Tuesday, November 24, 2009

In which a day of procrastination is revealed

NaNoWriMo is going poorly. I really need to stop bloody procrastinating. Yet here I am. Fail.

It doesn't particularly help that I'm so beyond tired all the time, I don't know what's wrong with me. Yawn after yawn, it's annoying. I spent my afternoon napping on the couch.

I know I've mentioned it before, but Lie to Me really is a great show. I am surprised it doesn't get more hype. I've also started watching Better off Ted which is amusing in that 30 Rock kind of way.

I started reading the first one of the last batch of TW novels last night, 'Risk Assessment' by James Goss. You may remember him from my mention of his other TW novel, the crack-fest 'Almost Perfect'. Though I am only four chapters in, I think it is safe to say that out of all the Torchwood novelist, James Goss probably has the firmest handle on the demographic he is writing for. Out of all of them, his work also reads the most like fanfiction and seems to stumbled a little over the fine line of crack-territory that sci-fi often toes. All this is fine however because James Goss, as it turns out, knows how to entertain. Besides, I do so love intertextuality and he does it so well. The man's chapter headings! Honestly, I would not have believed chapter headings could be so joyful if I had never seen his. I though the status-update 'Almost Perfect' ones would never be topped, but those in 'Risk Assessment' come pretty close:

Bleeding Heart Yard: In which something quite remarkable must account for herself, there is sad mention of a submarine, and the domestic skills of Mr Jones are brought into question.

Moving In Society: Containing the Children of Emo, an adventure in a horseless carriage, and Miss Havisham's brief career as an exotic dancer.

Is it particularly well-written? I don't even know. I don't even care. I do know it's amusing however.

I really need to do something about how easily amused I am. Also, I fear I am a disappointment to academia considering my lack of respect for any boundaries of supposed high and low brow culture. It's all fair game to me.

This book talk actually dovetails nicely with the conversation I had with Miss L this morning which alluded to the question whether canon was something to be respected, or something more malleable that can be tested and changed. It came on the back of your discussion about a quote from everyone's favourite megalomaniac regarding the Whoniverse and the whole number of regenerations issue.

I find it interesting to think about these things, not only as a viewer/reader/responder, but from a writer's perspective as well. Personally I feel that it is vital to consider your responders when you are composing something within an existing format. A whole world has already been created and though you may not particularly like it, you are still bound to the laws of that world. If you want to go nuts and do your own thing, you have to start a different verse, do an AU, or just come up with your own original creations. Thus we have comic books - so many variations of the same thing, all tweaking the rules ever so slightly as they go. It's an indefinite number of worlds out there.

Again I can only comment on what I personally prefer, but I am such a stickler for details, when someone makes a throw-away comment in a show, even if it is just a single line, I expect it to be adhered to within the limitations of that show...or book, whatever really, it's all the same. To me it's canon, and so I expect a level of consistency to be carried for the duration. I mean sure you can come along three years later and say a genie appeared from a lamp and made it all go away [Lizzie is thinking "A wizard did it!" - yeah I know, I'm in your head, creepy huh?], but that's just sloppy and totally compromises immersion in said fictional world. You can't just run round making stuff up as you go along, alright yes it's fiction, but you're still working within existing parameters and so surely there is some responsibility to stick to them. Otherwise nothing means anything and that is not fair on the audience. How can someone maintain trust in something that constantly changes to suit its needs? There are ways for this to be circumvented I suppose, but I don't think one should enter into such means lightly.

I'm not talking about, you know, who shot JR and it all being a dream anyway, or other miraculous re-appearances from characters who have been killed (that's simple Back From The Dead tactics, an old stand by in entertainment and a definite case of never say never), I'm more concerned with major things that impact upon your protagonist and form part of the audience's basic understanding of how the fictional world works. It's like saying actually Tony's family never cut him off, or Larry never truly went into space. Elements of what make the characters who and what they are, shape the world in which they exist. Or, to perhaps stretch the image a bit thinly, it's like finding out Batman was actually an alien all along. Changing the fundamental make-up of the character will change everything, not only for the future, but also how the past is viewed.Take one from the other, and you risk cheapening the whole experience.

What did I say yesterday about straying completely into geekdom? In the words of Comic Book Guy - But Aquaman, you cannot marry a woman without gills, you're from two different worlds! Oh, I have wasted my life.

So, any opinions? Think it's alright to tamper with existing mythology to suit your own aims as creator? Or should you sacrifice your "creative vision" to adhere to the world that already exists?

Music: Little Dreamer - Future Islands
Mood: Sore

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