Sunday, January 11, 2015

What It Is – week ending 11 January [2015]

With apologies to Dave the Thune (as well as Mike Baron & Steve Rude).

Every day.  1000 words.  That’s the goal.

2015 has started off well.  I haven’t missed a day of writing – though I have missed my 1K word goal a couple of times – and I’m just about to jump back into the novel, with part two set ten years after the opening section.  I’m really excited about this.  It’s an expansion of a short story, “Call of the Sea,” that’s been bubbling in my head for six or seven years now.  Hoping to complete draft one by the end of March.  Then, I’ll let it rest and begin revising in the final quarter of the year. 

I also completed the first draft of a new science fiction short story and mapped out the next one – though this new idea will need some serious “pre-work” (lots of thinking and reworking scenes and ideas) before I dive into the writing.   The idea is solid, but it needs a really deft hand to bring it to fruition.  Once I’ve got it outlined, and if I can do it justice, I think it could be a special story. 

Also shared a couple of writing posts, here on W27, this past week.  One on the magic of the idea in your head and how that rarely translates to the page.  And another on how I got a short storypublished in Needle: a magazine of noir (available now!) – hint: it involved writing and rewriting and rewriting and…a little more rewriting.  The lesson that should, hopefully, be taken from these two pieces is one I have harped upon myriad times at this site – if you want to be a writer, you need to write.

Started read THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir, on Dan’s recommendation, and it’s so damn good.  The near future (it feels like it anyway) and a manned mission to Mars that has gone terribly wrong – one of the crew is impaled while the rest escape a terrifying windstorm threatening to strand them on the red planet.  The one problem:  the crew member believed to be impaled and dead on the Martian surface is alive and now stranded on the dusty planet for the next four years, with only enough food to last him roughly 400 days (or just over one year) and no way to contact Earth, since the windstorm destroyed the communication array set up for their home base.  From there, the astronaut, Mark Watney, must use his brains, and the limited resources at his disposal, to figure out a way to survive those other 300 days, or else die a slow death over 34 million miles away from home.  Riveting stuff.

Finished up Gotham Central by Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka, Michael Lark, et al.  What a great series.  The relationships between the characters, the inventiveness of the crimes and how they related to the Batman’s rogues, and the fantastic cartooning, among all the other great aspects of this series, add up to something special.  If you’re a comic fan, a Batman fan, a crime fiction fan, or just someone who enjoys well written characters, you should check this series out.  For my money, the character arc of Renee Montoya is both beautiful (especially her relationships with Daria, her lover, and Cris, her partner) and heartbreaking – simply wonderful stuff. 

Finishing up season one of The Americans.  I was excited about this series when I started, but I’ve quickly found that excitement waning.  There are two issues here, for me.  One is that the writers don’t seem willing – in the first season, at least – to commit, one way or the other, on the marriage of the main characters, Russian spies masking as Americans, for those unaware of the series premise.  They flip and flop back and forth from wanting to make their arranged marriage work to being angered with one another and treating it as the disguise it was always meant to be to coming back together in some idyllic approach to the relationship before falling back into a frigid, workmanlike relationship.  Second, as it has been set up, there seems to be no way for the Russian spies to lose – even when unexpected things happen and they find themselves “off-script,” the two main protagonists always end up on top, and that has diluted any dramatic tension I felt in those opening episodes.  It’s the same issue I have with House of Cards. 

The ITMODcast had a special guest on last week (it is rare that I am timely with my podcast listening) when they interviewed David Frigerio, one of the writers of the science fiction film, The Signal.  It was a great episode and has me even more stoked to check this film out. 

And that’s it.  As always, check out my friends – Brad& Matt and Don McMillan for their own weekly recaps on things comic-y and geeky, and we'll see what's what in seven.  


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