First up, a little bit of personal news. No, nothing bad: I’m not off to the sanitarium to “get better”, though I’ve done something like that at one point in my life . . . no, it’s something better. I’ll will have an interview posted on another blog sometime soon. Yay me! I haven’t had an interview in a while, and now is as good a time as any. There were a lot of questions, and by the time I answered them all I’d written nearly four thousand words, so you know I’ll have a lot to say. It’s also possible I’ll come off as the most boring git in the world, but that’s a risk you run with an interview. As soon as it is posted, I’ll reblog it here, and generally link whore myself like crazy. Please stand by.
Writing up that interview took most of my morning and afternoon, so I didn’t do much in the way of editing yesterday. That happens: you can’t be in editing or writing mode all the time, but you do what you can, right? However, I did have the TV on in the background while I did my interview, and a couple of the movies that I half-paid attention to were Wanted–which I’d not only seen before, but I have the original comics run of the story–and Taken–which I had not seen before, but knew about because this movie started the reign of Liam Neeson bad-assery.
Of the two Wanted is really an odd duck because it so wildly deviates from the original material. Sure, one could believe James McAvoy is a complete loser who ends up becoming a master assassin, and Angelina Jolie is his mentor, but once you start getting into the original story you start to see a lot of weird things, like how The Fraternity is really a bunch of super-villains who got tired of being on the bottom rung of the ladder all the time and decided to take over. Then there’s the main characters, Wesley and The Fox. Throughout the comic they are modeled after two rather well know individuals: Wesley was modeled after Eminem, and The Fox was modeled after Halle Berry. The Fox also wears a costume that comes with cat ears, because super-villains, yo.
But one can live with that, because if you aren’t getting Eminem and Halle Berry to pretty much play themselves in a story that used them for the character templates, then you do what you can. There was a scene, however, that made me roll my eyes: it was when Wesley is looking at a piece of the “Loom of Fate” given to him to translate, and as he looks through a magnifying glass he starts drawing ones and zeros so he can lay out the binary code and translate it to English. And as Wesley draws his numbers, his zeros always get a slash in them . . .
Which if you’re a boy from Chicago–which Wesley’s suppose to be–you wouldn’t put a slash in your zeros. However, if you’re a boy from Scotland–which James McAvoy is–you would probably draw your oughts with a slash in them. Which was why I was rolling my eyes, because I was surprised no one caught that. Then again, how many people watching the movie are going to catch that? Maybe a dozen? Only the super geeks among us? Those of us who read the comic and are wondering if before the credits roll McAvoy is going to show us his rage face while telling the audience this is how he’s going to look while butt raping us? (Which is how the comic ends, by the way.)
Then there’s Taken. Never mind trying to figure out the logic of how a guy can run through Paris killing dozens of people, and even go so far as to shoot the wife of a French Security Officer in their house, and yet still apparently fly home commercial after having been shot a few times. It’s an action movie, and you’re suppose to check your brain at the door before entering the theater. No, the part that had me rolling my eyes took place on the private flight from Los Angeles to Paris . . .
Now, when Liam’s character’s daughter gets nabbed, you hear her description of her kidnapper: “Beard; six foot; tattoo on hand–“. Sure, clear enough. But on the flight to Paris you hear her say, “Mustache; six foot; tattoo on hand–” But later the description is back to beard–so who am I looking for? A guy with a beard, or a guy with a mustache? Or does it matter, because Liam’s gonna kill them all anyway? It’s one of those things that sort of drive me mad, though, because since you already have the recording of the kidnapping, why bother with the change? Or was it because they recorded the sound bite before they had an actor cast, and they didn’t know what they’d look like?
A few times I’ve had people tell me that I spend too much time trying to get everything “right” in my stories, that I spend too much time trying to figure out a sequence of events within my novels rather than just sitting down and writing. Like I mentioned a few days ago there are times when it would be easy to write, but then you find that a scene you’re preparing won’t work because of something like the sun setting too late at the location where the scene is set, and that means your characters are going to look up in amazement at the beautiful aurora greeting them to a land of death and cold misery. “Who’s going to know that?” you say? Me, for one. And some geek out there who bothers to check time of sunset for that day in that part of the world, after which they mumble, “Man, this chick is a loser! Don’t they know it’s not dark enough for an aurora?” And don’t say they aren’t out there: they are.
Because I’m here, so I know they exist.
This is why I have all sorts of notes. This is why I spend so much time trying to figure out little things like when do people go off and do whatever it is they’re suppose to do in the story. It’s like what I was working on late last night: a couple of things I added to Annie and Kerry’s E Level time: I’ve got them doing things for The Guardians relating to spirits, because they’re getting older, they’re getting good finding and contracting and even doing things to spirits, and so why not have them perform a little extra-curricular activity with a branch of The Foundation that doesn’t mind using a couple of hapless teenager witches when the need arises.
Therefore I have them off helping with a spirit search in Chicago–yeah, but it’s not like they’re talking around the middle of The Loop with unregulated nuclear particle accelerators on their backs–and then off to Pripyat, Ukraine–which, if you know your geography and history, is a real fun time–which eventually leads to that section at 21 March–a point in time where I’ve created another time line so I know what’s happening there.
You can bet that means it’s not gonna be a good time.
It’s important to get things right. If you do it up front, then you don’t have to worry about them when you write: you just write. It’s one of the things I pointed out in my interview yesterday–if you know the order of things before you write, if you have all your notes in place before the story begins, the actual telling of the tale becomes far easier. You’re not going to be perfect; you’re not always going to catch everything. In fact, as you go along you may see something that works better. But at least you have the foundation laid–no pun here, trust me–before the story is built.
Then again, maybe you want the Earth rotating in the wrong direction . .