Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Where Did Imagination Go..?

December 15, 2014
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As Christmas gets ever closer the advertising machine goes into overdrive. There are numerous adverts on the television and other outlets for an abundance of toys and gift ideas for all the family. As I do not watch much television, when I happen to catch a stream of adverts I am amazed at the toy choices given. Why, you may ask? Well it is the lack of toys that encourage a child to use their imagination. Everything is themed or a character figurine or a ‘set’ of some kind or other.

lego

I make the comparison with lego – when I was a child lego consisted of various shaped blocks with which you used your imagination to build a plethora of objects. Today lego blocks are in kits, which make a single themed toy. Where is the imagination element? How can a child conjure up fantastical creatures, futuristic vehicles and unique buildings when the blocks limit their creativity?

To be a ‘whole’ person, we need to explore our physical, spiritual and mental capacities, in essence to find what we love, what we are passionate about. If we are limited in that exploration we, and our future generations, will experience a imperfect life. 

Take a simple cardboard box at Christmas it is the focus of young children while their expensive gifts are discarded. Why does a simple box engage so? Well, because it can be ‘anything’ – a tunnel, a car, a house, and much more because their imagination makes it that way. It is limitless in its possibilities.

Let’s look at guarding our imagination and that of our children.

What is your view on imagination and creation?

cardboard box

Pretentious Personalities Help Create Characters…

November 20, 2013
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Pretentious – definition: assuming an air of great dignity or importance : pompous

pompous

As writers we strive to create believable and memorable characters. One way to do this is to study characters in movies or on TV that resonate. I found this great list of pompous characters, all of whom are well liked in their media situations but would certainly be difficult to actually live with in the ‘real’ world. Each of these characters have clearly defined personality traits, which make them well rounded personalities.

http://whatculture.com/tv/8-lovable-tv-characters-insufferable-real-life.php/1

There are many methods that, as writers, we can use to form a character. One of the most common is a ‘character biography’ or ‘profile’. I have inserted a couple but you can always formulate your own. We can also utilize personality traits from people we know or even celebrities. A good deal of the information and back story we put into our character’s profile will never get onto the page but with our knowledge of them ensures our character reacts to the situations we put them into, in a ‘realistic’ way.

What method(s) do you use to form your characters?

bio sheet

Character

Exorcising Carnage Creatively…

June 6, 2013
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Carnage – definition: the slaughter of a number of people : massacre

400px-Sadler,_Battle_of_Waterloo

Television viewers are assaulted with images of carnage on a daily basis. Regardless o,f if it is a war, revolt, terrorist attack or mother nature, there is human and animal suffering displayed to the world by the news cameras. When I was younger; I’m talking late teens early twenties, these images had a profound effect on me. I would have recurrent nightmares, which incorporated all the most disturbing pictures I had witnessed. It was at this time I resolved never to watch the news. My parents told me I should keep up with current events and affairs, but I just couldn’t do it. So I left the room when the news came on at my parents house and when I moved out, I never switched it on. Several years later I happened to accidentally see a news clip. What struck me was its similarity to the last report I had seen except the location of the carnage had moved.

What is wrong with the world, it is on some sort of repeat button? Are we on a thread wheel, going round and round in circles? Supposedly we are the ‘higher’ animal life on this planet, so why can’t we learn? Doesn’t the natural world give us enough to contend with without adding to the pain, suffering and carnage?

End of lecture…and on to a happier note.

The images I was exposed to on television and film still haunt me on occasion but now I can use them creatively banishing the demons. One scene from my novel, Life in Slake Patch, has my antagonist, Evan, in shock.  After a fierce battle he finds many dead including a close friend. He questions their actions. Was it worth the lives lost?

How do you expel your demons? 

Blog Carnival…Come & Join Us… 1st May

May 1, 2013
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Today’s word is not really a reflection of what is happening here and over at Melissa’s blog. http://grosvenorsquare.blogspot.ca/  We are having a carnival of writing spaces.

Attrition – definition: a reduction or decrease in numbers, size, or strength over time. In actual fact the opposite is true. An increase in participants and sharing is happening.

Come and join in the fun of this Blog Carnival.

This is my writing area, it’s still a work in progress but a lot better than my previous make do space.

I upgraded my writing space last June from the dining room table to a proper desk set up at one end of our living room. With the addition of bookshelves, printer, filing drawers and inspirational pictures on the wall. It is my favorite place in the house, with views left and right of our acreage and the wildlife that lives in it. In an ideal world I would have a separate room away from the constant noise of the TV but step by step, I hope to have my own study some day.

This picture shows my old faithful silver laptop, which assisted me through three NaNoWriMo challenges as well as a ton of writing. Unfortunately just before Christmas  it died and I invested in a new one with Windows 8. It has taken some time to get used to the new format but now I am going full blast. The little green creature on top of the shelf is the soft toy version of my Rumble character I made.

New Writing DEsk 003

My inspirational wall, including NaNoWriMo certificates, a letter from Stephen King and the Pride of Strathcona Award, I received.

Picture Wall

My new baby…

DSCF1975

A Bonanza of Our Own…

February 22, 2013
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Bonanzadefinition: 1) a large, rich mineral deposit 2) something that brings a rich return

Cropped screenshot of Michael Landon from the ...

Cropped screenshot of Michael Landon from the television seres Bonanza. Episode: “Bitter Water” (1960). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you are like me (showing my age here I know- it was the re-runs honestly!) you will immediately think of the TV show. It was a good old cowboy show in an era before political correctness. In hindsight it’s basis was very stereotypical – cowboys = good and Indians = bad or subservient, which was probably worse. Anyway I digress.  The story revolved around a family, their cattle ranch and the trials and tribulations they encountered. The characters were conventional and their reactions predicable but nevertheless it was enjoyable for its time. I’m sure it would be viewed as outdated and bland to the youth of today.

Modern movies are fast paced, action packed and include, in the most part gruesome realism. Looking back at movies like the original King Kong, the special effects of that era are laughable. Technology has advanced beyond all expectations in the last 80 years or more, but somewhere along the line we lost our innocence, our sense of wonderment.  Of course rubber model monsters walking through a scale model city do look rather idiotic now but they were cutting edge at one point. Violence was portrayed but for the life of me I can’t remember it being so, well violent. Do you understand what I mean? It seems to be a prerequisite for all movies nowadays to contain a certain amount of violence in one form or another. Is it all really necessary?

As for the special effects used today we seem to forget that what we are watching isn’t ‘real’ but images on a blue screen. They even have virtual actors!  We’re not amazed at how a real actor can ‘act’ with a cartoon character. Just think on that for a minute, the actors can’t see anything in front or around them, all they have is a big blue screen. How difficult must that be?  Take Avatar for instance large blue beings and humans together on the big screen but never on the movie plot.

With this ability to ‘make’ creatures, landscapes and other objects seemingly interact with human actors they are delving into the writing realm. Our words create worlds and characters, which are conjured up in our reader’s imagination. No two readers will ‘picture’ our characters and their environment exactly the same. So in essence we write superior ‘movies’. The same story can be seen ‘visually’ in a multitude of ways instead of a single persons interpretation.  We deliver our own bonanza.

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