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Friday, December 6, 2013

The Fun of It

Made excellent progress on "Mongan Manor" yesterday with Stefanie and Paul in the heat of the treasure hunt. Their search took them back to the tower of the title manor where there is supposed to be one or more clues to a family secret and/or buried treasure. They put their talents together and uncovered some major clues, but there is still one element missing. 

At the same time, as they get closer to solving the mystery, various members of the Manor's family are weighing in with information and subtly revealing which side they are on. As with any secret, there are those who want it revealed and those who want it to remain secret. It's a lot of motivations to juggle. 

Very soon, it will be time for a Big Scene, one which has been percolating in my imagination for weeks now and was at the heart of the inspiration for the book. I try to stop myself from looking at the word count on my computer screen as a guide to how far along I am in the story. By that measure, I am at about the half-way point. I know I shouldn't pay any attention to it. (Maybe MS Word will let me turn it off?) I always go back and do major edits after the first draft is done anyway. Still, since my work on the ms. comes is spurts, it's hard to know if I've got the pacing right or not. 

Hope to have word pretty soon on "Where Power Lies." I was talking with my husband the other night, and he was telling me some of what he read in the newspaper. I only look at the weather page usually. Anyway, some of the things he read about were ideas I incorporated into "Power" and its future setting. I don't put myself in the same visionary class as Arthur C. Clarke, but then, his predictions for 2001 and 2010 didn't totally hit the mark either.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Updates, and Some Observations

After a break over the long Thanksgiving weekend, I've gotten back to writing "Mongan Manor." Some history got laid down this morning, and I'll keep pressing on today.

I've commented before on the whole zombie craze that seems to dominate Hollywood's output these days, and it was a trailer for the movie "World War Z" that triggered a further observation about it, or at least a question. Beyond the fact that any sort of monster is, in my opinion, an easy villain in fiction. No background to develop, no motivation to explain, the concept itself is enough to tell a reader what side the character is on. Some traditional monsters--vampires, werewolves--have recently begun to straddle the line, sometimes becoming the actual heroes of a story with background and motives that people can embrace enough to make them good guys. But zombies--they're dead people reanimated that need to feed on human flesh. Mindless, soulless, a danger that must be destroyed.

But they were once people, weren't they? I don't watch zombie movies myself, but I'm sure they frequently use the device where a one-time good guy turns into a bad guy which must be obliterated in a desperate decision to be made by the remaining good guys. (Case in point, the movie "From Dusk Till Dawn," although it was vampires in that one. While violent and gory, it was raised to a higher level, I think, by comparing the bad guys in the first half--killers on the lam--with the vampires. There's evil, and then there's EVIL.) But the point I was getting at was that with zombies, a story is saying that we're our own enemies. Anyone you see can suddenly become evil and dangerous. Ordinary folks become the enemy in an instant and can therefore be killed. Anyone who can kill the zombies, those formerly ordinary folks, is a hero. So what does this say about the state of humanity? Has our hunger for control over our destinies reached a point that we feel righteous at seeing multitudes of enemies slaughtered? Violent computer games have come under fire as possibly influencing the isolated and disturbed individuals to act out the same actions in the real world. With a movie, you don't get to control the action as in a game, but you do get to root for the hero(es) out there slaughtering what amounts to other people who are different. While it may be simplistic to say that violent entertainments beget violence in real life, I still find it deeply disturbing that the masses actually enjoy watching it.