Progress report 1

I feel like I need these for myself more than anything else. Some evidence that I am, in fact, doing stuff.

So what have I done today?

And does it in any way relate to writing/storytelling?

Why yes, it does. It all does in fact.

  • Course readings

The one thing I will always be glad happened as a consequence of my being on Tumblr is how accustomed I now am to spending huge amounts of time trawling the internet on tangential article-safaris. I’ll click a link to something interesting, and it’ll have links to other interesting things, and before I know it I’ll have been reading for three hours.

What I also appreciate is that a lot of the articles on Tumblr are a more subjective version of the articles I have to read for study; they encompass a lot of the same debates and topics that I’m interested in, and it’s proven to be fantastic training for making myself read stuff.

Thus today I ended up reading two of my sci-fi readings in about an hour, and about nine weeks before I actually needed to read them. Also because there was no pressure to read them I could just read them for general interest, and was probably able to more fully appreciate their thought-provoking qualities. It’s also convinced me that I need to watch Battlestar Galactica.

  • Game of Thrones

I finally saw Two Swords, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t really love Game of Thrones.

I never loved it, to be fair. I appreciated just how inexplicably addictive it was because I didn’t love it. Now it’s more of social cohesion thing: I don’t want to be left out of the loop. And it’s not like I don’t like it, but this whole episode would have served my purposes just fine if it had focused on Sansa and Arya and left out all the other stuff entirely.

And I guess Joffrey. I love me a good old-fashioned irredeemable villain who fills me with unmitigated hatred. He was hardly in the episode though.

And every time I watch it, I don’t know how I feel about the characters, particularly the women. I don’t know how much of my skepticism comes from knowing that they’re based on characters written by a man and how much of it is just legitimately not liking how they’re written – and this is by no means universal; it’s actually barely a factor at all. It’s just every now and then there will be a moment and it’s like an alarm going off, my “well a man definitely wrote that” alarm. It’s the men characters as well, actually; the gender dynamics in Game of Thrones are probably what I like least about it, just because a lot of it is so ham-fisted. But I do like a lot of the characters when gender doesn’t play a huge part in the way the story frames them – with the exception of Brienne of Tarth. She’s allowed.

  • Harry Potter

I didn’t read Harry Potter, but I think I’m going to have to. Again. I made a start in 2012 and got as far as Prisoner of Azkaban before giving up in dread of how insanely long the fourth book was if I carried on, and haven’t touched the series since. Also I’m quite different to how I was in 2012, which is both alarming and refreshing, so I may have a different perspective.

No; I read somebody’s chapter-by-chapter review/analysis/critique/raging hate-rant of Half-Blood Prince, and I’ve never come across a dissenting opinion on Harry Potter that was so brutally savage, seeming to be in the vein of sensationalist hate-critics who have carved out a niche for themselves in the wake of the Angry Videogame Nerd and Nostalgia Critic. I mean I still watch the Critic’s stuff; I’m about 50-50 in terms of his opinions and sense of humour, but it’s entertainment. This was something else – I may end up going through the whole thing as I only read a couple of his chapter analyses, but while I can’t say I agree with him on … well, the vast majority of his opinions disturb me, to be honest, but it’s not like I think he’s a crazy person or something. I’m drawn to it because it’s almost diametrically opposed to how I feel about the series, and I want to know why.

He has some weird gimmick where girl characters from some book series he’s writing come in and the review just kind of stops so that he can make in-jokes with himself revolving around the fourth-wall-breaking relationship between himself and his creations, with much playing of the gender card, but while that’s an uncomfortably candid glimpse into his psyche it’s also part of what makes reading these reviews so compelling; it’s like reality tv in a sense, trying to piece this guy together by reading a carefully-edited persona that he presents on his livejournal account. Truly, my future in investigative journalism is shaping up to be a promising one.

But it’s always fascinating to get a glimpse at “the other side”. I think it’s part of why I’ve been on a YA kick for the past five or six months: most of the authors I’m reading nowadays are women, and while I now know the gender binary is a load of bull, it’s just the allure of difference in general, a different worldview and set of commonly-held assumptions about the world than my own that piques my interest. So I may have to read through this. Already I don’t think I like this person very much, but in a way that makes it all the more compelling.

  • The Demon’s Lexicon

I’ve heard this compared to Supernatural, and as somebody who has only ever seen one episode of Wincest (dear god Tumblr fandoms why), I can’t really say whether this is accurate or not.

What I do know is that Nick, the main character, is a jealous and obnoxious thug, and I want to like him. I want to find that he experiences consequences for being a jealous obnoxious thug, rather than us just getting some sob-story to make us feel so sorry for him that all of that stops mattering. I don’t mind a sob-story, but not at the expense of consequences for actions. And not because it’s the moral thing to do, but because it’s good storytelling. As a wise lion once said: “There’s more to being king than getting your way all the time.” That goes for main characters especially; if they get away with everything then it gets boring. It may not start off as boring, and I will forgive a lot of what people consider bad writing so long as the delivery is entertaining, but in this case it would be really deeply satisfying if Nick’s general shittiness was rewarded with him actually having to face the reality of it. It would be a satisfying read because that’s drama. Even characters who are good people shouldn’t get their way all the time, and in fact that’s even more boring, just because it’s more predictable. And I don’t mean in the sense of their crush not liking them back or dying in a car crash or something, I mean something like in Kick-Ass (the comic) where their crush thinks they’re a horrible creep, and they’re right, and consequently they don’t end up together.

Seriously, go read that comic. It has some important things to say about male identity and hero-narratives.

So for the time being I’m apprehensively enjoying The Demon’s Lexicon, all the while thinking of all the easy outs I’ve given my characters in my time and how I can rectify this egregious oversight. Some of them just have it so ingrained into the identity of the story that it would be an entirely different story to change it, and I guess those are lost causes. But even that’s important to identify, and maybe I can salvage something.

  • That’s all folks

So … sweet. I have done some stuff today. Quite a bit in fact. I’m a little surprised. No work on my novel, but there’s still tomorrow.

Tomorrow is also the beginning of trying to Get Stuff Sorted Out in earnest. It will consist primarily of watching sci-fi movies and tv shows so that I can decide what I want to write an essay about.

What the hell was I complaining about yesterday again?




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