Posts Tagged ‘new’

Another one of ours in the arms of destiny! 😂 Happy Married life Mr & Mrs. Fisher

Producer Seyi Babatope of Phebean Films with Kene Mparu of FilmOne Distribution Inc today premiered ‘When Love Happens’ at Genesis Cinemas, The Palms, Lekki and we must confess the movie beat all expectations. I, representing Phantom House Books, was privileged to be onset when the movie was being shot and I remember Seyi having Sound and Logistic problems. Truth is, I don’t know how he did it in post-production, but he sure did pull it off.

I must mention, that I myself, am not a fan of postmodern Nigerian movies, but this is a total bencher! I almost coughed out my lungs from popcorn and laughed my heart out at this hearty romantic comedy all through the premiere. The photography was top-notch done by Pindem Lot and the casting was thorough. I said thorough. I wasn’t too surprised by seeing Uche (Weruche Opia) and OC (Ukeje) command the screens as their commitment on set was absolute; what is required from every actor,  including the recognition of lines, but seeing the likes of Desmond Elliot, Wale Ojo, Bernard, as well as “Shaffy” (Bello) and “keppy” (Ekpeyong), my two glamorized couple (also my favorite couple) putting so much into this near 2-hour full feature had me thunderstruck. Might be due to the reasons that they all had fun on set. I know Seyi made sure everyone felt like family. Aside his occasional disgruntlement at the crew. Heh. In fact when it came to the Questions and Answers session at the premiere, it was nothing but laudable praise from everyone including trenchant critics for Babatope and his delicate cast. He’d once mentioned to me these people were the best at what they do, but I had to see Uche and Ukeje live during filming to believe that—I too being a not-too-sarcastic critic myself.

Now back to us. What’s intriguing to us in all this is that though this work is an original creation by the man himself, this producer is challenge-oriented and has set his eyes on Phantom House Books to produce more challenging screenplays to challenge his audience. In consequence, we also are equally challenged to work with him in a bid to show Nigeria the proper way to do things: Writerà ScreenplayàMovie. Or isn’t that how it’s done?

So all we say to our Nigerian authors and writers out there is keep writing. Let Nigeria get the chance to witness your work for a writer is nobody’s writer if you work dusts up a cupboard.

By the way, welcome to the new Nollywood.


Literary Agent Jen Rofe (Andrea Brown Literary) for Nick James’s YA novel, Skyship Academy: The Pearl Wars (Sept. 2011; Flux). The book was called “a fast-paced adventure that delivers solid action sequences throughout” by Publishers Weekly, while Booklist said, “This first novel is a refreshing departure from the strict dystopian trend. There are plenty of plot surprises and action sequences to keep the pages turning, and the treatment of terrorist attacks and environmental concerns will prompt readers to make connections with their own lives.”

Dear Ms. Rofe:

Fifteen-year-old Jesse Fisher can’t pass a test, pilot a space shuttle, or make it through a day without tripping over his own feet.

Now his clumsiness has cost Skyship Academy a precious Pearl. While on a foolproof mission designed for a trainee, Jesse is ambushed by Cassius, star operative of Madame, the Academy’s ruthless archenemy. And instead of fighting back, he nearly gets himself killed.

In a future Earth drained of its natural resources, Pearls are more valuable than a stack of gold. Just one can power an entire city for months. Madame, the leader of the depleted American government, seeks Pearls to further her own profit. To control them, she needs the power locked inside of Jesse–a power he’s completely oblivious to.

When Madame sends Cassius to capture him, Jesse–eternal klutz and clueless fighter–has a chance to prove he’s not as mondo pathetic as everyone thinks he is. But round two with Cassius yields unexpected revelations as both boys begin to unravel a past that ties them directly to the mystery of Pearls.

Of course, none of this will matter if Jesse can’t find the skill to fight back before Madame’s forces close in and shut him down forever.

Skyship Academy is a 45,000-word YA adventure with series potential aimed at the middle school market. As requested in your submission guidelines, the first ten pages are included at the bottom of this email. A full manuscript is available upon request. I look forward to hearing from you.

