The Writing Life: A Podcast, and Distraction versus Discipline (The Last Jedi Edition)

So, for any of you missed it, here is the podcast of my interview with Jerry Fabyanic talking about my book, The Thief and The Demon. I had a great time, and would once again like to thank Jerry, and KYGT-FM, the Goat radio station. I had a great time, and hope to return to discuss my next book!

And on to a quick little chat on Distraction and Discipline. Distraction is an enemy to writers, a sneak thief of time who poses as subjects of interest, or even creative fuel, when in fact little but time lost is gained by indulging in it. As writing is a time-intensive process, distractions are a major force to be recognised, ignored, or overcome.

Distraction’s antithesis, for me, is Discipline. If Discipline is lacking, Distraction wins every time, and not just hours, but days can be lost. If Discipline wins, then Distractions can be shut out, for a time.

Discipline is not easy. You can have motivation to write, and eagerness even, but then you sit down, and Distraction trumps motivation and eagerness and you find yourself watching endless spoiler riddled videos about The Last Jedi. Speaking hypothetically, of course.

Discipline for me is knowing yourself, and being able to say NO. Firmly, and in multiple languages, some of them fictional. Sometimes it fails, like today, and yesterday.

Quick very-not-serious thoughts about The Last Jedi.

1) Why doesn’t anyone think Kylo lied about Rey’s parents? Or was lied to by Snoke via force vision? I am still fake convinced she is Reykin Kenobi, and is her own parents because she is a clone of a person created by the gene splicing Boba Fett creator aliens from DNA samples stolen from Obi Wan, and Padme. Hence her asking to see her parents in the non-sexual wet dark hole of darkness and seeing herself. Why not? (Really, why not??)

2) Phasma is so not dead. The next movie will start with Phasma doing a Gandalf-falling-through-the-mountain montage, as she falls through the fiery ship’s hulk and finds her way to an unlikely escape. Maybe fights a balrog too. Even better – Snoke will force talk to her, and his disembodied spirit will enter into her body as a new host because obviously he knew what was coming in the Red Room, and this is all his fake out to see what the kids will do once he’s out of the way.

3) I really expected the Mon Calamari flagship to turn into a white Ford Bronco.

4) Or the Galactica.

5) I want a movie where Justin Theroux gets to play that version of James Bond in the Fifth Element that appears wearing the red rose lapel pin thing in the casino. The red rose lapel pin needed to find the mega code-breaking guy was for me the emblematic red herring in a film chock full of them. Unless I missed that DJ (Benicio, baby) was wearing one.

6) The next film will undo half of what happened in this film. Probably the wrong half.

7) Fuel?

8) Lightspeed battering rams. Tracking through Hyperspace. Other foolish new additions to Star Wars lore which, if used in earlier movies, could have changed quite a bit. X-Wing jumps to the OG Deathstar’s reactor room and blows it up. They knew where it was, they had the plans. Why bother with that whole torpedo through a shielded exhaust port?

Eight is enough. I could go on, but Discipline is telling me to stop.

9) Big googly eyes stop Chewie who has killed, dressed, plucked and then cooked multiple birds, from eating his dinner. Then he lets them nest in the Falcon. Why didn’t they googly eye him earlier?

10) Why didn’t the Dreadnought jump to light speed when it looked like it was going bad for them? The bomber was hanging over it for quite a while. (Let’s not talk about the bombers, I enjoyed the WW2 vibe, for about 5 minutes) Why do only the good guys remember to use hyper-speed to get out of trouble?

11) I still love Star Wars. But man this film furrowed my brow, big time.

12) There will be a Darth somebody in the next movie. (I’m still on the Snoke/Plagueis train. In Brienne of Tarth’s scorched eyepatch body.)

13) The fish nuns. More of them, please.

No more Distractions. Back to writing. May the Force be with You.


7 thoughts on “The Writing Life: A Podcast, and Distraction versus Discipline (The Last Jedi Edition)

  1. Seeing as J.J. Abrams will be in charge again in the next film, I fully expect many things to be undone. As you say, Kylo lied about Rey’s parents and Phasma is alive, etc. Abrams seems to have had a very different view from Johnson about where this story was going. I’m not sure if the back in forth is going to be good for the trilogy though…

    1. I think the head-fakes in this film, including the huge dead end which was trying to turn off the light-speed tracking device were an attempt to surprise viewers who expect SW films to go to formula. But after the second or third red herring I began to lose interest, which is disastrous for a movie. Fingers crossed!

      1. Finally someone who gets it! There were so many red herring suprise twists that they became a tired cliche just withing the scope of a single film. Add to problem that most , if not all, the too many plot twists are not hinted at whatsoever. It feels like a lazy, dishonest way to cheat emotion from the audience. With Empire, there were to major twists (lando’s betrayal, and vader’s relationship to Luke) and both are heavily foreshadowed. Just bad storytelling.

      2. For good or bad, that seems to just be the reality of blockbuster film making these days. Where in the past plots were slow and time was given for the audience to digest scenes, no there’s a tendency to try to stuff as man subplots and characters into a movie as possible. Especially when merchandising is involved. The Last Jedi is emblematic of this. Just compare the original Die Hard to modern action films. The overwhelming majority of the 80s classic is not action, and it starts pretty slow. Yet it was iconic of the action films of its time. Films today seem targeted for children with ADD.

      3. It’s a Christmas Movie! And it was a whodunnit with a twist, and it was an action film with a reluctant hero. My worry is that the attitude in films is leaking over into written fiction. Taking time, having down periods, laying hints and repeating patterns of imagery or speech now seem to be risky. In books. You have to grab a reader’s attention, or they’ll switch off instantly, keep it, confound it, and yet imagine this attention starved entity (the reader) that wants constantly to be on an adrenaline ride of a book will remember a tiny detail from 160 pages ago, because repetition is fatal. We are in a strange space in terms of entertaining people nowadays, and one size cannot fit all.

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