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Fiction reading: Alternate versions

I’m always fascinated by translations and versions, by what choices are made and how affective those choices are. As reflected in my recent reading materials:

Book #6 – The Mist by Stephen King

Originally The Mist was released as part of King’s Skeleton Crew anthology. It was recently re-leased as a stand-alone novel in conjunction with The Mist movie being released. At 50K, it’s longer than much of what I read last year. I was slightly curious to see how King told the story versus the movie. Of course, the movie is much more action oriented. The characters “do” more than they contemplate, and in the end I’m not sure they need the excuses for acting that King gives them in the book. And Mrs. Carmody works much better as a character when we can see and hear her. King doesn’t quite get out of his protagonists head enough to let us feel the effect Carmody is having on people, mainly because she isn’t having that effect on Dan. In contrast, it’s being inside Dan’s head let’s us experience the revulsion toward the unknown things in the mist. The movie ends up being a much tighter work.

Book #7 – Michael Chabon’s screenplay for Spiderman 2 and David Mamet’s screenplay for Hannibal

Both of these men received some form of writing credit on their respective movies. 

Spiderman 2 retained many of the concepts of Chabon’s script, though dumping others.  The pizza delivery scene, for instance, stayed.  The end script decided to place more emphasis on Parker losing his powers.  That really became the heart of the story and is less central in Chabon’s script.  Chabon concentrates more on Doc Ock, giving him a direct relationship with MJ and having the ‘pods be the main technology that Doc has been working on, not a tool that has gone awry.  While it’s interesting that many of Doc’s problems are caused directly by Spiderman’s actions (echoing the first movie), I think it was a much better choice to center the movie on Spiderman rather than his nemesis.

Mamet’s Hannibal.  Wow.  Different.  What ended up in the movie (and what is in the book) is approximately in the last third of Mamet’s script.  He gives us more of a lead up to Starling’s disgrace, more of her fractured state of mind.  She’s decided to marry John Brigham when he’s shot in the fish market, for example.  It is *much* more Starling’s story than anything.  And with that, he lacks the subtlety of the original story.  We already get it that Starling has invested her life in the FBI and it’s crushing when that’s betrayed.  (Well, okay, based on reaction to the book and movie, maybe I’m the only one to get that…) 

Another thing that I think both of these script relies too heavily on is coincidence.  All stories rely on coincidence somewhat, but it’s something an author need to be careful with.  Doc sees an interview with MJ after tuning in to see coverage of Spiderman.  Pazzi is at Quantico when Hannibal opens and it’s the reflection of Starling taking a picture for the tourist-Pazzi that leads Lecter to her.  That’s just…too much.  I need to be careful with that sort of thing in my writing.

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Disc & Grackle, more later…

GrackleLost another game by one last night.  We have a 2-6 record, but only a -2 point differential.  That leaves us in 6th place going into pool play next week.  I wasn’t very pleased with my play last night.  My throws were pretty questionable and there were two potential scores that didn’t happen.  I’ll just have to run harder next time.  Also wrenched my pinkie during the pre-game drill.  It didn’t affect my play, but it is affecting my typing and mousing.  I’m going to keep it taped to my ring finger for the day to let it heal instead of yelping every time I reach for the Enter key.   I tell ya, drills are hazardous to my health.  I end up hurting myself more often during drills than during play.  There’s something wrong with that…

Other activities from my weekend included the usual mixture of EverQuest and housework, with maybe a little more fiction reading than has been common this year.  Also, I drew a grackle.   I’m pretty happy with my grackle.  He’s on the cover of the journal that I’m taking to Omaha when we go.  And I just like the word grackle.

Time to wake the ASU kid.  He gets to go have fun learning about neurosurgery ‘n’ stuff.

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Stuff. Some of it a week old.

Changing Speeds to Go the Distance – New York Times

Ten typographic mistakes everyone makes | Life, Tutorials | Receding Hairline
You have got to be kidding me… Although I actually did recently correct a hyphen/dash situation in a critique. In my opinion, hyphen v. dash does change the reading of a sentence.

Remember we forget – Half of Me

I’ve thought to myself, “Why am I like this now? What happened to the old me who was so good at dieting?”

Then I went back and read some of my blog entries and realized that’s a load of crap.

Inflammation triggers cell fusions that could protect neurons, Stanford research shows | Think Gene

BBC NEWS | Health | Ovary problem ‘may aid athletes’

Hooked from the First Cigarette: Scientific American
Too bad it’s not the full article.
I never realized that the “conventional” wisdom was that cigarette addiction was that it developed over years. Anecdotally, I’ve smoked four cigarettes in my life. After the fourth, I have never smoked again. But there are moments when I *really* want to.

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