The Top 250

It’s nothing dodgy, honest. If you think it is, you probably watch too much Californication.

I love films. Always have. I did a film degree, and an MA in screenwriting, so it’s probably obvious. My first job was in a cinema.

So my New Year’s resolution for 2016 was to watch the top 250 films of all time as chosen by IMDb. I like a challenge, and ‘forcing’ myself to watch all of these was a bit of a challenge, simply because some of these were a bit worthy (read: Oscar-bait), and it can be hard to catch up on movies just because, well, life, really. When you have a busy job, and a family to see, and try to write a lot, and go running, and sometimes travel, catching up on movies can be tough.

It’s not tough. It’s the easiest thing in the world.

Two things to bear in mind – 1) I wasn’t gonna watch the films I’d already seen, which was about 175 of them. Yeah, okay, that’s only 75 films in a year, but that’s still an ask! 2) the IMDb list is live, so I went old school and printed it off. This made it ridiculously satisfying, because I could literally tick the films off that I’d watched and start filling in the gaps.

So here’s what I learned. I’m not going to list all the films I watched – go check out the list here┬áif you want an idea of what it looks like – it won’t be exactly the same because, as I said above, it’s live, but you get the idea. Anyway, some (not all) of my conclusions below:

  • I never gave Studio Ghibli films a chance before. I think it’s because I’m not nuts about Manga (aside from obvious hits like Akira, Ghost in the Shell and Perfect Blue). I’m an idiot. They’re folks tales. They’re Disneys. I’m going to see as many as I can now. Personal favourites were My Neighbour Totoro and Princess Mononoke.
  • Charlie Chaplin was a rather clever man.
  • Les Diaboliques is the greatest Hitchcock film Alfred Hitchcock never made, and proof old movies can scare the piss out of you.
  • Also, turns out there were lots of good Hitchcocks I never saw.
  • Some of these movies were really, really long. I’m looking at you, Das Boot, Fanny and Alexander, and Underground.
  • Witness for the Prosecution was a bit too good. But it’s a Billy Wilder, so…
  • Akira Kurosawa. The sole reason to get a free BFI player account for a month.
  • If any other Bollywood films are as good as 3 Idiots, I’ll give more of them a try.
  • Hachi: A Dog’s Tale does not play fair. At all. I didn’t realise my body could hold that many tears.
  • More people need to see The Wages of Fear.
  • How did I not know about It Happened One Night?!
  • I didn’t really care for The Battle of Algiers as much as I probably should have, sorry.
  • I was pleased to see James Stewart was in a lot of these films. Good.
  • Westerns are a bit underrated in the 21st century.
  • Between Netflix, Amazon, Now TV, YouTube, and the generosity of work colleagues and friends, it’s actually quite easy to see the bulk of these for free.

Next (2017) I’m doing the Rotten Tomatoes top 100. I’ve only 18 on there I haven’t seen. I may need to supplement it with another list…

The Twisted 50

So in 2015 I entered a story in the Twisted 50 competition. The blurb was simple: 2,000 words – not a word more – to create a chilling short story for an anthology of 50 tales. Challenge accepted.

One of the really exciting things about the competition was the writing community it established – the rules dictated you had to read and feedback on at least 3 stories in order to have yours accepted. Pretty clever, mostly because a) it made you care about the project, and b) you started sweating it: if these stories were that good, what stance did yours have?

I was lucky. Of the 400+ stories that were entered, mine was one of the 50 to make it to the final book. Exciting stuff, first published work, etc. especially when you look at some of the other content up there.

Their website is here. Check it out. They’re some of the most hard working people, trying to make a name for themselves in a collaborative and creative field. They deserve every success they can get.

Oh, and while I’m sharing links, check this out. I got not only a bio (okay, it’s my standard “about” blurb, I should definitely get something new) but a blog post, too! Give the blog post a read, if you’d be so kind. I quite liked writing it and seeing as I put it all there, it makes more sense to get you to read that than to re-write it all here. I know, I’m lazy.

But yeah, Twisted 50, great stuff. I’ll give it another crack, and if you like writing, I think you should, too.


Well, I’m back

So I set this up a while ago with the best of intentions of doing… something. This was going to be a site to promote my writing, put together some useful links for stories, etc. etc.

Anyway, my general opinion on writing about writing (or not writing) is that it’s probably time better spent, um, writing. For me, anyway. I don’t get much time. And truth be told, I’m not the best at promoting my own work. Hence why I thought getting an agent would be the way forward. It still might be, but for now I’m going to give this a try too.

So here’s Aurora, self published:

Next up is proofing Avalonne, the second book in the All Worlds Unseen series. It’s gonna be a slog, but it’ll be worth it.

Now I just need a decent signoff for these sort of posts. I’m learning as I go.



Awkward First Post


Welcome to my website, which is really a blog posing as a website. (Don’t tell anyone.)

This site will be the home of All Worlds Unseen, my fantasy series, as well as anything else I put together while not writing Aurora Card stories.

As we go, I’ll be putting up short stories, links to novels, and any artwork or films that also come about.

If you like any of it, tell me, tell your friends, or if you don’t have any friends, tell the internet. It’s always listening.