The Monday Mess – The 2012 TV roundup – 10 Dec 2012

The Monday mess, aka me, is looking  forward to the return of “Justified” in January. Although I like my deep, layered drama shows, I also love this one. It has a great mix of fun, good dialogue, good characters, story, and guns. I suppose that implies the show isn’t multi layered, thoughtful, like The Sopranos was, or The Wire was. Well it isn’t, but it never tries to be. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value. It is pretty much an Elmore Leonard novel correctly brought to screen (the character is Elmore’s from his short story “Fire in the hole” which Elmore used again inspired from the series, in the recent novel “Raylan”). It is great. Hmm. It inspired me to give some thoughts on this years TV drama. Run away if you wish, but here they are, with added highly useful / useless, three word summary:

One reason for January to hurry up...

One reason for January to hurry up…

  • Justified – Maybe not as rounded a story as Season 2, but still great. Criminally ignored at the awards shows in favour of supposedly more serious fare. Loved the show. If you recall the line “They are saying I disarmed him”, you’ll know what I mean. – 3 word summary: Crisp dialogue king.
  • Breaking Bad – Short 8 episodes, but sweet as you like. The drama seemed a little bit rushed in some ways due to the reduced episodes, but there were plenty of good set pieces, wow moments, I cannot believe they did that moments, and the usual great acting. It opened with a clever scene from a year further down the line, which we have still to get to, and ended with a good cliffhanger. Cannot wait for the final 8 episodes next year. If you have netflix, and haven’t seen this show, catch up now. – Walter, Holy sh*t.
  • Mad Men – Back after a break and still on form. Slight dynamic change, some interesting character endings and repositioning of characters. Roger’s acid trip perhaps the highlight. Clever and stylish still. Again,  if you have netflix, and haven’t seen this show, catch up now. – stylish, cool, thoughtful.
  • Game of Thrones – Beautiful to look at and well acted. Some things trimmed from the second book, some moments appearing in different form from the early part of the third. Looking forward to how they deal with the rest of the third book. Best episode this time was the episode focused around the assault on Kings landing, was the best.  – Tyrion, the tall.
  • The Killing – Finished off the story. Improved on the first season in some ways, and made mistakes in other ways, like the “mad for a day” moment the two main characters had in separate episodes. One also took a bad beating but seemed ok enough a day or two later. The show was cancelled after this. That I wasn’t disappointed, says it all. Glad its over.
  • The Walking dead – perhaps on it’s strongest run so far. Good stories, good zombie kills / special effects, more tension between human vs human characters which drives the story much better.  Nice ending to the mid season finale. Looking forward to this one coming back. – No, Andrea, no.
  • Boardwalk Empire – Despite that they killed off my favourite character at the end of the previous season, I think I enjoyed this season the most. This show for me has always been very stylish, but maybe lacks the tension and tight dramatic drive of other shows. It is still decent though, employs great actors, for example Stephen Root who did a great job this season, and I loved the way they wrapped this season up. Great to see Richard involved. Interested to see where they go next year, as I was a little apprehensive to begin with this year. – Go Richard, go.
  • Hell on Wheels – Beautifully shot, never really had the dramatic tension that it ought to have. Quite a bit of it is well, a bit obvious. I tend to know where this is going most of the time. I will still watch it if it returns for another season. Needs more tension.
  • Treme – Have this season on the recorder but not watched it yet. Nothing to add. – Better watch it.
  • Homeland – Half of the season watched which was excellant. They changed track, but really this had to happen in the story. I have heard reports that the second half of the season is a bit weaker, but I guess I shall see. – Better catch up.

My Fave show of the year through nonet:

Oh sunday evening drama time

what a great selection to see

but when I look back and think

which of these is my fave

gut feeling selects

the dialogue cool

Justified.

Its back

soon 🙂

Have a nice week, and tune in somewhen further down it for the next brainsplats blog post.

Lexicon word of the day: specious.

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Novel titles and chapter headings

 

Maybe all this should arrive later?

