Tuesday, July 04, 2006


As our city is bogged down beneath the weight of a heat wave, the headaches, nausea, and periods of listlessness I have when the temperature rises beyond my melting point (25 degrees Celsius) have made reading and writing, as opposed to watching television or listening to music, the choice activity to do.

I've finally pushed my way through the last book reviews due for Green Man Review on the pile of books I received from Warner Books. It was hard, because none of them were really my cup of tea - most being bland novel adaptations of comic books, stories about spunky paranormal girls who flirt with werewolves, have sex with Scottish vampires, and socially-ignorant demons who love pizza, and silly teen novels about crazy kids who fight off drug dealers while transporting themselves into an illusory state where they can see the future.

I also finished a slew of movie reviews for SEE Magazine, which had me watching a lot of films, including Click (which I liked), The Proposition (which I really liked), Peaceful Warrior (which was generally inoffensive), and The Devil Wears Prada (which I hated). On my free time, I've also seen Nacho Libre (which was disappointing) and Superman Returns (even more disappointing - but then again, I've never been a fan of Big Blue myself).

I also went to an interesting information session at the public library which was being directed by the folks at On Spec, an exceptional speculative fiction magazine (I used to think "speculative fiction" referred to that branch of science fiction that dealt with alternative histories, but really it's a general term for fantasy, science fiction, magical realism, etc. etc.). I had heard of it, of course, but due to my ignorance of what "speculative fiction" meant, I'd never considered sending any of my stories there way.

It was a good thing I went to that session, though. I found out that they're situated right here in Canada, quite close to where I live, so that I can save on postage. I used to send my stories to Challenging Destiny first for the very reason that they were the closest and gave the swifted replies, but I think I'll have to make On Spec my go-to magazine, and not only because they are favoured by Tor editor Patrick Hayden.

So, I've given them a shot by sending them my much-revised copy of "Whiff", the short story I wrote in my Creative Writing class last spring. In the last couple of days I toned down the "cutsey" factor of the first half, changed a couple of terms around so that they were less awkward, and sent it in. I really have to be prompt about sending in stories - because if I give it a few weeks, I'll always be disappointed in the story when I look at it again and have to spend more time on rewrites.

I'm still in the planning stages of my screenplay, but that's mainly because I'm learning more about screenplays by reading books on them, and going to websites and reading actual scripts of movies. I'm currently reading James Cameron's script for the Spider-Man movie that never got made, and you have no idea how relieved I am. The story it presented was simply awful. Not only did it make Peter Parker a college senior (in the comics he gets his powers at age fifteen, and even though he took him out of high school really quickly, Sam Raimi's film still had him get his powers in time to fight the high school bully and have a meltdown in the cafeteria), but they had lots of scientific craziness at the beginning that I didn't really like. The fateful spider being irradiated by "anti-force"? Puh-leeze.

I didn't like how they made Aunt May care more about Peter getting a girlfriend then having grades, but I didn't mind how Liz Allen was the love interest here. I much preferred the sympathetic-but-crazy Ock of Spider-Man 2 to James Cameron's Doc Ock--who was an unrealistically portrayed asshat from the start and had a toady named Weiner. Tee-hee, Weiner! I'm still reading through it, though, and it's interesting how they set up scenes. I had no idea how much power the screenwriter has on the look on a movie, considering people (namely, I) can never remember the names of screenwriters the way they do directors and actors.

I always figured that screenwriters did the script, then the directors directed where the characters moved and what the sets looked like, but apparently not. I'm kinda glad. I'd love to be a successful screenwriter - if you want my shallow reasons, it's because I love movies, I'd still have a chance to win an Oscar, the pay would be great, and I'd have fame and respect but no recognition. Perfect!

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