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SCBWI and Red Riding Trilogy

I don't think I've really paused for breath over the last month or so - everything's been a bit of a rush.

Started my new job a few weeks ago and it seems to be going okay. The technology is taking a bit of getting used to (some of the systems and menus are different, which is always an adjustment) but the people are v. nice, which is the main thing and I'm getting stuck into some work.

Writing wise, I've been plodding along and am now over 40,000 words into the manuscript. This evening I sent out my final copy, author blurb and book blurb off for the anthology showcase that's being put together. I'm broadly happy with it, although I can usually find something that I want to tweak. I need to get a photograph taken at some point next week and am hopeful that my friends uC and mR can help me out. For some reason, I just don't photograph well. In fact, I've had some pictures taken over the last couple of weeks for work (security pass and marketing) and a passport renewal and I bear a stunning resemblance to Myra Hindley. It's disturbing.

On Thursday I went to an event organised by the British chapter of the SCBWI where Sarah Davies and Julia Churchill from the Greenhouse Literary Agency spoke about breakthrough novels and the process of getting an agent. It was very informative, particularly some of the suggestions re approaching the structure a novel, which will prove useful come revisions. Anyway, my friend L and I screwed up the courage to speak to Julia afterwards and ask her whether she'd mind being on the circulation list for our MA anthology and she said it wasn't a problem. She also asked about our books, which was a bit of a "GULP!" moment. However, she seemed to like my pitch (which definitely needs work) and said she'd be interested in reading it when it was finished. She also said that she liked my title, which made me squee on the inside.

I spent most of yesterday at the National Film Theatre with my friend S because they did a public premiere of the Red Riding Trilogy (consisting of 1974, 1980 and 1983 from the books by David Peace), which will start being shown on Channel 4 this week. I hadn't read the novels (although S raves about them) and it's possible that it's because of this that the adaptation didn't do a great deal for me. Performance-wise, it was very good - the cast includes Sean Bean, Warren Clarke, David Morrisey, Maxine Peake, Rebecca Hall who were all excellent. However the stories basically boiled down to the central characters of each episode taking information on trust and using that to go to the next scene and I found that frustrating - particularly in the context of an investigative journalist who never actually seems to do any investigating.

The tone is unrelenting in its grimness and there are some really horrible torture scenes that made me wince. However the ending feels far too Hollywood and S told me that it's completely different to the book. At a Q&A afterwards, the scriptwriter explained that he'd changed the ending because he wanted something that was more redemptive and conclusive than what was in the book. I understand what he was getting at, but the way he did it was far too cliche for me and I think he could have achieved the same effect with something more downbeat.

Beautiful though the Trilogy is to watch, I suspect that crime fans who like their stories wrapped up at the end, won't enjoy it. But that won't stop it from sweeping every tv award going.

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