Tag Archives: movie

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…



Certainly a non productive writing weekend as I attended a reptile show both days (see previous post https://mandyevebarnett.com/2017/05/08/upcoming-writing-events-add-yours-for-your-location-14/). However, I do have this weekend free so will indulge in as much time as possible writing. This will include a complete revision of the ghost written book project prior to sending back to my client.

I have my writing retreat to look forward and it is getting tantalizingly close – 18th May. Here I can immerse myself completely with no distractions, unless I actually seek them out.


Her Fearful Symmentry by Audrey Niffenegger. I am thoroughly enjoying this story. The characters are well rounded, there is a connection/distance between the two main characters, which gives the narrative an undercurrent of possibilities.


Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn (because you all know by now I’m fascinated by this subject)


What are you reading?

I watched this movie, which had a great twist on the subject. I am always intrigued by the variations on the reincarnation theme.



Writing Tips from the Master – Stephen King

“You cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you.”

“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”

“I think the best stories always end up being about the people rather than the event, which is to say character-driven.”

“Let’s get one thing clear right now, shall we? There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn’t to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up.”

What’s your favorite King quote or writing tip?

Mother Nature’s Fury..?

Fury – definition: 1. unrestrained or violent anger, rage, passion, or the like; 2. sudden violent power or force


Is it me or have there been an exceptional number of volcanic eruptions in 2013? That is not including earthquakes and tsunamis, which have also increased.

Could this be Mother Nature’s fury?

Has she had enough and is showing us how insignificant we really are? There is no human force that can resist or conquer a volcanic eruption or earthquake. We are at her mercy.

I follow a face book page by Gerri Bowen – https://www.facebook.com/gerri.bowen not just for her wonderful books but also because she finds the most interesting facts about seismic events around the world. This year has been extraordinary full of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes globally.

As you can see from these links – the globe has numerous active volcanoes and some have erupted this year after being dormant for a long time.



When you actually see the fault lines crisscrossing and moving under the earth’s crust, it is a wonder there are not more. Volcanoes have links to each other many miles underground so it is not surprising when one erupts, others follow.


If you have not seen the movies, The Impossible, I highly recommend it. Not only is it a true story, which has every parent agonizing with the mother but the sheer enormity of the family’s situation and those of the people around them is mind numbing. You ask yourself, ‘how would I cope?’, ‘could I survive?’ ‘would I be able to save my family?’. It is a powerful story of an event that devastated a vast area of South Asia.

So as not to spoil the movie for you I will not divulge more.


Have you used a natural or man-made disaster in a novel or story?

I refer to a past World War in my novel, Life in Slake Patch, which resulted in the formation of a matriarchal ruled world. Excerpt:

“Surely these are pictures are wild imaging’s of a possessed person, Jacob?”

“Somewhat my thoughts at first, my young friend, but on closer inspection I have discovered this book was compiled as some sort of historic and societal recording.”

“But – men and women living together, it’s…?”

“Yes, inconceivable to our present way of life but obviously prior to the Grand War life was lived very differently.”

“Can such change have come about in three hundred years, do you think, Jacob?”

“It may seem difficult to your young ideals, Evan, but some change can evolve slowly and others quite quickly. Drastic events can mean extreme measures have to be made. Upon reflection I can see The Grand War was reason enough to change society in such a fundamental way.”

This novel is open to representation.

LifeinSlakePatch 002

A Wafer Thin Mint..?

Satiety – definition: the state of being full or gratified to or beyond the point of satisfaction.


If you are familiar with Monty Python, you were probably reminded of the Mr. Creosote sketch when you read this word. A fictional character in Monty Python’s ‘The Meaning of Life movie, he is a monstrously obese restaurant patron. During the sketch he consumes a vast amount of food while vomiting repeatedly. (Yes, its disgusting!) Once sated he asks for the bill but is persuaded by the maitre d’ to finished off his huge meal with a ‘wafer thin mint’.  After placing the mint in front of Mr. Creosote the waiter runs for cover. The reason becomes clear when Mr. Creosote explodes!

There is certainly mischief in the maitre d’ actions and Mr. Creosote’s pompous personality shows through. The character building in this short sketch is well done as you understand the restaurant staff have suffered with this particular patron for some time.

 When we are creating our characters we hope to develop them well enough that our readers ‘know’ them as true personalities within the beginning stages of the narrative. If the reader only discovers vital information about our protagonist in the middle of the story, it is probable we have lost that reader. There needs to be empathy with our character. We have to custom build our unique ‘world’ and ensure our characters ‘fit’ into that scenario.

We can begin with the physical characteristics, such as height, weight, build and hair and eye colour but these are only the start. To ensure we have a rounded being for our readers to envisage, we need to ‘know’ each character. What are their habits, quirks or eccentricities, beliefs, likes and dislikes, fears, temperament, hopes and dreams. In short what does their ‘life’ look like and consist of.

