I am toying around with an idea for a science fiction story. I don't know if it will become anything or not. I need to find some inspiration. I need to get an idea that makes me want to write again. It'd come to me eventually.
Sunday, September 15, 2013
My top ten moments...
10. Evil Angel in season two...
Evil Angel was a great big bad. I loved the radical change in his character: how he went from quiet and brooding to violet, manic stalker with a crazy cackling laugh. Highlights include: sneaking into Buffy's room and watching her sleep, harassing Buffy's mother on the front steps of her house, the death of Jenny, and of course: his death. Who can watch that scene and not tear up? That music! Dear god...it was perfect...
9. Buffy reveals she is a slayer to her mother
The argument Buffy has with her mother at the end of season two is one of the most well written and well acted scenes in television history. The frustration in Buffy and the confusion and panic in her mother is just so well played. Also, side note, the scene that came before it between Joyce and Spike was pure gold:
Joyce: Have we met?
Spike: You hit me with an axe one time and told me to stay the hell away from your daughter.
8. "I may be dead. But I'm still pretty. Which is more than I can say for you." Buffy to the Master after her return from the dead. I love how the camera panned up to her as she said that. And the bit before that when they played the theme song and she was kicking butt was cool too.
7. Spike is a fool for love...
The episode in season five that shows us Spike's origins is a great episode. It does a good job of fleshing out his character. The best part is the bit at the end when Buffy throws his cash in his face and tells him "You're beneath me" and then walks off. Spike collects his money and starts to get teary, which is a big deal for a vampire, but being him he quickly launches into a murderous rage. He goes to Buffy's house to kill her but when he finds her crying alone on the back door step he puts his gun aside and asks her "What's wrong?" and then slowly, awkwardly, puts his arm around her.
6. Buffy quits in season one...
When Buffy hears a prophecy that she is doomed to die if she fights the Master in season one she tearfully quits and tries to get her mother to agree for them to both flee town. After her mother refuses, Buffy eventually finds the courage to face the Master, which goes terribly and ends with her breathing down her neck "You're the one who sets me free..." before he sinks his teeth into her neck. I love the close up of Buffy's face moments before he bites her and the tears in her eyes.
5. Conversations with dead people...
This episode in season seven is one of the most terrifying episodes out of all seven seasons. In the episode Dawn, Willow and Buffy are each tormented by their past: Buffy deals with a vampire who was a school mate, Willow talks to the First, and Dawn is trapped in a house with an angry ghost. To be honest I'm still not 100% sure what Dawn speaks with: it's either her mother's ghost or the First fucking with her.
4. Spike tells Buffy he has a soul
At the end of season six Spike almost rapes Buffy so he goes off in search for his soul. When he comes back at the start of season seven he is ranting and raving and talking to himself. He eventually reveals to Buffy what he did and hugs a stone cross and as he starts to smoke asks Buffy: "Can we rest now? Can we rest?"
3. Glory thinks Spike is the Key
In season 5 Dawn is created and the big baddies are after her because she is a key that can unlock the doors between worlds. Glory's minions think that Spike is the key and kidnap him. Glory holds him captive and brutally beats him up but he never reveals that the key is Dawn. Instead he makes fun of Glory's ass and then somehow manages to break free, despite being half beaten to death, and stumble his way out the door.
2. The beginning of Dark Willow...
Another highlight of season five is when Tara, Willow's girlfriend, is brain raped by Glory and left child-like and rambling. Willow goes dark and packs a bag full of knives and goes to Glory to get revenge. Glory asks "What's this? bag of tricks?" and Willow's bag opens and knives rise out of it and she smirks and says "Bag of knives"
There are so many awesome moments in this episode. Willow uses her powers to active all of the other slayers in the world. I like how she flops over on her side afterwards and goes "That was nifty..." There's Anya's shocking death, Buffy's speech as all of the slayers are activated, and best of all Spike's sacrifice: the holding of the hands, the flames licking their fingers, and the final touching moment between Spike and Buffy. Some people think that Buffy didn't love him. But I think she did.
