52 Films by Women: October Progress 

Only managed to work in 6 films made by women in October, but they were generally really good ones.  I’m still not a fan of of Pet Sematary, but sequel (by the same director) is terrific fun. Raw and Evolution are more artistic, although in different ways — Evolution being a beautiful allegorical film and Raw being a gorey cannibal movie. 88 is a solid actioner, occasionally surreal, with great performances by Katherine Isabelle and Christopher Lloyd. And finally, The Voices is a loopy Ryan Reynolds comedy about a serial killer and his pets.

  • 88 (2015)
  • Evolution (2015)
  • Pet Sematary (1989)
  • Pet Sematary II (1992)
  • Raw (2016)
  • The Voices (2014)

This brings me to 41 for the year. Out of 388. 10.6%. This is unreal.

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Minty Fresh

Braces have made it significantly more difficult for me to floss. For a while I tried using a dental needle to thread floss under the wire, but it’s not a simple task. So when one of my orthodontist’s assistants recommended that I try super floss, I ordered some. Super floss is specialty floss cut into pieces that have a stiff end, a stretch that’s puffy to help get at things under the wire, and then normal floss for, y’know flossing with.

The package came today, and as I opened the shipping envelope the smell of mint wafted over me. I was surprised to discover that the boxes were sealed in a plastic wrapper. The odor was so strong it couldn’t be contained!

This brings us to Wyeth. Cats love catnip, as we know, and catnip is a member of the mint family. This doofus just spent 5 minutes thoroughly licking the plastic wrap, thinking he was getting high. Finally content, he crawled into my lap to sleep it off.

I don’t know whether I’m more embarrassed for him or jealous of his contentment.

September’s Films By Women

I sat down to start tallying my films by women for October and realized that I hadn’t scored September yet! So, here’s how I fared on the 52 Films by Women challenge in the 9th month.

  • The Bad Batch
  • Jupiter Ascending (yes, the Wachowski sibs are women)
  • Marjoe (co-directed with a man)
  • Near Dark
  • Ravenous
  • Urban Legends: Bloody Mary

I’d already seen Near Dark this year, so that brings the running total to 35. 17 more in just 3 months! Can I make it?

Feeling Challenged

Watched five more films directed by women this month. I’d already seen Messiah of Evil this year, so it doesn’t count toward my goal of 52. I mention every time that this is hard, far more so than it should be. I’m nearly finished with my viewing for HubrisWeen, and once that’s over I will find a way to catch up. With the number of movies I watch, I should not be finding it this difficult, but here we are!

  • Messiah of Evil
  • Tenement
  • Ishtar
  • The Bigamist
  • Trouble Every Day

Oh, and that puts me at 30 for the year. 22 to go in just four months.

Halfway Through the 52 Movie Challenge

That’s July behind us, so where do I stand in the 52 films by women challenge? This month I watched the following movies by female directors.

  • A New Leaf
  • Kiss of the Damned
  • The Levelling
  • Lurkers
  • Organ
  • Slow Learners (co-director)
  • Wanda

I’d already seen Kiss of the Damned earlier this year, but I took it to show friends as an example of exceeding the extremely minimum standards of the Bechdal test. That puts me at 26 for the year. Halfway there, but at this point I should be at 30 or 31 to be on track to successfully complete the challenge.

I received some great suggestions on my Facebook page (thanks again, all!), but as most aren’t on Netflix I’ll need some time to gather them. There’s a small stack of films set aside for the annual HubrisWeen festivities, and a handful of them qualify for this. Hopefully that will see my count rise over the next few months.

Anyway, this is still a preposterously difficult challenge. I knew there were representation problems, but criminy! If nothing else, this has made it painfully clear how big the gender gap in filmmaking is.

