Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Oh, and Whatever You Do, Avoid Sex

I am concentrating so poorly on work that it's time to think about something else.

I've written 6,000 words on the sci-fi story. It's gone in a direction that I'm not sure I personally agree with; the central why-I'm-not-human thing that my android is focused on has turned out to be a different actual thing than I wanted it to be. I'm also worried that I've done fly-bys on too many big ideas for such a small space. And that I'm too much influenced by Penny Arcade's brilliant Automata series. I admit to writing in that world, a little bit - not trying to poach their idea, but sketching a story that sort of overlaps that world. And I definitely borrowed the word "automata" from them.

But I'm traveling on into it. If it turns out all wrong, at the end, I'll just Fictate its ass. Go back and rewrite. Re-right. I'm pretty sure I can finish draft one before the end of the week - tomorrow, in all likelihood.

The thing that's most prominent on my to-do list is getting back to people. Three separate people deserve reader feedback from me, and I've only done about half the reading I need to do for them. After that is the day job, which went well enough for me yesterday that I went to a matinee of The Cabin in the Woods, which I'll get to in a moment. Beyond that is cleaning. People are coming over to the house in about a week and a half, and the house is in no state for visitors, not in the least. I've been living like a bachelor. Possibly like a fraternity brother. It's made me far happier than I expected to just let go of all that worry, all that self-abuse, but it does mean that there's a lot more to do to make the house appropriate for others to enter. (I'm not gross, just messy as hell. Shoes left where I stepped out of them, clothes flung everywhere, books and mail not put away or sorted, etc.) The writing, though, is floating over all those priorities. As long as I'm ready to put words on the page, that's first. I'm just not always ready.

The Cabin in the Woods was such a pleasure. So expertly written, from skin to bones. No one has captured this generation's voice better than Whedon, and even though there's something a little precious about his style, he still writes the most natural dialogue in Hollywood. And he was the perfect guy to co-write this movie, because deliberately tropey characters need good dialogue in order not to bore the audience to tears.

For those of you who have read my time-manipulation book, the [non-]horror novel, I set out with sort of the same goal in mind as Cabin's creators obviously had. I put my monster under the stairs; I had six "sexy teens" come to a lodge in the middle of nowhere. I evoked some of the standard identities, a little - the clown, the ditz, the hippie chick. (No jock, that didn't interest me.) In my latest draft, I succeeded in making my main character say she'd be right back when she definitely wouldn't. I had hoped to hide a bunch of other horror cliches in the book, too. For fun - for my own amusement, and for that of the audience, whoever noticed the nods. Ultimately the writing took me to a deeper place emotionally than I expected, so I abandoned much of that, which is why it's a supernatural thriller rather than really being horror.

In any case, there's such a small cache of lovely smart horror films like this one (Scream leaps to mind; it never gets old for me), and while I still think slasher flicks that are written straight can be a lot of fun (jeez, look at Drag Me to Hell), watching it all get deliberately offered up to the maw of Audience God was even more fun. Not to be missed if you ever cackled at a topless, fake-blood-drenched chick with a fake knife sticking out of her back.

How's that for alliteration?

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