(Week 21: May 19-25)
This week, following the dismal Australian election results, I was compelled to return to a story I wrote last year inspired by the Trump presidency. It was a story that was technically finished, but still didn’t feel quite ready.
Over the course of this week I went through and did a fresh edit. As with most of my re-edits, I didn’t change the plot in any dramatic way, but I did shift a few minor pieces around. The benefit of coming back to the story after a little time has passed is that I can bring a more objective perspective to the edit. On this occasion I spotted a few tiny things that either didn’t quite work properly, or could work better. I also added a little more depth and colour to a couple of the characters, hopefully ensuring that their actions in the story are entirely consistent with what we learn about them in the short time we have.
Also this week I had a blinding idea for a new novel. True, I have three other novels in various stages of incompletion, but this new idea would be a lot of fun to write …
This week’s big viewing was the end of season 2 of Barry which remained, right to the end, one of the best and boldest things I’ve seen on TV (and this comes from someone who is consistently blown away by how spoilt for choice we are when it comes to excellent TV these days). I’ve said it before, but the effortless gymnastics that the creative team pull off to weave humour, pathos and some really, really dark stuff just blows me away. It was, in fact, reflecting on this that inspired the above mentioned idea for a new novel.
On Friday, our horror choice was Hush (courtesy of Netflix). This has been on my list for months and months and was well worth the wait. It has a beautifully simple premise: a deaf author is terrorised in her country home by a masked killer. It’s a nice short film that doesn’t exceed its bounds, but manages to do a lot in the time it has. I’m already keen to watch it again to see what storytelling techniques I can learn from it.
I’d been toying with the idea of picking up the audiobook of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy in recent weeks, mostly because it’s read by Stephen Fry and I can’t imagine anything much better than listening to Douglas Adams being read by Stephen Fry. Anyway, with a gap in my listening schedule this week, I decided to take the plunge and pick up said audiobook.
I’d like to say it was a shining jewel of unparalleled british literary wonder, but as anyone who’s read Douglas Adams will surely know … he’s not great at narrative structure. He provides pockets of brilliance held together in a rambling stew. As such, any Douglas Adams work will soar very close to, but will never quite attain perfection.
Another slight issue is that I have now consumed The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy in so many formats (novel, TV series, film, radio) that there’s a limit to how much it can surprise me. Despite all that, there were some parts of the novel that I’d clearly forgotten, and Stephen Fry is just about the perfect narrator for this type of faintly absurd but very British humour.
And, on the subject of things that are absurd and British, I also finished reading Doctor Who Meets Scratchman. It’s emphatically a story of two halves: the first half being a very typical Doctor Who story; the second being where they clearly planned to spend the big bucks a film production budget would have offered. I’m not completely convinced it would have worked as a movie, but having read the novel I’m still quite sad we never got the chance to see it on the big screen.