Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Story at Daily Science Fiction; 'A Special Day'

A story of mine is online at Daily Science Fiction today. Go check it out!

(If you came to this blog after reading the story, don't click the link! You'll be sucked into a never-ending whirlpool where you read the story, click on the link for this blog, then click on the link for the story, then click on the link for this blog, then click on the link for the story...)

For 'A Special Day' I wanted to write a simple, suspenseful story. Surprise is easy, but tension? That's hard. Hitchcock once illustrated the difference by saying: "There's two people having breakfast and there's a bomb under the table. If it explodes, that's a surprise. But if it doesn't..." Now, I really do love Hitchcock, but I think he's selling himself short here. If you have interesting, sharp characters doing the talking, you don't need a bomb under the table: they are the bomb. I was trying to go for that kind of suspense with this story and I think I got it.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Movie Openings vs. Book Openings: Outside-in vs. Inside-out

I know I said my next post would be about language and dialect in crime fiction, but as you can see that’s not the case. I’m still going to do it, it’s just I’m planning to use James Ellroy as my example and the books I own of his are in a box somewhere in my parents' basement. I’m moving soon and will have access to them then, but until then I’m going to procrastinate and talk about the difference between the opening minutes of a film vs. The opening pages of a novel.

Last night I watched ‘Alien’ for the first time. Everyone’s got a list of classic films they haven’t seen, and the Alien movies are on mine. My plan is to watch them all before Prometheus comes out so I can stop feigning enthusiasm whenever I’m talking about it with my fellow film geek friends. Anyway, after a long credit sequence, the movies starts off with several outer and interior shots of a spaceship. We don’t see any people, just long empty hallways (I tried to find the opening scene on Youtube, but the best I could find was here. Skip over to 2:27 to get past the credit sequence). Its a few minutes before we see any human beings. The movie starts outside (literally, with the shots outside the spaceship) and then shows us the world in more detail (the shots of the inside of the ship) and only then shows us the characters.