Tuesday, November 30, 2010

And so ends November 2010

I got my 50,000 words of new novel done this year, making this my seventh successful nano. This was the year of slow and steady, where I needed the weekends to make up for the lack of time during the week days. I'm fairly pleased with how the month's writing went. I skipped over a few scenes in the beginning, but overall, everything is usable, and I did not go off on any strange tangents. I got hit with lots of surprises, mostly in the character area. I should be used to this by now, but my two intended bad guys failed the evil test and have become good and semi-good guys. One of my good guys becomes a bad guy, but I knew that before I wrote one word of story, so that did not surprise me. There was also an even bigger bad guy behind the not-bad-any-longer bad guys who revealed himself. That was a delicious revelation, because it made everything else I was doing make sense. Mwah-hah-hah.

I never did make it to the big awesome scene I had in my mind. That's still down the line a bit. I will be continuing on the novel in the next few months to completion, though not quite at the same pace.


To celebrate, I watched The Seventh Dawn (1964), with William Holden, Capucine, and Tetsuru Tanba on Netflix instant viewing. I'd never seen this one before, and I really liked it because it had multiple triangles going on -- romantic and ideological, and I am very partial to triangles in fiction. This movie takes place entirely in Malaysia and was filmed on location. It opens in Malaysia at the end of WWII, with the Japanese surrender. Our three main characters have been together awhile and have an easy camaraderie, and complete loyalty and trust and love in each other. After the war, though, Ng (Tetsuru Tanba -- who I know best as Tanaka from You Only Live Twice), heads off to Moscow to study communism. Ferris (William Holden) and Dhana (Capucine) stay behind in Malaysia, where Ferris becomes a very successful landholder and businessman. Ng returns as Malaysia is trying to gain its independence and things turn nasty as his new communist ideals put him on the other side of the line from his former companions. This sets up a nice hotbed for all sorts of my favorite things: betrayal, acting/dying for your beliefs, loyalty, the bonds of friendship, love, rebellion, racing the clock.

What I liked best about this movie was the quite complex relationships of the characters. Ferris and Ng both love Dhana, but Dhana loves Ferris and so stays with him. But he won't marry her, and just keeps her as his mistress, until he realizes too late what he took for granted. A young Susannah York also stars in the film, as Candace, who also falls in love with Ferris, but to my great delight, he actually doesn't fall for her in return. Quite surprising, and very refreshing. The only big flaw is that Ng is not given the same depth of character as the others, and I really wish they'd given him more. It was needed to balance out the sides and show where he's coming from.

Other things I liked:
  • this is not a happy movie, and that lack of rosiness really works here.
  • William Holden in a sword fight! Okay, it was a machete fight, but that's pretty darn close.
  • the on location scenery and real jungle
  • leeches!
  • William Holden (that almost goes without saying, but I really liked his character in this film)

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