Another Annoying Little Book

14 09 2016

Mogworld (Dark Horse Books - 2010)

Back in 2014, I finally managed to finish a book which at the time was something of a bane in my reading life. The book was called MogWorld, and it was a book about a character living in a MMORPG video game world and it was written by Ben ‘Yahtzee’ Croshaw. I began reading it in 2010, but it was a hard one to read although it was filled with a lot of humour and at times was mega funny. Anyway, in 2014 I committed myself to reading the last section of chapters and then I was glad it was all out of the way and that I had finished it.

Well; now it’s 2016, and I have another annoying little book which I began to read a while ago but have yet to finish. The book is none other than Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder. I bought it back in 2013 while I was studying a Screenwriting course at the University of Central Lancashire along with a copy of Syd Field’s book: Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting. I bought them because, well; the name Syd Field is hammered into your head while on these courses although I have yet to hear of a film or TV show he has worked on, but also because I thought they might help, and I was first introduced to Blake Snyder’s book earlier that same year. I have yet to make a start on the Syd Field one, but I began reading Blake Snyder’s as soon as I got it.

Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need (Michael Wiese Productions - 2005)Instantly I could see it was a book that spoken the hidden truth, by that I meant it said things how they were and was in all honesty very funny, but also very descriptive, and easy to understand. It even used examples from the world of film and screenwriting to make its points plus also had a little game inside that you could make a homemade copy of easily. As well as that it also came with exercises, while I have yet to do any of these, the book used them to get you thinking. It also gave me perspective on the 10 basic story lines of cinema too:

  1. Monster in the House
  2. Golden Fleece
  3. Out of the Bottle
  4. Dude with a Problem
  5. Rites Of Passage
  6. Buddy Love
  7. Whydunit
  8. The Fool Triumphant
  9. Institutionalized
  10. Superhero

So why do I talk about it like I have read it and why if I am so interested by it do I consider it annoying? Well, it is very in-depth and I really do like it, it’s a very fun book and I really hope to finish it one day and use it as a way to help me with my screenwriting. The issue sort of comes from putting off reading another chapter for a while, and when you start reading a chapter that references a previous one that you have forgotten, it’s hard to remember the context: that’s what happened. And generally, as my screenwriting course came to an end, plus the enjoyment I used to have for the course by this time vanished; it was hard to keep it up when I wanted to do something else. That was it really and since then, much like MogWorld, it is featured on my ‘currently reading’ profile on Goodreads, consistently reminding me that I have not finished it yet, although the gap from now to the last time I read it is significantly smaller than when I finished MogWorld.

The Foundations of Screenwriting (Delta - 2005)

My hope is that one day, like MogWorld I will finish it and then everything will be happy and I will be able to look back on it more fondly, but right now I just need to just sit down and do it! Whether I start again or not is another question, but right now it’s all about just trying to find a decent time to just do it, while making sure I do not do the same with Project Nemesis.

Project Nemesis (Smashwords Edition - 2012)

GENEPOOL

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How/Where/When Do I Start?

16 09 2015

X-Men/Avengers: Onslaught Omnibus book

After nearly 3 months since ordering it, a few weeks ago I finally received my copy of X-Men/Avengers: Onslaught Omnibus through the post. I have been looking forward to its arrival for a long time now, but my search for such a book began several months before then.

Onslaught

I have known about the X-Men comics character of Onslaught for a long time now, but I never really looked into him before, although I have always been fascinated about him. So I looked up his character and history in the comics on Wikipedia, and I was amazed at what this single character was capable of. After reading the synopsis of the story, I knew I wanted to read the comic story and looked around online for it. All I could find was a collection of 4 books (X-Men: Onslaught – The Complete Epic) showing the whole series. I wanted to buy them, but finding all 4 books proved tricky. So I left it for the time being but I kept looking back in the hope that something might happen. I discovered that there were some other comics more readily available which chronicled the road to the whole Onslaught saga, but still no real sign of those saga books.

