December 9, 2013
I’m not going to see the new Robocop movie — unless it somehow shockingly, amazingly, gets super-awesome-stellar reviews on the level of Schindler’s List — because I’ve learned my lesson. I will not fall into the nostalgia trap this time. I’m not even interested in it from an academic standpoint, to learn how Hollywood thinks this story needs to be updated and changed for a “modern” audience. I have absolutely no desire to see how the filmmakers turned one of the most brilliant, damning satires ever into soporific, sentimental drivel. I do not want to see why they decided to turn Officer Ann Lewis into Officer Jack Lewis. Everything about the trailer gives me hives. Hollywood, you do not get my money this time.
I’m just done.
December 6, 2013
My comics-guy friend Max and I went out for coffee. Here’s what we talked about (roughly edited for dramatic effect).
Max: Did you see they cast Wonder Woman for that Superman v. Batman movie?
Me: Yes. You know what the story’s going to be, right? It’s going to be Superman and Batman duking it out for Wonder Woman’s affections.
Max: No. No.
Max: No, that’s just not right.
Me: You know who’s directing, don’t you?
Max: …. Zach Snyder? Just no, he won’t do that.
Me: I have two words for you.
Max: (winces) What….
Me: Frank. Miller.
Max: (puts head in hands and repeats in a tone of despair) No, no, no, no……..
(It’s like the DC movie franchise is utterly terrified of a solo Wonder Woman project. And yet they desperately, desperately want a Justice League series than can compete with the Avengers. But they can’t do Justice League without a strong solo Wonder Woman project. I can see the producers curled up on the floor, hands wrapped around their heads, weeping…)
December 4, 2013
SNOW! Current count on the ongoing snowstorm: 3″, which is moderately less than predicted, but it’s not over yet. I have the great good fortune of getting to stay home, and I’m hoping to get enough work done this morning that I can take a break this afternoon, maybe pop some popcorn, mull some cider, and sit with the Georgette Heyer book I’m reading. (I’m reading Georgette Heyer right now. Because once you’ve read all of Jane Austen you’ve got to do something. Also, I maybe be planning a Regency story. Maybe.)
Yesterday was the release day for DANGEROUS WOMEN, the giant cross genre anthology edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. There’s an audiobook version as well, that I kind of can’t wait to get my hands on, because Stana Katic reads a couple of the stories. (Not mine, alas, but that’s okay, because my story is read by Inna Korobkina, a Russian actress for my story about Russian pilots. Yay!)
Monday at 7 pm is the big launch party for the anthology at the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe, NM. The editors and many of the authors — including me! — will be there for a panel discussion and readings and other good stuff!
And One More Thing! On December 17 at 6:30, I’ll be doing an online Q&A about short story writing through the Delve online workshops and the Pikes Peak Writers. This is free and open to all, but you must RSVP at this link, because numbers will be limited.
And with that: Snow, snow, snow, snow….
December 2, 2013
A sense of fatalism has set in, rather than panic. I think this is a good thing, I think. Just over three weeks until Christmas. I’m really missing that week of a grace period we usually get between Thanksgiving and the first of December. But now it’s December and HOLY CRAP IT’S DECEMBER. I have no idea at this point if I’ll be able to get everything done — and finish the draft of the current novel, as I blithely thought I might be able to do this month. I’m making up to-do lists every day and just plugging along as best I can.
The current novel project hit the wall last week, right on schedule at 50k words, and being busy over the holidays with socializing and visiting and riding horses and so on meant I didn’t have the motivation to sit down and hash out the problems. I think I can do that now, and get back to work, and maybe get close to finishing. That would be nice. I want to have a good long time to revise and get comments from beta readers on this one.
I did, however, finish and send off a short story, which is always nice. I have a couple more short stories it would be nice to write in the next month or so. Along with finishing the novel. And a couple of other projects sitting on the front burners. And this is why I often feel overwhelmed. (And this is after Project Learn To Say No So I Don’t Burn Out, which has actually been moderately successful.)
I’m making some of the presents I’m giving this year, which is where that sense of fatalism comes in. Will I finish? Won’t I? Who knows! I may spend actual Christmas day with my hands soaking in warm water. It will be worth it — for one thing in particular, that I’m keeping secret until I can actually get it done and get pictures. This will be the most epic gift I’ve ever given. But I keep running out of supplies so I have to get more this afternoon before I can finish it.
I also usually do a a lot of baking for the holidays — I give cookies and candy as gifts. I should get started.
Then I have the trip to New Mexico this weekend and the book tour in January to get ready for.
