Will you let him in?

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“He comes to my room at night…”

In 2014 ‘Mr. Mad’ was published.

Imagine a box. Imagine putting all the darker aspects of yourself, all the things you would rather no-one knew about you, into that box and imagine closing the lid. Feel better?

Doctor Georgina Barnes is a respected psychiatric consultant on a busy hospital ward. She knows exactly how to convince people that she is confident, capable and in control. All of the darker aspects of herself are safely locked away in a box. No-one can threaten the façade. Not even Junior Doctor Billy Craig?

A year ago, Redman was a detective with the police. Now he’s an in-patient on a psychiatric ward. When a fellow patient falls to his death from the hospital roof, Redman’s cop instincts re-awaken. People say the old guy took his own life. Redman is not convinced. But if the man was pushed from that roof… who pushed him? And why are the hospital authorities so keen to avoid an investigation?

The doctors have suggested Redman imagine a box. They say he should imagine putting the symptoms of his illness; the voices, the hallucinations, the paranoia… into that box. Redman battles his symptoms in order to uncover the truth about the man who fell from the roof. Everyone on the ward is a suspect, even Redman himself. To solve the mystery, he must face his own demons. He must open the box

For a limited time you can download ‘Mr. Mad’ FREE. Click the link.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00THCJ11Q?keywords=mr.+mad&qid=1455055683&ref_=sr_1_2&sr=8-2

Stories or Chapters?

‘I initially wrote these as separate stories for children age 8-13 but found that, even though most of the stories can be read independently, there was a definite plot progression which meant that they were best read in a particular order. So it may be that the stories end up being called chapters or maybe I’ll just have a list of titles. Anyway, here’s the stories/chapters/titles in the correct order.’ JK

Contents

  1. Evil Seagulls
  2. Susan Shocks
  3. Bad Television
  4. Talk Talk
  5. Inside the Machine
  6. Ice Scream
  7. The Happysad

New look for jonkenna.com

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I have an official writer’s website which has just got a bit of a make-over. I’m going to try to use it a bit more than I have in the past so I’d love it if you’d take a look by going to

jonkenna.com

The first of the planned regular posts is a list of my top 5 books of fiction. How does it compare with yours? It would be great if you could become a subscriber at that site as well as this. If you do, I’ll come round to your house and bake you a cake.

New Cat is No Scruff

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We have someone new in the house. Sheila the cat  is now a permanent resident. When she originally came to us she was called Scruff but you’ve never seen a cat who is less of a scruff; she’s actually smooth and silky. So she’s now called Sheila.

When I was a kid I had a dog so I’m not experienced with cats. I love animals but I’d never choose to have a pet (I was outvoted in this case). Dogs and cats only really live for 10 to 15 years which is just enough time for you to grow to totally love them as one of the family before they cruelly die on you and leave you a sobbing, traumatised wreck. Why would I volunteer for that? Plus there’s the cleaning up of the crap.

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Change, Decay, Transformation. The Breaking Brilliance of Vince Gilligan

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For years, everyone’s been saying how great Breaking Bad is. I never fancied it. Drugs dealers, hit men, terminal illness…? Narr not for me. Then someone lent me the first season on dvd. Like everyone else, almost instantly, I was a hopeless addict. And it’s all Vince Gilligan’s fault.

Actually it’s not. Brilliant though the initial idea of the ultra-square teacher and his former pupil cooking meth in the back of a trailer, Gilligan is the first to credit the team of writers, performers, directors and producers around him. Maybe that’s why the writers’ room for that show was reportedly the happiest of all writers’ rooms.

‘One of the more unusual things about the Breaking Bad writers’ room is just how happy it is, as opposed to the writers’ rooms on shows like Mad Men, The Newsroom, and Girls, which have an incredible amount of turnover often attributed to the egos of the showrunners who want to maintain control (and all the credit). As such, there’s been virtually no turnover in the Breaking Bad writers’ room over six years, so now that the show has come to an end, you can expect that many of those writers — Peter Gould, George Mastras, Sam Catlin, Thomas Schnauz, Moira Walley-Beckett, Gennifer Hutchison, and John Shiban — will likely end up running their own shows soon.’  The 10 Most Influential Writers’ Rooms In Modern Television Drama History BY 08.27.13 http://uproxx.com/tv/2013/08/modern-television-dramas-influential-writers-rooms/

The series shows how collaborative drama can be of top quality. Breaking Bad is not only full of crowd-pleasing suspense and plot twists, it’s also full of superbly drawn characters and complex interplay. Parts of it are almost Shakespearean in their depth. Not what you expect from a committee.

Gilligan started out writing for The X-Files. A fan of the show, he submitted a script which became the second season episode ‘Soft Light‘. He went on to write 29 more episodes, in addition to being co-executive producer of 44 episodes, executive producer of 40, co-producer of 24, and supervising producer of 20. He also co-created and became executive producer of the The X-Files spin-off series The Lone Gunmen but it only ran for one season of 13 episodes.

What makes me love the programme are all the obvious things already mentioned but underneath that, I love it because it is character-driven. Where other collaborative TV goes wrong is that it mistakes incidents for story. Writers sit round a table and each comes up with 6 or 7 funny or quirky incidents which they think will be good to see in whatever show they’re working on. But incidents are meaningless unless viewed through the eyes of characters we recognise as true. I reckon this is where Vince Gilligan’s genius comes into play. As show-runner, he must reject writers’ ideas, however funny or dramatic, unless they serve the characters. That’s how we get such a powerful story arc. In UK television soaps used to do this and often produced brilliant drama. Nowadays they focus on incidents alone; plane crashes, tram crashes, murders, explosions…. Each incident has to be a little more sensational than the last in order to keep the viewers viewing. Breaking Bad has dramatic incidents yes but only when they spring naturally from the characters and, because of that, even the quiet moments when nothing big is happening, even those are compelling. Every one of the characters in Breaking Bad is thought-out, cared about and true to life. Walter White says in the very first episode that Chemistry is all about change… decay… and transformation. That’s what characters are all about too.

It seems that Gilligan is applying the same approach with the follow-up Better Call Saul. The focus isn’t on sensational incidents but on the depth of the characters. Change… decay… transformation. Chemistry…. characters…. life.