September 30th, 2003

elijah

random thoughts

I got really drunk last night and read all of "Subtleties." I liked the first half but the second less so. Maybe last night was just an off night where it resonated less or maybe I have more distance from it now and can see how self-indulgent a lot of it was, where I wasn't concerned so much with trying to keep Xander hung and nailed on the cross of canon at every single point.

I read through "House of Many Hearts" too, and it was okay, but...I am grumpy. I get these flashes where I try to figure out if my writing is convoluted and elliptic and whether or not the stuff I think I'm saying is in fact all in my own head; is there important stuff I'm leaving out, etc. I know I should have beta readers. But I have so many Issues. It's this whole other thick, complex layer to writing that I'm all avoidy about.

I've decided I have three modes of writing:
1. Sketchy. Example: Subtleties, lots of LJ stuff. Writing not intended to be a proper story. Scribbling, really. I'm just roughing out ideas, scenes, concepts. Few transitions between narrative parts, or abrupt ones. Dialogue just tossed in, often in script style. Narrative flow expanding and contracting at whim--sometimes I detail a sweater at great length and the next thing you know, "A few months passed." Self-indulgent: Lorne/Spike? Sure, baby! Riley/Giles? Watch me--I will *make* that foot fit the shoe even if I have to chop off the heel.

2. Breezy. Example: A Week of Wrong, Throwing Shapes. Conventional narrative flow and dialogue tags bring this up a notch, but it's still very fast and loose, chock full of cliches because I don't stop to second-guess myself. No scoring on originality. Wordplay and odd turns of phrase and run-on sentences crop up; riffs off the top of my head.

3. Crafty. Example: Noir, later Sidelines. I write with outlines; keep extensive story notes. I usually sketch out scenes before I begin to write and know going in what I want to accomplish in terms of themes, character arcs, and plot arcs. I still write sequentially for the most part, but sometimes can write out of order if I know well enough where I want to go with individual scenes. I try to adhere to canon even when it means writing parts of a story I'm not passionately interested in.
Some days it all seems like crap.

I'd like to find a way to combine 2 & 3. More than that I'd like to figure out why I don't necessarily write the things I really like to read, or that turn my crank. I'd say more but there's work to do and I need to eat lunch.

Yesterday I left work and was heading for the bus and felt depressed because I'd been running on half-power all day. When I'm not giving my job my all I feel guilty and crappy, like a rotten person. And I look at all the drab people walking by, and every middle-aged frump waddling to the bus stop, giving off a air of profesional mediocrity, makes me despair of myself and my future, my decline. I am so lucky to have the job I do and yet on nine days out of ten I'm an uncommitted hack--and I *always* want to be elsewhere. It's all about the writing, and even with that I'm just this dilettante, not even making the effort to do pro work, tossing everything off without a beta.

Must refill antidepressant prescription. Must go eat. Must not drink tonight.
elijah

school hard

- The Spike/Dru/Sheila scene strikes me as an homage to "Natural Born Killers."

- I just realized for the first time (am I slow? yeah, always) that someone must have gone all the way back to this ep to play with Spike's mother issues in "Lies My Parents Told Me." It totally makes sense that someone on the ME writing staff said, "You know, why did Spike exclaim 'Women!' and run away when Buffy's mom hit him on the head? Why didn't he keep fighting?" It being so unmanly and all; really *not* vicious and ruthless as he was supposed to be then. And at the end he says: "A slayer with family and friends--that wasn't in the brochure." Well, okay, so what? He could have killed them all. Is it that he *respects* those ties?

- Why doesn't Angel warn Buffy properly about who Spike is? Why so coy? He's rarely very proactive in helping her with stuff, early on.

- Willow's expression as Cordelia prays in the broom closet is priceless. "Ask for some aspirin."

- Spike is anti-ritual, the kind of guy who stirs things up. He comes in at the beginning of the ep in game face and you get the feeling it's a *thing*, it's what you do when you meet strange vamps, to prove yourself one of them. And a lot of his other behavior comes off that way too, as a posture to ensure that he gets respect and deference. But he knows how to show it. He kneels to the anointed one--first incidence of Spike on his knees--but then, yay, offs him.

- "What's a sire?" Cool that they just let that hang unanswered. Let the viewers define it as they will.

- The last line is a classic. "Let's see what's on TV." Love it.
elijah

inca mummy girl

I suppose you could call this one of the show's less-good episodes, but there's still much fun. Xander really gets to be TheWB Boy in this one--the dancing montage is kind of out of tone for the show, or at least for Xander's character; it's really one of the few times he gets to be romantic leading guy material. Likewise when he comforts the mummy girl after she tries to kill Jonathan; he's so sweet and funny and cool there. We get very little of that with later girlfriends; with Cordy and Anya, he's much edgier. (Plus it's very neat the way that scene is shot, by the way; the lighting and shadows. I think it's supposed to be under the stairs?)

Other fun stuff--Willow in her Eskimo outfit, Oz seeing her and being dazzled, Jonathan's and Devon's cameos, the running joke of Cordelia & Sven, references with continuity back to "Prophecy Girl" to close out the ep.

Also, Buffy was at her S2 yummiest in this episode; so very ripe and pretty you can see why Spike's going to get all obsesso about her.