I am writing this post in response to my previous post abook reviewVampire Diaries by L J Smith, and the fact that it was ghostwritten and not penned by a named author. I am by no means saying the book was no good, I’m sure it sold many copies, but as an avid reader I did feel it lacked authenticity. That is, where you get the impression the writer was very connected to the plot, the characters, the location, every aspect of the work and can therefore claim it as their own.
That’s my contention here. Vampire Diaries felt like it was just a part of a conveyor belt and not an individually crafted piece of work, if that makes sense. Now, for some people that may be okay, but for others, myself included, it has its limits.
I feel that artistic expression regardless of the field you are in; be it a writer, a painter, a photographer for example, should come from a place of authenticity as this will be the aspect – as subliminal as it is – that will connect with your audience. You need to feel what you are reading, watching or listening to is original and true and a reflection of the artists’ uniqueness. Not something that was ‘put together’ by some other means.
I feel art should be memorable and great art even more so. It should be a dazzling reflection of the artists’ creativity as they seek to capture your attention. You are kind of entering into a relationship with them and therefore need the assurance that what they have produced is the ‘real thing’.
And there is nothing more satisfying than the real thing!
Hello and welcome to March! Yes, I know, that was fast, next stop Easter!
But the purpose of this post is to discuss the above book. Vampire Diaries, The Hunters, Moonsong by L J Smith. Now then, has anyone heard of Alloy Entertainment? They are a large entertainment corporation that produce movies, books that sort of thing.
Well done to you if you have. I’ll come straight to the point. Vampire Diaries was not written by L J Smith, but was ghostwritten and commissioned by, yes you got it – Alloy Entertainment!
I have to say, as an avid reader that piece of information explained a lot about the book. It did lack that certain something for me.
The plot is pretty straightforward. A young woman, Elena Gilbert is about to start college, Dalcrest College. But Dalcrest college is no ordinary institution, it has a legacy of strange goings on! And the one person who knows more than he is letting on is the eccentric professor, James Campbell.
Before long students are being slaughtered under strange circumstances and Elena who is torn between two brothers, Stefan and Damon, is at the centre of it.
If you like stories where students morph into animals, secret societies , vampires, mysteries with a touch of romance then Vampire Diaries could be the book for you. However, I must inform you that it is one of a series. And there are plenty of books in the series.
Finally, if you are looking for a read with more bite, then this novel will not provide that! It is neither scary nor particularly convincing.
Sometimes Writing rules/advice isn’t about the sexy topics of motivations, twists, archetypes, or world-buildings. Sometimes writing is really very practical Often advice about making characters memorable is about having some sort of unheard of trait or backstory, but today I’m here to tell you that sometimes there are quite boring but important and useful ways […]
Writers and other creatives can often lack confidence and doubt their abilities. Especially true, in the face of so much competition! So, while you might be good at what you do, there are always others that seem to be better than you, or more successful or more confident. Sound familiar? I bet it does.
So what do these other creatives have that you have not quite harnessed yet? Self-belief maybe? Determination? Could be. Without these prevailing attitubes, they would not be bothered.
Practicing your art and sending it out into the big bad world can be daunting, but not sending anything out there at all, because of fear, or hesitancy means no one is ever going to know how good you are. And that would be a shame. It’s the equivalent of having a world-class oil painting and keeping it under a dust sheet! A waste!
Whatever art form you practice you are making a contribution, and everyone has a contribution to make. It doesn’t matter how small you think it is, it will resonate with someone else. And that contribution can be started at any stage in your life. It still counts.
Don’t be overwhelmed by anything negative in your own mind. Keep in your mind instead a vision of where you would like to end up. Whether, it’s a bestselling book, a painting exhibited in an art gallery, a photograph that appears in a prestigious newspaper. Anything you can think of is possible and attainable with self-belief and persistant application.
Finally, while you are there admiring the work of other famous creatives remember it would have been self-belief that got them there! And indirectly, they have paved the way for you to get there too.
Todd was just about to bite into his ham sandwich when the doorbell rang. He dropped it back onto the plate irritably.
He had no idea who was calling by and he certainly hadn’t invited anyone over. Todd trudged along the hallway to the front door and pulled it open.
‘Come on mate,’ Bruce said, ‘it’s freezing out here.’
‘Oh,’ Todd replied. I didn’t know you were coming around.’
‘Considering I’m your only mate and colleague, who can tolerate you, I think you should let me in.’
Todd stood back to let Bruce in and felt the cold air coming off his jacket.
‘Get me a nice cuppa fella, you know how I like it.’ Bruce looked around the kitchen as he always did, noticing how much the kitchen could use a facelift.
‘Actually, I was just having a bite to eat,’ Todd moaned ‘you know where everything is, help yourself.’
‘Is that it?’ Bruce asked incredulously, don’t tell me that’s dinner?’
‘Yep, it is,’ Todd replied brashly, ignoring the look of astonishment and despair on Bruce’s face.
‘We’ll have to find you a woman,’ Bruce announced more brightly than he felt.
‘A woman?’ Todd said with a lopsided grin, ‘women don’t like me and besides, women cost money.’
Bruce sighed. ‘But you’re not skint. Your mum left you all right, plus this house. What’s your problem? The rest of us are paying back mortgages and have kids to feed.’
‘Doesn’t mean I want to throw away what I’ve got, does it.’
Bruce shook his head. ‘What about Elaine from accounts? She’s coming to the dance tomorrow night and I happen to know she’s single, and she likes you.’
‘Does she really?’ Todd responded sceptically.
‘Admit it,’ Bruce said, ‘I know you fancy that girl a bit.’
