Pleasant surprises

September 3, 2009 at 20:25 (1)

1) The heritage walk last Sunday. Meant to chat about this earlier in the week (if only to stop Bas from asking me when I was going to do it!!) but only got a chance to get around to it now. The day was pretty gloomy, lots of clouds and rain, so we didn’t think many people would turn up for the walk along our road to the pier. But to our surprise, when we got down there at 3.00pm for the start, there were LOADS of people, more than I’ve seen down on the pier as far back as I can remember!!! It was an interesting walk too, lots of information about the local area, including an account of a plane crash in the 1950s which was pretty sobering. A couple of local historians covered most of the details, but some of the people in the crowd spoke up at various times too — it was nice and relaxed. Everyone seemed to enjoy the stop-off at my place too, to admire the statues in my garden. I told them a little bit about the sculptors and the casting process — it’s a fascinating procedure, something I knew nothing about until the last couple of years, so it was fun to share what I had learned. I think for most people, the highlight in my place was the 20 foot hare which I had installed recently, which you’re able to walk through the middle of!!! Yes — it IS as cool and crazy as it sounds!!!!

2) Death Race. I watched the remake of Death Race 2000 tonight. I’d seen the original some years ago, and while it was fun tosh, it wasn’t anything overly memorable, so I have very low expectations for the remake. To my surprise, it rocked!!! OK, it’s as daft a premise as you can get, and it was never in any danger of picking up an Oscar for its script or actors, but it was good, fast-paced, brutal fun, reminiscent of the old Mad Max movies. A guilty pleasure, perhaps, but a pleasure (for me anyway) nonetheless.

3) Village Hall — Mr Ellis Versus The People. I’ve been watching a boxed DVD set recently, of one-off dramas and comedies made for the Granada station in the UK, along with some episodes from long-running TV series, all written by a guy called Jack Rosenthal. All of the shows that I’ve seen so far are from the 1960s and 70s, and it’s fascinating to step back in time and check out what TV shows were like back then. They give you a real sense of the time and place. Today I saw the show mentioned above, which was a stand-alone episode from a series of (as far as I am aware) one-off plays, each of which was centred around events taking place in a different village hall. The script was decent and reason enough to watch the show, but a major bonus was the cast — as well as veteran Ron Moody, it featured the likes of Bernard Hill and Michael Angelis (stars of Boys From The Blackstuff, which is my favourite TV show of all time, certainly if you’re talking about short series), Liz Dawn (who found fame as Vera Duckworth in Coronation Street), and an almost unrecognizable, bearded and relatively thin (!!!) Richard Griffiths (from History Boys, Withnail & I, etc).

4) Extra books!!! I wrote 12 pages of the new book yesterday, and 10 today. I was particularly pleased to get today’s 10 under my belt, because I had a meeting with my architect in the afternoon, so I had to push myself to finish in time ahead of it. As I was drawing towards the end, and looking through my notes for what I had thought would be the last several chapters of the book, I realised that the story needed to stop a bit earlier than I’d planned, and that I needed to expand the upcoming chapters into a separate book. That shouldn’t be too difficult, as I already have some ideas thrown up by what I’ve written so far — the earlier chapters of this book ended up being a bit longer than I anticipated, as the characters required time to express themselves. That means I’m getting two books for the price of one — nice!!!! It’s always a treat when you realise you’ve achieved more than you set out to!! As I always advise young writers, don’t be afraid to throw yourself into your work. You’ll learn things by writing, and find yourself taking off in all sorts of new directions, that you never would discover if you just sit around trying to plan everything out. Planning a book is like learning the rules of the road — very, very important, but you can’t really learn to drive until you get behind the wheel of a car and start the engine up!!


  1. Robbie said,

    Good blog Darren Shan. Keep up the good work and write more soon please!!!!

  2. Robbie said,

    Good to hear about the books, the walk, the movie and the programmes. Keep up he divulging of your opinion please!!!

  3. Shan said,

    Have you seen or read Twilight, you must be aware of the fan rivalry between your series and Meyer’s even though they are very different other than using the theme of vampires, but the film was surprisingly decent and has actually made me want to read the books. It really is surprising what a film can do for a book if it is good, so your definetly right when you hope to bring in a whole new generation of readers through the Cirque film. Very excited for it and its consequences for you if it is good.

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