Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Off Track

Well am in London!!!! Had wonderful dinner with fellow writer Biddy and woke up early but not too early after a good night's sleep.

Yesterday I wrote on the flight (pat on back as was lucky enough to be in business and not too distracted by films - more later). I realized after 1600 words yesterday that I was losing the plot....yes, the key conflict of the book was wandering away - not wandering almost galloping. Demi and Victoria were leading totally separate lives and interesting though they were I needed them back under one roof to really make the sparks fly. So I stopped mid scene and today I cut to the second half of the book where the battle begins. However I have never left a scene hanging and moved on before. This is a dark new territory. But I know that it is necessary to put the story back on track and true to its heart.

Now this brings me to films. I have heard writers and me included bemoan the fact that reading is not the same once you have begun the process of pulling apart your own work. You do it instinctively with all and are rarely swept away. What I didn't realize is that I would do this with films now too. On the flight I watched Australia. It was good but certainly not brilliant. Why? Well for me it was too long and it lost its way. There wasn't enough chemistry begin the hero and heroine and its turning point although dramatic well could have been better. So it clearly showed me how crucial it is to cast your leads - they carry the story. In this film the hero was perfect, dare I say flawless but the heroine was cardboard. The same can happen in a book and I know even if their are other things about a book that I don't care for I will read on if I like the characters.

In contrast, I watched the film Easy Virtue again. Now this is an although different kettle of fish or film as the case may be. I found it flawless in its casting and also in the twists in the plot and it ends before the viewer tires. Thinking along the Donald Maass Writing the Break Novel route - giving your characters killer lines - well the film is filled with them which lights it up.

Do you watch films differently than you did before writing took over your soul and have you abadoned your characters mid scene to and jump else where to put the book back on track?

UPDATE: An interesting post by Caren Johnson, Literary Agent, on films and plot holes that speaks in more detail here


JJ Beattie said...

I watched Easy Virtue on the plane back from the UK... I rather enjoyed it and I loved the way they 'Noel Cowardified' Sex Bomb!

And yes, I definitely watch films differently from how I used to.

Flowerpot said...

I saw Easy Virtue last week on DVD and both Himself and I enjoyed it - agree, excellent casting. On the subject of casting I think As Good As It Gets has the best casting ever (almost)! - They allhave killer lines and it gets better every time we see it (which is often!) I haven't abandoned mid scene - well done you, very scary!

Biddy said...

Thank you for last night!! It helped talking stuff through.

Phillipa said...

Oh, I know exactly what you mean about reading, Liz and to be honest, that has been one of the downsides of writing for me: the joy of being swept away has largely gone.

That's why I watch film and TV a lot more these days, I'm afraid as I find it more relaxing but of course, you do find yourself analysing those too. I saw Easy Virtue at the cinema and loved it.

Phillipa said...

Forgot to say - have a fab time tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

I can't seem to watch films these days without shouting at the screen. It can be a bit embarrassing if I forget I'm not alone. For example, if the camera zooms in on a set of keys (or whatever), I shout "spot the plot!". Other things too, like shaking head and muttering "show don't tell".

I almost never write my scenes in the right order, though I do try to complete each one before moving on to another. Not always though, so I sometimes have to go back to a half completed (half baked?) scene and re-do it.

I can get too analytical about my reading too. However, if the story is really good then I forget to and enjoy it the old way. I guess that's some kind of test.

Enjoy the RNA thing tomorrow. Could still make coffee on Thursday, if you like.

Karen said...

I can switch my inner critic on and off (though it's getting harder to switch it off!!)and I totally agree with you about both films :o)

Anonymous said...

I fancy watching Australia myself as I love Nicole Kidman. I am beginning to dread the editing part of the novel and will probably start pulling my work apart then.

CJ xx

Debs said...

I loved Easy Virtue too, and saw it coming back from New York recently.

I tend to shout out what I think is going to happen, or say annoying things like, "Aha, she's just said that because, they're going to be ??? later in the film."

I think my family are starting to go a little insane.

Have a great time at the party.

liz fenwick said...

I loved the version of Sex Bomb too, JJ :-)

FP- I love that film too and your right - it is spot on.

Any time Biddy :-)

Phillipa - I can't believe you're not going to be there :-(

Capt. B - meet up after and RNA! I am not usually on my best form!!! Can wetouch base in the morning?

Karen - I wish I could but sadly not

Debs will try and report fully on the party and AGM

There's a new link on the post from Caren Johnson literary agent that is worth reading.

Anonymous said...

Yes, writing has pretty effectively destroyed reading for me. There are now only a handful of authors who can sweep me away to that magical land I used to love so much. Mostly, now, I just get grumpy.

And yes, I'm an impatient movie watcher, too. No one likes to go to movies with me because I start grumbling at the woefully inadequate writers/director--"You could sail the Sixth Fleet through that plot hole!" or "And we're supposed to believe he would actually do that BECAUSE?" or "Jeez, try reading a history book!"

My kids tell me I've ruined movies for them, too. It's an occupational hazard no one tells you about. {C.S. Harris here; for some reason blogger doesn't like me today.)