A good novel takes you to a different place. It gives you someone else’s story. It might be good things or bad things, something easy to relate to, or something as far away from your own life as here to the moon. Which depending where here is, might be very far away. A good novel takes you away from your own life, but also explains a little about it. Myself, and many other bloggers are working on a novels, or projects of a similar nature. It is hoped that with the right mix of words, ideas, technical bits and passion, that these will become good novels, and find some readers. Hopefully the reader finds that little thing that gives them thought after they put the novel down, it finds a connection with a part of their life.

A well written novel does not make the technical bits too obvious, even if they are staring the reader in the face. Perhaps chapters are of a similar length so the reader can look, understand the structure and think, I can get through two or three of these before work, or before sleep. Perhaps the title infers something that leads the reader to think a certain way. I have noticed some bloggers will discuss their various writing projects, referring by the project’s title, i.e. it has one to refer to, where as others like my self just refer to a “project” itself. Why might this be?

I am a little secretive about my fiction projects, I like to give little away. It is not so much that I am embarrassed about the title, or I think it might be stolen. I just see it as my project, my thing, until it is finished, and then it can belong to everybody else as well. For me the title is a part of that, although hypocritically, it could be used as a teaser as well, if I feel I have a good one. More often, there is something else. When I start a project, I do not always know what the title is. I prefer to have a working title, then let the title arrive organically through the writing. If a good one pops up, then it will be kept, and maybe used. It needs to grow from the project. For me, it does not need a title whilst being written. For other writers, it is a little like a child, they prefer a name that they can lead, or leads them, through the story. They nurture the story from it, and help it grow.

A title could be important in marketing the project. That could be a further reason why I am happy to leave it until later.

As I pointed out above, how the chapters are structured in terms of length if important to many readers. They usually do not want to read a short 1000 word chapter followed by a 7,000 word chapter. People have busy lives, they pick up and put down books. They read on the train, or for half an hour before a tv show starts. They want to read the segments of it knowing they can pick it up and put it down at a convenient point in the story. Different authors break the book up in different ways. Many books just use numbers to separate the chapters. There is nothing wrong with this, it keeps the focus on the story. It just gives convenient breathing points in the story. Dividing the chapters up in any other way is not necessary for them. Others e.g. George R. R. Martin in his Game of Thrones books, use character names. This is important in these books because there are a lot of characters, and the chapter name is a device to immediately tell you which character, point of view, and story that you are following.

Other books use titles, which I find an interesting approach, because if done well, it can point your brain into a specific direction. I really don’t know how much notice most readers take of this. Many likely just leap into the next part of the story. It could temporarily take you out of the story. It depends on the story as to whether or not this is a good thing. I see the same thing with chapters which have a quote, prior to the story continuing. Some of these I read, others I don’t. I suppose it can add a layer, or take your thoughts in a different direction if you read it and take it in, but as with chapter titles, it can briefly jump you out of the story. I wonder if that is a bad thing or not. Given that you have taken a breather from the previous chapter, why not? The reader can ignore it if he or she so wishes, and continue on with the main text. I quite like the way some tv shows use titles to name episodes, many HBO, AMC,  and Showtime shows do this. Sometimes the title is made up, other times it comes from a specific line of dialogue in the episode, which loosely, and sometimes cleverly, sums up either what the episode is about, or the theme of the episode is about.

Would using the same technique and putting “clever” titles on a chapter actually be a clever thing to do? I’m tempted to do this with my current project. It might make the chapter headings more interesting. Would it be a distraction? Maybe, but if it really doesn’t work, it could easily be changed for numbers. You could apply the same logic to book segments. Some authors like to break the novel up into sections or parts containing a group of chapters. The novel might be changing track, or a significant point has been gotten to, so the chapters are grouped together in a separate section. It is a bit like books within books, a technique often used in mysteries or thrillers, or epic voyages. These could be labelled with numbers, titles, with either plus a quote, or clever titles.

