Between the lines

One fandom activity I don’t like seeing and don’t enjoy doing is nit-picking plot holes. All fictional works have them, but some people relish the idea of pointing them out and castigating the writers of the fictional work. They relish complaining. Television is especially vulnerable to this because of tight writing schedules and multiple authors.

I hate nit-picking because I don’t like plot holes, they ruin my enjoyment of a book/show/film considerably, and I’d just as soon spackle over them and move on rather than grouse for fun and profit. Back in the hey-day of the ATPo board, we used to spend a portion of our time “spackling” BtVS and AtS plot holes using show canon or well-accepted fanon. We’d pack the hole with speculation, likely or unlikely, and end the post with “spackle, spackle” as a tongue-in-cheek wink to other posters (especially if our hole-filler was a stretch).

I suppose most plothole-filling in fandom occurs in spackle!fic rather than “meta.” And probably more convincingly as well, since fiction is a more visceral medium for making a case.

Regardless of how it’s done, spackling can work surprisingly well for the fan willing to put in the ThinksTooMuch time, because ofttimes the apparently dangling plot point was, in fact, established by the writers, just weakly, or in ways that were obvious to them but not to the viewers.

I am thinking of this today because one of the worst kind of plot holes there is is weakly-developed motivation in a character-driven story.

Regina on OUAT (spoilers to last night’s episode)

Fall TV and the Politics of Merlin

Once Upon a Time is proving better than the pilot would have suggested. I like the non-linear way it is telling the back story of the characters, and how it is embellishing the fairy tales to make them more complex and interesting. I think of this show as Lost in reverse—characters from a fantasy place all trapped in the contemporary U.S. together.

And I am hoping, like Lost, it is able to successfully reinvent itself each season without losing its charm or forgetting its roots. Lost was brilliant in that respect.

In other news, the show Merlin has become a bit of a new TV obsession for me.

One thing I don’t like about it is the poor Morgana character development. If you want an effective villain, you have to give some glimmer of her having the sorts of character weaknesses that lead to such villainy, and show a more gradual evolution of the character as she falls prey to those weaknesses, and that’s something they just didn’t do very well.

Also, the politics of the show are a bit dodgy. Maybe I’ve watched way too much Deep Space Nine (in fact, I’m sure of it), but showing nearly every Freedom Fighter character as corrupt and evil and having the heroes essentially being collaborators who are playing a very long game and allowing innocents to die in the interim…. Well, it makes me uncomfortable.

But the show hits so many of my story kinks I can grumpily overlook these flaws. It has gorgeous scenery, myth, swords and sorcery, secrets and secret identities, a charming, powerful, overlooked hero, interesting complex family relationships, long lost parents, faeries, trolls, dragons, and griffins.

And ironically, I seem to have developed a Merlin/Morgana thing after Servant of Two Masters. More in a Epic Destined!Enemies kind of way, although I would not object to a few brief moments of hate lust.

Merlin thoughts (up to ep 2.11)

I had a long Thanksgiving break and little or nothing on the DVR to watch due to Thanksgiving week hiatuses, so I decided to start in on a new show (new for me) that I had read about on my flist.

One thing I think about now when I watch a show is, “Is this just something to pass the time (Dexter, True Blood), or is this a show I want to share with the Sculptor (Lost, Being Human)? Merlin, so far, has definitely fallen into the latter category.

Spoilers to 2.11

Merlin

Finished Season 1 of Merlin. This will probably be one I eventually purchase on DVD.

It has lots of things that hit my story kinks: destiny, myth, inborn traits that must be kept as a dangerous secret (wonder where I got that one from), an ugly duckling/Cinderella protagonist, magic, legendary creatures, strong women characters, fabulous medieval décor (I want to redo my living room to look like that castle), and bonus Anthony Head!

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Where and when I write

I posted last week about a seminar I went to featuring an author who was speaking on her book about “discovering your true voice.”

Her angle on this much-tread topic is her background in yoga, and the basic premise is that, in order to discover your true voice–what you want to say with your writing and how you want to say it–you need to be in touch with your body and its habits and signals.

One of the first exercises in her book is to take a good look at your writing habits: how often you are able to write, where you write, what you write with, and how you use your body in writing. This was a little odd to me, since I conceive writing as primarily a mental activity, where the physical aspects are purely means to an end, but there’s a logic in the idea that your body is giving you signals about the content or manner of your writing, so I’m game to follow where she leads so far. So:

I live alone, which means I have the good fortune of spending my free time writing whenever and where ever it suits me. I am a creature of habit, though, so I tend to write in the same chair, in more or less the same physical position: legs up on the La-Z-Boy, lap top perched on one of those plastic-coated metal-rung kitchen shelves that fits over my hips with just enough clearance to ensure air is flowing between my lap and the bottom of the keyboard. This is a necessary thing, given the number of hours I often work, the heat of Arizona, and the heat of my middle-aged female lap.

Nowadays, I pretty much do all my writing tasks at the keyboard, rather than long hand. I used to write long hand all the time back in the pre-personal computer dinosaur days, and when I lived in San Francisco, I wrote on the bus or at bus stops, or at work. My writing at the present is confined to the lap top in that one same chair, where I sit for hours, eating, drinking, and watching television. I take breaks to run errands, go to the bathroom, or do a household chore or two, but that’s my Writing Way, for the most part.

Not sure what it says about me, or how it might effect my writing. I think sometimes I get “too comfortable” there, and it leads me to waste time on the internet, or “do anything-but-generating-new-words” because I can.