Friday, September 29, 2006

Huzzah Huh?

Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man? To be directed by Jon Favreau (Swingers)?

Did I miss something?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Cut Him Loose

What's the old saying? If you love someone, set them free?

A few days ago, I dove headfirst into a stalled WIP. I have written about 12,000 words since Monday evening, and still have a lot of steam left. I don't know where the energy is coming from. I just know that it's time to finish telling this story. These characters have something to say.

It's set in the same universe as "The Watchman Project," the book I'm querying to agents, only twenty-five years later. Several of the old characters are…well, older now. And there are two new characters that I adore. I can't get enough of them and their awkward love story (not Meredith/McDreamy awkward, but just as complicated).

They aren't the problem. The problem is one of the supporting characters. He's a nice guy with a nifty superpower, but he just doesn't have much to do. Even in the climax (God bless outlines), he serves mostly to feed information to the main protagonists. He doesn't affect the story enough to really justify his presence.

Ever read/see the stage play version of "The Outsiders" by SE Hinton? The character of Steve Randle is removed completely, and his lines are distributed to other characters. At first I was annoyed. Then I thought about it, and I realized that Steve served little purpose in the story, other than to be a counterpoint to Sodapop. The story works just fine without him (as staged, because I think the novel gave him a little more to do).

Well, my character reminds me of Steve. His lines could be reassigned, and his character removed completely without really hurting the narrative.

I just hate gutting a character. Especially when, in my mind's eye, he looks like David Wenham.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Stop! Or the Kindergarten Nanny Will Pacify You!

I nudged my way into the AW Blog Chain Round 6 pretty quickly this time. It's the closest I've ever been to the top of the list. My posts tend to end up in the bottom five (makes me sound like a contestant on American Idol).

Over at Mad Scientist Matt's blog, he wrote about Vin Diesel as inspiration.

Stop laughing.

I admit it. I am a Vin Diesel fan. So what if he can't act his way around a brick wall? The man his seventeen-inch biceps and a deep, sexy voice! What more does a girl need?

A couple of days ago, I watched The Pacifier. Definitely not an award winner, but clever enough. Who didn't laugh at the sight of a muscular man dipping a naked, poop-covered baby into a toilet? Or doing the Peter Panda dance? It's a new take on an old concept that I've enjoyed for a long time: action hero forced to look after children.

Stop laughing. XXX and A Man Apart were no worse than some of Ah-nold's early stuff.

Anyway, The Pacifier is just the last entry into this sub-genre of the family comedy. Way back in 1993, we got to see Hulk Hogan dance around in a tutu in Mr. Nanny. It's been a long time since I've seen this one, but I seem to remember the kids causing Hogan to fall down the stairs (a tried and true staple of the genre, so what is it with kids and stairs?). And in a shocking twist….okay, kidding. Typical ending: kids melt his heart, and he saves the day.

Let's go back a few more years to 1990's Kindergarten Cop. There's just something hilarious about a former body-builder-turned-governor who makes a room full of five year-olds cry. Granted, I was ten when I first saw this one, so some of the more adult humor was completely lost on me (kind of like watching Spaceballs at age nine, I just didn't understand what it meant to "give good helmet").

So we've got Schwarzenegger, Hogan, Diesel.... Hey, how did Stallone manage to avoid falling into this genre? Oh yeah, he got Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Never mind.

Next up is At Home, Writing
Enjoy the Chain!
Just a Small Town Girl
A View From the Waterfront
Southern Expressions
Mad Scientist Matt
Organized Chaos
At Home, Writing
Writing From Within
Pass the Torch
Fireflies in the Cloud
Sounds of Serenity
Kappa no He
Infinite Vanity
Gillian Polack
Of Chapters and Reels
Curiouser and curiouser
The Road Less Traveled

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Done, Done and Done!

Most writers have that Dreaded Trunk Novel, the one they started but can't seem to get quite right. It haunts them, remaining on the fringes of our subconscious, never letting us forget of its existence. Because one day, dammit, it will be good enough.


I pulled my trunk novel out its virtual trunk (the dreaded Idle Ficion Ideas folder) a few weeks ago, and began a total re-structure and polish. Scenes were moved, deleted and added. I added a frame to the existing story that encapsulates a major theme of the novel. I removed every "suddenly" from the manuscript, and removed some erronious moments of telling.

I think my baby is ready to present to the world. I just can't tell for sure. My beta has read two different incarnations of this story, so (as much as I love her) it's difficult to judge its improvement by her (always welcome) opinion.

(see how I suck up?)

I suppose finding a second beta is the way to go. Someone who can read a contemporary novel with fresh eyes, and give an honest opinion of the story. Is there a hotline I can call? Something like 1-900-RENT-A-BETA?

Hmmm...sounds like tropical fish store.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Happy September...Kinda

It seems somewhat ominous that a new month should begin so gray and rainy, as the remnants of Tropical Storm Ernesto crawl up the eastern seaboard toward my location. Certainly makes for a wet Labor Day Weekend.

But let's celebrate some good things about September. Cooler weather is on the way, after a summer of humidity and oppressive heat. The leaves will begin turning in a couple of weeks. Christmas is inching closer and closer. School starts, so there will be fewer children in my store, running amok with inattentive parents, breaking merchandise and being a general nuisance.

My longest-running PBEM is relaunching today, and I am excited about that. We have a new home, new forums, and lots of great plots waiting. I had hoped for more new players before we started, but I'm sure they'll come along soon enough.

I even submitted my Watchman Project query to Miss Snark's Crap-O-Meter. Suddenly I am very nervous.

It has also been a solid week since I found out my dad has cancer. Follicular lymphoma, to be exact, a non-Hodgkin's form. I got very drunk last Friday night and cried for a long time. But the doctors are optimistic, and gave him 70/30 odds. They're good, but I wish they were better. He had his first round of chemotherapy on Wednesday (first of three 3-week treatments), and had a bone marrow biopsy to make sure it isn't anywhere else. We'll get the results next Thursday. Arg!

I've written about my dad on this blog before, and I don't know what I'd do if....nah, positive thoughts.

I just wish I would stop dreaming about my grandmother (my dad's mother). She died in June, and I've dreamed about her two nights in a row. Do you think she knows I'm worried about her son?