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Band of Milky Way Galaxy

We arrived at Clatteringshaws – our stargazing destination – deep into the night. No soul nor light could be seen from within the car windows except the illuminated reflection of the dashboard.

I switched the engine off and then as if orchestrated with exact precision and for maximum effect the stars lit up the night sky all round us with such ethereal beauty unlike I had ever seen before.

We stepped outside, and no video, no film, no photography could prepare us for the moment. Stretching across the blanketed starry atmosphere we could see the band of the milky way. Speechless and in utter awe we gazed.

When we returned we talked deep into the night of times past and filled ourselves with cosmic stories.

Photo Blog: Galloway Forest, Scotland, Lake District and Blackpool, England

Morning Walk

This morning as the earth rotated allowing the sun to rise on the horizon for another day. The different shades of colour reaching out across the sky and breaking through the soft clouds was utterly breathtaking.

I have no photo to share for I was disconnected from technology and reconnected to nature. Want to see it too? – Take an early morning walk and Replug YOU!

B. L. Crisp

Benefit of a Manuscript Assessment

Over the past two months I’ve been gently revisiting the novel I have been attempting to write, as well as writing down the plot and structure for the rest of the trilogy. As mentioned previously, I sent my manuscript off for assessment, and finally word came back (and not all good naturally).

I have yet to make contact with any agent, as I want to be confident in the knowledge that my story is solid enough to be considered. I have had friends from writing degrees look at it and whilst the feedback has been favourable, I do fear it comes with a great deal of friendly bias. This is my first attempt at writing a fiction novel (and to make matters even harder I’m writing a trilogy) and so my concerns are naturally character development, transition from dialogue to prose, appropriate age range, and I suppose all the mistakes one makes when first attempting to write something on this scale, as well as whether or not I should write more considering it is the first installment of three books.

A tough and honest manuscript assessment is what I truly needed… and boy did I get it. The most important thing that needs working on is my style (really coming across as original). I think there are lots of elements that work, and many that don’t, as well as ideologies/philosophies that demand the reader to bend themselves, which the editor couldn’t quite do. That ultimately says I really need to simplify things more and spread it out across the trilogy. In fact, I started writing with just the one book in mind, which then evolved into three.

I did very much agree with all the constructive criticism the editor wrote in his five-page report assessment, and on that note I would greatly recommend any writer out there to spend the money for a manuscript assessment if possible! The Sci-fi/Fantasy market is a tough one. A short browse through a major bookstore alone clearly shows the competition out there. My style and imagery does needs much work and has to come across more vividly and be consistent throughout. I guess with this latest draft of my book I was holding back somewhat, rather than flowing freely with my expression and execution. Cue, I need to start reading a lot more. I have J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Smilmarillion and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials on hand to help me with that.

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I have been doing writing exercises recently to focus more on characterisation and style, as well as working on much of the story structure. Some things have chimed with the report, which is great and then there are other aspects of course, which I am quite guilty of, as highlighted without reservation in the editor’s report. During this reflective period I did decide to take a character out of the story altogether, as she was the character that I found the hardest to carry through and in doing so I was neglecting another character to a great degree.
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I have known that a lot of work was needed on this story, and have yet to work on the second book because I need to get this one right before proceeding. An objective view point and a raw assessment of the text is what was truly needed in order to allow for further progression. The editor’s report was extremely helpful and allowed me to realise some truths I attempted to bury.
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I now have a stronger and more solidified game plan, which I know will help me take the story to the next level it deserves. I have taken the next two-weeks off work to relax, spend even more time with the family, and to read and write. I feel very optimistic and excited about what I’m going to produce next. It feels like a good kick up the rear end was exactly the oomph I needed to push things forward.
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B. L. Crisp

Toilet Respite

He sat in the toilet. It was the one place nobody else would follow thankfully. The lightbulb and air-vent operated via the same switch illuminating his chamber and leveling out external noise. As he rested, his wandering thoughts were protected by the rain slapping the small window.

Now, you would think it strange for a man to find comfort on a toilet seat and yet for him it is a momentary sanctuary from the outside world. He chuckled at silly thoughts he had no time to previously indulge. Entertaining the unique madness which belonged only to him, and before he finished what he had set to do he reached out to read at least a page from a Scottish poetry book underneath the water basin…

B. L. Crisp

What’s your favourite board game?

My family and I absolutely love playing board games. We make a point of sitting down and playing on a regular basis.  From Scrabble to Risk, Charades, Snakes and Ladders, Chess, Twister, Chinese Checkers, etc. Our collection of non-digital entertainment is forever growing. But my absolute favourite, and it has been since I was in my youth is ‘The Key to the Kingdom’.

This fantasy board game if played properly can take a while to get through (so do set some time aside). It features dungeons, a magic whirlpool (transporting you to another world [the board literally opens out]), sea monsters, living forests, magic mists, a temple, sleeping giant, snake pit and much more.  The goal is to collect the key and one treasure and make it back home safely.

The Key to the Kingdom

I just wonder what other cool games are out there that have yet to grace our dining room table…