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  NanoThoughtMo 08:41 PM -- Mon November 14, 2005  

This weekend, we had no Netflix handy, so we dipped into our lineup of movies we own for something to watch (we have no cable/satellite/whatever, but we still have the addiction toward sitting in front of a glowing box mindlessly). We watched 3 movies: Dogma, Unbreakable, and The Matrix. They were all highly inspirational towards my nanowrimo writing. I think in part a lot of the ideas I had actually were originally inspired by those movies.

Like Unbreakable, my story is about a superhero kind of thing, but trying to deal with how it would be in the real world (not that I will admit to any knowledge of the real world, or ability to describe such), although mine is a lot less in the standard superhero mold.

There isn't a lot directly related to Dogma in my story, but somehow it fits. Mainly just to be inspired by the writing of Kevin Smith.

From The Matrix, well, I pretty much rip it off relentlessly. Like the Matrix, my story is (intended to be) somewhat philosophical, dealing with what reality is, though really I only use that as a kind of setting for the action to place in. But like The Matrix, it's about people being able to 'break the rules' of reality (but like in the movie, there's a reason why they can, and that is the mythology of the story, but that mythology only exists to give me a reason for the storyline). I was always really moved by the end of The Matrix, and that's probably the core of the inspiration to my whole story, although it burbled in my head for many years, so it's a real mishmash, not just a rip-off. All about finding inner strength to overcome obstacles. I'm afraid my ending might come out pretty similar, although I was always disappointed that Neo died (I'm not even gonna put *SPOILER* because, come on people, it's THE MATRIX). To me it would've been much more powerful, and more importantly, logical and realistic, if he had refused to die in the first place, if he just decided that that rule couldn't apply to him. But I guess they couldn't be all up in the Christian mythos if that had been the way. And they had to have the whole romance/wake-with-a-kiss crap. I have no such hangups! In my story, if someone dies, it's over. Luckily you won't care, since they're not well-written enough to be appealing!

Two other Nanothoughtmos. First, I never understood when writers would say things like "my character did something I never expected!" Steven King discusses that stuff a lot in On Writing. But I always thought it was wacky hippy nonsense. No more! I've never written anything nearly as long as what I'm writing now (30,000 words so far!), and I've seen that happen time and again in this story. It twists in ways I never thought up, and characters go places I didn't expect (and new characters appear). I don't have the willful vapidity needed to claim that the characters are writing themselves, though. I know I'm writing this, and it's all coming out of my brain. It's just that over the course of such a long project, things end up working out to be easier, or cooler, or just a better fit, when done a new way. Or I find I need to bring in a new character for reasons I hadn't considered. But it's cool, and it is kind of magical seeming. Like I wrote stuff way at the beginning that I thought was a throwaway, and since then it's percolated in my mind while I wrote other parts, and suddenly there's a spot where I can tie it into the main story in a way that makes the whole thing better. It's really amazing, especially just the sheer number of things that are coming together in ways I never expected. This isn't anything like the story I originally had (although to be fair, it was a lot more like a premise than an actual story). It's really amazing!

Okay, this is almost as long as the novel itself. But here's the final Nanothoughtmo. Picture a novel you think is really crappy. I can't think of any good generic examples offhand. But when you picture the author of this book, I'm sure you think like I do: he's some hack who is just cranking out words soullessly to try to make a quick buck. Or so I always thought before. But here I am now, and I am the hack! I mean, when you think of a book that has no real depth or message, just shlocky romance, or murder mystery, or fantasy junk that's just about beefy guys slaying dragons, you don't think of it meaning something to anyone. But that's what I'm writing. It's totally just an action sci-fi horror fantasy urban thing, it has no deeper meaning, I'm not trying to put forth a metaphor for the Israel-Palestine conflict, I'm just writing an adventure that sounds interesting and exciting to me. So it is exactly that shlock you think of as churned out for a quick buck. I mean, there is sort of a "meaning of the universe" thing going on in it, but it's purely invented - just stuff that's there to drive the action, not like some kind of attempt to explain how the real universe works. It's definitely not my philosophy on reality. It's more like just a different kind of fantasy shlock.
But what makes this an interesting thought is that though the story would be, if you read it, just a throwaway bit of fluff for you, it's a life-changing experience for me, the writer! I don't know how to explain it, but to me, it's not a bunch of words I'm rushing out to make a buck (especially since I don't think I'll be able to sell it), it's a powerful experience of delving into my mind and seeing what's in there. What's in there is ridiculous over-the-top action and bad dialogue that doesn't make a lot of sense, but that's only a problem for you, the reader. For me, there's a lot to the experience. It's powerful. Does that make sense? It sounded so much better when I was doing the dishes earlier. I'll never look at crappy books the same way again. I now understand that even though it's throwaway junk from my perspective, for the writer, it's a grand experience.

But I could be wrong, those guys may just be hacks, and this is only special for me because it's my first time writing one continuous thing that's so long.
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