Dipping my toe back in

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    Hello you lovely Denizens!

    When I “took a break” from the Den back in 2018 to focus on book related stuff I didn’t mean the break to be as long as it has been but 2019 turned into an absolute stinker. However we made it through and while I thought I’d let myself off any New Year’s Resolutions this year I did keep coming back to one that felt important – find a way to do less of the negative, soul-sucking, confrontational, polarised, joyless social media and get back to doing more of the stuff I like – e.g. talking to writers. And when I was thinking about what I loved about social media, I kept thinking about the Cloud and how many hours I used to wile away chatting about all things writing, and other stuff too. So here I am. *waves madly* Who else is here?


    Still here. Still reading. Still writing.


    Hooray! Lovely to see you here 🙂 Is there a short story comp running this year?


    Hi Skylark. Lovely to see you here. How are writing things with you?


    Hello! I have a first draft that needs some work doing. Tentatively opened it the other day after a bit of a break. Found a massive continuity error in the first two chapters! Ah well. I need to get stuck into some serious rewriting now. How about you?


    Oh heavens it is good to see you 🙂


    Yes indeed. Don’t anybody take this amiss, as those who do post are lovely people and I value you all, but the Den has remained a rather small place, things do get a bit quiet and dull sometimes, and I still miss the liveliness of the Cloud. So yes, it’s great to see you back, Skylark.


    Oh, and yes, there is a comp / challenge (set by Athelstone again), but I’m afraid you’ve missed the boat. There’s still a regular monthly comp running though.


    I am currently trying to turn a sprawling first draft into something with a bit of shape and trying not to notice all the other things that need doing to it!

    We actually had some sun yesterday – I’d forgotten what it looked like – but woke up this morning to wind and rain. It feels like this has been the gloomiest winter for a long time.

    I went to see Little Women on Tuesday. It was wonderful. Much better than I expected!


    Good to see you too, Daeds 😊


    Hi Richard! It’s lovely to see all your familiar faces popping up. I wasn’t looking at joining in this time, just checking it was still going. Good to hear it is 👍👍


    Jane, I’m the opposite as my first draft is very sparse and I need to work out what needs more and what’s fine as it is, plus working out if the story is strong enough which is probably my biggest worry. It’s gloomy here too. Hibernation weather! I’ve not seen Little Women. In two minds about watching yet another remake but it seems to be getting good reports.


    I thought that about Little Women too. Yet another remake. But the structure is very clever, dotting between the past and present, and it is full of life and magic. It made me want to go back and reread the books for the millionth time. I’d strongly recommend it but take tissues!

    I always worry if the story is strong enough but I don’t know how you can tell when you’ve lived with it for months. At the moment mine just seems to be one conversation between the same people after another with not a lot happening and I’m resisting the temptation to throw another dead body in for the sake of it!

    Off to see 1917 this afternoon. With the weather so awful there’s not much else to do round here.


    Haha, a dead body will certainly shake things up. I’m sorting out all the obvious problems and then I need to pass it on to fresh eyes so that they can tell me all the problems I can’t see. And hopefully they will tell me the story is strong enough…

    You’re tempting me with Little Women… Should I go and see 1917 too?


    *waves frantically* Hello Mandy! Great to see you here. Yes, it’s much quieter here now, and though I guess some ex-cloudies peep in from time to time, there aren’t a lot of partakers atm. Only 4 entries for last month’s comp for instance, and so far the same for the winter short story comp. Such a shame, but hopefully things will improve.

    As for my writing, I’ve taken Doris (my latest book) as far as I presently feel I can, but after a few twitches of interest, nothing more. I’m at a crossroads writing-wise now, questioning which direction I feel happiest taking. Meanwhile, I’ve largely stood back from writing. Glad to see you’ve picked up your WIP again and can’t wait to hear more about it. I’m sure it’ll prove to be another good one.


    Hmmm Not sure about 1917. It was certainly visually stunning and showed a lot of the awfulness of life in the trenches but it was curiously unengaging – not sure why – Maybe it was just not my sort of film. Plus I thought the basic premise was unlikely which didn’t help.


    Still here also (and elsewhere!) and glad to say one 2019 resolution was fulfilled by my self-pubbing the first three of my ‘Love triangles with murder’ series, so now I’ve got book 4 to a near-beta read stage and begun book 6.


