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Archive for November, 2008

NaNoWriMo

Why I haven’t posted much in November

November is National Novel Writing Month – NaNoWriMo. 50,000 words in one month. NaNoWriMoIt’s a very different way to write than my normal ‘take my time, enjoy the research, let my normal adult attention deficit syndrome take hold’ method. That, plus rebuilding my fence from Hurricane Ike and the always long fun work hours made this a challenge.

I took the opportunity to add 50,000 words to my 37,000 word start of my second novel, Software by the Kilo. The good news is that the experience helped me to get the first draft almost done. The unknown will be if this actually shortens or lengths the process of editing and finalizing, since it was such a quick and hectic process.

I hope to have a draft in my first reader’s hands (aka my gorgeous wife) before Christmas.

movrev: Twilight

Twilight, Percy Jackson and Harry Potter: the young adult novel series are outselling “adult” books, and the movies are following suit.

I’ve read and written notes on all the books in the series, so a short note about the movie.

The movie, unlike some screen adaptations, does not stray AT ALL from the novel. The screenwriter (Melissa Rosenberg) knew that legions of Stephenie Meyer’s fans would descend upon this film. So even the dialog was lifted directly from the pages of the book.

Guys, have no doubt: even though there are vampires here, this is definitely the chick flick of the year (yes, say what you will, I took my wife). The book was aimed at teenage girls, and the movie follow suit. There is some action, some interesting sequences…but for the most part this is a film about a teenage girl in love with a vampire that looks teenaged (but like all vamps is much older).

Pros:

  • It doesn’t stray far from the book;
  • The baseball playing sequence is excellent (gotta play during a thunderstorm because their bats are load);
  • The scenery is gorgeous, the cinematographer is to be congratulated. Beautiful shots of the Washington state area;
  • The scene were Edward take Bella to meet his family is quite funny, and quite well done (they watch the cooking channel, they’ve never used the kitchen, she ate before she got there because she knew they didn’t eat).

Cons:

  • Some of the acting is painful, particularly the other high school kids. C’mon, I know high schoolers are awkward (my son is one) but the ones I know are not nearly this goofy. Maybe I am lucky?
  • Parts of the movie, like parts of the book, were just downright boring. Might be different for teenage girls…
  • In the book, the Cullens were supposed to be drop-dead gorgeous; in the movie, not so much. Rosalie looked like a two-bit hooker, not the ravishing beauty that the book describes.
  • Quite a bit of overacting throughout, not just with Bella’s high school friends, but with Bella and Edward in some scenes as well.

Bottom line: if you liked the book, you will like the movie.

Into Africa by Martin Dugard

bookrev: Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley & Livingstone by Martin Dugard

“Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” is a cliche phrase, which imparts a hint of the story of Stanley Into Africa by Martin Dugardmeeting Dr. Livingstone in the heart of Africa. This book, written with excellent pacing where the excitement builds like it were a thriller novel, gives the background of that historical meeting, including the circumstances that cemented its place in history. An excellent depiction not only of the heart of Africa in the mid-to-late 1800′s, but of the British and American struggle for position and leadership.

Dr. David Livingstone was already a legendary explorer, having walked across Africa and discovered (and named) many now famous landmarks. Dr. Livingstone was a revered hero in Britain, a middle-class individual whose latest adventures were discussed in Parliament, and by royalty. Livingstone was also obsessed with discovery, culminating in his later years with his almost suicidal obsession to discover the source of the Nile.

This is not the Africa of luxury safaris with camera, gourmet meals and guards. This is Africa of diseases, no roads, cannibals, more poisonous snakes than any other place, Arab slave traders and thievery. It is into this Africa that Livingstone sets out into once again in March 1866 from Zanzibar, to pursue his theory that the Nile flows from a series of lakes further south of Lake Victoria. He was 53 years old, somewhat long in the tooth, even for the ‘lion’ of the explorers. (more…)

Re-reading MSandT

Re-reading Tad William's Memory, Sorrow and Thorn

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Dusk Before the Dawn

Dusk Before the Dawn

Software By the Kilo

Software by the Kilo

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