Monday, January 9, 2006
Sunny and mild
I’m feeling a little better. It’s taken me awhile to recover from the exhaustion and fighting whatever bug I may have been fighting.
Most of the weekend was spent either putting away the decorations or working on the edits for Clear the Slot. I’ve edited through Chapter Twelve now, and have the edits through Chapter Seven typed, including fixing the typos on all seven of the first chapters.
Typos of the weekend: “pier” instead of “beer” and “congregation” instead of “congratulations”.
It’s going well and getting much tighter and smoother. I realized I don’t have to cut 100 pages, only 65. I’ve cut 7 so far, by making internal cuts and tightens (and cut one entire page that was pretty useless and didn’t move the story forward). 58 more to go. I’m starting to feel better about it, and I’m not worried that I have to end the book several chapters earlier, and then make the first season take three books. That would just be too much.
It’s fiction, definitely fiction, and a valentine to the sport. I’m trying to capture the essence of the experience, but not simply transcribe actual experience. The most important part I’m holding on to is telling the stories of everyone on the team, instead of focusing on merely one or two players. Because hockey is unlike any sport, it is so team-dependent, I would do a disservice to both sport and player if I compromised on that aspect of the story. The story works because I show them, on and off the ice, as individuals but working as a team.
Next time you listen to a hockey player interview, notice this: any praise, he will immediately take the focus off himself and include his teammates. Any criticism, and he will immediately take personal responsibility. Plus, hockey players tend to actually have something to say in interviews, instead of merely using the same old catch phrases over and over. They listen to the interviewer’s question and actually answer it.
So, I’m trying to balance the needs of what will allow me to sell this story while still keeping its integrity. Not an easy task. I’m prepared for some of the criticism and pressures from industry pros who actually like it. There are plenty of things during the production process I’ll compromise on. But juggling the storylines of all the members of the team is something I am NOT willing to compromise. Which, ultimately makes it a harder sell.
Not letting the story go on too long will help with that.
Speaking of hockey, Saturday night’s Islanders’ loss to Carolina was painful (as was the loss the night before). Swear to God, watching them play, except for about three of them, I wondered if the entire team had come down with mono. I’m worried about how management will shake things up to try to get them out of their malaise. I truly don’t know what’s caused it.
It’s also always easy for someone sitting in the stands to comment or criticize on what’s happening on the ice. And, of course, the idiots who couldn’t skate a lick if you put ‘em out there in a harness have the most to say. But, unless you’re on the ice with the guys and in the locker room with them, you really don’t know what’s going on.
When I was in my eight month intensive research process, at the table after a game one night, asking questions, one of the players commented on the fact that I never criticized. I asked questions to understand why certain decisions were made, but I never told them they “should have” done something else, and he wanted to know why.
My response: “If you came to watch me work backstage and told me how to do a quick change, I’d poke your eye out with a seam ripper. Why the hell would I tell you how to play hockey?”
In other words, unless you can play the game better than the pros, shut up and don’t tell them how to play it. If you can play it better and you do, or you have, believe me, I’m very interested in what you have to say. In other words, when Gretzky has something to say, I’m going to pay attention. When Bob from the garage who can’t even lean over to strap on a pair of skates starts criticizing a player, I’m going to walk away.
Speaking of armchair quarterbacking, the Giants lost to the Panthers (severely) in the first round NFL playoffs last night. All I’m going to say is that I’m not surprised. And, if you get a chance, listen to the difference in the interviews between these guys and any hockey player interview, and you'll see what I'm talking about above.
I’m still oversleeping, but not sleeping well during the night. Most of it is stress due to the Situation, which I’m trying to handle through action, yoga and meditation. But it’s simply going to take as long as it’s going to take, and I can’t panic, or I’ll be lost.
Lots of business stuff to do today, so I better get going. I’m in at the show tomorrow for day work and Wed. mat to cover when someone’s out on jury duty.
The Thirteen Traveling Journals Project
The Scruffy Dog Review
Clear the Slot Sixth Draft – 30,428 words (goal 100,000)
30 / 100