So how a writer uses a title could be important to how the work progresses, but is also important to the reader. How we use chapter or segment headings can be done in a number of ways, but it ought to suit the story and the pacing of the story, how and when it should be broken up or paused. Get these right and it helps the reader connect with the work a little more, and sets them on the journey to that other place.

So how much importance do you place on a project title whilst working on the project? Do you need it before or during, or afterwards? How do you use chapter headings, and how important is the format of these to you?

N.B. This weekend, I’m heading off to another family reunion from the other side of my wife’s family. I may be a little late in getting to read and respond to comments.

Lexicon word of the day: insipid.

Monday Haiku and what I learned this weekend – 02 July 2012

Fetch me book four immediately, I need to rest here and see if I am in it.

This weeks weekend relevant prompts for Monday Haiku are:

  1. Finishing Game of Thrones book three “A Storm of Swords” – I tend to read a fiction book, then something non-fiction, then something else e.g. a biography (or maybe more fiction), then repeat the cycle. The Game of Thrones books are large (this one 1100 pages) and anyone with a toddler running round can tell you that the time to read drops off a bit, especially when you have other interests like writing. Finally this book is done. I enjoyed it, I will read the next one, but first it is time for a change.
  2. Free Sunday Morning – I normally webcam with my parents on a sunday morning. They are on holiday this week so we had a free sunday morning. We went to the park.
  3. Lowes – My wife went to a baby shower (well for a second child, so more a baby sprinkle). My son and I went for some guys shopping down at Lowes.

N.B. Update for point three. The child is not ours it is for some friends of ours.

So here we go:

Long read, Game of Thrones

Epic, swords, rape, and murder

ready for next book

Ok there is a lot more to it than that, but those are themes that stand out.

Hot, sunday morning

but relax, take it all in

enjoy a new park

It was a new park we went to. It was enjoyable, there were people around, but not too many:

Myself and “big man”

With guy stuff to buy at Lowes

now get him to work

Bonus Haiku is looking at the Carrie Rubin’s son’s “awful offspring offal”, because a) it is amusing, b) I’m being lazy in inspiration terms for the bonus Haiku, and c) because Carrie said I could. So thanks Carrie for letting me steal it, and thanks Carrie offspring for saying it. N.B. There might be some naughty words so if offended jump the dotted lines below, or alternatively, if enticed, jump between the dotted lines below:

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

Oh, to dance with words

pen mightier than the sword

Oh pen, where art thou?

part 2:

went on adventure

but there’s one up my butt you

can reach up and grab

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

Things I learned this weekend:

  • Spain are worthy Euro 2012 winners, and perhaps one of the best international sides ever having won Euro 2008, World Cup 2010, and Euro 2012. Even their substitutes bench is full of quality players, some of which didn’t even get to play in this tournament. Awe inspiring in the truest sense.
  • I have finally gotten better at the above on the Ps3. In fact I won it using England. So we can safely say the realism of this game is somewhat lacking.
  • ****** survives, ******* ** alive, Rob ** **** of the ****, Arya ** ***** **** – Game of Thrones book three spoilers covered up! I’m looking forward to book four, but after a break for a few other books.
  • With the that in mind, I now don’t know what to read next, so I have narrowed it down to a few choices on my book pile, and I’m asking for your help in the poll below. The options are “The Corrections“, Slaughterhouse 5“, and this highly rated book “The fiddler in the subway
Have a fun week.

Lexicon word of the day: idiolect.

The “search phrase” experiment and what makes a popular blog post

Part 1: What makes a popular post?

Fellow bloggers, humour me for a moment and consider the following: Which posts are your most popular? Which posts are your most searched? Which of your posts draw in the most comments and likes? If the answer to these questions is usually the posts that you don’t expect, then you likely blog for yourself first, and the audience second.

Do you find that you write a more personal piece, and it is barely read, or commented on? Yet you write a light hearted piece on a men’s magazine that contained the headline “Tina Fey is hot” and it pulls in more views, likes and comments than you ever considered. Why is this? Perhaps in one sense you don’t know your audience, or perhaps you might just be discovering it. Blogging is a learning game after all.

