Writers on Writing

I was having a discussion with my friend the other day about writing. The conversation started with me asking her what she was doing at that point in time and she told me she was leisure writing. “That sounds nice”, I tell her, and she replies with “Not really. It’s so disappointing to read, the absence of my inner Shakespeare depresses me”. It saddened me to hear her speak of her writing that way, seeing as I know for a fact that she is an incredibly detailed and poetic writer. I suppose that I really can’t argue though, I sometimes get nice things said about my writing, but I hardly ever take them to heart because I feel that I am unworthy of them.

But it got me thinking; “surely we can’t be the only ones who think like this?” I feel as though every writer has thought about their writing as incompetent or unimaginitive at some point. I think the reason for this is because it’s our own work.

We have painted a picture in our minds of who is in our stories, where they are set, and how things turn out. We’ve read over them and re-written them so many times we can barely see straight anymore, and we can pick out the flaws and the faults and the things that could be better. It is difficult when you have an image in your head and what you create turns out drastically different, or does not have the flow or rhythm that you imagined it to have.

It can’t just be amateurs like us who become overpowered by the urge to flip a table because nothing’s working out, either. I can just imagine J.K Rowling sitting and staring at her computer screen and going, “this is not what I thought it would sound like at all”. We’re just critical of our own work is all, because we know it could always be better.

This being said though, the reader has a very different point of view. They read your creations, completely unaware of the tears, frustration, and hours of looking up cat videos on YouTube that went into the production. They can’t see into your mind, so they don’t know the difference between the finished product in front of them and your original idea. They see your writing in a new light, with new eyes and are swept away by the words you have spun.

To me, flexibility is key; you must be open-minded and willing to make changes where necessary, and maybe where unnecessary, depending on how your ideas change. For a writer working on a piece that they have created from the depths of their imagination, something that is significant and has meaning, change can be a nightmare. But once you see the bigger picture and the finished product, the changes could be the best decisions you’ve ever made.

Really what I’m trying to say is; If you love writing, do it. Write what you feel and edit it how you want. There are moments when you just want to give the whole damn thing up and go eat ice cream, but I’m telling you right now, don’t do that (well, the giving up part anyway. As for the ice cream, go right ahead!). Keep on at it and you might be surprised by how people respond to it!

“You can die for your country, I’m gonna live for mine.”

Today’s review: Lone Survivor
Rating certificate: MA 15+ (Australia), R (USA), 15 (UK)
Director: Peter Berg
Released: January 31, 2014

Mark Wahlberg on the poster of Lone Survivor

During the war in Afghanistan, four Navy SEALs set out on a covert mission to eliminate a high-level Taliban operative. The mission proves to be ill-fated however, when the enemy forces ambush them in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan. The film stars Mark Wahlberg as Marcus Luttrell, Taylor Kitsch as Lieutenant Michael “Murph” Murphy, Emile Hirsch as Danny Dietz, Ben Foster as Matthew “Axe” Axelson, and Eric Bana as Lieutenant Commander Erik S. Kristensen.

 

So Lone Survivor wasn’t a movie that I went in desperately wanting to see. A friend suggested I go and see it with him, so I went, not really knowing what to expect. I have, of course, had previous experience with war movies such as Saving Private Ryan (regarded as the best war movie of all time, doncha know), Flags of Our Fathers, Schindler’s List, and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (not sure if this counts as an actual WAR movie, but it surrounds the concept of the holocaust and I was left emotionally scarred). I know that war movies are meant to be gory and violent, such is the nature of war but for me, Lone Survivor was a bit too violent. Don’t get me wrong, it was really well done in the effects and makeup department, but I felt that the action scenes dragged on a bit.

Saying that, the movie is based on a true story, so I suppose only so much can be altered and added to make sure the original story still rings true. I wasn’t familiar with the actors in this movie, so it was interesting to see what they brought to the movie and how I would connect and empathise with them. Needless to say, I was rooting profusely for them by the end, no, by halfway through the film once it reached its most intense and feels-y point. Wahlberg and the rest of the cast brought a very real feeling to their characters, gave them a sense of humanity through their flaws, and their very raw performances made for a lot of empathy from the audience.

In contrast to this, I felt that too much time was spent on the action scenes, with a lot of focus on the climax of blazing guns and cries of pain. It didn’t take very long for an action scene to arise, and if I’m honest they dragged a bit. I felt a bit more of a buildup of tension would have been in order. Don’t get me wrong, I was very engaged, but I wasn’t on the edge of my seat in suspense. I also think that more time spent on character development would have brought a more realistic and human sense to the movie. Sure, it was easy to sympathise with the characters, who wouldn’t with someone who was in a situation like theirs? I never felt overly emotionally attached to them though, and that made it a little harder to connect with them.

 

Overall, Lone Survivor is not the best war movie I’ve ever seen. That spot is reserved for Saving Private Ryan, but if we’re to compare every single war movie ever made with SPR, you’re going to end up disappointed. It was a good story with an interesting plotline. The characters, although acted very well, lacked depth, making if difficult to find connections with them. The action scenes, although well acted out and with brilliant effects, did drag on a bit. More buildup of tension may have been in order.

Rating- 6.5/10