‘Girl!’ Todd exclaimed with a snigger.
‘OK, so she might not be young but she looks all right. Anyway, you’re no longer a spring chicken yourself.’
‘Still doesn’t mean I want any woman does it. Besides, no point me going because I can’t actually dance.’
‘What! Is that your excuse? Don’t be silly, dancing is easy. Look, I’ll show you a few moves, if it will help you get a woman.’ Bruce rose quickly shaking himself loose. ‘Here goes.’
‘First you move your hips from side to side, like this. See, easy peasy. Then you swing your arms about a bit. Look, I’ll stick on some Michael Jackson music, it’ll help.’ Bruce twiddled with his phone and in a moment Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough was echoing around the kitchen.
‘Todd, leave the bloody sandwich for a tick and have a go!’
‘I can’t, it looks silly.’
‘Listen, tomorrow night you are going to at least look cool, maybe Elaine will be impressed.’
‘All right,’ Todd rose to his feet unsteadily, revealing a crumpled pair of jeans and a tatty jumper. ‘Right.’
He did as he was instructed and moved his hips from side to side then swung his arms out, and to his and Bruce’s amazement, he had a natural flair for dancing.
‘But they are bound to put on a slow song,’ Todd said terror stricken.
‘Then, this is what you do. You be the girl and I’ll be the guy. Take her hand like this, then…’
‘Hang on,’ Todd moaned ‘this looks ridiculous.’
‘Of course it does, but I’m trying to help you out. Now, I’ll lead you follow…’
The following evening at a banqueting suite in central London one Todd Mason turned up for his firms Valentines dance. He felt out of place in his best black trousers and freshly trimmed hair. With his shoulders hunched his eyes flitted around until they landed on Bruce.
‘There you are,’ called Bruce tapping him on the shoulder and giving his mate an appreciative once over.
‘Glad you made the effort,’ he announced at length. ‘Remember what I taught you yesterday.’
‘Yes, yes’ Todd replied nervously.
‘Now, let me see if I can find Elaine.’
Before Todd could object, Bruce sauntered off, weaving his way through the gathering crowd. Todd walked over to the bar and then grimaced at what he paid for half a pint of beer. At least the finger food was free he thought as he grabbed a handful of nibbles. And it was while we was stuffing his mouth with nibbles that he spotted a woman in a plain black dress and thick rimmed glasses weaving her way through the crowd. Bruce strode behind her with a big grin on his face giving him the thumbs up.
‘You know Elaine,’ Bruce said brightly.
‘I do,’ Todd replied guardedly, ‘you work in accounts.’
‘That’s right,’ Elaine replied, her eyes blinking rapidly.
‘I’ll leave you two to it then,’ Bruce announced retreating.
There followed an uncomfortable silence and in that time Todd was convinced he should have stayed at home in front of the TV.
Elaine stared at Todd, whilst fiddling with the strap of her handbag.
‘Can I get you a drink or something?’ Todd offered.
‘A glass of white wine would be nice.’
‘Coming up.’ Todd dashed off in the direction of the bar. He once again grimaced at the price of a glass of wine and gingerly handed the money over. He made his way carefully to Elaine and handed her the glass. He hoped she drank it to the last drop.
After engaging in some small talk, Todd learned that Elaine was indeed single and had never been married, like him.
Todd noticed that Elaine was staring directly at him and seemed to be very interested in what he had to say. He was also pleased that she actually laughed at the odd joke he made. Todd felt himself relaxing and almost pleased that he had come out tonight. He wasn’t looking for a girlfriend, but then again… Maybe Bruce was right after all.
It was while he was pondering the prospect of a girlfriend that a slow song came on and couples were moving onto the dance floor.
And in that moment Todd heard himself say;
‘Would you like to dance?’
‘Yes, that would be nice,’ Elaine replied in a squeaky voice.
Todd held out a large hand and watched as Elaine slipped her hand into his. Together they progressed onto the dance floor and without too much effort, he felt his hips sway from side to side, just as Bruce had shown him the evening before.
And pleasingly, Elaine moved with him in rhythm.
Todd Mason for the first time ever, felt at ease and optimistic. So, when he said;
‘Can I see you again?’ he wasn’t completely surprised.
‘You mean, on a date?’ Elaine asked uncertainly.
Todd nodded and gave Elaine’s hand a gentle squeeze.
‘That would be lovely.’
Todd’s heart swelled. He’d got himself a Valentine. And before he could calculate how much dating Elaine was going to cost him, he twirled her around, before pulling her closer.
Dad would have been 83 during the season of Capricorn (4 January), but sadly my father passed almost ten years ago during the spring of 2013.
It was and remains very hard for me to think of the passing of my father even to this very day. To say it knocked the stuffing out of me is putting it mildly. I doubt very much that you ever recover from such knocks as losing a parent. Fair to say dad and I had our tangles at times, mainly because I think we were so alike. But that profound love and connection was and remains to this day, unbreakable.
Dad Wilson, my father lived a complicated life and died a complicated death. He was never really happy with his life and felt he failed in many aspects. But that’s not what I see, when I think about him. I see a fighter, a courageous man, a hard worker, a family man, dependable, protective. All these things and many more, Dad was old fashioned and yet modern in his outlook.
Yes, he may be gone, but will never be forgotten, by his children, friends and extended family.
May he rest in eternal peace and it is my wish that he finds true happiness wherever he resides now.
Your eldest daughter, Sharon in loving memory. Xxx
Attributes of Capricorns:
Family orientated, giving, funny, protective, deep, can be troubled or complex, hard working, loyal, dutiful, devoted.