Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lotsa Love for "Lost"

I needed a few days to process the finale of Lost before I posted, but overall I loved how the series ended, and I'm keeping the Jimmy Kimmel special on hold just so I'll have something to look forward to.  

Lost was unique. I can't think of any other show on TV that so beautifully combined action/adventure, sci-fi/fantasy, romance, philosophy, mythology, time travel (!!), and mystery. There really was something for everyone.

I love the way epic TV events bring people together and in this case, Lost went all out. The episode was broadast "day and date" -- something usually reserved for blockbuster movie franchises -- meaning it aired simultanously across the world (like 5 a.m. in London) to avoid spoilers and bootlegs getting out.

The Internet kind of exploded, too. According to Variety, "Google tracked more than 1,700 online news articles and 245 blog posts about the finale by midday Monday." At my office, we've been literally talking about it around the watercooler for the past few years and I'm going to miss that. The characters on the show were so richly drawn I feel like I've had to say goodbye to some friends.

Reviews of the finale were mixed, mostly divided into two categories: the "But they didn't answer X!!!!" people, and the "Emotionally satisfied but slightly confused" people who enjoy analyzing and interpreting the different possibilities. 

io9 hated it...

But the Onion's AV club loved it.

As did Entertainment Weekly. Perhaps most intriguingly, someone claiming to have worked for Bad Robot (Lost's production company) also chimed in.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cyber Clean

Thanks for the brainstorming tips and encouragement yesterday. I haven't typed anything in the past few days, but I have written some free associations by hand, done a bit o' research and come up with some solutions to my plot dilemma. Gonna give the issue a few more days to percolate.

In the meantime I've discovered new and creative time wasters. Yesterday I cleaned my keyboard with ecto-plasma neon goop, er, I mean, Cyber Clean. It's completely weird. I love how they refer to cell phones as "high tech equipment."

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Case of the Mondays

Or at least a six pack.

We set up our home office this week. My husband did an amazing job putting it together and I love it. Computer, printer, slide-out tray for keyboard, phone, back-up hard drive, ergonomic chair, coffee...

I should be writing up a storm but I screeched to a halt Sunday night. To be fair, I had been writing up a storm until that point, and then I got to the halfway mark of my revision and felt like I'd wandered over to the edge of a plot cliff.

Each option presents new problems.

I'm driving myself crazy so I've decided to stop thinking about it for a few days and see if my brain will come up with a solution when I'm not actively pursuing one.

Have you reached an impasse in your writing recently? What did you do to overcome it?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Small Advance, Huge Prize

According to the Christian Science Monitor, this year's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, "Tinkers" by Paul Harding, was rejected by 20 publishers and only earned him a $1,000 advance.

"Tinkers" story centers on a man, now dying, who repairs antique clocks. Despite the tough road to publication, the novel was lauded by the L.A. Times, the New Yorker and the Boston Globe prior to capturing the Pulitzer.

Do you think Harding's next advance will be bigger? ;)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Diabetes Research Auctions - With Literary Prizes

Attention writers!

Win a 30-page read and phone comments from literary agent Sara Megibow. Trust me when I say her notes will be AMAZING. Best of all, it's for a worthy cause -- all proceeds in the auction go to benefit diabetes research. You've got about two and a half more weeks to place your bid.

Live in the DC area? Love politics?

Here's another great auction, courtesy of the awesome Miranda Kenneally: Lunch and a private tour at the U.S. Department of State.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Writing Lessons From "30 Rock"

Tina Fey is one of my favorite writers and performers and I have a theory about why her character on 30 Rock, Liz Lemon, works so well.

In comedy there are two basic types of characters: the straight man, who reacts to everybody else, and the wacky one, who gets to do ridiculous things. Liz Lemon is both, depending on who else is in the scene with her. For example, when she's in boss mode and has to corral the talent on the show-within-the-show, she's often exasperated and deadpan, but when she's in employee mode and heads upstairs to Jack Donaghy's (Alec Baldwin) office in the corporate arena, she's a bundle of quirks and physical comedy. She's three-dimensional but never contradictory.

Nobody is just "one thing" and I think viewers relate easily to Liz because A) we all think of ourselves as weird or nerdy and B) we also think other people can be worse.

Do your characters change when they interact with different people? Does their language and behavior reflect the differences?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Is it Necessary to Have This Much Cranberry Juice?

At my local Von's, there is an aisle devoted to cranberry juice and every variation you can think of. This photo is just the tip of the iceberg. It's too big for my camera.

There's 100% juice, juice cocktail, plain cran, cran with apple, cran with pomegranate, blueberry cran, raspberry cran, diet of all of the above, "light" of all of the above, generic, brand name, six-packs, gallons.

It makes me think of Andy Warhol, and Western excess.

My mother moved to the U.S. from Zimbabwe in 1970, and the grocery stores overwhelmed her with the sheer amount and variety of what should have been basic items. I finally understand what she meant.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

"How big the world is!" the ducklings said.

"The Ugly Duckling" by Hans Christian Anderson is one of my favorite kids' stories. As I'm sure you remember, the poor duckling is an outcast who spends a miserable winter alone, fending off the bitter weather and the other animals' cruelty and scorn.

But eventually... "He now felt glad at having suffered sorrow and trouble, because it enabled him to enjoy so much better all the pleasure and happiness around him..."

I always thought that was a great lesson, because how can we know what it means to be happy unless we've also experienced unhappiness?

For those writers who are querying agents, out on submission, or just plugging away at a third or fourth draft, do you think years of hard work and uncertain toil will make success all the sweeter, or do you wish fortune would shine on you now?