X-Men: The Road to Onslaught, Vol. 1 (Marvel - 2014)

Eventually though I discovered a full book was due for release soon. I looked it up and checked it rather a lot for price, plus to make sure it was the same story. It was, and so after nearly more than a month of eyeing it online, I put my order in for it, and now it has arrived and is sitting on my shelves waiting to be read. I knew when I ordered it, that it was a big book at over a thousand pages; however I completely underestimated at how big it was going to be. It arrived in a big box, and was thinking that once again the supplier (like many on Amazon) provided a big box, but the item inside is only a third of the size or something. Well it wasn’t. It was very big but also rather heavy. When I put it on the shelves alongside my other big books, while it’s not as tall as some of them, it is by far the largest book I currently own. And that’s where it remains as I have yet to read the first page, and don’t know what the best strategy to read it is.

Onslaught: The Complete Epic (Marvel - 2008)

 

It’s not like I haven’t read a large book before, it’s more that it is so big that I can’t use it for my main book read, as most of those can fit inside a normal plastic bag; and I can’t use it for bed time reading neither as it is possibly too heavy for that (plus I know what it feels like to wake up in the morning and find that you fell asleep while reading a comic). The issue is more that because it’s unlike anything I have read before; I feel like it requires its own dedicated time and place to read it. So it comes down to needing to find a time to read it that will best suit me, plus where I can have space to open it; most preferably across a table for it to rest on, because I doubt I will be able to hold it by the bottom of the book spine like I am able to with most other books I read. At the moment though it is something of a struggle as I have other stuff to read too; I am only one chapter into Darkmouth: Worlds Explode and I am now fully engrossed in The Enemy series having just finished The Enemy and now moving onto The Dead. Plus I have yet to finish Save The Cat! and have begun reading If You Could Ask God One Question (plus a Marvel Year by Year a Visual Chronicle that I received for my Birthday).

Marvel Year by Year a Visual Chronicle (and you can just see the edge of a copy of the board game Taluva too).

It could be sometime before I finally make it round to reading Onslaught, but who knows, before then I may even get to read those prelude books and stories and then have an even larger knowledge of the story. I look forward to reading it too, because while I know the story thanks to Wikipedia, I will get to see it with my own eyes too. Let’s not forget; it is a comic book after all.

X-Men Avengers, Onslaught

GENEPOOL





Books I’m Currently Reading

18 02 2015

The Knife Of Never Letting Go (Patrick Ness - 2008)

Since reading The Hunger Games back in 2012, I have been a constant reader. After joining Goodreads in 2013 I have been posting up what is the most recent book I have read and they appear in a little tab on the side of this blog and my stories blog. in 2014 I took part in a reading challenge on Goodreads. Initially I thought I would try and read 10 books. I thought that was a good number. In total I read 25, (with me constantly editing the challenge every time I reached a milestone). This year I thought I would go up from the original 10 but not go overblown like I did with the challenge in 2014, and try to read at least 15 books this year. So far I have read 5 this year, but the first four were quite quick reads and in essence the first three were comic books. The books are:

The thing that I am struggling with this year though is getting late nights and therefore feeling really tired to actually read. On several occasions in recent months I have found myself trying to induce a power nap before hand so I can then have plenty of awake-ness to be able to read. The usual time I would read regularly is on the train to and from Preston, but due to the tiredness, I don’t feel up to reading, so most of the times I have read recently are when I feel like reading and when I force myself to do some reading. But given the last two books I have read, I haven’t minded, because they were truly gripping.

A Monster Calls (Patrick Ness and Siobhan Dowd - 2011)

Another issue I have had (but this one is more constant over the last 2 years) is there is too much I want to read. Every now and then I find myself in Waterstones looking at new books I want to buy and read. The problem this incurs is that I start reading too many things when in hindsight I can read roughly less than 5 books at any one time. So at the moment I am pushing myself into that reading state and have no more than 4 books to read at any one time. While it is the case I have started some and not finished them as well as have quite a few books on my shelf that I need to get round to reading, I am forcing myself to stay on track with 4 books, and each one of these has a particular category. They are:

  • Main Reading
  • Bed Time Reading
  • Course/Research Reading
  • Christian Reading

