Random Grab-Bag O’ Thoughts, December 5, 2016 Edition

I talk about Westworld, but it’s spoiler free. Promise.

1. Westworld just aired its season finale. If you haven’t seen it, I strongly urge you to do so. It’s on HBO. If you don’t subscribe to HBO, someone you know has HBO Go. Get their password from them. Ask nicely. Catfish them. Threaten them. I don’t care what you do, just get the damn thing and watch the show. The writing is amazing. There is no such thing as a throwaway line. It’s so tight. I couldn’t write that if you gave me a billion years and a copy of the script. It’s a great example of Chekov’s gun principle: if there is something shown or said on the show, it will be for a reason. The finale pays off in a big way.

A lot of times, I read or see something that’s written on a level I can never achieve, and it’s a little disheartening. Last night, watching it, I felt the exact opposite feeling. I’m fucking grateful that I get to see or read stories I could never create. It’s not about a limitation on my part (maybe a little) but more about the individualism of creation. I can’t do what they did on Westworld, but maybe they can’t create the stories that I do, either. I can live with that.

Anyway, watch Westworld. It’s fantastically written, brilliantly acted (there are a couple exceptions, but not everyone can be Rachel Evan Wood or Anthony Hopkins), gorgeously shot, amazingly edited – seriously, the editing work on here is on a whole other level – and worthy of every theory you can come up with. Even though I’d guessed a lot about what was happening, the season finale still managed to surprise me. I knew what was going on, but I had no idea where the ride was going. I haven’t been that satisfied by a season/finale ending since Parks & Recreation (best series finale EVAR, if you do not agree I will fight you and I will win because Righteousness will be on my side).

2. People in the “It’s Merry Christmas, Not Happy Holidays” camp are endlessly hilarious to the rest of us and don’t know it.

3. I’m going to try to build a secret door/bookshelf thing. My wife, who is a never-ending source of magic and whimsy and joy, had an idea for part of our basement. She asked me, a never-ending source of pragmatism and logic and Staying Medium, to make one for her project. I am no carpenter, but I have built a basement bar and a few other things out of wood over the past few years and am completely overconfident in my skills. I think she has infected me with her Whimsy. I am absurdly excited about this project.


This is me with a mustache.

4. I see a lot of stuff about the Terrible Year of 2016. All I can think when I see that is those people really need to be prepared for the fucking dumpster fire 2017 is going to be.


About Alan Edwards

Former cancer caregiver. Husband of the most magical and amazing person who ever lived.

Posted on December 5, 2016, in Kerfluffle and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I oftentimes wonder about authors layering their writing. For me the question is “Did they start off with a basic story, and build the layers, or did they write out a flowchart with the layers and then built the story connecting the dots?”. Always felt the same way re: symbolism. Suppose with symbolism you have to have the message you want to get across, and then write items to embody that, but still I haven’t ever gotten the hang of either.

    • I know what you mean. In some cases I think the symbolism is accidental and gets overblown by people who want to see patterns in everything. In others, I think it’s very deliberate and made in a way just like you said. I think it’s probably a process of going through the work, over and over again, reinforcing the desired theme with constant refinement. I don’t have the patience for that. Once I create something I tend to walk away from it. Editing is not something I’m interested in to the same degree. I know it’s necessary, but if I edit my own stuff too much I just end up wanting to delete it all because I can never make it exactly what I want it to be. I think, probably wrongly, that accidental layers are better than the overwrought ones for the most part, although when done right the second form can be breathtaking. Oftentimes though, it just comes across as sniffing your own farts.

      • Agreed on accidental layers, Stephen King tends to write in such a way because he has no idea where he is going when he’s writing, he just goes. Problem is sometimes his pay off falls flat because of it. I think there’s a happy medium, but I’m awful at implementing it into my storytelling.

        • I’ve come to believe Stephen King writes the same way Dubya invaded Iraq. Passionate and excited about the idea, no clue how the end is supposed to look.

          Why do you think you’re bad at it, out of curiosity?

          • I have two styles of writing: overblown I know where I’m going and the major points I want to hit along the way. The problem with that style is that I will get through the parts I’m super excited about and burn out on connecting those parts. The drudgery as it were.

            The second style I have is the Lost style of writing. I write a part of the storyline I find interesting and worthwhile, with the intention that the direction I want to go will present itself. Obviously this can wind up good, but more often the not if you allow yourself to write this way you will either end up in a corner or you will end up falling flat.

            The module series I’m writing for Open Legend is similar to option 1 above. I’ve just been forcing myself to do the drudgery as I plan on it at least being 3 parts. Part 1 is written, I know where part 3 goes, and I’m hitting some major writers block in part 2. Such are things. I likely need to force myself to at least get part 2 down on paper and then do some improvement passes on it.

          • I’m definitely with you on both those styles. The drudgery writing is always a backbreaker. Getting through those with something worth reading is like winning the Nobel prize and an MMA fight all at once.

  1. Pingback: Actually, This Is Me With a Mustache | Me and My Shovel

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