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Monday, April 26, 2010

Back story

First, before I get to anything, I want to say that I'm glad all my relatives are back safe and sound (in body if not in mind) from their various setbacks. Alex, I demand pictures of Italy! And no. I'm still convinced "calm, cool, and collected" is no one I'm related to!



Now, back story: Was watching Singing in the Rain last night, or the beginning at least. They take considerable time to go through Gene Kelly's Don Lockwood characters early life. How he got into show business, his move from stunt man to leading man. While slightly interesting, it wasn't very relevant to the story.

I know a lot of writers (me included until a very nice critique partner bashed me over the head and told me to cut it all) have a tendency to include long stretches of back story for their characters. They want everyone to know them as the writer does.

But that doesn't really move the story forward, nor does it do anything but slow the pacing down. Anything relevant to the character's past--as it pertains to the story--should be threaded through the story itself. Little bits of things that come out when they're important.

How do you thread your characters story into your novel? Or does he/she live in the here and now?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Don't forget my contest!

Prize:
Signed copy of Murder & Magick
Small bottle of perfume
Fashion bracelet
Vice Versa evening handbag

Questions:
1. What television show do I claim addiction to?
2. Who is Lucien seeking?
3. How long have the American and European druids been out of contact?

How to Enter:
Fill out this form at Coffee Time Romance.

You can enter throughout the entire month of April. Need help? Check out my site!

Crazy days of spring

It's been a crazy few weeks here. Between everything that normally happens in life and writing, I feel as if I'm always on the go but with very little to show for it. Except these allergies. Yeah. Pollen.
But instead of going even crazier and trying to get more accomplished when I have less time, I'm going to take tonight to buy some flowers for my garden. I don't guarantee they'll survive, I don't even guarantee they'll grow. But I'm going to try.
So tonight is the purchase of flowers and veggie seed packets (and mulch which requires nothing of me save the purchasing and spread of it) and tomorrow is the actual planting of these things. And spreading of the mulch I suppose. I'll take pictures, we can laugh together. :)
What about you? How are your days going? What do you do to ease the stress and tension?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Movie review: Clash of the Titans (2010)

Saw the new version on opening day. Wish I hadn't. I've said before that remakes are rarely as good as the original. (A-Team is coming out in June, and I might be tempted with that. The trailer looks really good. Course so did the trailer for this.)

I had high hopes I tell you! But I lost valuable writing time! I could have saved myself the money, too, though luckily I didn't pay for the 3D since I've heard it wasn't worth it. Movies made 3D after the fact rarely are.

Clash of the Titans disappoints!

I was a big fan of the orignal; hey I was a kid and I thought all the neat claymation effects were cool. I had really high hopes for the CGI 2010 version and boy was I let down. To begin; the mythology is WRONG half the time. I hate that - don't these people at least go on Wiki and look things up? The guy playing Perseus had no depth. Okay, sure this is an action movie and character development is usually on the thin side but Clash was on the invisible side!

The story of Clash of the Titans (original) centered around a hero's journey to go from simple man to demigod and test the limits of your smarts, strength and determination. The only limit testing in the 2010 version was my patience! Sam Worthington's performance was beyond hollow and bordered on being a cardboard cutout. The kraken special effects even disappointed!

"Release the kraken!" is an immortal line in cinema and the 2010 Clash of the Titans reduced it to "Release me from this seat!"

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Nearly finished!

I'm pleased to report that after months of hair pulling, teeth gnashing, head thumping frustration, I'm nearly finished my current WIP tentatively entitled Paranormal Investigations. Now, to be fair, this story was finished. Or nearly so. Needed one last read through.

As I read through it, I realized several important things:
  1. The beginning didn't work with the rest of the story. Tried to be funny, didn't work, changed mid-story, needed to fix the beginning.
  2. There were big sections in the middle that went one way and ended up another. Now I'm all about the red herring and sneaky twist, but not the dangling plots. Had to snip those out and trim everything up.
  3. 10,000 words is easier to say you'll add than to actually add. Sure, I can go through and add a word per page, but honestly that never works. Plus I ended up cutting so much I had to add closer to 25,000 words in the end. Never easy in a finished story.
  4. Starting from scratch is usually easier. And it was close, but I didn't give in. I liked the story, the plot, even entire chunks of the story! I just needed to fix it.

So for a story that I was going to send out no later than Christmas 2009, I'm now going to send out (with a note of apology) in April 2010. But since I'm so much happier with this story, with the way it flows, with the way it all works, it was worth it.

Ever done that? Thought your story worked then realzied no. It needed serious work? What did you do? Start from scratch? Add in and hope everything flowed?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wednesday Reviews

Just a reminder: over on Unusual Historicals the month of April we're talking about News and Media. My post on April 5 was on William Randolph Hearst. Check it out!

Last week I talked about Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife. This week, it's the sequel, Darcy & Elizabeth: Nights and Days at Pemberley. (I got this copy from the library.)


It took me weeks to get through this book. I'm not a slow reader, and while I admit to other distractions (writing, allergies, work, Percy Jackson, my continuing Colin Firth love) this book needed to be trimmed.


I found the characterization to be off: Lady Catherine didn't seem very Lady Catherine-ish, more of a stereotypical mother trying to advance herself in society. She made amateurish mistakes I can't envision her doing. Gerogiana had grown and matured, but not to the point where her character ended, I felt it was more of a leap, less of a growth. as for poor Col. Fitzwilliam, he was regulated into the background, a stoop for others to play off of.


The history was excellent, utterly well done, and used to perfection here.


As for Darcy and Elizabeth themselves, I felt there wasn't quite enough of them. I enjoyed their parts, I enjoyed the interaction and growth between them, but there was something missing. It may have had to do with the other characters and their excessive back stories and plots. Do I care about Lydia and Wickham? No. Do I care about Lady Catherine and Anne? No.


However, I will admit to liking Jane and Bingley in this story more than even in Pride and Prejudice. Excellent plotting there.


Overall, I give it 3.5 stars. While still a slow read, in need of more dialog, I did finish it and enjoyed the ride.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Contest

Prize:
Signed copy of Murder & Magick
Small bottle of perfume
Fashion bracelet
Vice Versa evening handbag

Questions:
1. What television show do I claim addiction to?
2. Who is Lucien seeking?
3. How long have the American and European druids been out of contact?

How to Enter:
Fill out this form at Coffee Time Romance.

You can enter throughout the entire month of April. Need help? Check out my site!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Thursday Progress

So what have I been doing the entire month of March that I couldn't update my blog? Working. A lot. However, on a writing front, I've been making tediously slow progress on my ghostly project.

The good news is that I'm only 10 chapters from the end! That might qualify as bad news, too, depending on how one looks at it, but I choose to be positive. GOOD NEWS!

Of course I have the read through of all read throughs to get through next, but I figure with the extra day off this week (thank you, Good Friday) I'll be able to come close to finishing up the story itself so that next week I can start from the beginning. And I know it'll be a lot to get through. I left large chunks half finished and have to now put in things I've added over the course of the story.

What's everyone else working on? How's your latest WIP coming along? Or have you decided glaring at it is better than nothing? (If so, I feel your pain!)

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