The Oxford Editors : A review

Warning old post alert. I can happily announce that I am now an independently published author. Check out my books and journey by reading my more recent posts or the resources section….

 

 

From my very few years active as a ‘writer’ looking to get published someday, there have been many things that I quickly and sometimes painfully learned. Now don’t get me wrong, many of those lessons were from my own making and this blog post is a resource for writers much like me who are doing their research.

I will have to begin this story from a few years back, but if you don’t then simply scroll down to the review of the Oxford editors. My naïve journey to publication was in its first six months. Clark Thorn and the Warrior Project also looked very naïve and well pretty much stunk in terms of everything a part from the basic story.

You haven’t need to go very far from the google search bar to find people who call themselves ‘literary agents’ and having exhausted the list of my ‘top picks’ the dregs were becoming my top choice. Hence my first lesson:

I received a reply from a person calling themselves an editor who worked closely with the agent in hand and that I would receive a reply soon. After some months I eventually got a phone call with someone, the whole situation didn’t feel right. The agent didn’t even seem professional or have an ounce of interest, however the editor showed some likeness towards my book. This eventually led to the agent presenting a piece of paper which I should sign (yes alarm bells are ringing). The editor wanted to go ahead and edit my book even suggesting a price. After sometime I backed out and ran for the hills. My lessons on this case study were:

  1. Looking back my book was nowhere near the standard of being put to a publishing house. So these people were clearly taking me for a ride
  2. The whole demeanour of the agent and editor team seemed off to me.
  3. They took no real interest and then began to offer me ‘contracts’ or ‘editing’ for a price
  4. They could see a naïve inexperienced author who could have been starry eyed.

Now the back story has been provided I can go on to my review of the oxford editors.

Sometime later and after using the editor (the one who wanted money for editing) and their free advice my novel began to take shape. But still the literary agents were rejecting left, right and center (they still are, sad face).

Maybe I needed my manuscript looked at, just to see if I was on the right track. Doing this from scratch and without an English degree really put me against the odds of ever finding any level of success as an author.

Eventually I found my way into getting a manuscript assessment. At the time just googling such services I came across the oxford editors. For an undisclosed fee they would look at my book, tell me the good things and bad. They would also provide some kind of book report. Sounds good right.

Ok so contact was made along with payment and the manuscript had been sent. Some time had passed and the person who would be assessing the book also made contact. She happened to be in charge of the oxford editors. Being told it would take 6 weeks I dived into editing my second book

More time passed, and more time passed. After a few months and much contact I eventually told them that making me wait for such time for such money was unacceptable.

Then it looked like this particular oxford editor then pushed the panic button as I was sent some half-done report with actually a good few advising points. By this time I had learned that maybe paying sums of money is only really necessary when you can afford to loose it, and nobody is really in that situation.

I accepted that perhaps I had been rolled over but used the few points of advice and implemented them to Clark Thorn and the Warrior project.

Right now it wasn’t looking good for the oxford editors and I was ready to get a review out there. But I decided not and waited.

This year rolled around and I received an email from the person who tried to assess my manuscript. Strange, I thought and decided to ignore it. Perhaps the inbox was being cleaned out. At this stage I accepted the assessment would never appear.

Some more months later I receive another email, it contained two attached documents. The body of the email went something along these lines :

“I was just cleaning out a few files on the computer and these appear to have
bounced back and then gone into the junk file, so I am not sure if you ever
got the entire report and on the script, I also marked in red some of the
many typos etc – I enclose a copy as it should be helpful. I have done a bit
to  illustrate where you are going wrong in grammar and punctuation. I would
really advice a good copy edit”

In all honesty I don’t particularly buy the above statement, but low and behold I had received a full manuscript assessment and the whole manuscript had even been highlighted for errors.

It had taken a whole year but I finally received what I paid for.

Right now I am implementing those changes and points to really give myself and Clark Thorn and the Warrior Project a fighting chance to be seen by the world.

The oxford editors were slow, and it took a lot of chasing. Books take time and so do they, parting with sums of money for this service is something you will have to trust your gut instincts with. Overall I am happy with the service although it took a year as opposed to 6 weeks.

Lessons learned

  1. Think long and hard about contacting an editing or assessment agency and if they have a reputation that can be trustworthy. Check them out, look up the people they work with and for on twitter.
  2. Money is something that doesn’t grow on trees, so really really think about parting with the cash before deciding
  3. Things take time, although the oxford editors should say that the assessment would have taken longer than 6 weeks they didn’t, but it will take time.
  4. Use the advice given to you, I know sometimes advice can be critical but make it constructive. Use it to get ahead with writing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jurassic World : Dinosaurs still rule the earth

 

JW1For many movie going folk Star Wars is the biggest deal for them this year, but not for me. This past weekend saw the sequel to a film that captivated generations of people and still does to this day. I remember seeing Jurassic Park multiple times and then spending ages trying to get hold of a forever sold out VHS copy.

Jurassic World did the same for me (apart from the VHS thing). As a proud 90’s kid I felt as if that era was on the line for me here. Our lives were in the hands of a not so known director Colin Trevorrow. His job, to bring back  something that many think couldn’t be bettered.

You know what many people will be right because Jurassic Park revolutionised so much and paved the way for modern film. But Jurassic World in many places bettered the work that Steven Spielberg did. Of course throughout the film there were moments that nodded to the first but this one had it’s own voice and that was achieved by making these dinosaurs the characters.

Instead of this being a ‘monster’ flick, the characters in this film include the dinosaurs. There is a great connection from an audience point of view to these creatures who have their own spotlight. They aren’t just CGI imagery, they mean something more than just monsters. You really feel for these larger than life beings that once ruled our world and that is something this franchise has never succeeded in telling us until now.

