Saturday, 31 December 2016

Things To Come 1936 Film

It is strangely appropriate that in my research into the history of science fiction I should have reached Things To Come on New Years Eve!

H G Wells' Things to Come, as it was called in promotional material, was a 1936 British black-and-white science fiction film from United Artists, produced by Alexander Korda, directed by William Cameron Menzies, and written by H G Wells.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Writers Should Be Readers

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and I wish you a happy and productive New Year. May 2017 be the year that you finally get that book published, or whatever your dream is. I'm doing some serious reviewing and planning, so my goals are more achievable. I wrote recently about Strategic Planning for Writers - I heartily recommend it.

As a writer, it's important to be a reader, for lots of reasons. You need to be more aware of what's out there in your genre and you will be a better writer if you're steeped in good writing that you've read. I read every night in bed, sometimes for too long! I am a voracious reader, and Goodreads just sent me my year in review.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Expanding an Outline

Your initial idea for a novel is usually just a gem of an idea, which you think around and gradually expand it to an outline. This outline has to be expanded into a whole novel. Here are two ways of doing it:

Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method of designing a novel starts with a one-sentence description which grows into a paragraph. Then you take each sentence of the paragraph and expand that into a paragraph, and so on. There are other techniques involved, but this is the core of it. Taking each part in turn and expanding it. I have used it and it works very well. He has even written a short novel about it, where the protagonist learns how to outline her novel – in a novel!

Saturday, 17 December 2016

King Kong 1933 Film

The original King Kong film was made in 1933 and starred Fay Wray. The idea for the story was created by Merian C Cooper and Edgar Wallace. It opened to rave reviews and has been ranked as the greatest horror film of all time, and the twentieth greatest film of all time.

Some of the special effects crew on the film came from working on the history-making film The Lost World. The film was so popular it was re-released five times, sold to television, and issued on laser disc, VHS and DVD. In 2005 Warner Bros. released their digital restoration of King Kong in a US 2-disc Special Edition DVD, coinciding with the theatrical release of Peter Jackson's remake.

According to Wikipedia, Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. plan to release a Kong prequel/reboot film titled Kong: Skull Island, set to be released in 2017 and directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

yWriter Novel Writing Software

This week I want to introduce you to yWriter software, which I use to write all my books. It’s free software, created by a writer, which helps you to outline and write your novel. It’s produced by Spacejock Software, and available here.

The Blurb on Their Website says:
If you're just embarking on your first novel a program like yWriter may seem like overkill. I mean, all you have to do is type everything into a word processor! Sure, but wait until you hit 20,000 words, with missing scenes and chapters, notes all over your desk, characters and locations and plot points you've just added and which need to be referenced earlier ... it becomes a real struggle. Now imagine that same novel at 40,000 or 80,000 words! No wonder most first-time writers give up.

I say:It’s a great way to organise writing your novel. You begin by setting up chapters, and scenes within each chapter. Each scene has a title, point of view character, and a description. This is the detail of your outline. Then you write the contents of each scene. It’s simple to rearrange the work – you just drag scenes into other chapters, or create new scenes or chapters.

There is also the facility to analyse elements of each scene. A separate tab records whether the scene is action or reaction, plot or subplot, timings and status (Outline, draft, 1st edit, 2nd edit or done). Of course, it takes more than two or three edits to polish a novel, but it does help to keep track of how much work you’ve done on different scenes.

You can also list and describe characters, objects and places, which get linked into the scenes in which they appear. This helps you keep track of them and you can easily look up the details if you forget whether someone’s eyes are supposed to be brown or blue.

There are various reports to enable you to list just headings, descriptions or the whole contents to work on, and to transfer the novel to Word or whatever word processor you use.

It’s easy to use and it’s free. What more could you want? Sorry, you have to supply the inspiration.

Ann Marie Thomas is the author of three medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, is out now. Follow her at

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Metropolis 1927 Film

Metropolis was an expressionist epic science fiction drama film made in Germany in 1927. The silent film was directed by Fritz Lang and written by him and his wife, Thea von Harbou. Filming took place in 1925 at a cost of approximately five million Reichsmarks.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Early Science Fiction Films

In my History of Science Fiction series, I think we should pause to look at early films. The first science fiction film of all was Le Voyage dans la Lune in 1902, which I devoted a whole post to in October.
Le Voyage dans la Lune
Of course, science fiction posed a lot of problems for early film makers who didn’t have the technology or the techniques to create fantastic creatures and machines. Le Voyage dans la Lune was created using stop-motion. Jules Verne's classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was made into a film in 1916.