2018 Film Challenge: 42. The Rules of Attraction

I’d previously watched about half of this film, as I fell asleep during it and had to be filled-in as to what I’d missed. My memory of it was therefore unsurprisingly hazy. It’s one of those films that I think was probably quite cool and a little shocking at the time it came out, but now feels a little dated, slightly pretentious and a bit silly at times. But it was still weirdly enjoyable.

Here are the thoughts I had whilst watching it:

  • What else do I recognise her from? Maybe it’s just this.
  • I’d not remembered this getting so disturbing so quickly. Yikes.
  • Hee hee, James Van Der Beek. What’s he up to these days?
  • Ooh, I’d forgotten Ian Somerhalder’s in this. Yay!
  • Creepy Van Der Beek
  • Wow, Fred Savage. What happened to him?
  • Clare Kramer!
  • Bateman? Is he meant to be related to Patrick? *googles* Ah, his brother. Makes sense.
  • Ew, don’t do it
  • Why do people like him?
  • Hee hee, he mentioned Patrick
  • Yep, he seems like a Dick
  • Wiener dog!!
  • Ian Somerhalder dancing in his pants to George Michael? Yes, please.
  • Do parties like this actually happen at American colleges?
  • Oh god, really? Wait, who are you?
  • Really??
  • Ew
  • She has the worst taste in men
  • Oh, Paul
  • I thought my DVD had broken for a second then
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Novel update

It’s been 3 months since this post, where I mentioned that I’d started writing a novel. I therefore felt like it was time for an update on my progress – maybe I’ll try and make it a quarterly thing.

Progress has been a bit up and down, as I guess is to be expected. In terms of getting words on a page, there have been some weeks where I’ve managed the 300 words a day, if not more, but then other weeks where I haven’t written anything at all. There have probably been too many of the latter. When things are busy in my day job, it’s hard to then find the mental/emotional capacity to sit down and write creatively, even if only for 15 minutes. Still, I’m happy enough with my word count so far: 19,423. That’s slightly longer than that Catatonia fanfic I mentioned last time, so in your face, past me!

As to whether those words are actually any good – well, that’s a totally different issue. I keep telling myself that that’s not relevant at the moment and that the first draft’s allowed to be awful – I can make it better later. Robert Webb actually tweeted about this recently, as he’s trying to take the same approach with a novel he’s writing (he also gets bonus points for mentioning Cheesoid). He doesn’t seem to have totally bought into it as a method, but personally I’m finding it really useful and liberating. Granted, I say that now. If and when I actually come to doing a second draft, I might just cry incessantly and then hurl my laptop out the window. My first draft currently includes some words that aren’t even words, they’re just this: ‘(…)’. This translates as ‘I’ll put something in here later’. So far I’ve used this for at least 2 characters’ names. Yes, this method has made me so nonchalant that I can’t even be arsed to come up with names for everyone. I’ll just do it later! Like I said, draft 2 is going to be a bitch.

In terms of the story itself, what am I willing to share at the moment? Well, the main character is a 30-something woman (*audible gasps* The imagination!! How could you perceive of such a thing?). It’s mostly her story, but it’s also interwoven with her Grandmother’s story, told via a series of letters she’s written on her deathbed (that’s not too much of a spoiler – she dies on the first page. At least, she does in the current draft… I also read this thread on Twitter recently and it scared the bejesus out of me. Like I said, crying and laptop throwing). Recently I’ve been focused on getting those letters written, as it seemed sensible to write them all at once and then just insert them into the novel at the appropriate times, as the Granddaughter reads them. I’m on the penultimate one at the moment, but it feels like the number of (…)s is growing exponentially. It seemed like a great idea to basically write this woman’s life story, but then I remembered I was born in the ’80s and so oddly have no notion as to how realistically I might be depicting events/attitudes/locations from the ’40s or ’50s. Plus, if you write about someone’s entire life, even if it is just skipping through the major events, it still starts to become a logistical nightmare in terms of remembering details and how everything interrelates. There’s only so much that ‘(…)’ can cover. I’ve probably contradicted myself multiple times, but hey, it’s the first draft! It’s fine, right? Right?? That’s a nightmare for future me to deal with (in your face, future me!)

ETA: Since writing the above paragraph, I actually re-read some of the earliest parts I wrote and discovered that I described a character as dead, but then later on have described him as alive! Just a slight contradiction… I think I need to start finding a better way to keep track of such things.