In my brief experience of blogging (about four months now), I’ve noticed the following:

  • If you gain some regular readers, the more personal posts will invite comments and likes from them. They have gotten to know you a bit through your posts, so the personal ones are giving them a bit more, rewarding them a little in that way, and building on that relationship.
  • On the other hand, the personal posts will generally not draw in many readers as they don’t have the personal connection, aside from the odd passing “tourist” who may have a connection in some way, and will therefore be drawn in.
  • Posts which are on a specific subject, e.g. writing tips, will draw in readers looking for the specific thing. Or they may have some experiences of it, that they may wish to share or can contribute to the subject.
  • Posts which are a bit more general e.g. about blogging, provide a common experience for all sorts of bloggers, so it will be easier for them to interact with your post, and be more enticing to new readers.
  • Posts which are more general still, e.g. The Rolling Stone top 500 albums ever, might draw in more views via search engines, but not the interactivity. This is also to say that the searcher may be after one thing, and not the thing the way you have written about it, which by the way, is not a criticism. Or a reader might like it, but have no wish to comment or press “like” (see the next point).
  • The “comments” and “like” functions are the tools of the reader from the blog community, but not necessarily everyone else. You may have some RSS readers, or readers via search sites who read some of your posts then leave. I know I do this when looking up certain subjects via google, but I don’t want to sign up to whatever web community it might be, and make a comment on it. I just want the written info.
  • If you are lucky enough to write a personal piece, but on a subject which many people are interested in, then this will be likely be the one which draws in “comments” and “likes”, but also a lot of views.
  • If you join some sort of competition, or writing group type challenge, e.g. monthly ROW80, you will get other like minded individuals who have also joined, as readers, and perhaps a few more additional interested ones (not that I would know having not joined one, but I was informed this was the case).

Part 2: The “experiment” in viewing figures

In some separate posts by myself and by blogging friends, the subject of popular search terms has cropped up. Terms that frequently appear in your stats, but seem to have little in common, other than a phrase, with the subject posted about. Plus there is a few odd ones which seem to have nothing in common at all other than two or three words occurred in a post, often paragraphs apart. On this blog “soft splats” is one example. So we discussed whether including a bunch of popular or odd search things would boost the viewings on a post, or indeed whether it would have any impact at all.

So let us assume for a moment that I want to be a blog whore. I want to put it out there, I want the viewers, I want the readers. Generally, I don’t, I’m ok with the amount of readers and views I have, but for this post I want to be different. I want it, and all of it. I want to put it about. Mmm, I hope this isn’t a choice I come to regret, but I digress. Sure there are many ways to help build an audience for your blog, WordPress themselves did a posting on this, see how to get more views, and how to get more comments. I see no reason to cover that ground again and that is not what I’m after here. I want the viewings first, and any new readers, “comments” and “likes” are a good bonus. So the experiment is thus, add in to this post, some commonly used web browser search phrases or other things that I’m guessing may turn up, and see what it does to the views on this post. See what crops up in the search terms in the stats. It will be an artificial boost somewhat, and it is not to say that part 1 above may also draw in some additional readers. But let us see what happens, so let us cover some search terms with added brainsplats nonsense here:

Some random popular search terms

  • Harry Potter is about being a nerd. I never read the books but I saw some of the films. School appears to have changed since I was there.
  • You can check some popular trends here: http://www.google.com/trends/hottrends  – I decided to pinch (and add):
    • Kate Upton is popular. I have no idea who she is
    • Rodney King sadly took one beating too many.
    • The NBA finals have just finished with Miami winning. Sports channels like to talk about LeBron James especially now he has his first championship. I would not have mentioned him but he has a minor share in LFC.
    • The European championships (Euro 2012) are on. Steven Gerrard (LFC captain), is the England captain. Roy Hodgson (ex Liverpool manager) is the England manager. England have thus far done better than expected (we all thought they were crap).
    • What do Lindsay Lohan, the returning TV show Dallas, Miley Cyrus, and Kim Kardashian have in common? – Nothing that I am aware of.
    • Wimbledon Tennis starts soon and True Blood is back on. Both feature pasty looking people knocking things around a bit.
    • Pacquiao got robbed against Bradley meaning the fight against Floyd Mayweather will likely never happen. If this was the UFC, they would have faced off when they were at their respective peaks, a few years ago.
    • Tina Turner is still alive apparently, where as Henry Hill (of Goodfellas fame), is not.
    • Game of Thrones and Mad Men, are great sunday night shows that have ended their current seasons. The returning Falling Skies is a big slab of cheese in comparison.

Some random nonsense (assuming the above isn’t)

  • Purple Bananas wibble and wobble their way to squiggle and squelch land of the springs, where beds and fresh water run hand in hand.
  • I like random writing terms like paragraph, full stop, blog post, words to avoid, number of words, writing inspiration, writing prompt, author, artist, writer, and notepad.
  • Is it more fun to insult people from Belgium or Germany (in a non racist way of course)? Or come to think or it, the Irish or the Welsh?
  • I ought to mention Apple, ipod, ipad 2 and ipad 3, and the new iPhone 5. Plus I want a new Macbook Pro retina screen model. Well it is Apple isn’t it?
  • Add to that these random things – Disney, Pixar, Toy Story, DVD, downloads, MP3, Music, dance, jiggly, underwear, jockstrap and monkey.

Part 3. The mini conclusion

So I have a post of two parts. Hopefully part 1 will be of interest to many bloggers and blog readers. These are simply my thoughts on blogs posts, I make no comment about whether writing for yourself or an audience is better other than to say as far as I’m concerned either approach is fine, it depends what you want out of your blog.

Part 2 may be of interest to no-one other than me, or people who want to know what daft search terms crop up, if any. I shall monitor the stats of this post, and do an update in a week or two. Does all this nonsense boost the viewing figures, if only for a day or two? Does it do nothing? I shall find out. Feel free to enter your thoughts in the box below on either part.

Lexicon word of the day: incommutable.

TV Vegetable – 23 May 2012 – adventures from the edge of the couch

 Welcome to this weeks tv vegetable, my (sometime) weekly round up of some consumed tv, where we are considering how there is only two episodes of Game of Thrones left already.

Game of Thrones (HBO)

In the books, some early chapters of book three occur in the timeline at the end of some events at the end of book two. The show has put them back into roughly the correct place. Therefore we got a few chapters from book three, but like I discussed last week, these scenes were a bit different to the book. Brienne and Jamie being the first of them, and potentially ruining an advantage Robb has. But Robb was doing a good job of ruining his advantages himself, by getting it on with Talisa. It was a nice moment between them, and interesting how Robb explained that his father Ned, had explained the nature of fear. This get together is only mentioned as in the past, in the book.

The other scene which was actually a mix of parts from book two and three put together, involved John Snow and his capture by the wildlings. Clearly the intention is that John will need to kill Halfhand, his fellow man of the black, so he can infiltrate the wildlings some more. We shall see how that works out. Maybe we will also meet Mance next week.

Two of the best scenes this week involved Tyrion. The first with Cersei who thought she had the upper hand, but taking the wrong whore prisoner. Tyrion to his credit, continued the double bluff. The scene with Varys discussing “the game”, might have been even better. Clever, fun, and nice scenery.

Theon also got a nice scene with his sister after she turned up at Winterfell, but without the army Theon hoped for. She tried to point out where he was going wrong, but Theon is too proud and stupid to see it. Later it was revealed that Brann and Rickon had survived (note, if they had all been caught, surely Hodor would be hanging as well, along with a certain guard killing female). How will this pan out? This is slightly different from the book, but not a large departure so it will be interesting to see where they are going with it. I’m not sure why it was left until the end of the episode to reveal it, although in terms of the time sequence, this fitted in better.

