Friday, October 27, 2006

Book Drafts - The Conundrum

I guess this subject has been on my mind a lot lately - drafts of a novel. Not all things work for all writers, but this is one of those that I believe to be universal.

To me, it's always been obvious that as a writer you must have at least 2 drafts of a document. Yet from some conversations I've held and some opinions I've heard, there really are those who think one draft is all it takes before something is ready to be submitted to a publisher. And I am amazed they could think that!

Don't get me wrong, there probably is someone out there somewhere who can prove me wrong and write the perfect book in one draft...but the chances of that happening are millions, if not billions, to one. So that means everyone else needs more than one. Yet, over and over, from new writers, and some not so new, there comes this opinion that one will do. Well, below are the main reasons I think such a thing is not possible...

1) While some people have every phase of their book ready in an outline, or small paragraphs, or what have you, books and characters for most people have a tendency to go places not in the original plans. This is not a bad thing, in fact it is a great thing most of the time, as it imbues the book with new ideas you came up with along the way. But, when it happens, you normally make notes and then go back on a 2nd draft and incorporate these earlier into the text so there is a solid thread leading up this idea you had about 1/2 or 3/4's through the book. So, unless you are going back and fixing all this the moment you have the idea (not a good idea in itself - you can get caught in that eternal fix the first few chapters loop), you won't have a choice but to go back and incorporate or smooth these out. So another draft/reading is necessary.

2) Consistency. Because you wrote the manuscript, you have to, have to, have to go back over it to make sure all your facts and themes are consistent. You can't tell if this consistency is there on a first draft because things are changing in your head as you put them down all the time. (And it is always better to let the work sit for weeks or months before you do this, to distance yourself from the work, otherwise your brain will add things when they are not there!) Plus, some of our memories are not the best (mine is NOT) and while on Tuesday the main chara's eyes were blue, the following week on Wednesday your noggin might decide to inform you they are green.

3) Typos, spelling errors, bad sentences. Prose for me is labor. It doesn't flow easily or always smoothly. Distractions, moods, life, gets into your writing also, and a phrase that sounded like the bomb when you wrote it, might actually be stilted or flat or unnecessary. So one needs to go through the work and look for these things and fix them. (And let me tell you, no matter how many drafts and pairs of eyes go through a work, all of them will never be found! It's amazing how you can look back on something and find all manner of mistakes you thought couldn't possibly be there you've combed the work so many times.)

4) Beta Readers - these guys are incredibly important, but even more so if they have a clue! Just because someone beta read something, does not mean they have the mind set or knowledge to catch mistakes in the work. So if you find a good one, latch on to them like leeches! lol. Anyway, because as a writer, one is so close to the work, you need eyes and minds not already filled with that universe to help look for errors. Not just grammatical ones, but consistency, lack of explanation errors (just because it all makes sense to you, does not mean there is enough there for it to make sense to someone else. :P), and general plot and satisfaction levels. This bit can be invaluable! Because no matter how good one might be at editing others works, what you see in theirs you may not be able to see when it is wrong in yours! (I know I can't!)

I'm sure there are more reasons I can't think of at the moment. Do you know of any? Please share. Or heck, if you think I don't know what I am talking about, give us your opinion. Let's see what we can learn together...

Book Review -- A Storm of Swords

A Storm of Swords - Book 3 of the Ice and Fire Series

by George RR Martin

Premise: Book 3 of the Ice and Fire series. The big war for the capital is over. Dark betrayal and darker magic become the rule of the day as the true war of gods is getting underway.

Review: And I thought the previous volumes were dark! Aiiiieeee. Just when I thought not much worse could happen to a number of these people, I am proved wrong in spades! If there is one message this book carries is no good deed goes unpunished! LOL. Many characters sacrificed a lot for their people and others and in this volume their sacrifice is basically spit back in their faces. Dark gets darker! More hints at the war that is coming, more blossoming powers, and a chilling last chapter. Martin is a marvellous writer with awesome characters, but dang it these books are depressing! lol. Of course, like most train wrecks, you just can't make yourself look away. Book 4 here I come! ***3/4!!!!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The New Senior Moment Poster Child!

This week I had to suffer through one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. (Though there have been plenty of others, let me tell you!) I think this one hit me hard because it didn't affect just me, but others. This doozy, I believe puts me up there as the New Senior Moment Poster Child!

