Continuity

This is mainly going to be a short post on some parts of continuity. First off, contuinity, in how I’m using it, means making sure things are consistent across the story. It’s not always easy when writing since the pace of writing can be so slow. I need to look back a lot to make sure what I’m writing currently matches up with what I’ve already written.

I don’t think I keep extensive enough notes on characters and locations. I mainly have what they look like, right down to the eye-color if I noted it previously. I do have almost all characters with more than one line of dialogue written up, though sometimes its just the bare amount.

I really need to keep better notes. For now, I mostly have to memorize or read back on them to know what events have happened.

The worst for me is temporary effects on the characters. Mostly, I’m talking about injuries. I can injure them in one chapter and then completely forget the next chapter. I don’t realize I’m doing it, but readers going directly from one chapter to the next will. I’ve been trying to get better at it, but I am still pretty bad. I even forgot that Hethyr had his eye injured at the end of Book One.

Anyway, just keep good notes on everything, especially if you’re making long epics. There are even software to help you know, if you want to spend money. I just use another document. It does take a bit longer to find what I need and the organization is absolutely horrible. It’s a good thing we have ctrl + f.

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Timing and Time

So, that was a weird title. This is mostly going to be my random thoughts on time and timing withing works. It’s not just on writing, but also on television shows and maybe even movies. This will most be random musings that might amount to nothing, or it might not

What am I referring to when I say timing and time? I am not talking about comedic timing, which is important. I am talking about the difference in story time and real time and writing time.

For instance, say you want to leave a cliffhanger for one chapter in a book. You might leave a character presumed dead. Now, you take a break from writing to work on other projects, or maybe something else comes up. When you return to the story, it feels like it had been a long time since you last seen the character, so you might just bring him/her back. To the reader, it will feel like a wasted cliffhanger since the character immediately comes back because they can just zip along reading.

Of course, you should consider story time when dealing with these kinds of situations because you can’t account for how fast the reader reads, or even if they decide to take a break. Story time won’t work if you end the book/episode on a cliffhanger though, since then the reader being able to read the next part is in the author’s hands again. Right up until you actually publish your work, at least because new readers will be able to just go from one book/episode to the next.

With movies, a director can have a much better sense of timing because it can be reasonably assumed that the audience will stay there watching it all in one shot.

What’s the point I’m trying to make here? I have no idea. Maybe just preserving tension through time isn’t really effective. With on-demand and new binge-watching series that’s released all at once, the only effective cliffhanger is the end of the season one, and that’s just until the next season.

It makes it sound like I’m saying cliffhangers are bad, which I’m not. I think they can be more effective with a clever or emotional, “Wow, so that’s how he escaped/caught/did cool thing,” rather than going for pure shock. As such, always plan out a cliffhanger when you write it. If you don’t have a good answer, don’t trust that one will come to you in the time between writing episodes/movies/etc. Maybe that’s the point of the whole thing, something completely different than the opening sentence.

I guess it’s important to consider that now, people have ready access to content and can consume them at their leisure, barring the time it takes to produce the content, of course. So real time is how much time actually passes from when the audience watches from point A to point B. Story time is how much time in the story passes between point A and point B. Writing time is how much time it takes the author to get betwen point A and point B. And all three are different, sometimes wildly.

Is there any lesson to be learned here? Probably not. See you next time!

Season Finale, Almost Human

Michael Ealy, buddy cop show, take two.

With the first season of Almost Human over, I guess I’ll write my thoughts on it. First off, I really like the premise and the special effects. In the future, technology is expanding too fast to be properly regulated and crime is on the rise. To help, all police now have a robot partner. I suppose they have only a 13 episode season because all of the visuals take a lot of time and money to make right.

Their vision of the future isn’t really unique, but it does make a great backdrop for a lot of cool new crime that’s not possible in modern times. A lot of the cases are fun futuristic twists and showing off technology on both the criminals and police are great to watch. The effects are all pretty good, as well. There’s also a lot of small world-building stuff that they say. It’s not important to the current case, but it’s fun to know.

