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LONDON December 2001

Hard to believe it is December. The year has been so eventful for almost everyone in the whole world. In groups, as individuals, as a society West or East,
it's been quite a ride. If you thought you would have a boring year, whoever you are, you were wrong. In the UK from Foot and Mouth and slaughter of millions of animals, to elections fought on the premise of no new taxes, we now have a government promising , you guessed it, more new taxes. There has been a housing boom, a consumer boom and it still isn't over, yet even the blind should be able to see that big financial trouble is just around the corner. NEVER listen to an expert, pain and suffering is never far away and the more debt you have right now, the more pain you'll suffer.

America is still far from healed from the shocks of September 11th and Afghanistan may well be a country transformed by war, but the regional trauma of the Taliban and the aftermath of their defeat will be felt for years, so will the resentment and inevitable revenge. If there is a good thing to come from this, it is the lessening of tension between Russia and America. China is already in the WTO now, so in theory peace and harmony is the next outcome, right? Of course given the state of South American economies, not to mention some American companies such as Ford, there are a lot more financial shocks to come in the world and who knows where that will take us and our jobs. This is not a good period for 'futurology' too many variables right now , not enough certainties. This month will Argentina default? Already Argentina's citizens are restricted to being only allowed a $1000 dollars a month out of their banks, never mind what they have in there. Will Argentina topple our banking systems over, coming on top of the Enron collapse, banks all around the world are exposed for billions of dollars to Enron. Does this impact on our lives at all? James Campion says that Israel attacking Arafat is a good thing, but sometimes you get more than you bargain for. December is often a month of cruel surprises and disasters - we shall see.

Right now in the first weeks of December people are spending, economists are prediciting the worst is over, houses prices are moving upwards again, all is fine, don't panic....but everyday a few more thousands lose their jobs in manufacturing and services industries. Our world is taking on the unreality of Orwell's '1984' or the film 'Brazil'. Nothing happening here, keep spending, move along, no gawking....

So be content that it has been an excellent year for movies. From Amelie to Moulin Rouge, Crimson Rivers to A One and A Two and In the Mood for Love, every month there has been something quite special to see out there, right now it's The Heist, a wonderful twisting caper from David Mamet. If you missed those films rent the DVDs now and experience a treat. In literature nothing surpasses The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman, although A Bad Beginning by Lemony Sicket is a little gem. You can find out about them all in our Reviews page

So lets consider good things right here at Hacks. Right now thanks to Carpe Diem Films in London, my script 'The Pushover' is in pre-production. We have a casted script read through coming up on December 8th and no doubt there will be changes needed, but at least we are moving forward. Next stop a Director, casting and oh, finding the money. But I'll keep you posted as we slowly head towards that day when the cameras finally roll.

This Christmas I'll be hiding from the celebrations and writing a new screenplay. Looking forward to it. This is the second attempt at writing a French movie. God knows why I make life difficult for myself, but I love the style and wit of their films and so here goes. But why write another when I haven't sold most of the others? It's that old rule two: Always keep moving forward. Don't spend too long polishing a script, in the end you'll have to rewrite it ten times when Producers and Directors finally come aboard. Writers and sharks have to keep moving or die.

My thanks again to Scriptshop for profiling my script and getting me attention
from Producers.
And it is not just myself. James Skinner a regular writer for us living in Spain has at least two producers looking at his script, so the year has proven good for him too. What it proves is that people are looking for good stories and in the end you will connect. Patience is recommended. Remember the average script takes eleven years to sell! Hazel, a former regular has found an agent, almost all this years regulars have found jobs writing and editing in London, Cambridge or Edinburgh.

Of my novel Diamonds, well although I have almost given up in despair with the publishers Domhan Books in New York, I am adopting a patient attitude with them too and hope that they will eventually publish the corrected edition as agreed. Did I make a mistake in going for new, young publishers? probably. But one must live with ones mistakes and hope that problems can be rectified. So far in the few copies that were distributed before the printing was halted I have had excellent feedback and one good review, so again, a good story will find friends and who knows one day, when available again, it will spread by word of mouth. A lesson to be learned that in the end there is no short cut. Established mainstream publishers are a safer bet and e-books are never really going to catch on for fiction. Hang out for that agent or editor from Harper-Collins.

Hackwriters is in the process of change. Well at least I am. We have left Cornwall and are still searching for a new home. Some of our regulars are still writing for us, and we have new ones as well. I've enjoyed running the thing and watching it grow. Hackwriters remains for now a forum for lively writing, new fiction, travel stories and lifestyles. If you are reading us for the first time and you have a story to tell, tell it, we may post it, we are accepting material all the way up to Christmas and the magazine will remain archived for the future.
(We do reserve the right to edit and reject unreasonable and objectional material).

My thanks to Carine Thomas (graphics) Oliver Moor, James Skinner, Maggie Pishneshin, Angie Eng, Zia Zaman, David Rutherford , Andrew Abulu, Sara Towe, james Campion, Amy Chan, and many many more who have all contributed to making this Hackwriters most interesting year. for the record there are nearly 800 articles on-line here, so if you have just arrived, boy, you've got some catching up to do.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS (as they say now)
Sam North - Managing Editor - author of Diamonds (available again in 2002 with luck)

© Carine Thomas - Publisher - A Brighter Image Company



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