Save the Cat! Diary, 6/3 to 6/4/21

{6/3/21}  Weight 213.4 at 6:25 am.

Watched Pulse.  Had hopes because Kristen Bell is in it and I loved her voice in Frozen.  It’s passable horror schlock, nothing special, not excessively cheap or stupid.

The fiction writing is going reasonably well, but I think two pages a day is just too little to be satisfied with.

Save the Cat! Writes a Novel is claimed to be “The Last Book on Novel Writing You’ll Ever Need.”  So far, I’m not too excited about it, but it provides labels for “beats” in stories, and I’m finding already that it’s affecting my thinking.  Having a label for something helps it stick—Pulse started with an “Opening Image,” like the book says.  Except that it was a “snapshot,” not of “your hero and their world” (before changes occur), but rather it was a snapshot of the ghostly foe that would be the enemy throughout the movie. Then a “theme” was “stated,” beat two, as the book suggests, but it was psychological guidance from a school counselor that seemingly had nothing to do with the hero(ine)’s growth throughout the movie.  So, maybe if the movie had followed the book more closely (in the Screenwriting version, I suppose), it might have been a better movie.

So, the book is offering a formula that I am not persuaded will fit The Grapes of Wrath, Pride and Prejudice, and other books I’ve read that are repeatedly used as examples, but it does seem to be offering, at least, food for thought.

{6/4/21}  Weight 211.2 at 7:00 am.  Did a lot of sweating yesterday.

I started the morning by looking at yesterday’s writing, then wrote this:

Comment:  I was avoiding the challenge here, not wanting to think hard about these “unimportant” characters in an “unimportant” scene.  I need to write it “correctly,” giving the scene “its due,” etc., turning it from a weakness into a strength, or else cut it altogether. J & K should quiz them (or whoever) about the howl and B.P., etc.  They could have brought the groceries with them.  What did J buy?  Another opportunity scorned.  I think I need to slow my thinking down, it’s a first draft, I should (perhaps) be omitting nothing…a question I need to consider.

Kat would also want to know what the investigators found.

Also, what about “police procedure”?  Another issue I haven’t wanted to think about.  And:  what does a dead body look like?  ETC.  “Write what you know”—or the research will kill you?  This is a hard issue.

In other words, I did no fiction writing this morning because I was rethinking the whole enterprise.  I don’t know enough to write about the aftermath of a character dying, yet, that’s what I’ve been doing.  I think the thing to do, if I’m committed to finishing this novel, is to proceed as I’ve been doing, faking it until I’m done, then—if what I’ve written is worth the effort—look into getting knowledgeable advice about fixing whatever errors of fact I’ve committed.  There really isn’t a sensible alternative if I want to write this novel.


WordPress is nonsensical.  You have two places to specify a summary or excerpt, when creating a new “post.”  At the end of a post, you get links to “related” posts.  However, these links offer neither of the two summaries/excerpts you’ve specifically created; rather, the links offer the start of the text of the linked posts, i.e., my copyright notice, date of diary entry, weight record, and so on.  Fucking outrageous.  Look:

This is a screen capture, so the above is not link-clickable.  The WordPress software is crap:  counter-intuitive, and it does stupid stuff like what I was just whining about.  In addition, the pic on the left is recropped, making it look like I was focusing on the bodies of the two girls, and not showing the stars of Ghost World.  I don’t need this kind of “help.”  The alternative to WordPress?  Go to another blog site and start over?  There is no alternative.  Here’s how the Ghost World post shows up on my blog home page:

Much better.  The post itself looks different when it’s accessed via this link (above) or via the “reader.”  Via the reader, the menu system doesn’t show; instead, you get this (different page):

The link to the home page on the left doesn’t show when access to the post is gotten through the blog home page; also, that link has the wrong (old) background, again making me look stupider than I am.  Note also that the centering of the copyright notice is lost; it’s left-justified; however, the centering of the photograph is not lost.  Their software is crap.  Enough.

Watched The Messengers, a dull horror flic starring Kristen Stewart.  Actually, I watched half of it.  A DVD has to be pretty awful to get me to give up on it after 45 minutes.  The movie starts with the obscure deaths of three people in an old house (again not the “beat” recommended by Save the Cat!  Horror movies follow a different formula).  Then a new family moves into the dilapidated farm house, with farm, because the father thinks it’s a good idea; what a cliché.  Their first view of the house looks black and old, and there are lots of crows hanging around, i.e., “creepy.”  The family (mother, father, teen daughter, very young son) is completely lacking in interest—the dullest family I can recall ever seeing in a movie.  Totally lacking in character; I’m supposed to care about these people why?  Then bad things happen, mostly cheap jump scares and loud banging that the actors don’t hear, the daughter isn’t believed (this isn’t a spoiler; the cover of the DVD says, “If no one believes you, how can you warn them?”), and I’ve seen this kind of thoughtless crap before.  The dialogue is formulaic and ridiculous.  Everyone—every puppet—is going through the motions.  Even the crows aren’t interesting.  Click.  It goes on the donate pile.

Also boring and ridiculous was this morning’s episode of The Three Stooges.  I’d do better to tune in to YouTube or Democracy Now or whatever has more substance or more entertainment value.  I like the Stooges well enough, but not well enough to actually watch them.  Another donation.  I told Pablo I’d trade him for his Twilight Zone DVDs, but maybe I don’t want those, either.

It’s been a day of movies, naps, and not much else.  Of course, it was very warm today; it’s 85° inside at 10:00 pm.  First I watched, for a second time, the delightful and sentimental Disney-Pixar Inside Out.  I love this movie and think it would be especially good for children.

Then it was Persuasion, from the Jane Austen novel, starring Amanda Root.  Not an especially familiar story, though I’ve read the novel probably twice and may have seen this movie before (though I don’t think so).  The movie was adequate, but I think mostly for Austen fans.  Coming up now on TCM is the Greer Garson Pride and Prejudice, which always seemed to me miscast because Garson is 32 years old, though I confess I thought her 40 for some reason.  For me, P&P as a film stands or falls depending on the parts allotted to Mrs. Bennett and the clergyman whose name escapes me; if they have too much screen time, they’re sure to become unbearable, and the move along with them.  (The clergyman is Mr. Collins.)  But I’m not going to watch this, despite being fond of Marsha Hunt, who reminds me of old photographs of my mother (though not in this role—Mary Bennett).

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