Life Imitating Art

I have just read an article in the Guardian newspaper entitled – Have we lost half the world’s animals?: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-29458930

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This interested me because of the YA dystopian novels I have published. In this futuristic scenario, animals and fish and amphibians are just a memory, or an entry in a history book. Gone due to mankind’s abuse of the planet earth. When I wrote the books, I researched the possibility of mass extinction on a global level and was seriously shocked by some of the data I discovered. When I did my initial research a couple of years ago, I came across statistics saying that over 30% of animal life, including amphibians, reptiles and birds had declined. At the time I thought it was awful but now a new survey carried out by the WWF and highlighted by the Living Planet Report, suggests that the percentage is more like 52% and has been since 1970. You can read the full report here:

http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/all_publications/living_planet_report/

I remember during a reading of my book one person suggested that my somewhat depressing idea that only insects and a handful of birds and wild dogs exist in the future, was nonsense. If only I’d had this report to hand. I would have quoted this extract from it, ‘Put another way, in less than two human generations, population sizes of vertebrate species have dropped by half. These are the living forms that constitute the fabric of the ecosystems, which sustain life on Earth – and the barometer of what we are doing to our own planet, our only home. We ignore their decline at our peril.’

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Instead I said that I had done research, and figures suggest that my bleak outlook on the future of animal life on this planet is based on factual reports that I have intentionally exaggerated for the purpose of my narrative. In the light of this report, it would seem that my vision of the future might be right after all.

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I urge everyone to take note of this appalling figure and do whatever you can to stop my vision of a world without animals coming true, by supporting the WWF and spreading the word. We must learn to realize that human and animal life must live in harmony if we are all to continue to exist on this beautiful planet.

Nature conservation and sustainable development go hand-in-hand. They are not only about preserving biodiversity and wild places, but just as much about safeguarding the future of humanity – our well-being, economy, food security and social stability – indeed, our very survival.’ (Quote from the Living Planet Report 2014)

hawk   crocus   boris on grass

For further information on WWF please go to this link: http://wwf.panda.org/

If you are interested in reading by books, here are the links:

http://www.amazon.com/Echoes-Lost-Ones-Song-Forgetfulness-ebook/dp/B00CXSZIGS/ref=sr_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1408436005&sr=1-1&keywords=echoes+from+the+lost+ones

http://www.amazon.com/Silence-Heard-Song-Forgetfulness-Book-ebook/dp/B00JMPWRX2/ref=pd_sim_b_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=16567ZZQKBJ2G2VWY2J8

Motherly Love

It is the time of year when things ripen and harvesting goes on all around me. Whilst I was wandering about my garden I noticed that the smaller creatures that share it with me, were gathering their young and protecting them from harm.

So I took some photographs of spiders and insects protecting their young.

 

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Book Trailer for ‘Echoes from the Lost Ones’.

This is a trailer for my YA science fiction/dystopian novel ‘Echoes from the Lost Ones’. It is the first book in the series ‘The Song of Forgetfulness’. Published by Fable Press.
The music and soundtrack is by The Swamp Kittens.

Editing Your Work

Ah, that word so evocative of heartache and worry – EDITING!

I am currently editing the second book in a series, and it is hard. I keep putting it off and doing other things.

Making soup, taking photographs of random insects, writing Sestinas, and cutting my own hair. Anything except editing my work.

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I asked myself why, and replied, ‘Because it is hard work and because it feels like I am slicing bits of my own flesh off each time I cut a sentence or paragraph.’

But deep down I know it is necessary to prune and hone my narrative to make it the best it can be. So I got together a list of what to look for when I edit.

If I have missed anything out, please do let me know!

Editing – Some things to look out for and check:

Over long sentences that would be more dramatic or effective if they were more concise. (Did you see what I did there?)

Choose the right/appropriate word.

Get rid of unnecessary repetition of words and or ideas.

Use appropriate similes to enrich the narrative. Get rid of inappropriate or redundant similes.

Typos. Grammatical errors. Punctuation.

Tighten the language. Depending on what genre you are writing in, make sure your sentence length reflects the mood and pace of the narrative.

Are your characters believable?

Is your dialogue naturalistic?

Do you tell too much?

Does your story have a strong beginning?

Is the storyline/plot believable?

Is the ending satisfactory? Does it make sense with the rest of the story?

Does your story get stodgy around the middle?

Do incidental characters add anything to the plot? If not, erase them.

Is the setting described well enough?

Is the point of view consistent?

Are there scenes that can be cut?

Now creeps ever forward the editing bug. Image