Sunday, January 16, 2005

WinterVision and reactive characters

Captain’s Log, Stardate 01.16.05

I am enjoying a lazy Sunday with my dog in my office. Well, she’s sort of trapped in my office because I need to close the door to keep the heat from escaping. She doesn’t seem too upset, although if I went to the door she’d probably jump up with her butt wiggling.

Today is the last day for the northern California Christian teen retreat, Winter Vision. My fellow youth group leader, David Kawaye, is the speaker for the Junior High school division. Terrific honor. I’m positive he’s done a great job this weekend. He’s already spoken at church a few times and he’s always done a great job when teaching the kids at youth group meetings on Saturday nights.

There are also several cabin leaders who used to be part of our church youth group. I love how they volunteer to give up their weekend to serve this way. It makes me feel both proud and old to hear of my former youth group students being cabin leaders.

I’ve been watching Battlestar Galactica on the SciFi channel, the remake of the original. It’s a pretty good series: great actors, even the minor characters; terrific characterization--tons of character conflict, both internal and external; good writing so far. I saw the miniseries premiere when it aired last year, and I’ve seen the two-hour series premiere of two 1-hour episodes.

The only thing I don’t like about it--and this is a big thing--is that the director has been using that fast-moving camera action stuff reminiscent of NYPD Blue. Since I tend to get motion sickness easily, it makes me really ill to watch the show for more than an hour or so at a time, and even then I have to close my eyes at points. Problem is, it must not bother most people or they wouldn’t be using that type of camera action, so I might be stuck. I’ll probably continue watching it, but if the writing starts to deteriorate I might use that as an excuse to stop.

Meanwhile, I’ve been enjoying the new seasons of LOST and Alias. We have 24 recorded on our Tivo, but haven’t had time to watch it yet.

I read a Regency romance today with characters that had horrific pasts, but somehow the writing didn’t make me care about them very much. The heroine seemed to get over her family’s deaths and her own mental baggage--with the hero’s help, of course--a bit too easily. From a psych major’s point of view, it seems a bit too convenient that she healed from her emotional trauma by simply sharing about her past with the hero.

The hero seemed hung up on his own problems. His emotional angst was deep and black, but didn’t move me. I found myself skipping his internal monologues, which became redundant--returning to the same problems, no new insights to change his mind. His actions for the heroine only postponed what he had intended to do all along. He didn’t go through any decisions or struggles about his goal, no deviation from his set purpose until the very end when he’s presented with new information to make him realize he wasn’t in the wrong after all. That seems rather like a cop-out. He didn’t do anything to resolve his own issues; the resolution was handed to him to make him change his course.

I think I would have been more satisfied with the book if the characters had done more on their own initiatives for themselves. If the heroine had worked harder to heal herself rather than living in fear and being helped out of it by the hero. If the hero had questioned the rumors or sought the source of his ruined childhood, making inquiries himself rather than the heroine doing it without his knowledge. Both characters acted out of love for the other, but as a reader I would have cared more for them if they had been proactive about their own problems rather than only for others and not themselves.

I read about this recently in Maass’ “Writing the Breakout Novel”: readers enjoy characters who do what they wouldn’t or couldn’t, characters who are brave and courageous in their own ways. Scarlett O’Hara fights for Tara and Ashley, Samwise Gamgee remains fiercely loyal to Frodo despite Gollum’s lies. Whether fiery or quiet, these characters exhibit strength in their circumstances that raises them above the norm.

I wanted the characters in this Regency to decide to fight their own battles and master their own demons rather than others convincing them to do it, or doing it for them. They weren’t solely reactive to the story elements taking place around them, but it was close. That made me lukewarm about the characters themselves.

Writing: none today, it’s my day of rest. But I didn’t get much done yesterday, either, because my husband was home and we caught up on TV watching.

Diet: Oh, don’t go there. I feel as broad as a flawn (Ha! New word). But I’m going to try to eat more vegetables. Today I’m at 950 calories so far, and hopefully I won’t pig out tonight at dinner.




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2 comments :

  1. Camy,

    You're not missing so much with 24. It's okay. Better than last season, but still not as good as year one. Lost and Alias are both kicking serious booty. (Now if they could just stop showing so much booty in the process...I'd be ecstatic! LOL)

    Keep kicking it on the diet/PT front. You're inspiring me. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Camy,

    You're not missing so much with 24. It's okay. Better than last season, but still not as good as year one. Lost and Alias are both kicking serious booty. (Now if they could just stop showing so much booty in the process...I'd be ecstatic! LOL)

    Keep kicking it on the diet/PT front. You're inspiring me. :)

    ReplyDelete

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