In the "fun with Google alerts" category: One popped up today about a site where you can download the Enchanted, Inc. movie. Which doesn't exist. Even on that site, it has a release date of 2011. And yet there's a "download now!" link. I suspect that clicking on that link would get you a virus or spyware of some sort. They did list producers, but I don't know how accurate that information is, though the writer and novelist info were right. It was very strange. Who would be dumb enough to click on a "download now" link for a movie whose release date is two years away -- even if you didn't know it's only in development at the moment? It's bad enough that my books get pirated. Now the movie's being pirated before it's even been made.
I mentioned last week that I really wanted a good chick lit book, and I mentioned that I bought a book for my birthday. The book was a British import that's finally made it to the States, Holly's Inbox by Holly Denham (a pseudonym, as that's actually the name of the character).
There are a lot of parallels between this book and Bridget Jones's Diary. Both books started as newspaper columns and both are told in non-standard narrative forms. Bridget Jones's Diary is told entirely through Bridget's diary entries, complete with a running tally of calories, weight and cigarettes. Holly's Inbox is told entirely through e-mails. There are even some plot element similarities, including the gay best friend, the slutty, foul-mouthed best friend, the smooth-talking guy at work, the guy from her past, and the bitchy co-worker.
But they're still different books with entirely different themes. Holly's Inbox may have all the chick lit cliches or elements of classic chick lit, but that's why I liked it. I've been wanting to read a book like that for ages, rather than what's been available in that genre lately. What little is left of the genre has been more along the lines of "Being a mother is hard" and "My perfect life fell apart when my husband left me." No thank you. Give me a single girl in the city with an annoying job, crazy friends and trouble with men.
I think the plot might have been a bit stale if told in normal narrative, but the fun thing about limiting it to e-mails sent from and received by the heroine as she sits at the reception desk of a financial services firm (with a couple of dips into other people's inboxes) is that you sometimes have to read between the lines to figure out what happened. She gets interrupted while writing messages and has to spread the story out over the day, or she may tell different aspects of what happened to different people and you have to piece together the story. I think my favorite parts were the messages from her grandmother, who's just discovered the Internet access in her retirement home. It's a massive monster of a book, but it reads pretty quickly because the e-mail format means there's lots of white space.
I've always loved books written in diary, journal or letter form, and I've even tried it, but the form doesn't lend itself well to plot-driven books with lots of action because it's all telling and loses the immediacy. If someone's writing this stuff down, then you know the crisis has to be over. The focus has to be on the character and the character's voice. I'd love to see a book done in blog form, complete with comments. I've read one that was supposedly a blog, but it was written as though all the events had passed and now the character was telling them in her blog through daily installments, with the comments mostly stuff like "tell us more!" What would be really fun would be a blog playing itself out day-by-day, with the commenters as secondary characters and really interacting. Or maybe I should start a blog like that and see if it gets sold as a book. It's happened for non-fiction, so why not for a fictional blog? Like I have time for that sort of thing ...