Most of the internet and the people I've spoken with about it think it's a grab for cash on JK Rowling's part and they're pretty unimpressed about it. Yes, the film company does have dollar signs in their eyes. The Harry Potter generation has grown up and their kids are into the Hunger Games and Twilight. They want to re-capture their glory years. But I don't think JK Rowling is being involved in this to make more money for herself. She is richer than the Queen and the first author to become a billionare. She does not need anymore money. She has so much money she doesn't know what to do with it. She's donated a lot of it.
I think the reason JK Rowling is returning to her wizard world is because of her failed attempts to dip her toe into the world of adult fiction. Her first try, the Causal Vacancy, got terrible reviews because everyone thought it was going to be as fun and gripping as Harry Potter with lovable characters and a wonderful, rich world. It was the total opposite and people were disappointed. So JK tried again but under a pen name to get less judgement. Her book was a modest success...and then she was ratted out to the media and her book soared up the charts and she was swimming in cash that she did not want or even hoped would not get.
JK Rowling doesn't have to and doesn't want to write for money anymore. She writes for the enjoyment of it. She will never be able to escape the shadow of Harry Potter and I think she has come to peace with that. It makes sense then for her to go back to that world and flesh it out a bit more...I mean, why not? I think her decision to set the films 70 years before Harry was born is a great idea because it introduces us to a new time in the wizard world to explore. And having it in New York is going to be interesting too (I am curious if that part was her idea though and not pushed on her to capture the American market)
One of the things that made Harry Potter so delightful for me was its setting in England. I am interested in seeing American wizards and maybe even an American wizard school!
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
I’m a big fan of Breaking Bad. It has excellent writing that keeps you gripped and anxious and entertained and the characters go through fascinating growth. Breaking Bad hooked me from the moment I first saw it advertised on iTunes as: “A high school chemistry teacher turns to making meth to make money to support himself and his family after he discovers that he has cancer” I thought “Wow! This show sounds fascinating!” I knew right then that the show was probably going to be very good. In writing you only have a very short period of time to catch the interest of your audience.
That is why the first opening paragraph is so important. Another skill that is important is the “tag line” which is a one line summary of the book/show/film. A tag line is a hook. It’s what you read on movie posters or on the back of a book that gets you curious just enough to want to know more. Breaking Bad had an excellent hook that summed it up perfectly. I watched all five seasons in about a month. Walter White is one of the best characters in the history of film and books and television. His downward spiral is epic. It was fascinating to watch him slowly change from a weary, depressed High School teacher into a man who felt empowered and dangerous and proud of himself.
What’s scary about Walt is how he justifies all of his actions. Walt could have had a much more successful life but due to his own bad decisions ended up lower middle class and working two jobs he hated. Walt is a greedy, power hungry man. The moment he dips his toe into the world of Meth cooking all he wants is money, money, money and he isn’t afraid to kill to get it. He wants to build the Empire that he felt he should have had years ago. He goes from being a High School teacher to Lex Luther. And the public love him. He’s an anti-hero. Other anti-heroes include Dexter and Batman. There is a difference between them and Walt though. Dexter and Batman are crime fighters who go out each night to try and rid the street of scum. Walt is a greedy, son of a bitch who feeds off the misery of others and is unafraid to crush people beneath his boot if it benefited him. He is out to make money and rule the streets. This is not a man people should be rooting for. And yet people do… and the person they DO hate is his wife, Skyler.
And that puzzles me. Skyler is a victim. When she reveals to Walt that she knows he is a drug lord he refuses to let her out of their marriage or even out of his bed. When she tries to kill herself in the pool he threatens to have her locked up in a mental hospital. Skyler is eventually pulled into his world of crime to protect herself and her kids because she has no other choice. She is Walt’s prisoner. And yet people on the internet despise her and think that she is a harpy, unsympathetic to his cancer, and they hate her for having an affair.