Anyway, present me will just carry on for now – getting the words (and placeholders for words) down on the page. I’m hopeful that in another 3 months’ time I might have something vaguely approaching half of a novel. Half of a bad novel with a load of gaps in, but that’s still better than anything I’ve managed previously.

Posted in Novel, Writing | 1 Comment

2018 Film Challenge: 41. Mao’s Last Dancer

This is a film I’d had downloaded for years but never fancied watching quite enough to get around to it, so pleased I finally have. I mostly got hold of it for the Twin Peaks double-whammy of Kyle MacLachlan and Joan Chen.

I enjoyed it. It wasn’t the kind of film I’d specifically recommend that people watch, but it was an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours. It’s based on a true story, which makes it particularly interesting.

Here are the thoughts I had whilst watching it:

  • That doesn’t sound sinister at all
  • Joan Chen!
  • So bizarre
  • Ah, capitalism
  • Did he actively choose to buy him that turkey t-shirt? Because that’s pretty weird.
  • I wonder if I could still do a crab. I’d probably just do myself a mischief.
  • Peak ’80s disco
  • I haven’t been to a ballet in ages. Might have to fix that.
  • The wall! 🙂
  • Awww, for a lie, that was pretty sweet and inventive
  • Kyle!! Texan Kyle.
  • Yay! Well, bittersweet yay.
  • Yeah, you tell them Joan!
  • Oh god
  • What’s going on here, then?
  • Yay!!
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2018 Film Challenge: 40. Live Flesh

From my favourite Almodovar film to what was definitely my least favourite. The title and the DVD artwork made it sound like it was going to be both raunchy and exciting, but I found it to be neither, sadly. It was kinda dull. Not bad, just not engaging. Don’t think I’ll be keeping the DVD of this one.

Here are the thoughts I had whilst watching it:

  • That was a speedy birth
  • Ew, no
  • Sometimes it’s better not to know the translation of songs in other languages
  • Why did the subtitles suddenly lapse into Spanish?
  • I’m finding this a bit dull so far
  • That’s not the time to say that!
  • Ha ha, are they going to become friends now?
  • Honest, at least
  • I don’t really care which of them kill each other
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2018 Film Challenge: 39. The Skin I Live In

Easily my favourite Almodovar film. I saw it at the cinema but hadn’t seen it since, despite having bought it on Blu Ray a little while ago, so it was great to finally get round to a re-watch. It’s a different experience watching it for a second time, as you know what’s coming, but you get to appreciate it in a different way.

Here are the thoughts I had whilst watching it:

  • Those lamps look like UFOs abducting something
  • Ah, creepy voyeurism. Though I guess voyeurism’s always creepy.
  • Well, that’s disturbing
  • Magic skin! I’d totally forgotten about this element.
  • This is really interesting to watch for a 2nd time
  • Ha ha, what the hell?
  • That’s not something you’d want to be watching
  • Oh, no no no
  • That’s quite the party
  • Ha ha, so tactful
  • So wrong
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2018 Film Challenge: 38. 10 Cloverfield Lane

I haven’t seen any of the other Cloverfield films, though I know they’re only loosely related to each other anyway, so I don’t think that’s a disadvantage. It might even be an advantage. A work colleague recommended this one to me.

Overall I really enjoyed this film – it’s tense, it’s interesting, plus John Goodman’s awesomely creepy. The ending’s almost like the start of a different film, which is a little jarring, but I didn’t hate it. You’re left with quite a few questions, but mostly in a good way.

Here are the thoughts I had whilst watching it:

  • Bad Robot! Is this JJ Abrams? I think I had read that but had forgotten.
  • Woah
  • That’s not a good way to wake up
  • I might have been playing too much Life Is Strange recently (not that that’s possible), but this feels like a scene from that.
  • He’s not a vampire, dude. Is he?
  • He’s got a jukebox? This bunker’s seeming more appealing.
  • Creepy
  • Woah
  • Bunker life doesn’t seem so bad
  • I’ve had actual nightmares about having to crawl through vents *shudders*
  • Creepy!
  • John Goodman’s so good in this
  • Woah
  • Eeeeek
  • OK, that’s a tad too unrealistic horror villain, but hey
  • That’s some impressive craftsmanship
  • Uh oh
  • Ugh
  • Yep, that pretty much describes it
  • That’s the end? I have some questions.
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