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Despite not having yet seen the film, I saw the trailer of a ground-breaking movie back in late October last year (I can say last year now and not think it was yesterday!) and am utterly hooked until it comes out. The film? Cloud Atlas. I am a massive fan of cinema, especially when it comes to setting new boundaries. The Matrix is always to go-to for any word on cinematic history and of course it deserves all its praise. But that was over 10 years ago. What could cinema possibly have up its sleeve now?

To answer that, I’d like to take you back a few years when I was at University still. I had heard of the film Inception but had no idea how much it would influence not only my writing, but my life (perhaps not as dramatic as you may think though). In interviews, director Christopher Nolan admitted his previous films were all practise for his trump card Inception. Practise? Are you sure? Batman The Dark Knight Rises was just practise? Surely not! But it was indeed so, and then Inception was birthed. I remember vividly seeing it for the first time at the IMAX in Southampton. I was utterly bewitched and the ending blew me away. I couldn’t remember the last time cinema had such a profound effect on me, so I went back, again and again, to see if I had missed anything; a small detail perhaps that would unlock its mystery. What I found was even more incredible.

Spoiler alert for those who don’t know the ending of Inception: It didn’t matter. The ending did not matter. This is what probably confused a lot of viewers and, ultimately, put them off. But I found it even more intoxicating. It didn’t matter? How can an ending not even matter? The whole story revolves around Dom Cobb, and throughout we see how tortured he is about leaving his children behind. When we hit the finale and see the kids’ faces brighten up that dad is back, the camera leaves the happy reunion and focusses on the spinning top. Before we can see if this is real or not, the film cuts out and ends! So was it real? Was it a dream within a million other dreams? Simple answer: It doesn’t matter. Why? Because Cobb’s story arch is complete. He believes it to be real, so we have to accept it as reality too. Have to? Well think of it this way, in our own lives, in our own world, we perceive it to be real. But what is reality anyway and how can you prove it? Thinking of the Matrix again? Yep. It simply doesn’t matter.

Cloud Atlas is proving to be another one of those films, where audiences will laugh, love, cry, and go through a roller-coaster ride of emotions until, at the bitter end, when we see how everything and everyone is connected, we accept the lessons and leave the cinema feeling inspired, elated, perhaps even thoughtful. I got the vibe straight away from the trailer, and with such an all star cast, I had to read the book first. I am a mere two thirds of the way through and it is fast becoming my favourite book of all time. The complexities of writing, how the author willingly chose to stick his middle finger up to the world of literary and say ‘This is how I want to present my book! Screw you and your prose-has-to-be-THIS-way nonsense!’ And hats off to you, David Mitchell!

For me, spotting the twist in the plot comes easily, and I am already pretty aware of how all the stories will end, and for that reason I am incredibly excited about the film coming out here in the UK in February. If the author pushed the boundaries, I’m certain it will translate to screen in a similar way. Here’s hoping!

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Sometimes along comes a TV show that absolutely blows you away in every single sense. The cast will be perfect, seeing new faces break into the industry, old faces we know and love and then quirky relationships to make all of them a happy (or sometimes not so happy) family. But when it comes down to it, there will be that one guy and one girl who you know belong together. These two people will be pushed, pulled and ripped from another, are meant to save each other, and finally end up together. Here is a short list of my absolute favourite couples.

Matthew and Mary

Ahh… Good old Downton Abbey. Now there is a TV show I adore. Not usually fond of period dramas, Downton Abbey had me from the first episode. I remember I was in second year of University when my script writing teacher suggested we all watch it. I’m glad I listened as it remains on of the best dramas ever to grace our screens. In the thick of Season 3 at the moment, Mary and Matthew didn’t always see eye to eye. Indeed the first season, setting everyone and everything up for us viewers, the pair were slightly annoyed at each other (though more of the hostility came from Mary). Was it like playground times, when picking on someone meant you liked them? Oh Mary, you were so confused. But it was too late. End of the season and no marriage. She had ruined it. I was so upset. A whole year to wait and finally Season 2, but it brought even more heart wrenching scenes as the back drop was WW1 and Matthew was on the front line. He was seeing Lavinia, a sweet young thing but she was no Mary. A lot of pushing and pulling later, with unspoken feelings, Julian Fellowes finally gave us the Christmas Special where Matthew proposes to Mary and she finally accepts. Now happily married, it feels like, without the drama between them, that Downton has lost some of its appeal. After all, Mary and Matthew are the driving force for me.