There was Little of Dany, but I suspect we shall see the house of death next week. A small scene with Stannis and Davos, illustrating why Davos is the onion knight. I would argue there has not been enough of Stannis in the past week or two given the importance of him approaching Kings Landing for the battle. Meanwhile Arya, Gendry and Hotpie appear to have escaped from Harrenhill. I believe Arya killed a guard in the escape in the book, but in the show, she is still to kill anyone yet. But what of Jacqen now the three kills are up?

– My wife says:  See Mad Men

– I say: Only two episodes to go I think.

 Mad Men (AMC)

Has Don got the motivation back, or has it all passed him. More tension came to a head with Megan. First the play that had a go at advertising and consumerism (a real play of the time). Then Don complained he found work boring without her. Megan pointed out he was great at the job long before she arrived, which motivated Don to give the speech in the boardroom get together at the end of the episode. Earlier on, Don was great to watch taking Joanie out. There is great chemistry in watching those two work together, so perhaps one of the writers or producers will have noted this and will put them in some future scenes together. Poor old Joanie getting served her divorce papers, still not a good position for a woman with child, to be in at that time period. Her strop at the receptionist was a classic. “When do I tell them about the baby?” she asked Don whilst sitting at the bar. “After the first date” suggested Don (please forgive the adverb there, writer chums).

We also got the return of Paul Kinsey, who seems to have hit the bottom since being left behind at the old agency. These were possibly some of the best scenes with Harry outside of accompanying Don to the Rolling Stones concert in the opening episode. It was funny how Harry seemed to immediately get the Hare Krishna chanting and had a vision of his daughter, but didn’t get taken in by it. Paul was not getting that experience, but it turned out he was their best recruiter. Harry was attracted to “Mother Lakshmi” and was quick to get into nailing her in the office even if it later got turned round on him. Harry seemed to be more bothered about cheating on Paul than his wife. Still it was a funny scene. As was Paul’s Star Trek spec script which wasn’t actually as unsubtle as some of the episodes that did air. Harry did genuinely feel for his friend in the end though and coughed up some cash to start a new life of confidence slashing and rejection, trying to make it as a writer in LA. Good luck on that one, although it would be funny if we catch up with him again and he has found some success.

Another good gag was referring to meeting at Burt Cooper’s office, i.e. the bathroom (he doesn’t have a regular office, he just hangs out). Lane’s story was sort of desperate and interesting but also seemed slightly split off from the rest of the stories, in a way that for example, Harry’s story didn’t. I suspect this will come back to bite Lane and maybe the firm, but we shall see.

– My wife says: Nothing, she was watching something else.

– I say: – Not much Roger this week, but we now do know that he knows, that he is the father of Joanie’s baby.

tv dinner (the rest)

Nurse Jackie (SHOWTIME)

This season where doing something now has consequences, has been so much better. Jackie is sticking to the sobriety, but all the mistakes she has made in the past are coming back to get her. In this weeks episode she gave the boss a helping hand, then got one in return, only to be revealed at the end of the episode as Charlie’s rehab friend. Now there is a weeks break. What? With that cliff hanger?

– My wife says: Zoe was dumping Lenny. Why?

– I say: Got to love the guy with dementia who thought he still worked at the hospital, who apologised to the guy who got dropped on his head.

The Killing (AMC)

I’m beginning to hit the point with this show where I’m lost with it. Too many things happen which I just don’t believe. Why is Linden so obsessed? She has been suspended, her boy has gone to his fathers. Can’t she just say it is someone else’s case now? She has her (ex) partner running round with her, having had him beaten up last week. What is she not done with ruining him? Anyhoo, we got the idea that Rosie was murdered on the tenth floor in the Indian casino / hotel for something she witnessed, which may have involved some bloke from the other week, who’s name escapes me. Ok. How would you ever prove this?