My main reading refers to my main book reading at the moment and that is usually and has been for a long while, Fiction, particularly, Young Adult/Teen Fiction. I rarely find myself exploring adult genres, however, I have become a fan of Michael Crichton and have read both Jurassic Park and Micro (finished by Richard Preston). Bed Time Reading, is a spot I allow myself to read something completely different but only allow myself to read it as bed time approaches. Due to my current bed situation though, I am currently not reading anything at bed time. For the most part I read comics at this time as they are an easy read, mainly X-Men but have become interested in reading Fables at some point. Course/Research reading refers to reading something for my course at University, this has allowed fiction in the past with books including The Casual Vacancy (didn’t read all of it, 25 pages at most), War Horse and Jurassic Park. Christian Reading refers to the current Christian I am reading at the moment. My Christian book library is quite small at the moment, but each book I have read during this time has personally helped me every now and then. So with my current reading situation coming down to just 3 books. I thought I would let you know what I am reading at the moment.

Facing A Task Unfinished (Roger Carswell - 2011)

Title: Facing a Task Unfinished: A Personal Devotional for Evangelism

Author: Roger Carswell

Category: Christian Reading

I have owned this book since 2012 when I picked it up at Saved2Serve. It wasn’t until I left Saved2Serve 2014 and returned home that I began reading it. My reading of it is a bit on and off as it is a study course of one mini chapter per week. I find myself reading it when I can and read 2 or 3 chapters at a time. It is quite useful as it has a bible verse in each section, followed by a thought for meditation, then there is a little poem followed by a prayer you can read. the book also comes with space to allow you to write down your own personal prayers. It’s quite a nice little handy book to have as it doesn’t require much time to use and so even if you only have 5 or 10 minutes to spare, you have plenty of time just to read a little bit at a time.

Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need

Title: Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need

Author: Blake Snyder

Course: Course/Research Reading

I have been reading this book for almost 2 years now, not as long as it took me to read MogWorld, but still a long time. It’s the case that while I try to read it regularly, doing just that is quite hard. I find it weird though that I don’t regularly read it; because it’s so good. It’s very explanative and also very funny to read but also puts your mind in situations of understanding and then goes through with you certain important points of how to write a film script. These points include, pitching, structuring and plotting out everything before you even write the first ‘FADE’ on your script. A really terrific read that is both informative to those who want to learn how to write a script as well as interesting to those who are just interested in the subject.

The Ask And The Answer (Patrick Ness - 2009)

Title: The Ask And The Answer

Author: Patrick Ness

Category: Main Reading

What is now the third Patrick Ness book I have read in a row, The Ask And The Answer is the second book in the Chaos Walking Trilogy, the first being The Knife Of Never Letting Go. I have actually yet to start reading it due to the sleep problems but hope to start reading it this week. I am really looking forward to it and to see where the story goes as the last book finished on a huge cliff hanger and now have to wait and see what happens next.

Bookshelf

So that is what I am reading at the moment. While I currently am not reading anything at bed time, the floor is open to pretty much anything, as long as it’s a quick reading. as for the other collections, while I do not know what the next Christian Book will be or the next Course/Research book, I look forward to reading them, providing I enjoy them. While The Ask And The Answer will likely take me time to read it,  as long as I continue to enjoy the series I will probably proceed to read the final book in the series; Monsters Of Men, then I’ll have to start looking again as to what I should read next.

Monsters Of Men (Patrick Ness - 2010)

GENEPOOL





Is It Possible To Write A Film Review In 100 Words Or Less?

4 02 2015

Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need (Michael Wiese Productions - 2005)

A few months ago I had this idea of trying to write a short film review. The idea being to write a short film review that more or less got to the point quickly without analysing the film in detail as I think that my monthly film reviews are more of analyses than reviews. Originally the idea was inspired by the Blake Snyder book; Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need. Snyder talks about the situation we have all been when we want to go to the cinema but have to decide what we see.

“We’ve all had this experience… It’s Saturday night. You and your friends have decided to see a movie. One of you is picked to read the choices from the newspaper while the others listen and decide.“ – Save The Cat! (2005)

Snyder goes on to describing the situation similar to pitching a movie. Snyder was what is called a Spec Writer who would write a script then attempt to sell it to a big studio. Snyder though points out an important problem which both you as someone who wants to see a film and as a writer faces in a pitch.