Developing character bio’s is not just a fun exercise but also a great writing tool. You have a firm base with which to develop your story and how each character reacts as they are true to their personality. However, remember to leave as much as possible to the reader’s imagination, the bio is for your use not theirs. Every reader wants to visualize the characters and doesn’t want a full blown description as if your character is looking in a mirror.

Do you have a character bio step by step?

No argument here…

ph-FAC-artintheplaza-2013Argumentative – definition: fond of arguing and disputing

I will take no argument – if you can possibly make it to the Arts in the Plaza today, please do. It is a free event and there is original work by authors, artists, potters, weavers – well you get the idea!

Today’s event is in conjunction with Strathcona Celebrates so there is lots of activities for everyone. A free pancake breakfast is a great way to start the day. Here’s the link : http://www.strathcona.ca/strathcona-celebrates.aspx


Pancake breakfast 8 a.m. – 11 a.m.         Community Centre (401 Festival Lane)

  • Free pancake breakfast supported by Canadian Progress Club, Sherwood Park
  • Free family activities
  • Verve Salon & Spa Ltd. will help you show your pride at their hair zone
  • Stage entertainment from Cooper Pump Record Studios Inc. – stage schedule
  • “Strathcona’s pioneering spirit at 10 a.m.”
  • Storytelling

Official Key to the County Ceremony followed by Roll Past and Parade         In front of County Hall (2001 Sherwood Drive)

Welcoming Tea 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.         In front of County Hall (2001 Sherwood Drive)

  • Enjoy free refreshments and cookies
  • Entertainment provided by Crescendo Music Studios

Strathcona Mounted Troop Musical Ride         1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.         Former Archbishop Jordan Catholic High School (160 Festival Way)

The Mounted Troop is reminiscent of Lord Strathcona’s Horse in the 1920s and 1930s. The 20-horse, 25-member Troop performs the Musical Ride. The ride is drawn from the Regiment’s traditions of the 1920s and 1930s.

Celebration continues with free activities for everyone         12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.         The former Archbishop Jordan Catholic High School (160 Festival Way)

  • Exhibition of both modern and antique military vehicles and meet the troops (Festival Way in front of Elk Island Catholic School Board)
  • Military activities by Navy League of Canada, 2551 PPCLI Army Cadets
  • Agricultural opportunities by Green Hectares
  • Aboriginal activities and performances
  • Experience life 120 years ago in Strathcona County by Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village and City of Fort Saskatchewan
  • Zipline
  • Inflatables
  • Family activities by Strathcona County Museum and Education Station
  • Stage entertainment provided by Crescendo Music Studios
  • Face painting and much more

Please note: zipline and inflatables will close between 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. for the Military Musical Ride.

Miok-McCormack Memorial Unveiling         4 p.m.         Festival Place (100 Festival Way)

Official military unveiling ceremony for The Miok-McCormack Memorial located in Broadmoor Lake Park. This memorial is dedicated to the memory of two Sherwood Park soldiers killed in Afghanistan in 2009. This is a community event and everyone is welcome to attend.

Free Movie in the Park and family activities

6 p.m. – 11 p.m. (Movie starts at 9 p.m.)         Former Archbishop Jordan Catholic High School (160 Festival Way). Also includes free family activities from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Click here for more details.

Food Services         12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. & 6 p.m. – 11 p.m.         Former Archbishop Jordan Catholic High School (160 Festival Way)

Enjoy great food and refreshing drinks from

  • Royal Treats
  • Funky Pickle
  • Uncle Milts Old Fashioned Rootbeer

Lurch – a character study…

Lurch – definition: a sudden swaying or tipping movement, a staggering gait.

I don’t know about you but my immediate thought is of Lurch from the Addams Family. Although he is not a main character he is well known and takes an integral part in the show/movie. I will use him as a character study.

Fester_lurch_1966Lurch is an imposing figure at 6 ft 9 in tall with a deep, resonating voice that seems to come up from his boots. As the family‘s butler his shambling, gloomy persona also gives the audience a sense of strict formality. His stumbling, slow gait gives us the impression that he is still coming to grips with walking. He does resemble Frankenstein’s monster in some ways, with a flat head topped with scant hair and one opaque eye but does not have the neck bolts. He is much more pleasing to the eye in his suit and bow tie.  Lurch can speak normally, however tends to use inarticulate moans instead, which are fully understood by the family members. We can only take the word of said family that Lurch can indeed be eloquent and vivacious. Although Lurch does not excel in his role as butler he is without doubt faithful to the Addams but is often the object of their jokes.

Although his size and strength can be a hindrance at times, Lurch goes about his duties as best he can and seems to take pride in even the most arduous of tasks. There is no question that he is loyal to the Addams family although he can be clearly exasperated by them on occasion. This is shown by the occasional dubious looks he gives some of their stranger activities, although he does share some of the family’s macabre standards.  However, his loyalty is rewarded by the family treating him as one of their own.

