Sunday, January 13, 2013

My Writing, The Life of Pi and The Hobbit

My last couple of posts were about my writing aspirations for this year and movies I planned to see because I had read the books. So here’s an update on how my writing and movie viewing is progressing.


After writing 50,264 words for National Novel Writing Month last November, I have decided to keep monthly records of the number of new words I write for my novel in the hope it might motivate me. In December I wrote 11,459 words or 376 words per day. So far in January I have only added 3716 words to the novel.

I have some good news about the Divine website: the editor tells me it will continue this year, but at a reduced capacity. Only three articles will go up per week, instead of five. So it might be harder to get an article posted. I pitched an idea for a new article to the editor on Friday.

I have been fooling around with Google+. So far it is has not done anything to piss me off, unlike Facebook. My writing friends on it seem to be less active, perhaps waiting for someone like me to enliven the place, so come on over to the light-side and join me.


The Hobbit

The more I think about the Hobbit, the more unflattering my opinion of it becomes. While not as bad as George Lucas’ first Star Wars prequel, the Hobbit is not a lot better. The dialogue frequently came from the modern world and not Tolkien’s. I found this jarring. Some of the awful pop philosophy made me cringe. I can imagine Ian Mckellan saying, “You might have written this stuff, but I am the one who has to say it”. The first hour of the movie was a waste of film. The Dwarfs were too indestructible for us to worry if they might actually die. So unless I read outstanding reviews before the next instalment, I am not going.

The Life of Pi.

I had read The Life of Pi so I knew about the revelation at the end, which changed everything I had just read. The revelation changes the book from an enjoyable fantasy, to a much darker commentary on the emotional trauma of shipwreck survivors.

I wondered how knowledge of the revelation would affect my viewing of the film.
But while watching the movie, except where the tiger looks at its reflection in the ocean, I did not notice any red flags for the revelation. I still lost myself in its story, unlike The Hobbit where my mind wandered from the nothing happenning on the screen quite frequently.  

One of the Life of Pi’s themes of the impact of spirituality on survival was more evident to me in the film. I think Life of Pi is a worthy nominee for Best Picture.

The Passage/Justin Cronin.

A few posts ago I wrote that The Passage, by Justin Cronin, would make a great miniseries. It’s an apocalyptic novel where the US is overrun by millions of genetically engineered vampires. Well it turns out that there are plans to make it into a movie. At 950 pages there is plenty of material for the screenwriters to work with, unlike The Hobbit.

I read an interview with Justin Cronin in which he heaped praise on Nevil Shute’s On the Beach. Cronin suggests this is why part of The Passage is set in Australia at a university conference a thousand years in the future. I have seen the movie and awful miniseries of On the Beach, but not read the book, yet.

And for those of us who were wondering why his writing is so good, Cronin is a Harvard educated English Professor who taught creative writing for many years.  


Karen Tyrrell said...

Hi Graham, I enjoyed viewing both The Hobbit and Life of Pi. Both were visual feasts, transporting me away into their exquisite fantasy worlds ... Karen :)

Anthony J. Langford said...

Tend to agree with you on The Hobbit. Havent seen Life of Pi so I skipped over that review.

The Passage sounds good, he might be a good writer, though I don't necessarily think creative writing teachers make good writers.