Monthly Archives: December 2012

The Night Circus: An Example of a NanoWrimo Triumph

The Night Circus

The Night Circus

On December 1, I heaved a sigh of relief. National Novel Writing Month was over, and I had written about 46,000 words. I still hadn’t reached the very end of my book (that ending is something I’ve been tinkering with, but it shall be complete within the next week, I vow). But given that NanoWrimo was over, I was now allowed to read an actual novel, something I hadn’t let myself do in November, in case the writer’s tone carried over into my work.

The book I chose was The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, one of many sitting in piles on my bedroom floor, waiting to be read. I am one of those bookworms who enjoys browsing bookstores and acquiring more and more interesting books to read, even though I have piles aplenty at home. From what I had gathered from reading reviews, The Night Circus sounded like it had an interesting spin on the premise of a magicians’ contest.

And indeed this is the case. Morgenstern’s The Night Circus is an engaging account of a circus which is actually a showcase for two magicians’ talents. Morgenstern’s prose is so lyrical that you can see every tent containing wonders in this circus, like an ice garden or a wishing tree covered in lit candles.

But as I read this book, I also kept in mind that it had begun as a NanoWrimo project. Given the chaotic mess that I myself created in the month of November, I couldn’t help marveling at how beautifully written, how polished and precise The Night Circus is. But there are hints in Morgenstern’s Acknowledgements of her NanoWrimo experience. First she thanks her agent, “who saw potential in something that was once truly a god-awful mess…” Morgenstern also writes, “I am grateful to all who gave their time and insight to revision after revision…”

Whew. Thank you, Erin Morgenstern. I know I have revision after revision to go through before my mess becomes the polished novel I know it can be – but with your beautiful book, you’ve given me some hope that it can be done.

If anyone has any lingering thoughts on NanoWrimo, or the creative process, I’d love to hear them!

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Horror Movies Coda: Films You May Not Have Heard Of (But Are Good Nonetheless)

So I survived National Novel Writing Month. I still have to craft an ending to my manuscript – I didn’t get to 50,000 words mainly because that darn ending is vexing me a bit. But anyway – I did get to 46k and change! Which is an achievement for me.

Waaaay back in October I went on a saga of watching horror movies, mainly trying to see ones I hadn’t seen before. And in so doing, I saw some gems I wanted to be sure to share, even though it is now December, and not officially a horror season. Please pardon my intrusion into the holiday atmosphere that may be enfolding you, but if you’re a horror fan, chances are you will enjoy one of these movies.

Lovely Molly

Lovely Molly

“Lovely Molly” is the story of Molly, a young woman who’s just gotten married. The happy couple move into the house where Molly grew up, since both her parents are dead. The movie makes it clear that these are not well-off people – Molly’s husband is a truck driver, and she cleans at a shopping mall. This makes the reasoning behind their decision to move into the rather large old house, which is full of bad memories for Molly, easier to accept. Soon Molly is receiving visits from dearly departed dad, and not only that – she’s blacking out, unable to account for segments of time. This movie is in my favorite category of horror – it’s creepy as all-get-out. Molly’s battle to hold onto her sanity will have you clutching a loved one for comfort (as I did watching this movie, when I pulled my dog onto my lap).

Midnight Son

Midnight Son

“Midnight Son” is a low-budget horror, like “Lovely Molly.” This movie is a take on vampirism. I know,  I can hear the groans from here. But trust me, “Midnight Son” takes an interesting tack. Jacob is just a normal guy as far as he knows, but he starts having all kinds of medical symptoms for which doctors can’t give a satisfactory explanation. Like the fact that he can’t derive much sustenance from food anymore, or that sunlight literally burns him. Because Jacob is literally starving, in his desperation he stumbles upon the fact that blood curbs his growling stomach. Does this mean that he’s a vampire? Jacob’s struggle is a compelling journey – not precisely horrific, but certainly no less compelling for that.

Excision

Excision

Next up is a unique movie, “Excision.” AnnaLynne McCord, a veteran of the recent 902010 reboot, stars as a high school social outcast who takes a certain pride in her strangeness. She wants to be a doctor someday, and perhaps that might explain her dreams and visions that are rather…unusual. Or perhaps not. Like another recent horror, “The Woman,” there’s an interesting exploration here of burgeoning female sexuality. “Excision” certainly has a take on it that you haven’t seen before, and there’s a huge cast of well-known actors to add to the appeal – Traci Lords, Malcolm McDowell, John Waters, Marlee Matlin, Ray Wise.

Rabies

Rabies

Finally, I’m adding a movie that I actually saw around the beginning of November, but it’s another small one that you might not catch, so here you go. The Israeli film “Rabies” (Kalevet) actually has nothing to do with that affliction – it’s about different folks whose paths converge at a nature reserve. What I found interesting about this one is that most of these people are normal folks just going about their day – but in the course of different events, many characters change and surprise even themselves.

Any thoughts about these movies or other horror-themed matters, let me know! And I promise I won’t bring up any horror-tinged matters for a while…

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