When Lurch is summoned by way of the hangman’s noose bell pull, we hear a loud gong-like sound and Lurch appears instantly with the immortal words “You rang?”  It seems that no matter where he happens to be in the house he can transport himself instantaneously to whomever called him.

This strange character does seem to have quite a strong paternal affection for both Wednesday and Pugsley, and looks after their needs from making their lunch to driving them to school to generally keeping an eye on them. Next to her headless Marie Antoinette doll, Lurch is Wednesday’s best friend. Lurch in turn is close friends with Thing, the disembodied hand. Surprisingly Lurch’s talent is in playing the harpsichord at a virtuoso level.

Have you got a secondary character you would like to share as a study?

Interview with Karen Magill…

Please welcome Karen Magill, a paranormal author of Missing Flowers.

Karen Magill

When you read the synopsis for this incredible book you will understand why I linked this interview to today’s word  – Enclave – definition: a distinct territorial, cultural, or social unit enclose within or as if within a foreign territory. It describes Karen’s heroine, Julie’s experience as she becomes immersed into two diverse worlds.

a)  Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

My current favorite is one of my newest characters, Julie Seer. She is a psychic that has a past story. Julie has a special ability but in so many ways, she is so normal.

b)  Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?

I write paranormal. I have ventured into paranormal romance, paranormal action/adventure and my latest is paranormal mystery.

c)  What do you enjoy most about writing?

I like having control over events and for just a little while I am able to be a God and decide what is going to happen. That is until the characters take over and start guiding me on how to write.

d)  Have you got a favorite place to write?

I live in a two-bedroom apartment and I have my computer stand in the living room. I write there though there are times I will curl up on the couch and hand write notes and scenes.

e)  Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?

I have a basic idea of where I want to the story to go and what I want to happen but I am developing the habit of writing scenes then connecting everything together.

f)  What inspires your stories?

The history around me, my new series combines historical fact with paranormal fiction and the question ‘what if?’

 g)   What are you currently reading?

I am reading two books. One is Burlesque West by Becki L. Ross (reading that for research for my blog, Vancouver Vagabond) and I am reading Mind Hunter by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker – the story of a man who was instrumental in setting up the FBI’s serial crime unit.

h)  Do you have any odd habits or childhood stories?

I can’t think of anything I do that is really odd. Whenever I get stuck in writing, I put in the POISON CD, Flesh and Blood. Then I put on my headphones, turn the music up, and start writing. It usually helps.

i)   Do you have any pets?

No, I used to have cockatiel birds but I developed a rare allergy to them. A potentially fatal allergy

j)  Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?

I always say that I don’t play well with others so I don’t really join writing groups or partner with others. I am kind of a loner that way.

k)  What age did you start writing stories/poems?

Ever since I learned how to put words together, I have written. I used to sell poems to people in high school for a quarter each.

l)  Do you have a book published? If so what is it called & where can readers purchase it?

Missing Flowers

I have three books published, all are available on Amazon. My first is a paranormal mystery entitled The Bond, A Paranormal Love Story; my second is a paranormal action/adventure called Let Us Play, A Rock ‘n Roll Love Letter (known as Mystique Rising in Kindle) and my latest is Missing Flowers. Missing Flowers is a paranormal mystery set in Vancouver, which incorporates historical fact with fiction and is published by Saga Books.

The Bond

m)  If you could meet one favorite author who would it be and why?

There are so many! I would love to meet Ann Rule and thank her for her stories, which feed my imagination. Danielle Steele once wrote me a letter and I would love to meet her and thank her for that and the inspiration it gave me. The list goes on and on. LOL

n)  If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?

Right now, I love living where I am. I enjoy this city and Vancouver has inspired my new series of books.

o)  What’s your  favorite movie of all time?

That is a difficult question. I like the movie Timeline with Paul Walker – travelling back in time is a fascination for me; Turk 182 with Timothy Hutton is a great story of a young man taking on local government for a good cause; The Crow with the late Brandon Lee fascinates me. I love movies that spark my imagination and may plant an idea for a future book.

p)  Where can readers find you and your blog?

My blog is at http://karen-magill.blogspot.com; my website is www.karenmagill.com and I am on Facebook at : http://goo.gl/1VL3f and my Facebook fan page is: http://goo.gl/ulvSy . I am on twitter @KarenMagill

q)  Do you have plans or ideas for your next book?

I am working on my next book now. It is a continuation of the Julie Seer and Santoro Ricci series. It is set in Vancouver and focuses on the area and history of this city as well as a murder and the paranormal.

r)  Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

That would have to be my parents. They have always supported me, made suggestions, and sometimes just listened. If it weren’t for them, I may have given up long ago.

Thank you for an awesome interview, Karen.