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Posts Tagged ‘crime’

Okay, it’s official. This is the second X – Files movie that has bombed. Chris Carter has effectively killed the franchise.

I can’t believe how people who managed such a hugely successful TV series for so long have consistently come up with movie ideas that have laid such eggs at the box office. And to think I dragged my friends to this film. They wanted to watch that Jesse James film. I argued fiercely against the plethora of good reviews it garnered, saying it was in the running for Oscars last year and that it was dud. Thankfully the same disregard for reviews held me in good stead while convincing them to go for the X-phillum. ’Cos that certainly didn’t get good reviews.

To put it in perspective, Chris Carter has tried to draw in X philistines with this movie. As a result he’s toned down the spooky stuff and also given the Mulder-Scully relationship extra dimensions. Ironically that’s what put me off the most. Come on guys, the reason I went to watch an X Files movie is I want to see more of the inexplicable paranormal stuff, not some tame organ transplant plot. And the Scully-Mulder exchanges just get mind numbing after a while. And the climax was such a damp squib.

I was sorely disappointed (The scathing looks my friends keep shooting me throughout the film didn’t help). I am a huge fan of the TV series. For years, I set aside everything else on Sundays just so I could watch an episode of my favourite show. I even lit candles on the day they aired the last episode. For many Sundays after that, I faithfully switched on the telly at the appointed time in the hope that Ten Thirteen productions had changed their minds, and was left with a feeling of emptiness when they perversely didn’t.

Anyway, to address another issue, I know I haven’t been writing regularly. I expect that will continue for some more time. The reason is that Diwali is coming up and everyone (most of all my creative director) is keen to take off during the holidays. Now I don’t want to spoil her plans because I really like her (she makes sure I get paid on time). But mostly I want her to have this holiday because she is stressed out and is making my life hell. As a result we have to finish a month’s work in less than half the time.

On yet another separate note, Kkrishnaa’s Konfessions is # 2 on the bestseller list, trailing only Sea of Poppies. At least that is the case in Landmark stores (and elsewhere, I like to think). Life is good.

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I had a most frustrating day yesterday. I typed about a 1000 words three times, only to delete each draft. I couldn’t figure out if chance had a role to play in a detective novel. It’s relatively earlier on in the novel and it’s not as though the protagonist is solving anything major with the help of chance.

Even so, normally I steer clear of the trap of stumbling onto something by sheer luck. (Where are your dicking skills if that’s the case?) But then, given that it is a funny detective story, like its predecessor, Kkrishnaa’s Konfessions, couldn’t one take some liberties? After all we do have a Jacques Clouseau whom people devour with amusement.

Anyway, couldn’t make up my mind so I typed out both scenarios, where the protagonist stumbles upon a clue by chance and where it’s logically thought out. And a third scenario. Wasn’t happy with any so I did what I do in these situations.

I set is aside and put on my running shoes.  The rain had lightened into a light drizzle and running in such weather is always fun, if you overlook squishy shoes.

In any case, I figured a 10K run would clear the mind somewhat.Alas, it wasn’t to be. All I could think about was Kkrishnaa. My baby, all grown up, refuses to let go. Rather, I refuse to let go of my baby.

On a different note and taking up from where I left off yesterday, film is more glamorous than it is lucrative. As a struggling writer, without a ‘produced’ film to your name, you cannot hope to make more than Rs. 2-2.5 lakhs per film script. Rs. 5 lakhs if you’re wildly lucky. And a film script will take at least 2 months (It should take more but we’ll discuss that later) to write.

Why I call it unprofitable is because you may never get to write more than one film. Or you may never get paid anything beyond the initial signing amount. There’s nothing you can do about it. Having said that, there are celebrity writers – Anurag Kashyap, Neeraj Vora, Jaideep Sahni, Abbas Tyrewala who can pretty much command their price. But it takes years of struggle and genuine talent. 

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I’ve finally had a break through! I’ve been grappling with the plot of my second novel for the past one week and nothing worthwhile was coming out. There were all these bits of paper strewn about some covered in ink from top to bottom (one of my good days) and some with barely a line written on them (one of the not so good ones). I don’t know about you but I find writing on paper easier when I’m outlining my novels/screenplays. Basically paper works best for me when I’m clearing out my head.

Anyway, frustration was creeping and I had begun scratching on walls.

And finally, yesterday things fell into place. I’m really excited about the story and cannot wait to begin to plunge myself in writing it. There are still some snags and loose ends but I’m sure those will also work themselves out once I start writing and getting into my characters heads – their motivations, deep dark secrets, insecurities etc. Right now they are still just outlines on paper.

When you are writing a murder mystery, there are many things you have to consider. You have to answer at least four basic questions before you can even begin writing. The questions are – What, Who, Why, How. The reason is simple – you have to start seeding it right from the beginning. Even if the crime does not take place right away (though it should, but more on that later), the characters’ actions and whereabouts have to detailed.

Once you have answered what, who, why and how, the rest of the work is relatively easier. You can embellish it with other characters, other prime suspects and their motivations, alibis and red herrings.  It is usually the former that takes much of your time, partly because detective/crime fiction has evolved over the years and every conceivable plot has been done.

So there’s pressure to come up with something novel (read: convoluted plots) without resorting to murdering evil twins, butlers and monkeys/snakes. Also while we are at it other big no-nos are strangers, burglars and the detective himself/herself unless you can come up with an intriguing way of handling it. Impossible, usually. Jeffrey Archer has done it nicely in one of his short stories (it’s about a courtroom drama around a crime of passion. I forget the name of the story and the anthology.).

How I envy Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle. Those were simpler times.

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