misc

Film and theatre

In the last ten days or so I’ve had a birthday, seen Hamilton, seen The Last Jedi for a second time, and got another couple of episodes of Black Sails in. All of these things are excellent and I heartily recommend them. (More Hamilton London tickets going on sale at the start of next week!)

(TLJ spoilers upcoming.)

The Last Jedi was, I think, better the second time around, because I was less anxious about Were They Going To Fuck This Up and could get on with enjoying it. And with spotting the bits and pieces I missed last time. Like the books in the drawer in the Falcon at the end; and, close to the start, Luke saying irritably to Rey, “What, did you think I was going to march out with a laser sword and face down the First Order single-handed?”. The final scene with Luke and Kylo Ren — and the cut at the end to Rey, the real Last Jedi — was even more epic second time around. I still think it was a smidge too long, but I enjoyed all of it regardless.

And now I’m about to have a virtual film night watch of Rock of Ages. I feel in need of popcorn 🙂

writing

Plotting and planning

The thing I find hardest about writing is plot (or possibly structure, or possibly both); so this year my main aim is to get better at constructing a story which hangs together well, especially at novel length.

Historically I’ve tended to just get on and write, and then fix everything in editing; but that means that editing can wind up looking like a full rewrite, by the time I’ve corrected the structural issues that result (for me) from writing that way, and fixed up all the gaping plot holes. I do really love the thing that happens when I’m getting words down onto the screen at speed and letting my brain carry me away; but I’m also fed up with a first draft that looks quite so unformed.

So I’ve been reading a lot about plot and story structure (best book so far: John Yorke’s Into The Woods, though ‘best’ here may just mean ‘fits best with my brain’, and trying to use all of it to write an outline for my next project, which involves London and dragons and too many secrets. After an initial flaily period it’s starting to come together, and I’m looking forward to getting cracking on the writing. But I’m determined to sort out the holes I can still see first, this time, rather than putting them out of mind and ‘just writing’. So it might be another few days yet.

reading

Tackling the TBR pile

This morning I went through my Kindle and discovered, somewhat to my horror, that I have no fewer than 78 books on there that I haven’t yet read (including the handful that I’ve started but not finished). Plus 13 hard-copy books piled up by the bed; 16 on the shelf downstairs; and 10-20 short-story magazines also on the Kindle. (We will leave aside the matter of the hundred-odd samples on the Kindle which act as a sort of ‘perhaps I would like to read this’ list.)

So. New plan for 2018 reading: get through all of those (or officially DNF them) before I buy anything else new (with exceptions for new releases of series I’m already following). Having just tidied up my Goodreads records from last year, that comes out at 175 books (which still misses a few from the library and an awful lot of fic). So 107 books plus magazines should keep me going til the summer. So far I’ve read 10 books in 2018, but several of those were novellas or shorter; also quite a few of the TBR pile have stayed as TBR for a while because I anticipate them being slightly harder going.

Recommended so far from 2018 reading: the Belladonna University novellas by Tansy Rayner Roberts (Fake Geek Girl, Unmagical Boy Story, and The Bromancers, all fluffy Australian magic college stories with a big dollop of geek-culture), and Dreadnought by April Daniels (trans superhero YA).