The End (again)

Remember how I said I wanted to finish my edits by the end of July? Well, I did it! I’ve worked my ass off for the past week to do it, but it’s done. I’m proud, excited, sad, and tired. In some ways it was a lot harder than writing the first draft, in other ways easier.

I’ve checked a few different word count tools online, and they say my book is anywhere from 83,000 words to 90,000 words. My guess is that it’s close to 86,000.

I’m going to send it off to my first three readers tomorrow, and as long as they don’t think it’s the most terrible book ever written I’ll send it out to a few more people soon. I’m hoping to be editing again in the Fall. Until then I have outlines for my next few books to work on, and plenty of short story ideas to keep my occupied!

Time for a rest.

Writing Technology

There was a time when I wrote with pen and paper. I still do sometimes–I always carry a small notebook with me just in case–but the vast majority of my fiction writing is on the computer. I can’t imagine hand writing an entire novel. I imagine that there would be vast sections I couldn’t even read thanks to my terrible handwriting.

These days writers have so many options for writing software. Sometimes it can be a little overwhelming, which is one of the reasons I like to keep it simple. I write everything directly into Google Drive. It’s easy, it’s free, and it saves automatically. I am terrible at remembering to save and back when I would just use Microsoft Word I was always losing things. Thanks to Drive, I haven’t lost any of my recent work. Not only does it save itself, but it’s in the cloud! Anyone who has ever had a computer melt down can certainly appreciate the beauty of the cloud!

Whenever I’m done with a project, be in a draft of a novel or a completed short story, I always save a backup in Word on my computer. As much as I love and (possibly misguidedly) trust the internet, I like being able to access things when there isn’t any WiFi around.

For reading my novel before editing I’ve been using Good Notes on the iPad mini. With that app I can read and write directly on a pdf file of my draft. I hate reading for long periods on the computer, and I love that I don’t have to go to the hassle of printing everything out.

Last year during NaNoWriMo I tried to use the open source program Story Book for keeping track of characters and events in the book. While I could definitely see the advantages to having it all specially organized, I could never really get the hang of putting every detail into the program. I very quickly stopped using it. Programs like that are probably more for plotters, and while I don’t consider myself a full on pantser I lean more in that direction!

That’s how I write, how about you? Pen and paper? Computer? Typewriter? Is there a program that you’ve fallen in love with? I would love to hear how other people use technology to make writing easier!

Good News/Bad News

The bad news is that I’m really stuck on my edits. About a week and a half ago I was feeling great about it–I even told I friend that I might be done by the end of the month. Of course, my words are coming back to bite me! I’ve barely worked on my edits at all since then. I’m not sure why, but I’m feeling incredibly discouraged about the whole project. It suddenly feels so much BIGGER than it ever has before, and I keep thinking that I’m not a good enough writer yet to have tackled this huge story. did

I didn’t realize that editing my novel would be this hard. Maybe that was naive of me. I really enjoy editing my short stories, but the further I get into this project the more I see that it’s a completely different sort of thing. With a short story I can hold everything in my head at once very easily. With my book there are so many characters, so much to think about!

Don’t worry, I’ll eventually push through. Moments of doubt will only make the book stronger in the end, right? …right?

The good news is that I have a new idea! Okay, so not really “news” since that happens pretty regularly. But this new idea for a book is really exciting me. I can see the main character very clearly, and I’m really excited to write her. I’m so excited about this new idea that I woke up early on a Saturday to write down everything I’ve thought about so far. At this point I’m thinking this will be this November’s NaNoWriMo book.

 

Don’t watch The Watch

A few days ago I watched the 2012 movie The Watch. Here’s the premise: Aliens that can steal skins and walk among us unnoticed invade a small Ohio town. The only thing that stands between them and world domination is neighborhood watch led by Ben Stiller. I still think there are a lot of fun ideas there, and this could have been a fantastic comedy. Instead, it was predictable, disappointing, and at times even infuriating. They had so many opportunities in this film to not only be really funny but also talk about big important issues. The more I think about it, the more I’m upset about this movie. It’s no surprise it only has a 16% on Rotten Tomatoes!