Nick James

Commentary From Jen:

Sci-fi has never been my “thing.” I’m not a fan of Star Trek, Star Wars puts me to sleep, and I can count on one hand the number of sci-fi books I’ve read (until recently, the answer was one — and that’s because I literally had no other book option at the time).

Then I received a query for Skyship Academy: The Pearl Wars by Nick James. Nick’s query wasn’t perfect — the storyline was muddled and he labeled his manuscript a YA aimed at the middle grade market. Still, there are a number of reasons why I was compelled to review Nick’s sample pages. Here are four, in a nutshell:

In September 2008, Nick’s query stood out from the multitudes in my inbox for paranormal romance and suicidal teen YAs. Skyship fell into a genre that wasn’t yet popular but that wasn’t too far off from what was gaining traction — dystopian. Hunger Games had been released around the time I received Nick’s email, and I anticipated that light sci-fi in the vein of Skyship would take hold in the market, as well.
The storyline captured my interest. Mysterious pearls from space are the world’s most important energy source, but nobody knows where they come from, and a clumsy teen can control them, except he doesn’t even realize it?! Wow!! Count me in.
The conflict seemed exciting. The government is after Jesse because of his power to control pearls, so he’s on the run. He also has limited time to figure out how he’s connected to the pearls. Which, to me, meant two things: ticking clock and action! Which leads to reason four.
I felt certain this story would appeal to teen boys. From where I sit, finding books that will appeal to boys is no easy feat. Writing them is even harder. As far as I was concerned, Nick James had it in the bag.

In 2009, we sold Skyship Academy to Brian Farrey at Flux. The book was released this fall (2011). Nick is presently writing a sequel.

Courtesy: Chuck Sambuchino (GLA), Tn Odu
For Phantom House Books Nigeria

“All description is an opinion about the world.” — Anne Enright

In some books, you scarcely recall where the narrative took place. Others could have unfolded anywhere, at any time. Perhaps this was a purposeful decision by the author – universality, timelessness. But if the story is intended to be a product of its setting, how to render that setting in a living way? How do you take it from backdrop to character?

For me, historical fiction is no different than contemporary fiction in at least this way: I hope to glimpse my life. I may move through prehistoric caves, or walk the streets of Depression-era New York, or in the case of my novel, The Luminist, inhabit the neglected Ceylon estate of a colonial wife and the Tamil boy she draws into her obsessive pursuit of the first photographs. Wherever I am, I sift details of meals eaten in the upper and lower classes, clothes worn, slang uttered, how they slept and where they worked; I pin them to the prevailing forces of their world. Through those details, even fiction removed in time becomes immediate to me.

There are ways to uncover those details. I am drawn to old photographs, for example. Julia Margaret Cameron’s iconic portraits and her lesser known images of colonial Ceylon captivated me upon first encountering them, and they fueled my exploration of the themes that became the foundation of my book.

Writings (journals, newspapers, etc.) that are contemporaneous to the period, if available, can convey authentic voices and idioms. Old maps, their boundaries long since redrawn, nevertheless speak of vanished villages, dead rivers, or historic plagues. Biographies are wonderful tools for locating the threads of character and sociological/political backdrops from amongst the tangle of a finished life.

These are tools that can be used to do what is so difficult to do in creating your setting: resurrecting something that stopped existing before you started writing about it. The town, the house, the atmospherics of history, shift a little or a lot the moment your character begins to consider them.

Now, about the messy business of infusing place with character.

Imagine visiting someone you know well. Imagine sitting with them as you have a thousand times. Describe them. Now, tell yourself that they had a twin, who died tragically at an early age. You never knew that before. The narrative of your life with them has proceeded to this point without this information. But now you know.

Look at them again, and observe what has changed. What is different about the look in their eyes or the way they dress, or where they choose to live or what they do for work? Nothing. Everything. To render these differences, whether granular in detail or broadly stroked, is to make the character breathe.

Let’s apply this to setting. Find a room you’ve never seen. It has no meaning to you and holds nothing of your past life. You don’t know its contours, or how it looks on a cloudy morning. You can literally find one and occupy it, or find a picture and imagine yourself into it. Describe it. Tell the readers what we see. What we could touch, if only we were really there.

