10/10/04: Special delivery

Word count: 103387 | Since last entry: 752 | This month: 926 Some more re-outlining today, making sure that all the pieces are in place for the grand finale. There’s a lot of stuff that has to happen in the last three chapters, and I think I now have all of the spring-loaded bits stuffed in where they need to be, but I’m not convinced that the amount of time in the outline is plausible for it to happen — but other factors require that it can’t be extended. Well, maybe some things happen faster in the future. Then I actually (huzzah!) began adding text to the chapter again. Seven hundred new words in which Hare returns, by helicopter. She is greeted with suspicion by all but Clarity, so I haven’t gotten around yet to the first point in the revised outline, where she reveals the reason she came back. On the other hand, if I hadn’t covered these suspicions and Clarity’s reasons for believing Hare despite them, I’m sure that one of my critiquers (JWF) would have called me on it. And rightly so. Thanks to his comments I’m going to have to go back during rewrite and add much more suspicion and paranoia — Clarity is just too trusting, and even if she is a little naive at the beginning of the book she’d be surrounded by people whose job is to keep her safe. Speaking of paranoia… this weekend we saw the remake of The Manchurian Candidate, which I thought was actually a better film than the original. I came out of it realizing that, just as Blade Runner (the movie) looks like Neuromancer (the book), the new Manchurian Candidate looks like I want my book to look. It’s got the New York setting, the movement from the corridors of power to the most squalid little apartments and back, the constant swirl of underlings around the powerful people at the center of the plot, the mix of white people and black people, the fact that you’re never really sure who are the heroes and who are the villains… but this movie is a lot richer in detail, with a lot more motion and a lot more light and shadow than I’ve had in my mind while writing the book, which means my book probably won’t look as good in the reader’s mind as the movie does. I want to add more detail (more senses, too, not just sight and hearing), more motion, more chatter, more underlings. (It would help if I knew in a more personal way what New York is like. But I don’t think I can justify a field trip just now.) We also watched the last bit of Angels in America on tape. The dialogue is wonderful… elliptical, indirect, contradictory, fragmentary. Very real. And the characters are so twisted, in many cases unlikeable, and yet sympathetic. No wonder it won all those Tonys and Emmys. We’d seen it in the theatre, but with the cinematography and special effects — not to mention Meryl Streep and Al Pacino — the miniseries might be even better. Meanwhile, the kitchen is starting to look like a kitchen again. See Kate’s journal for more details and pictures.

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