Saturday, September 7, 2013

Saturday! Stuff! And fluff!

Happy Saturday, everyone.

I've been wrestling this past week with a rewrite on a hard SF story. I don't usually write hard science fiction. This one came out of the Launch Pad workshop in July. That week I wrote a flash that I later realized was less of a story in itself and more of a premise for something longer. This work-in-progress is the "something longer." The first draft is decent, but the opening pages needed help. After three false starts, I finally have a hook that is compelling and gets right to the crux of the story. Which means the rest of it will fall into place relatively easily. I hope.

I have no new submissions to report, due to having received no rejections.

I've been following the coverage this week of the Toronto film festival, and several movies have premiered there that I am salivating to see when they make it to the hometown theaters. On the top of my list is "Gravity," about two astronauts who are left drifting in space after their shuttle is destroyed. The previews look amazing, and the early reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Another movie picking up critical acclaim is "12 Years a Slave," which sounds like a tour de force of a story and also stars many of my favorite actors. Third on my list is "The Fifth Estate," partly because I've been handling newspaper coverage of Wikileaks for years now and partly because the new film stars Benedict Cumberbatch.

Also this week, in a fit of nostalgia, I've been doing a rewatch on a 1980s British television show called "Robin of Sherwood." This show started airing on Showtime when I was 8 or 9. I have the entire series on DVD, but I haven't watched it start to finish in years. I'm about halfway through the second season (each season is only six episodes), and some details have jumped out at my adult self that I never noticed as a child. Almost every episode deals with religion in some form or another. There's no sign of the cursing, blood, nudity and sex that have become the staples of premium cable shows. In fact, the romance between Robin and Marion is ridiculously chaste by today's standards. The writers depend not on gritty realism but on good stories.

Related to that, I also reread the one and only fanfic I ever wrote about "Robin of Sherwood." I'm not in the habit of rereading my old stuff, but I remembered being particularly proud of this story, which I published at fanfiction.net in 2001. In rereading it now, I winced. A lot. My writerly self from 12 years ago had a disastrous sense of pacing and an aversion to the word "said." The characters rarely  "say" anything, but they do pronounce, call out, tease, reply, plead, mutter, admonish, soothe and insist, and that's just in the first two scenes. On the good side, it's gratifying to see how far I've come as a writer since then.

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