Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Literary News – Colleen McCullough…

February 2, 2015
mandyevebarnett


Colleen photo

Again we have lost a wonderful author,Colleen McCullough. I was dismayed at the harsh comments concerning how she looked – what does it matter what the outside looks like? She was an accomplished author and a Neuroscientist. It was her imagination, her drive and her love of life – which is apparent by her gorgeous smile and twinkling eyes. We will value her work and obvious intelligence and her words in some 24 novels and shun the insincerity of ‘face value’, ‘puddle deep’ thinking.

Here is the announcement:

“It is with great sadness that Harper Collins Books Australia advise(s) that the iconic and much-loved author, Colleen McCullough, passed away on Thursday in hospital on Norfolk Island, aged 77,” the publisher posted on Facebook.

Her 1977 novel “The Thorn Birds,” which sold 30 million copies worldwide, was made in to a TV miniseries in 1983, starring Richard Chamberlain, Barbara Stanwyck, Jean Simmons and Christopher Plummer.

The generation spanning novel is set in the Australian outback. “A priest torn between his calling and the lure of a rancher’s daughter in this sumptuous epic…resulted in the second highest rated miniseries ever after Roots,”according to TV Guide.

At the time, the book’s paperback rights sold for a record setting price of $1.9 million.

McCullough was born in Australia, but lived and studied abroad for many years. She was a neurophysiologist and worked at hospitals in Australia and Britain, and for 10 years at Yale Medical School in New Haven, Connecticut.

 Thorn Birds cover

Aside from “The Thorn Birds,” McCullough wrote more than ten other novels including the historical series “The Masters of Rome.” Her most recent novel, “Bittersweet,” was published in 2013.

She was also featured on an Australian Post postage stamp. “She was one of the first Australian writers to succeed on the world stage,” according to HarperCollins Books Australia.

“It is very sad to lose Colleen McCullough. Her contribution to storytelling is the stuff of legend, she will be greatly missed,” Random House Books Australia tweeted.

Did you read The Thorn Birds? Watch the TV series?

Which novel of Colleen’s did you enjoy the most?

Good Writing and Story Structure in TV programs…

May 2, 2014
mandyevebarnett


 FunDay

We all have our favorite TV series, whether current or past but what makes them appeal to us? The writing has to be excellent with a strong plot line and characters we can love. I admit I’m behind the times in watching Breaking Bad (my main evening pursuit is writing!) but I was persuaded to watch one episode and got hooked. Rather than empathizing with Skylar, the mother figure, protecting her children, I really loved Walt and disliked the wife. This seems to be a common feeling among the audience and one that surprised the writer and producer.

See this link for interesting facts about the series: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/seven-things-you-might-not-know-about-breaking-bad-20140502-37lp2.html

When I thought about Walt, I remembered that I loved J.R. Ewing not the sappy Bobby! Do we love a villain above a goody two shoes? Obviously, the style and writing of these two programs is vastly different but both had bad boys that were the main characters. An alternative is Dr. Who, always the hero of the story, no matter how he is portrayed in his numerous guises.

tv-screen

Writers have come and gone in many long running series, but keep to the main characteristics (most of the time!) so we continue to love our favorite characters. We become engaged in their ‘lives’ and miss them, as if they were real when the series ends or is discontinued. Take for example my impatience to watch the last season of Dexter. I know it is the final one but I miss the character a lot.

Another series I found was Weeds, which is, to my mind, a tongue in cheek story line. It is obviously unrealistic as drug runners are not as accomodating as the one’s encountered during Nancy’s naive pot supplying antics. It leaves many questions unanswered in why a surburb housewife would be able to do what Nancy does and for the most part get away with it. If you view the episodes light-heartedly and as a piece of fun then it is enjoyable.

Which TV series do you find compelling – past or current?

What makes them your favorite?

Fun Day Prompt:

Write a scene using your favorite character from a series you love or loved.

 

 

 

 

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