Almost 20 years ago, I made a Christmas Advent calendar. I spent hours on the decoration, which is created from cut-up pieces of coloured paper, and it came out better than I ever imagined. Behind each door is a compartment for little daily surprises in the lead-up to Christmas.
For the past decade or so, I’ve been filling it up with gifts and chocolates each December for my various nieces and nephews — first one family and then the other. But this year, one of my sisters decided she would fill it for me as my Christmas present.
I can’t express how lovely it has been to open one of those little doors each day and receive a gift. There have been plenty of chocolates (ferrero rocher), but also rolls of washi tape, cute stationery items, a tin of puzzle cards, Christmas decorations, bookmarks, a magnet decorated by my nephew, silicone egg poachers, and a TARDIS tin with peppermints! Then, on Christmas day, a gorgeous pendant on a chain.
It’s felt like Christmas all month.
On the writing front, I’ve had a very productive month. Since declaring my intention a month ago to finish the second draft of my novel by Christmas, I actually managed to achieve this goal!
It’s not ‘finished’, of course. I now have to go over it and fix quite a few things. For one, there are aspects of my Mongolian research to be worked in. For another, I invented quite a few aspects of my ‘magic system’ in the final chapters, so now I have to go and retrofit this throughout the entire thing – gah!
But, on the whole, I’m pretty happy with the overall shape, so at this point in time I’m planning an edit and not a rewrite. (Famous last words.)
The Force Awakens
Like a large number of other people, I recently caught a screening of Star Wars Episode VII – The Force Awakens. And I liked it a lot.
It’s immensely fun, and very reminiscent of the originals, right down to several plot points. I very much enjoyed Harrison Ford’s reprisal of Han Solo — probably the highlight for me. It’s also refreshing to have a resourceful female character as main protagonist, but I think they could have taken equality and diversity a lot further than they did.
In my view, the fact the story builds on the platform established by the originals (as opposed to filling in backstory as did episodes 1-3) automatically gives it an advantage. In many ways, it’s a rehash of the same story, told in the same light-hearted abandon — and this is probably why it works for everyone who was so disappointed with eps 1-3. But it’s not really taking things anywhere new (yet). I hope the next movie does go somewhere a bit more unexpected…