Before I really get going on my rant, I want to say that there are a few things that worked in this movie. I liked Will Forte as the small town cop, I liked the one or two times that they had callbacks to earlier lines in the film, and there were a few moments that were really funny. I think it’s great that they tried to give each of the guys in the group an arc, however how small. It isn’t ALL bad, but I think the things that are bad in this film are enough to outweigh the good.

Here we go.

Ben Stiller’s relationship with his wife

This was one of my biggest beefs with the film. Evan, played by Ben Stiller, is having problems with his wife. They’re trying to have a child, but things aren’t going so well. He confesses to one of his new neighborhood watch buddies that he secretly went to a doctor MONTHS before and found out that he’s sterile. He keeps this from his wife and begins avoiding sex with her. Eventually he let’s her know what’s going on and she…forgives him immediately.

REALLY?

No, really?

There is no point where the wife, or the movie, says to Ben Stiller “your behavior was wrong.” I think the initial premise of the conflict could be really interesting. I’m sure that trying to have a child and finding out that you’re infertile is a heartbreaking, difficult experience for any person or couple to go through. Instead of exploring the ways they could handle this roadblock in their lives, the movie ignores it. The wife forgives him without a second thought and all is well.

Abby (The Wife)

In the movie Abby pretty much only serves as Evan’s conflict. She doesn’t get much of a personality and we never see her doing anything other than being with Evan and trying to have a baby. Well, there is one scene where she complains to a friend about how Evan’s been treating her…but that gets erased moments later when she forgives him.

You know what would have been cool? If Abby had been in The Neighborhood Watch from the beginning. Why couldn’t she help her husband patrol the streets? She has just as much invested in the town as Evan does. It would have let the movie show her personality and expand on Evan and Abby’s relationship. I would have been so on board with a movie with a husband/wife team in charge of a neighborhood watch group.

Vince Vaughn and his daughter

One of the other major plot lines in this movie is Bob (Vince Vaughn) and his relationship with his daughter. She’s a teenager, she wants to date and go to parties. He’s an overprotective father. This culminates in a scene where he crashes a party where she’s in a bedroom with her boyfriend. Since she wasn’t very happy about the bedroom action, she’s glad her dad showed up. He saved the day, she learned her lesson.

There are so many things wrong here. I understand that a parent might be overprotective of their kid. But he does not own her sexuality. If it was a boy instead of a girl, he would have been cheering him own. Why couldn’t that plot line have ended with her wanting to have sex with her boyfriend, being really upset that her father walked in on them, and him learning to respect her privacy? It’s another plot in this movie that started out really interesting with a lot of potential, but failed miserably at being anything new or interesting. This could have been a great look at father daughter relationships and how they deal with the daughter growing up and becoming a woman.

The Other

The major theme throughout this whole movie is fear of the other. Richard Ayoade who was wonderful in the IT Crowd and doesn’t get nearly enough to do in this movie, turns out to be an alien. So he’s a foreign, black, nerdy alien.

I do really like the idea of one of the neighborhood watch being an alien. I like the idea of a scary alien masquerading as one of us. It’s scary, and I think it could really be played for laughs with the right jokes and actors. Throughout the entire movie I was hoping that Bob would turn out to be the alien. He mentioned he was new in town, we saw him scoping out the Costco before the first murder, and his daughter screams that she “hates it here.” I wanted SO badly for them to be some kind of 3rd Rock From the Sun type of family. It would have been a fun twist, and it would have helped explore some of the issues mentioned above.

But nope, it was the guy who was already SO different from the rest of the group. Of course they should fear him, he’s an alien all along! He does end up switching sides and saving the day, but it really seemed unnecessary to me that HE was the one that was an alien.

The Aliens

So, the only way to defeat the aliens is by punching their dicks.

You heard me.

Does this mean there are no female aliens? Or that they just left all of the female aliens at home? If the only way to defeat them is by attacking their dicks, why not send the apparently invincible female aliens to take over the planet?

 

I had more problems with the film, but this sums up most of the major things that upset me.

So to sum it all up, the filmmakers seemed to forget that there was any perspective to think about other than the white middle aged male. Women and minorities are handled terribly here, and it leads to a lot of disappointment. This could have been a fantastic, hilarious, insightful comedy that took a look at American culture, family relationships, and fear of the other. Instead it’s this pile of mess.