Walter has lied, stolen, kidnapped people, and committed multiple acts of murder and that’s totally acceptable with the audience – even cool – but Skyler’s affair is completely condemned. Now isn’t that interesting? It says a lot about what audiences expect from TV wives and women in general. Crime is cool but adultery? Unacceptable! It’s a little disturbing.
Is the world of TV stuck in the 1950’s? Why must men have all the power but women be condemned for it? A lot of people hate Skyler for how she forced Walt into buying the car wash and how she is spun the tale of his gambling winnings to explain how they got the cash to buy the business. Again people side with Walt. Skyler was right to come up with a story because simply telling people “We found some money on the sidewalk!” was not going to fly.
It was the fact that she came up with a story that cast Walt in a negative light (as a bad gambler) that was the problem. Walt had to apologise for his “bad habits” and that infuriated Walt because all he wants is for people to acknowledge his genius. He wants to shout it from the rooftops but Skyler keeps telling him no.
I really don’t know how anyone could possibly side with Walt and say that Skyler’s act of adultery outweighs everything else Walt has done. It paints a disturbing image of what some people expect from women and how they should act in life. Well done Breaking Bad. I can’t remember a television show that’s ever divided audiences so much before. Breaking Bad fever has gripped almost everyone. How is it going to end? Is Skyler a bad wife? What will happen to Walt? Will Hank catch him? I think we will all be surprised.
Monday, July 29, 2013
In the Dark is Rising on the first page the author described the snow as "lying thin and apologetic over the ground" Um, what? Snow cannot be apologetic. It does not think. It does not emote. A better description would have been "A paper thin carpet of white snow blanketed the ground" you know? And then the author described, one after another, what the yard looked like: That house over there was the chook shed, that square was the garage, etc, etc, etc, comma, comma, comma.
Too many commas. Too much telling not showing. Do not tell us what is there. SHOW us. Show us through the character's eyes what the yard looks like as he experiences it. Do not tell us each piece of information, boom, boom, boom, like you are reading off a list.
I have been interested in writing for about 15 years now. In the past couple of years it has become more of a passing hobby then something I would like a career out of. I have gained enough experience to know that the chances of being truly successful are slim to nil and then there's the act of writing itself. It's hard and tiring and lonely. And lately I've been wondering just how many stories I have left in me.
I have been visiting writers web boards since I was a young teenager. It has been the best education in writing I have ever had. It's been hard and painful and the people have not always been nice but they have taught me all I need to know about writing and I am finding more and more as I continue with my university degree in writing and publishing how much I disagree with the teachings of my teachers because what they are teaching keeps clashing with what I have learnt from actual writers.
These books I have to read are considered classics and yet I am finding problems in their writing in the first couple of pages. It doesn't mean they are bad books. But I am surprised that their editors let that bad metaphor slip through and left that bad description in there. One thing I have learnt from my time with other writers is how you must learn how to break the rules.
It's true that there is no "right way" to write a book. Some of the best books ever written have been ones where the authors have thrown all of the rules of grammar out of the window.
I don't know if I am going to enjoy Tom's Midnight Garden and the Dark is Rising as much as Charlotte's web. I'm thinking probably not. But that's just my own personal taste. I just can't forgive that crappy metaphor.
Sunday, July 28, 2013
Watch the video here
Lauren Green struggles throughout the interview to wrap her mind about why a MOOSLIM would want to write about the founder of Christianity.
Mr Aslan replies, quite frustrated, that it is his job as an academic and as a professor of religion. He lists all of his qualifications and background but Ms Green is still convinced and continues to attack him throughout the rest of the interview for his faith.
She even accuses him of until recently keeping his Muslim faith a secret to which he replies that it is mentioned on page two of his book and then asks Ms Green if she has even read his book or knows that much about him at all.
