(Week 22: May 26-June 1)
I started work in the new novel this week and it’s going gangbusters so far! One week in and I’ve done 4,500 on the first draft. My standard max daily word count is around 675 words, which would come to about 3,375 on a good week. So, as you can see, this has been a very, very good week.
I typically find editing to be the more rewarding part of writing. The first draft is usually a painful birthing process, but the editing is where the story truly turns into something that people might enjoy reading. The first draft is usually an obstacle course of stops and starts, hesitations and doubts. It’s rare that work on a first draft will proceed without me having to, at some point, go back and rework the beginning so I have a better idea of where I’m going; or having to pause for a day or two to let my ideas coalesce again; or having to stop and figure out plot points that weren’t anticipated in the planning stage.
This experience has been a complete departure. I began writing with only the most basic idea of what was going to happen, and the words have flowed. Even the opening of the story, from which I expected to muster no more than a couple of paragraphs, wrote its way into nearly a thousand words.
I have zero doubt that some serious editing will be required in due course, but it’s been a bundle of fun—If marginally frustrating—to end each morning’s writing session wanting nothing more than to carry on throwing words at the page.
Long may it continue.
Over Sunday and Monday, the Kinderbeast and I wrapped up the new adaptation of Catch 22. I haven’t read the novel, so I can’t compare it, and it’s been many, many years since I saw the film. I suspect this new adaptation struggled with balancing the absurd comedy against the clear desire to show that war is no joke. The laughs predominantly come at the expense of the military commanders (with George Clooney taking the lion’s share of the laughs) while the suffering is left to the ordinary people and soldiers. The realisation that Yossarian is at risk of losing his mind due to the horrors he’s endured does put something of a stopper to the laughs. As such it’s easy to come away thinking that the series doesn’t end as strongly as it starts.
On Saturday, the Marvel rewatch brought us around to Captain America: Civil War, which is the only phase 3 movie I wasn’t particularly excited about. I was, at least, curious to see it again, and this second viewing confirmed my original view. It’s by no means a bad movie (certainly not in the Age Of Ultron league) but it suffers from having way too much going on. It shows us a series of things that happen, rather than offering a cohesive, calculated plot in the same way that Winter Soldier did. Everything is very well done, and there is nothing hugely wrong with it, but the film simply falls under the weight of everything it’s trying to do and ends up feeling somewhat underwhelming.
It’s interesting, however, that the Russo brothers seem to have learned from their mistakes when it comes to Infinity War.
My reading this week has been As You Wish, Cary Elwes’s appropriately titled memoir about his time working on The Princess Bride. I love books about film, but most of them are about how terrible Hollywood is and how morally bereft or impressively incompetent most of the people who work there are. Fortunately, Elwes is clearly a man with a very pure and generous spirit, and The Princess Bride is a wonderful film, so this book was a delight to read. I learned a lot about the making of the movie that I had no idea about before, and also about the people involved, and came away loving the movie even more than I already did. Well worth a read if you’re a fellow fan of the film.