a little too predictable, it’s all been done before many a time and in most cases done a whole lot better.

Now back to the ‘based on true events’ tag line …

What I think puts me off these kinds of film, is the whole ‘based on true events’ tag line. For a movie like this I always think the truth is bent a whole lot, or a small element of the truth is used to justify the based on true events caption. Probing into the back story further, I did learn that the Perron family have backed the movie.

Explaining the movie does paint a realistic and accurate portrayal of life in the house. Oh and one of the sisters has published three books about growing up in the house. So as you can imagine, they are speaking very publicly about their time growing up in that house and speaking a lot about the movie.

So I guess it’s down to you dear blogger whether you think these things actually happened or is it a convenient way to promote your book and make some extra cash (cha-ching!).

So all in all, some good bits a whole load of predictable bits and a so-so storyline.

5 out of 10

This is Mr J signing out

Tweet :@quest2publish

The Watch List – The Conjuring

Haunted memories

So, a while ago I took a picture on my phone. A picture which my daughter, the mentalist, found and has ultimately kicked off a, lets call it, “phase”. More on this phase later, what is this photo I hear you ask?

Well for the past couple of years I’ve been renovating my home. Not exactly the extreme makeover home edition type renovation but close. I’ve gone through the whole caboodle of knocking down walls, rewiring, plumbing, tanking! You name it and it’s probably been done ! Never again let me tell you ! NEVER!!

Well… Maybe a little ..

So this is a picture of my landing, looking into one of the rooms where I’ve photoshopped a spectre, a ghostly figure (with an app of some sort. I can’t remember what it’s called) When I did show this to my friends and family, they outright refused to come to my home (especially my mother ) great I thought! They’ll leave me alone to get on with what I have to do, and not give constant tours around the utter shell of a mess which was my home. On these tours I’d hear a constant barrage of disbelief and disapproval. Muttering things like ‘he’ll never get this done’ and my favourite… ‘worst renovation idea…everr’

Well needless to say the house is more or less done and as with any home, the adventures in DIY. There’s always something to do! (And always something to break).

But I digress, back to the picture. The mentalist found it on my phone and asked ‘Daddy … Was this ghost here when I was a little girl?’ And I reply .. ‘My dear mentalist, you’re still my little girl and yes there was a ghost. And she’ll come back if you don’t finish your food and be a good girl’.

Now, this seems to have opened some door in the mental ones head. Or it could be mere coincidence, she’s starting to check her cupboards for ghosts and now she has an imaginary friend who I haven’t met as yet but I shall disapprove of this friend in a fatherly way especially if it’s a boy!

So this imaginary friend and all the ghost talk reminds me of the time I played a similar prank on my sister (@notmyyearoff – her twitter and blog documenting my little nephews adventures) telling her our kitchen was haunted by some bearded dude. Where I once, just before she woke, crept into the kitchen and left the doors to all the drawers and cupboards open. As you can imagine she kind of freaked out and I got into a little trouble.

It is amazing though, how the lives of my children’s day to day is bringing back memories of my own childhood and how it does leave one a little nostalgic of days gone by. So, I’m sure I’ll be introduced to the mentalists new found friend sometime soon, I shall keep you all upto date if that ever does happen!

So my dear bloggers … Question of the day:

What have your kids, friends, family done recently to take you to the heady heights of nostalgia?

This is Mr J signing out

Tweet: @quest2publish

Links and all that jazz
Notmyyearoff blog


Haunted memories

The watch list – The Great Gatsby

As well as writing, housekeeping, working and trying to keep control of the brats, I watch a lot of movies and tv shows. So I thought I’d throw in a few reviews once in a while.. So here goes … What have I watched recently …

The great gatsby

Well for starters I know this is a remake, i know its based on a novel but I have never seen the original (starring Robert Redford), but like everything I watch I thought hmm lets check out good old IMDB first see what it’s all about. For some reason i kind of imagined it to be a heist movie.. Anyhoo imdb’s plot description :

A Midwestern war veteran finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbor. — IMDb Plot: The Great Gatsby (2013)

Now for me, not a very appealing plot line, but I thought hey il give it a whirl. So I start watching.. As soon as I see the characters on screen and the glamorous and extravagant sets, It makes me think. I’ve seen this type of exaggerated style and glamour before… It reminded me of the movie moulin rouge, now this can’t be a coincidence I thought. So back to IMDB and lo and behold they have the same director Baz Luhrmann

Now the story i thought was quite good the story is told by Mr Gatsby’s neighbour a quiet man who lives in a simple modest home. His home overshadowed by the vast palace like mansion that is gatsby manor, who throws these lavish parties. No one is ever invited everybody just attends, well all except Nick Carraway our narrator and neighbour who is the only one to have ever received an invitation.

While attending the party he meets a whole host of people, and hears rumours of how Mr Gatsby became so rich and famous. He finally meets Mr Gatsby, but there is something strange about this rich millionaire, something you cant quite put your finger on… What does he want? Why was Nick the only person to receive an invite.. All these questions to plague your mind.

But my dear bloggers I shall leave you to uncover the rest of the story on your own.

In essence at it’s core the story is one of love, romance and intrigue. A tale of star crossed lovers, the cast was mostly spot on especially Joel edgerton who gives an outstanding performance as Tom Buchanan. Tobey Maguire’s portrayal of Nick Caraway I thought was a little lacking, too underplayed and a little too wide eyed.

The rest of the cast was eclectic and well presented, a few cameos thrown in there for good measure. Look out for Bollywood actor Amitabh Batchan

The soundtrack in my opinion is very hit and miss, it ranges from lana del ray’s summertime sadness to will I am’s bang bang which in some instances didn’t really flow with the movie itself. (Especially if the movie was supposed to be set in 1922)

So did I like the movie?

