Bad Chico. I’ve been neglecting the blogosphere too much recently. So here are some more mini-posts I’ve started jotting down but not taken any further.
Breaking the Rules
I have a bone to pick with the Pre-Raphaelites. When I was doing A-level Art in school I was completely obsessed by their jewel-like clarity and hyper-realism. And, unfortunately, I aspired to it. It wasn’t until I started taking watercolor classes eight or nine years ago that I realized (a) that wasn’t my style at all and (a) watercolors are for the exact opposite. Yes, you can create photorealistic images with watercolor, but the greatest thing about this medium is its spontaneity. I needed to learn the techniques and the tricks, but now there are no rules.
The same applies to language. Breaking rules is one of the great joys of writing. Countless numbers of people write turgid and stilted prose because they never learnt the rules, but others who have learnt them, don’t realize that knowledge sets you free! Only a few, though, really succeed in subverting them completely. And I think that it only works once. Hilary Mantel, in Wolf Hall, reinvented that old cliché of present-tense narration and made it a living thing instead of a gimmick… but it lost much of its spontaneity in the sequel. Bring Out The Bodies was a subtle disappointment, because somehow it had stopped working.
The Ultimate Anti-Hero
I like Dexter very much, both books and TV, and that’s a pretty good trick to pull off if you think about movie adaptations of a lot of books. I like his sardonic voice and his easy competence both in killing really bad guys and beating the crap out of lesser bad guys. How he plays so many parts so very well; thinks he is dispassionate but loves his family so unreservedly. Though after the first season the stories of TV Dexter and Book Dexter diverge, I somehow have room for both versions in my head. Dexter is the lone wolf taken to extremes, and as a fan of the lone wolf I am, like many others, now rooting for a serial killer.
Time travel keeps TV alive, and I’m not talking about Dr Who yet. Reinventing the past and the future, whether through historical drama or SF, is what it does best. In fact, if you think about it, everything you see on TV is set in a parallel world. (That’s why crossovers are fun. Imagine the team in CSI Miami vs. Dexter. He’d leave them standing.)
I have watched Dr Who since the very beginning, and that was 1963. I can’t say I’ve watched every episode, but I’m pretty sure I saw all of the First, Second, Third and Fourth Doctors’ adventures. Given that I first started watching it as a child, when I was first starting to write, it’s perhaps surprising that I never actually wrote a Whofic. Until now. I don’t know why, but after I finished my last writing job, a bit of fun crept into my head and started to turn into a story. My very first fanfic, folks, is here (though perhaps it’s less of a fanfic than a sort of riff on the Whoniverse):