(Week 14: March 31 – April 6)
This week I revisited another couple of stories I wrote last year. This may well end up being a bit of a rabbit hole as I have a fair number of stories that I feel could do with that mythical ‘one last edit’.
Final edits, for me, are usually a case of making the language flow.
It’s important to me that the mere act of reading a story and letting the language do its thing should bring pleasure. If the words are getting in the way of that, then they’re the wrong words. As a writer, there are few things that make me more restless than reading an old story of mine and finding the language clunky. It’s hard to resist the call of a final edit once that happens.
Occasionally I will also embellish details, or try to develop the sense of place a little more. By this time the story will be pretty firmly set (typically if I find a problem with the structure, it’ll be dealt with before I even finish the first draft). The final edit, therefore, is my chance to turn a decent story into a good one.
It’s been a fun and rewarding exercise. However, as the week draws to a close, I’m feeling my novella calling out to me. It must be time to return to that particular project.
On Sunday I finally got around to watching Into The Spiderverse. And it was every bit as good as everyone has been saying. The animation style is amazing (the first time I can confidently say anyone has replicated a comic book on screen) and the script effortlessly navigates between spot-on wit while never underplaying the emotional weight of what the various characters are going through. There’s also a couple of nice twists and turns along the way.
As a side note, this was my first experience of watching a film in 4K. Admittedly, my new 4K TV is hardly top of the range, but I honestly struggled to see much of a difference between the 4K version and the bluray. There’s a slight challenge in that the bluray is automatically upconverted to 4K by my blurayplayer, so it’s not a legitimate comparison from the outset. I could certainly detect a bit more sharpness in the fine detail, but this is not the profound sea change of going from VHS to DVD, or even from DVD to Bluray.
This week I finished off Jeff Wayne’s The War Of The Worlds: The Musical Drama. This is not to be confused with Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War Of The Worlds; rather it’s a dramatisation of the original novel, incorporating some of Jeff Wayne’s musical cues, but omitting the songs.
Now, I’m a huge fan of the musical version, so I was equal parts fascinated and trepidatious going into this. Fortunately, it was pretty great. The dramatisation was excellent (with Michael Sheen coming across a bit like Tom Baker in his lead performance) and the music added some welcome energy to the proceedings. While there were certainly some moments where I ended up with the songs playing in my head, there were never any parts where their absence was a distraction.
It was also interesting to compare the ways in which Jeff Wayne adapted the story for his musical version (this audio drama obviously being truer to the source material). At times, lines had clearly been used word for word; while at others, entire scenes had been excised or repurposed. Improvements in this new audio version include a far greater emphasis on the apocalyptic nature of events (something that also came across pretty well in the Spielberg version), which played well against the initially laissez-faire attitude of the narrator’s society.
I am now/still tremendously excited for the BBC adaptation (if it ever emerges).
I also started The Subtle Knife, the second part of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy (at least, when it used to just be a trilogy). I’m slightly disappointed to note that this one hasn’t gripped me as readily as the first part did. I’m very much into the journey that the two young lead characters are taking, and the developing mystery around Will. However, the scenes that directly follow up events from the end of the first book seem oddly out of place and have the effect of slowing the [new] story down.
I read this the first time about 15 years ago, and remember startlingly little about it, so I’m particularly interested to see what it’s like the second time around.