A Dearth of Reboots


Every time I turn around, it seems like there’s another reboot of something.  Like MacGyver.  I remember the show when it first aired, and it was a fun action show with an unconventional hero.

The new version?  Meh.

It just isn’t the same.

Josh Whedon talks about reboot fatigue.

You bring something back, and even if it’s exactly as good as it was, the experience can’t be. You’ve already experienced it, and part of what was great was going through it for the first time.

I think there’s a lot of truth in that.  Movie, TV, and even books are affected by what’s going on in the culture and even the news.   Some of the ideas develop out of that, because that’s what the audience is wanting to see.  So a show rebooted after twenty years would be very different than the original, not to mention not having the original actors, which also influences the series.

I get why the studios are doing reboots.  They think that if the series was successful once, it will be successful a second time.  When I was Voyage to the Bottom of Sea fandom, I wanted the series to be revived because I wanted to see more stories.  That’s, in fact, why people write fan fiction stories.  But in hindsight, that show was very much a product of the 1960s, starting out with spies because James Bond was hot, and then when that died, they went to aliens and monsters.  If someone recreated it today, it would have the same name, but that’s probably all it would share.

Better still would be if they stole ideas from the past and used them, rather than reboot.  I’d be disappointed at a reboot of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.  I’d watch a show that took the basic idea and went in a direction suitable for today.

Please, no more reboots.

 

Moving Around in the First Draft


One of the most appalling things I’ve seen in writing is the piece of advice spoken everywhere: “All first drafts are crap!”  It’s often accompanied by the advice to write your first draft straight through and not go back and fix anything until you get to the revision.

Craft Thoughts has an article on why writing straight through and NOT editing as you write is a bad idea.

When I started writing, I eventually gravitated into moving around in the story and adjusting things as I went along.  Not revision, and not editing–but still writing creatively–and there is a difference.

And I did have to come up with rules.  Like when I caught myself getting stuck and moving back in the story to tweak sentences.  It was more busy work and didn’t improve the story … and didn’t solve the problem I was having.

That problem kept showing up.  I couldn’t identify what it was, except it caused me to stall out at certain points in the story.  So I decided to try the write straight through advice.  I thought if I could just get the first draft done, I could fix any problems on the revisions.

Bad, bad, bad.

What I didn’t realize was that so many parts of the story are interconnected that if I left something broken in the first draft, it would ripple through the entire story from that point on.  I’d get to the revision and fix the thing I’d left for later, or in one case, skipped over.  That would trigger a cascade of changes that I had to make throughout, and each of those changes triggered yet more changes.

All because I didn’t do one simple thing in the story because I’d left it for the revision.

I like the analogy the Craft Thoughts article uses:

A better metaphor might be building a house. When you build, you want your foundation to be as strong as possible or else everything else is going to be warped and ready to collapse. Sure, it’s possible to just slap up a structure as quickly as possible with whatever materials are around, and replace every single thing piece by piece, but it’s going to take a lot more work. And, frankly, you are going to be a lot more likely to say, “Fuck it, who cares if the floor is at a 20° angle and the toilet is connected to the oven? Let’s call it a day.”

If the story’s foundation is built broken, it’s going to be broken.  Why do writers do this to themselves unnecessarily?

Boot Sisters


Having started to go stir crazy, I went out to Panera today for lunch.  There was a family of four there, husband, wife, two girls.  The wife had a boot on her foot like me, but was getting around on a cane.  Clearly a little more advanced in recovery than me.

Soon …

Anyway, her boot was different than mine.  So I’m ordering from the kiosk and I feel this touch on my boot.  It was one of the little girls. She kept circling back around to check out my boot!

The origins of “Roger Wilco”


In every film with military aircraft–particularly from the 1960s and earlier–I’ve heard the pilots say “Roger Wilco.”  I never knew what it meant, but it lies in the military phonetic alphabet.

Because so much of military communication is over a radio, and often one where it’s hard to hear, it’s easy to mix up letters.  So each letter has a word associated with it that can’t be misheard.  R was always Romeo to me, but it turned out another word was universally used until 1957.  You can read about it here.