Monthly Archives: February 2012

Pre Oscar Movie Review – The Artist

I saw The Artist the other night. I liked it. It’s a French, black-and-white, silent movie. It has charm, some clever cinematographic tricks and a cute dog. I’m sure it will get a one or more Oscars tomorrow, but I feel there’s been a bit too much hype about it. The film’s running time is 100 minutes, which is short for a conventional film, but it was a bit too long for me especially in the second half. Maybe its something to do with being a silent movie, but I think 15 or 20 minutes could have been cut.

Two words are spoken right at the end. It’s a good job they are in English not French, otherwise the film would have entered under best Foreign Language Film category. It still would have a chance of winning, but the kudos in that category is much lower.

Goodreads Giveaway

I’ve offered 2 copies of The Banker as a Goodreads giveaway. Goodreads members have until 29 February 2012 to register an interest.  Goodreads will then pick the 2 winners and I wll send them a free signed paperback copy.

Remember there is also a competition I’m running for a free copy of The Banker. This is open to everybody and closes on the 6th March 2012.  See my blog entry of  6th Feb for details.

Writing – Setting, Plotting and Shaping

Some notes from  Anne Aylor’s last seminar.

The main elements of Setting are:

Time, Place, Minor Characters, Mood and Atmosphere.

 Plotting doesn’t have to be done first, unless the book is a thriller.  The elements of a plot are Structure, Plausibility, Conflict, Climax, Denouement ( Mysteries revealed, most loose ends tied up), Subplot, Theme (central idea running through the book) and Symbolism (can be object, place, phrase, colour that runs through the book)

In fiction what is left out is important, like an iceberg.

Shaping is major structural revision and editing after first and subsequent drafts.

Movie Review – A Dangerous Method

I was a bit disappointed with this movie. It’s about the  ménage à trois between Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender), Sigmund Freud(Viggo Mortensen) and a patient, and later fellow psychoanalyst, Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley).  The film starts with the relationship between Jung and patient Spielrein which initially professional soon becomes sexual.  Later Jung meets up with Freud and dumps Spielrein who, by now a qualified psychoanalyst herself, in turn forms a professional relationship with Freud.

Much of the film deals with the falling out of Freud and Jung. This is in part due to Jung’s initial attempt to conceal his unprofessional relationship with Spielrein from Frued but mostly because of their diverging views on psychoanalysis.

Although well acted, the falling out between Freud and Jung lacked any sort of drama. The viewer needs to have some knowledge of psychoanalysis to follow some of their disagreements.  I can only give it 2 stars.

Competition – Win a copy of The Banker

I think it’s time to hold my first competition and offer a copy of The Banker as a prize.

The scene in chapter one where Sir Phil Black meets Strelnikov was influenced by an opening scene in a well known movie. To win the prize you need to name both the director and the film. I will give a bit of a clue: it’s a US director and the film was released in the last 5 years. 
You don’t have to buy or read the entire book to enter, which would be a bit pointless to win a copy.  Just go to the Read An Extract page which contains all of chapter one. Use the form on the Contact page or just email me at

The closing date is the 6th of March 2012. All correct answers will go into a hat and one lucky entrant will receive a copy of The Banker.