They should show this video in university journalism classes about how NOT to do an interview.
Ms Green went in with a clear negative agenda. She had no intention of discussing Mr Aslan's new book detailing the history of Jesus. She was clearly threatened and confused that a Muslim would dare to claim that he could be an expert on the founder of Christianity. Surely he had to some insidious agenda RIGHT? He couldn't just be...an expert on religion who happened to also be Muslim? Nah...
I felt really sorry for him throughout the interview. Here is a man who has devoted his life to the study of religion, has four degrees on the subject, and is a renowned writer and speaker on religion being attacked for his faith. What does his faith have to do with anything he writes? He is a Historian. If Ms Green knew anything at all about Islam she would know that Jesus a highly respected figure in the faith. Why is she threatened by him?
The interview raises the question should writers be able to write about faiths that are not their own?
Of course they should! What a narrow minded world Fox News lives in. No one should be attacked for their faith or for their opinion.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
To watch anything good you have to stay up until at least 9.30pm or 10.00pm. That's when things like Family Guy and the Cleveland Show and Nurse Jackie might be on. Because these shows air so late we miss most of them. I don't know if Breaking Bad aired on free-to-air. It might have...but we did not see it.
This is where iTunes comes in. It's a great way for us to catch up on awesome TV shows that never got shown a decent time on free-to-air or even at all. What's annoying about iTunes is how conservative it is. Breaking Bad is clearly for adults. It's about a man who starts making meth to provide for his family. And yet iTunes blurred out a naked woman's breasts and in another scene blurred out the letters UC in Fuck.
Firstly...why just the letters UC?
Secondly...why are they censoring women's breasts and the word fuck in a show that shows lots and lots of death and its central theme is the production of meth?
This is a show for adults. I can understand censoring a show that a child might watch - like the Simpsons. But this is Breaking Bad. Why shield adults from boobs and swear words? What are they doing? What makes those things so shameful but the killing of children is okay?
It really annoys me when iTunes does things like this. I am a grown adult. I have purchased a show for ADULTS. Please do not censor it. Or at least give me an option to purchase the non-censored version. Come to think of it why isn't there a non-censored version of TV shows and movies on iTunes? There are "clean" versions of music.
Sunday, May 5, 2013
A teacher in America has gotten in trouble for ordering Fifty Shades of Grey and giving it to one of his students after he requested to be able to read it at school. The teacher has been suspended and is claiming he did not know what the book was about. A lot of people are asking "How could he not know what THAT book was about?" and they do a have a point: did he not look at the front cover or read the book of the book before he bought it? He made a mistake, that much is clear. But I believe him when he says he did not know what the book was about. Perhaps he does not read erotica. It would make sense then that the book might have passed him by.
A lot of people are saying that Fifty Shades of Grey does not belong in schools because of it's content. This disturbs me...because as I said above growing up I had the freedom to read whatever I wanted. I do not like the idea of restricting what books young people can choose to read. Why shouldn't teenagers read erotica? Kids are curious about sex and porn. Wouldn't giving them an erotica book be kind of...harmless? They are curious. They are horny. Let them read the book.
I can understand some people not wanting their kids to read the book. The teacher should have asked permission.
I've been thinking about it and I think FSOG might actually make an interesting teaching tool. Think about it...older students could read it (16 or 17 and up) as part of an English class and discuss the quality of the writing, the strength of the plot, how it compares to Twilight and the relationship between the characters. Think of all the discussions that could take place!
It will never happen though.
What's interesting about books is that they do not come with age restrictions on them. It would be weird if they did. Until they do (and hopefully they never will) it isn't actually illegal for teenagers to purchase FSOG and read it. I think that's how it should stay too. Parents really shouldn't worry if their kids are reading erotica. There are so many other worse things they could be doing. Erotica is harmless. Let them read FSOG. If they're anything like me they'll soon realize that it's a steaming pile of shit.
