Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I'm back! (with a new face)

Summer has arrived! Game of Thrones has ended, True Blood S4 is upon us... time for a comeback!

Starting with Game of Thrones. This HBO adaption of the "Songs of Fire and Ice" book series has had me enthralled from the end of the premiere until the finale that aired on Sunday. I usually do not like high fantasy much. I read Lord of the Rings of course, but it was tedious. I had to push myself through it, and it wasn't long before I found myself skipping pages and pages of endless description. Wizards, goblins and trolls aren't really my thing. I prefer lightsabers, you see...

Game of Thrones is unique in that it remains unusually true to the source material (the book readers form something close to a cult and that is what they tell me). Since the author has been in close cooperation with the HBO writing team I imagine this had something to do with it as well (he even wrote one of the episodes). It's all for the better, since the characters in GoT are numerous, diverse, range from psychotic bitch to powerful queens and leaders, most are complex and the show has somehow managed to keep multiple storylines (up to five in mid-season!) interesting and relevant all at once. Wow! Watching it has been both a source of undeniable pleasure and a lesson in humility: good writing pays off.

Another unusual aspect about GoT is how many of the characters are just plainly despicable. Rarely have I been so invested in characters so quickly that I find myself hating them. Actually hating them, imagining them suffering as they scream for help and mercy. Lena Headey 's(300, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) character Cersei is one of the most heinous personage I've seen written in a book in quite a while, and yet, I've enjoyed every seconds she was on screen. After the premiere, I found myself thinking "Wow, this is a creepy character" and an episode later, she had officially graduated to full-on bitchdom. By the end of the season I was screaming at my TV, literally screaming "JUST DIE!" I will not even mention her son Joeffrey (cast perfectly too, by the way) who makes my blood boil by his sheer on-screen presence, or all the other morally repulsive characters. Yet, if a writer has somehow managed to captivate me enough to initiate these emotional responses towards completely fictional people, that is definitely a very good writer. GoT has perhaps two or three characters with a functional moral compass, which makes it very hard to cheer for any of them. Characters, even main ones, also have the tendency to die all the time, which makes it more difficult to get attached. Considering the first book in the series was published in 1996, I imagine many agents or publishing houses would pass over them if they were queried with that project today. It's just too dark and depressive for the new crowd, who prefer happy endings and clich├ęs Hollywood endings. In that regard, GoT is a breath of fresh air. After Sunday's finale (which is still giving me goosebumps everytime I rewatch it... actual goosebumps people, all over!), the show has risen to one of my favorite series of all time, right up there with Battlestar Galactica. I also have a huge crush on Emilia Clarke, who is both incredibly talented and gorgeous, but that is entirely subjective :)

As for the writing...

Isn't it difficult to start a new project? Wow. After working on Trinity for over a year, getting excited over queries, full and partial requests, then being disappointed, it's like running a hot rollercoaster. Letting a project go, especially your first I imagine, was particulary difficult. It demands that you change your mindset, empty your head so that new characters can live and prosper in that writer's brain of yours. This was the most difficult, and it took a lot of time. I wonder how it was for you guys, those who might have written quite a few manuscripts already? I was just talking about this with good lady pal Kay Em Evans, who's still working on her first ms, GYPSY. She mentioned how hard it must be to come up with an entirely new protag and voice after you've been so close to your characters in another project for so long. It's a good point, but if the voice fits the new project, and it was good to begin with, I don't see anything wrong with writing similarly. Unless you publish that first manuscript of course, in which case we wouldn't be having this conversation! What's your take on this, writer friends?

It's been exciting to read Twitter feeds and author blogs. Some got awesome news, others didn't. The ebook era is apparently changing the game, so many writers are speaking of self-publishing avenues and the countless possibilities that e-readers provide. Though putting some distance between myself and writing for some time was very beneficial to my motivation, it was just as hard to completely ignore the literary world. It just moves so quickly, you meet so many interesting and fascinating folks... even in a world where I never get a book published (regardless of method), I'll see be thankful for those awesome people I met.

Summer is now officially here, so I wish you all a great season. May it be blessed with plenty of sunlight, precious time with family, friends and loved ones, and hopefully, a book deal for at least one of you! I leave you on a new author/photographer self portrait! And don't forget to DVR True Blood on Sunday!