Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday Miscellania

One other thing that occurred to the appeal of the "sucked through a portal" fantasy is that it really is the ultimate outsider/fish out of water story. By the time I was reading books like that instead of just daydreaming myself into my favorite story worlds, we were moving around a lot, so I always seemed to be the new kid adapting to a new environment. I got into the Narnia books when I'd moved to another country and was obsessed with them when we moved within that country to another place that felt even more foreign to me. Then in high school, when I first started trying to write that kind of story (I think all my attempts at writing fantasy back then started with a "sucked through a portal" kind of event), I was really feeling like I'd fallen down the rabbit hole. I'd gone from living in military communities where everyone was the new kid for a while and there was so much turnover that it was hard to develop cliques or "in" crowds to living in a small town where a lot of my classmates had been going to school together since kindergarten. Of course the idea of being a foreigner in a strange place appealed to me -- though it was more like I'd been made to leave Narnia for a less magical place.

In other news, I've figured out the problem I've been having with the book so far. This story is essentially one long chase scene, where the good guys are pursuing the bad guys through the whole book. Until the middle of the book, the good guys are always one step behind (because if they meet too soon, the story's over), so they come up on the aftermath of what the bad guys have been doing. The good guys have to deal with the chaos the bad guys left in their wake so they can then piece together what the bad guys might be doing next and where they'll be going. I've realized that even though the bad guys are off-stage, I still have to work out exactly what they've been doing so that the aftermath works. I'd been just writing the good guys' side of the story, then have had to go back and re-write when that isn't working. It's so much easier when I first at least outline what the bad guys have been up to, leading into the point where the good guys come in. Then the aftermath makes so much more sense. It should go more quickly now that I know to do this.

I did spend my usual Sunday afternoon on the sofa. I finally saw the last Next Generation Star Trek movie, Nemesis, on the Sci Fi channel. That was the one Trek movie I'd never seen. I'd seen all the ones before in the theater, often on opening weekend. I went with all my friends from work on opening night to see the previous two, but this one I just never got around to. And now I can see why because my goodness, but that was awful. I didn't think it was possible for a movie with space battles in it to be that boring. Through the whole movie, I kept thinking I needed a nap because I couldn't keep my eyes open, so when it ended I thought I'd lie down for a while. I was wide awake then, so I guess it really was the movie putting me to sleep. But worse than the boring was the self-indulgence. It was like everyone involved knew it would be the last Next-Gen Trek movie they'd make, so they all got to live out their personal fantasies. Save it for the gag reel or your home movies, folks. Fortunately, I ended up reading through much of it, so I doubt enough of it will stick in my brain to truly scar me.

I only watched the last half hour or so of the Oscars, mostly because I wanted to see Colin Firth win and hear his speech when he did because he's always hilarious in that dry, self-deprecating British way, and he didn't disappoint (and talk about changing the image of a real person -- from now on, in the popular imagination, King George VI looks like Colin Firth, and he so very much didn't). However, seeing all the stuff from The King's Speech much have seeped into my brain because I had vivid dreams about them deciding to do sequels, since that one has done so well, and the sequels carried these characters through the war. Only the war I saw played out in my dream was more like something out of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. For instance, the German bombers in the Blitz were sort of submarine planes -- they came to England under water, then burst out of the water to fly, trailing bombs behind them. And there were giant robots. And I was there, experiencing it all, instead of just watching the movie. It was weird, but I think I'm going to file those images away because they'd make for a great story.

Now, I need to go be efficient and stuff. I'm turning over a new leaf this week. Really.

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