    I haven’t seen 1917, Jane, but the review on either Front Row or Saturday Review concluded that it was a rather unengaging film. I think they ascribed this partly to the camera technique.


    Waving back at you, Janette. It’s lovely to familiar faces here. It’s a shame it’s been quiet but these things sometimes go in phases. It was always going to be hard to build something up from scratch after the Cloud.

    I empathise with where you are writing-wise. I got like that in 2012 when my children’s novel just wasn’t getting any interest and I really didn’t know which way to go next. Then, after months of just writing whatever I felt like, Jesika happened out of nowhere. I think when you put least pressure on yourself, good things can happen 🙂 My current WIP is in need of something but I’m at the early stages of rewrite so I haven’t worked out what it is yet. Though I had an idea just as I was falling asleep last night…


    That’s a shame, Jane. What was the basic premise? I’m not that big a fan of war films with a few notable exceptions.


    Hello, Sandra! That all sounds brilliant! I think I must have missed that last year in amidst the chaos. What are they called? I’ll look them up x


    Hello, Libby 🙂 It sounding less and less like my sort of film.


    Hello Amanda, it doesn’t sound my kind of thing either. One thing the reviewers said in its favour was how balletic and choreographed it was. Coincidentally I saw a short silent film – 5 minutes or so – a while ago which depicted the Western Front by using only two male dancers in uniform, dancing in slow motion and getting tangled up with each other. It was very atmospheric and strongly emotional in a quiet way.


    The basic premise is that two very young low ranking soldiers get sent off through miles of no mans land to prevent another section (sorry but I can never remember the correct names for sections of the army but it is around 1600 men) falling into a trap by attacking what they think are a few Germans. I struggled to believe that they would only send a couple of very junior soldiers. I kept on expecting some kind of twist that would explain this.


    That sounds wonderful Libby. Can you remember what it was called?


    Yeah, that doesn’t sound so plausible! Libby, I agree with Jane – that sounds much more interesting.


    I think the premise might have been plausible, Jane and Amanda. If I’ve got this right, the telephone lines between the front line and HQ had been cut and therefore the regiment (?) on the front line didn’t have up to date intelligence. The idea was to get the despatch drivers to update the officers on the front line so that they wouldn’t make an advance which had been planned in the belief there weren’t many Germans.

    I can’t remember the name of the short film, I’m afraid. It was British. I saw it at the arts centre outside Maidenhead. We were asked to fill in questionnaires afterwards to say what we thought of it, presumably to help fund further short films. If you search for Western Front + short film + ballet you might find it. Let me know if you do 🙂


    You have got the premise right @Libby although I don’t think the two soldiers are despatch drivers. To me it just came across as unlikely that only two low ranking soldiers would be sent to cross miles of dangerous territory with no particular plan and little chance of success but maybe it was supposed to show how useless, confused and uncaring high command were.
    I tried to find the short film but no luck.:-(


    Hello @skylark my lovely. Great to see you venturing back in. I’m not a big presence here, but I do love being able to come in and know I’ll find friends. Hope the second draft continuity glitch is resolving itself. Who needs continuity anyway? I think most things temporal should be banned from novels. Really, why do days of the week need to happen in the right order? 😀

    I kind of want to see Little Women – at first I was thoroughly uninterested in yet another adaptation, and it drives me dilly that there are *so many* good classics out there that are crying out for adaptation but the same few keep getting rehashed (*cough* Dickens and Austen *cough*). But the reviews are so good, I can feel myself getting sucked in…


    Hello @skylark! and everyone else! How nice to see you all here having a chat. Exciting about your second book Mandy, I’m sure it’ll be a cracker. Are you feeling any of those second book pressures after a successful book 1? I loved Jessika so much – in fact there is a wonderful book shop here, my local one luckily, called Brunswick Bound. They host a monthly bookclub which is fabulous (I don’t get there as much as I’d like but it’s alway interesting and wide ranging as anyone can drop in.) The host is lovely, intelligent and considered, and also provides free wine and snacks so what’s not to love? ANYWAY we were discussing Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton (Aussie author) and the whole child-voice approach. She said she had yet to read a book with a child-voice narrator that really captured her or felt truly convincing and solid and I said, well, I have this writer friend, and told her about you and Jessika. She hadn’t read it so I’ve left it with her as I’m certain it will change her mind! Also she might buy it for her shop 🙂

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