The park is open

We were treated to some stunning visual shots and the park really looked like what John Hammond envisaged

Again he concept of humans pushing genetics too far is center stage and they are rightly punished. An old story of human interference with nature resulting in disaster. Nothing new but delivered in a different way. A very much lethal cross bred dinosaur escapes captivity and all hell breaks loose.

For all Jurassic fans it’s right up their alley.

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Bryce Dallas Howard holding a flare, I think we know what will follow

To put things right it is up to the main man Owen who is played by Chris Pratt, a velociraptor handler/trainer (yes there isn’t a manlier job, ever).

From this film he should go on to be the next Indiana Jones no doubt. His presence as the hero was simply brilliant. Joined by the park’s main administrator Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) they struggle to track down this dino-predator and the 20,000 visitors are now the prey. We do see an Indiana Jones style relationship develop here ticking yet another box for me.

Parts of this film were indeed scary and tense, something which delivered better than the original perhaps on a larger scale. I think comparison to the original is what this film was mainly about but to me Jurassic World stood taller. In the end it was up to the dinosaurs who closed the original, defending their honor.

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Conclusion  9/10

This wasn’t just a film about monsters, in fact these creatures didn’t feel like monsters at all. They were characters in their own tale of how no matter what interference they have, life will find a way. The best film of the 90’s and it’s reputation was fantastically defended, Jurassic World did what the original didn’t and that’s tell us that dinosaur’s weren’t monsters at all.

No doubt I will be seeing it again in the cinema. A reported 204 million dollars taken for its first weekend, the T-Rex can still roar, and it’s louder than anything else this year so far.

 

 

 

 

Tomorrowland : A world Beyond, telling us we should all look in the mirror and have happy thoughts every now and then…..

There I was on Friday with my better half in a somewhat deserted cinema at the beginning of a payday weekend.

Tomorrowland our choice, having seen the trailer intrigue got the better of me and opposed my thoughts of watching Dwayne Johnson escape an earthquake.

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As the film opens we are faced with a ruggedly handsome George Clooney talking to us the audience. He speaks of how ‘this’ all began and every so often is interrupted by a girl (Britt Robertson) we also see some kind of countdown clock thingy. Off we go back to the sixties to when this all began….

There were two main stories in this film’s plot, one of Clooney’s character and the other of Robertson’s character who is based in the present day. It’s the usual set up for Disney, a plainish type girl living with a single parent and younger kid brother. She has a passion for science and seeing the stars. Who doesn’t these days?

Clooney’s story is one of discovery as a young kid and he pitches the idea of a jetpack to an invention panel at the world’s fair.  After only attracting the attention of a girl (Raffey Cassidy) similar age to him she hands the boy a pin with ‘T’ embossed in it.

This pin allows entry to via some kind of teleportation to a futuristic city known as Tomorowland. A place where all the best and brightest live.

There were some cool visuals as this boy discovered the city. Mostly CGI but on the big screen it looked convincing. Throughout this rather long winded introduction I was left thinking where is this going and what is it about? Those answers were coming but not yet.

Flash forward to the girl and within her seeing the stars passion fueled ‘Cinderella’ type story we are fed an interesting and thought provoking quote:

There are two wolves who are always fighting. One is darkness and despair. The other is light and hope. The question is… which wolf wins?”

“The one you feed.”

Cutting a long story short becasuse I do recommend this film, Tomorrowland (the place) has fallen to sh** in recent times. Clooney’s character has left and come back to normal land. This girl  receives a pin and using it she see’s a ‘version’ of that place.

Desperatley wanting to know more she finds Clooney and after some convincing they make their way to Tommorowland

Imediatley they are apprehended by Hugh Laurie’s character, a somewhat leader of Tomorrowland. This is near two thirds into the film and we finally find out what this they are trying to tell us.

The countdown we are shown at the beginning is from a device, that Clooney invented and predicts when the modern day world will end. Even though Hugh Laurie played a smaller part in this film he brought a top level performance of a man who had accepted humanity’s fate. He delivered this via a very powerful self reflecting speech,

“You’ve got simultaneous epidemics of obesity and starvation, explain that one. Bees butterflies start to disappear, the glaciers melt, the algae blooms. All around you the coal mine canaries are dropping dead and you won’t take the hint! In every moment there’s a possibility of a better future, but you people won’t believe it. And because you won’t believe it you won’t do what is necessary to make it a reality.”

 Powerful and deep stuff right? As expected from Disney because they love an undertone or two.

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The main cast, a decent mix of known and lesser known faces

So the world is going to end in a matter of months and that’s it?

Wrong. The girl realises this world ending predicting device only shows what could happen and not what will happen. Back to our feeding the wolves quote, she theorised that if you be positive and live positively the world won’t end.

Yes this stuff is quite deep for Disney, I was surprised and intrigued at the same time. After an altercation they destroy the device which seems to have a death grip over everybodies negative thoughts and the world is saved.

So my question to you is which wolf do you feed?

Tomorrowland slowly built up in a long winded discovery sort of way. It was good to see Disney create a live action original piece and this film wasn’t just a George Clooney film. I give full credit to other mostly younger performers in this film and recommend it just because it has a thought provoking level of intrigue not seen in modern or past Disney productions.

Not many people will get the film or what is trying to say, others will turn it off before watching it all. Applied thinking is needed for this film to be effective. But overall I enjoyed the visuals and action.

If you are looking for a different option to the mega action smash fests we have seen so far this year then check out Tomorowland. If you’re just a George Clooney fan, you will probably be disappointed that he shared screen time with some less known faces.

I liked it. With a month that will be dominated by dinosaurs and running and all the screaming Tomorrowland was a nice change of pace.

tommorowland