Novel to be writing

I promised back in January that I was going to start a new novel and that I’d write a future blog post about it. 6 months later and I’ve finally managed it. I’m not the greatest with the self-motivation, which is why I’ve never made much progress with novels in the past. I’ve never really gotten beyond the 8 or 10,000 word mark before losing interest/confidence/motivation/all-of-the-above. The closest I came to a novel-length story was a 3 part Catatonia fanfic I wrote in about 2000/2001! That totalled just over 18,000 words, though was also left unfinished. You can see why I’ve gravitated more towards short stories in recent years. (Side note: I just found a Catatonia/X-Files crossover fic that I wrote (unfinished, of course) and I think that’s gotta be the definition of Peak Chantal.)

However, as mentioned back in that January post, it’s always been an ambition of mine to write a novel, so I should probably get cracking and attempt to instill some discipline in myself. After reading various bits of writing advice online, I’m adopting the following 2 key approaches:

  • Setting myself a target of just 300 words per day. So low it’s non-daunting and actually achievable and will slowly add up. Plus I can obviously exceed it when I want to.
  • Allowing the first draft to be awful. I have far too much of a tendency to re-read and re-write things I’ve already written, rather than just carrying on and getting the bare bones on the page.

I started writing the novel about 3 weeks ago and I’m up to about 4,400 words. Considering I took a week off when I went to Budapest, so it’s only really 2 weeks worth of writing, I’m really happy with that. I have a vague notion of where I want the story to go, but don’t have it firmly mapped out, which I quite like. I find that I lose interest if I have things too planned out in advance – it feels like I’ve already written it. Fingers crossed I can carry on with this approach and actually have something resembling a first draft by this time next year.

I’m not currently going to give any details about the novel, as it’s still too early days, but I am going to share a very brief part of the previous novel I started. I spent a long time working on that novel, even if it was mostly just disjointed thoughts and notes and rambling catharsis. Reading back through what I wrote, there was very little I was still happy with. One little paragraph I did like, however, was the one below. I felt sad that it might never be read by anyone other than me, so here it is (for those few awesome people who read my blog).

Nothing good ever happens before midday. Even sex isn’t as much fun in the morning – it seems wrong somehow – too wholesome. More fun than going to the gym or having a swim, granted, but it still has a healthy fitness edge to it. You follow it up by showering, getting dressed and having breakfast! It just seems backwards. Sex should never be followed by getting dressed, unless you’re outside and it’s for reasons of public decency.

To be frank, it’s mostly just the last line I like. Years of work and contemplation and I come up with one line I’m happy with! Writing’s fun, eh?

Posted in Novel, Writing | 1 Comment

2018 Film Challenge: 26. Anomalisa

I downloaded this towards the end of last year when I realised I hadn’t seen a new Charlie Kaufman film in years. Being animated, this is obviously quite different to other films of his, but it works really well. It’s surprisingly less weird than other films of his, though that’s not to say it’s devoid of weirdness. If you’ve ever wanted to see a puppet urinating or having sex (in a far more realistic way than Team America or Avenue Q. In fact it’s almost disturbingly real and relatable) then this is the film for you! You weird pervert you. There’s also a horrifyingly hilarious sequence at the end that I won’t spoil. Overall it manages to be very funny in places, quite disturbing at times, but most importantly really interesting and well executed.

Here are the thoughts I had whilst watching it:

  • I wasn’t expecting cute stop-motion to say ‘fuck’ so many times
  • It’s quite weird having 1 guy doing lots of the voices, including the women
  • The name Bella just makes me think of My Dad Wrote A Porno
  • Awww, I like Bella
  • Hee, stop-motion dildo
  • Oh my, stop-motion penis
  • Ooh, what’s that about?
  • Sleazy dude
  • Sleazy, sleazy
  • I like Lisa too
  • Oh my
  • No condom? That’s just irresponsible. Can puppets get STDs?
  • Intriguing
  • OMG he did buy it
  • Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
  • Liked that
Posted in Films | 1 Comment

2018 Film Challenge: 25. Zodiac

Another recommendation from my officemate. I didn’t know much about the Zodiac Killer prior to watching this, which was good as it made it all more of a surprise. Really enjoyed it, plus it has a great cast. Not a short film, but it doesn’t feel as long as it is (unlike Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy!).

Here are the thoughts I had whilst watching it:

  • She’s married? I thought she was about 16. I guess she could be…
  • Dramatic post delivery
  • Ah, Robert Downey Jr., you damn attractive man
  • You shouldn’t be killing people in the middle of a sunny day. That’s just not right.
  • Ew, I wasn’t expecting it to get stabby
  • Oh, it’s Mark Ruffalo
  • Wait, why do they think he might be gay? Just prejudices of the time?
  • I love his fixation with Animal Crackers
  • Slinky!
  • Weirdest ever painkiller
  • Love the choice of drink
  • Yikes
  • Ah, Chloe Sevigny
  • It’s David Lee!
  • It’s Gavin from Friends!
  • If it’s not him, he definitely seems guilty
  • Hey, it’s the day after my birthday! Except before I was born.
  • Aww, poor squirrel
  • Adam Goldberg!! This film has an awesome cast.
  • Pong!
  • I love the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Go Jake!
  • It’s like LA Noire! But without Cole being a dick.
  • This feels ominous
  • Don’t follow him!!
  • Uh oh
  • Clea DuVall!! Love her.
  • What are you doing??
  • Less frustrating than the end to Memories of Murder, but still… The downside to stories based on real life.
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2018 Film Challenge: 24. Talk To Her

Another Almodovar film, though this time one I hadn’t seen before. As usual it was slightly odd (well, really odd at one point) but good. Overall I didn’t quite enjoy it as much as Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down, though I did much prefer the ending.