Stan had to look after his boys after one got suspended for two weeks from school after killing some baby birds. Two weeks? I know what he did was nasty, but look at what the lad has been through in the past three weeks. His sister was murdered. Stan got angry with them, then realised that they were all hurting and making bad behaviour choices. Actually, I thought this was the best thing they had done with Stan all season.

Why does the boring politician only have two staff when he is running for mayor? If I ran I would have more staff. If he wins I’m moving. Oh, hold on, I don’t live there.

– My wife says: Really, why hasn’t the mother gone home? How can she leave her boys for that long?

– I say: Why didn’t the boss just put Holder on a week’s sick leave pending reassignment?

The Ultimate Fighter (FX)

Highlights – The second quarter finals (I made a mistake and said Semi last week). Both fights went the way as expected. The sobbing Geordie met a better fighter and got picked apart. At least he took the defeat as a lesson.

Lowlights – Nothing of note, it was mainly fights this week.

– My wife says: I want the guy in red to win. (She remembered she liked Cruz’s team this week).

– I say: The sobbing Geordie is gone, but both semi final matches are this coming friday.

Enjoy.

Lexicon word of the day: felicitous.

How much do you plan a story?

Recently Rolling Stone has inspired a couple of posts. Once again the current issue has something interesting, worth sharing, concerning how much planning goes into a story. As you might expect, this comes through an interview with an author, in this case George R. R. Martin. You might be familiar with his works on the “Tale of Fire and ice” series, recently turned into a little TV show “A Game of Thrones”. I might have covered it a few times in TV Vegetable.

It is a decent interview, especially his opinion on the use of sex in the series and how it relates to US culture. However in the part I am concerned about George was asked a question about how much he plans his stories. He starts by describing story writers as two types, either “architects” or “gardeners”. The architect knows what he will be building, has detailed plans, knows where the walls, will go, where the pipes will be laid and so on. The Gardener plants a seed and watches it grow. The gardener knows what is expected to grow i.e. the type of plant or flower, but not exactly when or how, there are plenty of surprises on the journey.

Obviously these are analogies of how someone plans a story. He explains how he is closer to a gardener (in the context of a game of thrones):

“I know the ultimate end to the series and I know the fates of all the principle characters, but there’s a lot of minor characters and other details that I find along the way… it’s about the journey not the ultimate destination”

If you have read any of this series of books, you will know how long they are, and how they have a lot of characters, and jump perspective a lot. This allows for a lot more with the minor characters, but still, you’ve got to love his approach. This is the approach I try to take, to have a basic spine of the story, and certain events which need to happen. But I also try to see also what happens as I write it. I’m still learning, and this approach seems to work for me. I would be happy to come up with something half as good.

Obviously either approach has it’s positives and negatives, and some approaches are better suited to different types of story, e.g. the architect approach to a murder mystery. However, generally speaking you may stick with one approach. Which approach do you take?

Lexicon word of the day: impecunious.

TV Vegetable – 16 May 2012 – adventures from the edge of the couch

 Welcome to this weeks tv vegetable, my (sometime) weekly round up of some consumed tv, where we are considering alternative pathways to those in the book.

Game of Thrones (HBO)

This season of Game of Thrones has followed the second book, but also made enough departures to keep it interesting for anyone who has read it. A few smaller characters have been left out altogether, a few brought in or changed. Some scenes have been cut, some scenes barely hinted at in the book have been expanded on.

One example is Jamie escaping and being caught again. This is mentioned in the book as occurring whilst Cat was away (unless it happens in the third book which I haven’t read yet). Jamie was clever in appealing to his distant relative’s vanity before murdering him. Jamie is good at murder which he also seemed keen to explain before committing it.

A further example is Arya’s interaction’s with Chief Lannister. She keeps giving away that she is far more intelligent than she is trying to convince, something Tywin cut’s through with ease. Yet he gives he some credit, and enjoys the interactions, even giving her back some history of himself. He is a difficult character to hate, and illustrates well the shades of grey in many of the characters.

Example three, is in Qarth where we get to the mystery of who stole the dragons, and get with some more murder action on the rest of the council. Dany must now enter the house of the Warlock (I forget it’s name).

