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Phoenix Feathers is updated on Tuesday and Friday

We recently got some very good books - the Black Magician trilogy, by Trudi Canavan. I'm thoroughly enjoying them - they're very readable. I find books like that so hard, because I read them rather than doing the things I'm supposed to be doing. Like Christmas present wrapping, for example :)

On Sunday we saw The Incredibles, which was also very good but for different reasons. As well as the film there was a random 5-minute short cartoon about a sheep that tap-danced (why? No idea - presumably someone from Pixar thought it amusing) and there were some interesting trailers (I like film trailers), including one for the new Magic Roundabout film. I've not seen any of the original series but I'm aware of the undertones that are supposed to be there (although the French creator was apparently shocked when he found out this is what people thought), and the film looks like it's keeping them. I think we'll have to see it. As well as that, there were a load of trailers for other CG films and one (only one) live-action one, for A Series of Unfortunate Events, based on the books by Lemony Snicket. It looked very cool, with lots of funky steampunky stuff going on in the background and a general fantasy feel. I've not actually read the books past the first couple of pages because they were too depressing - I'll be interested to find out if the film does indeed end on a depressing note, as the books are supposed to.

But anyway, all of these things put together made me think about what makes a good story, whether it's on screen or written, recited, sung or drawn. I love the feeling of being drawn into a consistent world and the effectiveness of a properly-done background. I love knowing the characters and how they're going to react and interact, and I really like being surprised by a character's growth, or strength, or new understanding. I'm still not sure what makes a good story truly good. It probably includes these things, but I'm sure there are a lot more...

- Sun Kitten, 14th December '04

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