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Posts Tagged ‘Christchurch Bells’

October. 7, 2010

October 8, 2010 1 comment

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: 7,063

GOAL: 100,000

Bits & Pieces:

  • I like the idea of Sandra Bullock for the lead in Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity.” After a year that’s balanced between winning an Oscar followed by the exposure of her personal life and scandal, this is precisely the sort of post-Oscar win project as actress like Bullock needs. Her Best Actress win in “The Blind Side” was for a movie many saw as relatively lightweight, so working with Cuaron, a director unafraid of challenge, is just the right move to show the win wasn’t a fluke or a mistake on the Academy’s part. Bullock’s likability both on screen and in general has never been in question (her good-natured acceptance of her Razzie for “All About Steve” the day before her Oscar win shows that), but she’s generally maintained a limited range with comedy and light drama. Efforts to step out of that have ranged from promising (she was praised for her role as Harper Lee in “Infamous,” the same role that earned Catherine Kenner a Best Supporting Actress nod a year prior in “Capote”) to abysmal (the less said about  “Premonition” or “In Love or War,” the better), but “The Blind Side” and occasionally interesting choices like “28 Days” or her small role in “Crash” hit at a greater range than she’s offered. Cuaron’s plans for “Gravity” are ambitious, to say the least, and Bullock is a far less likely or traditional choice for a sci-fi epic than earlier options such as Angelina Jolie or Natalie Portman, both who were in negotiations for the role, but in this blog’s opinion that makes her the far more interesting choice. Cuaron will push Bullock harder in this role than she’s ever been pushed, and with fingers crossed may show Bullock has far more actor-ly chops than we’ve suspected.
  • DC Comics’ decision to drop prices back to $3.99 from $2.99 is the smart move in a time where not only is everyone’s wallet a little lighter, but monthly comic book sales have been consistently on the decline. While this blog appreciates what DC was doing, reintroducing backup features, something that was long a staple of comic books, nearly four bucks is a lot when you consider some of us remember when the price went from 35 cents to 50 cents. So many comics fans now wait for the trade paperbacks, but nothing really beats that trip into the store on a Wednesday and picking up on the story where you left off last month.
  • The Bride and I are fans of urban fantasy and that’s been what we’ve been utilizing as nightly bedtime reading. We just started the third in Patricia Briggs‘ “Mercy Thompson” series, and anyone who’s read the Sookie Stackhouse novels would do well to check these out. Briggs’ Mercy, a walker who can change into a coyote, must navigate the politics of vampires and wolf packs much the same way as Sookie, but the emphasis here in on the organization of the werewolves and werewolves as the resident heartthrobs, while vampires are portrayed in a most rote and unromantic way. Ohm and there’s gremlins too. Well worth the read.
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Return of the Mack

October 6, 2010 Leave a comment

This blog has laid dormant for a while, because, well, initially I had to heal from almost cutting my finger off. After debate on where to go with this thing and for the few who read it (love you, Bride!), I said “Oh hell, why not?” and decided to jump back in.

Because I’m  actually working on being a real writer (I’m getting published and everything … more on that as it gets closer), this will become more of a chronicle on my writing process, with updates on how it’s going, as well as random comments on whatever crap is getting on my nerves that day. Of course I will have the occasional rant on something, and my goal is to both establish some regular features and trick IMDB.com into putting me back in its news feed.

I’ll be updating on progress in “Christchurch Bells,” a novel I’ve been working on in various forms and incarnations for more than 15 years. The goal is 1,000 a day, with a Jan. 15, 2011 completion on the first draft. It’s the touching story of 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.

All of this is with apologies to Cherie Priest, who I’m ripping off copiously, but that’s OK because she’s already published 10 novels and was nominated for a Hugo, whereas I’m just trying to finish the damn thing.

PROJECT: Christchurch Bells

DEADLINE: January 15, 2011

PRESENT WORD COUNT: 6,033

GOAL: 100,000

Bits & Pieces:

  • The biggest geek news is, of course, Zack Snyder directing the new “Superman” movie. I worry less about Snyder, who’s accused of being all style and no substance but who I think has effectively brought it in all of his movies (it would be impossible to truly translate “Watchmen” to film, but his version is the closest we could probably hope for), and more about the script by David Goyer, whose scripts tend to be erratic messes and typically need strong directors to guide them (Guillermo del Toro with “Blade II,” Christopher Nolan with both Batman films). With Nolan producing, it’s an easy bet that another writer will come in to smooth over Goyer’s script, and since Nolan’s brother Jonathan is already listed as a co-writer, so attention should be turned to getting Snyder to draw back on his visual style (enough CGI and slo-mo) and casting Superman himself (I think they could actually go with Snyder himself; dude’s got some guns).
  • The Bride and I caught part of “Minority Report” on cable the other night, and we both pondered why this movie wasn’t a bigger hit, or why it doesn’t have a cult following? Sure, it was popular enough, and it more than made back production and advertising costs, as well as selling a boatload of DVDs, but it’s such a rich and interesting movie it’s forgotten in the Spielberg shuffle. It’s got Tom Cruise at the height of his popularity, Steven Spielberg at his most visually daring, a smart Scott Frank script, exciting action, some truly oddball humor, and Colin Ferrell before we started looking at him like a drug-addled alcoholic douche bag. Maybe the film’s never caught on because Cruise’s Jon Anderton isn’t the most likable of characters (a drug-addicted father mourning the kidnapping and presumed death of his son), or because the humor is so off the wall, especially for a Spielberg joint (the scene where Anderton crashes into the yoga classes always cracks me up). The movie is considered part of Spielberg’s “running man” trilogy, alongside “A.I.” and “Catch Me If You Can,” and together the three represent an interesting point in Spielberg’s post-“Saving Private Ryan” career where I think he took what could be conceived as big risks (no special efforts to fall back on in “Catch Me If You Can”; surprising dark narratives in “A.I.” and “Minority Report”; the very character-driven comedy of “The Terminal,” which followed “Minority Report”). “War of the Worlds” might be seen as a mix of risk and the familiar, and for many it’s a mixed success, though I think there are moments of brilliance in it, such as the Tim Robbins basement sequence, and “Munich” put Spielberg back into “Ryan”-esque territory. Though I’m blase about his upcoming Tintin adaptation, I hope he decides again to do something risky. Eastwood is a great example of an older director who’s still willing to push out of his comfort zone (“Hereafter” looks like nothing else he’s ever done), and maybe Spielberg, who produced “Hereafter,” might be inspired.
  • Ronald Moore may be updating “The Wild, Wild West,” performing the same duties as he did on the reboot of “Battlestar Galactica.” I’m willing to go with Moore where ever he opts to go, and I think he could really spend the rest of his career updating old shows; may I recommend “Automan,” “Manimal” and “Holmes & Yoyo.”