But what’s it about? If you can’t answer that question, you know it pretty quickly. If what the movie is about isn’t clear from the poster and the title, what are you going to say to describe it?” – Save The Cat! (2005)

This is where the idea of a 100 word film review spawned. As point of a blog post possibility as well as a Creative Writing exercise. To get a full review within such a strict word count would be hard, but it would restrict me to how much detail I went into. It would basically come down to what happens in the film, who’s in it and is it any good, as well as any additional footnotes regarding who made it, soundtrack and effects. After a few months wavering over this idea I finally sat down to attempt it.

Neo-Tokyo

Originally I was thinking of using the film AKIRA as the first one as I saw it a few months ago for the first time, loved it and is one of the film reviews I want to do the most. When it came to it though, I didn’t want to spoil a bigger post of it later on as I feel a full-blown analysis (of the kind I produce) would be better off as there is a lot I want to cover. So I did a film I have reviewed once before and know pretty well: Batman Begins. When writing it however I discovered a problem, at least a problem for my writing style. The word count of 100 words was not enough. The problem was that despite me trying to get to the point quicker, my style of writing was still a bit too detailed. Even with some cutting I struggled. So I upped the limit, sounds like cheating, but it gave me options. I raised it to 250 words and only kept that to the blocks of text reviewing the film and not the quick references at the top of the review stating who directed it, who’s in it, who composed the music for it, who was the cinematographer and which studio produced it (and the film title also). Also, originally I was going to give it the title ‘100 Word Film Review’ followed by the title. Due to the increased word count I changed it round to ‘250 Word’. In the end however I gave it the title “A Bite Size Film Review” as I thought it was a much better title. While in the end I was not able to produce a review in 100 words; I feel like I have managed to accomplish the original intention however. Thus managing to produce a film review template that allows people a quick source option when wanting a quick guidance on whether or not they want to watch a certain film (that reads like an essay at university level). I now just have the uphill task of doing it for many more films.

Batman Begins Poster

GENEPOOL (The film review in question will be posted up tomorrow).





The Annoying Little Book

19 02 2014

ZP

I love reading (something that becomes abundantly clear to my regular readers). I like to get lost in amazing worlds and connect with the characters that you meet and greet as you continue to read. I even have ideas of what I think I will read next, I have just started reading The Fire Within by Chris d’Lacey for my bed time reading, while my main reading at the moment is of course the final book in the GONE Series; LIGHT by Michael Grant. As well as both of those I am also reading Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder. While all of these books are very enjoyable, there is one book that has cast a shadow over my reading.

Mogworld

This is Mogworld by “Internet Sensation YAHTZEE Croshaw”. I have been a fan of Yahtzee for almost five years now and while my consistency of watching Zero Punctuation has waned over the years, every now and again I get back into watching it, and continue to enjoy it. When I heard that he was writing a book, the moment it was released back in 2010 I picked up a copy of it and instantly began reading it.

Mogworld is a very funny book with a weird bunch of characters and settings and situations. And as the chapters go on things get even weirder, but the one thing that stays consistent is the high level of comedy, no matter what happens in the chapter, there is always room for scenes of laugh out loud comedy. But it’s not just the laughs, the book delves deeply into the world that the book is set in which (this is not really a spoiler as this has been well documented before the book was released) on this occasion is a video game and delves deeply into the culture including in-game finance, politics and how zombies are not as stupid as they look.

So you may wonder ‘what does the above title mean if the book appears to be relatively good?’, well thank you for asking. The problem is that the books in-game structure is very hard to read. The books type text size is very small and there is hardly any spacing, ok for many people this may not be a problem, but it is for me. Due to this it can take almost 5 minutes to read 2 pages. Each chapter has 13 pages and when it can take a while to read them, it does get annoying and I do get very despondent, which after almost four years does begin to get at you. Which is a bit of a shame, because there are roughly less than 100 pages to go until I will have finished reading the book.

While at the moment it is not my main read as such, I do hope to finish reading the book at some point, I am too far in to just stop because it will niggle away at me. In the meantime though, it will be nothing more than a book on my goodreads ‘currently reading’ profile with no end currently in sight, but don’t let this put you off from reading it or YAHTZEE’s second book Jam.

Jam

GENEPOOL








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