Home > Self Whoring, Television, Writing > October 11, 2010

October 11, 2010

Here’s my daily update on the progress on “Christchurch Bells,” my novel about a writer dying of a brain tumor, his ex-wife’s ghost, a dead cheerleader, the destruction of a town’s movie theater, and a raven singing “Babe” by Styx.

PROJECT: Christchurch Bells

DEADLINE: January 15, 2011

PRESENT WORD COUNT: 3,511

GOAL: 100,000

I missed updating for a few days, so I’m just updating for the past few days of writing. I’m running about 1,500 words behind schedule, which doesn’t thrill me, but I think I’ll be able to catch up as I go into November and hit NaNoWriMo and try to pick up my word count and hit 50,000 by the end of the month. I’m finding I need to shift some of my viewpoint in it and go with a slightly more omnipresent narrator, rather than focusing on just my main character for the most of the story, with it shifting to another character’s first-person narration for the rest of the story. We’ll see how this goes.

Bits & Pieces:

  • I’m all about “Terriers,” the “Rockford File”-esque detective series over on FX with Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James and a series roster of talented writers, such as creator Ted Griffin (“Ocean’s 11”), Shawn Ryan (“The Shield”) and Tim Minear (“Buffy,” “Firefly”). It’s got a great shaggy-dog quality and a surprising amount of emotional heft in its characters, and it fits into that perfect FX niche, chronicling the struggle of the American male. I hope it gets to have a good, long run; after all, FX let “Nip/Tuck” keep plugging on long past its “fresh by” date and well beyond the point that creator Ryan Murphy seemed to care anymore, and while “Terriers” may lack some of the in-you-face appeal of that show, it matches other FX successes such as “The Shield,” “Rescue Me” and “Sons of Anarchy” in crafting characters you’d like to see more about.
  • On that same note, my friend The Ohioan and I have long bemoaned the dirth of good PI shows, which is why I’m grooving on “Terriers” and I’m cautiously optimistic about this proposed series over on TNT. I love the post-WWII time period and the feeling of going for a true Chandler vibe, though it’s too easy to go into unintentional parody by playing it too close to the inspiration. NBC tried something similiar back in 1987 with the unimaginatively-named “Private Eye,” created by “Miami Vice” creator Anthony Yerkovich and co-starring an insanely young Josh Brolin, and it died after only 7 episodes. What worries me about the potential new series is the TNT factor, since their shows tend to be amazingly hit (“Leverage,” “Men of a Certain Age”) and miss (“HawthoRNe,” “The Closer” — no, I’m not a fan). A lot of their shows have a very staid, inert sense about themselves, and once you begin producing a period show, that potential goes up exponentially as everyone becomes so concerned about the look and style of the show, they forget to make it interesting. I’m hoping the series gets a chance to breathe and have a sense of energy, rather than that stilted, airlessness of shows like “Dark Blue.”
  • Watching “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?” over the weekend, I was just struck again by the amazing cinematography of Roger Deakins and pondered how much longer will the Academy manage to not honor him with an Oscar. It’s great he’s being recognized by the ASC, but come on and give the man what he deserves by now.
  • Showtime’s developing a poker series with the executive producers from “Weeds.” Does this mean they’ll finally cancel “Weeds”? Please. Is there anything remotely interesting about that show anymore? Anything? Renewed for a SEVENTH season? Really?
  • I’m not sure how compelling a movie about the 2008 financial crisis could be, but I’m willing to give HBO the benefit of the doubt. They’ve assembled a hell of a cast (William Hurt, Paul Giamatti, James Woods) and a good director (Curtis Hanson), so the potential definitely exists. Hanson directed the brilliant “L.A. Confidential,” an example of period mystery film that didn’t become overly focused on the period.
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