One thing I have learned about blogging is that it is all about momentum. Getting started is hard, but once your site is up and running and those dastardly technical glitches are ironed out, you get into a groove of reading, writing and posting.
Then life intervenes.
You go away. Someone falls sick. You have a dry spell of reading and writing. Readership drops. You wonder why you are doing it. And then you have to start all over again.
In the last month, I have experienced all three momentum-killers, hence my tardiness in posting weekly round-ups. But I’m back, and I’ve introduced a new segment – about what I’m watching – because, let’s be honest, I am a bit of a TV addict.
I’ve read those writing books which say that you should give up TV if you want to be a writer. I disagree. I need that zone-out time at night. And besides, storytelling is storytelling. I’m convinced that exposure to good plot lines and characterisation, whether on TV or in books, can be good for one’s writing. It also helps you develop an ear for dialogue. Or so I tell myself.
Anyway, here goes…
After finishing Charlotte Wood’s extraordinary The Natural Way of Things, I found myself at a bit of a loss as to what to read next. Reading Charlotte’s book was like eating at one of Heston Blumenthal’s celebrity feasts – delicious and challenging – but let’s face it, you don’t want to follow Heston by eating Maccas.
So – what to read? I put the question out to Twitter and what followed was a fabulous and inspiring exchange between some of Australia’s finest female fiction writers, all heartily recommending each other’s work. As with the best conversations, we went down a couple of rabbit holes (is ‘historial fiction’ a gendered term?) but I ended up with a gorgeous book in my hands – Mireille Juchau’s The World Without Us.
I’m only a third of the way through but, my goodness, girl can write! And there are bees! I don’t know what is going on in the literary world but I feel like bees are having a real moment. I’m serious! They seem to keep popping up everywhere, maybe because of the renewed interest in urban bee-keeping…. I don’t know.
A little bit bare on the fiction writing front at present. I’ve been writing a Uni essay about on-line versus face-to-face learning, which has actually been quite fascinating. As with everything internet-related, the reality often falls far short of the promise.
I’m still in the early stages of starting to write my next full-length work of fiction. It needs a lot of thinking time at present, which is fine. Actually, it’s fun. Maybe it’s the most fun part of writing. Day-dreaming doesn’t involve the disappointment that actually comes with writing.
Homeland (Channel Ten) is back! Finally, crazy Carrie seems to have her shit together. Or at least, she’s managed to get it together for the 9 months since we last saw her. Luckily, it’s all about to fall apart again. Within half an hour of the new season beginning, she’d already been captured and released by terrorists – but you just know that far, far worse is to come.
This show was massive in its first couple of seasons but seems to have dropped off the radar here. And I don’t know why. For me, it’s only gotten better in the post-Brody era. Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin are so, so good – and now they’ve added Miranda Otto to the mix, giving Homeland the only ingredient it was missing – a little Aussie flavour.
The other show I’d recommend for writers is The Affair (Showtime) which has also just began its second season. In the first season, New York writer/teacher and father of four, Noah Solloway, starts up a steamy affair with Long Island waitress, Alison Bailey. He loses his marriage but gains a bestseller – and a murder charge. And so begins Season Two.
What’s different about this show is that each episode shows the same events, but from two characters’ perspectives. So, for instance, Noah’s meeting with wife, Helen, and their divorce mediator, is shown from both Noah’s and Helen’s perspective – and their perspectives are extremely different. For writers, it’s a great lesson in point of view and focalisation.
So – that’s it from me. Have a great week – and please let me know what you are reading, writing and watching!
Love the idea of recommending TV for writers, Cassie. Also a big fan of Homeland.
My only problem with Homeland on 10 is the ads, but I suppose most people don’t mind it.
What do you think of Ad-supported free ebooks?
Hi Jin. I totally agree with you about the ads on Homeland. I suspect it’s shown without ads in the US – as the positioning of them when it’s screened on Channel Ten is incredibly jarring. It’s something a writer really has to build into the script. Not sure about ad-supported free ebooks. Again, it depends on whether the ads would interrupt the flow of the story. To me, that would be a no-no. Cassie
I got stuck on The World Without Us. At the time (on the blog) I said that I wasn’t rating it a DNF cos I think I’ll enjoy it but I just wasn’t in the mindset at the time and just needed to inhale a heap of lighter crime fiction (JD Robb, Sue Grafton etc).
I notice a lot of people who love reading also love TV. I’m a huge addict. More so of TV than movies nowadays. I stopped watching Homeland a while ago, but would like to see The Affair. I’m glad ratings season has finally started (and school hols finished) as some good stuff is hitting our screens again this week. I taped Quantico and Limitless last night!
Thanks Deb. I saw the add for Limitless and couldn’t quite work it out as I’ve seen the Bradley Cooper movie. Is it the same?
I love the dreamy thinking time that comes with writing or gearing up to write a first draft! Haven’t read The World Without Us but would love to know what you think of it once you’ve had a read — sounds like a great read!
Thanks Vanessa. I had a precious half hour in bed this morning reading ‘The World Without Us’ and I’m suddenly really hooked. Amazing how a ‘wide-awake’ reading session can suddenly really switch you onto a book.
I’m a huge tv addict too and not terribly discriminating. I don’t actually watch Homeland but I’m looking forward to Madame Secretary returning tomorrow night. We have have US Netflix too so that keeps my busy, especially when new seasons are added.
Hmmm… haven’t managed to yet get my head around Netflix but am thinking that’s the way all TV is headed. And I think that’s a good thing. Personally, I’m happy to pay if it means no ads!
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