Good Morning, Sunday 10th December 2017

This last week I haven’t done a huge amount of writing, what I have done has only been a few hundred words a day. I have been working on some world building and outlining for another project which could be a wasted exercise as I’ve a feeling it’s not going to go anywhere in the new year (long story). Despite it probably being pointless I’m going to crack on with it as it’s proving a good learning experience, in that I’m just jotting down ideas. They’re all randomly spread across the paper (I’m going pen and paper for this process) and what I’m going to do is put them in the right order when I type it all up. What my goal is, is to have it as a file I can present someone but in digital and paper format. It’s also helping me to get my thoughts organised. My brain tends to be a chaotic whirlwind of thoughts and this is helping quite a bit.

I have got a story with Beta readers at the moment that I’ll be submitting shortly. There’s another anthology that I want to submit to as well and I was planning on getting stuck into that one today, but I have a few non-writing bits to do today as well. So I’ll see what time I have once I’ve done those.

My little goal this coming week is to try and get up to 500 words a day. If I can do that on my main project for the rest of the year I’ll be very happy.

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Good Morning 3rd December 2017

It’s been a hectic few weeks as I’ve had some family concerns, which has resulted in me having to back away a lot from writing until things return to normal. I have been writing, although NaNoWriMo was a disaster if you look at word counts. In the end I got 21,343 words written. That averaged out to 711 words a day. But in all I wrote 27,146 words for the month as I had a short story I needed to write and I did work on a few other projects early on in the month.

The story I’ve written for NaNo hasn’t worked out how I was hoping it too, and I did almost give up on NaNo at one point. I wanted to get some words added on it every day though. I wanted to get that consistency for the month.

Now I’m working on a rewrite from a story I wrote for NaNo a couple of years ago. I think this is probably the third draft of this one now, but I feel like I’ve got a decent handle on the setting, characters and the story I want to tell now. I had started that one before November so I’ve got over 10k words already and I’m just getting into some of the fun stuff with it. This story is the first one where I really let myself go a bit and dug very deep into that dark side of myself to get the story I want.

I have got a short story I want to get stuck into that’ll be for submission early next year as well. I’ve got another short that I’ve edited and will hopefully get off to my Beta readers next week before submitting that one.

Although I’ve had to slow down a little, I’m still trying to keep moving forward.

DC Cinematic Universe

My buddy Stefan and I went to see Justice League last Tuesday (21st November), and I left feeling a touch unsatisfied. It’s got some great moments in it, particularly Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen/The Flash. I’m not overly familiar with The Flash so can’t say how accurate a portrayal it was but I enjoyed it a lot. He was funny, a little unsure of himself but still had conviction and stood up when he was needed to. I like Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne, Gal Gadot is just awesome as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman. I liked Ray Fisher as Cyborg/Victor Stone, although I was put off a little by the CGI on his body here and there. Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry/Aquaman was pretty cool as well. Like The Flash I’m not that familiar with Aquaman or Cyborg, so I can’t say how these versions of the characters compared but I liked them.

I like Henry Cavill as Superman, but I don’t really feel like we’ve seen him as Superman yet. I liked Man Of Steel, but that was an origin film and he didn’t really get the chance to be Superman or the Clark Kent we know. With Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice I don’t feel like we really got much of the character in that either. To be honest we barely saw him in that movie, and in Justice League he’s in it about the same amount of time as he was in Batman Vs. Superman.

I’ve been trying to put my thoughts straight on the DCCU for a while. I will admit to being an unabashed Marvel movie fan, but I’m also a big fan of Batman, well the whole of the Gotham setting and characters, to be honest. I grew up watching the animated series in the 90s along with the Spider-Man and X-Men animated series (He-Man, Transformers, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles before that). I love the Tim Burton/ Michael Keaton Batman movies as well. I liked the Nolan films okay, but they always felt to much like they were in the real world too much, and I’m not the biggest fan of Christian Bale. The other DC based movie in that sort of time bracket was Green Lantern, which I thought was pretty decent. I didn’t find it as bad as everyone seemed to make it out to be.

***Potential Spoilers From Here***

 

 

 

 

 

As I said, there are parts of the Justice League that I liked. I’ve mentioned the actors, but one scene that I found extremely pleasing and fun was when Steppenwolf is taking on the Amazonians, Atlantians, and Man, with a little help from the Lanterns. That scene was amazing. It heaved with energy and purpose. I got a mega kick out of seeing the Lanterns in the fight (I’m kinda disappointed Green Lantern didn’t show up to help them defeat Steppenwolf at the end of the movie).

There are two cut-scenes after the film ends. One light hearted one just at the start of the credits, and a bit more of a serious one right at the end. I won’t spoil either of these, but the final one got me more excited for future DCCU films than most of Justice League.

