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11 minutes ago, scoutldr said:

"I was made redundant"....I love the British language!  Here in the Colonies, we get "fired" or "laid off".  Question, SKip:  when you say the time is "Half eleven"...what time is it?  Wife and I watch more British telly on PBS now than we do the American mindless sitcoms.  Our current faves are "The Durrells of Corfu", "Call the Midwife", "Midsomer Murders", and "Doc Martin".    

Now fired and laid off are two different things to us. Made redundant is, I think, the equivalent of laid off. ie your job no longer exists due to cut backs, closure etc. Which is what happened to me. Sort of. Basically HMRC is changing from about 180 small sites and condensing to 14 massive sites. I could have gone to a new one but it would have meant 4 hours commuting a day or move to East London. No thank you to either option! So I took redundancy (with a pay off generous enough I can spend some time writing!) To us fired means something different, it means dismissed or sacked, typically for gross misconduct or incompetence.

Anyway "half eleven" means half past eleven or 11.30.

As it happens Midsomer Murders is filmed in and around Cambridge. Gets a bit annoying when they tinker with the geography though!

A couple of recomendations, if you are fine with "robust" language give The Thick Of It a try. Political satire at its most biting. The central character, Malcolm Tucker, is losely based on Alistair campbell who was press secretary to Tony Blair when he was Prime Minister. The Royle Family is alo wonderful comedy. Basically follows the everyday life of a working class British suburban family. And the best part is that nothing ever happens! They lead the most dull, middle of the road life imaginable but it is so wonderfully onbserved and written that it is compulsive viewing. It's mostly them sitting round in front of the TV talking. Genius!

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1 hour ago, Cambridgeskip said:

... Made redundant is, I think, the equivalent of laid off. ie your job no longer exists due to cut backs, closure etc. Which is what happened to me. Sort of. Basically HMRC is changing from about 180 small sites and condensing to 14 massive sites. I could have gone to a new one but it would have meant 4 hours commuting a day or move to East London. No thank you to either option! So I took redundancy (with a pay off generous enough I can spend some time writing!) ...

We call that helping a CEO justify more than six figures.

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On 1/20/2018 at 5:46 PM, Cambridgeskip said:

On the topic of scouting books......

Back In November I was made redundant from my job (I worked, for HM Revenue and Customs, broadly our equivalent of your IRS) and since then having been taking a bit of a career break during which I'm attempting to fulfill a bit of an ambition to write a book. And this particular book is a children's book set in a scout troop.

I won't give the whole plot away, you can all buy it if it's published! But broadly it concerns a scout who, after getting into trouble at school, is pulled out of scout summer camp by her (my protagonist is a girl. Sorry!) parents completely unjustly. Her patrol promptly help her to stowaway to summer camp.

I'm quite enjoying writing. It's certainly more fun than tax! Will it ever get published? Who knows. Even if it is I doubt I'll ever become the next Joanne Rowling, but you never know :)

(I try to take break from social media during the weekends so I am a bit behind) Bully for You! :) Scouts give a lot of opportunities for stories and the younger ones say the funniest things. Is this a children's book or more of a YA story? If it is a children's book will it be illustrated?

Years ago my wife got burned out at her job and took a couple years off to write a novel (based on her work place). I know it was a lot of hard work.

When I was a professor I had to write a lot and it is a slow and painful process for me...the dyslexia makes it extra difficult. I am much better at writing and giving speeches for some strange way...I am available for funerals and Scout Courts of Honor. But writing fiction is , for me, hard, mentally exhausting work. (When I was an artist doing figure painting or sketching for hours was pretty hard too...no one gives you credit for that sort of thing)

Will you be writing under a pseudonym? 

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On 1/21/2018 at 11:19 AM, scoutldr said:

"I was made redundant"....I love the British language!  Here in the Colonies, we get "fired" or "laid off".  Question, SKip:  when you say the time is "Half eleven"...what time is it?  Wife and I watch more British telly on PBS now than we do the American mindless sitcoms.  Our current faves are "The Durrells of Corfu", "Call the Midwife", "Midsomer Murders", and "Doc Martin".    

Half eleven? Time for a snack. You're running a bit late for morning elevenses, but we'll let it slide, and if it's half eleven in the evening, then it's decision time, go to bed, or get the beers and bad food in, possibly start dancing.

As for the telly choices, looks like "Sunday evening telly" to me, mostly gentle drama, no gore, no swears, no sex, nothing wrong with that of course,  there was one called Kingdom with Stephen Fry in the lead role that was similar to those sorts of things.

