(July 21 – 27)
After the holiday break I didn’t quite feel ready to go back to the novel, so I made a start on the short story idea that I had while away. I have an ending, but no idea how to tell it in a compelling way, which means this story is highly likely to remain unfinished for some time yet. Despite this, it’s a good way of flexing my writing muscles, and the prose style I’ve opted for is different than anything else I’ve written lately.
I also spent some time wrapping up the final edit on another story I’ve been working on. Hopefully this light introduction back into my writing routine will have me raring to go back to the novel by next week.
A little behind the rest of the world, I began watching Stranger Things 3 with the Elderbeast this week. We’re only three episodes in, so no thoughts to share yet—expect that I totally get why people have found this season slow. I’m enjoying spending time with these characters, but the story is taking its sweet time to get going. However, I’d argue that this is one of the advantages of shows that are delivered in a single, bingeworthy package: the writers don’t need to deliver a capsule story each week anymore, they can focus on the entirety of the story and go for that slow build up if it works. As viewers we need the pace to vary—we’ll get tired if a story is going at full speed right from the outset, or if each episode starts to feel the same as the one before.
Friday’s horror choice wasn’t a horror film this week. I noticed that Hotel Artemis had turned up on Stan and we were both intrigued enough to watch it. Gotta say, I loved it. The fact that it was a sci-fi movie, but had a classic noir story just added to its quirkiness. I’m also now of the opinion that Dave Bautista is surely one of the greatest movie actors to have ever lived. I have loved him in everything I’ve seen him in.
Over the weekend I introduced the Kinderbeast to Pacific Rim (which was fun because Pacific Rim was the first movie I took the Elderbeast to see at the cinema). It is now, of course, his favourite movie ever because what sort of deranged child would not love giant robots fighting giant lizards?
I will admit I love the film, but the script is painfully inept in parts and the movie overall is somewhat totally inconsistent. Until Shape Of Water came along I was fairly convinced that Guillermo del Toro was another Tim Burton—great at visuals, but lousy at story. This movie doesn’t do anything to change that opinion, but it does ride fairly successfully along the outrageousness of its premise.
Yep, I’m still not reading. Yep, I’m still immersed in podcasts. However, this week’s listening had a pretty good theme going on: endings.
For Our Opinions Are Correct the narrators, mindful that several major franchises are coming to an end this year, provide a few examples of endings that worked, or didn’t work for them. It’s a great little discussion about why certain endings feel better than others.
One point that really jumped out at me was regarding Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy (which, you may recall, I recently stopped reading after struggling though volume 2). The highlighted issue was that we start the trilogy with Lyra, a strong female protagonist, who ends up mostly shunted aside in favour of a new male protagonist in the second novel. When a character that you’re invested in becomes secondary to the story, the conclusion of that story suddenly has much less significance. Alongside the clunky plotting of The Subtle Knife, I suspect this the major reason why I have almost no interest in rereading the third novel in the series.
The Imaginary Worlds episode took a slightly different stance, and instead review the validity of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey in light of our current cultural landscape. It’s an interesting listen and, as often happens with IW, the discussion goes off in some surprising directions.