I loved the excess, extravagance and the dreamscape Baz Luhrmann attempts to paint for the viewer. The costumes and sets were exquisite and gave a punch to the senses.

But the movie itself? Well that I think was let down by some of it’s cast, the story played out well but some poor visuals and CGI as well as some horrible choices in music let it down.

So in summary… still worth a watch but don’t expect it to blow your mind. If you liked moulin rouge you’ll love this!

So bear in mind i have not seen the originaI, nor have i read the novel. give it a good 6 out of 10

This is Mr J signing out

Tweet : @quest2publish

The watch list – The Great Gatsby

Shopping for ideas

As I stand next to a mannequin in monsoon trying to blend into the chique surroundings, while my mentalist tries on some shoes. I look over at the many shoppers bustling in and out of the aisles going through various racks, just daydreaming really…

And bang a whole litter of shoes are on the floor surrounding my mental one, a grin spread across her angelic face. I immediately look up and see one of the shop girls looking over and I think uh oh she’s going to think I’m an unfit parent.

I can imagine the looks and judgement, I’m already being eyed up by a number of customers who’ve stopped in their tracks to watch the drama unfold. I can see it now the pointed accusations, the shouting, the uproar… ( I kind of want this to happen so I can end the scene with phrase ala Ron burgundy …’well that escalated quickly’)

‘Can I have these ones dad?’ She says as I scramble on the floor picking up the various shoes and placing them where they need to go. ‘Okay okay… Give me a minute. Can you help me please?’ As I expect the answer is a straight no followed by ‘you do it daddy!’

As I begin to place them, the shop girl comes over asking whether I’m ok, I explain ‘yes … Fine. I think my little one has found some shoes though!’ *queue nervous laugh* the shop girl looks over at the mentalist who is doing a sort of waltz with the shoes (don’t ask me where she gets her moves ! I have no clue!). The shop girl laughs and says she’ll sort the shoes, I decline and insist on putting them back in place, shop girl seems relieved and walks back to her station.

Phew ! I think… Then I think back to the shop girl and the day she must’ve had, then I look at a shopper and think hmm the day they must’ve had … Then I think hmmm there’s story here somewhere and the little disaster turns into a potential script or story… Thank you mental one ! (Who’s now wandered off into the changing rooms..)

So ideas… Be it for a new story, novel or even your blog. Seem to come from all sorts of places, events and even disasters. But are these ideas any good? Sure I have an idea but can I integrate characters, a plot, a beginning, a middle and an end to this idea? Well I suppose only time will tell, or wait up until you get the chance to put down your ideas and drill through the events leading up to your ending.

But this is often not the case, sometimes as good as an idea seems it doesn’t pan out the way you want. You get stuck, think gah! That’ll never work, the reader isn’t stupid, nor do they want to read something as silly as this! I’ve had many of those moments where I just shelve the whole project. But saying that I’ve gone back to some of those shelved ideas and borrowed aspects and scenes for another script, so not a total loss ( so don’t ever entirely delete or scrap something, you never know you may be able to use it for spare parts)

Anyhoo, today’s question of the day my dear bloggers! What’s the weirdest or most memorable way you’ve generated an idea!

This is Mr J signing out !


Shopping for ideas

Time and motivation

Well.. Im off work for a while and it starts off as any other day when I’m at home, with a stuffed giraffe being pushed into my face. With the mentalist singing some obscure pop song she’s heard off the radio using lyrics from the wheels on the bus ( in case you are wondering this week it’s a mash up of Tom Odell’s another love with wheels on the bus)

Now from this wake up call, we have the business as usual rigmoral of breakfast… Well I say breakfast but it’s more a manipulative battle, trying to get my youngest to eat something healthy. Needless to say its a battle I always lose, as I lick my wounds, scrape off the remnants of breakfast off myself and the surrounding walls i make another quick change.

I think about my agenda for the day:
Mentalist fed, bathed and watered (check)
Brat happy and content .. Well he’s watching top gear so …check !
DIY – painting the fences (thank The Lord it’s raining so… Check)
Indoor DIY ( I need paint and it’s raining.. So il leave that for another day ..check)
The laundry – hmm the laundry basket is kind of full but not THAT full, I’m sure it’ll keep … well up until dinner time anyway… Check
household chores.. (Runs finger over various surfaces checking for dust) meh it’s fine! … Check
Finally last on the agenda… Writing?

Whenever I think about writing, I go through a whole host of questions.
Will I have enough time?
Am I in the right frame of mind to put my thoughts down on paper?
Am I in the right mindset to capture the correct tone of the scene I’m planning to write?
Should I eat first?
Where did I leave my laptop again?
Should I start season two of falling skies now or later?
Should I eat a packet of Worcester sauce French fries?

You get the general gist, don’t get me wrong. Once I sit down laptop in hand I can write forever, it’s just getting the motivation to sit down and do it.
Some days are easier than others though, some days I can’t wait to get it all down! And review what I’ve written with some sense of achievement… Like wow three paragraphs! All hail the wordsmith of a new generation, from this day forth we shall commemorate this! For on this day these three paragraphs were revealed onto thee…

Well something like that, maybe a little less dramatic.. Anyhoo as I sit laptop In hand, fingers eager to get typing… The sound of ceebeebeeies and mr blooms nursery blaring in the background. My question to you today is… How…oh how my dear bloggers do you motivate yourselves…to sit down and write?

This is Mr J signing out…
Tweet : @quest2publish


Time and motivation