(Week 27: June 30 – July 6)

Chapter three of the novel is proving, if anything, even slower than chapter three. It’s not surprising, really. I’m far enough into things by now that my writer brain is busy trying to add depth to the characters, work out what their journey is, and build more of a structure around the novel. This works completely against the way I’ve started the novel, which is essentially to write it and see what happens: my brain is busy focusing on the bigger picture, and not really helping me to get those words down on the page.

I still plan to carry on ‘pantsing’ the novel for the most part—there are too many fun moments of random inspiration finding their way into the work for that to stop—but I’ll clearly need to carve out some time to work on the structure.

For this, I plan to use the age-old method of creating an Excel spreadsheet to break down each character journey across the chapters of the novel. At this point, I’m thinking there’ll be a column for each character, outlining what they learn, or how they change in each chapter. There’ll also be a further column to help work out how the relationship between the two characters evolves across the course of the novel.

I’ve got this all in my head right now, but it tends to get in the way of everything else, so I’m keen to get it all out of my head instead. Damn writer brain, getting all crowded with stuff.


This week’s viewing was almost entirely repeat viewings, so to save time here’s a one-line review of each thing I watched (and, if I’m suitably inspired, whether I got anything new from it this time):

  • Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes – I think I appreciate this film the more I watch it; even the obligatory action-packed third act doesn’t get in the way of the story. One thing I noticed this time was how well the script navigates the tricky terrain between Caesar being both the protagonist (in the sense that our sympathies lie with him) and the antagonist (in the general sense that he spearheads the attack against the humans and would traditionally be seen as the villain).
  • Sherlock: The Reichenbach Fall – rewatching Sherlock is always a treat. There’s so much going on in this episode, but I really enjoyed the constant shifting of Moriarty’s character: just when we think we’ve got a read on him, it turns out there’s something completely different going on. I swear these Sherlock episodes have about three different plots happening in each one.
  • The Babysitter – this film is so much fun. This was my second viewing, so I was able to watch the set up for the various twists and turns that happen. I came away really admiring Judah Lewis’s performance as the victimised main character. It’s a tough ask to play someone who’s the victim almost all the way through, but still comes out as the hero while delivering a portrayal that’s totally consistent.
  • Thor: Ragnarok – I love this film and really can’t watch it enough. On this viewing I was watching out for the tonal inconsistency (the laugh out loud comedy vs the merciless destruction of Asgard) and decided that Cate Blanchett’s portrayal Hela does a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of making her villain sufficiently humourous to work within the film. I do still wish, however, they’d left the Warriors Three completely out of the story; seeing them despatched so easily is still a bit of a kick in the guts.

I did see one new film this week, and that was Spider-Man: Far From Home. This movie wraps up phase three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and does an excellent job in that capacity. It also does an excellent job in almost every other capacity, building confidently on the foundations of Spider-Man: Homecoming, and even including some smart (If mostly throwaway) nods to the events of Infinity War and Endgame. It was also good to see some post-credits scenes that truly expand the story and set things up for the future (the ‘gag’ credits scenes are always fun, but these particular scenes not only throw a new spin on the movie you’ve just watched, but also get you chomping at the bit for the next one).


I’ve somewhat lost momentum with Wool, and haven’t settled on a new audiobook to listen to, so this week’s ‘reading’ has been primarily listening to podcasts including, but not limited to, Scriptnotes and Imaginary Worlds.