Sunday, April 14, 2013
So I bought the first copy of the graphic novel and started reading it on my ipad. I'd read online that the author, Robert Kirkman, was a bit sexist. It certainly does come across that way in the graphic novel. Within just a couple of pages Lori, wife of Rick, says that "It is not about women's rights it's about doing what's realistic" after another woman, Donna, complains how as women they now have to do all the chores.
In another scene Rick says "The woman could not be expected to defend themselves..." and in another scene Rick and Shane are a little condescending to Donna as she practices with a gun and is good at it. Shane says "I'm pretty sure she did not cheat and the wind did not blow the cans away..."
In the tv show the sexism is not as bad, but it is there. Andrea is the only woman in the show not interested in caring for the men and doing all the dishes and washing. Lori has a go at her about this at one point and says that she resents her for it. Andrea bites back that there are more important things for the women to be doing than making sure the lemonade has enough mint leaves in it. Andrea is the only woman who makes an effort to learn how to fire a gun and is the only one who becomes good at taking dome walkers. And she is also painted as an idiot: she shoots Darryl in the head once because she thought he was a Walker from a distance, she encouraged one woman to try and kill herself, and in season three hooks up with the governor, a violent murdering mad man who runs the town Woodbury, and actually has sex with him.
They turn the one woman who wants to be an equal with the man into an unlikable idiot. Google Andrea and you'll find tons of memes making fun of her. A lot of people were happy when she died.
Is sexism in fiction okay? Yes and no. As a woman I find it very irritating. I like the graphic novel and want to keep reading it. I am hoping that the sexism won't make it so irritating that I'll eventually stop.
Is the sexism in the Walking Dead realistic? Yes and no. I agree with Lori on some things - that in their universe someone does need to do the washing and dishes to help rebuild society - but why does it have to be the women? Doesn't it make more sense for everyone to be taught how to fire a gun so they can defend themselves? If I were in the book/show I would not be content with howling for a man to come and defending me. I would want a gun.
Also, give me one reason why the men should not help out with the chores. Why should they be able to get out of it? Because they do the hunting? How is the equal or fair? If the world does end in real life should we expect women's rights to go back several decades because it will be "realistic" for them to stay behind and care for the kids while the big, manly men go out and hunt for dinner?
I say bullshit. Equal rights for all. It shouldn't matter if the dead have risen.
Sunday, March 31, 2013
So, to escape her mother and in a desperate attempt to earn her love and acceptance, Cat becomes a vampire hunter. She goes out night after night and kills vampires just so she can run home and tell her mother who will smile and tell her "Well done! another monster gone!" which is disturbing because Cat is half vampire - does her mother think she, too, should be killed for just being what she is?
So she meets Bones and the two strike up a relationship and it's pretty much just sex at first but then Cat begins to get to know him as a person and discovers that vampires are not all monsters. Like mankind, there are good and bad ones, and she eventually realizes that she cannot be a bigot and go about killing vampires simply for the crime of being a vampire. It's the story of a woman who has been emotionally damaged by her mother and through her relationship with Bones slowly learns how to accept her own vampire side and to be less of a cold blooded, robotic killer.
Cat is a cliche when it comes to her relationship with Bones. She is a virgin and has avoided men her whole life. She knows nothing about relationships and is frightened by her desire for Bones and feels guilt after she gets too excited with him. She thinks what she is doing is wrong and in one chapters says he should ask for her to apologize to him after she groped him in a corridor. She knows nothing about sex. This annoys me. I've read too many books about women who are these sheltered, innocent flowers who need a man to come along and teach them about sex. God it annoys me. Just once I would like to read a book about a woman who has had partners, is mature, and unashamed about enjoying sex.
