Well, I’ve Finally Killed My Darlings

You guys were so helpful when it came to my confusion when it came to killing characters. I loved the insight you gave me, and I meant to get back to my story right away, but then I got injured and I haven’t felt well to sit at my computer lately.

Well, this morning I woke up inspired and full of new ideas for my story and I’ve gone and done it: I’ve killed off my character, and boy, am I happier for doing so! (I did cry, but well, it was bound to happen.)

My story finally has a purpose, it has the meat that it was missing before! It needs a few more re-writes and scenes fleshed out, but it feels more complete than it ever did before.

Never thought I would say that I was happy about killing off a character, but I am! Poor thing! But she served her purpose, and now she is a hero and the story has a lot more sacrifice and heart because of it.

I’ve got to finally get around for the day, and get some other stuff done, but I’m proud that I got some good two hours of story writing in today!

Hope you guys are also having a productive Saturday!

Happy Writing!

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Pirate Poetry: “Revenge”

Sometimes, I write poetry inspired by my characters. I have a character who gets wronged by the man she loves. The world is futuristic; water, sailing and pirates are common things. Ironically, this worked well for my pirate magnetic poetry.

IMG_20141121_202830249It reads:

deliver me

bury yer foul

smell our     almost

good

give me green land

and a crew as gold as his

bottle this

has been

escape      me hearty    fathoms

shoot     search    sail

    and drink the wind

Guardians of the Galaxy review: More please!

I went and saw Guardians of the Galaxy last night and wanted to write-up a quick review. And yes, I am listening to Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a feeling” while I type this up. 😛

Beware, spoilers ahead!

guardians-galaxy-movie-previewI have read so many mixed reviews of this movie. One’s calling it a space opera, with too much going on, going as far as comparing it to Star Wars. Another review says it’s a great film with a lot of heart, bringing back the true hero in cinema. Me? My thought when the movie was done: I want to see this again!

But there is one thing I want to make clear: it’s not Star Wars. It’s not even close to Star Wars! It’s in its own universe in fact! Like ACTUAL universe, with galaxies and planets and characters and spaceships that don’t exist in Star Wars, so who in their right mind would think that it would even serve as a comparison?

That being said…just because it’s not Star Wars, doesn’t mean it’s not a great film! I love this movie…its going up on my top list of all time favorites and I’m pretty sure after it comes out on blue ray (which I’m sure, sadly, will be a billion years from now) it will be watched over and over again like I do with Lord of the Rings, Princess Bride, Star Wars, and Harry Potter. It beat out Inception and even some beloved and cherished chick flicks of mine. That means something.

Why I love this movie so much?

  • The characters.

Abducted as a child, Peter Quill, grows up to be a thief. When he decides to double-cross the person who raised him, he meets other thieves and bandits with their own agenda. A genetically altered raccoon named Rocket, and his friend, Groot, a plant humanoid who can sprout flowers from his hands, among other things. Then there’s Gamora, a fierce assassin who’s been turned into a weapon by the evil Thanos…and then there’s Drax, the Destroyer, who wants to kill Gamora’s father, oh, and the guy also working for him, a very creepy, Ronan. Drax also has a problem understanding metaphors. (But more on that later.)

Together, this hodge-podge group find themselves trying to defend the galaxy, to save everyone from the very weapon they stole in the first place. I can see why Marvel had some misgivings about this story, but it works. The chemistry between the characters is fantastic and it is their differences that make them unique and interesting.

  • It’s a movie with a lot of heart.

Rocket and Groot are best friends, and the interactions between them are at the heart of it all. I love seeing characters with vast differences coming together as a central unit, defeating all odds together. Both Groot and Rocket are computer generated, but it is so easy to forget that, when you see the emotion playing across their faces.

Most of the time, you’ll find yourself laughing…it is a comedy after all. But there are also tender, heartfelt moments that grip you amongst the laughter. It makes you remember that these characters want you to know they matter, and that there is more to them then who they used to be and they show that through friendship, loyalty and sacrifice. There’s a lot of good here.

  • It ties in with the other Marvel films

Remember that weird, creepy white-haired guy at the end of the second Thor movie? The one they gave the aether to? He’s here. Taneleer Tivan, or The collector, he’s also called. He’s the buyer Gamora had for the orb. But there’s also Thanos, the big bad that’s supposed to crop up in the third Avengers movie, or so I heard.

I also read how people are surprised that Marvel is becoming a brand, like Disney or Pixar with a certain expectation when it comes to their films. I can see why. They do it so well! To me its fantastic the way all these films are beginning to tie into one another…it feels like a sequel that never ends.

