Archive for June, 2007

Another night at the movies

Last week we got around to seeing “Shrek the Third” movie at our local cinema. Sad to say we picked a Saturday night and the theatre was practically full of rug-rats. Despite the average age of the audience being somewhere around six or seven, it was still an enjoyable evening.

While not as funny as the previous two in the series, “Shrek the Third” is still good entertainment. It must be hard for the writers to come up with new material in a series like this. Most of the cliches have been used, so it takes quite an imagination to come up with new gags.

I’m not sure if I embarrassed my wife or not near the beginning. The old king of Far, Far Away was turned back into a frog at the end of “Shrek 2”. The beginning of this latest movie sees him on his death bed. The shocked audience was very quiet during this sombre moment.

Then yours truly has to mutter, “He’s going to croak.”

No-one laughed.

I guess I’ll just stick to my day job.

101 very useful websites for writers

I used to subscribe to the American based magazine Writer’s Digest. In the early days of my writing career this magazine was a monthly source of information, help and inspiration for me as a fledgling writer. I would still like to read the magazine, but the cost of subscribing to it here in Australia is too prohibitive. I still get email newsletters from them, but it’s not the same as having the magazine.

One of the very useful things the magazine has done in recent years is to compile a list of The 101 Best Websites for Writers. This list is primarily web sites but there are a few blogs included too. You can search via the full list in alphabetical order, or you can search by one of nine different categories.

A very useful resource.

A night at the movies

Last night we went to see “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” at our local cinema. The first in this series quickly became a favourite of ours and the DVD copy has been much used in recent times.

I thoroughly enjoyed this latest offering, marvelling at the amazing special effects and the over the top sword fights. It is not quite as funny as the first in the series but still most entertaining. I find it interesting how Keira Knightly has developed as an actor, from an average performance in “Bend it like Beckam” through a great portrayal in “Pride and Prejudice” and on to this series. I thought she was somewhat out of her depth in the first “Pirates” movie but this last one has her in a very dominant role. She obviously revelled in the opportunity to show off the vast range of her talents, sword fighting being one of them.

It was interesting to see this latest movie in the “Pirates” series just two days after seeing the second in the series (“Dead Man’s Chest”). We missed this when first released in the theatres and I’ve only just recently bought the DVD. This particular movie is the poorer for having only one scene featuring Geoffrey Rush as Captain Barbossa. Fortunately he has a much more prominent role in this latest movie.

Now for a warning to all who have yet to see the movie – or those impatient people who leave the theatre before the credits have finished. There is a most important scene AFTER all the credits have finished – so stick around. It rounds off the story nicely.

What’s in a name?

Sometimes I come across the name of a person that is strangely appropriate to their occupation. In today’s local paper I was amused to read a letter to the editor from a Dr. Pain. I’m not sure I would like to consult him, especially if he turned out to be a dentist.

Some years ago in another life when I was teaching in a large country town in South Australia three of the local schools had cleaners with most appropriate surnames: a Mrs. Grimes, a Mrs. Brushnahan and a Mrs. McLean. At the same time the person overseeing the driver education programme in secondary schools of this state was a Mr. Driver.

Many years ago my wife needed an urgent tetanus injection, something that caused a little consternation on her part until she saw the nurse’s name tag: Nurse Panic. Her laughter eased the pain. A friend of mine also tells about a relative with delight: an instance of a Bishop marrying a Priest.

7 Ways to Become a Writer

“Every writer is in a self-actualizing process. Writing is an apprenticeship. A writer is always becoming a writer.” Liz Strauss

I have always called myself a writer.

I call myself a writer because I write. I must write. That’s who I am. Sure – I became sidetracked in teaching for three and a half decades but all through that time I still called myself a writer.

I am a writer because I must write. Just like a musician must play or a singer must sing, like an artist who must paint or draw or a doctor is compelled to help the sick, so a writer must write. It’s the passion within that drives one on, it is the desire to share ideas and stories in the form of the written word that compels the writer to press on.

Like any other pursuit in life, however, one never arrives at perfection. There is always the striving after a better way to express ideas, there is always another story or poem or article that must be written because it will be better than the last one. As Liz says, “Writing is an apprenticeship.” We are always learning – or should be.

How to become a writer:

There are many ways of honing one’s skills. I would like to list just a few:

  1. Read. Voraciously. Read the works of other writers – good, bad and indifferent.
  2. Write. Practice is needed every day. Remember that even the most successful singers, musicians, basketballers and writers practise daily. Remember that not all that you write will ever be published – in fact, most of it won’t be.
  3. Study: learn about the craft of writing from the many books, magazines, websites and blogs about writing.
  4. Attend: Network with other writers, publishers and agents by attending seminars, workshops and conferences.
  5. Reflect: Pause often to reflect upon your own writing. Is it achieving what you set out to write? Can it be improved? Where have you made errors? What parts need rewriting?
  6. Publish: Sent your precious words out into the wild world. If your words only ever remain on your hard drive or on tatty pieces of paper in a drawer somewhere, you have silenced the inner you. You have silenced those words that you have created and which are crying out to be released into the world where they can touch the lives of countless others.
  7. Persevere: In many cases publishers will reject your wonderful words. You may have very few readers of your blog. You will easily become discouraged. Persevere. Keep writing. Keep on sending out your words. They will be heard.

Remember: A writer is always becoming a writer.” (Liz Strauss)