(Week 10: March 3 – 9)
This week was marred by a second round of illness, but it was the sort of illness that meant I was up and about, just not office-safe. Consequently I was able to use some of the time to catch up on my writing.
I’ve now reached a section of the sci-fi novella that was earlier in the narrative in my first draft, but I’ve now decided to move to a later point. This means that I have words to edit once again, but that editing is substantial due to the reshuffling. There’s a lot of stuff that no longer makes sense now that it’s been moved.
This, to me, is the crux of editing: being prepared to throw your words out. There were a few mighty chunks that no longer made sense where they were, so they’ve gone. Occasionally there are bits worth keeping, but more often than not it’s better to drop them entirely and let your story flow naturally. Trying to shoehorn a few paragraphs into the wrong place just because you want to use every word you’ve written will almost always be to the detriment of your story.
And then I ended the week by closing out this particular editing session, which means I’m once again facing the blank page and entering a scary new section of the novella. Wish me luck.
Earlier in the week I wrapped up Russian Doll, which is the latest pure delight that Netflix has granted us. I can’t say too much about this without spoiling everything about it, so I’ll just share a few quick points. Firstly, Natasha McElhone is brilliant. I’ve not greatly warmed to her before now, but her performance here has totally won me over: it’s caustic, funny, and full of heart. There are moments of laugh out loud humour in this show (at least for me—and I love something that gets me physically laughing), but the end is overwhelmingly touching. Finally, I am, of course, inevitably, completely hooked on Nilsson’s “Gotta Get Up” now.
For Fridate horror we watched Splinter, which I only heard about after seeing it on Amazon Prime’s 50 Horror Movies You’ve Never Seen. I’m amazed there hasn’t been more buzz about this 2008 movie because it’s terrific. It’s more or less an eighties style high concept horror movie: four people trapped in a gas station by a mysterious parasite (though, the effects are definitely better than anything we had in the eighties). It’s short and punchy, has some good character work, some properly gory moments, and doesn’t overstay its welcome with needless exposition. There’s a nasty thing trying to kill people: that’s all we find out and all we need to know.
Saturday brought a repeat viewing of Solo, thanks to the film turning up on one of my streaming services. I came away from this second viewing with much the same thoughts as the first time around. Perhaps one new thought that struck me is how low the stakes are—at least in comparison to every other adventure we’ve shared in the Star Wars universe. That said, supposed low stakes are turned on their head right at the end when we find that Solo has inadvertently played a big role in kickstarting the rebellion.
In the end, there’s a good fun heist movie here that suffers a bit from having to carry the baggage of the Star Wars universe, while being further encumbered by workmanlike direction and some niggling structural flaws.
I genuinely hope Disney will find a way to bring these characters back—I particularly like Aiden Ehrenreich as Solo, and we can never have too much of Donald Glover’s portrayal of Lando. But the less said about the huge character fail represented by Thandie Newton’s Val, the better.
This week I finished Fellside, which confirms that M.R.Carey is clearly one of my favourite authors given that this is the third book of his that I have all but torn through (unfortunately he has only released three novels so far; at least under this particular pen name).
This was a very different kind of tale than The Girl With All the Gifts and its prequel. I likened it to “Stephen King writing Orange Is The New Black”. It pivoted a few times over the first several chapters, and kept me guessing what kind of story it was going to end up being for a while there. There are also some good twists along the way. Unfortunately, the big final twist was telegraphed so far in advance that the only surprise was how long it took the main character to work it out.
But that’s just one very forgivable misstep in a book that is otherwise a damn good read, and highly recommended.