Sunday, 21 September 2008

My top five for this year, so far

Oops, the discipline thing's slightly gone out the window, and it's only Week Three. So today is BIG WRITING DAY.

But first...
Have seen lots of films this year, now the girls are old enough to be dragged along to the cinema I have all the excuses I need, and the fact that, frankly, I have a lot more spare time for 'research'.
So, what I've seen and LOVED this year, 2008:

1. The Dark Knight. Well, d'oh. I've been a long time fan of Chrsitian Bale (well, since American Psycho) and was more pleased that most when my favourite actor became my favourite comic character. It just proves there is order in the universe. But we won't be dwelling on the 'Batman arrested' headlines, thank you.
2. Rocknrolla. Awesome and a surprise all round. Never been a Guy Ritchie fan but more like this please, Mr. Madonna!
3. Tropic Thunder. Robert Downey Jr AND Tom Cruise (as you've NEVER seen him before). The dance over the closing credits is worth the price of the ticket alone. Bizzarely Ben Stiller and Jack Black are the least funny things in it (IMHO).
4. Iron Man. It's hard putting a Marvel character on this list, but basically it's the Robert Downey Jr. effect. Everything he does is great.
5. The Duchess. Nah, only kidding.
6. No Country for Old Men. Hmm... I putting this in because the cast was amazing and the tension around Javier Bardem just terrifying. BUT I have issue with the ending (it's the same in the book) and it's over the Arch-plot v. Anti-plot saga (read McKee's book on screenwriting called STORY. It's heavy work but totally worth it). Simply put Arch-plot is everything makes sense and all key issues are resolved. The story goes from A to B to C etc. Anti-plot means that nothing makes sense and you can have space aliens land in the middle of a costume drama and it's okay. It's common in comdeies (the Life of Brian with him falling off the tower, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail are two that spring to mind).
NCFOM is arch-plot story with an antiplot ending. VERY annoying. I've argued with others over this, but that's what I think.

Right, the list above may well change because A Quantum of Solace is just around the corner...

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

The only dial up in the village

Not anymore! I have broadband at last.
Spen the last few weeks adapting to working from home. Girls are now sharing as I've stolen one of the bedrooms and turned it into my nerve centre of creativity. There's a HUGE glass desk, new pc, and all my books are steadily migrating into the room.
Finally we can eat at the kitchen table.
Writing's ongoing, I'm still working on the rewrite of THE DEVIL'S KISS. These works of genius can't be rushed. (somehow I know that line is going to come back and haunt me).
Need to log off and get the childrens' packed lunches sorted for tomorrow's school trip.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

What am I doing? Answers on a postcard...

Day three of the rest of my life and I've started back on THE DARK GODDESS, the follow up book to THE DEVIL'S KISS.
It's great being free of the editing and back into raw first draft stuff where frankly, you don't worry about anything except intense CONFLICT.
However, it did bring me to review 'what's it all about?"
TDG has werewolves aplenty, its a supernatural thiller after all, but so what? What do werewolves MEAN?
Of the top of my head we've got change, hidden nature, cannibalism, lunacy, freedom and wildness.
My most immediate image is a beast, silohuetted against a full moon, just howling. Howling for the fury of it, howling for the LOVE of just being able to make that sound. Freedom to just BE. The joy of existing purely for the moment. That's the freedom the BEAST has. it's not governed by consequence. Isn't that exciting? Dangerous too, but that just adds to it. BEING WILD.
(This coming from a 40 yo man with mortgage, kids and a pot belly).
Change, that's a good one too. How often are we trapped in ourselves, in our expectations of how we should be, and how others perceive us? A werewolf literally TEARS itself free of its human self, ripping itself out, to reveal its true (?) nature. Are we, deep down, just beasts? That's what a werewolf asks of us. Run naked in the forests, howl at the beautiful moon...but be willing to pay the price. Hunt, feast in blood, feast in terror. The glimmer in your eyes are reflections of the fear you bring with you.
There's a little town in Romania, Brasov (I think, it was a long time ago) and it's in the Carpathians. DEEP DEEP Dracula country. It's got a black wooden church in the town square and during the day, is very chocolate box pretty.
But as night fell, thick mist descended down from the black peaks on either side, the streets were UTTERLY empty, the windows all shuttered and SILENT. No radios, no tvs blaring out, no cars rumbling in the background.
Then I heard a wolf howl. The sound echoed back and forth between the mountains, you had no idea where it was coming from. Part of me wonders, given the time, it wasn't really like that, but that's my memory. And I remember, whether it happened like that or not, of being very afraid. We've dwelt too long away from the camp fire in our safe houses and trashed nature to be able to order takeaway pizzas. But the wolf is out there, and he has a lean and hungry look.