Inching Toward Completion

I just passed 30,000 words on the 1st draft of the novel. The good news is that switching to 3rd person has helped a lot with, well, everything. I was having too much difficulty handling 1st person scenes where more than one viewpoint character was present. Actually, I’ve decided on something a bit offbeat (though not unheard of). My narrator is a character in the story, so while much of it is 3rd person it’s all through his somewhat suspect filter. So that’s fun.

The bad news is that my writing pace took some heavy hits for a while. June and most of July saw me distracted by other things. I’ve been depressed about work, having sleep studies, and pouring my remaining energy into the podcast The Fiasco Brothers Watch a Movie. But I managed 9,000 words through all that, and I have reason to hope that I’ll get back on track in August. If nothing else, I’ve gotten faster at editing the show and have started to get the other things under control.

So, progress slowed but is still being made. After everything I’ve worked through to get this far, I’m finally hopeful that I’ll even reach 70,000-80,000 words with the 2nd draft! You know, once I’ve finished this first one.

Rising to the 52 Films by Women Challenge

There’s a film challenge going on this year to see 52 movies directed by women. That’s a lot of movies in the first place for what I think of as normal people, but I’m already over 200 for the year. Curious about whether I’ve met the 52 by women challenge already, I decided to take an inventory. Here then are the movies directed by women that I’ve seen this year.

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So That Happened

I was coming home from work — in fact, I was about to turn onto the 1-block street that leads to my house. Then I noticed that there were flashing lights in my rear view mirror. Now, this isn’t an altogether unprecedented turn of events. I get pulled over every few years, usually for coming into town at a speed not quite worth ticketing. This time was different. Not in its result, because I was let go with a warning for the umpteenth time.

What freaked me out is the reason the officer pulled me over. Seems I forgot to put my new tags on last year due to never having ordered them. I have no idea how that happened. I swear that I even remember putting them on, but no such luck. Clearly someone’s been messing with the timestream again.

Anyway, I’ve now ordered them and paid the $10 late fee, so if I get stopped again before they come in they can at least see that I did register. Also very glad for discovering this before traveling out-of-state. And, as ever, for being a color the cops favor.

Drafting

Work on the novel continues, as does the speed with which I’m burning through the core plot. I passed 21,000 words, and I’ll be lucky to get another 10,000 out of the first draft. I’ve thought of a lot of things that I need to go back and insert, so while I still doubt I’ll reach the 80,000 count of a modern novel I’m still hopeful that I can get it to 50,000. In effect, my first draft is becoming a long-form set of notes. I can put details when I have them and gloss over things when I only have a vague notion.

Moreover, little but some of the dialog will remain from this draft. I’ve been writing it in sections of 1st person, alternating point of view. However, I want to tell more stories in this setting with different characters in other time periods. To tie them together I need a consistent narrative voice. So, it’ll be a total rewrite to 3rd person narrator. Well, I’m switching with the next chapter, so maybe more of that will make it through the next draft.

Mentally, I’m fighting to stay in it. With this draft on target to wrap up soon (probably by the end of April) my brain is doing what it can to make me give up. Remember the decade you spent on two drafts of that fantasy novel? Did you even keep a copy of it in the end, or did you destroy everything when you realized it was no good? Sure, you’re moving faster this time, but the result will be the same. It’ll never turn out, and you’re just wasting the time you could be spending on video games. Fortunately my brain isn’t quite as successful in thwarting me these days, and while I did lose a few days of productivity to Resident Evil 7, that game fortunately turned out to be disappointingly short.

At any rate: onward! And brain, you can shut up.

The Novel Continues 

I’m still working on the novel, and things are moving along at a steady clip. I’m just shy of 16,000 words now and have a bit of material to get through before heading into the conclusion. Still, right now it’s looking more like it will be a novella than a full-length novel. The smallest size I’ve found for a full-length modern genre novel is around 70,000. My first draft probably won’t break the 50,000 word goal I took from NaNoWriMo. There are a number of scenes I need to fill in for the second draft, but I don’t anticipate that bringing it anywhere near 70,000.

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