Symi Dream

Living on a Greek island

A Greek island blog from Symi in the Dodecanese islands of Greece. "James’s great talent lies in his careful observation of the absurd and the amusing, the dramas and the difficulties..." Anne Zouroudi.

Symi Dream - Living on a Greek island

Lent starts and competitions are entered

Lent starts and competitions are entered
We’ve bought the fish and put it in the freezer to replace the chicken. Lent begins today in Greece but, not being Orthodox, I am not sure if we will keep to the no-meat and other restrictions for the next 40 days. It’s Clean Monday today, a traditional; holiday day with barbeques (fish and seafood) and kite flying, families together celebrating at home or out in the countryside. It’s a usual day at the desk for me, at least for the morning.

Lent starts and competitions are entered

All peaceful in Pedi

Over the weekend, I managed to get two submissions together: one for a film festival (screenplay submission) and one for a new novel competition. You always think, ‘I’ll knock that synopsis up in a few minutes, I know the story’, but then, confronted with only one side of A4 and only 600 words max, it all starts to become rather tricky. You want to tell the whole story. You can’t. You want to mention this twist and the subtleties. You can’t. You need to grab the reader and leave things vague enough to invite a reading, but at the same time, you want to make points clear. I do the synopses of my stories usually in four acts, a bit like a film script (standard four-act structure). Things like backstory and the really interesting stuff have to be left out, but the important stuff has to go in.

Lent starts and competitions are entered

Green fields and lambs at this time of year

That’s why it’s always useful to start your writing of a novel with a ‘logline’, another film term. You keep this to yourself, but it helps focus you on what exactly you are writing. You can then develop it into the synopsis and later the whole story. You may change it as you go, but if what you end up with has no relation to what you first summarised your story as, then you’ve strayed from the path. Or, as Sondheim/Lapine say in ‘Into the Woods’, “The path has strayed from you.” The one or two sentence logline sums the whole thing up. Probably the most difficult thing to do, these are the things you see for films, and I guess books. Here are a few, for fun. See if you can guess the films. [Answers below.]

The ageing patriarch of an organised crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.

The lives of two mob hit men, a boxer, a gangster’s wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption.

A young F.B.I. cadet must confide in an incarcerated and manipulative killer to receive his help on catching another serial killer who skins his victims.

Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.

Lent starts and competitions are entered

Horio from a distance

Fun, isn’t it? No, it took me all Sunday morning to do, and I already had a logline and synopsis. Still, both things, a script and the first three chapters of a novel, have been sent off to two competitions, just to see what happens. Meanwhile, it’s back to Symi, back to Greece and Lent. See you tomorrow!

Lent starts and competitions are entered

Spring is springing

[Answers: The Godfather, Pulp Fiction, the Silence of the Lambs, The Shawshank Redemption.]

 

Symi Saturday photos

Symi Saturday photos
As is becoming a custom, there are a few extra photos for Saturday readers today.

Symi Saturday photos

See, I knew you were there

The send off for our friend went well and was well attended at the Sunrise café. The bells of nearby Agia Lefteris were rung for him too, causing a flurry of enquiries on the bus, apparently; Who has died? There was a children’s party at Mandeio’s, so we didn’t stop there in the end, they had enough on their plates. Instead, we sat in the square for an hour, just for one on the way home. Then we were invited to the Rainbow Bar for a drink with and on Yiannis. Time to catch up on local gossip and chat about his third grandchild who is on the way in Rhodes. She is expected in a few months, but, as is often the case over here, the doctors have put Yianni’s daughter into what I call ‘confinement’ so she can rest and be waited on for the next three months. There are no problems with the baby, it’s just a thing that happens. It does mean that Yiannis’ wife will be away in Rhodes looking after the family for a few months, and he has been here too. The baby is going to be called Ioanna, the female version of Yiannis, after him.

Symi Saturday photos

Walking to Nimborio

We also caught up on other gossip which can’t be relayed here. But no more about hearsay, it’s on with some more photos for you to have a quick glance through before I head off into a weekend with no writing planned. What will I do?

Symi Saturday photos

Periotisa church at the top of Horio

Symi Saturday photos

Window bars left over from more troubled times in the last and previous century.

Symi Saturday photos

A view from the Kali Strata

Symi Saturday photos

Paused pidgeons

Symi Saturday photos

A February afternoon on Symi

Symi Saturday photos

Passing plane

Grammar, and an era ends

Grammar, and an era ends

I’m still doing well on the old typos I see. Thanks for the comments about stopping for a couple of bears instead of beers. It’s amazing what you can find in Yialos these days.

Grammar, and an era ends

Poultry for sale at the train station. Only on Symi.

I am using Grammarly though, which helps with some of the obvious ones, like form instead of from. Before I bought this plug-in, I trawled through my last manuscript, running a search and find for form and changing each instance where it as wrong. Now the thing does it for me. Well, it underlines words and says, ‘Are you sure about this?’ And, ‘I think you should really get a grip you know, no-one says that these days.’ No, it doesn’t, but it would be fun if it did. Instead, it underlines and highlights where normal grammar would suggest you are doing something wrong. Or should that be, doing something incorrectly? Or, incorrectly doing something?’ Grammarly will sort it out for you. I’m not selling this handy add-in, but I am impressed by it. Last time I mentioned it, they wrote to me and thanked me for doing so and asked if I’d put a link. I promised that I would, and so here it is: www.grammarly.com

Grammar, and an era ends

Dusk approaches Yialos

By the way, before you start to worry and wonder, you can set it to UK spelling and grammar, or USA if you prefer to use that version for your spelling, which I only suggest you do if you are American. Or Canadian? What do they use? American English or Proper English? Whatever they use I am sure it is a lot more friendly, calmer, more polite, caring and – of want of a better adjective – nicer than American. (OMG, USA, you must be SO embarrassed to have elected that. Did you not learn from Brexit? Enough said.)

Grammar, and an era ends

High on a hill was a lonely goatherd’s hut…

I’m in danger of wittering on again, but I am looking out at the calm sea, and the sun on the mountains and that view does tend to take you away from what you were thinking about and make you think of nothing. Or, it makes you think about leaving this blog half way through and heading out for a stroll across to a far beach, or through the valley to watch the wildlife, or up into the hills for a ramble. But I can’t. I am playing the piano for someone in a while and then going for a glass-raising at the Sunrise Café for a friend who passed away recently. It’s Thursday as I write and there is only one more day to go before the weekend. And this weekend promises… Nothing! Or whatever I want to do because there is nothing in the diary, at the moment.

Grammar, and an era ends

No, not Kent, but the Pedi Valley, Symi

On the way back from our glass raising this afternoon we are also going to stop at Mandeio’s Café as there is sad news there too. It’s closing down today, and unless someone else takes it on, not reopening. I am not sure where this will leave the groups of teenagers who go there for coffee of an afternoon and evening or the cinema that Peter has been so ably running these last couple of years. We shall have to wait and see, but it does feel like the end of an era. And the end of a quick pizza, a good club sandwich and a very nice chicken salad, to say nothing of the various bears they served. Beers.