What’s Going On, 12/17/2010

My mind is blank, so it must be time for an update.

Noveling – I’m on track to finish the first draft of The Seer, my sequel to The Muse, by month’s end, which feels pretty good. I’ve wrestled this thing all year, and I’ve learned a lot about the peculiar challenges of writing the second book in a trilogy. The biggest learning point was that starting with an established back-story and cast of characters does not make things easier, not at all. It places the writer squarely between the Scylla of tiresome historical rehash and the Charybdis of inconsistency with what has happened before. There are also expectations to be met now, modest as they are. Yes, there will be a third book, and the good news is that it’s partly written already…sigh…because it used to be the second book. I was very distressed to get a third of the way into it, only to realize that something very important had to happen first, and that something merited a novel of its own. Anyhow, I’m still a long way from the finish line, since after the initial draft comes editing, and re-writing, and critique, and re-editing, and re-re-writing…

Missing Pieces – Regular readers of this blog (I know–who am I kidding?) may have noticed I posted neither a Scribbler’s Scoreboard nor a Banner Image update at the beginning of this month. I have good excuses reasons for both. I had only one story submission in November (“The Island,” a short story inspired by a passage from Homer’s Odyssey, twisted a bit), and no other news to report. I do my year-end recap at the end of December anyhow, so there wasn’t much point in a separate post. As for the banner image, this was, I think, the first one I’ve used that didn’t have a story behind it. I found a colorful lawn ornament that fit the theme and the available space, and I plugged it in. It has a sort of Lite-Brite vibe to it that makes me feel a bit nostalgic for my misspent youth.

Accountability Counts – Although I set writing goals for myself each year, I’m usually on the honor system for living up to them, unless one of my readers (I know–who am I kidding?) calls me on it. This year, I will have the assistance of a colleague in my local ACFW writers group, Stephanie Morrill, to help me hold the line. I will in turn do my best to help her stay on pace with her goals. Stephanie writes teen fiction and is the author of a popular series published by Revell Books: Me, Just Different; Out With the In Crowd; and So Over It; known collectively as The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt. She also has two additional projects currently under consideration by Revell. I’ll post an interview here with Stephanie sometime in the next month or two.

Pop, Pop, Pop Culture – I’ve had neither the time nor shekels for much movie-going of late, but I did manage to take in the first installment of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. I won’t offer a full review, but will say that while it had some engaging moments, and the three leads are at the top of their game (I particularly enjoyed Rupert Grint’s performance this time), it didn’t grab me quite so much as previous episodes. The special effects were cool, but they evidenced a trend toward overstuffing films with CGI to the point of sensory overload–the final impression is a blur of light and motion and a feeling that you just missed several very important pieces of information. I prefer to see my favorite movies multiple times because they’re fun, not because I couldn’t absorb everything on the first viewing.

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2 thoughts on “What’s Going On, 12/17/2010

  1. Hey, you do have readers. (smooths wrinkles from “Fred is #1” t-shirt)

    I understand the perils of the “second book.” At least you’ve made more progress than me. I’m maybe half-way through mine. Sounds great, till you realize I’ve been half-way through for a year now :P. It is SO much harder, for the very reasons you stated. Although, since my first novel is not published, there are no “expectations” from anyone other than me.

    I’m still trying to decide exactly how I feel about HP and the Deathly Hallows. I have this nasty habit of seeing the movie for the first time and mentally cataloging all the deviations from the book. I have to see it a couple more times to diffuse that. So far, Half-Blood Prince has been my least favorite movie, partly because it was my favorite book and I had higher expectations. At one time Prisoner of Azkaban was my least favorite movie and it wormed it’s way to the top for me. So, who knows. I am still chomping at the bit for the final episode to come out!

    1. Thanks Kat, though I would have had some fun if that t-shirt said, “Fred is No 1.” 🙂

      Another problem was that, for a long time, I had absolutely no idea of how it was going to end. Once I figured that out, everything started to come together.

      I wish there wasn’t such a drive to turn books into movies, though there’s a certain satisfaction in seeing a story you love come to life on the big screen. The two mediums end up doing violence to each other–a potentially great movie is hobbled by the constraints of the book, and the book is poorly translated to the screen. No matter what happens, some fraction of the fan base is going to be disappointed.

      I’m curious to see how far the Narnia franchise goes. Nobody’s gotten past Silver Chair yet, and if the fans are upset about the changes from the original in the first three movies, I can’t imagine how they’ll react to the alterations I expect will be necessary to make movies of the last three books. The Calormenes alone would be enough to send most Hollywood producers into convulsions.

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