February 14, 2016

Slice of PIE: STRANGER THAN FICTION and A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1999 TV Movie with Patrick Stewart)

We’ve watched both movies many, many times – but this is the first time I’ve seen them in tandem.

I was startled to see that STF is a reworking of ACC!

It’s just from a different angle...

Let me back up a bit.

Lately, I feel like I’ve hit a wall with my writing. I KNOW I can write well enough to be published in major magazines: ANALOG, CRICKET, CICADA, CAST OF WONDERS, even THE WRITER.

But I have not been able to do so consistently.

Why is that?

Does the quality of my writing vary wildly from professional quality to crap? Sorry, I don’t think so. I’m not that cavalier about editing and rewriting!

Am I in a good mood one day and a bad mood another day and this schizophrenia is reflected in the writing? Doubtful. I don’t think I’ve ever written a story in one sitting. Usually it takes a month or two to finish a short story and over a year to write a novel...

Maybe I should get myself to a shrink and have them see if I have Dissociative identity disorder and there are two or more of me alternately trying to pursue a writing career. *sigh* If only it were that simple, maybe I could get therapy and forge a partnership with the part of me that’s a good writer.

But I don’t think any of those a really the problem.

I think the problem is twofold: character development and choosing the right story to tell.

Back to STF and ACC. Both of the stories are about a crotchety person who has no interest in humanity. One is a loan shark…er…accountant, the other a writer. Both of them employ a caring, kind individual, though with extreme prejudice and make life miserable for that person...while at the same time interacting with them consistently and deeply.

As well, both of them come face-to-face with ghosts. Ebenezer Scrooge quite literally; Karen Eiffel in the form of a man she thought was imaginary who turns out to be quite real.

Both also confront a tragic death that will occur if they continue on in the course of their lives. The dramatic tension in the story keeps us following, wondering if Scrooge will let Tiny Tim die and if Eiffel will let Harold die. Both have a foil against whom they must battle – Scrooge duels with Bob Cratchit and Eiffel fences with Penny Escher.

The same story, turned on its side becomes not ONLY a well-received modern film, but apparently escaped anyone else noticing the connection with a story that has been adapted over a hundred times since its publication in 1843.

So – I need to choose more recognizable stories and adapt them to the things that concern me, and the themes I visit most often in my writing.

Easy, right?

Bah, humbug!

Image: 1992-10-05 'A Christmas Carol' [Disc 1] by Charles Dickens via ...www.flickr.com

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