What I Like/What I Make

I’ve gotten a little introspective. Analyzing my viewing and reading proclivities has made me realize that I’m “girlier” than I have long suspected that I am.

I like action and sometimes crude comedy and sci-fi, and eschew a lot of the rom-com and chick-flick genre. However, I’m seeing something when I look closer. I like these things to have well-integrated teams at the heart. I like families and organizations. I like them best when there’s a great chase or caper with explosions surrounding them, but I like people involved with people.

I like things with “heart.” For instance, while I find sports and the sports complex ridiculous, I have a serious soft spot for sports movies and stories. Idealized sport and teams overcoming– underdog stories– appeal to me. “Sport” takes a broader sense, because I kind of include Searching for Bobby Fischer in this, as it has the same elements I like. So, given that, true sport-story enthusiasts might find me ridiculous.

On the other hand, I only like “true” stories if they have my elements. I recently read Playing with the Enemy, given to me on loan by my mother-in-law. I was interested in the history and the love for the game, but I kept getting distracted and hit in the face by the epic privilege in the story. Sure, I might not be “allowed” by the internet to use that term, but that’s all I could feel from it. Because one is good at a game, one is given a by in fighting a SERIOUS WAR. Because one is/was good at a game, people forgive a lot of whiny self-indulgence and drinking. This embodies what annoys me about sport and America and makes it just exactly not what I like in these stories.

Scott Sigler’s Rookie-verse stories bring me back every year slavering for more, though. They are most definitely NOT reality, in that they take place in a Sigler-verse future with an amazing about of backstory (Have I mentioned I envy this man’s prolific world-building? I do. So much.) and reminds me more than anything of playing Blood Bowl with my husband. The corruption of sports teams and the owners is covered, but… as an obstacle to overcome. The main character is so unknowingly idealistic that it’s rather adorable.

in 11/22/63, the idea of averting an assassination and time-travel is made personal. The hero has to wait years to accomplish his supposed mission, and that gives time to analyze the complications. It also makes it possible, and necessary, to watch him build a family and life around himself. The team aspect is minimized, but the family aspect slides subtly into the fore. I found myself less concerned, as intended, with conspiracy and more with what the hero might plan to do.

So what does this mean? I’m becoming more specifically aware of what makes me feel connected to a story, and what doesn’t. I feel quietly encouraged when I put down the effort of some successful author that I feel is kind of crap, because I am also becoming more aware of where I’m not coming up to “standard.”

Though I’ve been noticing how few individual stories have more than two or three “real” characters (that get focus and development and do real action) per, I know that teams do need to appear to have development on all characters. I feel this is one spot I’m weak. I’ve always known that I tend to characterize in a more caricature-style. Depth for more than one character is hard for me. This won’t fly for long.

I know, I know, in a series everyone gets a moment, but there are ways to shorthand in a one-shot, or potential one-shot. Look at [i]Inception[/i], for example. They are an integrated team (save for Ariel), but really you don’t see much from anyone other than Cobb. I don’t have to write every moment and give every detail. It’s not bad to HAVE these things in my mind and for my own edification, but it doesn’t have to be letter perfect and presented to the audience.

What I’m coming to, now, though it wasn’t my goal, is that I need to be both harder on myself and easier. GET THINGS DOWN, even the crappy ones. DON’T BE AS ASHAMED of the crappy ones, because the crappy ones can be fixed, and there is every chance that someone is going to love what I’m wanting to hide forever.

What I was starting at, for myself, was that I have doubts about writing “the book you want to read,” because I like things that are outside my realm of experience when it gets right down to it. However, I think it’s not that far out, and if it is, Well, I’ll write what I write. Right?

Review: A Discovery of Witches

A Discovery of Witches
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It was pretty much bland romance fare. I wanted to be more excited about the “Creatures” world, but it kind of wrote “humans” off entirely, and that was… annoying. I guess I could go into a trite “I understand discrimination more, now” diatribe, but that’s bull, but still…

Anyway, I imagine I won’t be hunting down the sequels specifically.

Mark this as another book to remember when I think my stories are coming out bland.

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