Recently I picked up “the sci fi novel”, a project I finished a couple of years ago, and decided to read it. Fascinating experience!
It’s the first time I’ve had enough distance to experience the text as a reader would and the first time I’ve been able to get that view on how the chapters etc work. They do work! Well, I’m happy with the result and what more can you ask for?
The best thing was not feeling like it needed another draft, because there is that “novels are never finished” sense most of us carry around. There are some very small tweaks I’ll make here and there, but that’s it.
Ok I’m often excited about stuff, but this is a particular excitement… project excitement. That’s been a bit lacking since I finished PAR and moved to my troublesome novella. Not helped by sore shoulders, dragon training and other distractions, but mostly my draft has been refusing to come together.
However, daemon must have been flitting around thinking about it because today I had AN IDEA. It means re-writing a good chunk of the draft, but that’s alright because I can feel that it’s a GOOD IDEA! You know when you just know?
And that idea has birthed other ideas too so now I’m thoroughly excited about getting the draft into shape. It’s not there yet and I suspect these three novellas have plenty more trouble to bring, but I’m excited about this project in general; I think people will get a kick out of reading them.
It was interesting seeing Solo a few days after seeing Ocean’s 8, because they are both part of big franchises and… well… they both suffer from the same problem. I think I’d describe the problem as “the we have to make this work” checklist.
You know, they make a list of franchise ingredients and then they work to ticking each one off. It doesn’t make a bad movie, but it leaves you with a watch that isn’t satisfying.
That was how I felt about Ocean’s 8 and that’s how I felt about Solo. Solo was ok. It had funny moments, it gave solid backstory to some fav characters. It had the Millennium Falcon. It had Donald Glover and Emillia Clarke, who I love to watch. And did I mention the Millenium Falcon? 😉
Like Ocean’s 8’s under-utilising its awesome cast, Solo under-utilised wonderful plot opportunities. By adding too many distractions in the story, they sapped it of a lot of power.
My hat is off to Alden Ehrenreich for having to be a young version of something so memorably played by another actor and doing it well. He and Woody Harrelson were gold together.
Having said that… why is it that Emillia Clarke was the only female not to die? Why do they kill off the two most interesting side-characters? And, seriously, why not cut the love interest angle and have an excellent actor like Ms Clarke play the Woody Harrelson character instead?
I was thinking the other day that it must be weird for someone who’s a teenager right now because their entire life has been dominated by these never ending franchises. From Twilight to Fast and Furious, Mission Impossible, Ocean’s, Transformers, Star Trek and Star Wars. Not to mention all the DC and Marvel movies. It’s like we’ve forgotten how to make new things.
I didn’t hate Ocean’s 8 the way I hated the 2nd and 3rd of the original set. In fact it was an ok watch. A couple of laughs and a clever heist with an awesome cast. It was just a bit, bland.
They’d obviously worked hard to mirror Ocean’s 11 and that would totally have worked if they had mirrored what made that film truly great; comradery. The characters are supposed to have a history, but there are no in-jokes or coded language in Ocean’s 8. Phenomenal talent on the screen who could have carried off a similarly punchy, warm, jokey script were left with – for the most part – pedestrian dialogue and no “flavour”. It also led to less well rounded characterisation than in 11.
For me there are some gender issues too, but if it had the calibre of writing that 11 had then I could forgive them. Well, except for one; why did the one woman not actually a criminal have to use sex to bring home the con, and I don’t mean sexiness I mean actually screwing the mark?
I doubt it’ll get to a sequel, but if this Ocean’s does get a second shot then it has potential to reverse the fate of the previous franchise and have a better 2nd film.
After a week of Dragon Naturally Speaking work, I’m very impressed. It is learning my wacky character names! And it’s doing a good job of adapting to my way of talking, even if I haven’t mastered verbal composition just yet.
So that’s a marvellous bit of tech in my life right now.
On the converse of this, is the fact that my not-very-old laptop is having battery issues. There’s just no excuse for this. It’s never been treated roughly or experienced extremes and yet, the battery is shaping up to be a big problem. Tech is annoying me on that score!
But this is our current world isn’t it? For every bit of tech that makes things easier or even just cooler, there’s this unreliability to equipment and software. Ah well. I will stick to enjoying my dragon.
As a lover of film, what blows my mind is how ingrained sexism seems to be in the process of film making.
For years now people have talked about gendered pay-gaps, the unequal treatment of the sexes as actors age, the numeric dominance of males as crew, writers, producers and directors and, of course, the sexual harassment and violence that females in the industry have experienced. What I don’t hear people talk about – maybe they do somewhere out there – is the way producers, directors and writers talk about gender.
If you’ve watched the extras on many a DVD over the years then you’ll have heard it:
- Why was a particular actor cast? Yes there’s talk about talent, but more often than I’d like to hear they also mention the representation of a certain type of “femininity” or “masculinity”.
- How would you describe the hero? The response is almost always about gendered stereotypes. Typically males as protectors and females as nurturers.
I had to scrape my jaw off the floor recently when an interest in making things with your hands – the character was an engineer – was described as an expression of a “nurturing masculinity”. Because masculinity doesn’t inherently include nurturing (sorry all you loving fathers, partners and male pet owners). And do female engineers just not exist, or are they masculine women?
You might say “that’s one comment from an individual working on one film” and you’d be right. Though I’d ask is it a co-incidence that the main cast of the film had one female and three males, despite there being no reason for two of those three characters being male? Or that the gender of the bit-players represented stereotypes (a woman’s friends are female / a ship’s crew is mostly male and the captain male)?
If on that specific film – and each other film where I’ve heard these comments – it was only one person’s view then it shouldn’t be expressed in so many aspects of a film. Surely others involved would suggest changes? If they aren’t then is that because they don’t see anything is wrong, or because they see it as unimportant in the range of battles they need to fight to get the thing made? Or is there something about the industry that self-selects for people who think like that or teaches people to?
No, I haven’t started writing epic fantasy (hmm…), but I have been playing with a dragon! The dragon of sore-shoulder-happiness. And yes, I know that currently makes no sense to anyone but me…
The problem is that I have a bad shoulder. It is currently objecting to me doing anything with a bent arm, which includes typing. Not conducive to writing productivity!
So, after having spent the past few days messing about with voice recognition apps, I’ve gone back to my old frenemy Dragon Naturally Speaking. For anyone who has known me a long time you are allowed to eye-roll at that; twas not a happy relationship the last go-round.
Still, it is – as far as I can tell – the only product that really works for a writer. Phone apps etc are great if you want to jot something down but they don’t give you control. Dragon does.
The big questions was would it work better on this computer, because there is still a draft of my kid’s fantasy novel that is unfixably riddled with homonyms and words that together make kinds of homonyms! It sure wasn’t pretty when Dragon and I first met.
But they do the 30 day money-back thingy and as someone used to buying Adobe behemoths it seemed reasonably priced.
So far – success! Seriously successful in fact. I haven’t even broken out my fancy external mic!
Though I’m currently bathing in the irony that I turned it off and typed this post. Ahem.