Freudian Script: Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

Today we have a special Guest Post from Katherine Fowler, my good friend and go-to girl for Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) - take it away, Katherine! It is a great honour to be asked to do a guest post here, on ASD (aka my favourite topic in all the world). So, without further ado... DISCLAIMER: This blog post is designed for writers of fiction. If you are concerned that you or someone you know has symptoms of mental health problems, please see your doctor. What is ASD? ASD, or autism spectrum disorders, cover a wide range of developmental disorders, ranging from full-blown classic autism, to the catchily named PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified). As the word "spectrum" suggests, there is a huge difference between those at the far ends of the scale. And, with such a diverse range of symptoms, even those placed in the same spot along the scale may come across very differently. For simplicity’s sake, let’s divide the spectrum into...
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Dynamic Duos: The Crime Fighting Partners Formula

What makes great crime fighting partners? One mind, two bodies? Opposites attract? An office romance - or bromance? Or do you simply need a yes-man for your genius? I explore what makes crime fighting partners successful and compelling - and the building blocks required for writing a solid partnership. As the old Hollywood maxim goes: "The same, only different". But first, a little background... Crime Fighting Partners: A History From the very beginning of detective fiction, our heroes have worked in pairs. C. Auguste Dupin and his anonymous narrator friend, Sherlock Holmes and Doctor John Watson - a great detective can hardly impress if he has no one to question him. Early cinema derived heavily from detective fiction, including Dupin and Holmes, and brought Lord Peter Wimsey and his camera-wielding valet Bunter to screen. In the world of comic books, Batman Issue #1 introduces both Caped Crusader and acrobatic sidekick Robin. In the world of television, the 1960s brought an explosion of crime fighting partners in...
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Freudian Script: The Psychopath

The Psychopath - favourite of Hollywood and tabloid journalism alike. This week's Freudian Script attempts to clarify the definition of psychopathy, identify people wrongly called psychopaths, and uncover how you can write better psychopaths. DISCLAIMER: This blog post is designed for writers of fiction. If you are concerned that you or someone you know has symptoms of mental health problems, please see your doctor instead of doing a test on the internet. What is a psychopath? Unlike other conditions I have detailed in this series, psychopathy is a murky concept at best and is often the subject of controversy. I will therefore digress into the details of classification to shed some light on the problem. Psychopathy is considered a personality disorder, often sub-typed under either anti-social or dissocial personality disorder - depending on your classification system. The International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10), baby of the World Health Organisation and preferred by UK psychiatrists, bundles the term in under dissocial personality disorder. The Diagnostic and...
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Freudian Script: 4 Ways to Show Your Characters Need to Grow

For the next installment of Freudian Script, we will examine the unconscious reactions that characters give when they're under greater stress or lack emotional maturity. These are the immature defence mechanisms. As the name suggests, these are normal for teenagers - YA writers, take note - and are fairly common in adults. The following examples represent some of those defences, alongside some explanation and illustration from two of my favourite shows: 1) Regression I have a writing deadline and murders to solve...or I could play laser tag Wasn't life so much easier when you were a child? No responsibility, all that free time, and a part-time job on Saturday to buy more sweets. So, when reality comes knocking and you need to act like a grown-up, why not do something fun and childish instead? State Dinner to organise? Build a fire! Captaining a starship on a five-year-mission? Pretend you're the captain of a Royal Navy vessel (or just sing about it). This is the staple of...
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A criminal mind

I haven't got the head for crime. Stomach, sure - I've been watching CSI over dinner for years. And the heart, certainly: Castle, The Mentalist, Poirot, Sherlock are amongst my firm favourites. But the brain-juice? Not so much. I just finished Jeffrey Deaver's latest Lincoln Rhyme novel "The Burning Wire". Deaver's a genius and I've loved every single one of this series. But, once again, I couldn't see the twist coming. Or the second twist. Or the final twist. Or the one after that (and that may not look logical but, trust me, it is truth - the man's RELENTLESS with the TWISTS). I NEVER see it coming. I can never get the bad guy. Once or twice, I've guessed it. That's from watching about twelve seasons of CSI: Anyville, the above-mentioned shows, and numerous crime novels. Once. Or twice. Maybe three times tops. Normally, this wouldn't be a problem. Congratulations, you might say, the girl gets the fun and horror of surprise from every...
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Sherlock: Pilot’s Progress

