When I woke this morning (at 4:30am) I could not move fast enough to find out anything about the direction of the votes. Now I have to own-up to a slight knot in my stomach as I found out that … Continue reading
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Arts? Do We Really Do Enough?
Today I want to talk about the ARTS and how I think there almost the most important of all the curriculum. I don’t know about you but my interests stretch between writing, (very important to me) photography and music. (playing the guitar) All of these are from the arts. So you could say Im artistic or at least creative.
I went to a special school event where a number of schools had joined in a singing venture. Each school were taking a part to play in the production. It is probably obvious that one of my children was taking part. I have two children, both boys and both in school. When it comes to the arts i.e. Music, Paint, Dance, Writing, Singing, I’m not sure we get how important these subjects are in our schooling. Both my children have preformed in school plays and to be honest until today I thought they were brilliant in what they had done. Only with this joint venture there was a team of five who are covering the country spending what amounts to three hours with these schools, if I can be honest Blowing the current teaching out of the water. In just three hours these wonderful women have made these children into a pleasure to listen to. One year seven student sang like a professional she was fantastic.
Only it does lead to the question, should we not be doing this as an everyday thing? Shouldn’t our schools put as much resources into the Arts as they do the three R’s. I know its very important to be able to read and write and preform arithmetic. I also know that there are resources for the Arts already but and it’s a big BUT. If five teaches can transform many schools with only three hours tuition, shouldn’t we ask if were doing enough Now!
When I went to school the three R’s were everything. I began writing on a more serious level only seven years ago. Thats almost twenty years after I had left school. To be clear I’m writing from the UK and I know there are much better places in this world that prioritise the arts much more than us. If anyone would like to comment on how good there schooling is then please do, I would love to have another countries comparison.
Remember Enjoy! And Please, Please comment.
Are you a Skilled person? or a Knowledgable person? or both?
Knowledge and Skill, are two words that people use to describe others abilities. Although we all could be guilty of the synonymous use of these words. I feel we need to give them more thought. Because when we do we may find that they have very different meanings entirely.
The competence of a person can be assessed using these two words but have you ever looked into your knowledge or skill level. For instance can you tell someone everything there is to know about your field of work but you seldom put this into practice and when you do you seem clumsy and un-practiced. Well thats more knowledge and less skill working hand in hand. Or someone who can turn there hand to anything but has a hard time telling people how to do it. Thats skill but little knowledge. I believe I maybe the latter. Which believe it or not is the better of the two.
You see a man with little knowledge can increase his knowledge by reading and learning the required knowledge. Almost anyone can do this with enough time and effort. But an man with little skill may be able to increase his skills by practice but we all cannot be Leonardo Da Vinci or Mozart, and from the academic world there is Stephen Hawkings and Plato. These men were Knowledgable beyond most others. But to have reached this level they must have had skill in equal measure. For I’m sure there are men out there now with the understandings of the greats (the knowledge) but lack the skill level that is required to bring about true greatness.
So in short if you have knowledge then use that knowledge in practical applications and you will grow your skill to its fullest. But if your lucky enough to have Skill then acquire all the knowledge you can and you may be great one day.
In the end both Knowledge and Skill are required to master any field. My personal feeling is that its best to start with a bit of both. After all a skilful brain surgeon with little knowledge is a surgeon with a dead patient. Also an engineer with a lot of knowledge but little skill makes for machines that don’t last that long. (hmmmm is that why things just don’t last that long anymore.)
I hope you enjoyed this post. I know I’m not writing enough post and will try harder.
Please comment or just Like my post.
“The man who makes everything that leads to his happiness depend upon himself and not upon others, has adopted the very best plan for living happily. This is the man of moderation, the man of manly character and of wisdom.” – Plato
“I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.” – Plato
Inside My mind
I was having a conversation with someone the other day and we touched on the difficulty and the process of writing a novel. He asked about the amount of information needed and hinted on it being very difficult. Also he commented on how my spelling and grammar is not the best.
These are two very good points and it got me thinking. The process of writing a hundred thousand words plus novel is probably the most complex and complicated thing I have ever done.