With this new DCCU Warner Bros. seem to be trying to build, I’m not really sure what they’re aiming for. As I said, I liked Man Of Steel. I thought it was a very good origin story, especially the opening sequence on Krypton which gave some great context for Zod’s motivation and how Superman then dealt with him and his plans. The only real issue I had with it was the score was too loud, and the dialogue was too soft. When I watch it I have to turn the volume up when characters are talking, but then turn it down when there’s a big action sequence and the score kicks up. Which is a shame because that score is amazing, but that’s a technical problem. The film itself was good. I got a kick out of the couple of easter eggs I noticed during the movie and was looking forward to what came next.

Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. This movie felt overloaded and could have been resolved by Superman saying to Batman what was happening. I can understand why Superman might be going after Batman, a masked vigilante who is spreading fear. Before their big fight if Superman had just said; “Dude, they’ve got my mum, and will kill her if I don’t kill you.” that would have solved a tonne of problems. I can also understand why Batman would be going for Superman; anyone with a lot of power isn’t normally someone you want in that position. So Batman assuming the worst of Superman has roots, despite Superman’s clearly good intentions. People do change though, and with the history that Batman is hinted at having then he has good reason to be assume that Superman is a threat. In Batman Vs. Superman there is only Batman and Superman. The other heroes in this universe don’t exist yet, or haven’t made themselves known. So all of the people with any kind of superhuman power he’s come up against have been villains. We also can’t forget that he could still be dealing with the death of Robin (I’m assuming its Jason Todd). We don’t know how that’s affected him. That raises another question, if it is Jason Todd, then can we assume Dick Grayson has become Nightwing? if yes why didn’t Batman call him up for the fight with Steppenwolf? But I think I’m nitpicking there.

Another issue I have with the DCCU is does everybody know the secret identities of Batman and Superman? Lex Luther knows who Superman is, in Suicide Squad Amanda Waller knows Bruce Wayne is Batman and Lois Lane is just calling out ‘Clark’ willy nilly when addressing Superman in Justice League. There’s also no explanation on why Clark Kent has suddenly reappeared after being thought dead. Surely there should be a line there somewhere to address this.

I’ve got a quick few words I want to share on Suicide Squad. It’s not a great movie, but its one I do enjoy. I think they made a huge misstep when they didn’t focus on the Joker as the main villain of the piece. I like Jared Leto’s Joker, I thought he worked incredibly well in this era and was genuinely creepy. The first Suicide Squad trailer is amazing, for me it’s up there with the first Guardians of the Galaxy trailer. What really sold me on it was when we first see and hear the Joker, that cackle and his voice made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. Throughout the film he felt creepy to watch. Kind of how I’d expect the Joker to be. What I enjoy the most about Suicide Squad is the characters. Aside from Slipknot, you get a decent feel for them all and each of the actors seem to hold their own very well in the film. The plot didn’t really excite me too much, especially after having seen the animated Suicide Squad movie Assault on Arkham. That I would have loved to have seen live-action on the big screen.

Movie fans will know that Kevin Feige is the man at Marvel Studios. He’s got a vision that has been in place since the start. With DCCU it doesn’t feel like that’s the case. You can see how they’re trying to keep everything in the same universe, but it doesn’t feel like they’ve quite got a handle on it yet. I’ve heard that Geoff Johns and Jon Berg are overseeing the DCCU, but I believe thats a recent appointment. So I’ll be interested to see if they can pull all the different teams working on different movies together.

I am going to compare the DCCU to the MCU, simply because I think it’s a good comparison. Both universes deal with people who have abilities that don’t exist in the real world.

I do think DCCU have made a misstep with putting Justice League so early in their line up of movies. With the MCU we had five movies (Iron man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger) that built up to The Avengers. We knew each character, we were invested in them. So when they all came together we not only knew them, but we’re rooting for them. After The Avengers was done I was satisfied, okay I wanted more but I was still fulfilled. I didn’t feel that with Batman Vs. Superman, nor with Justice League. I’ve seen The Avengers countless times, the same with Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America:The Winter Soldier, Deadpool, Mad Max:Fury Road, Dredd, Terminator 2. All those films leave me feeling satisfied. The only DCCU movie to give me that level of satisfaction and desire for more has been Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman is the shining light of the DCCU. I can’t think of anything in that film that I didn’t like. It’s a film that is exciting. It is engaging. It left me feeling satisfied and wanting more. This is a movie done right, I don’t just mean a superhero movie, but a movie done right. Gal Gadot really is Wonder Woman. I remember when she first got cast, all I knew her from was the Fast and Furious movies. I remember her being good in those, but not much else. When she appeared in Batman Vs. Superman I was taken with her straight away, but in Wonder Woman she really gets to show her acting chops. Naive but confident at the start of the film and at the end she knows what its like to loose someone and to have seen the brutality of what the first world war was.