I loved the scene with Cersei and Sansa, then the later scene with Cersei and Tyrion, where we find out that Cersei knows exactly what sort of person Joffrey is, and doesn’t know how to control him. But not only that, the dog knows it as well.

Then we finish with Theon, trying to prove himself as the new host of Winterfell. First having to beat up one of his own men, then making a poor job of catching the escaped Brann and Rickon. There were two tarred and therefore hidden bodies hanging at the end, but who did they belong to? Perhaps the clue is that there was only two of them?

– My wife says:  See Mad Men

– I say: I didn’t mention above, but the Jon Snow scenes were also a bit of a departure from the book. At least the second book anyway.

 Mad Men (AMC)

Just a mini look at Mad Men this week, the longer one will return next week. Don’s lack of motivation and feel for the times began to catch up with him this week. He’s feeling the fear of the up and coming Ginsberg, but is still in a position where he can waltz in and stick it to him. Meanwhile Betty was feeling ok about herself until seeing a slim Megan in her underwear. She tried to get at them via Sally, but they handled it as well as they could. All it did in the end was teach Sally how to scheme in a more intelligent way. Got to love Sally’s line to Megan about “are you going to practise crying again?”. Also got to love Roger and Ginsberg. John Slattery can seriously work with anyone.

– My wife says: Nothing, she was watching something else.

– I say: – Don’s note to Megan was maybe his best work in a while. Simple, short and very effective.

tv dinner (the rest)

Nurse Jackie (SHOWTIME)

Still good. Liking the divorce action, Jackie and head honcho dream getting it on action, Zoe living with Jackie, and Fitch annoying Eleanor. Plus he asked her who the father of the baby is. Who is the father, come on tell us?

– My wife says: Why didn’t Eddie tell Kevin that he didn’t know what Jackie took (pills)?

– I say: I cannot believe this hospital is this nice to patients all the time.

VEEP (HBO)

 

Having seen the episodes broadcast on HBO thus far, conclusions are that this is very strong. It’s not, gag, gag, gag, in the way something like Arrested Development was (and hopefully is again on the netflix revival), but it is choc full of clever dialogue, and funny one liners. Elaine from Seinfeld is fabulous as the vice president, grown up blonde girl from “My Girl” is also good as chief of staff. Well to be honest (which I assume you want), they are all good. Particularly like Jonah, the White House liaison, but that seems to be doing a disservice to everyone else.

– My wife says: This is funny.

– I say: I like it. Hit. Thumbs up, etc, etc.

The Killing (AMC)

Linden immediately got on the hunt looking for Holder. For some odd reason, her boss didn’t want to go looking for him, even though it is one of his staff, and he is therefore responsible for him. They found him ok but Linden had to turn in her badge. We learnt that Rosie was working at the casino, but not as a prostitute, as a maid / cleaner. She must have seen something on that tenth floor, but what?

Stan got some leads via his requests through the media, but it led to nothing much other than a few people wanting to take advantage. The lady claiming she too had lost a child then asked for money so she could contact Rosie for him was particularly nasty / harrowing.

No mention of the child authorities after Linden’s son, who she promptly shipped off to stay with his father anyway. Not too much boring politician this week.

– My wife says: When did Linden last sleep? She has been up for two days now.

– I say: Why didn’t the girl from the casino bring this information forward two weeks ago? Her colleague and friend was murdered for ******’s sake.

The Ultimate Fighter (FX)

Highlights – The two semi finals. The second one went to a third round with Michael Chiesa beating number one pick Lawrence via TKO. Both men were tired going into that third round. It was possibly the fight of the season thus far.

Lowlights – A bit about Cruz snapping his ACL. He will continue as coach but cannot fight Faber in the summer. Faber remains on the card with opponent to be determined.

– My wife says: Why are two blue fighters lined up against each other next week?

– I say: Because Faber’s team won the opening matches 5 – 3

Enjoy.

Lexicon word of the day: Imperforate.