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Saturday, April 13, 2019

Pierwalker Log: April 13, 2019

Writing start: 10:48 A.M.
Finish: 2:32 P.M.
Total new words (est.): 600
Edited (est.): 12300

1. Failure: 600 new words
Notes: If you know you're going to hell, it's best to prepare.

2. Book Three Melody: Off till next Saturday

3. Rapscallion: Read-through of chapter one

4. Angel: Book Three: Off

5. Rumpel: Read-through of chapter three

6. Random Chance: Read-edit of chapter seven of Book One

7. LOTR: Read-through of chapter seven

8. Port Story: Off till 4/22

Special Projects: "Looking Out Her Bedroom Window"; Transcribing Montaigne day 1/3

Extra notes: Shazam is good. It retains the humanity of the original series and offers lots of laughs as a new superhero figures out just how to make everything work--especially the mess of his life as fourteen-year-old Billy Batson. Mark Strong's villain is a sympathetic one, and I hope the directors and producers of the inevitable sequel don't forget that. You feel genuinely bad for him, even as you root against his ultimate aims. He really got shafted when he was Billy's age--and not just by his horrible brother and father.


The new Star Wars teaser trailer is interesting--especially the evil laugh at the end with the introduction of the title--The Rise of Skywalker. Very typical JJ Abrams mystery stuff there. I'm sure the Interwebs is doing all sorts of speculating. Count me out. This series has very much been a mixed bag for me, as much because of the backroom corporate greed and finagling, the huge egos, the blockbuster mentality of so many, the politics of it all, which unavoidably leaks at turns into the news sites ... It's all a bit much for me. I'll be glad when the story is finally over, the final chapter written.

Yeah, right.

Greed won't let the story be over! A few years will pass, and bam! we'll be hit one day with a new trailer for a new Star Wars saga; a new hero and a new kooooo-keeee! bad guy, and on and on it will go, forever.

The likelihood that my stories ever make the big screen, let alone ever make it to blockbuster status, are remote in the extreme. And you know what? I'm quite glad of it. I'm glad of it precisely because of what has occurred with Star Wars and a thousand other blockbusters, including Lord of the Rings. The watering down or utter raping of the original content. The audience testing. The pandering. The big stars and their big egos and their vodka fountains in their trailers bullshit. The averaging out of the extraordinary in the story, which is inevitable when herds become involved with anything: one does, after all, need to make the story acceptable to soccer moms and cubicle dads!

I have never understood how, in the end, money always wins when it comes down to what should be done in a creative project. How money is always the final arbiter. How the bean counters are the true gods, and the rest are subordinate, at best. You need to understand that every single scene in Star Wars has been audience tested before it was approved for the final cut. Every single scene. As surely happened in Shazam. And Wonder Woman. And Mary Poppins. And ... well, you name it. The bean counters know: follow the herd! And so the original story is raped.

It's a harsh word, but I mean it precisely, even if its author or authors don't care if it is, if they don't care what happens to it, if they wrote it for no other reason than to make money. It's almost always what is going through my mind every single time I step up to the ticket window.

Sometimes the audience testing rings true, and you get something top-shelf like Wonder Woman, which remains the gold standard in the superhero genre. Sometimes that happens. Sometimes you get The Matrix (just the original, please) or Rogue One or Ocean's Eleven or Collateral. It happens. But make no mistake: it happens despite that audience testing, not because of it.

Indie authors like myself are exhorted constantly to find "beta readers" for our not-yet-released books, and to make the changes those beta readers say need to happen before the book is launched. We're to herd-test our work, in other words, to improve the chances for herd approval. And you know what? Most indie authors, as far as I can tell, do it. They herd-test their work.

I have never, and I will never, ever do that. The stories I write are pure. And they will remain so forever--even if that means they do not make me or my estate one red cent. They will not be raped. They will not be audience tested. They will not be altered to please the herd--the same herd which has, for two decades now, tried to off me so many times I've lost count. Fuck that. And fuck them.

So here we are, JJ, just awaiting your next breathless teaser trailer. The same one, like all the rest, like the entire franchise, whose every single frame gained herd approval before release.

I'm breathless with anticipation. Honestly, I am.