I'm sure I've got a book in me, scouting anecdotes and the like. Crikey, I could do a half hour stand-up routine on last year's summer camp, but

a) like I've got the time for that

b) as far as I can work out, my prose style can come across a little rushed, too many commas, not enough description. Short sentences. 

c) I'd probably upset someone, if not many.

 

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3 hours ago, Tampa Turtle said:

(I try to take break from social media during the weekends so I am a bit behind) Bully for You! :) Scouts give a lot of opportunities for stories and the younger ones say the funniest things. Is this a children's book or more of a YA story? If it is a children's book will it be illustrated?

Years ago my wife got burned out at her job and took a couple years off to write a novel (based on her work place). I know it was a lot of hard work.

When I was a professor I had to write a lot and it is a slow and painful process for me...the dyslexia makes it extra difficult. I am much better at writing and giving speeches for some strange way...I am available for funerals and Scout Courts of Honor. But writing fiction is , for me, hard, mentally exhausting work. (When I was an artist doing figure painting or sketching for hours was pretty hard too...no one gives you credit for that sort of thing)

Will you be writing under a pseudonym? 

Thanks TT!

It's more of a YA book so I'm not planning on it being illustrated. The idea is that it explores some of the themes of growing up with my protagnist, who is a particularly awkward and moody teenager gradually coming to become comfortable in her own skin.

 

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2 hours ago, ianwilkins said:

as far as I can work out, my prose style can come across a little rushed, too many commas, not enough description. Short sentences. 

 

I find prose hard as well. Dialogue relatively easy though. Maybe I should become a script writer?

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I was hoping you say YA. It is a good niche. I say give it your best shot, to get it out of your system if for nothing else.

I'd advice based on the few friends of mine who are professional writers to not "talk the story out too much" so it comes out more through the writing.

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3 hours ago, Tampa Turtle said:

 I say give it your best shot, to get it out of your system if for nothing else.

That's broadly the idea. It seemed like one of those if not now then when moments.

Fact is that most writers don't make enough to live on but if I don't give it a go I'll never actually know whether I could do it or not.

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@Cambridgeskip I once wanted to be a wargame designer/illustrator and drove 600 miles round trip for a 20 minute interview. I didn't get it but I don't regret the attempt.

I am more a reader than a writer. I have a few acquaintances as writers, one did a lot of articles and ended up doing a autobiography with the singer Johnny Cash which meant he basically lived with John and June Cash  for 6 months which was a rich source of a few late night stories.

Another scouting friend loved comic books and has been a major comic book writer/editor for 30 years. Never got rich bit he was able to do it full time, pay for a house, and send a kid to college. He is swamped at the comic cons and I have brought him to talk to scouts a few times about interesting careers because most of the Troop's parents push the boys into tracks for law/medical/finance.

I once tried writing but I really just didn't have anything to say...it didn't even interest me as I was writing it. I much preferred to paint and make art prints which I struggled at for a while...and went into architecture. Occasionally flirtations with greatness but I am smart enough to know I am a 'B+' talent. I now just sketch and create for my own pleasure. Along the way I did discover I was very good at spotting and nurturing talent in others. So that is my gift and it works well in Scouting.

I guess my rambling point is just by writing and finish one you are ahead of the pack so focus on that. I have a pet theory that almost everyone has one good book in them. Your writing on Scouter seems good hearted in tone and that probably will come across well in a YA book. I think a lot of folks on this board would be interested in a scout-themed book as well. :)

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Sorry to hear about your forced vacation, @Cambridgeskip. But the book sounds like a lot of fun. I'm just hoping the main character gets into a lot of trouble along the way. What's the phrase UK scouts uses? Youth formed, or something like that. Maybe she can take her patrol on a ride down a river on a home made raft, as a way to escape the adults! Those were the books I loved as a kid.

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2 hours ago, MattR said:

Sorry to hear about your forced vacation, @Cambridgeskip. But the book sounds like a lot of fun. I'm just hoping the main character gets into a lot of trouble along the way. What's the phrase UK scouts uses? Youth formed, or something like that. Maybe she can take her patrol on a ride down a river on a home made raft, as a way to escape the adults! Those were the books I loved as a kid.

Thank you!

My protagonist certainly gets into some mischief. The most fun is hoodwinking the campsite staff to get her onto things like sailing and rock climbing :)

There's also some more serious theme running through it, all the stuff teenagers have to deal with as they go through puberty. Jealousy, school bullying, boy meets girl, relationships with parents and all those other joyful things.

