The Latest Incarnation of the Doctor.

Now that everyone has had time to think about the announcement of Jodie Whitaker being the next actor to play Dr.  Who, I’m going to put my thoughts out there…
I think it is absolutely brilliant casting on the part of the BBC. They’ve been working up to this for years and it’s finally coming true!!!

Anyone who has followed my blog for a while, or who knows me via Facebook, knows that I am a massive Dr Who fan. I started with the Seventh Doctor (actually I started before that, but Sylvester McCoy was the first one I really remember and liked.) When they rebooted the series, I was ecstatic. I watched every single episode of the Ninth Doctor, the Tenth Doctor and the Eleventh Doctor.  I’m not keen on the way that Peter Capaldi portrays the Twelfth Doctor, but I love the stories, so I am willing to stick with the show.

Why am I so happy that the next Doctor will be female?

Quite simply, it means that the girls who watch the show with their parents now, will have someone as a role model that they are watching week after week, rather than once in  the cinema until their parents get the dvd / blu ray…

What? Does that shock you? I want to show you something… First you need to go and look at this article:

Then you need to scroll down to the fourth reaction and watch the video of the little girl watching the announcement. I want you to take a long hard look at the joy on that little girl’s face, and then I want you to think about it.

How many female role models does that girl have? If they’re not big name mainstream (Like Star Wars, Wonderwoman / Latest Ghostbusters) or if the show is older than 5 years (Xena, Buffy, Summer) or if they’re fixed squarely in the 16+ only bracket (Starbuck, Ripley, Sarah Connor) then today’s girls won’t have heard of them unless their parents are fans of the movies and shows.

The role models that girls now have are people like Beyonce and the Kardashians (Pop and Reality TV), Disney Princesses (I am beyond grateful for Brave, Frozen and Moana breaking the “need a man to be complete” image) and the young women who are playing the main roles in the Disney / Nickelodeon kids sitcoms or the ones on the CBBC shows. 
 
Dr Who taking on a woman as the next Doctor, that’s a game changer – it means that the young women and girls will see a blonde woman (or whatever colour hair she ends up with – I’m hoping for red, myself)  doing things that they are constantly told aren’t what they are supposed to be.
They will see her using her intellect, talking about science, asserting herself and saving all sorts of people – and hopefully they will see her doing it without the need to look to a companion for support. I’d love to see the first few episodes being about the Doctor and not the Doctor’s need for a companion in the same way that all the male doctors have “needed” a companion.
I will catch up with the stories from the Twelfth Doctor’s series, but can honestly say that I cannot wait for the Thirteenth Doctor to show us what she and the new showrunner and writing team have in store for us.
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Just in case you were wondering, I’m still working on the Re-write of The Tower and The Eye: A Beginning. The word count is notching higher and I’m hoping that what I’m adding is making it better than it was before…

Book 2 of The Secret of Arking Down, The Dragon’s Pendant is with my loyal group of  Beta Readers. It also has a wonderful cover that I will be showing off at the right time!

Book 3, The Second Door,  and Snow & Kitsune are also with the Beta Readers, so there are new books in the Pipeline!
If you like my writing whether here on the blog, or the books that I have published, I’d be ecstatic (yes, I have used that word twice in less than a thousand words; I like it!) if you chose to become one of my Patrons. Just go to https://www.patreon.com/KiraMorgana and click “Become a Patron”.
This will get you various rewards according to the amount you decide to pay, as well as help me towards the cost of publishing the books I have waiting… and I have a fair few waiting!

Well, I have to toddle off now, my youngest daughter is climbing the walls (not quite literally, but close) and I have more work to do… both writing and housework!

Toodles!
K.

How??!!

How do you make your writing unputdownable?
How do you make readers fall in love with your characters or the world they are in?
How do you make the reader want to spend time with the story you have written?
In short, how do you make Readers want to read your books?

As a writer, one of the things that I do is read. I read Non Fiction for interest, research and inspiration. I read The Internet (which is an interesting mix of Fiction and Non fiction) for the same reason.
When I read fiction, it’s for interest & escape (genres in which I have no intention of writing in), to learn how other people write and finally, to try and piece together the answers to the questions that I started with.

I’ve read all sorts of books, all different genres.

The truly great writers all have one thing in common. They have (whether they know it or not) figured out those answers and are making use of them.

When I read a book where the writer has used these answers, I am sucked so deeply into the story that it’s an effort to get out of it. I have to be yanked out by the hair to make dinner or help PW go to the bathroom or go shopping…

I’d love to be able to make my own writing that compelling.
There are times when I read something that I have written and I think I might have it… and usually it all falls apart on me moments later.
So how do I do it?

Well I started by watching the work of some of the best writers in the business… yes, that’s right, I said watching.

When was the last time that you watched an animation? I’m not talking the nonsensical stuff that they put out for the littlest of children; I’m talking properly developed, well thought out animated movies.
Studio Ghibli, Square Enix, Pixar, Disney, Dreamworks – there are many others, but these are the biggest and they have the best writers that they can afford working with their teams.

