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Month: July 2013

Write-a-thon: final week!

Yes, you can still support me (or anybody else) in the Clarion West 2013 Write-a-thon. If you support me, I will give you a cookie! Well, not actually a cookie. You get a book that I wrote for Nanowrimo in 2008, plus groovy illustrations. Personally, I would rather get a book than a cookie, but it is entirely possible that I am a freak. And now I’m sad, because I imagine your little faces lighting up at the possibility of a cookie, and then I told you it was going to be a book instead, and you’re all disappointed. In fact,…

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The little story engine that could

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This recent Slate article [Save the movie!] suggests that an over-reliance on the beat sheet from Blake Snyder’s “Save the Cat” books is ruining Hollywood movies, but I think it’s completely wrong. The problem with dull blockbusters isn’t that they are following Snyder’s beat sheet — it’s that they aren’t following it.

I admit, when I read the first book, I was a bit skeptical. Sure, the dumb “family comedies” that Snyder was talking about, and that represent what he himself liked to write, follow that formula to the letter — I had observed this ages ago. And I certainly believed he was giving good advice for people seeking to write spec scripts, where we can assume a studio executive will flip to a particular page, hunt for the “correct” element, and toss the script aside if it isn’t found.

But good movies, especially movies in their final form after editing and rewrites, those were surely more varied… weren’t they?

(break for length)

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Write-a-thon weeks 2-4

The short of it: I didn’t write any blog posts because I was too busy actually writing. So, in the interest of remaining entertaining, I am posting an essay that I started long, long ago, and somehow lost the first half of. This essay is about the relationship between writing-writing, Goth House, and my submitaphobia. — But I was waiting for something, and in my head I told myself I was waiting for me to write something that didn’t suck, but that’s probably a lie. When I graduated from college, my thinking was, hey, I’m finally out of school, I…

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The Conjuring

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As part of my birthday shenanigans, we visited the newly remodeled Sundance Cinema in the U-district. (It used to be the Metro) It is now 21-and-over, and you can get a cheese plate and beer and drink in the theater. Also, reserved seats, and really nice big seats with lots of elbow room between them.

Two thumbs up for the theater, although I imagine it will be a disappointment to 18-20 year old UW students.

We saw The Conjuring. I wanted to love it, I really did. I was promised good, old-fashioned haunted house scares, plus Lili Taylor, in a horror movie with nearly universally good reviews. The early scenes, which featured the creepiest of all creepy dolls (who always follows you…), an engaging early-seventies style, and a likable and natural-feeling family moving into the eerie house (the dog won’t come inside!) kept my expectations high. Then…

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(spoilers follow)

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Dear Facebook, you are broken and you ruined my birthday and I hate you

Dear Facebook, you are broken. You have frustrated me so much that you have made what is supposed to be a PLEASANT SOCIAL EXPERIENCE (ie people wishing me a happy birthday) into a nightmarish exercise in dysfunctional computer interfaces and annoyance that ELICITED AN ACTUAL PRIMAL SCREAM OF FRUSTRATION. Seriously. My throat hurts now. Facebook, if you were a thing, I would throw you across the room. (I was able to resist the temptation to throw the computer across the room) JULIEHULK SMASH! On my timeline it tells me that 27 people have wished me a happy birthday. Then it…

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Instructions to the jury

I have been on a jury in a criminal trial. We convicted on assault 4 (which has pretty low standards in Washington State – basically if somebody touches you and you don’t want them to, that counts as assault 4) and one other count, but failed to convict on two more serious counts, including intimidating a witness. But that experience has led me to be curious, whenever a gross miscarriage of justice appears to have occurred – as in the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the deadly shooting of Trayvon Martin – what instructions the jury was given. I couldn’t…

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Write-a-thon: Week 1

A mixed success. I successfully wrote every day for at least half an hour, except for Tuesday — I was still busy setting up the new website, and so the morning got away from me, then I went to the Elizabeth Hand reading, which then turned into an emotional farewell to the Continental, a long-term Clarion West staple, so I didn’t get any writing done after that either. Where I failed was that I wanted to finish a story for Heroic Fantasy Quarterly in time for their June submission window, and didn’t. The story simply took longer to put together…

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