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Tuesday, November 16, 2010


We watched Jaws tonight (on Netflix Instant--is there someone who keeps a list of amazing movies on Netflix Instant, to weed out the great stuff from the trash?) and I am agonizing, agonizing. Every scene of that movie is so well-thought out. Made in that way that movies don't get made anymore, with long lingering scenes and visuals that any 12-year-old would decry as fake in a second, but you know that's the way these things work in real life. One second you're just smokin' a cigarette

and the next, you're, well, lunch.

Then of course, because I am obsessive, I dove into Wikipedia and read about the Hollywood impact of Jaws (and read the complete Wiki summaries of its three sequels, which is probably as close as I'll ever get to watching them) (not because they're bad -- usually that's an incentive to watch movies, peoples -- but because of the no-time thing). And that studied, minimalist storytelling thing (there are, what, 3 scenes that comprise the entire last hour of the movie?)...yeah. It kind of doesn't show up in the sequels.

I'm the last person to say that fast and furious isn't a great way to tell a story. I like to think that Losers, in its 189 pages, is the two-minute punk version of a five-minute anthem. But slow can be good too. (Please don't take this theory and apply it to the Green Day musical. I mean, come on. Green Day. Made a musical. I'm sure it's good or whatever, but please don't tell me.)

It's also National Novel Writing Month. I've definitely written novels in a month before (Stephen King says to write fast, while the idea's fresh in your head, and edit slow) and I actually did the November 1 - November 30 thing once. But this November I'm taking it purposefully slow. I've been working on this book for ten years -- I remember because the main character used to seem way too old for me to write him, and now I keep wondering if he isn't way too young. And I'm writing a book where the main character is a dude. Why does that keep weirding people out?

(Okay, so realistically, of the 4 books I've published, 2 have had male protagonists and 2 have been female. But, of the boys, one was a memoir where the protagonist was me {well, more or less me} and one was basically a 14-year-old version of me. {There's a longer answer to that, essentially, that Jupiter isn't me, he's my best friend, only Russian and Jewish and not dead. But that's another post, I think.} And then my two ladies, Hava from Goldbergs and Candy from Candy in Action, are both basically superheroes. Which says something about how I variously idealize and torture the people in my books, right? How did I start analyzing my own books? I should stop. Now.)

Annyway. I planned to come on here and write about Jaws for a minute and then leap back into the book and as you can see, that hasn't really happened. But Bram from YIDCore is asking me questions about his new book and I have about 20 pages of tinily-lettered rewrites to type and two tiny children who are already plotting their evil ways to wake up at sunrise, which suggests that this should be the point where I jump into the water, make my own fingers-pressed-together shark fin, and do my slow descent.

Only, not slow anymore.

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