  • We’ve got great action and fight scenes

It’s incredible and great to watch. And there’s lot of color. The world outside seemed kind of dull to me after watching this film. Very cinematic.

  • It’s funny

The banter between the characters in itself is amusing, but there are also jokes and dancing, oh, and music. And there’s some amusing scenes when Drax has some trouble understanding metaphors. It’s amusing, but English majors especially will appreciate the humor – I know I did.

  • The music

We finally get to understand why we’ve heard Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a feeling” over and over in the trailers. Peter Quill listens to a cassette tape over and over with hits from the 80s and earlier eras on them, a gift from his mother…and really the only thing he has to remember her by. There’s also “Spirit in the Sky” by Norman Greenbaum, and “Cherry Bomb” by The Runaways, and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” just to name a few. The soundtrack in this movie is really what makes it different from the other Marvel films. It certainly reflects the uniqueness of the characters themselves.

And overall, this is just a very great film. Perhaps, it is my obsession with a great story and characters, but I’m pretty sure I fell in love with this movie last night.

And will probably be seeing it more than once in theaters! (Because I’m a nerd like that.) 😛

What did you guys think of the film?

Dawn’s Rising Update

A few years ago, (honestly I can’t believe its been that long already) I started this blog all with the hopes of helping my writing career.

The idea was to write my ‘first crappy novel’ and see about self-publishing, creating an eBook of my very own. Well, I’m here to say that the dream is still a live and kicking…if a bit delayed and slow going. :/

dawns-rising-cover-page1.jpgThe trouble is: the story. I had an idea, I started to write, and suddenly it’s not good enough. I want to go in one direction, the characters go in another. I read on someone’s post last night, about discovering who you are as a writer. How you can’t really write, until you decide who you are.

Am I the organized type? Do I write on the fly? Do I write outlines?

Well, I can say right now, I detest outlines in any form, although I have tried a few now and then. I write notes, and I brainstorm ideas, usually in a notebook dedicated to the specific project. Usually I start with an idea of how I want a scene to go, and then I write, trying to get a feel of how it affects the characters, and generally how they feel about the situation.

I know that seems strange, but characters (sometimes well-developed ones) are alive and as real as people (at least in my head), I’m sure other writers feel the same. It’s hard to take a story in one direction, when you’ve got a character giving you the stink eye and being like, “seriously? you’re taking it there?”

This is the reason I love the movie, Nim’s Island, which is about an agoraphobic writer who is influenced and encouraged by her main character (who is adventurous and the complete opposite) to go and do and be something she is not. In the movie, Jodie Foster shows us how hilarious and how true it is for writers that their characters seem so real to them.

So anyway, Dawn’s Rising lives!

So much so, that when I wrote some more on it last night, it fought me all the way.

I think from now on, I am going to let it go and be what it wants to be, sometimes as a writer you have to learn when to surrender. Also, I think I’m going to start writing the story from the middle and then write the beginning last. I’ve read somewhere, that many writers use this approach when writing large novels.

Some things have changed a bit. But I’d thought I’d post a small synopsis of what I have so far, for those that are still interested:

Dawn’s Rising –

Angel Desoto longs to be an actress. After graduating from college, and working as a waitress, she stumbles into a world where she might have landed her greatest role yet. But when did demons, and witches and parallel dimensions exist?

Anyway, do you have any strategies when it comes to plot building, or creating a story?

Happy Writing people!

Character Files: “The Conductor”

I’d like to try something new to add on here – I call it “Character Files.” In my struggle to find some kind of story inspiration some time ago, I purchased a book called Writerific II: Creativity Training for writers by Eva Shaw, which offers encouragement, but most importantly, writing prompts for the creative writer.

One such prompt, has a page full of groups of words. Each group of three words is meant to inspire a story, by using each word in a story or situation that you may create. I decided to take it a step further, and as such created – Character Files.

spy8Each group of words inspired me to create a character, someone who may or may not have a story – a character that I could store away in a file with other characters I created, that I could return to and use that character for story inspiration if need be.

There are a lot of word groups in the writing prompt, and I’ve only created a few different characters already. But I was pleased with the different results. This particular example took me to a place and genre that I don’t normally write, but it allowed for some nice practice of sensory images. Here goes…

The words are:  pigeon   voltage   train

“The Conductor”

He is a nobody, tall and willowy with a pale face, and dark brown hair. His back is straight as he sits on the park bench in his navy blue conductor’s uniform, his long legs bunched up in front of him as he reads the newspaper.

