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1 thing nobody tells you about eclipses

Among the sensory experiences I will remember related to being in the path of totality, most of which have been written about beautifully by others—the sudden acceleration of darkness, a rush of wind from the temperature drop (which in our case caused thunder just as the corona made its appearance in the sky)—there’s one that stands out for me that hasn’t really been talked about so much.

At our moment of totality, a sea of insects rose up from beneath us in the mistaken belief night was falling. This was not a gradual thing, as usually happens at dusk. Swarms of tiny flying critters teemed upward all around us, pinging off our arms and legs along the way—a few less fortunate ones meeting their end and they tried to shelter inside my nostrils. These were, fortunately, not a biting kind of insect, as none of us came away with any welts.

So there you have it. The unspoken underbelly of eclipse chasing.

To End, or Not to End.

Love this quote from Kristopher Jasma’s opinion piece about the art of writing endings:

“The last hundred yards up the mountain are the steepest. The air is very thin and you cannot share it with your characters anymore. You have to leave them, along with everything you’ve written to that point. It is the last thing you want to do, but as you go higher you’ll get your first look at them from above. They become smaller somehow, as from the summit you can finally see the mountain in its entirety.”

Here’s his essay in it’s entirety:

https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/21/the-end-or-something/#more-152468

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Hulu Redux

This week I watched the season finale of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ on Hulu, which is a surprisingly fresh take on the classic novel by Margaret Atwood. The first season—and I was pleased to read it has been renewed for a second season—begins and ends in sync with the events of the book, leaving its viewers at that same moment of uncertain outcome for Offred, the handmaid from whose perspective the story is told, but with the resonance of hope that change is afoot in the totalitarian regime of Gilead, which subjugates women under its own Western evangelical version of extremist sharia law.

Having loved the novel for its language as much as the story, I was unsure whether I’d be drawn in to the series when it first aired. Elizabeth Moss plays Offred in a manner that was different than I’d imagined her in my reading, so it took me a few episodes to adjust to that difference. What excites me is that Ms. Atwood is a consulting producer and was extensively involved in developing this project for television. The series storyline is true to the novel, but expands upon it and modernizes it in ways that feel natural and not at all like a departure from the book, but rather a deepening of it. I watched knowing that—as the plot revealed new information or background about the characters and events—it reflected an enlarged vision of this world endorsed its author, and as such was not just the committee-creation of a roundtable of writers (no offense meant to television writers, who produce a lot of amazing content for us to enjoy). Hulu’s remake of this classic story feels both familiar and true to the book, while at the same time refreshingly new and exciting.

And so I’m looking forward to season two like a fan girl who finally gets to read the sequel to a beloved book over 30 years after its original publication, except that this sequel is being formatted for television.

Thumbs up, Scrivener.

When I rebooted my second novel earlier this year, it seemed like the perfect time to try out Scrivener as I re-integrated myself into the world of Las Vegas in 2069. This meant transferring all the notes and outlining I’d done in Word into the binder structure within Scrivener. I’m happy to say that the investment of time in the material transfer and software learning curve paid off and I’m really liking the fluidity that Scrivener allows me when I’m in a creative mode. Moreover, I’ve utilized the iOS version of Scrivener from my iPhone (synced to Dropbox) and it’s worked perfectly, and provides me with a place to drop notes right into my manuscript when I’m not at my desk.

On a final note, I had my first experience with tech help recently, and Katherine at Literature and Latte, the company that makes Scrivener, emailed me back later that night with some troubleshooting solutions. Scrivener gets a thumbs up from me.

About Alex Tillson

After 15 years of entertainment law practice in Los Angeles, Alex now resides in West Palm Beach, Florida with her family. Her books are represented by Laurie McLean of the Fuse Literary Agency.

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My Book Progress

Underneath Us
Phase:First Draft
44.2%
© 2017 Alex Tillson. All Rights Reserved. Background Artwork by Phil McDarby.