Thursday, 31 January 2013

She Who Dares Writes: 'Til the Cows Come Home

She Who Dares Writes: 'Til the Cows Come Home: So I've decided to try and flex a different set of creative muscles and am dipping my toe in various ponds in the hope that one connection ...

'Til the Cows Come Home


So I've decided to try and flex a different set of creative muscles and am dipping my toe in various ponds in the hope that one connection somewhere will spark a lead to another, and another.

At the tail end of last year I was inspired to write the text for a children's picture book, Polly The Jumping Cow, based on the quirky herd of Red Poll Cows that roam Hatfield Forest. Here's a little excerpt:

Polly was born one starry night under the old Hornbeam tree. Her mother was a Red Poll, her father was a Red Poll. Polly was a Red Poll too.

In those first days she wobbled around the forest on her unsteady legs, following the herd to the best grazing spots, over the plains and under the trees, by the lake and the coppice. One day, her head bent low in the sweet grass, she heard some children singing,

“The little dog laughed to see such fun, and the cow jumped over the moon.” They danced under the old oak, skipping round the trunk with a small dog yapping at their heels.

That night, as Polly snuggled up to her mother and looked up at the stars and the summer moon hanging in the sky, she began to wonder. She whispered, “Can cows jump?” Her mother shook her head and rolled over,

“Cow’s can’t jump Polly”

But the next day, Polly tried. She jumped over little muddy puddles, and shouted, “I jumped over a puddle mum!” but her mother kept chewing the grass,
“Cow’s can’t jump Polly”



These curious cows could often be found sabotaging our bug hunts having squeezed their way through previously impenetrable fencing. They were always turning up somewhere surprising, sticking their heads through the office window and lowing loudly. One did jump over the style one day and was off up the road.

I need an illustrator in pen and ink or watercolour, someone who can catch the cows soft shapes and the beauty of the forest, but also the humour and cheekiness of this breed. If you qualify - get in touch!




I've been writing some short stories too, snapshots, scenes, little islands of prose. Website content is currently being composed and should go live next month.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

She Who Dares Writes: Monologue - The Hairdresser

She Who Dares Writes: Monologue - The Hairdresser: I was going to put this forward to Mslexia magazine, but missed the deadline - 200 words on The Hairdresser: Mine is the small room at the...

Monologue - The Hairdresser

I was going to put this forward to Mslexia magazine, but missed the deadline - 200 words on The Hairdresser:

Mine is the small room at the top of the house squeezed into this harbour town. Behind thick stone walls I weave, my fingers rigid with cold in the dull winter, swollen and dry in the bright summer months. I watch the people swarm below, their hair whipped and scurried by the sea winds. I save the lost hair shed by young and old, the hair that is lifted up on the salt breeze, drifting through my open window.

It is a careful job and I take my time, I am not as quick as I used to be, but they will wait for my work, I am still needed. I conjure baby down, gossamer thin; heavy curls with conker shine, grey and wiry, coarse or fine. Hair that is swept into tumbleweed from the salon floor, bagged and left to bulge, feather-light, outside my door. I will use it all. My wigs are the best in town, in the county in the country. So they say.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Silver Screen

So new projects begin and I find myself back where I was a few years ago, looking at writing a screenplay again. This is OK, the new project dovetails with the YA novel, Girl In the Box, I'm just trying to imagine the first scene, and whether Alice should speak via voice over or dialogue. She's carrying a rabbit at the time, maybe the rabbit should have the voice?

I'm back to summing up a whole film in one sentence, the dreaded logline.
Went to our local flicks to see Les Mis yesterday, it's logline is:'Fight. Dream. Hope. Love.'
That's cheating, it just about sums up everything.

I watched it with an eye on the clock, a nod to Blake Snyders, Save The Cat, in which his beat sheet divides a screenplay into actions and minutes.

At one minute we should have the opening image (Les Mis, the slaves battling to pull a listing ship back to dock, a symbol of their struggle, way below the oppressors - Javert).

Theme stated - the next 5 mins - More of the same in Les Mis, with a few shots of a battered Hugh Jackman staggering about. Set up should be the first 10 minutes - Hugh rambling around, given a chance, reforming and becoming a new man - Law V Grace, and all that jazz. You get the idea.



Despite my objections to the goal driven approach being a particularly male view, its amazing how almost every film follows this pre set structure, go on, give us some examples of those that don't please!