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Writing Rules!: Some friendly guidelines for crafting creative copy

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Jan 31, 2016
TV

Last night I rewatched Joss Whedon’s Serenity for the first time since becoming addicted to How I Met Your Mother, and got a gorram surprise at 1hr 45mins when a Reaver-fied Neil Patrick Harris (aka Barney Stinson and Dr Horrible) made an uncredited appearance.

 

Neil Patrick Harris Serenity

 

It was a blink and you’ll miss it moment but I’m pretty sure that’s the Barnacle putting the Reaver moves on River Tam. It makes sense given that Harris has worked with Whedon on Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, and that he was a potential candidate for the role of Simon Tam in the TV show.

 

 

Jan 18, 2016
Writing

Whatever the poetry equivalent of an earworm is 'The Listeners' by Walter De La Mare had been that for me since a primary school English lesson. A poem whose images remained in my head, long after I'd forgotten the words or the name of the poet.

That was until last week when I finally found the poem while flipping through a collection of De La Mare's poems in a second-hand bookshop. Two decades later and it's still just as good and as inspirational for creating a sense of mystery.

 

 

Not only was it exciting to rediscover something which I didn't think would unworm itself, but I also discovered some other poems in the same vein, including the equally mysterious 'The Keys of Morning':

 

While at her bedroom window once,
Learning her task for school,
Little Louisa lonely sat
In the morning clear and cool,
She slanted her small bead-brown eyes
Across the empty street,
And saw Death softly watching her
In the sunshine pale and sweet.

His was a long lean sallow face;
He sat with half-shut eyes,
Like an old sailor in a ship
Becalmed 'neath tropic skies.
Beside him in the dust he had set
His staff and shady hat;
These, peeping small, Louisa saw
Quite clearly where she sat-
The thinness of his coal-black locks,
His hands so long and lean
They scarcely seemed to grasp at all
The keys that hung between:
Both were of gold, but one was small,
And with this last did he
Wag in the air, as if to say,
"Come hither, child, to me!"

Louisa laid her lesson book
On the cold window-sill;
And in the sleepy sunshine house
Went softly down, until
She stood in the half-opened door,
And peeped. But strange to say,
Where Death just now had sunning sat
Only a shadow lay;-
Just the tall chimney's round-topped cowl,
And the small sun behind,
Had with its shadow in the dust
Called sleepy Death to mind.
But most she thought how strange it was
Two keys that he should bear,
And that, when beckoning, he should wag
The littlest in the air.

 

Just like 'The Listeners' it feeds the imagination with clear yet slightly strange imagery and a mystery that's intriguing because there's no clear answer. It's a good reminder that when it comes to mysteries the fun is in the thinking about the answer (like who the listeners might be, or why death should be waving the small key) and not in the knowing.

'The Listeners' seems exceptional compared to the other poetry in the book, it's the most interesting and the most memorable, but rediscovering it has made me want to investigate what else might be lurking in De La Mare's back catalogue.

 

Source: Poem Hunter

 

P.S.

Researching into De La Mare and his writings also revealed some interesting things he had to say on imagination and creativity (at least in relation to poetry) in a lecture on the poet Rupert Brookes:

"The visionaries, those whose eyes are fixed on the distance, on the beginning and end, rather than on the incident and excitement, of life's journey, have to learn to substantiate their imaginings, to base their fantastic palaces on terra firma, to weave their dreams into the fabric of actuality. But the source and origin of their poetry is in the world within. The intellectual, imagination, on the other hand, flourishes on knowledge and experience. It must first explore before it can analyse, devour before it can digest, the world in which it finds itself. It feeds and feeds upon ideas, but because it is creative, it expresses them in the terms of humanity, of the senses and the emotions, makes life of them, that is. There is less mystery, less magic in its poetry. It does not demand of its reader so profound or so complete a surrender. But if any youthfulness is left in us, we can share its courage, enthusiasm and energy, its zest and enterprise, its penetrating thought, its wit, fervour, passion, and we should not find it impossible to sympathise with its wild revulsions of faith and feeling, its creative scepticism." (Walter De La Mare, 1919)

 

 

Jan 5, 2016
Writing

One of the things I've enjoyed most about The Force Awakens (and there's a lot of things) is seeing Harrison Ford on the press trail, not suffering Fanboy interviewers gladly. In one recent interview, where the question-asking guy clearly has no idea Ford is uncomfortable with the kind of nerdy hero worship he's inspired, the former carpenter drops some advice (at around 1:20) that any writer can benefit from:

 

"George, you can type this shit, but you cannot say it. Move your mouth while you're typing and see if you can say it.




Move your mouth while you're typing and see if you can say it. When I was in school mouthing what you was reading or writing was frowned upon, but now I'm older I do it all the time when I'm writing - whatever I'm writing. If it's hard to say, it's hard to read, and it won't sound good out loud or in someone's head.

Whether it's website content or a film script it's amazing how speaking something, rather than reading it, can make places where it doesn't flow stand out. And more often than not some glaring typos too.

 

Source: Bleeding Cool



Dec 21, 2015
Video

The Force Awakens has shown that reboots can work and magic recaptured for franchises that have attained a mythical quality, and it looks like Twin Peaks promises to do the same with its 2017 small screen return.

My favourite bit of web-based content this week has been the first proper teaser for Twin Peaks 2017. With visuals that hint at what a treat familiar locations will be in widescreen, words from Michael Horse that sound like Hawk's best philosophy, an atmospheric Angelo Badalementi score, and the iconic Twin Peaks sign (with a population that intriguingly hasn't changed) things are right on track for one of the finest David Lynch experiences yet.

 

 

Unlike the Star Wars reboot though, the only reason Twin Peaks 2017 is so exciting because the original director is back on board. Also conversely while it would have been fascinating to see a Lynch-directed Return of the Jedi, a Lucas-directed Twin Peaks would be a nightmare worthy of the Black Lodge.

 

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Mark is a freelancer who specialises in creative copywriting. He's experienced at putting his copywriting skills to work on a variety of subjects and can easily turn his hand to different styles. In addition to being a copywriter and a hard-working wordsmith Mark had also forged other forms of content for the web and print including photography, video and illustrations

Based in Devon Mark lives within questing distance of the UK's Middle Earth aka Dartmoor. He likes his detectives hard-boiled, his eggs runny, and his time travel non-paradoxical.

Some Like it Sloth
Riding the Dartington Donkey
High Cross Piano
 

Check out some examples of the freelance content creation services Mark offers:

>: Copywriting 

>: Photography

>: Video

Royal Albert Memorial Museum - Cloning Collections
Exeter City Council - Armed Forces Day
National Trust - South West Christmas Card 2013
 

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