Stephanie Burgis
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writing binges and romance rants
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There's something about getting really good news - the kind I'd been wanting for literally 24 years! - that makes everything go topsy-turvy for a while. I spent Wednesday through Friday pretty much glued to the internet, replying to LJ comments, writing emails, reading other writing was great, but it all left me feeling kind of dizzy, and I didn't get nearly enough actual WRITING done. So yesterday, in reaction, I tried out a new plan: I only let myself go online 3 times during the day, and stretched out only 40 minutes of online-time across those three sessions. It felt surprisingly hard. And?

Yesterday morning, instead of staying online surfing, I got off after 20 minutes and then did a major rewrite of 2-1/2 chapters of Kat by Starlight, not just for character and plot but for choreography, now that I know more about the layout of the Bath pump rooms, etc. It felt like a good day's work, and on a normal day, I would have been pretty happy to leave it at that. But I could only go back online for 10 minutes that afternoon, and Patrick was out walking Maya and unavailable for after flailing around a bit, I ended up doing another solid two hours of revisions, this time on two short stories that needed final edits before publication. The edits weren't due for several days, but...well, I had to let out that energy somehow! So I sent both stories off to their respective editors by 4pm yesterday, and it felt great.

And I wondered how much writing I would do normally if I didn't spend so much time and writing energy online...

Oh well. I'm definitely not about to give up the internet - I love the online writing community far, far too much to ever do that! - but it was a great learning experience...and I am definitely going to work to manage my online-time in the next week much better than I did in the crazy-dizzy days of this past week. My novel will be glad of it, I think!

I also spent a lot of yesterday re-reading Mary Stewart's My Brother Michael, which is just wonderful even on the umpteenth re-read. It's a great romantic suspense novel with enough suspense and mystery and action to satisfy even someone who isn't a romance fan (and of course I am)...but what also struck me was that, for a novel published in 1959, the romantic politics were a whole lot more satisfying - and feminist - than an awful lot of the Hollywood movies I've seen lately. Camilla, the heroine, has to learn confidence in herself and her own abilities through the novel and stop putting herself down - and Simon, the very awesome and indubitably macho hero (a very intelligent classicist who's also VERY tough and good at street-fighting) not only admires her intelligence and respects her opinions, he also tells her flat-out that she mustn't let herself play second-fiddle to ANYONE anymore - she deserves so much better. Of course, by the end, he has saved her life - but she has also saved his. And wow, does their romantic chemistry sizzle!

It was all such a contrast to the majority of suspense/adventure movies I've seen in the last couple of years (National Treasure...Sahara...sigh). Do Hollywood writers/execs think that their macho action heroes would be somehow effeminized if they actually respected their heroines, and if each partner saved each other instead of only the man saving the woman at the end? Because I have to say, I found My Brother Michael's romantic relationship ten times more fun and appealing - and Mary Stewart's romantic hero FAR more attractive! - because of that equality in their relationship.

What action/adventure movies do you guys think do it right? The only one I could think of off-hand was The Mummy (number 1).

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