(September 29 – Oct 5)
This week marks the start of the school holidays, which means a two-week reprieve from preparing lunches and dropping the Kinderbesten variously at bus stops or schools. It also means a chance to get back into a more productive writing routine in the mornings (my morning routine has been flagging a lot lately, partly on account of having to spend much time coercing kinderbesten into action, but mostly because I just need to get up earlier).
Things got off to a pretty good start with me wrapping up the first draft of a new story I’ve been working on. I’ve been pretty keen to get back into my novel again, but it requires little more plot scaffolding first, so I chose to jump right into a second draft of the aforementioned short story instead.
However, I did develop a pretty cool planning spreadsheet for the novel. I spent the best part of an evening on it and I think it’s really going to help. I’ve got rows for each chapter, and various columns to cover things like character beats, plot developments, and relationship shifts that I want to track. I even worked out a neat way of getting a bullet point plot summary for each chapter in there. I don’t think I’ll need to add a wealth of detail to this spreadsheet, but it’s already helping immensely by giving me a single view of the plot and showing me where things need to happen, or where various plot points can be moved to for best effect.
Not bad for a night’s work.
On Sunday I decided to check out the new Netflix movie, In The Shadow Of The Moon, on the basis that the trailer looked pretty interesting, I like the premise, and the word of mouth has been good. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a damp squib in the end. It was perfectly well made, and built up an interesting mystery … only for things to go exactly where I was expecting them to go to and then … stop. Maybe I’ve watched too many time-travel movies, but I expect a lot more timey-wimeyness from them these days.
Things didn’t improve much later in the week with Moon 44, which to be fair I deliberately chose because it looked terrible (and I love a good bad movie). This was Roland Emmerich’s first movie, but played like a straight to video sci-fi actioner than desperately, desperately wanted to be seen in the same echelon as Aliens and Bladerunner. I have to say that the production design was first class, and with a more artistically inclined director at the helm this might have been more fondly remembered. However, things were further let down by a fairly laughable script. Overall, it passed the time, but wasn’t good enough to particularly interesting, and wasn’t bad enough to be fun either.
I left the Nest Cottage Chronicles behind this week in favour of another Doctor Who audio tale. I love What If tales (which typically posit an alternative version of familiar stories based on the impact from one minor change, in case you didn’t know what I was talking about), and Big Finish did a series of these with their Doctor Who audios at one point. The series was called Doctor Who Unbound, and I picked up a particularly well reviewed one called Sympathy For The Devil for peanuts on the Big Finish website.
The premise is that the third Doctor, starting his exile on earth, arrives much later than planned and is therefore not around to prevent all of the catastrophes that Jon Pertwee spent his early years as the Doctor dealing with. Further piquing my interest was the casting of David Warner as the Doctor, and Mark Gatiss as a new version of the Master. It was also a treat to hear David Tennant, with full Scottish accent, playing a particularly angry UNIT sergeant some years before he scored the role of the Doctor himself.
None of that will mean anything unless you’re a Whovian of course.
Great listening (though I gather not all of the entries in the Unbound series are as satisfying as this one.)