            Looking at him, no one would know that he’s killed someone and framed somebody else for it, although, he twitches occasionally at every other sentence he reads. His brown eyes squint, his face bunches and then goes straight. Two-thousand volts of electricity frying their way through his veins. It could have been him. The memories eat at him, peck at his brain like a flock of crows.

            The sight of the butchered man he killed in the alley late that night. The rain pouring in his ears and over the curve of disgust on his lips. The bastard he caught sleeping with his wife…maybe he should have killed her too.

 

He smelled the rain that night, and he never smelled anything more visceral. Felt his thoughts mix with the sewage and the blood water that swirled around the man’s body, the man that he killed, a milkman, another nobody. What was so important about this stranger that made his wife take her pants off?

He thought, just once – it was a fleeting thought really – that maybe he should be down in the sludge and the darkness of the alley, too. Let the smell of something putrid, the river of feces, blood and rain water pour over him. Feel the fear of something cold and slimy creep its way across his bare skin. Let it feed off of him for a moment and taste the sponginess of his brain, the holes there, the parts that were missing that tasted brown, like something sweet and rotting. Let blood pour out of his nose and his eyeballs bounce down his face. Let him feel hell just once.

Instead, he swiped at the water on his chin, shook his head like a dog, shivered once, pulled his coat around his shoulders and walked home. The knife he used on the stranger who was defiling his wife, he hid in his cousin’s apartment, still wet, the blood dripping.

The next day, while drinking his morning coffee, he placed a call to his local police department to let them know that his cousin, an alcoholic and a man who occasionally liked to feel up little girls, was in town and that he came around the other day begging for money. His cousin had threatened him with a knife, which the conductor described to the police in great detail. A butcher’s knife, he said and then shuddered with a slight catch in his throat. There were groves and barbs on the blade, the kind that shreds through skin when you use it. Mostly likely cut a man in two. Or remove somebody’s head.

The next day he read the front headline of the newspaper while he sat on a park bench on his lunch break: Child Molester Arrested for Murder. He folded the newspaper carefully and tucked it under his arm. The sun felt warm and soft on his navy blue uniform and he looked down at his shiny, black shoes and smiled to himself. It was going to be an excellent day.

What Game of Thrones can teach creative writers about hidden context

Source: HBO;  Margaery and Cersei walk together.

We saw it a few nights ago in the latest episode of Game of Thrones, in First of His Name. Margaery and Cersei are standing side by side, both staring out at the new King Tommen talking about King Joffrey, about the new king, about whether or not Margaery still wants to be queen. Talking about everything else than what is truly on their minds.

Game of Thrones, or more specifically, Game of Throne’s characters, presents a fine example of the importance of hidden context for creative writers.

In context:  Margaery and Cersei are having a conversation, they are talking about the troubles on hand: a recent death, a new queen and what they should do now. Margaery, is polite, beguiling, charming. She knows how to twist words to her favor, to ask a question, yet answer it in the same sentence. Meanwhile, Cersei’s words are clipped, sometimes barbed. The things she says are meant to shock, to entice some reaction from the person next to her, to try to make the person she is having a conversation with, uncomfortable.

Out of context: The tension between the two. The fact that they aren’t looking at each other. The pauses between words. The politeness. Margaery wants the throne and is doing what she can to get it. Cersei doesn’t like Margaery, but knows she must play nice and make small talk, or in Cersei’s case, idle threats. Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.

While the two, strong, beautiful women are making conversation, most of what goes on between them is what they don’t say. The glances, the gestures, the false smiles. Cersei says it best with a glance, a frown, or a twitch of her eye.

And all the while, there is tension.

You hear it time and time again, from a lot of creative writers, or teachers of the craft. There must be tension. Without tension of some kind there is no story, no problem or obstacle to overcome.

If two characters are having a conversation, and everything is happy, perfect, agreeable, there is no reason for the conversation and as such, there is no story.

That’s why it is so important to create great detail in your stories. Sensory details. Describe the scene and character and conversation in detail.

With detail you will create the tension, and in that tension is what isn’t being said – the hidden context. Which is sometimes the most important thing of all.

What are your favorite stories or TV Shows? Who are your favorite characters in them? And what does it teach you about writing or story telling?

Thoughts below if you’ve got ’em!

 

 

Once Upon a Time Review 10/21/12 – The Crocodile vs Captain Hook

Well, FINALLY finished watching last week’s episode of Once Upon a Time’s “The Crocodile,” and all I can say is there’s soon to be rough waters ahead!

Beware matey! Spoilers ahead! Arrr! 😉

Photo credit: ABC.