Now, describe the same room a second time. This time, give the room a story. This is where someone died. That chair was where a husband sat as his wife told him that she was leaving him. Out that window, a single mother watched a moving van pull up after losing the house to foreclosure.

What just happened? The room’s physical description changed, didn’t it? That’s not merely a bed. That’s not simply a street outside. The walls and their peeled paint have something akin to a voice. This setting isn’t just an edifice or a space anymore. It bears witness.
I think of Fitzgerald’s fictionalized Long Island, its eastern and western sides and the inlet between. DeLillo’s New York, violently reborn in the collapse of the twin towers. Hemingway’s sea, washing an old man away and back again, to a home that may no longer hold a place for him. I think of settings such as these and cannot help but know the characters that populate them.

Guest column by David Rocklin, author of THE LUMINIST (Oct. 2011,
Hawthorne Books), a debut Publishers Weekly called “beautifully written. Rocklin
grew up in Chicago and graduated from Indiana University. He lives in
California with his wife and children. Courtesy: Writer’s Digest | http://www.writersdigest.com

a D.A.R.E review is a primal form of a book review and simply means you Delete After Reading and Evaluating the manuscript (finished/unfinished).

The Review is done in three simple sweeps.

First SWEEP. The first sweep is the first read. During this sweep, it is paramount you get the general feel of the book.

DO NOT read for errors. DO NOT attempt to make any corrections during this sweep. Reading is all that is required.

Several Reviews have questionnaires attached to the review script to make it easier to sweep paragraphs, whole sections, and pages. If they are attached, answer them.

The basic questions that should be cruising through your mind during this sweep are:

Why you think this book/chapter/page/section will work/why it won’t work?

What makes it difficult to read/easy to read?

Is the story plausible/commendable/a sham?

IT IS IMPORTANT HERE TO NOTE: the fewer your words at this stage the more critical/direct/and unbiased your review will sound, which is constructive for the writer whose work is been reviewed, good or bad.

Second SWEEP. The second sweep is the second read. During this sweep, you are allowed to make changes following what software/editing tool you decide to use. You can also inculcate your own reading/editing strategy. You’re free to do as you wish. Read for syntax errors, spelling errors, and construction error; that is errors that you think rob a phrase or sentence of the intended or implied meaning.

The basic questions that should be cruising through your mind during this sweep are:

No one is that perfect, where are the bloody errors?!

Why can’t I understand a line? When and how did I get to this page?

What did he do wrong, why am I confused right about here?

IT IS IMPORTANT HERE TO NOTE: the more verbose/grandiose/explicit the words you use in this stage, the more constructive and easier it will be for the writer whose work is being reviewed to connect to your suggestions and the intended meaning of your review.

Last SWEEP. The third sweep is the final read. During this sweep you are allowed to read the story with your corrections to edit yourself and the reviewed writer. It is easier of the reviews and much simpler now. You are also allowed to check for disproportionate facts and figures, and changes in story content.

The basic questions that should be cruising through your mind during this sweep are:

Is he kidding? Did the writer just lie to me? But, the writer said a totally different name/number/subject/object/thing at the start of this episode?

I sound right/logical/funny/witty/smart/straight to the point/unbiased. What is making my review work?

On a scale of one to ten, do you think the featured author deserves to be a writer?

IT IS IMPORTANT HERE TO: SEND the Reviewed copy to its respectively Literary Agency and DELETE the document on your computer and in the recycle bin and the email through which it was sent immediately!!!

it is a standard practice, and the most valuable task you can do for the author.

THESE ARE THE BASIC RULES FOR A GOOD/GREAT REVIEW. THE ACT OF REVIEWING IS FUN, HILARIOUS, EXCITING AND A CHANCE TO REWRITE A MANUSCRIPT YOUR OWN WAY AND USUALLY ISN’T TEDIOUS. BOREDOM/TIREDNESS IN A REVIEW INDICATES ONLY ONE THING: THE WRITER DOESN’T DESERVE TO WRITE HENCE ISN’T WORTHY OF YOUR REVIEW. SAVE YOURSELF THE TROUBLE. THE WORK IS FAR FROM PERFECT/COMPLETE.