It’s no secret that I’d love to work with any of them… if I ever had the opportunity.

The films that make billions in box office takings aren’t just because of the quality of the animation or the design of the characters and environments – it’s because the story sucks you into the film itself and you’re not just watching anymore, you’re living it through the eyes of the characters. A lot of that comes from the writing – the compelling stories and the inability to look away because even if it’s cringeworthy or a little scary, you watch from behind your hands… you have to because you want to know what is about to happen.

And when they’re finished, you feel satisfied but a little sad because you’ve had to leave the world.

I love animation because it gives me an escape that live action films rarely manage. The ones that we have bought on Blu Ray are the best ones, they’re ones that will suck me in and keep me watching. They’re the ones that give me that satisfied but sad feeling.
There are live action films that do it; oddly, they’re ones like the Marvel Comic Universe films, Star Wars films, the Potter Universe. Some of the DC Universe films have done it; the Michael Keaton Batman’s and the first two Christian Bale Batman’s, and I think that Wonder Woman might be another (I obviously haven’t seen it yet, but it looks like it might work!)

Obviously films (whether animated or not) are a tricky subject; so many things influence their success, so it clearly isn’t “just” the writing that makes them great. But great writing will produce at worst an “okay” film; at best it produces a “superb” film. The writing has to be there for the actors, directors, producers etc to work with.

So how do books and movies intersect?

Obviously they both need writers, but they also need writers who know their craft.
They need writers who know how to create a believable world, how to design a character that isn’t two dimensional and who can make the reader /watcher connect with the character somehow.
They need a story that draws the reader/watcher into the world and keeps them there with action that ebbs and flows, until the story has concluded and they can sit back and wish they were still in that world.

And how do you get to be that kind of writer? Let’s look at my original questions and answer them one at a time:

1) How do you make your writing unputdownable?
You craft your story carefully and make it draw the reader into your carefully designed world so that they don’t want to leave it.

2) How do you make readers fall in love with your characters or the world they are in?
See above… plus, world design and character design is a whole different blog post… I’ll do that another time.

3) How do you make the reader want to spend time with the story you have written?
I believe I have actually answered this – were you reading carefully though?
*peers at blog reader and frowns thoughtfully*

4) How do you make Readers want to read your books?
See #1…
*winks*

And the Question I finished the post with?

5) How do you get to be that kind of writer?
If you were reading carefully, you’ll see that I answered it… before I posed it. It’s what I have been doing for most of my life and always go back to when I am having a problem with my own writing…

I read. I watch. I study, I practise, I edit.

In Fiction; I read writers who have inspired me, I read writers that are considered classics, I read writers (and stories) that have been around for eons, I read brand new, barely discovered writers.
In Non-Fiction; I read subjects that interest me. I read subjects that are uncomfortable for me, I read new subjects that I haven’t tried, I read subjects that are old friends.

In TV; I watch Documentaries, I watch TV serials of all sorts of genres, I watch Kids TV, I watch Adults TV (yes, porn too), I watch Foreign Language TV (by subtitles).
In Movies; I watch Small Screen, Big Budget, Foreign Language, Animated, Live Action, Independent.

I study Writing; I read How To books, I take modules from Free Online Course Sites, I read the books that the Big Writers have written about how THEY got into writing.

I Practise Writing; I try writing Poetry (Different styles and Meter), I try writing Flash stories (there are different word lengths), I write different Genres (there are so many I can’t list them all), I write different lengths of story (Flash, Short, Long, Novelette, Novella, Novel, Epic), I write for different ages (Child, Young Adult, New Adult, Adult), I write for different audiences, I write inside and outside my comfort zone.

I edit… this one is the hardest of all.

I do a basic grammar and spelling edit, then I get people I trust to read what I have written and they comment on it (these are Alpha Readers). Then I re-read it and consider their suggestions as I go along. I adjust it if I agree, discuss it if I don’t – the discussions always help me to understand what they see – and change it if I can see what they are getting at and agree with them.

Then I get a second round of Reading done (these are the Beta readers) not always by the same people. If they throw up anything that needs adjusting, I re-read and adjust if I agree… if it’s something I didn’t agree with the first time, I take a long careful look at it.

Then I get someone to do a General Line Edit for Typos and plot holes etc. This is always someone who hasn’t seen it before and has Editing Experience. Sometimes they may have been an Alpha/ Beta Reader as well, but they have to have Editing Experience as well.

And no, not every Writer is a good Editor – I’m a prime example of that!

Once it’s Edited, then (and only then) I consider it ready to be published. And bear in mind that until I think it’s ready to be published, it may go back for Beta Reading or Editing again.

That’s how you get to be a Writer.

To be a Great Writer, someone who can write a Book or Movie that will draw the Reader / Watcher in and hold them there until they’ve finished; someone who can leave them with that “Satisfied but Sad” feeling; someone who can bring them back for more of their work, time and again?

