Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Master!

I know quite a few who could boldly hold this title. Let's start with the first and rather obvious, as this is a blog in his honor.
William Shakespeare, The Master of Words.
I have tried to pinpoint my favorite play. This has proven to be an impossible task. When I had listed, in my mind, eleven plays and fifteen sonnets I just simply concluded with him being the best. But, gun to the head, I think it would have to be Othello and Much Ado about Nothing. So, Shakespeare is the best, The Master.
Another thing, I am planning of taking a masters degree, which will make me The Master, hehe, of English. A Master, anyway!
A Master of an age not so long ago would be Tolkien.
He is, without a shadow of a doubt, The Master.
Peter Jackson is also The Master. He took on a book of great magnitude and turned it into the most beautiful films I have ever seen, and now he's doing it again. I hold my hopes high that he has some sort of intention on giving Silmarillion a go as well, though I know it is a task even he might not be up for...but Master none the less.
I also think J. K. Rowling is The Master.
She is an inspiration, and a living proof that following ones dreams are possible.
But in conclusion, I think I meant this Master with the title of this entry.
The Master, Doctor Who's nemesis.
Here in the shape of John Simm.
And here in the shape of Benedict Cumbarbatch. This is not a certainty yet, but if it is I feel anticipation down my spine... I think this one is one of my new favorites :-) Have a sweet Saturday!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sherlock, my new favorite TV-series...


Ok, I bet all of you have seen and marveled in Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes. The two films are brilliant, both in terms of direction and action. The actors are perfect for the job, and they convey fantastic abilities as well as the story Mr. Ritchie is telling.

But, I might have revealed that I'm a sucker for the Television series... So when I see a Television series called Sherlock I'm automatically intrigued.

My first meeting with the famous detective was through a film produced by Steven Spielberg. The film? Young Sherlock Holmes.
My father doesn't approve of films in general, I think he believes them to be an unintelligent form of art or something. But this film I actually saw with him (this is a fond memory for that reason alone, as I've watched very few films with him), and it seemed as if he liked the film just as much as I did. I later unravelled that he actually respect the good Mr. Spielberg, thus explaining why he liked the was sort of clear to him even before we saw the film, Spielberg had had a say in this, so this would obviously be a great film. And it is. It has it all, mummies, poison, inventions, pipe, Sherlock, Watson, Moriarty, Lestrade, and pretty lady. I am proud to say that this film is in my permanent collection, and will remain there at least until my son is old enough to watch it, and I can watch it with him.
Ok, that was the start of my Sherlock adventures.

Now comes junior high. One of my class mates were borrowing a lot of books from me, and I felt a bit miffed that I never got to borrow some in return. So I told him. The next day he brought his Sir Arthur Conan Doyle collection... You might think I'm about to tell you that I was thusly lost in the smoky Victorian London, lost in stories of Hounds and Crowns, and I really wasn't. At the time I was far from, let me repeat, far from ready to read these books. I tried one, and it was not for me... But I'm good at pretending, so I think my friend thought I read them... If he now reads this...sorry mate, I didn't read the books...then!

Disney gets lost in most of the beautiful and thrilling stories there are, and Sherlock Holmes is no exception. Basil Mouse was rather scary back then, and still is now!

Then I saw, and enjoyed terribly, Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stockings with Rupert Everett as Sherlock Holmes. I thought to myself that Sherlock had never been better.
I was wrong.
Enter Robert Downey Jr.
Now...Sherlock couldn't possibly get any better, or could he?
Well, in my mind he obviously could. My brother keeps saying about music that the best he's ever heard is the music he hasn't heard yet. I think I feel the same about films and series... I'm even anticipating the new Superman film...convinced it will top all of the old ones.
Finally we are with the series I intended on prompting.
Simply called

Sherlock Holmes is a man of our own century, and he's depicted brilliantly. He's presented like a sort of John Nash meets Agent Dale Cooper, only incredibly British.
Watson is a Doctor, obviously! But, what's more, he's a soldier having fought abroad in the war (Iraq).
All the characters from the old books are there, only in a modern wrapping. And though this next bit is a bit of a spoiler I have to include it.... Irene Adler is far better in the series than in the films. She is a true opponent and a very credible love interest for the brilliant mind.
Now, there is more... Watson is being interpreted by Martin Freeman, and for those of you who enjoy a bit of fantasy, you'll know he has the principal role in a small, low budget film coming to a theatre near you the 12.12.12
And if that's not enough, the fabulous man playing Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch, is the voice of Smaug.

If you haven't seen this series yet, I strongly suggest you do!
It's so much more than elementary.

Good night!
And to all of you who didn't get that last picture... that would be a so-called cliffhanger, be sure to tune in!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

How to keep writing!

When you are in the process of writing your novel I know for a fact you will meet a number of obstacles, and this is a little guide how to write through them.

I'm sure most people have at one point in their lives thought "I'm going to write a novel, how hard can it be?" And then they have started writing, hitting about Thirty pages and then found a full stop. I's not that you don't have the ability or imagination to finish the story, but suddenly you just can't. Having done a bit of writing in my time I know a few things to do when the so called "writer's block" comes sneaking.