The thoughts I had whilst watching it:

  • Ha ha, what the hell?
  • Lava lamp!
  • Ew! I love how weird Almodovar films are.
  • “That’s a lot of bulls”
  • Yeah, a snake in my kitchen would similarly freak me out.
  • Don’t be perving
  • He’s going to do something weird and creepy isn’t he?
  • Dude, stop with the creepy
  • Lava lamp!
  • Ha ha ha, this is so weird
  • Has he gone to his ex’s wedding?
  • Uh oh
  • You only just realised he’s crazy?
  • Poor Marco
  • Fascinated as to how this is going to end
Posted in Films | 2 Comments

2018 Film Challenge: 23. Mr. Morgan’s Last Love

This is a DVD that I got from my friend Emily when she was having a bit of a clear-out. It was a random film with Gillian Anderson in, which was enough of a reason for me to take it. I found it a slightly frustrating film in that it’s really let down by Michael Caine’s awful American accent. It’s so bad that it’s really distracting and kinda ruins the film. It’s a shame, as I think it could be a pretty good film with a different lead actor, or even just without the embarrassing accent. The choice to make the character American is odd in itself, as it’s a based on a novel where the character’s French, but then the screenplay was supposedly written with Michael Caine in mind (according to Wikipedia), so why not then make the character British?? Thankfully, Gillian’s character is awesome and by far the best thing in it. Her scenes really made the film for me, which wasn’t exactly a shock.

Here are the thoughts I had whilst watching it:

  • Hee hee, the menu choices are Dutch or French. I guess I’ll go French as at least have a rusty GCSE in that…
  • OK, I think I can manage with clicking on ‘le film’.
  • What the hell is his accent meant to be?
  • How long’s he been living in France? He can’t even order a sandwich? Or at least say ‘merci’?
  • I feel like I missed something in the French bit there. The lack of English subtitles might prove interesting.
  • Is he meant to be American?!
  • Why didn’t they just make the character English? That accent’s so bad it’s distracting.
  • Are they going to have a thing? Surely not.
  • Wow, it’s gotta be pricey to have an Eiffel Tower view, surely.
  • It’s seeming a bit pervy
  • He’s got a framed picture of the bat signal? Or possibly just a bat, I suppose… If he turns out to be retired Batman, that’d be quite the twist.
  • I love Paris. Excited to go back in September.
  • When does Gillian appear? It’s going to be really brief isn’t it?
  • Dude, that’s an awful thing to say to her
  • I’m enjoying his eyebrows
  • Is Karen going to be Gillian?
  • Gillian!!
  • Ha ha, she’s so awesome. This film just got a million times better.
  • Gillian speaking French?!! Yes please!
  • Is she going to get it on with his son? There seems like some sexual tension there.
  • Don’t be correcting her English when you can’t even say ‘merci’ properly.
  • Nothing wrong with Maine
  • They’re totally gonna get it on
  • This film would be so much better without the bad accent. I’m impressed the other actors were able to take him seriously. Good acting.
  • Those are some proper old-fashioned suitcases
  • Wanna sound less pervy?
  • OMG!
  • Called it!
  • Can Karen come back now, please?
  • Well, that’s a bit Oedipal.
  • It’s been bugging me why I vaguely recognise this guy. Checked IMDb and he was in Goats with David Duchovny! Ah, the joy of watching random David and Gillian films.
Posted in Films | 1 Comment

2018 Film Challenge: 22. Cabaret

I only watched Cabaret for the first time a few years ago. I was familiar with the songs and had seen clips of it, but somehow hadn’t ever watched the film. I now have it on DVD and really enjoyed watching it for a second time. I also saw the stage show last year, which was great.

The thoughts I had whilst watching it:

  • 2 successive films with Joel Grey in. Is it weird that I mostly think of him as the lizardy dude from Buffy?
  • I love this song – it reminds me of a school dance show where a group of girls danced to it. Potentially more provocative than was appropriate, but it was great. I have it on video.
  • I love the Fosse dance style
  • She’s not shy, is she?
  • I love Sally in this scene. Classy syphilis conversation.
  • Gigolo’s a great word
  • A jumper with nothing underneath? I feel itchy just seeing that.
  • Ah, it’s the creepy Nazi child scene.
  • You can’t put a candle on a record!
  • It’s disturbing how much of this is still relevant.
Posted in Films | 1 Comment