Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Learnings and Remindings

  The part-time job all weekend and the deadlined freelance one on top have sure kept me busy the last few days and naught writing was done.
HOWEVER, I've come out with lessons learned:
1) I've been proofing a 550-page novel. It was work, so not a pleasure read - that said, it was a good one, quite the page turner. Still, I did have my critical eye open, and although it was indeed entertaining (the VOICE made it flow) I couldn't help but ponder a couple of points:
a) the plot advanced thanks to too many coincidences and "eureka" moments that lacked logic - they pick the right clues and discard the wrong ones way too easily.
b) a lot of nemeses. The "main" one, that is the one that appears in the final confrontation, lacked substance. One other possible one would have made for a great ultimate villain, except that, all along, the writer didn't seem to be sure whether she was a bad one or a good one, which made me not sure whether I should feel for her or hate her. And the protagonist didn't know either, which didn't help.
I'm all for characters changing side and all, but I guess a writer should not change their mind about them every five minutes - not in the final draft anyway. It's just confusing.
c) it all started with a painting ... clues hidden ... but I'm not convinced the painting had a purpose in being made in the first place! I'm a sucker for logic, so if something doesn't make sense, I just shake my head.

2) I watched District 9.
a) Never in a million years would I have thought that the little air-head funny bloke at the beginning was going to be the main guy. Seriously. But see how he changes? Talk about a character's arc. It feels like such a huge growth, surely, they can't make it work seamlessly within a mere couple of hours? Well, for me it worked. Thumbs up.
b) the guy transmuting ... I mean, that's The Fly all over, no? If I'd written that myself, I'd probably have binned it thinking it was so obviously not an original idea. However now, it reminds me that anyway "every story has already been told, it's the way you say it that matters."

In conclusion:
- Use your voice
- Keep it logical
- Know who what and why 'cos if you're confused, so will the reader be
- As long as YOU like your story, go for it
- Have fun!

PS: I also realised how I can't wait to get back to doing some writing! Yay!


  1. Logic is key with all my viewings. Recently watched "Couples Retreat". (Yes, that's vomit coming up into my mouth.) I was on a comedy kick, hoping to find a current formula that works, since I am writing a middled-aged/relationship comedy, and was terribly displeased by not only the characters but the plot. Hell, the whole story sucked. Yet if it were pitched to me, I probably would have green lit the project, minus a few unnecessary characters and plot points. So, anyway, I'm watching this drivel, laughing at the occasional bit, asking myself, "Do I even believe this shit?" Yes, I'm sure these kinds of people... these kind of relationships exist, but I could not accept a lot of what was happening. Maybe it was the actors or there characters, but ultimately, the story, therefore, the writing sucked. I did not buy into the logic... the ethos.

    Then there are the films with gaping holes. But it's that pseudo-humanistic bullshit that is suppose to be believable that really gags my reflex.

    Nice blog. See you around.

  2. Thank you for the input. (the comments, it seems, need to be moderated, that's why they wouldn't publish).
    Now gaping holes ... you know how you expect a story to flow and characters' growths to build seamlessly? I watched Alice in Wonderland a few days ago and that's exactly what didn't happen. The growths' steps were so visible and awkward it showed how little love was put into the writing!
    I'm not all that grumpy though really, but one thing is for certain: by being aware of what I don't like and what really irritates me, I learn an awful lot about what I shan't do ... :)


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