With the introduction of Captain Hook, Once upon a Time creator’s have also introduced a new storyline: Captain Hook has paired up with Cora, (Regina’s mother) in the present day Enchanted forest world in the hopes to get to Storybrooke, Maine. Hook for his revenge on Rumpelstiltskin and Cora for Regina, of course.

This episode focused on Rumpelstiltskin’s back story, whilst progressing Belle’s story in the Storybrooke world. Meanwhile, in the back story of Rumple’s long search for his son, we are introduced to a “Killian Jones,” a ruggedly handsome Captain, who sweeps Rumple’s wife, Mila, off her feet, and who eventually becomes the angry Captain Hook of the Peter Pan world.

With the introduction of a magic bean and a man’s desire to never age, we have the bumbling, weaker side-kick character of Smee. I must say, I am impressed with the show’s ability to introduce so many new characters in one episode but still progress the plot. An ability, I believe, which is lost in a lot of our newer television shows!

Anyway, Highlights and Observations:

  • Captain Hook is hott! Thank you creators! No yucky long-haired wig!
  • Charming has become the new sheriff.
  • Red’s nose is more sensitive lately. (The wolf thing she says). More on her story to come, I’m sure!
  • Belle’s character grows in strength, sticking to the story we know and love – huh, she likes books! Who knew!
  • Rumple finally admitting his reason for bringing back magic…do we believe him? And Belle asking Rumple if he’s ever had a hamburger. Too cute. (I love this because we will get to see the development of their relationship as the show goes on.)
  • Rumple asking Charming for dating advice.
  • No Emma, Snow, Aurora or Mulan in this episode I’m afraid. :/
  • And lastly, this amazing bit of dialogue. As Cora shows Captain Hook her plan to get back to Storybrooke, a vial full of magic and he snorts and says: “Sparkly dirt. Wonderful.”

Will be interesting to see the explanation we are given for why some fairytale world characters remained and why the rest of them were cursed. A protection spell placed on the land perhaps? There was a lot in this episode, I definitely didn’t cover it all. If you have some thoughts, let me know!

Looking forward to the new episode! Finally! More on Dr. Whale!

A sneak peek below:

I have to say, I always thought Dr. Whale was a bit off, but Frankenstein? Hmm, perfect for a Halloween episode!

Dawn’s Rising – Angel, My Angel

Sometimes you’ll stare at your word processor all day and only a few worthy sentences will come out. Sometimes it’s those sentences that surprise you the most…

In Dawn’s Rising, one of my characters, “Chase” plays guitar. I have a scene where my main protagonist “Angel” is sleeping on the couch and Chase is perched on the end of the couch playing a song on his guitar to her. They don’t know each other very well at this point, but it doesn’t mean the resulting song doesn’t have meaning:

            Angel like a gem

            that glitters when she speaks

            angel, my angel

            stronger than she thinks

            don’t you know you’re angled?

            multifaceted blue

            angel, my angel

            I love you…

I have never written songs before and wish I had the talent to find the music that belongs to these words I wrote last night, but I hear them in my head, and that’s good enough for me.

It’s a slow song, like a lullaby that has a few verses to it and this is just the first one, or the only one that’s he’s written so far. He has a deep voice, but not too deep, with bit of husk to it. The result is a voice that is sexy, rough and smooth at the same time…like the sound of someone’s voice when they first wake up in the morning.

This is a perfect description for Chase, who’s normally put together, but still a bit rough around the edges.  He would not have the perfect tenor’s voice. His voice would be more like the earth: rich, and dark and deep; full of mystery and longing. Full of a thunderstorm, the lightning that crackles just beneath the surface.

I love the poetry behind it, though. Even songs, no, especially songs should taste good on the tongue, too.

Revolution Review – Step Aside Charlie, Uncle Miles is Here

***Spoiler Alert! If you have not watched tonight’s episode “No Quarter,” I suggest you go do that now before reading this.***

Well, after having recovered from the disappointment of not seeing a sexy “Nate,” in tonight’s episode of Revolution, there was then more room for bloodshed as the sword fights, gunfights, shooting people, oh, and the blowing things up resumed.

One thing can be said about Revolution: they don’t skimp on the action. Where as the characters are tromping around blowing stuff up, it leaves little room for other things: like compassion, and oh…does anyone have a sense of humanity anymore? Or when the power goes out, are we really going to shoot each other because we’re starving, thirsty, cold and sick?

It’s an uncomfortable thought…and done maybe a bit too well in this show. I refuse to believe that when everything is gone to the dogs, our sense of humanity will go with it…but, perhaps that’s the case for most people. Everyone has to make a choice. Like I read in a recent interview between Once Upon a Time creators, who said: “Everyone’s got darkness in them.” But would everyone truly act on it? There’s a difference between fighting for your life and becoming a murderer. The line is getting a bit too thin here.