The MX’s really seem to get the short end of the stick, though. They need some upgrades because they are almost entirely ineffective against whatever criminal is on the loose that week. It does make Dorian seem a lot more special and competant, but I think they could show the MX’s in some large, raid style assault being effective.

Main characters, police detective Kennex and his robot partner, Dorian, are a blast to watch. They banter instead of bicker, and for the most part, people treat Dorian as human because he feels and acts that way. I enjoy the back and forth between the two of them. I’m glad that Dorian’s robotness isn’t a huge issue in the plot. It’s more about him fitting in and getting along with people. Even the supposed jerk of the series (detective Paul) doesn’t hassle Dorian that much.

The side characters themselves bring an interesting view to the future world. Rudy, while being funny when he’s awkward, also tells us a lot about future technology. Detective Stahl shows the human gene modifications of the future, and I hope that it comes into play more. For now, it’s mostly just backstory. Captain Maldonado feels a bit like most other higher ups in these kinds of shows. She’s in charge, and other people know it.

It really feels like they wanted to make a longer season, because there are still several plot points left hanging. They might, or might not all be connected. I’m fairly pleased with the season finale as it’s not a large, everyone’s in danger cliffhanger. It feels more like the end of the current character arc between Kennex and Dorian.

I certainly hope Fox picks it up for a second season. ¬†Almost Human is an great fun romp with future tech. It provides a new police drama that’s not available anywhere else. The main characters are fun to watch. And there is quite a lot of background on the world of the future that are hidden around. I want to know more about the world, like what’s the deal with the wall.

On another note, I also enjoyed Common Law, Michael Ealy’s previous buddy cop show. I was quite disappointed when it wasn’t renewed for a second season. So, good luck to you, Michael Ealy.

Oscars

Oscars recently aired, and I will admit that I enjoy watching the Oscars more than some of the movies they nominate. I’m a bit disappointed that I didn’t get to watch the entire thing. I set it to record on DVR, yes, I’m a bad person for not watching it live. However, the time wasn’t set to long enough, so I missed the last half hour and where all of the important stuff was. I looked everything up online, though. That’ll teach me not to watch it live.

I’ve only seen one of the movies of the year, and if you read my blog, you’ll know which one. Gravity, I saw Gravity.

I do get a bit tired of the same thing getting nominated time and time again. By same, I am using it in the sense that the stories are all about the human condition, overcoming heavy adversity and other deeply serious topics like that, and mostly based on true stories, too. At least half of the best pictures were based on true stories. I wanted to see Gravity because, while realistic, it shows me something that I won’t usually see in life, and that’s the great spectacle and vastness of space.

Also, best (supporting) actor/actresses, most of them give the same kind of drama, emotional performance. When the best supporting actor/actress category rolled around, at least half of the highlight clips were of people yelling in anger, sadness or some other negative emotion. Why can’t great happiness be considered the best acting? If it’s not drama, it’s not good acting, and I don’t agree with that. Even comedy movies that get nominated have some kind of serious emotional problems somewhere along the way.

It’s to the point that there’s almost a formula for making movies that get Oscar awards. Time it right and make it about a real person. Of course you need supremely talented people as well, actors, actresses, directors and those other behind the scenes people. But if they made a happy movie not based on a real event, it wouldn’t be nominated nearly as much.

The best actors/actresses should be celebrated for playing a range of characters. It’s all too rare for them to nominate happy roles. Making people smile and believe that the character is happy also takes acting skill.

This is all just my opinion, and I still fully believe that everyone who’s nominated has great talent, not just the actors but all the technical people as well. They make great films with powerful statements and deep looks into people.

Still not something I’m into. I’m not saying, I’m just saying.

Oscars themselves were great. I liked how much Ellen Degeneres went out into the audience and interacted with them, from random chatting to taking pictures. Her opening was pretty good as well. Though I think my favorite is still Hugh Jackman’s.