It’s not just the start, middle and end thing but the main story ark and all the small story arks within them. Each novel has chapters that must have a protagonist and an antagonist. They must have intrinsic and extrinsic conflict with them selves and each other. Maybe even with many other characters as well. The chapter has to have a start middle and end, each chapter has to have scenes and those scenes have to have a start middle and end. This rule applies to the pages and the paragraph. Even each and every sentence has to have a purpose. If it has no purpose then it has no right being in the book.
Also the characters have to have profiles, people don’t realise that even though we writers don’t put the past twenty years of a characters life in the novel, they do have a life before the story. Thats each character has a whole book inside my head already. They have lived and had good and bad times before strolling into what ever situation that my storyline has given them.
Each novel has at least three main threads to it. And many more minor threads through out. And thats just the one I’m currently working on. I don’t know about other writers but I have one finished and thirteen unfinished novels and many more short Stories floating around my head at any one time.
All this is inside my head. Maybe I should say sorry for the times when I’m a bit forgetful or distracted. I have good reasons but I promise there not excuses.
As for spelling and grammar all I can say is if you ask a builder to build you a house he will get the bricks (for a writer his brick are the words) and place them all in order following a predesigned plan. The architect would have spent many hours and days drawing out his vision of a building and the builder puts this together. As a writer I don’t pretend to be a good builder but I’m a good architect. I can design the book and work on all the plot lines and all story arks, character profiles. But I may need a little help at time to put it together at the end. Please don’t forget the creativity and passion that I have poured into my prose. For my head is full of many lives, young, old, thin, and fat, Human, animal and alien alike. I have whole civilisations being created and being destroyed in my head. To say a writers mind is a busy mind is probably one of the most understated comments ever made.
It’s My Birthday Blog!
Picture from www.pic2fly.com
Well, here we are again, on my birthday. I don’t have many deep thoughts or profound truth to share today, even though, at 41, maybe I’m supposed to enter into a status of maturity and impart wisdom on all unsuspecting youthful twenty somethings. Well maybe, but hay ho who am I to tell you what to do. I could be accused of opening my mouth to much on the odd occasion, I could even be right in what ever wisdom I’m spouting (on the odd occasion). All I can do is tell you what I have learnt. Some people may disagree with me every now and then but I think I should share all the same. After all isn’t that why we all blog in the first place.
Enough of all that. I stumbled across a question offered by baseball player named Satchel Paige and thought it fitting being its my birthday.
“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?”
Now this really ticks the boxes for me right now, mainly because I’m forty-one years old and feel younger by far. So if I didn’t know how old I was then I would be a lot younger if asked.
He was also quoted saying, “Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, then it doesn’t matter.” I love this one, because it really reflex’s my own opinion on the growing old dilemma. It only matters if you let it. So ask yourself the first question and when you have finished answering that one then think about the whether it matters to you.
I’m forty-one and love the fact that I’m more wise about the world and people. I can hold a conversation with most if not all people I come across. My life experience has given me the knowledge to write many short stories and almost two novels. I have two children and a wife of over twenty years. Happy is the under statement, I’m ecstatic with my age and the life that I’m living. We trade the youth for the wise and its a win for me no mater how I look at it.
I think this sum’s it up quite nicely.
Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional. ~ Chili Davis
So happy birthday to all that share this day with me today. Enjoy it whatever your age.
Wow! Another Year Already
Image from http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk
Wow September the 8th, I get to this part of the year and it brings to mind that the year is about to enter its fourth and final quarter.
My birthday is in just over a week on the seventeenth and although this once filled me with wishes and expectation when I was younger, it now makes me look back on the last twelve months and take account of what goals I have made. What I have accomplished and even more so, what I have not accomplished in the last year.
For one, I said I would have sent my manuscript out to an agent. And buy and large I suppose I did, only it keeps coming back complete with rejection letters. I wanted to start a new novel, Not a sci-fi but a crime thriller, and that is on its way. I’m at least a third of my way to finishing the first draft. I’m very excited about this one. Its fast and gritty, with honest characters that are filled with many conflicting values and principals. Its great to write about bad guy turned good and god guy turned bad. They say the secret to a good book is conflict, and inner conflict is even better it is also a great motivator.
