Thursday, January 20, 2011

A New Experiment

Hello Reader!  I'm going to test out something new.  I'll be writing a passage "from my book" and posting it up here for all of you to read and critique.  The reason for the quotations is that this passage I am posting is not necessarily in my novel already.  I am writing it right now.  Or rather, after this sentence is done.

Actually I should probably preface this excerpt.  Antfortas Bersules is the older brother of Ablendan Bersules.  Their relationship is rocky, mainly due to their father's constant absence and their mother's fragility.  Dimo Bersules is a police captain in Atlantia, the capital city of Atlantis - the country in which the story is set.  Their mother is Miranda Bersules, a stay-at-home mom with traumatic memories from the family's original home in Sudan.  They arrived as immigrants by the good grace of the Magna Beast, who was in Sudan years before the present story on a mission.  Dimo Bersules helped him in that mission, and was rewarded with a way out of the war-torn country.  The whole family becomes embroiled in the war between Mags and Howlas because Ablendan ends up becoming friends with Briok, and coerced into joining the war.  The excerpt deals with the relationship between Antfortas and his father, Dimo.

Monday, January 03, 2011

What I Did in the Dead of Winter

Hello Reader!  So I've been awfully busy the last few weeks.  Legitimately!  Stop laughing!  Anyways, I've been working hard on clearing my mind so I can continue writing on my novel.  Wait a minute, you just said you'd been working hard!  Shut up and listen, I'm getting there!

Schizophrenia aside, I really have been diligently pressing forward on a side-project of mine that I've taken quite a bit of pride in.  The culmination of my anger at M. Night Shyamalan coupled with my love for the series Avatar: The Last Airbender has resulted in a completed, 118 page script for a film!  Yes, it's a hefty and slightly arrogant task to undertake.  I've never taken a screenwriting class, what do I know of the intricacies involved in crafting a well-done movie?  But that's not the point of this exercise.

The point was to see if I could.  To see if I could finish the damn thing the way I wanted to finish it, to envision the first season of Avatar the way I feel it could be represented best.  It was quite a challenge, and through its travails I understand why Shyamalan failed.  Condensing one season of a television show requires more than just cutting out certain episodes and including others.  In fact, this condensation shouldn't even occur.  What should happen instead is an elevation of the plot's strongest points, the character's most powerful emotions and the story's most transcendent heights.

With Avatar, this is all rather easy.  You just had to pay attention and rewatch each episode religiously.  From Aang's emergence in the first episode to the awkward and rushed ending of the last, each thread of story is so clearly outlined and full developed by the show's creaters Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino that any missed beat is solely the fault of the writer.

Take for example Aang's love for Katara.  Several times in the show this love is clearly articulated.  The Cave of Two Lovers episode, The Play episode of Season 3, even the very first episode of the series depicts Aang's infatuation with Katara in crystalline brushstrokes.  But those are only a few episodes at a time.  What truly illustrated Aang and Katara's mutual feelings was the blushing, awkward glances, brave attempts at flirting and even daring rescues that occurred without lines being spoken.  It's these subtleties in acting, performance, cinematography and direction that Night left out of his film and that the creators of Avatar utilized extensively.

So what did I have to do to elevate the show?  Cut out several episodes, steal lines from one episode and insert those tidbits of information into scenes and places they did not exist beforehand.  I had to, several times, steal from future seasons and write-in events that would happen later in the series.  For example, King Bumi makes an appearance in the first season.  While the episode he appears in is derivative filler, the character himself is incredibly important.  He is part of the White Lotus!  A group of men that becomes so ludicrously important in the latter half of season two and final episodes of season three that shoving each of the main members' introductions into the second or third movies will demean their incredible importance.

It is crucial to introduce Bumi in the first film of three, give him time to be imprisoned in the second film, and then bring him back during the third.  Because in the second film, you have the introduction of the White Lotus itself, laying down railroad tracks the viewer cannot see the destination of but whose very construction intrigues them enough to come and see the Avatar world a third time.  And Hell, there's so much going on in the second season that using precious minutes of film time to introduce and give backstory to a rather kooky character right after Aang, Katara and Sokka have fought the battle of their lives and lost those that they loved seems to be a drastic and sadistic treatment of tone.