Monthly Archives: September 2012

From our sister site
Is the boy with long, dark ringlets really a fan of Rita Vamp or has the evil shapeshifter Ravensmite returned to Groaningsea?


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Launching Hallowe’en in The Laboratory with Frankenstein’s Revenge – The Play – Part One.

To launch the run up to Hallowe’en, we’ve done a little film to get us into the mood.  When Horace Gawp visits Mistress Loony at The Laboratory, he is down in the dumps.  He had joined a drama group who were putting on a production of “Frankenstein‘s Revenge – a play full of shifty manoeuvres and time travel. ”  When Horace turned up, all the other members of the group had quit, fortunately, Mistress Loony manages to come up with a solution.

So on with the fun – we want everyone acting, writing, filming, making sets and monsters this Hallowe’en.


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Writing – Using Real People in Fiction Can Spell Trouble!

Victorian Lady Portrait

Victorian Lady Portrait (Photo credit: Aminimanda)

The other day, I was telling my son about a dead relative whose personality I have partly used when creating Jane Snow, my heroine’s paid companion and fellow detective in Mulgrave Castle.  My relative had a strange notion that when a man smiled at her, he had certain ideas because the chaps were too frisky for their own good.  One of the theme’s I want to explore in this series of Victorian psychic novels is female desire in the Victorian era as I became very interested in how it was used in Literature whilst a student.  Although, I have used Jane Snow’s attitude to males in a comic way because it was something which was both amusing and endearing in my relative, I think she might react badly if she knew that this aspect of Jane’s character is based on her.  I think she might see it as being laughed at instead of understanding that it is celebrating the fact that she was such a character.  Although, to be honest, I wonder if she would identify herself with the character, she might not.



The reason I say that my relative might not recognise herself is because of a story I was told when I was doing a course on scriptwriting.  The writer who took the course was a playwright and a television scriptwriter.  He was adamant about only using one aspect of a person’s personality when creating your own characters.  The reason for this was personal experience.  He had written a television drama and used a few aspects of the personality of a woman who was in his circle of friends as one of the characters; at the time of writing, he thought that he had disguised her well enough for no-one to know whom he had based the character on.



After the drama was screened, he was shocked that most of the circle of friends identified the woman whom he had used as a character.  Fortunately, the woman did not recognise herself and none of the others pointed it out to her.  The experience was enough to convince him though that we should never use more than one aspect of a person’s personality traits when creating a character.



On the other hand, I created the character, Will Blyton based on my son, Will and am writing a second book about him.  Often, I will read a part out to him and he will call me a cheeky so and so because I am depicting a real live occurrence.  He knows I am writing about a character based on him and likes the fact that he is my muse.  However, if he did not, I would not do it.



So what about you?  Have you ever written about someone and they have recognised themselves?  Do you use aspects of real life people at all when creating characters?  Do tell!




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This is from our sister site Will Blyton embraces the theme of bullying so I have put together an extract of the book with some discussion questions and an activity. Fiction for 8-12 year olds.

Will Blyton - The Alternative Detective

I think that it is wonderful for children to have a great time reading a book but even better if they do some fun interactive work with it also.  Below is a short piece from Will Blyton and The Stinking Shadow (pages 2-3),  after the extract there are questions to discuss what has happened and then there is an activity to follow.  Have fun.

The door shuts heavily behind me as I pull on it and then run across the empty road to the deserted beach.  I try to remember my dream full of stripy clothes, fried onion smells and the tinkling circus music that makes the horses dance.

A sharp nip stings my cheek and my specs are gone.  All I can see is a head resembling a dead bat moving towards me; it has to be The Toad.  You can always tell him from the fake, leather jacket…

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Here is a post from our sister site (fiction for 9-12 year olds) When The Warthog removes the rat from Rita Vamp’s mouth, to let her speak, Vamp promises to find rich, handsome husbands for The Maggoty Motleys. Does this mean that more children’s authors are going to mysteriously disappear from the literary festival?

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Earlier this week, the junior member of Loony Literature, Will, interviewed Saul Metzstein, director of top British television series, Doctor Who.

The Consulting Detective

Hi Saul, thank you for agreeing to talk to us. How did you end up directing, Pond Life, Dinosaurs on A Spaceship, A Town Called Mercy and two as of yet unnamed episodes, was there a process or did the executive producers ask you?

My agent heard they were looking for directors, so I met with Marcus Wilson, the producer, and then, at a later date, with Caro Skinner, the exec producer, and Denise Paul, the Associate Producer. I also had a long phone conversation with Steven Moffat, who talked to me all about the secrets of directing for Who.  Initially I was employed to direct Dinosaurs and Mercy. Pond Life they asked me to direct because I was around already! I also directed the Prequel to Asylum of the Daleks (which I think can be downloaded on iTunes). The other two episodes I got…

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Does the Eighth Doctor Belong in Classic or New Who?

Does the Eighth Doctor Belong in Classic or New Who?.


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Writing – Are you a butterfly or a mole?

Writing - Are you a butterfly or a mole?

Is it better to flutter from project to project?


At the moment, I am questioning whether I am using the best strategy for my writing career.  I am adopting the butterfly method whereby I flit from children’s fiction to children’s plays to adult fiction.  (By adult fiction, I don’t mean X rated stuff, I simply mean books for adults.  The reason I am explaining this is that I had an embarrassing incident years ago when donating videos to my child’s school fair.  All the ones I had seen donated were videos for children, so I asked if they accepted adult ones – the teaching assistant thought I meant porn and coloured highly when I thrust my “Pride and Prejudice into her hand.)

I am a writing butterfly, I flicker back and forth working on both adult and children’s fiction and I wonder whether I would be more effective if I was a mole, digging and focusing on one tunnel or book until I had reach my goal.

Being a butterfly has its positive aspects in that it keeps the writing schedule fresh and lively.  It also means that if children think my kids’ stuff reeks, their mothers’ might like my physic detective.  In other words, I’m not putting all my eggs into one basket as the old saying goes.

I do feel that being a butterfly has its negative side especially when it comes to marketing.  It means trying to interest two sets of audience, which as any writer knows attracting a single one can be tough going, initially.  It also means that I constantly have more than one plot, setting and set of characters going around in my head which can be like living inside a bee hive at times.

When I talk about being a mole, I must clarify that I mean someone who works on a particular novel but also has a blog and writes articles etc…   I don’t mean that they only work on the novel they are writing at the time and nothing else whatsoever.  The positive side to being a mole is that we can concentrate wholly on the piece we are working on, we might have ideas for future books in our heads but if it is a series with the same main character, it all helps to know this person better.  I think it is the same with marketing, if we are sticking mainly to say writing vampire stories for adults, we can aim all our marketing energy into the one market; the output is far better targeted than that of the butterfly writer.

The negative side to being a mole writer is that the writing atmosphere could become a little staid for the writer after a period of time.  Fundamentally, I think that the main problem is that if the mole concentrates for instance, completely on a series with an alien detective and it flops, the mole needs to start again; obviously, this is not a problem if the series is a hit.

I have to say that as a butterfly writer, I do question whether I would be better off being a mole.  So what are you and is this because you have a strategy or is it because it is the only way for you to write?

Writing - Are you a butterfly or mole?

Being focused hits the spot.


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Here is some fiction for 9-12 year olds from our sister site . Will has to confess to Athena that her mum has been kidnapped because of him. At the crucial moment, he sees something which he cannot believe and hears an intriguing prophecy.


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This is from our sister site
Fiction for 9-12 year old. The Maggoty Motleys have kidnapped Rita Vamp, queen of children’s vampire fiction and it’s all Will Blyton’s fault.

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