Its no secret that I’m a great sci-fi fan but the crime thriller genre is a page turner for sure.
The novel’s called, “The Promise” it follows a father and a promise he made to his wife sixteen years earlier. He is bad guy turned good. The only thing is a bad life has a habit of coming back, wanting its flesh even when you have no more to give. The promise he makes is about his daughter who has just turned sixteen. She has no idea what her father once was, where he made the money they live by today. How will she cope with the idea of living off blood money?
I really do love this one, and I hope so will the agents and publishes when its finished.
In the mean time my other novel “Purple” is still out there awaiting representation so any up and coming agents fancy a read and I haven’t sent it you then please don’t be shy.
A friend of mine was on his annual holiday and by chance bumped into an agent at a hotel bar. The conversation moved on to my friend telling her that he knew someone who was trying to get published. (Thats me he is talking about, incase you were wondering.) She told my friend the same as every writer out there knows. They have many thousands of query letters and synopsis per month and it all starts with the query letter, if thats ok then its the synopsis and if their still reading then its the first fifty pages or so and if you are still in the running, then they request the full manuscript. And even then you are likely to be rejected. Its a numbers game, a mood game. For instance if the agent had a bad night and had had enough of sci-fi then the next sci-fi novel would not get past the query stage.
In the end you can have the best query in the world and a synopsis that would bring tears of joy to the eyes. A manuscript that any full time author would give his right eye for. Your query can still be binned at the first glance.
I try not to take this as a negative but to reassure myself that if I keep sending them out and keep writing more, then one day it will be my manuscript that the agent see’s, and that day they were looking for a manuscript just like mine.
I have made big improvements in my personal life, finically and emotionally. I look forward to what I have to come in this next year, who knows what may come.
Character Relationships and Development.
Sometimes I think we can get so court up in the big full-on relationships of ours characters that it is possible to lose sight of the whole picture.
We are told that when developing characters that we should make a personal profile, by giving each and every character there own back story. Basically a life before the plot. This is to give us (The writer) the ability to write from their (The character) life experience. Now this is good as long as you keep the exercise to the point of view characters. I say this because when I first started writing in a more than caesural manor, it was this that through me the most. Know one has ever told me that the least important the character, the less back story you need to create. Making a full and colourful life for all your characters will be fun, but I’m not sure if its necessary. To be clear I’m not the kind of writer that writes a full profile on any of my characters. I make them in my head and they stay in there. I was asked to explain this once and my explanation spooked me as much as it did the person asking. They said ‘How do you make these people up?’ my response was a few moments of fumbled thought and a few scratches of the head, then. ‘Its like there is a small room in the back of my head, where there are many little people. (I mean little people in my head) They kind of listen to what I want and when I’m stuck I hand over to them. They then spend what ever amount of time is necessary to make things work. I can be washing the car or cooking the tea but when they have finished working with the plot or character problems. I get an alert that things are ready to move. This normally comes in the form of that magic called inspiration. I stop what I’m doing and go find my laptop.’ Now the weird thing is that in my imagination this is what happens, a group of people live in my head waiting to help me when I am stuck on plot or character. Snapping into action when required.
Am I schizophrenic? I think not, I just have a good imagination. When you look at your own life and the complex relationships that are held there, you may see a kind of scale. First there is your close and most important relationship, your wife, husband, partner. These are the ones you know most. Then there are siblings, uncles, aunts, friends, work colleague and so on, the list goes on. What we have to remember is that when we interact with these people in the real world, we do so on a much different scale. Some people don’t get on with their mother or father. Some cannot be in the same room with there brother or sister. Some people place friendship far above the family connections.
Also if you give yourself such strict guides as character mapping, you can take the ability for a character to be lied to, or be manipulated by another, because you know too much about them. In life we fight to see the genuine within people but get it wrong more times than any of us would like to admit. By mapping every character I think its possible to take that ability away from your characters and make them a bit predictable. I would be very interested in your view on this, as I find characters fascinating and think its this that drives me to write.
