Monday, December 17, 2012

See, Because She's Sneaky

For no reason: 


Robert Redford and Paul Newman in ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’, 1969.

“Who are those guys?”

Not a movie I have much affection for (I know, I'm crazy, but I saw The Sting first and liked it better), but ooh, those boys. Matt compared this picture to a double-barreled shotgun. I added "of sexy."

After last week's longhand stuff was typed, KUFC stood at 29,860. I told this to Matt on Friday and he said "Oh, come on! Write an exceptionally long SENTENCE!" But I didn't do any drafting this weekend; other things happened instead. 

One of those was plotting for this week's writing. Years ago I read about a potential reboot of Superman (this was before Brandon Routh) and the ideas the screenwriters were tossing around. One of the producers insisted that he wanted a big battle to take place at the Fortress of Solitude. A screenwriter argued that you couldn't do that; it's the Fortress of Solitude, which indicates by its very name that there's no one there. Can't really argue with that. Apparently the producer just wanted to use a cool set for a big battle. 

I found myself in a similar predicament. In my book there's a prison that's located in a Zeppelin floating above the city, and I very much wanted my main character (the nominal KUFC) to be in a big action scene there. I mean, what production designer could resist an awesome Parkour fight around and across a Zeppelin prison? The problem was that plotwise, I couldn't come up with a way for this to work. Logic noted that the fight would be purposeless, and would have plot-hole repercussions that I just couldn't write around. So, I told Matt, I guess she'll just sign in and interview the prisoner like a normal person, and I'll write a big fight scene next chapter at a less interesting location. 

Wait, sign in? he said. Your cool ninja assassin chick is going to sign in? Well, yeah, I said. She needs to interview a prisoner. She's a ninja assassin, he said. Have her break in to the prison! It shows just how much of a badass she is that she's breaking into a prison, and not just any prison but a Zeppelin prison. 

Oh. Right. 

This is what comes of being a head-to-toe lawful good person in real life and writing a character who's chaotic good/neutral. You forget from time to time that she doesn't feel the need to follow the rules. 

I'm over page 500 in 2666, and I can't recommend it so highly anymore. The longest section of the novel, where I am right now, is about a series of more than 200 murders of women that take place over the course of a few years, and the book details the finding of each and every corpse: what had been done to the woman and in what state she was found, and then whether the crime was solved or not (mostly not). Nearly all the women have been raped and all of their bodies are abandoned, found in parking lots and ravines and garbage dumps. Reading about this over and over and over and OVER is not at all a pleasant experience. There are other characters in this section, of course, and some of them have interesting stories, but centrally it's 300 pages about these women and their terrible deaths. It reminds me of a book on the Green River Killer that I read. Murder fatigue. Yet this book's different sections and characters hook together so subtly that I can't just skip it, in case I miss something that is important to the final section and/or to untangling the book on the whole. Which I very much want to do. 

This week I'll be editing the opera story. I've let it sit for two weeks, so I look forward to rediscovering what I put in it. Like a fruitcake you set aside for a year. Jeez, did I really use those radioactive green things? 


Katharine Coldiron said...

NB: I don't have anything to say about the Newtown massacre that hasn't already been said, so this post does not mention it. I mean no disrespect to those grieving.

Matt said...

Careful with those radioactive green might turn into a fruitcake-themed superhero. Which will probably be less awesome than it sounds.

Katharine Coldiron said...

I don't know, Fruitcake Girl sounds intriguing. At least she would create another "butt of everyone's jokes" so Aquaman could get a little relief.

Matt said...

Or maybe end up on the path of Squirrel Girl...and defeat anyone who doesn't take her Doctor Doom, Thanos, Deadpool, and Ego The Living Planet.

If I've learned anything it's that fruitcake can surprise you.

Katharine Coldiron said...

This is sounding more and more promising.