(September 17 – 23)
Over the course of this week I’ve been hammering away at several different writing projects, so I thought I’d waffle on about them a little more here. I tend to waver between having a laser-focus on a specific story, and having several things on the go at once. It’s possible that this isn’t great for my productivity, and I should maybe look at a more structured approach—but where’s the fun in that?
My major project at the moment is a sci-fi novella. It started out as a story, and quickly decided it needed to be longer. I’m at what I call the start of the second act (or roughly a third of the way through). I’ve had a few victories with this project recently. Firstly, it’s reached the point where the story has developed its own legs—I may have written about this already, but the current couple of chapters weren’t even in the original outline; they’ve simply appeared because the characters wanted to go in different directions.
Second, I finally have a title. The story takes place on a space station, and I’ve been struggling for months to come up with the right name for the station. That finally arrived this week, and will serve as the story’s title too.
I’ve also done something I’ve never really done before: I’ve written a lengthy piece (in the form of a report) simply to give me some much needed background to the events of the story. Most of it was already in my head, but writing it out this way has given me something a little more rigid to continue building the story on. It’s a really useful process, akin to writing biographies for your characters.
My other projects have included this blog, which I tend to devote a morning a week to. It’s a good way of getting some low-effort writing done, and can also be a good way of starting the day—by reflecting on what’s gone by recently.
I’ve been putting some extra effort into wrapping up new material for the podcast I’m working on with some friends. It’s been many months since we managed to get a pilot episode out, and I’ve taken a bit more time with the writing than I had planned to. For a long time I’ve had 90% of the material I needed for some new episodes; I just needed to sit down and focus on filling in the blanks.
Finally, a couple of older short stories have popped up recently and demanded to be rewritten. I did one of these earlier in the month, and recently another one—one that I’d almost forgotten about—piqued my interest again. Hopefully this means I’ll have a couple of stories that are worth sending out, instead of simply leaving them to languish on my hard drive.
I’m not still into the idea of starting a new TV series (no idea why) so for my Monday night TV Night I cracked open my newish bluray of The Thing and watched a doco that spanned the publication of the original story to the making of Carpenter’s film. Not a huge number of revelations in there for me, but it was still fun to watch.
For Friday Night Horror we wrapped up our Final Destination journey with Final Destination 5. This movie might have the best opening titles I’ve ever seen: a simple concept, incredibly well executed, that had us all watching in awe.
On Saturday I found myself unexpectedly #childfree (the Elderbeast arranged a last minute sleepover at a friends). I found myself into the mood for either an eighties movie, or an all-out action movie. I settled on Dredd, which perfectly captures both. This is a movie that either gets better each time I watch it, or I simply forget how good it is every time. It’s perfectly crafted, from start to finish, and the only sadness is that audiences didn’t show up enough to give us the sequels that this film deserves. I will have to watch it again very, very soon.
For Sunday night I was tempted by a few titles on my Netflix watch list, but I also felt like it was a good night for introducing the Elderbeast to another classic. After a quick browse, I came up with Hot Fuzz (yes, I’ll get an ointment for that). The Elderbeast enjoyed Shaun Of The Dead, so this was a reasonably safe bet. And it paid off. He’s already keen to watch World’s End.
I have, predictably, made no progress on The Haunting Of Hill House this week. I’m actually starting to look at reading strategies, and whether a more structured/disciplined approach to my reading will help. Normally I’d simply abandon the book, on the premise that life is too short. But this is a classic of the genre and I can’t let it defeat me!
I’m also very close to finishing the audiobook of Dune. It remains highly absorbing, but I’m still feeling that Frank Herbert hasn’t quite managed to make the latter parts of the book match up to the gripping first act. It’s all starting to come together, but there’s a lot of meandering. I’m aware that these words might be sacrilege to some—and the prose and characterisation are undeniably top notch—but the book does shift rather noticably from being a tense political drama to a portrait of life in the Arrakeen desert.