Please comment or send me an email.
A day of snow
This gallery contains 26 photos.
I think this is the first snow we have had since November 2010. At least its the first that could be sledged on. I thought I would post a few pictures of my snow day. We in the Glenn household … Continue reading
SLR Camera I want one! But Do I Need One?
I want a SLR Camera, but I don’t know if I need one. I suppose I’m a creative person, well I do like to write. So its only natural that when I pick up a brush I want to paint, when I have a thought I want to write it down, so it only stands, that when I see a sunset or a beautiful flower and especially when I see one of my children at play, I grab my small digital camera and start to click away.
So why do I need a SLR digital camera?
I think it has something to do with my age maybe, or more so my insistence of better quality. My journey of writing fiction has made me more appreciative of detail. I’m currently scanning my hundred thousand plus word novel, sentence by sentence for fault and bad quality. So now I look at a picture I have taken and find myself thinking, only if I had taken a bit more time, thinking about what I wanted when taking the picture.
I know I can do that with the camera I have now, but its not the same when holding a small compact. A quick snap and back in the pocket. But with a bigger more bulky camera, well it makes me want to take pictures. I hold it and I find things to take pictures of.
I’m looking at three Canon SLRs, the Powershot SX40 HS, the ESO 1100D and the ESO 550D. These are all beginner level SLR’s, which (I’m in no delusions) is what I am. The SX40 is a fixed lens Bridge SLR while the others are not fixed lenses, which means I can spend more later if I like what I’m doing. the difference between them now is basically pixels and features. each one can do some the other cannot, thats apart from the 1100D and the 550D because its just price between the two, even with my limited knowledge I can see the 550D is a better camera. but is it worth the extra cost.
I like writing because this kind of thing does not happen. Its a pen or a laptop and how hard is it to find a laptop that you can type on.
Learning To Write, The Lesson Goes On
This being my first post about writing this year, I thought it may be a good time to update you all on how far I have come along this road we call Writing. At the turn of the year it was two years and three months from when I decided (after reading a book I thought of being badly written) I was good enough to write a novel.
Since then I have finished a novel called Purple, which is about a man and his family. How an alien race attack his home town. The protagonist John Valley has to fight to find his son and wife whilst coming to terms with his birthright which has given him extraordinary powers.
I began another novel called Sole Man this one is a supernatural thriller about a man who moves to a new home only to find he has unlocked an unusual ability. I’m currently only half way through this one. Mainly because Purple decided to push its self back into my life with (you guessed it) a part two, I called It A Lost Nation. This follows Purple but two years on. A kind of what happened next. I know that the books say that I should have finished Sole Man first but I just could not get Purple out of my head. With all the short story ideas, some written and polished, others still just notes on my computer, I’m finding that I’m pretty annoying to my family with all the change of subjects.
I suppose this is one of the biggest lesson, that you have to finish the story because if you don’t it just stays an idea. last december i sent Purple to a Pod cast show and the first chapter was read out on air. Paula B (thats the host) says that the story and suspense was good but it needs cuts and a good copy edit. I think her words were ‘this is un-readable in its current state. At the time I thought ok, thats fine, maybe I should go over it again. It wasn’t until the first week into January that I decided to take a look at it.
Now keep in mind that I thought it was almost at a publication quality. The very first sentence I found two things that need changing and the punctuation was not good. I must have changed every sentence on the first page, then on the second page. I have since cut two and a half thousand words from the first twelve thousand words of the book. I’m acutely getting worried that this will not stay novel length by the end of this edit.
That said, it sounds so much better for the cuts. I think Stephen King said in his book On Writing that you must kill your darlings. Well it wasn’t just my darlings that I’m killing it was some very bad stuff that had no right to be in the book in the first place.
I began writing because of the thought that I could do better than a published author, well I have since read more of that authors work and have enjoyed most of it. He had a bad book I suppose. I can only throw my respect to all authors that have managed to get published. Maybe I will never be one of them or maybe I will. All I can say is that I love to write, I love the way the characters come to life in my head, how they become part of my life. And as long as I can write I will, published or not. I will learn and the lesson will go on.