First of all, I don't think writer's block really exists. I think that if you really really want to write, and have something on your mind, you will be in the possession of the ability to power through. I can understand being so busy that finding the time to finish a story is hard, but even then I think it's all about prioritizing.

Sketch out the frame of the story, if not anywhere else but in your mind. Know in which direction you are moving. That the journey of writing can take you to a different destination than you first had in mind is completely brilliant, and don't fear it. It just means you are feeling your story.

Make time for writing every day. My teacher once said, "Write ten sentences each day, and chances are you'll write at least double". I say, Twenty sentences could be a decent blog entry, so there you go! It obviously depends on what they say, but you can get pretty much information out in Twenty sentences.

Make sure you have what ever inspires you close at hand. And if now faith will have made it so that the inspiration is a beautiful man or woman currently not close to you, then imagination is a great thing (I'm not suggesting stalking or anything :-) ).
I normally find my inspiration in stories already written, movies, television series even, and music. But I once wrote a story based on a picture of a very intoxicated Vince Neill from Mötley Crüe... So it is really true that inspiration can strike where and when ever, and don't you miss out!
For me these days it's almost impossible doing anything without Marillion close at hand. No, I don't have the actual people here...I wish, but their music on my iPod.

Set the scene. Describe environment, describe how things smells, how things looks, how things feels. And here's a trick on how you can do this without sounding like something every single person has read and heard before. Write the cliché. Then change the words, but not the meaning. Then change it again, and what you're left with is a new way to talk about something familiar.
"My life changed when I met you!" - fairly straight forward.
"My existence altered when you came into my reality!" - changed, but still the cliché, now, can I make this special? I don't know, I'll give it a go, make it special so that at least I feel it's special.
"Living was a word I didn't quite understand before you suddenly made it all clear to me. I feel so blessed to be a part of a life altering experience. Also, knowing that it will keep on changing for knowing you is an uplifting thought." - yes, I know it's not Nobel prize material, but the last one is more novel like than the first one.
This is actually a fun exercise, and I really think this daring to think outside my own box is one of the things that has made me a better writer. You have no idea how many times I re-write a novel before feeling it's finished.

Be true to yourself.
This sounds like the earlier mentioned cliché, but I mean this from my heart. Writing a story about what you find exotic might come off as blunt and ill researched from other's points of view. You have to write about what you know, thus making it exotic to others... And if you want to write a story about something you don't know too much about, you have to research...a lot!
Know that there are always someone out there cleverer and smarter than you. I'm not saying you shouldn't believe in yourself, because you should. You should write your novel thinking you're so good that even Shakespeare would envy you your skills. But being denied publishing because you haven't gone deep enough into the material is a bit aggravating and annoying...believe me! So if you are a teacher, then write a story from a teacher's point of view. If you know a lot about comics, then find a way to incorporate your knowledge.

Have fun!
This is probably the most important point to this little list. Have fun. If it becomes a drag and you feel a lot of obligation you probably should leave that particular project (unless you're writing your bachelor thesis, then keep up the good work!!!). Writing a novel should be an experience for the writer when writing it as it is to the reader when reading it. Only then, I think, you'll leave enough of yourself for it to work.

Oh, and Wikipedia, and search engines of the same kind must remain open to all, as it is a tool for a writer, a quite useful one as such!

Have a great day!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

What about Silmarillion?

Eru (or Iluvatar) is alone, and he starts to sing.
He sings the ocean into existence, and then he sings the Valar spirits into existence. The most powerful of them are Manwë and Melkor, brothers in good, one evil. This story sure starts out great.
I particularly love the idea whit a universe springing out from music.
Then they all sing in his divine choir, a symphony from his thought. One of the powerful Valar, the previous mentioned Melkor, starts creating his own harmonies, forcing those closest to him to sing along to avoid disharmony. He thinks he's quite clever. But then Eru starts a new pattern and they are once again singing in perfect harmony. But Melkor again had a pride in creating his own harmony (or so he thought), and the Valar closest to him again had to correct their song according to this disharmonious melody (he was dangerous as Melkor, but it's when he scorched his face and built Utumno and changed his name to Morgoth that he became really nasty. And to be quite honest, he's a real danger as Melkor as well, because he uses his beauty and his innocent face to scheme and plot, and he manages to hunt the elves from the Undying Lands, having behaved like the snake in Paradise, so no matter name, he's a real evil piece of work.).
However, in the end even Melkor singing out of tune, is all a part of Eru's plan, and their song has created what was later to become the Undying lands, and further Middle Earth. Thus, only slightly more poetic than what I present, starts Tolkien's wonderful, epic, compound, sublime story about the creation of the precious Silmarils. In the beginning of the story Tokien has created this biblical language getting vast amounts of information in every sentence written. Every single word matters, and this is why it's hard to read, that and the many elven names (personally, that's where I get a bit confused, who's related to whom, and who is not related at all. Read it, and you'll know what I mean.).