John Crichton and Aeryn Sun

From period drama to sci-fi cult classic, Farscape truly rocked my childhood. Whilst growing up you need some inspiring and amazing role models. Well, what’s better to a geeky girl who was a bit of a misfit than alien butt-kicing heroine Aeryn Sun. And how do you make sure she’s the best of the best? Give her a weakness; John Crichton. These two are an incredibly good looking couple and part of me wished the actors would end up together. But I digress. Finding himself the only human onboard a living ship, the Leviathan named Moya, John Crichton is hoping for a way home, back to Earth. Along the way he meets a whole host of different alien species, including his eventual best chum Ka D’Argo, greedy Rygel, lovable Pilot (job is in the name), and the very sexy Aeryn. Of course more characters come and go, but Aeryn and John are always there. Back to back fighting, these two aren’t ones to waltz around ballrooms like Matthew and Mary. If there’s a mission to be done, these two are your go to. Think their love gets in the way of blasting aliens? You’d be wrong, for the most part. Aeryn’s reluctance of letting people close to her and finally giving in to John makes her character so simple to lap up. John’s human curiosity is portrayed beautifully and so when these two get put on a very long rollercoaster including deaths, clones and babies, you can imagine why I love this pairing.

Carrie and Aidan

What’s more annoying than seeing the perfect on-screen couple? Seeing said couple fall apart and never end up together. Sex and the City defined the 90’s in terms of style, sex and sophistication. Although many would argue that Sex and the City is just smutty, slutty rubbish, the show does hammer home and touch base on some real issues women have. And it’s not just the women, mind you. I have many male friends who love the show (and yes, who are straight). Surely I don’t need to even give the girls an introduction here. Our leading lady Carrie is on the quest for the perfect man. What girl isn’t? The annoying thing is she found him. Aidan Shaw is quite possibly the perfect man. He’s homely, all American, traditional and romantic. He’s cute and sexy all wrapped up into one amazing package. The pairing was great, the flirtation was playful, the relationship was plain sailing. Actually that was Carrie’s main problem; there was no drama. Here is probably where it all went to pot. If you are expecting to be hurt in a relationship, you will be, if not by the man but because you made it happen. Aidan’s personality, his profession, his whole life just seemed like most women’s dream. Yet here comes Carrie and wrecks it all because the lack of drama. Sigh. Having put all my frustrations about this couple in a box, I must say they are a favourite TV couple of mine. Aidan appeared twice in Carrie’s life and they even became engaged. My favourite episode of the whole show was when Aidan proposed to Carrie. The two had chemistry that I wish I had with a guy. But perhaps it just goes to show. We might find the perfect guy for us, but that doesn’t mean we are the perfect girl for him.

And that is my little list of great TV couples. If a new drama erupts onto the screen and doesn’t include a destined couple, odds are I probably won’t watch it. Truly the characters are the main reason (followed oh so closely by a good story) I even watch the programme. Favourite video game couples, well, that’s a whole different story.

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The amazing thing about writing, to me, is the pure creation aspect. From nothing you can create an entire world; maybe it’s just like the one we live in, maybe it’s in a completely new place. But you made it. It came from you. Deep within every single one of us, lies a dormant, untapped creative spring. Some of us are lucky enough to tap into it when we’re young and it flows all throughout our lives. Some need to work at it a little longer; but we all have the ability to create. Be it a story, a character, a sculpture, an invention, a work of art, there is something within all of us.

Finding that something amazing can come from something so trivial as a simple day dream in the car waiting for the traffic to clear. Or perhaps even in the shower. Or maybe you’ve had one vague idea and you’ve spent a lot of time perfecting that one idea.

Mine is called Sen. She is my favourite creation and I adore her with all my heart. When I thought of her, she didn’t have the name she has now. I used to play on a play-by-post website, a fantasy outlet where you can interact with other people’s characters. Might sound odd but it is a great social way to interact creatively with others. But Sen wasn’t growing. At first, she was a blind mystic, using illusions to her advantage, using charm instead of instinct. But the horrible angst filled background I gave her, mysticism didn’t fit. So I changed her. Moulded her. Sen changed into a blind assassin, wielding a huge shuriken (Yuffie, FF7 style) and kicking all kinds of butt. Yet she is so adaptable, I can tweak thing about her and still find it fits perfectly.

And I love her. She is the best thing to come from my imagination. Whenever a new story emerges, I always think back to Sen. Could she fit in somehow? Is this character as well thought out as Sen?

Is there a story or character that is your absolute baby, your undeniable favourite? *offers a cup of tea* Let me know.

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