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On a different tangent I was pleased to hear my son#2 (aged out, ex SPL, Eagle) after rejecting the 18 year old ASM route and Venturing is considering being a MBC for the camping, hiking, backpacking Merit Badges. :)

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So this is just completely off the rails here but it is a virtual campfire (Thanks, Stosh!) so I want to share an observation I've recently made.  I'm taking some Library Science type classes, exploring the possibility of getting a degree in it and becoming a librarian in my upcoming doddering old age and this term, I'm taking a class in Juvenile Fiction.  For my end of term paper, I have chosen to read (re-read in some cases) The Boxcar Children series and do an analysis of the series.  For those unaware, The Boxcar Children was a book by Gertrude Chandler Warner about 4 children whose parents die (two boys - age 14 and 6, and two girls, age 10 and 12) and who runaway rather than be taken to the home of their grandfather who they heard was mean.  The story is about their adventures living on their own in an abandoned boxcar they find in the woods, with their dog Watch, who they also find in the woods.  The story ends, of course, with them meeting their grandfather, who they learn is a really nice guy, and moving in with him.  Grandfather, because he is so nice, moves their boxcar to his backyard so they can use it as a playhouse.  This is the first book that I remember to be a favorite.  The next book that became a favorite is My Side of the Mountain (and yes, I've noticed the pattern :) ).

Warner wrote another 18 Box Car Children books - making them kid detectives that always solved their cases.  There are now 145 books in the series - and I need to read at least half of them as part of the project.  

I've already got the obvious "pattern" to the story telling but what hit me the other day was that there might be a possibility that these characters, these meddling kids, might be the inspiration for a certain famous meddling foursome of kids with their dog Scooby.  Henry, Jessie, Violet and Bennie might be the inspiration for Fred, Thelma, Daphne and Shaggy.

Fred is always the heroic leader - Henry is the heroic leader

Thelma is the organized wonder - Jessie is the organized wonder

Daphne dresses in purple and often has the crucial insight needed to solve the case - Violet's favorite color is Purple/Violet and she often has the crucial insight needed to solve the case

Shaggy is always hungry and can eat and eat and eat without getting fat - Bennie is always hungry and can eat and eat and eat without getting fat

And Scooby is a dog - Watch is a dog.

Silly I know - but hey, its Thursday

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*pokes virtual stick in fire*

February '18  Boys Life arrived at house today. Felt very thin (but very traditional scouty in content) I noticed almost NO advertisers! Is something up? Seemed odd. Just observing...

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I have just finished reading my copy of HE-WHO-SEES-IN-THE-DARK, the story of Frederick Burnham written in 1932 by James E. West. Burnham was an American frontier scout who scouted with the British in Africa and worked with Baden Powell. The name in the title was given him by African natives with whom he intermixed while in Africa. Interesting work, and clarified much of my vague awareness of Burnham's place in Scouting lore.

West writes in chapter 19, "The Sign of the Knot", how learning what seemingly are minor things, like basic knots, are far more important than one might think and how BP thought about it. "Baden-Powell, who had pondered long and delved deeply into the secret that lay beneath the miracles that the great scouts could perform (referring to those like Burnham, Boone, Carson, and Bridger, among others) found that their excellence, unromantic though it may seem, came from learning to do the simple everyday things in the most efficient and speediest way possible. There was a patient toughness in the preparations they made. Their dexterity came from reasoning and experiment to find the best method, and the constant practice to give them speed and sureness."

West suggests that B.P. considered this of paramount importance in the later development from his military writing to material for his Scouting program.

The Scouting connection aside, Frederick Burnham was a fascinating man. He apparently lived in Santa Barbara late in his life.

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Went to Troop meeting last night and signed off the final Eagle requirement for one of "my" Scouts. We had a long talk about scouts, school, life. He was nervous about what to expect at the EBOR. He has had a hard year (his brother, a scout in his patrol died), and he has switched schools and homes. I had a similar tragedy at the same age and we bonded more over that, I have tried to help the little I can. I will say he did not cut any corners on his last merit badge (and he had opportunities) But it was one of those nights I felt like it all mattered.

Yeah the meeting was ragged and, well the first part was youth lead until some adults bored them to tears. God helped out by smiting the projector with the power point. We have an actual bugler (that is a sporadically manned post) and...well..he tried. Still I would much rather have a ragged ""F-Troop*" sounding call live than playing it over some smart phone. I imagine scouts through time and across the world have shared in some les than perfect bugle playing (those trumpet players get cocky about the bugle and do not practice enough IMHO).

*a 1960's western TV show comedy for those of a different era and country. Ask Mrs Google.

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