Social Media, Intrusion or Means of Communication?


Hi there,

I recently saw a post from a friend of mine on Facebook which made me think. It was a post about them going on holiday but they were moaning because they had a cold. I was incensed by the fact that they were both moaning about having a cold and bragging that they were going abroad, and it wasn’t even through to the end of February yet.  I have no problem with people enjoying themselves but I do have a problem when their insensitivity to the plight of others who don’t have the good fortune to be able do the same as them.

This, I think is a huge drawback in today’s social media, there are people who use Facebook as a means to communicate with their friends and relatives who they may no be able to any other way. Through this media they can share photo’s from the comfort of their own home along with all sorts of other bits and bobs. But there are others who, as we have all come to know who use the medium to harass and bully others, also from the safety of their own home, which has become a worrying trend.

I like Facebook, it’s a wonderful tool if used properly and its future is pretty much confirmed to be big and bright as it overpowers all other forms of social media.

How will this form of communication fare in the future, say in the mid twenty-fifth century, do you think? In the Col Sec universe, Kurt Stryder and his comrades in Col Sec all have Neural Interfaces which help them connect wirelessly to other devices such as communication systems, computers and in some cases the Artificial Intelligences that control some starships. It helps them do away with the need for devices such as mobile phones because a call through a comm channel is routed straight to the communication centre of the brain. A computer can be accessed and data can be uploaded straight to the brain where the Neural Interface or NI sorts through the data and stores it so that the brain does not overload from the sudden input. With these sorts of devices would there be a need for something such as Facebook? Everyone fitted with an NI could be linked to all their friends continually, any information they needed could be passed over to them should the owner give permission and all done with the speed of thought.

Would something like this make life easier or would it complicate things even more? What do you think?

That’s all for now,

see you soon,

Jan.

 

 

Substance vs Fluff.


Hi there,

I was listening to the radio this morning on my way to work and there was a lot of talk about the Brit awards taking place tonight. It made me think about some of the artists around today and after hearing Dido’s latest offering I began to wonder how someone like her or Katie Melua would get on if they were not famous already and had auditioned for a show like ‘The Voice’. In my opinion if either of them had to rely solely on their musical talent, such as their voices then I feel they would fail. There is no doubt that both of them are good-looking women and I’m sure that fact did not hinder their rise to popularity at all. There are more artists I could mention such as Beyonce who to my mind are in the same category, mediocre talent bolstered by good management and good looks. Ultimately though it is the difference between a light snack and a three course meal, indulging in good talent is like having a hearty meal compared to a light bite with some of those I mentioned.

The same can be said of some of today’s crop of writing talent. I’ve recently been trying out a few new authors, new to me that is and I must say that although some of them are very good,  a few that come across as bland as a light bite compared to the full meal that the likes of a Robert Ludlum would offer. I’m deliberately not naming anyone because I don’t think it would be fair to them. These authors have worked hard to get where they are, some harder than others obviously and I would not want to rain on anyone’s parade. However they got to where they are now I say “Good luck” to them and “Well done”

As a writer I strive to perfect my craft every time I sit down to write, whether it be my blog, the book I’m working on at the moment or a simple email. I hope I improve with every word I write but that’s for my readers to decide.

See you soon,

Jan.

 

The Flawed Hero?


Hi there,

as a writer I tend to read quite a lot. I read for research so that I know my market and am aware of what other writers are doing in the same or similar genres and I read for pleasure. I’ve noticed though that most writers tend to make their hero a flawed character and I’m not sure that I’m totally in favour of this concept.

If it’s done well it can add flavour and depth to the character, of that there is no doubt but, and I can’t stress this enough, in my opinion sometimes it can be overdone.

I recently read a book where the character was so flawed, had so many issues going on in his life that it was a wonder he could dress himself in the morning let alone solve the complex case he was working on and catch the bad guy at the end. For me this kind of writing detracts from the total enjoyment of the story. You begin to lose credibility in the protagonists ability to fulfil his or her goals and, again, in my opinion, this is a waste of the reader’s time.

I’m not saying that the hero of a story should be some kind of Superman with no flaws or character defects or weaknesses because that would just make them bland and wooden. I have no qualms about making the protagonist a superman or superwoman either as long as they are real people. Instead what I am saying is that I prefer my hero’s to be dependable, someone who can be relied upon to get the job done. I like to put my character’s through as much hell as possible, put them in as much danger as I can, make them worry about those around them even if they are not worried about their own survival but always have them come out the other end in one piece. I like my hero to be a solid rock that you can rely upon, that you know when he or she are around that things will work out fine. That may be an old-fashioned ideal but for me it works. Things tend to work in cycles, they are in fashion, go out of fashion and pretty soon are back in again. I think it’s time for that kind of hero to re-emerge once more.

One of my favourite authors, David Gemmell was once asked about the hero’s in his novels, why they were like they were, large, strong men who could be depended upon to which he replied with a story from his childhood. He told the interviewer that as a child he suffered from horrific nightmares, monsters chasing him or something like that and his step father, I think his name was Bill, asked him about them. The young Gemmell reluctantly told him expecting ridicule. Bill simply listened and said nothing. Later that night when he awoke from being chased by some monster he found his step father sitting at the foot of his bed. Young David asked if he saw it and was told that he had indeed seen the monster but he had broken its neck and it would never bother him again. Now I’m not sure how much truth there is in that but I do know that he was brought up by his step father, Bill Woodford who got him into boxing to defend himself against bullies who picked on him. Later when asked to describe him Gemmell said that men like him were safe harbours of childhood, they are the watch-hounds who keep the wolves at bay. He based many of his hero’s on Bill and later after Bill’s death he reworked one of his books to give the Bill character centre stage.

Those are the kind of hero’s I want in my books, they are the kind of hero’s we all need in our lives and I think it’s time we brought them back.

See you all soon,

Jan.

 

Star Trek 2


Hi there,

it’s been  a while since my last post because I’ve been waiting for my website to be up and running, unfortunately we ran into some delays so I thought I’d better get back on the horse as it were.

As the title suggests my topic today is Star Trek. I was wondering if any of you out there is as excited as I am about the upcoming new film? Gene Roddenberry’s creation is so ingrained in popular culture that yesterday’s science fiction is now science fact and many of the things first seen on the Original Series featuring Kirk and his crew have now become items we use on a regular basis, such as the mobile phone and IPad.

In fact Star Trek became so ingrained in my psyche that when I started writing anything with a sci fi theme came out reminiscent of Roddenberry’s creation. I tried really hard to get away from it but then found myself veering more towards Star Wars or when that happened and I tried again Babylon 5 reared its metaphoric ugly head. Did anyone else have the same trouble when they began writing I wonder?

I would be interested to hear any thoughts on the subject, but for now that’s all,

See you soon and I promise this time it won’t be as long.

Jan.