Previously on this blog, I discussed why I thought watching both Sherlock pilots was an excellent exercise for film-makers. A couple of weeks ago, I was afforded the opportunity to test this theory. My good friends at Realm Pictures had yet to see any of the Sherlock series and were therefore in an ideal position: they could watch the unaired pilot first, consider improvements, and then watch the aired version. ***As before, extensive episode content discussed beyond this point. WATCH FIRST.*** I shouldn't try to predict my friends' reactions. Also, seeing through fresh eyes and undergoing that experience with them gave me new perspective. The first thing was that they felt the cab connection was obvious early (I watched it with friends the first time and nobody got it, but I've always been terrible at murder mysteries). They also preferred the first Sherlock meeting scene in the computer lab, but they may be down to taste. They were not fond of the little text labels...
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One to one-hundred-and-ten pages

I went on an excursion to Bristol to visit a friend. From Pads, it's about ninety minutes, so I left the laptop at home and took the hard drive (for TV catch-up) and the iPhone. I do my best writing on trains. But would that hold true without keys beneath my fingers and the ability to do more than one thing at a time? Turned out pretty well. I opened up my scripts in Celtx and fiddled about with them - the major downside was not being able to copy and paste long sequences, as I overhauled my final fight scene in Steampunk Assassins. I also looked up an old draft of the script using Dropbox to see if I still had an old scene that may get reworked into the finale sequence. The other project I worked on was my entry for the Laugh A Minute competition, which is inspired by Lucy V's call for sex. Unfortunately, nobody actually has sex, but...
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Top 5 Fictional Swords

Seeing as some search engines seem to send seekers of swords to my site, I thought I would oblige for my hundredth post: Sword #5: Watson's Sword Cane Let's open with a Holmesian example and how a sword may epitomise a man's character: Dr John Watson carries a deadly weapon concealed within an innocuous gentleman's cane. And I bet he can kick serious ass with the thing. I gleefully await the moment in SH2 when he takes out half a room with it. Without even breaking a sweat. Before afternoon tea with Mary. Sword #4: The Vorpal Sword One, two! One, two! And through and through The vorpal blade went snicker-snack! He left it dead, and with its head He went galumphing back. How can you not love the vorpal blade that destryoyzled the Jabberwocky? It would have me calloohing and callaying for joy too. So, what do we know about it? Not an awful lot - apart from that it's pretty vorpal and belongs to the Beamish Boy....
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Houdini-Holmes Psychic Mystery

Over on GITS, Scott flagged up the spec sale of Voices from the Dead: The thriller delves into the real-life relationship between magician Harry Houdini and Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle. Oh, come to Mama. As you may have guessed from my Steampunks Assassins project and my ravings about the Sherlock Holmes movie and BBC Sherlock, this pushes a lot of my buttons. But it gets better: Straczynski's script creates a fictional account of the two teaming up with a psychic to solve a set of murders in 1920's New York. A murder mystery! With a psychic! I absolutely adore police procedurals - mostly because I wouldn't have the first clue how to write them, due to the fact I'm completely unsuspecting of everyone. My favourite TV show is ABC's Castle about an NYPD detective and crime novelist who solve murders. Therefore, this is a dream come true for me. I hope against hope that this film gets made - because I want to see...
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Sherlock: A Study in Pilots

Today, I watched the original Sherlock pilot. It comes on the DVDs as an extra, the 60-minute version of A Study in Pink. *WARNING - EXTENSIVE DISCUSSION OF EPISODE CONTENT. WATCH FIRST.* My friends told me that it was pretty much the same as the aired pilot, with similar scenes and dialogue, and barely worth watching. When I saw Steven Moffat speak about Sherlock, he said that the unaired pilot suffers badly in comparison to the remake - but that, at the time, execs and distributors were wild about it and couldn't understand why the creative team wanted to remake it. My friends are right: the dialogue is exactly the same in places and the set pieces - the meeting at Barts, the pink murder scene, the "date" at the restaurant - are pretty much transferable between the two. And, then again, they're not. The entire look and feel of the two pilots is completely different, something that I believe I must attribute...
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