Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Writing is the Thing - But Where has it Gone? TV Commentary

I've been wanting to rant, err, write about this for a while but held back due to that old adage "If you can't say something nice..." Yet I realized that sometimes, the only way to fix something or have others become aware of it is to say something, even if it is not nice.

First off though, I'd like to say this - writing for TV is HARD! Not something to be taken on on a whim. I've no experience doing it myself, but have heard from enough from those who do to understand it can be a thankless and often frustrating job. Mandates are handed down by suits who care nothing for plot, integrity, or the vision. So it could be that this issue I'm about to present might not even be their doing but the influence of things they can't control. I don't know. But whichever it is, I feel the need to point it out in the hopes that someone can perhaps shine a light on those responsible and maybe fix it...

Hope springs eternal!

I watch a lot of TV. I didn't use to as about 5 to 10 years ago there wasn't all that much to watch. But there's been a lot of stuff to interest me lately. Yet there have been some shows that I loved at first that going into second or later seasons, things change, almost abruptly sometimes, and it's no longer the show I liked.

It is TV, so there's always a level of suspension of disbelief. And that's fine, I can handle it. What I can't handle is when suddenly characters behave in ways they never have before for mere plot convenience, when stated facts for the universe are suddenly ignored, but worse, when the audience suddenly is treated like they are too stupid to understand things (especially if its a SF or Fantasy show) and believe they can get away with whatever...

"Avatar the Last Airbender" was a gorgeous, beautifully written, intelligent show about a boy suddenly having to carry the burden of needing to save the world. He had helpers and tragic enemies and I was enjoying the heck out of it. Episodes 2.10 and 2.11 ruined the show for me. Built as Big Production Can't Be Missed episodes, they were actually slaps in the face. Here are these kids trying to save the world, but suddenly it's okay to steal from a non-human who took them in an cared for them and destroy the objects he's been set to guard for hundreds of years. And there wasn't one qualm of guilt on any of them. Worse, Apa gets stolen, and though there's no proof the bison has been hurt, and this not being the first time his friend has been taken or has disappeared, Ang goes into a maddened murderous RAGE! Excuse me? Bison disappears every three episodes people! Maddened Rage? When Zuko doesn't learn his lesson for the umpteenth time and realizes how he is being used, that was it for me. See ya!

"Battlestar Galactica" I was desperate to like. Had loved the show back in the 70's even saw the movie at the theater with the giant sursurround speakers making the whole place vibrate! Richard Hatch had been trying to bring the sucker back forever. Two hour movie had to hold back the horror as the imagination of those involved obviously didn't go far (20th Century Earth with some plastic to the ties - please!) probably budgetary. Nuclear weapons, no really? And sorry, the battlestar would have been destroyed in that major battle. Look up info on nukes and radiation people! The science was abysmal! And aside from pretending to sort of keep some of the names and traditions from the original, it wasn't. But it had some social plots of interest and a funky take on Cylons, so I have it a whirl. They lost me when suddenly Apollo started being the changing character of plot convenience. BLEAH. See ya! Wouldn't want to be ya!

More recently my trouble has been with "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" cartoons. First season was a lot of fun! Second season has taken a turn that has been pissing me off pretty much every episode. And there was no need for it! It's as if the writers/suits took a drug to make them forget what the Force is capable of aside from holding a lightsaber and moving things with their minds. Worse, is things like episode 2.7 stating FACTS about zombie activating worms used by the queen, then in 2.8 using said worms in ways totally contradictory to FACTS given in 2.7!!! What the???? They've been doing this type of thing all through season 2! I have no idea what's happened over there. Come on guys!!!!

Ah, but here's the one that really hurts. Here's the one that makes me ache and despair. (Yes, I am a drama queen. Get over it. :P) I've been obsessed with "Supernatural" since not long into season 2. "Supernatural" is actually my first obsession EVER. For four years they've been giving me yummy goodness, every department of this show so on board it screams from the screen. Yes, not all the episodes have been perfect. They've had a misfire or two a season, but even those had things to make me not care and 90% plus were awesome more than making up for it. I don't expect perfection, no matter what I sound like. I know things happen. Then we hit season 5...

8 out of 10 episodes so far this season have been abysmal in the writing department. I've no idea what's happened, but I hope they get a clue soon, despite 30% of people in a survey saying it is the BEST season ever. (Are we watching the same show????) It's like every cheesy TV trick ever used is now making it into all the season 5 episodes. Monsters not being taken care of and conveniently forgotten about as if things were resolved (Poker Witch 5.7, 3rd Killer Ghost Boy 5.9). Ridiculous amounts of time being glossed over by how the events are shown (ghost boys attack Sam and Dean minutes (like 5 if they're lucky ep 5.9) after fanboys go off to dig graves - digging graves (which they needed to do 3 and only did 2) take more than five minutes to unearth!!!!

