Wednesday, June 21, 2017

I've Finally Seen: DOCTOR STRANGE (2016)

© by Gerald So | 9:00 a.m.

I'd been meaning to watch the Benedict Cumberbatch Doctor Strange movie since it premiered last November. One thing after another put it off until it fell into my lap on Netflix streaming this month.

I like the character of Strange from the comics, and I think the movie delivers him reasonably well. That's another way of saying there were no surprises. Cumberbatch was good, Ejiofor was good, Mikkelsen was good... The movie did the job of setting Strange in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but like many movies hoping to be franchises, it pulled its best punches for later. (Batman Begins, Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes, Green Lantern...) This was Strange's training film, with Baron Mordo at his side. Maybe the sparks will really fly in Doctor Stranger.

Though it didn't affect my overall opinion of the movie, I did have a problem with Tilda Swinton cast as The Ancient One. I like Swinton's acting in general. My problem is the character was given a new backstory as a Celtic woman. I can't see the story advantage over keeping the character Asian and casting an Asian man or woman.

Ups and Downs

© by Gerald So | 6:45 a.m.

I hope you've noticed I haven't blogged in almost a month. (Noticing means you check my blog.) The reason turns out to be good.

On May 28, I received a rejection for a story I submitted to an anthology almost six months earlier that saw me retool characters I created in a 1995 mystery novel writing workshop. I thought the work of revision took me to a different place as a writer. I was confident the story would be accepted to the anthology and that disappointed it wasn't.

For a day or two I did nothing but wonder if I should move on to a different project. The specific anthology theme gave me the idea to use the characters again at all. "Should I just forget them?" I asked.

Then, early one morning, I opened the rejected story file and just started writing, targeting it for Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine or Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. I figure, why not? These are the most mainstream mystery characters and story I've written. Yes, EQMM and AHMM are big game, the average word counts on their accepted stories four times longer than most I've published, but why not?

Giving myself that word count and standard of quality to hit, I'm trying to learn greater character and plot development by doing. Going to the keyboard any time of the day has been automatic. I'd rather be distracted by these characters than anything else.

So far, I've produced different length versions of the story, from 1,000 to 2,500 words. Currently I've worked back up to 1,500 words and will submit the length I think tells the story and showcases the characters best. Reading my drafts are three college friends who've known the characters as long as I have.

With luck, this venture will end in publication, but for now it's given me what's important, enthusiasm for the process.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Roger Moore Dies

© by Gerald So | 6:30 a.m.

Sir Roger Moore died yesterday at 89 after a brief battle with cancer. I grew up watching him as Simon Templar and James Bond.

The stature Connery attained playing Bond, Moore had before he came to Bond. True his Bond strayed from Fleming's harder-edged, fallible character, but that proved Bond could be played differently, something he proved continually over a tenure that remarkably matched Connery's for cultural impact, giving Bond much of the charm and humor that sustain the franchise.

His advanced age also marks years of kindness and commitment to bettering the world. That's a role model.