That takes Talent.
Do I have Talent?
*shrugs*
I don’t know.

I know “some” people have enjoyed my work because they have told me so personally or they have written reviews on my books that have shown they’ve read them and considered it good enough to leave a comment about it. That has been enough to make me want to keep me writing and publishing.
But is that Talent?
You’d have to ask them or read my books to answer that for yourself; because as it is with every Artform, Art is subjective and personal.

You have to make your own mind up.

20 Questions – Author Edition!

 It’s been a while since I did a blog post. I’ve been in a bit of a creative slump, so I’m combating it by knitting a jumper , watching movies and playing Pokemon Go with my kids.
However, I haven’t stayed offline totally; I have too many author friends on Facebook to let go entirely – I have to keep up with their exploits, book launches and all the other fun that goes with them.

There’s a game that a lot of them are playing (Created by Author M. L. Preston) called “20 Author Questions” and I thought I would use the questions as the basis of a blog post for my readers (yes, all four of them *Grins and Winks*) and I’ll put them into an FAQ Page for anyone else that wants to find out about me!

1.) What is your Author name: I have two – Kira Morgana is my Pure Fantasy / Children’s pen name and A. E. Churchyard is for my more adult stories.

2.) What is the first book you ever published: That was “The Tower and The Eye: A Beginning”. It was originally  self published but then was picked up by Pfoxmoor under their Pfoxchase imprint.

3.) What is your publiversary? March 2011

4.) What is your favorite book you’ve written thus far:  I don’t have a favourite yet.

5.) What book took you the longest to write: That would be “Kingdom of The Seven Towers” – the first draft of that was 180,000 words long.

6.) How long did it take you?  It took me five years to finish, with various short stories interspersed when Puff ran out on me for the main project.

Sadly I lost the original story, but I have all the notes and maps (just the basic world building took me a year) and I know the basic plot, so I’ve been working on rebooting it.

7.) What kind of music (If Any) do you listen to while you write? I listen to all sorts of music while I write when I can, but most of the time, my background noise is children’s TV…

8.) Who is your favorite character from any of your books? I have several favourites. From Quargard (The Tower and The Eye) it’s Pigsnout the Wanderer; From Arking Down (The Angel’s Crown), it’s Rilx the Vir’Astillian; and in The Land Far Away it’s Pika the Phluph.

9.) What are you currently working on:  I’m editing “Pigsnout the Wanderer” for Blue Hour Publishing and writing the first draft of a couple of different projects – a novella called “Snow & Kitsune” and a novel called ” Teacups & Time Travel”.

10.) Do you have anything you snack on while you write? I drink a lot of Limonata, Lime cordial and soda water, Tea and Coffee. Snacks wise, my weakness is sweets, especially what most people think of as kids sweets – pick’n’mix, Haribo, Starbursts…

11.) What is your favorite quote or line from one of your books: I don’t have one at the moment, but I’d be interested to hear if any of my readers have one!

12.) Are you a self-published or traditional published author? I’m a Hybrid. I have a collaboration with another author/illustrator, Maria K. on The Land Far Away series and The Tower and The Eye is published by Blue Hour Publishing. I also indie publish through Smashwords and Amazon.

13.) What is your writing inspiration?  I’m inspired by all sorts of things. Snow & Kitsune is inspired by Ancient Japanese culture and folklore, The Tower and The Eye is inspired by my love of Sword & Sorcery / Tabletop RPG.  Arking Down is a mish-mash of influences from Science Fiction and Fantasy.

14.) What genre do you write in? Fantasy / Science Fiction Fantasy mostly. I have tried Horror, but my heart isn’t in it.

15.) Do you have any writing rituals? Not really. I get interrupted too much to be able to develop any!

16.) Do you have a specific place you write or time? My Writing Nook is all packed up at the moment (damnable damp) so it’s the couch for me at the moment; not a great option because I am interrupted too much / get distracted easily.

17.) Do you have any advice for Aspiring writers? Write what you want to write. Not what you think will sell, not what you think publishers and agents want to read, not even what you think other people will want to read. Write your stories for yourself and have fun doing it, and they will find readers.

18.) What are your writing goals? If any?  To entertain my Readers, to have fun doing it and to get as many books out into the world as I possibly can before I wander over the Bifrost to the Summerlands…

19.) What authors inspire you and your writing?  David Eddings, Terry Pratchett, Robert Jordan, Dianne Wynne Jones, Monica Hughes… the list is too long for this question! I am constantly finding new authors to read and love – my latest ones are Gail Carriger and Ben Aaronovitch.

They inspire me to write and are my heroes, but I try very hard to keep my writing “voice” my own.

20.) What will be your next release? If you know and when? Hmm – Nothing is Scheduled at the moment; but as “Pigsnout” is in editing, that will probably be the next book out – unless I can get “Snow & Kitsune” finished first. Watch this space!