DC should be looking at the elements that made Wonder Woman work. The feeling I get hearing rumours about DC is there are too many cooks in the kitchen. Hopefully Johns and Berg will be able to right that, because otherwise we won’t have the rich DCCU that we could have. If you just look at Gotham City and the rich tapestry of characters that live in that city, then DC and Warner Bros. have a tonne of material to play with and build from. I think they just need to get the right people in place.

Wonder Woman was a huge step forward, I think Justice League might be a step back but hopefully a small one.

The State Of My NaNoWriMo 2017

Well, I’m not going to hit the 50k for NaNoWriMo this year. I’m at 18,583 words at the moment.

The reason why I’ve got to this point is I had a family member admitted to hospital about ten days ago. This meant I had to change my priorities, which when it comes to my family is a no brainer.

I am in somewhat of a rut with this story as well though. This is technically a second draft and it’s just not doing it for me. I am going to plough on a little with it, mainly because I don’t want to give up on NaNo altogether this year, but I am going to move over to other projects and get on with those. I’ve got two short story submission dates coming up so I’ve got to get those done. I also want to get some more progress with a story that I’m working on what is technically the third draft of. I’m about 10k into it and I’m liking what I’ve got with it.

So, NaNoWriMo is all but done for me for this year. I’m not disappointed I’m not going to hit the 50k (okay maybe a little disappointed) but my goal for NaNo this year wasn’t to just write the 50k. I wanted to get a cohesive story written, and although it’s not going how I want it to go right now, it is a lot more cohesive than some of my other NaNo attempts over the last couple of years.

I am going to take a little break from it tomorrow, I’ll add in a few words but nothing huge. I’ll focus tomorrow on a short story edit and then the other two active projects I’ve got going on. I think a change in what I’m focussing my attention on will help loosen up the fog around the NaNo project.

Good Morning Sunday, November 12th 2017

I am 10500 words behind target on NaNoWriMo, yeah 10500 words. I’m not stressing out though. I feel a little like I can call myself a NaNo veteran now. This is my seventh year, I’ve won the last three years and I’m pretty confident I can hit the 50k.

I would have got a few more words done towards the end of the week but I got wind of an anthology that I wanted to write a story for and have only had a few days to get it written as the deadline is a close one. That story is all but done, I’ve just got to make a few edits and then get it sent off. Once I’ve done that today I’m going to focus on NaNo and another story I’ve been working on for another anthology. I’d like to get that one done by the end of the month, and I think I’m close to having it wrapped up.

This coming week I’m off from work, so I’m going to try and get caught up with NaNo by the end of the week. I’m not going to go mad with it though, I’m going to go at a pace I’m happy with. I’ll repeat what I’ve said previously; I know I can do the 50k, my primary goal this NaNo is to have at least the start of a cohesive story. The 50k is a secondary target for me this year.

NaNoWriMo 2017: Day Nine

I’ve missed a couple of days here. I’m still not over this damn cold, although I think I’m past the worst of it.

Word count wise I am at 9001 words for the month. I managed a solid 1600 words on it yesterday, but I’ve kind of screwed my NaNoWriMo today. I’ve had the chance to submit a story for an anthology, but the deadline is the end of the month. So I’m throwing 90% of my writing time into that. I’m over 1200 words into that one. I’ve got a plan for getting this one done, which I think I’ll be able to do.

With NaNo, I am still going to be adding words, but it’s on the back burner till this short story is done. I am off work next week, and if all goes to plan I’m going to try and get back on track with NaNo then.

NaNoWriMo 2017: Day’s Five And Six

Yesterday I wrote about 800 or so words. Today it’s been about the 1200 mark. I’m on 6515 words for NaNo, which I think leaves me about 4000 words off target. The head cold of the weekend has really set me back. I know I can catch up, but I’m trying not to over do it until I know I’m over this cold. Also, this NaNo isn’t just about hitting the 50k for me. It’s about getting a cohesive story written. Already I feel like I’ve got a deeper story than I did in the first draft. (Hopefully) When people start dying the readers will either care for them and be gutted, or hate them and be happy.

I did add a few word to a short story on Sunday. I think I’ve got an ending, and now I just have to connect some dots. Hopefully then I’ll be close to having a first draft done. This story is for a submission and I’m finding that It won’t be what the editors are looking for, but if it’s not it’s not the end of the world. I can only write what comes into my head.

Tomorrow I’m aiming to get up a little earlier than normal and try to get some words down before going off to work.