Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Dog Days of August

Still waiting for Old Mama, AKA Maggie to deliver the last calf of the year for the little herd of Highland Scottish cattle. She looked about as broad as she is long today. Wondered if the Sweet Faced Young Bull ever sang that song to her about Maggie, the older woman who made a fool out of him. Don't think so. Sometimes my imagination goes into overdrive.

I always thought the Dog Days were late August, but according to some web sites, they run from end of July to August 11th, which means that must have been the hellish hot weather we had about then. For interesting info on the dog days click on this link. And don't forget to come back. p://astrology.about.com/od/oddstrange/a/dogdays.htm


I saw Miami Vice last week and Talledega Nights yesterday. Nowadays I tend to look at movies a little more critically in that I'm interested in plotting and the various plot turns and devices. Talledega Nights showed the main character, Ricky Bobby up, then down low, then climbing his way back up again. Obviously a comedy. It certainly had its moments, and I have to confess I liked it.

Miami Vice was pretty cool, too. Must be fun to write a movie script where you don't have to explain how a main character can fly a plane, drive a fast boat, go to Cuba without problems, and the scenes cut from a plane to a freighter to a fast boat and there's really no explanation to speak of. It just grabs you and doesn't let go. . Don't stop to explain everything--it slows down the action. Afterward, if the reader thinks, jeez, they never stopped for food or potty breaks, well, so what? At least they stopped a lot for sex and showers. My writing group would never stand for it. They like lots of repetition and explanations. Think it comes from only hearing 6 pages per week, and people miss weeks and get lost, and pretty soon they like little recaps, etc. that probably aren't necessary. An editor, should I ever get one that I don't have to pay for myself, can blue pencil all of the little aids for the writing group.

I have started my first Stuart Kaminsky book and am enjoying it. Lew Fonesca is the character. Kaminsky has written a lot of books. But I feel good just being 64,813 words into my fifth.

Got thru a difficult scene where someone throws a Molotov cocktail onto a boat. I can never write a scene and go on to the next. Have to tweak and tweak and tweak some more, because in the heat of battle you forget necessary stuff, and I like to go over the text with a red pencil 4-5 times before I go on to the next scene. Now I have to decide do I want a scene at Mass General with some funny details from a visit years ago with a not very badly injured family member. Hate to pass up that good stuff. We'll see.

Into Cambridge tonight for a meeting. I won't forget to count the boats in the marina, and pick up a few more details, but I don't be heaving any Molotov Cocktails. Even the most familiar mundane setting can benefit from visiting the scene and taking a good long look. A picture is worth a thousand words, but the writer needs those words to paint the picture.


Aren't you glad the dog days are over?

Grapeshot

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