Archive | May, 2007

Star Wars!

25 May

gehayi reminds us that today is the 30th anniversary of the opening day of the movie “Star Wars” (now called “Episode IV: A New Hope”). I was one of the little dweebs standing in those lines that wrapped around the block, waiting to see a movie that had dazzling, ground-breaking special effects even in the TV commercials. But it wasn’t the special effects that made the movie. That was icing on the cake. It was the use of mythos, of the most ancient story-telling tropes mixed in with a futuristic, sci-fi setting that made it special. Combining religious mysticism, heroes and villians, good and evil, space battles and explosions, intelligent humor, humanistic, personal character struggles, amazing cinematography, musical themes that followed each character (the “Peter and the Wolf-esque theme in the initial scenes where the droids wander Tatatooine was inspired), and a butt-kicking babe who could rescue her own rescuers…what was there not to love?

Just wanted to mark the moment, because it had a big impact on me and still does.

ETA: Oh yeah, and Han shot first. Make a note of it.

Eye of the Daemon

24 May

Latest book: “Eye of the Daemon” by Camille Bacon-Smith

OK, this book was totally cheating, as I’ve not only read it before, it’s been sitting on my shelf for years now. But I was having interlibrary loan issues, and needed something to read in the interim. Plus, a lot of this “book-a-thon 2007” is about exploring themes in fantasy novels that interest me, and revisiting a book I’ve already read for its themes fits that bill.

And how.

Suffice it to say, this book really pushes my buttons.

I’ve been thinking a lot about “story kinks” as the term is understood in the fanfic community–why we are drawn to the particular stories we are, whether as writers or readers. “Kink” here is understood in a broader sense than merely sexual, any story element that draws you in with such an inexorable power that you find yourself writing or reading stories with that element over and over whether you realize it or not. Among my many “kinks”–(1) parent/child relationships, particularly when the two finally meet after the child is an (near) adult, (2) aliens-among-us, (3) the experience of being part-human, part-alien (where by “alien” I don’t necessarily mean extra-terrestrial, but anything not commonly associated with the natural inhabitants of Earth we see in our daily lives), (4) supernatural families, especially special gifts/experiences being passed down through the generations, (5) a young person only discovering belatedly that they are half-alien or of some sort of supernatural origin, which finally makes sense of the weird/bad experiences they’ve had in their lives, (6) strong women characters who are not merely bit-parts or recurring (may be less of a kink than a prerequisite), (7) characters of invitation, (8) stories of the supernatural that take place in the real world, (9) secret identities/secret sub-cultures, (10) ordinary people becoming champions/messiahs, which may or may not include destiny/prophecy/previous foreknowledge of this as an element.

how any of this is related to ‘Eye of the Daemon’-spoilers

Writing update

20 May

May 20th? When did it become May 20th? I sort-of, kind-of finished the first draft of TD 208 on Friday, with a word count of 17,101. I’m waffling because, in going back to start the next draft, I realize I cut a lot of corners, especially towards the beginning of the episode. First drafts are, for me, like outlines are for other writers. It’s where I decide or, really, “discover” what the episode is going to be about. I have to do that with actual text/prose, not just the jotted notes of an outline, because there’s something about writing the *actual episode itself* with the dialogue and blocking and characters acting and interacting that enables me to get clear on what I’m supposed to write about.

Of course, I have a general idea what the plot is going to be before hand, but any given detail I might have in mind can fall apart for a variety of technical or artistic reasons when I start trying to fit all the pieces in place. This one has been a bitch to fit together. vague spoiler

Reading progress notes

4 May

Latest book: “The Time Traveler’s Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger

[gratuitous girly moment]

*sob* *sniff* *it’s so romantic!!1!*
[/gratuitous girly moment]

I actually got this book done faster than books half its size I’ve been reading because it was so engaging. Despite the title, this book is equally about both the time traveler and his wife and their relationship which starts, from her perspective, when she was six, and from his, when he was 28. I’m not sure what I expected when I ordered this on interlibrary loan; it was just a title on my list of book recs. I think I had images of a stiff, slightly eccentric scientific HG Wells-type and his patient, loyal Amy Catherine. But Henry and Clare are normal, contemporary people (Henry is in fact my age, punk rock tastes included), and Henry’s time-traveling isn’t by choice, it’s due to a genetic condition. He involuntarily jumps to other places and times significant to his life and the life of his close family and friends whenever he is under a lot of stress and has lots of touching moments and dangerous encounters in his travels (made worse by the fact that only his body shifts in time, not his clothes or any personal items).

Despite the time-traveling element, then, the book is not really a science fiction story so much as an exploration of the relationship and lives of two contemporary people.

spoilers