Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I will now remember things!

I am really, really, really excited about Moonwalking With Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, which, I gather, is about to make Joshua Foer the Malcolm Gladwell of 2012.

I haven't finished it yet. Actually, I've only read the Kindle sample so far, since I was debating whether or not I can afford more trendy nonfiction geared more toward boosting my self-esteem than to actually improving my performance. There are, presumably, other, more boring books about how to memorize information that would actually help more.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Foer's book, which you absolutely must familiarize yourself with if you want to appear hep to the zeitgeist of the Teenies (I've decided I need to get in on the ground floor in naming the current decade), is about how he stumbled into the world of competitive high-speed memorization, and, only a year into his new hobby, became the US champion in the sport.

It's beautifully written, and Foer shows a true journalist's disregard for people's feelings in the fantastic word pictures he uses to describe his fellow competitors and enthusiasts. In much the same way I just did.

Memory athletes utilize mnemonic systems called “memory palaces,” where they mentally assign each number, playing card, word, or other item to a room that is in some way particularly memorable. In Foer's case, his palace is filled with images of celebrities doing disturbing things, thus making each imaginary room unique.

And that's actually all I know, not having read the whole book.

The end.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Thinking out loud

Deep breath. Okay. This is a little out of left field, I know, but, I think the Awful Space Opera needs ... a protagonist.

Crazy, huh? I know it surprised me.

I was reading a review of Screenwriting Tips, You Hack when it hit me like a ton of bricks: I can't follow any of these tips about the protagonist until I figure out who the protagonist is.

At one point I believe it was what's-his-name, the weather nerd. But somehow he never took hold.

Poor Little Rich Girl, on the other hand, seems very nearly interesting. Okay, mainly she has the most interesting storyline, which is really things happening to her rather than because of her, but it's something. And if blondie and the tough guy are Princess Leia and Han Solo, which I don't think they can avoid being, not without me discovering some lost writing talent in my sofa cushions, then the PLRG is clearly Luke.

There is no mysterious heroic-yet-evil father.

This makes it original.

However (arrrrrgggh, I seriously did not think of this until this very moment), the Arch Villain is believed to be responsible for the PLRG's father's death.

There is a distinct possibility I need to get out of the house more and watch videos less.

Of course, that was the whole point of the India trip, or, rather, one of several points, most of which are a tad vague. But it was a reason, and, regrettably, India didn’t inspire me in the least. Except for this one temple that would make an absolutely amazing backdrop for a scene in Firefly, or something similar. I'm not going to tell you which one, as this is one of my few actual good ideas and for once I'm a little uneasy someone might steal it.

Quit laughing. One of my posts had fourteen page views last month.

Anyway, a protagonist. It has to be the girl, everyone else is a bit blah. Of course, that means she needs a bit more development. Even for pulp fiction, she needs more development.

Also, come to think of it, the antagonist needs work. Much, much, much work. As does the relationship, distant though it might be, between the two.

I suppose this is why I always start to feel lost when I get really into the escape sequence. It's two or three chapters where the PLRG doesn't appear once. She's completely unimportant here, is in fact on the other side of the planet, so even though I get a fair amount of character development among the crew, it feels like a rabbit trail. I suppose I have to switch back and forth between storylines a bit more. And make the escape sequence shorter, but I knew that before.

Have I mentioned that every time I try to tighten it up it gets longer? It's a bit like the broom in the Sorcerer's Apprentice.

I love that word, apprentice. Maybe I can work it in.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

They always said I was a high achiever

"I had only one goal for today."
"What was that?"
"To make a to-do list for tomorrow."
"Did you do it?"

Friday, February 3, 2012

End of the road

 Asheville, NC

So, here I am.

I've been in the States long enough that jet lag is no longer a convenient excuse for my lack of productivity. Can I get away with Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Anyway, I'm here, and the time has come to put together some belated goals for 2012. Not resolutions, because not even my very best friend would call me resolute. So this is the plan: one, move to Texas; two, finish a screenplay, or at least a first draft; and three, I don't really have a third goal, I've just always tried to make lists in threes ever since my days of writing murder-trial stories on autopilot.

Did you know that you can write 99 percent of a lead article on a major court verdict before the verdict is actually returned? You just leave the lead sentence blank and fill the body of the story with quotes from the closing arguments. Very handy when the jury decides it can't make a decision without trekking out to the crime scene and viewing it personally at 9 o'clock at night. That way, when they finally do make a call, you only have one sentence left to write before going to press.

Anyway, that's where things stand right now. I want to move to Austin (special SXSW discount for residents!), and I want to finish something. Anything.

To make up for wasting this much of your time, allow me to direct your attention to a very well put take-down of a recent episode of Glee, a show which must be punished for its mysterious ability to make me simultaneously want to vomit and desperately need to find out what happens in the end, by the Bitter Script Reader.