Tuesday, January 08, 2008

I'm back!

I've been very lazy since Christmas. I haven't written, I haven't blogged, I haven't even sent (much) e-mail. I'm not sure why I've been totally disinclined to write. I think the fact that I'm still a bit sick might have a lot to do with it. I had a few days when I didn't have enough energy to play video games, much less do anything creative. I'm still a bit under the weather (it'll be three weeks tomorrow; I might actually visit a doctor soon if this doesn't go away), but I'm writing again. And it feels nice to be back at it.

I think a little part of my hardcore cross-platform writer's block might be that I saw a trailer for Jumper. I started outlining a book in early October, and I was as far as the chapter outline when I saw the trailer. It was remarkably similar to the book I was working on. I was a bit shocked to see plot issues I was hammering on resolved on the big screen. Even though we're talking sci fi here, I don't think the producers (or Steven Gould, who wrote the book upon which the movie is based) leapt back through time and burgled my idea; it's not really an original idea. I got the basic concept from a brainstorming session in which I was exploring story potential from characters who can imitate Dungeons and Dragons spell effects, and from a vaguely-remembered character named Tempest from the old Atari Force comic books.
But it was still off-putting, seeing it in a movie trailer. I've set that piece aside for a while; I might eventually get back to it. But it won't be soon.

Upon further reflection, I'm not sure why having a remarkably similar work on screen was so discouraging (and a bit depressing). A lot of good fiction resembles other good fiction, to one degree or another. And you can go some wildly different places with the same basic idea. An example from my recent reading: we've all seen The Sixth Sense, and I would've considered having a main character who can See Dead People to be pretty unoriginal. But I've read quite a few wildly original entertaining books recently with an assortment of main characters who interact with the dead: Kat Richardson's Greywalker series; Cherie Priest's Eden Moore novels; Casey Daniels's Pepper Martin mysteries; even Laurell K. Hamilton's ever-more-sucking Anita Blake novels all start with a character who Sees Dead People, one way or another. None of these books bears any resemblance to The Sixth Sense, or to each other. But they all start from a similar premise before they take it in wildly different directions.

In any case, I have to see Jumper when it hits the theaters. And probably read the book too.

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