Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It's Not Fantasy, It's HBO

By now many of you have (hopefully) tuned in to watch HBO’s new fantasy series, “Game Of Thrones.” And by now you may even know about the fan outcry against some of the unkinder reviews, particularly the one in the New York Times by Ginia Bellafante, in which she asks the question, “What is ‘Game of Thrones’ doing on HBO?”

A lot of the ire directed at Bellafante comes from her claims that women really won’t (or ought not to) be interested in the series. But what infuriates and baffles me just as much about her review is that she professes to enjoy a lot of the same series I do. “Rome,” “Deadwood,” “The Sopranos”… I love these series for how they explore situation and character, in a way that’s dramatic, intelligent, and insightful. That’s also precisely why I love “Game of Thrones” the book series, and was so excited to see it come to HBO: I thought this would be the opportunity, at long last, to topple the lingering snobbery toward genre material as inconsequential fluff.  “Game of Thrones,” as its many readers can attest to, is the kind of work that has the depth of character and unerring sense of drama that HBO’s best series are known for.

And yet here we are, right back at square one.  Despite great acting, great production values, and a great story, “Game of Thrones” is being dismissed out of hand, really for no other reason than it’s imaginative. It’s fake

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Defeating the Inner Naysayer

I can't recall how many times I have walked by my computer, frowned, and asked myself what the hell am I doing?  Why am I even bothering to write?  I mean, everything worth saying has already been said and it has been said much better than I could ever convey.  So what's the point?  I would then find things to fill the time that I should have spent writing.  DVDs needed to be organized, that new spin-off of a show I never really liked was starting in a few minutes, or that new first person shooter game was released today and I needed to pick it up.

It wasn't that there were things that needed to be done, there are always things that need to be done, I was scared, terrified of letting others see the faults in my writing which translated to faults with me.  If I write anything, except in the most private journal complete with heart-shaped lock and bejeweled key to keep out all prying eyes, then I was writing not just for myself, but ultimately for viewing by others.  The moment before pressing the "Send" button or hitting "Publish Post" my heart would race and I would consider pulling back to hole up into the infinite loop of revision where nothing ever gets done.  (See my earlier post here on writing a first novel or Paul's excellent piece on first drafts here).