On 10/23 I was slated to be the guest in an online chat for Writes to Publish online critique group. I'd known about it for months. Just that weekend (since the 23rd was a Monday), I'd sent out info (without the time - doh) to several lists I belong to so anyone interested could stop on by. Pop up reminders at work told me yet again I had a commitment that night. I'd reminded myself at least 6 times on my own. Yet when I left work, it was gone. no recollection of anything other than getting home, cooking dinner, watching some TV with El Hubbo. It wasn't until I am dragging myself off to bed that my gaze rolled past my computer desk, synapses fired, and recall returned. I am sure the screams could be heard two blocks over. :P

Paul was terribly gracious about my mistake, and I made sure to extend electronic copies of one of the two books for any members who were actually there...but still. THE SHAME OF IT! ARRRRRGGGHHHH. (Have I mentioned I tend to be anal about getting to places before the scheduled event? lol.)

I will get over this...eventually. And Paul is willing to risk me scheduling again! But this time we're hedging our bets. He can call me and remind me. Not that it will come to that! lol!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Movie of the Week - The Prestige

The Prestige
Staring: Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Piper Perabo, Rebecca Hall, Scarlett Johansson, Samantha Mahurin, David Bowie

Premise: A magician is taken to trial for the murder of another magician. As he awaits the courts judgement, the events leading to the fateful moment are reviewed.

Review: This is a story of obsession, sacrifice, and subterfuge. One sad incident puts these two men on a path of utter self destruction. Lots of magic and the life of magicians are revealed. The one very neat treat was that they involved Tesla in the film. Tesla is best known for the cool lightning effect mad scientist machines used in the old horror films. But in truth, Tesla had come up with a way to transmit electricity through the air, so no wiring would be needed. What's funny is that he and Edison also had obsessions of their own and were rivals of a nature as well. Tesla's brilliance and Edison's involvement in certain aspects of Tesla's life may be taken a little to the extreme, but was a lot of fun. The acting on everyone's part was marvellous, especially Mr. Jackman. All the way to the end, we are left with puzzles to solve. The very last one, just proves yet again the depth of the obsession of these men and how it bled into the lives of others, who didn't themselves understand what the draw of this magician business was, yet still were pushed to sacrifice to see it through. Fascinating film, great effects. ***1/2

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Doctor Who - School Reunion

I was quite thrilled when I heard Doctor Who was coming back with a new BBC series a couple of years ago. And I have immensely enjoyed watching them on the Sci-Fi Channel. Last night I watched the episode called School Reunion. What a blast from the past!

Not only did this episode guest star Anthony Head, from Buffy fame, but also brought back two characters from the original series - Sarah Jane Smith, and K-9! What fun! We even had the original K-9 voice.
As I watched the episode, I got hit with a super wave of nostalgia, especially when K-9 entered the scene. By the end I was almost blubbering. lol.
If you have not checked out the new series - DO IT! Both doctors so far have been utter blasts! Loads of Sci-Fi fun for all!

Armadillo Encounter!

Armadillo Encounter!

The armadillo is an indigenous creature of Texas.

And while I have often seen them far off and, unfortunately, also as road pizza, I had a close encounter not too long ago.

I was coming out of the alley on my way to work when I spotted the little critter. He was busy in the early morning dark, looking for bugs to eat in a neighbors front yard! So though I had seen armadillos before, never had I spotted one so close to my house before. I stopped the car, knowing my hubby would be behind me in moments and started pointing like a mad woman. I called him later to see if he'd seen it. He never had a clue. *sigh*

But the little bugger so utterly cute! He was flipping his little ears and just looking adorable! It absolutely made my day! (Yeah, I am easy...) :P

Movie of the Week - Man of the Year

Man of the Year
Staring: Robin Williams, Christopher Walken, Laura Linney, Lewis Black, Jeff Goldblum, David Alpay

Premise: Tom Dobbs, a TV comedian, decides to run for president after it is suggested by someone from the audience. Due to a computer glitch in a new national voting system, Dobbs is elected. One person knows what's happened and tries to do the right thing.

Review: Robin Williams is a hoot! But then he usually is. Beneath the jokes and commentary though are a lot of thought provoking items. Thrown into this is one company's attempt to keep their mess up hidden, and a woman trying to live up to her integrity. Some semi suspenseful moments and lots of laughs. ***!!!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Boston Legal

Boston Legal - TV

I first caught this show during its second season when Michael J Fox guest starred on three episodes. (We hadn't seen Michael on TV for some time since his disease had progressed and made it difficult to pursue an acting career, so we wanted to see how he was doing, having been a fan for years.) We knew it was a layer show, and my husband not being one for legal dramas, we'd never checked it out before.

