8.11.14 - On Frustrations, and Refilling the Well

My journal entry yesterday begins with this rather alarming phrase: "Sometimes, you just have to blow up a book."

I’m nearly to the end of the book -- that is, the word count says I’m nearly to my end goal. I personally am nowhere near the end, and need to get there, STAT.

I’ve been writing a book that I started in late April that's plot line began to play out on the nightly news three weeks ago, and it has gotten so topical I couldn’t see the forest for the trees. This is the writer’s worst fear -- that something they come up with will happen, and then it seems the book was written as a response to the news, rather than being a precursor. It happens more often than you'd think, which is why our government has a few authors in from time to time to brainstorm "worst case scenarios." Our creativity has prevented many terrible issues, I'm sure.

But there are times when the story just ain't gonna fly. Saturday, tired of struggling with this, I decided I needed to make some rather large changes. I stayed up very late writing down “fixes,” ten of them in all, then Sunday morning, went back to Page 1 and started over.

Page 1 rewrites are terror inducing, but sometimes necessary. I’ve only done it twice before, and never this far into the writing, but both books ended up much stronger for the last-minute alterations. And I’m feeling better about the story. Ninety percent of what’s there stays, it’s just being reworked to be simpler, less topical, and more personal to Sam.

I’ve already rewritten the first 20 chapters, and am hoping to have a draft done by next week. 

In the meantime, in the moments I’m not writing, I am desperately trying to refill the well. Which means watching movies, which led me to Armageddon last night. There is a scene in particular that blows me away every time, and after I watched it, covered in goosebumps, I starting thinking about my top movie scenes ever. So here’s the list:

Armageddon:
The twin shuttle launches, both snaking into the twilight sky

Gladiator:
Maximus in the Coliseum. He jumps on a horse and is thrown a sword, which he catches and twirls into a lethal grip.

G.I. Jane
Jordan [bleeding]: “Master Chief?” 
Master Chief: “Lieutenant, seek life elsewhere.”
Jordan [screams, to the delight of her team] “Suck my dick.”

Star Trek (2009):
When Sulu brings the Enterprise up out of the cloud vapor to save the day. And the score… perfection.

Star Wars:
The immediate opening, the crash of the music as the words begin scrolling backward into the universe.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part Two): 
The Courtyard Battle Scene. The score makes this incredible moment truly magnificent.

French Kiss
At the very end, just before the credits, when Kevin Kline kisses Meg Ryan on the hillside above their vineyard, picking her up in a passionate embrace neither of them could have imagined when they first met. *sighs*

Dead Poet's Society
"O Captain, my Captain."
"
So avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys - to woo women - and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do. It also won’t do in your essays.”
(I can't believe we've lost Robin Williams today. Heartbroken. He was amazing.)

Do you have a favorite movie moment?

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JT Ellison

J.T. Ellison is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of fifteen critically acclaimed thrillers and is the co-author of the Nicholas Drummond series with #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter. With over a million books in print, Ellison’s work has been published in twenty-five countries and thirteen languages. She is also the co-host of A Word on Words, Nashville's premier literary TV series, which airs on Nashville Public Television. She lives with her husband and twin kittens in Nashville. Visit JTEllison.com, and follow her on Twitter @Thrillerchick or at Facebook.com/JTEllison14.