Whew. Okay. Deep breaths. I can do this.
November 30, 2013
I’m a day late on blogging. I’ve decided that means I successfully celebrated the holiday. And I’m not done! My friends have put together an Artemis party today — we’re looking to get together something like four or five crews working on the same mission. It should be pretty outrageous. For the occasion, I made cookies.
Red Five, standing by!
November 27, 2013
I’m watching more TV right now than I have in a long while. Some interesting stuff going on.
Doctor Who, “Day of the Doctor.” The 50th anniversary special was…nice. I cried once (“This time you don’t have to do it alone.”). But Moffat’s gotten so wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey he just can’t resist retconning the whole damn universe, can he? And now we get to argue about the Doctor numbering we’ve been using since 2005. It just makes me so tired.
I still haven’t caught up on most of last season, and I don’t really care. Clara seems to be even more Amy Pond than Amy Pond, and I just can’t do it. You know what I want to see? An alien companion, or a companion from a different time period. Something new. I’m actually really looking forward to seeing what the new doctor will do with the whole thing, and if they build at all on what happened in the special.
Sleepy Hollow: I adore the characters, the secret history, the setting. But this “must have a shocking revelation every episode ” is starting to wear thin. The back story is about to collapse under its own weight.
Agents of SHIELD is growing on me. The episodes are starting to come together, and the characters are starting to gel. I still have some WTF moments: they don’t believe in telekenesis? Inter dimensional portals and Asgardians are fine, but they draw the line at believing in teke? Paging Dr. Grey…
Arrow is still my favorite show. I’m enjoying it so darned much. It’s managing its off-the-rails storylines, shocking revelations, and continuity very well indeed. And I still love that these characters all really love each other and look out for each other. Moire and Thea and their relationship are fantastic this season.
Castle: Still good! I keep waiting for it to jump the shark and it gets close but then doesn’t!
Almost Human: I caught the first couple of episodes, and oh dear, it’s trying so hard, isn’t it? Dorian is great. But the science word salad expository bits are driving me bonkers. Also, why didn’t anyone tell me Lili Taylor was in it? Yay, Lili Taylor! And maybe someday, we’ll get a near future something that doesn’t try so hard to be Blade Runner. In light of all the other good shows I can be watching, I may not stick with it.
Atlantis: This is a thing that BBC American was pushing hard, that premiered after “Day of the Doctor.” At first I was really excited because it looked like it was going to be Farscape but with Greek mythology (supersquee!). But it was all very meh. Full of Gen Y hotties and not much else. I’d rather watch Tom Mison, Karl Urban, and Nathan Fillion, thanks.
November 25, 2013
Another “Squee!” movie for me. I like the books a whole lot and this was a good adaptation. Just as nerve wracking as it needed to be, good off-the-rails science fiction fun. My terrible confession: I actually feel a little bit sorry for Effie Trinket. She’s trying so hard. She’s so trapped in the system. She’s got a role, and even when she suspects it’s terribly wrong she can’t at all consider stepping outside that role. I think her clothes get fluffier the more awful she’s feeling.
So, two “Squee!” movies in a row! I am spoiled! This got me thinking yet again about what I want out of my entertainment. As an entertainer myself, I’m very interested in this question, because it helps me figure out how to write my own books. What should I put in? What should I leave out? How do you craft a narrative to evoke an emotional reaction?
You know how people say, “Well, it’s a pretty good movie if you just shut your brain off?” You know how infuriated that makes me? Because it means you’re doing exactly what corporate filmmakers expect you to do: not care if a movie is dumb, as long as it has pretty CGI and explosions and crap. WE DESERVE BETTER.
What I’ve realized: I absolutely LOVE being able to shut my brain off during movies. Because when it happens for me, it means it’s a really good, fun, entertaining movie. Seriously, I want to be able to shut my brain off during movies. I want to be entertained! I write for a living, I don’t want to spend a movie — my fun time — figuring out how to fix something that’s broken!
So I love it when my writer brain (mostly) shuts off. (It rarely entirely shuts off. Thor Dark World and Catching Fire both have fairly rigid three-act structures and make use of escalation and so on. I could track it.) Bad movies are bad precisely because they will not let me shut my brain off. I can’t ignore it when bad writing throws me out, when the plot is nonexistent or becomes too forced to bear, when it becomes clear that the filmmakers think I’m an idiot and won’t notice that their movie is dumb.
So yes, those people who say I should just shut my brain off are absolutely right. Movies are better when I shut my brain off. But it’s up to the movie to earn my trust so that I’m able to turn my brain off. It’s not a gift. They have to earn it.