Saturday, 10 July 2010

My Current Preoccupation

So I realised the other day, I haven't updated y'all on my latest creative project. No, it's not the rebirth of Helvetica Outbreak, Britain's premier d'n'b/metal act, sorry to disappoint.

I had planned for quite a while that when I finished uni I would use my spare time (before I get a proper job) to get a head-start on writing a novel. I was going to adapt my science fiction/noir screenplay for this purpose, but I figured that I've spend almost a year working on that narrative and it needs some time to ferment.

Whilst I was pondering what to use as my subject matter, an article in Christian Marketplace, an industry magazine for booksellers and buyers, was brought to my attention. The article was about the lack of fantasy fiction aimed at Christian teenagers, and how there's no viable Christian alternative to the popular specular fantasy sagas like Harry Potter, Twilight and the His Dark Materials books.

As soon as I read this I had the 'lightbulb flicking on above head' moment of realisation; this is what I could write. I started working on my idea and began writing a couple of weeks ago when I got home from uni. So far I have written 17,500 words, with my target being roughly 80,000 words, depending on how the narrative evolves.

I won't give away too much of the story, as I want to plug the gap in the market before anyone else does, and don't want any idea thieving going on! But I will say that the novel is about a Christian teenager who discovers he has the ability to cross over into the spiritual realm, where he is given the task of defeating the demons which manipulate people to sin the physical world. It's pretty dark stuff, but I figure that's what kids like these days. The protagonist also has to deal with the everyday pressures of being a Christian teenager, but I'm trying to avoid being 'preachy' and just sticking to basic helpful life-lessons, as well as encouraging the reader to develop their relationship with God.

There you have it. Like I said earlier, I hope to be approaching publishers by the end of the summer. We'll have to wait and see if I have any success, but I do really feel that this is something God has placed on my heart and that it is a way I can use my gifts to serve Him and bless others.

On another completely unrelated note, I can't wait to see Inception! It looks like it's going to be amazing. When you consider Christopher Nolan's track record, you can't really expect him to go wrong now. I've watched The Dark Knight over and over and every time I find some new aspect of it I didn't see before. Anyway, I think it's safe to say that Inception is gonna be my film of the summer, if not the year.

Also, on the topic of films, I started watching Princess Mononoke again the other day, and had forgotten what an incredible anime it is. If you like Studio Ghibli movies and haven't seen it yet, go and get a copy now, it is a breathtaking classic. Don't know if it's my favourite Miyazaki film, cos Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle are also brilliant; and then there's My Neighbour Totoro, who could forgot that. Any movie that contains a cat that is also a bus gets a thumbs-up in my book!

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Something strange is happening...

I have found myself bizarrely interested in the World Cup as of late, the strangeness of this concept being that for most of my life I have been decidedly anti-football. The reasons for this stance were two-fold. Firstly, I've never been that good at the beautiful game myself, generally relegated to a defensive position where my usual tactic was to rush screaming at the attacking players (it did work sometimes), and secondly, I just couldn't generate the same level of passion for the sport as my friends. While they were obsessing over league tables and their latest season on Championship Manager (vintage 97/98), and would much rather have read a book or immersed myself in Final Fantasy.

I think the turning point came when I started doing the home delivery job at a certain frozen foods specialist (hint: it's not Greenland). Whilst out in the van I would listen to the radio, and quickly became bored by the monotony and repetition of Radio 1. I don't really know why, but I decided to switch over to Radio 5 Live. I've never switched back. I was initially attracted by the book and film reviews during the weekday afternoons, but gradually I began to take an active interest in the sport commentary broadcasted on Saturdays. It was so funny to see my friends faces when I chipped into their conversations with an actual viable comments about Rooney's performance over the weekend, or something of that nature.

When the World Cup came along, I said the same thing to myself as I do every time England play in an international football tournament; I'm not getting sucked in. This time however, the same as all the other times, I did get sucked in, but not in the way I expected. Rather than just following the my national side's ulcer-inducing scramble into the second round, I actually found myself absorbed in the entire tournament, to the point where I've been filling in a little World Cup planner in a magazine my Dad left in the living room. When the inevitable happened and England were knocked out, I didn't lose interest and pin all my hopes on a certain British tennis player, who in my opinion was never going to beat Nadal this year anyway (see, I also have opinions about tennis too!).

I think this World Cup has been particularly intriguing for me, mainly because of the big upsets during the tournament. When former winners such as Germany lose matches to underdogs like Serbia, it makes you sit up and think, who is actually gonna win this thing? All predictions go out of the window, along with shock early-exiting favourites such as France and Italy, leaving the field very much open to anyone. I guess it feels a little bit like the equivalent of me, a fairly unfit and unskilled player, managing to somehow wrong-foot one of my football-fanatic mates and send the ball sailing into the top corner. So maybe I'm enjoying it because I feel I can relate to the underdog spirit of the lower ranked teams that rewrote the record books by beating their bigger national neighbours into the second round and quarter finals. I was gutted when Ghana lost last night, but at least I was actually enjoying watching the game even though I had no national stake in it.

So there you have it. I'm actually enjoying the World Cup! I feel like the universe might implode from the very nature of that concept. I mean, it doesn't even involve lightsabers! My predictions for the remaining matches are as follows:

Germany will beat Argentina, and Spain will beat Paraguay, meaning it will be Germany Vs Spain in the remaining semi-final. The Netherlands will beat Uruguay and Germany will beat Spain, leading to a final between Germany and the Netherlands, in which Germany will win. Basically I want England to have been beaten by the best side! We'll have to wait and see if my predictions are correct. Post yours below and we'll see who gets it right!