If that’s the case, Charlie stands out like a bright light in the darkness compared to the other characters that she is often sandwiched between. She’s all about ‘getting Danny back’ and ‘remembering what ice cream tastes like.’ But for one who has grown up in a harsher world, why does she appear so innocent? Meanwhile, Nora is all about ‘making things mean something,’ while Miles is jealous because she may or may not be seeing another man. (Is it just me, or is a jealous Miles kinda hott?)

Miles is…oh, only captain of the militia, founder of the Monroe Republic. Whaat?! (Hah! I told my mom that I had a feeling that Monroe was just a stand-in.)

Anyway, tonight’s episode was definitely a shift in character. It was definitely Mile’s story and Mile’s journey and the fact that the show started off under Charlie’s point of view seems kind of silly now. (I, who loves a great heroine…feels kinda gipped, actually.)

This story is becoming very much a Mile’s story, and no matter how much you’ve got Charlie flirting with injured young men, militia men, or shooting or blowing things up, she’s not the one behind all the goings-on here. She’s just an innocent, a bystander, who desperately needs her uncle, but at the same time, doesn’t want him telling her what to do.

While Miles certainly isn’t bad to look at, and seems to have more a complexity of character that I’m starting to admire…he’s shifty. Protagonist or Antagonist? Are the writers trying to make us love a bad man gone good kind of thing? Who obviously feels like he doesn’t care anymore, despite his actions. Or, am I just beating myself up over a character who was not thought out very well…heh. I like to hope that first impressions aren’t everything.

That being said, there is one character, however, who is surprising me and that is: Danny. For someone who is trapped, helpless and alone, he is defining himself as a character and as a person in more ways than his cross-bow shooting sister ever is. I love the fact that she is a sister who cares and wants her brother back, but what else does she stand for? He also gets great lines, too.

So does our Mr. Billionaire comic relief guy. He’s always got some interesting things to say, and he’s just a side character. So, I wonder why Charlie is so one-dimensional?? It is frustrating to see the story build on such great male roles, while our heroines are falling to the wayside. Was kind of neat to see Jacob from LOST, though.

Anyway, Revolution’s still holding strong with its action, but the characterization, or lack there of, is starting to take its toll on me. Dialogue’s not bad…some good things get said, and the casting is good, I think. Miles, is definitely a favorite of mine. (He’s just so interesting to look at!) But, sadly, Charlie is not serving a purpose. Thanks, NBC, you had us all fooled. I wouldn’t be surprised if Charlie is the one that gets killed in the next episode. It’ll probably be the blond haired chick, though. What’s her name? See, I can’t even remember. What a shame.

Dawn’s Rising – Meet Chase Holden

My craptastic cover for Dawn’s Rising. All I can say is: Isn’t Photoshop just awesome?

Well, worked on Dawn’s Rising a little bit last night and just wanted to write a quick post to say that it still amazes me sometimes the power that some characters can have over the writer.

I’d been having trouble working on the story lately, and then I tweaked a few things and viola! My characters come alive with attitudes and minds of their own.

Sometimes it’s as simple as a name. This novel is teaching me a lot about the importance of names and how the name should match the character in all ways!

I used to firmly believe that it was the name that made the character, and if the name isn’t right, well, that’s that. How foolish I’ve  been!

While the name definitely does have to be right, if you are set on a name, you have to match that character to the vision you have. For me, whenever I let go of my original plans and let the characters form themselves, (go by instinct), I seem to have a better story and more rounded characters.

They show me where they want to go, who they want to be with…etc. I’d been trying so hard to stuff a character in a name, only realizing last night, that the reason the name didn’t fit was because I had created the wrong character. I gave him a different personality, a different body type, a different attitude and then he’s there. He’s real, he’s handsome, he’s stubborn, he’s thoughtful.

So meet…Chase Holden: He’s tall, about six feet. With a musician’s type body, long and lithe, with broad shoulders and strong arms. He’s got tan skin and short, dirty-blond colored hair, with green eyes. (He uses these eyes to his advantage…the clever bastard!) He can be ass sometimes certainly; he’s got his own form of mood swings. Right now, I have him wearing blue jeans and a long-sleeved blue, flannel shirt. On the outside, he lives simple…but don’t let that fool ya, this one is complicated. He does play guitar! He’s got a secret. And only Niel knows it. 

Hmm. What can it be? 😉 Time to focus on writing…Hope everyone has a fantastic day!