FIVE FOR FRIDAY: CLOSING LINES

One of the better exercises I run during my workshops is also one of the simplest: I give participants a list of final lines from stories already published. Participants pick one and use it as the opening line of a new work. Once the story is completed, simply delete the (un-original) opening line and voila, complete story!

It often prompts participants to ask which of my own closing lines I would use, or which is my favourite. So here’s a list of five of my favourite closing lines. do the exercise yourself. See what you come up with. Then show me: I’d love to see where it takes you.

 

Five for Friday: Closing Lines.

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FIVE FOR FRIDAY: SOUNDTRACK ALBUMS

I love a good soundtrack album. A good soundtrack album highlights the narrative of a movie. It provides a beat-by-beat visceral reminder of that movie’s significant moments, while  bringing a contributing artist out of their self-enclosed zone and forcing them to create something to service a wider story, or at least to define a visual moment within their own, unique sound.

At their best, soundtrack albums can transcend the movie itself and provide a listening journey all their own, akin to a concept album of the highest water. The very best, for me, become an entity in their own right: you don’t have to watch the movie at all to appreciate the nuances, the narrative, and the emotional impact of the music within.

Here, then, are five of my favourites.

Five for Friday: Soundtrack Albums.

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FIVE FOR FRIDAY: EARLY GODS WHEN THE WORLD WAS YOUNG

Way back when I first started out to be a writer– no, not back in 2001. Before that. Nope, before that. before that– yep, back in the late 80s, when I began University and first set out to myself the idea that I might do this writing lark for actual monies, I was a simple boy from a working class background with a very mainstream and staid set of cultural influences.

Except in two regards: one was music, because I had my own boombox and could absorb the late night programs on the FM channels that were still fighting for ascendancy with my parents’ easy listening AM mainstays, and using progressive programming and an aggressively contemporary– still mainstream and radio friendly, but at least up-to-date– playlist aimed at attracting a younger audience.

The other was reading. My mother was a keen reader, and although we didn’t have many books in the house, she was an avid user of the local libraries, and our house had pretty much an ‘if you can reach it, you can read it’ system in place. Consequently, I was exposed to a wide range of what passed for literature in Rockingham libraries in the 80s (lots of Zane Grey and Jackie Collins, maybe not quite so much Don De Lillo and Jorge Luis Borges…) So I read Lord of the Rings at ten, was openly reading Erica Jong before I finished primary school, became a lifelong fan of Dick Francis and Robert Ludlum at a time when my peers were still reading Roald Dahl and John Marsden, and generally had the run of the local libraries. At a time when you could get a maximum of 2 books out if you were under 15, and 4 if you were over, I had a “how many this week?” relationship with the staff at the little library in Safety Bay that worked wonders for both my imagination and my biceps.

And then there was science fiction. SF was the genre that gave me the hunger, the one that opened my mind to not only what was being done in literature, but just what could be done. When I first started to write, seriously, with intent, in those early years of University, when all my horizons were limitless and my ambitions stretched light years beyond my abilities, I wrote science fiction. And when it came to influences, these were the gods I carried in my back pocket, whose words shaped the style of writer I wanted to be. Earlier on, I discussed 5 writers whose work I love and who influence my current ambitions. Now it’s time to look backwards, and talk about those who influenced my early steps.

 

Five for Friday: Earliest Influences

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THUMBNAIL THURSDAY SAYS SCREW YOU, PERSPECTIVE!

Not a straight line in the whole thing, not an angle that matches any other, but I have an overwhelming fondness for this cartoon. It’s one of the first truly good ideas I ever had, and one that requires more than an appreciation of nob gags to get. I’ve been writing these sort of righteously-deluded characters ever since.

0093

Time was quantum, as Professor Smedley well knew. It didn’t matter if he got dressed now or later, he would still be dressed…

THEY CALL ME…… THE WHITE RAVEN!

The International Youth Library is the world’s largest library for international children’s and youth literature. Founded in 1949 by Jella Lepman, it has grown to become the internationally recognized centre for children’s and youth literature.
 
Each year, the Library awards the White Ravens – an annual book catalogue of book recommendations in the field of international children’s and youth literature. This year’s White Ravens catalogue contains 200 titles in 38 languages from 56 countries.
 
The print catalogue will be launched at the 2017 Frankfurt Book Fair, and all 200 White Ravens books will be on display at the International Youth Library’s stand at the 2018 Bologna Children’s Book Fair.