Episode 5.2 Sam kills a couple of teenagers having been led to believe they are demon possessed yet the demon knife did not do its usual loud and bright light show and Sam never noticed! Please people, he's been killing demons with this things for 2 plus years! I think he'd notice that it didn't do the usual! Even if he did not understand why not, and was being tempted by what he thought was demon blood, he should have noticed!

Episode 5.5 This one REALLY made me angry. Suits - we're NOT stupid!!!! First victim we see die and they show all the a typical signs of a ghost having done the murder. Boys never even use the EMF reader on the car. And though they themselves did not see the cold temps and other ghost signs, kept assuming it was ghosts. These guys are experts, they don't assume! Worse, it turns out it is not a ghost but a god. Uhm sorry ya'll but the gods don't have the same signs as ghosts! And if one did, it should remain consistent, which it didn't!!!! Then lets have people be unconscious and remain standing up for filming convenience, why don't we. Hello????

Would point out more but it's just too depressing...

What's truly sad is that all the other aspects of the show have been spot on. Direction, props, sets, the awesome acting. Yet it's like the writers are burned out, being sabotaged, or who knows what. And there are plenty of other shows out there that have remained consistently good overall throughout their runs! So it can be done!

Please guys, this is probably the last season, the one where all the things you've been building up for four years are finally culminating. Don't blow this! *cry* Don't let my first obsession ever be in vein! (And you know it's bad cause I do not want them renewed for a season 6.)

Okay, I'm done. Sending good karma SPN's way hoping second half is back on track. Don't make me beg ya'll!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Life of a Work In Progress

I'd decided to log my progress on my latest WIP called Jewel of the Gods. While this manuscript did not evolve in the most straightforward manner, I still thought it might still be fun to share how it evolved over time.

There will be several spots where the starting number won't match the previous sessions end number - that's normally somewhere where I deleted notes I'd added at the end of the book I no longer needed.

There's also a huge gap in there or two where "Supernatural" took over my life. The muse went totally nuts and she had to be followed. Will try to add how much I wrote during those times as while the WIP may not have gotten attention, the writing of things never stopped.

Date                Start      End       Words      Days Since
??                                        8,165
3/22/2007      8,165      8,670      505
3/26/2007      8,670      8,950      280      4
3/27/2007      8,950      9,283      333      1
3/29/2007      9,283      9,860      577      2
3/30/2007      9,860      9,865      5      1
4/2/2007      9,865      10,217      352      3
4/10/2007      10,217      10,435      218      8
4/19/2007      10,435      11,125      690      9
4/20/2007      11,125      11,400      275      1
5/9/2007      11,400      12,182      782      19
5/11/2007      12,182      12,642      460      2
5/18/2007      12,642      13,294      652      7
5/21/2007      13,294      13,815      521      3

Then Supernatural took over my life!

(June 2007 - "Sacrifice of the Heart" SPN fanfic - 26,167 Words) This is when they got posted
(July 2007 - "Appeasement" anthology submission - 4,600 words)
(July 2007 - "Jess" SPN - 32,376 Words)
(Sept 2007 - "Our Separate Ways" SPN - 24,400 words)
(Sept 2007 - "Serving the Public" - anothology submission - 5,000 words)
(Nov 2007 - "Broken Idols" SPN - 7,638 words)
(Dec 2007 - "Of Grief and Guilt SPN - 23,828 words)

Hah! You thought I was kidding didn't you? Totally took over! That's over 100K words in 6 months! I was SMOKING! Booyah! Go, Muse, Go!

12/27/2007      13,815      21,052      7,237      220
Multiple sessions forgot to list them! :(
12/28/2007      21,052      22,152      1,100      1

(June 2008 - "It's Not Working" - SPN - 2,234 words)
(Aug 2008 - "Heart of the City" - SPN - 48,344 words)
(Re edit of novel "Price of Mercy" already accepted by Zumaya Publications)

8/27/2008      22,152      23,012      860      243
8/28/2008      23,012      23,435      423      1
9/2/2008      23,435      23,815      380      5
9/20/2008      23,815      25,570      1,755      18

(Nov 2008 - "Weight of Failure" SPN - 28,297 words)
(Dec 2008 - "Snow" SPN - 6,032 words)
(Jan 2009 - "Dark Secrets" SPN - 35,524 words)
(March 2009 - "Winchester Interrupted" SPN - 31,235 words)
(March 2009 - reworked future WIP beginning Inner Demons into 1st Person)
(July 2009 - "Switch" SPN AU - 63,767 words)

9/1/2009      25,570      65,243      39,673      346
(Another chunk of Multiple sessions I forgot to list. Ack! Life was errr turbulent in late 2008 into 2009. Bleah!)

