Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Art Imitating Art

Sometimes, in order to give myself a kick in the pants, I look to books/movies/songs for inspiration. There's always a little hint of whatever I'm reading/watching/listening to at the time in every sentence of my writing. The first few chapters of TFC I wrote while simultaneously reading HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY. Here are some things that tickle my imagination now:

1) Midnight in Paris. I love this movie. I don't think this would surprise anyone. I am categorically obsessed with all whimsical magic realism, time travel, pretty people doing pretentious things, and European cities - of which, Paris is about as attractive as they get. But mainly, I liked how Woody Allen handled the transitions between the real world and the magic; that is to say, he basically ignored them. Whoa, I thought to myself, can I do that? Probably not to the extent he did, but I think over-explaining the mechanics of magic in an urban fantasy can kill the whimsy. And I like whimsy. This is what I wrote in my TFC journal: "A story that retains its origins as a fairy tale, except modernized. I want it to have a wistful, whimsical feel in the way of 'Un Lun Dun' or 'Midnight in Paris,' which means I don't want to get too deeply into the technical aspects of how the FC fits into the fabric of reality; keeps its air of mystery as a sort of floating world." Also, notice how complete sentences/thoughts are unnecessary in journaling!

2) Before I Die (Jenny Downham). The scenes are all so concise! And the language is exquisite. And it is about people dying or having died without being depressing. I mean, it is depressing, but the depression doesn't take over the storyline to the point where it is about nothing except grief. Since Melly's mother dies in the very first scene of my novel, grief is something I struggle to incorporate realistically and consistently.

3) A fan fiction novel, which I will not name, because it is sort of smutty and because the all of five people who are potentially reading this blog or will read this blog in the future will probably judge me from over the Internets. What's that, you say? You've never read fan fiction? You're lying. Everyone has done it. Somewhere between books five and six of Harry Potter, you got bored and desperate, and the HP fan sites were just not doing it for you, and you needed more HP, dammit, so you may have googled some incriminating things and stumbled upon harrypotterfanfiction.com or fanfiction.net (I may or may not have accounts on both these sites). Just admit it. There. See? Don't you feel better?

4) The fact that I am not writing my thesis anymore. Yeah, I said it. My thesis is like anti-art, it sucks the art and inspiration out of everything, including life. In my thesis (unlike my novel), magical creatures who make delightfully witty conversation don't exist. Only despair.

5) One Direction. WHAT, ME TOO? Yes, friends, yes. I'm pretty sure their music is unrelated to any and every plot point in TFC, except maybe "Another World," but I am also quite sure that song is about sex and not its literal wording. However, One Direction, or 1D as the kids call it, are five boys with good clothes, unrealistically-styled hair, and British accents. That's pretty inspirational, if you ask me.

European cities and pretty people doing pretentious things!
I am inspired.

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