After seeing two of the three episodes we were hooked! This show is a total hoot! We got bit so hard, we went and ordered 1st season on DVD! This show is on one level serious as a heart attack, on another totally frivolous and funny. And sometimes, weirdly, both at once.

Premise: We follow in the daily labors of the law firm of Crane, Poole, & Schmidt. Crane, now in his 70's, was a during his heyday a major force to be reckoned with. Never lost a case. Now, Denny Crane (William Shatner) suffers from the beginnings of Alzheimer's and utter boredom. He is an over the top, sexist, extreme Republican, but he's totally upfront with all of it. The owners of the firm keep an eye on him for cause to expel him before he can ruin the reputation of the film. Alan Shore (James Spader) is the outlaw of the firm, taking on cases to help the week, yet at times taking roads that would not be considered reputable. A man of many levels, he is somewhat self destructive, and driven by many passions. Shirley Schmidt (Candice Bergen) is one of the other main partners and gets brought in to try to restrain Denny from his more flamboyant efforts.

The people dynamics in this show are phenomenal! The strange friendship between Denny and Alan. Denny's obsession with anything female and especially Shirley. The legal maneuverings and seriousness of many of the cases. You will literally laugh and cry. The rest of the cast members, especially for second season are wonderful as well!

The one hidden fact about Boston Legal is how many of the actors coming in as guests or as main characters come from Star Trek or Sci-Fi films!!! William Shatner of course well know for his role as Captain James T Kirk in the original series. James Spader was Dr Daniel Jackson in the film Stargate and played in several other Sci-fi films. Candice Bergen was the voice of SAL9000 in the Sci-fi epic 2010. Rene Auberjonois (Paul Lewiston - stiff shirt and the one who makes the firm run as a unit in the background) was Odo in Deep Space Nine. Michael J Fox was from the Back to the Future Films. A regular judge seen often on the show, Armin Shimerman was Quark from Deep Space 9. Henry Gibson, another regular judge, also guest stared in DS9 and many other Sci-Fi/Fantasy shows. And this past week Ethan Phillips, Nelix from Star Trek Voyager, guest stared. It is a total schmorgasborg of Sci-Fi/Fantasy talent! I LOVE THIS SHOW!!!! lol

Movie of the Week - Open Season

Open Season (Animated)
Staring: Martin Lawrence, Aston Kotcher, Matt Taylor, Jan Favread, Danny Mann, Billy Connely, etc.

Premise: Boog, a grizzly bear raised in captivity by a ranger, has his life turned upside down after he meets Elliot, a mule deer. He finds himself set loose in the wild and all he wants to do is get back home.

Review: From what I understand this is Sony Pictures first animated film. Kudos to them! Gorgeous scenery and the work on the fur was marvelous. The story was very cute and funny and is filled with a plethora of interesting characters. The main bad guy and his animal conspiracy theories were a hoot. Lots if hidden jokes for the parents. Make sure to stick around for the first part of the credits to see what happens to the bad man. :P ***!!!!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Movie of the Week - Flyboys

Staring: James Franco, Jean Reno, Philip Winchester, Martin Henderson, Abdul Salis, Jennifer Decker, Tyler Labine, and David Ellison

Premise: A film inspired by the courageous tale of young American men who joined the famed Lafayette Escadrille during WWI. 6 young men volunteer to join this special unit in France, and we follow their training and hardships during the war.

Review: Cool effects and some great CGI. No great surprises in the plot, but very well acted by all involved. Very nice work on the details or the period with reconstructions of Paris and other areas. Fun film. ***!!!!!

Movie of the Week - Jet Li's Fearless

Jet Li's Fearless
Staring: Jet Li
Directed by Ronny Yu

Premise: The story of Huo Yuanjia, his life, loves, adversity, and growth of spirit to become the founder of the Jingwu Sports Federation. An effort to help the Chinese recover their pride and prove to the world their worth.

Review: While the martial arts did not reach the heights some of the scenes did in The Protector, it makes up for this with the deeper story and good acting. Don't get me wrong, there is still plenty of good martial arts to go around and be enjoyed. Did look up Yuanjia after seeing the film, and while some of the general information is correct, this is not what you would call an accurate film. :P Still, it was lots of fun and is on a person who was quite important to the Chinese in that period. ***1/2
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...