A Few Things I've Watched / Read Recently
Don’t you hate it when there’s an excellent scene in a movie, TV show or book and you’re really engaged with it, and then a character wakes up and you find out it was all a dream? I really, really hate that. All that invested interest on my part, for nothing. I don’t want to see what a character is dreaming. I want to see them dealing with things while they’re awake (unless we’re talking about A Nightmare on Elm Street, ‘cause that’s a bit different).
Oh, oh, and when a character wakes up violently from a nightmare, often yelling and/or sitting up suddenly, sweating and panting, and their bedfellow says “Aw, were you having a bad dream?”
I mean, duh.
Maybe these are tropes I’ve just seen and read far too often lately.
I recently did my annual re-watch of Spirited Away, which never fails to reduce me to a wibbling lump. Haku and Chihiro falling through the air to that incredible score is so beautiful I can barely stand it. Sometimes I think I'd like to know what Chihiro is like now, all grown up, but mainly I can't imagine her as anything but the little girl out-growing her childhood petulance and discovering herself. The other thing that floors me is how subtly rounded all the characters are. There's no preachy good and evil, and even characters like Yubaba have a softer, sympathetic side. And No Face, polluted by the greed of those around him. It's stunning! I wish this film had been around when I was little.
The Stephen King Universe - a very detailed data visualisation flowchart linking SK books and characters. So much time went into this.
And just for fun: Your Age on Other Worlds.
There's a great blog post by Kameron Hurley about how too much technobabble can pull you out of a story. From her post: "It’s this obsession with details that the POV characters really wouldn’t 1) know or 2) care about." This is something I’m really conscious of right now as I figure out the tech in my YA cyberpunk-inspired story.