March 10th, 2017



The book I’m working on went in an unexpected direction yesterday. I’m rewriting a proposal I wrote last fall, but at a turning point it did something different, so now I’m in uncharted territory. This is going to affect the pacing, so it’s probably a good thing that I decided to write the whole book before submitting it instead of just a proposal. I think in the first go-round, I was too worried about getting all the major story stuff into the proposal, so I made things a little too easy for the characters. They were able to just find or figure out everything they needed. Now they’re having to work for it a little more. I had new scenes playing out in my head last night, which made getting to sleep a challenge, but that’s a good problem to have.

I’m going to have to give my new working structure a few more weeks to shake out. So far, moving most of my business/life stuff to Wednesdays has resulted in me spending more time working overall (about 2-3 hours per week more than when I tried to work on Wednesdays and tried to fit non-writing work in on every other day), but I’m not producing more output, somehow. I think part of that is that I’m revising and editing the previous day’s work before moving on, usually because I’ve thought of something that needs to be fixed or because of the rewrite thing, where I need to remind myself of what’s in this version vs. the previous version, to make sure I’m continuing the right story. Maybe once I’m past the rewrite part and am doing all new stuff, it’ll pick up. You’d think it would go faster to rewrite what I’ve already done, but that seems to be more challenging because I have to remember what I did before, decide what to keep and what to scrap, and sometimes there are a couple of false starts before I can make myself separate from what I did before and move on with something different. That takes more time (and drafts) than just writing something new, when I only have to figure out what happens rather than getting over what did happen.

In other news, I had a bit of a rant on my Facebook page yesterday, but it’s worth repeating here. I mentioned watching the new Time After Time series. But I think I’m not going to go forward with it after seeing an interview in which an actor and one of the creators of the series referred to the Jack the Ripper character as “misunderstood.”

Now, I know that every villain generally thinks of himself as the hero of his own story. Few go around doing evil just as evil because they think it’s evil and evil is fun. There’s some reason that may or may not make sense to anyone else, and it’s generally not justified at all on an objective scale. There’s also a bad tendency in current popular culture to try to make villains sympathetic. We’re supposed to take into account the things that happened to them that excuse or justify the way they turned out. As one show is very fond of saying, evil isn’t born, it’s made. And there’s a tendency to think of good as boring and evil as sexy and kind of hot.

But “misunderstood” is for someone who’s a jerk — the bully, the person with a hot temper, the person who’s overly sensitive and flies off the handle at the slightest offense, the person who’s a bit greedy or stingy. These are all things that can be affected by someone’s experiences and circumstances and may require a little compassion for dealing with these people. It’s really hard to get to “misunderstood” when it comes to mass murder. There’s very little chance of there being a good reason for gutting women, and since this show opened with a scene of this guy committing the murder, it’s not like he’s an innocent person being falsely accused. So it looks like what they’re doing is, as one of my friends put it, making Jack the Ripper “Hot Guy who’s a little stabby.” It’s worse when it involves a real-world killer. Real women died at the hands of whoever the Ripper really was, so it seems to me to be disrespectful to depict this guy as sexy, charismatic, and sympathetic and to claim that he’s not so bad, just misunderstood.

So, if that’s the approach they’re taking, I won’t be watching further. That’s more time for reading, or I could watch movies.

At the rate I’m being turned off TV, I may become one of those “oh, I don’t watch TV other than the news and PBS” people. I guess that’ll save me a lot of money if I ever move and don’t get cable through my HOA.