(Aug/Sept - Blog Week postings for - 6,834 words)

9/2/2009      65,243      66,288      1,045      1
9/3/2009      66,288      67,501      1,213      1
9/4/2009      67,501      68,233      732      1
9/9/2009      68,265      68,917      652      5
9/10/2009      68,917      70,103      1,186      1
9/11/2009      70,103      70,410      307      1
9/21/2009      70,410      70,850      440      10
9/22/2009      70,850      71,182      332      1
9/23/2009      71,182      71,448      266      1
9/24/2009      71,448      71,740      292      1
9/25/2009      71,740      72,456      716      1
9/29/2009      72,456      73,295      839      4
10/1/2009      73,295      74,058      763      2
10/2/2009      74,058      74,841      783      1
10/5/2009      74,841      75,197      356      3
10/6/2009      75,197      76,216      1,019      1
10/7/2009      76,177      76,839      662      1
10/8/2009      76,839      77,653      814      1
10/9/2009      77,653      78,496      843      1
10/12/2009      78,496      80,003      1,507      3
10/13/2009      80,003      81,278      1,275      1
10/19/2009      81,278      81,725      447       6
10/20/2009      81,733      82,127      394      1
10/21/2009      82,127      82,949      822      1
10/22/2009      82,949      83,519      570       1
10/23/2009      83,519      84,268      749      1
10/26/2009      84,268      84,796      528      3
10/27/2009      84,796      85,599      803      1
10/30/2009      85,599      86,628      1,029      3
11/2/2009      86,628      88,339      1,711      3
11/3/2009      88,339      88,588      249      1
11/4/2009      88,588      89,092      504      1
11/5/2009      89,092      89,591      499      1
11/6/2009      89,591      90,420      829      1
11/9/2009      90,420      91,239      819      3
11/13/2009      91,239      92,295      1,056      4
11/16/2009      92,295      92,983      688      3
11/17/2009      92,912      93,180      268      1
11/18/2009      93,180      93,458      278      1
11/19/2009      93,391      93,883      492      1
11/20/2009      93,883      95,456      1,573      1
11/23/2009      95,456      95,831      375      3
11/24/2009      95,831      96,181      350      1
11/25/2009      96,181      96,635      454      1
11/30/2009      96,635      97,209      574      5

So let's summarize this mess.
SPN madness - 329,842 words! (Holy Molly! Yeah, 3 books worth in 2 years - Muse went INSANE I tell you! And she would NOT be denied!)
Other - 16,434
Re-edits and edits - who knows!
Jewel of the Gods WIP - 97K - Almost 3 years. Way, way, way longer than I meant it to. lol.

So there you have it! One author's road to a finished WIP. Bwahahahaha!

Friday, December 11, 2009

FridayFlash - The Tree

Miaka sensed immediately that something in her kingdom had changed.

There was a new scent filtering through the house -- one that spoke of nature and outside. It sent a tingle through her furry frame, awakening primal instincts. She scurried to the corner of the hall, curious, watching her larger housemates struggle with this brown thing with green needles and that marvelous scent. They set it into a red bracket in the corner of the big room then cut away the net around it, which allowed the thing to spread out, small brown arms full of green reaching out, beckoning to her.

Boxes were brought in from the garage and set on the floor. These smelled of dust, glass, and metal.

She slinked around them and the tall outside thing, sniffing, cataloging, her small dark eyes bright.

Round, shiny items were taken out of the boxes and hanged off the arms of the tall mysterious thing. The sunlight glittered off their colorful bodies, making her dizzy and filling her with strange excitement.

Her housemates talked and worked, moving her out of the way when she got too close.

Eventually all the activity died down. Those who fed and played with her stood before the towering thing and stared with seeming pleasure.

The boxes were closed up and hidden beneath the couch or taken back to where they came from.

Miaka stared at it, too, and realized that this thing, it was for her. Must be hers. The tantalizing scents wafting from it told her so. She climbed the couch with a blur of speed then stood poised on the back studying what called to her soul. Yes, this was hers to do as she saw fit!

So moving over the top of the couch, she calculated angles and trajectories then she rushed at it, leaping through the air to land in the embracing branches.

“The ferret!”

The thing jingled and jangled as she dove deeper into the interior. Reaching the central core, she went upwards, her blood singing. She became as tall as her housemates. Taller! She was the owner of all she surveyed!

Her lofty perch began to sway.

“Miaka! Miaka, no!”


“Oh my God!”

She rolled as the thing bounced and ran off under a chair amidst the sudden yelling and running around by the others. Peeking out, she saw there was no need to worry. Her housemates were setting up her toy upright again.

Soon she would reign supreme once more.

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