I have an illustrated copy of The Silmarillion, and the pictures (by Ted Nasmith, you know one of the two creating artwork for the Lord of the Rings movies) are of such beauty that I sometimes go to the bookshelf, taking it out, stroking it...looking at the paintings...yes, I guess I'm quite strange. But look at this painting below, that big guy is Ulmo, the god (or the Valar spirit) of the ocean...The litle guy is probably Fëanor, but I might be mistaken. This is not me offering an expert statement on Silmarillion, this is me looking into the novel from a fan's point of view. I'm not that kind of fan unable to talk about anything else than my heart's desire, no I'm something else. I can go days, weeks, months even without mentioning LOTR or Silmarillion, but I'm thinking about the stories every single day, knowing that the world would be a lesser place without them, feeling sorry for those who claim they don't like fantasy and adventure, and simply trying to convey the importance of dragons!
The artwork inspired by Silmarillion are beautiful because of the stories they represent.
The story about the creation of Arda is simply breathtaking (this is the biblical part).
The story about Beren and Luthién had me in tears from the beginning to the end, I think I cried for an hour after reading it. And the fact that Viggo (Aragorn) sings a song about Beren and Luthién in the extended version of LOTR (The Fellowship of the Ring) is even more brilliant. That shows me that Peter Jackson has understood what Middle Earth is all about, and I respect him more and more.

This picture is from the age of the stars, after Melkor has destroyed the lamp, and before Arda has fashioned the great trees of Valinor. This is when the firstborn were awakened, the elves, and they marveled at the sight of the faint, yet mesmerizing light from the sky.
I am not going to use much energy on what this book is about. The reasons to that are many. But the most important one is that I might remember wrong, because it's a quite compound story, loaded with small details, and a lot happening at the same time...I might have mixed them up a bit. For example, who is Eärendil and who is Elendil, I know one is an elf and one is a king of Numenor, and I know one of them ended up with the last Silmaril on his forehead, up on the sky in a boat, as a star...(in fact Galadriel refers to him in the fellowship of the ring when she gives Frodo the light of their most beloved star, you know, the shiny bottle Sam uses to scare Shelob aawy...but who of them was he?) And also, I really think you should read it yourself if you haven't yet. It has it all. Creation, evil, good, love, war, hate, despair, victory, defeat, deception, creativity, magnitude, and brilliance... (I have given it some thought, and checked... Elendil was Isildur's father, and also a king of Numenor. Their signature was the white tree, a feature they brought with them to Gondor after the first war with Sauron... Eärendil was an elf who currently sails across heaven with the last Silmaril on his forehead, and bears the name of the elves most beloved star).

I can tell you, though, that there are three main stories. Next to the creation of The Undying Lands and Middle Earth, the first really important one is the creation of the stones called the Silmarils, and the war that followed (everybody wanted to own the precious... Sounds like another story we know? They probably have similarities, but the ring of power was created for bad, whereas the stones were created for good. The light in the stones was taken from the trees of Arda. Only the one who created the stones can hold them, but they make him, Fëanor that is, into a hard hearted elf. He also has to bear the blame for the war, even though the real enemy is Melkor, and the war is evil, bloody and long lasting, and also incredibly poetic. One stone is thrown into the ocean, one is lost in the pits of Utumno (I think), and the last one ended up as a star.
The next is the story about Beren and Luthien.
Beren is human and Luthien is an elven princess. They meet in the forest ( a forest that might end up as Lothlorien...But the world changes, so it might also be Rivendell, but in my mind it's what ends up as Lothlorien), and fall in love. Not the kind of love that is presented in an romantic comedy, or a chick flick, but the kind of love that is eternal and pure and even God-like. They are not allowed to act on their love, but they end up doing so in the end.
Beren is at one point taken prisoner by Morgoth (I think he has changed his name at the time, yes he has, because this is after the war of the stones, and his face was scorched by the powerful stones, making him unable to change back to the elven beauty he possessed as Melkor), and then Luthien single handedly (well...with the help of a big dog that can talk) saves Beren from a pit in Utumno. The story is really beautiful. It describes a love that I'm not sure exists any longer, I think we have forgotten it. But I do believe the love a mother or a father feels for their child is close to what Tolkien is trying to describe here.
And then the last important story is about the kings of Numenor.
But all the time there are stories beautiful and strong enough to crush your heart.
 Reminding me that it's about time for me to read it again.
What I will give a try to convey is the way I felt when reading the best book so far in my life.

I had, at that time, read The Hobbit, and Lord of the Rings, and now in my hands was this amazing book. I might have bought it myself, but I had it in my possession, and was looking forward to read it with awe and a feeling of disturbance in whatever force I'm led by. Disturbance because the people I know who had already read the book told me it was difficult, both the language and the story. And my copy was in English, so I was worried my English skills wouldn't suffice. They did! And I entered a universe of lamps who could reach the universe. I cried when Melkor destroyed them. I really loved the trees,
one for day and one for night. Though this image is from the age of the lamp... But again, look at the serenity in this painting, I have no doubt it is a magical world.
Oh, I almost forgot. The story about Gondolin is also brilliant! And also, listen to Marillion... they are my favorite group, and guess where they got their name...
Yeah... getting carried away, much??? I think so :-)
Ilye, arat mellon ello palan, hi vana parma lóm ello Valinor. Enquant i ore. Mán dú!