Sunday, May 13, 2007

Exclusive! Get It Here!

I took this evening off and, during the general and delicious R&R, watched Quatermass and the Pit. What a fabulous movie, and so ahead of its time. What makes it especially brilliant is the script - Nigel Kneale, of course - written in the fifties, revised in the sixties for the film, and absolutely dead on the noughties zeitgeist. As a writer of sf (albeit of the combat variety), it’s humbling to see so many relevant and oh-so contemporary themes right there, in a 1967 film. And we think the new stuff is new. There are no new ideas. Well, there are, but they’re staggeringly scarce and none of us are having any of them. I advise you all to watch it, anyway. It so shockingly prefigures Who and so many genre moments (Carrie, the Fury, Test Match Special... and I could go on). And yes, I know Who predates 1967. But not the original version of QatP. It would not be a surprise to me to learn that Russell T. and many of the writers and producers in the long legacy of Who were inspired by Quatermass in general and QatP in particular.

In tone, if nothing else.

Moving swiftly along (yes, Test Match Special WAS a joke), I have been asked a number of times to share some writing tips (of which, of course, I must have many) with the world. So here goes, the first of an occasional series of writerist observations:

Dan’s Writing Tips #1
Sometimes, a project - a novel, a story, a script - is like a piñata. The plot just hangs there and wants you to take a smack at it. A couple of solid thwacks, maybe, just to open it up. Then you have to keep on smacking it to get at all its goodies. It may resist and require a lot of smacking. Some projects are tough like that. Legion is like that.

To sum up: keep swinging. You’ll break the bastard eventually.

Today, Nik referred to Laurence Fishburne as “Loren Finchperson”. Later (during QatP, actually) she called a belisha beacon a “Beleeka Beeshon”. I don’t mean to mock. I just think that today may be National Lexical Drop-Out Day.

And now, before we drift off into sunday-land, here’s the first in a string of short short stories, exclusive to this blog. Short short story one is called..

Quatermouse and the Writ

“But I wasn’t anywhere near the Ballspond Road that night!” complained Professor Bernard Quatermouse.

“Whatever,” said the server, “you’ve just been sued.’

The End

Humm. Piñatas, like I said.


Anonymous said...

Well when you write about silly Legions, such things are bound to happen.

Unless they involve a battle on Calth.

*looks hopeful*

Col.Gravis said...

Hehe like the writing tip, hell could be applied to most projects, tis so true!

Anonymous said...

Nik said...
Tim - tonight, during R&R (it was good for me too, Dan put his pinny on) we listened to Kate Bush (no really) and Fountains of Wayne.

You guys - are so cool. There are almost enough of you now to get a Dan clone to do the dreaded BLOGATHON (and yes I will shout. I think it's worth shouting about) He's talking about next Sunday 10am to 10pm London time. (Having said that, I wonder how much the R&R has gone to his head, and how much he might regret saying this to me in the glaring light of day tomorrow.)

Everyone - Sign up! Sign up now! Do it!

Dan - BTW your mac laptop is pants.

PS I wrote this very late last night and put in the wrong place. Everyone should go a little crazy some times.

Toymachine said...


Don't get it.

Woohoo! Im up for a blogathon!
Dunno what that is either, but count me in!

Anonymous said...

Just googled about blogathon. Sounds... weird. Looking forward to.

Jesse said...

So, is a blogathon like a marathon? Is Dan to be required to put out 26.2 blogs in 12 hours? And if so, what constitutes .2 of a blog?

I've said it before, and as I continue to work, it only becomes more true. Writing a story is like trying to carve one perfect paperweight out of the Rock of Gibraltar (although now it seems like one of the Hindu Kush). Just my opinion.

Nik, I agree. Everyone needs to go looney every now and then. I usually shoot for 7:30 pm on Thursdays, Pacific Standard Time.

Anonymous said...

The rules of the blogathon are as follows.

Dan writes 500(ish) words per hour. He takes the rest of the hour off (if there is any) and you guys get to comment. He starts a blog at the beginning of each hour, but if there are no comments he takes the next hour off, so it's up to you guys to keep him going.

In theory, if enough people are interested, this whole charade will potentially take place on Sunday 27th May from 10am to 10pm London time(date yet to be decided, he's a busy man after all)

I can't believe I'm talking him in to this, because you know who's going to end up doing the typing:-)

Rob Rath said...

That's 10 PM to 10 AM my time...

Thanks for the writing advice. I'm about to resume abusing my manuscript now that things at school are over.

To all other writers here: I have a really helpful trick to keep me focused.

Print out a piece of paper that says in bold font: "You Should Be WRITING." Frame it and put it on your desk. It guilts you.

If you start getting used to where it is, move it to a different spot.

Anonymous said...

I'll remember that; tell me, do you need to use giant neon letters? Or will black and white do?

marco said...

I always had a piece of paper stuck to my monitor that simply said Get it down, change it later.

Oh, except it had some industrial strength swearing at three separate point as well.