Friday, March 15, 2002

WriterGirl Thoughts[tm]

If you're not interested in WriterGirl navel-gazing, this entry may be a disappointment. I had another Epiphany[tm] about what some of my flaws are as a writer. Oh, I'm sure I'll have plenty more. Trust me.

I can write other people's characters -- I wrote fanfic for some years as well as turning my hand to original work -- dialogue, setting, what's going on in people's heads, etc. Script format, prose, whatever. Some of the funniest fanfic I ever wrote is all [and I mean all] dialogue. I say wrote because I consider myself retired from the form, or at least semi-retired.

And I love writing that dialogue. I enjoy writing in a script format, it's fun, you can do visual things you maybe can't do elsewhere. It's a different genre. I've taken stories originally written in prose and rewritten them as scripts, and vice versa, for fun, for practice, and just because I thought it might work better that way.

Yet, when I write a completely original story, I have very little dialogue. What, I ask, is up with that?

Obviously there's a connection to my tendency to write solo-character stories, and a marked tendency to do terrible things to them emotionally [clears throat]. Now, there's nothing wrong in doing terrible things to your characters, and it may in fact be vital. I believe it was in an afterword to one of her novels where Lois McMaster Bujold remarked that she liked to come up with the worst possible thing that could happen to her character at that time, and then do it to them. I think that's a fine rule of thumb and plan on remembering it. Heh, heh, heh.

So, where did my dialogue go? I dunno. Unalakleet, perhaps? 'Cause it ain't around here.

What I do know, thinking back, is that I've always done it this way, which means it's high time to change and do something else. I'm not sure what, but I think I may have started something by returning to an out and out romance I outlined sometime a couple years ago. I'm not a big romance buyer -- it's not that I dislike people having relationships, I just have this science fiction/fantasy focus and that's where I go for reading material. But the only romance novel I remember reading several years ago I really liked, so why the hell not? Particularly if being "stuck" writing two people who are falling in love and have to, you know, talk, will get me out of this dialogueless mode and into something broader and new.

Thursday, March 14, 2002


I just spent last night and this morning in an Ultraviolet marathon. Oh, time very well spent, I assure you. I've seen it 3 or 4 times now, and I'm still not at the point where I can watch and talk to myself about editing choices, or direction, or the writing. When it's something I've seen several times, I watch for the art and the craft as much as for the story, because I want to learn how to do it right. This makes me potentially a very irritating viewing mate ("Oh, that was a nice scene", "Look at that shot"), but I swear, I don't do it on the first viewing unless it's a really bad piece of work, a la MST3K.

Ultraviolet does not suffer in that regard. It's just so damn good at sucking me in. Oh, look, a pun.

If you've never seen this UK series, hie ye to Amazon (US, UK) and get it. You're in for a treat. Vampires as public health threat.

Once you've immersed yourself in this remarkable thriller [don't take your eyes off the screen for a second during Terra Incognita], swing round the Ultraviolet Official Site [be advised, the shows theme plays when loaded] and read an interview with Joe Ahearne, the man behind the series. All 4 parts of that interview s/b linked from the main page.

Wednesday, March 13, 2002

Women on Film

I was watching one of those entertainment shows [Extra, or Access Hollywood, or both], and there was this segment on over-40 actresses, no doubt due to the systemic shock of having Judi Dench get an Oscar nod.

The segment hit on several 'mature' actresses, and a few remarks on ageism in the industry. There was this blurb on a project Susan Sarandon and Goldie Hawn are doing together [looks neat], and a little snippet of interview with Rene Russo on the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair she did, where everyone was just agog over the fact that she and Pierce Brosnan are, like, the same age.

Gosh! They can still act over 40! No frickin duh.

It was a fine segment, I have no objections to it, and I'm glad to see that

a) women are, albeit too slowly, accumulating more power in Hollywood; opening their own production companies, directing stellar films, etc.
b) some actors are actually willing to comment on Hollywood's ageism and sexist practices.

These are all good, important things. To the average schmuck, the entertainment industry is just this glittery machine, and you don't see the pain, the effort, the screwing people over, the screwing people to get the job, the day-to-day doing the job, any of it, really. And I think it's important to tear those walls down and bring this idea of celebrity back down to earth and start treating actors as human beings instead of cardboard cutouts.

What blew me away was this feeling during the segment of WOW! There's ageism and sexism in Hollywood! Oh My God: This is Big News!

Yeah, 50+ male actors cast with 20-something female leads. Big surprise. What, are you telling me you hadn't noticed?

And if you honestly, honestly, have never thought about this before, I suggest you take a look around, and ask yourself why.