Considering Cat's past though it's remarkable that she allows herself to have a sexual relationship with Bones at all. Sex shaming is a bit theme of the book. Cat has gone through life carrying the terrible truth of her violent arrival into the world on her back. Despite that, she is very patient and loving toward her mother, and never once tells her off for her behavior. Cat shows through her relationship with Bones that she is able to rise above her traumatic upbringing and make decisions of her own.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Listen, they were not that original, or well written. But they worked. There's no such thing as an "original" plot. Everything has been done before. Stephanie's characters are pretty plain and her plot is in Twilight is not that strong. But (for me) I was able to look past these flaws and enjoy the story which I found enjoyable, fun and easy to read.
Yes, Bella does get obsessed with Edward. Yes, she does sacrifice a lot for him. Yes, one might argue that she might not be the best role model for young girls. But who says she has to be a role model? She's a fictional character. Since when do fictional characters have to lead by example? When did their actions become so important? Who decided they should be role models to young readers? Can't characters be flawed and make mistakes and questionable decisions?
"Concern trolls" almost act like Bella is the anti-Christ. They are horrified by her decision to be with Edward who they think is a stalker and abusive (um, why? how? He was nothing but polite and patient and gentle with her). They see Bella as a cardboard cut out who any young girl could easily imagine themselves as. They are concerned about her relationship with her parents and how she has trouble making and keeping friends (other than the Cullens) and what terrifies them the most is her decision to let her life revolve around Edward rather than leading a human life, going to university, etc.
They think Bella and Edward's relationship is sick and twisted and that is makes abusive relationships dangerous and exciting and glamorous.
Okay, firstly, in my opinion their relationship is not abusive: Edward spends most of the first book trying to avoid Bella. Yes, he watches her at night, I can see how some might find that creepy, but that is a fantasy people: stop taking this shit so damn seriously! I honestly feel like people get too worked up about Twilight and over analyse it and find creepiness where there really isn't any.
It's just a book, people. Young girls are not idiots. They know it's not true. They know abusive relationships are not fun (not that I think it was abusive!). These books are escapism, fantasy, nothing more. Stop getting your knickers in a twist. Because I'm tired of all the whinging and "Someone think of the Children!" shrieking.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Here's the thing...in writing you will never be able to please everyone who reads your book. Because you do not know who your audience is going to consist of and there is no way to predict what is going to offend them or not. Also, shouldn't we, as writers, have the freedom to write whatever we want? If I want to write a character who is a racist shouldn't I be able to do that? Shouldn't I be able to have him say the most terrible, ugly, racist slurs without being labelled a racist myself? I am not my characters - I am me - the writer - we are not one and the same. If my story demands a racist or a Nazi or any other disturbing character should I not have the freedom to bring them to life in all their flawed majesty?
Don't censor me. I should be able to write what I want - as long as it is not illegal. And it is not illegal to write a racist character or call another character disabled or anything else that might fall into the category of politically incorrect. The only thing I would tell writers NOT to do is to defame someone or an organisation in writing: do not bitch about your boss or workplace, or your cranky uncle or aunt, or that bitch in school who made your life hell. You can't do that. You can't paint real people as dicks in fiction. You can't use their names or their likeness or anything else associated with them.
Back to being politically correct...there's freedom of speech and writers just being plain dumb. We should be able to write what we want but be cautious: if your entire plot and characters comes across as racist propaganda you might turn the entire internet against you and become the target of trolls, facebook hate pages, and numerous rants on YouTube.
Should you be politically correct? To a degree, yes. Ask yourself: will my book offend people of this religion? or people of this race? If you think it might come across as massively offensive perhaps tone it back a tad....you don't want to spend the rest of your life getting prank phone calls and pizzas delivered to your house!
Saturday, January 26, 2013
It is labelled as one of the most unacceptable swear words and yet it is probably the most common word in the English language. Isn't that strange? That a word that is the most common can also be the most unforgivable? Fuck doesn't offend me that much. I hear more often in causal conversion then I do in moments of anger or violence. It's really made me immune to it. Cunt, though, I don't like. It's a lot harsher sounding and can only be used for one thing only: to degrade a woman.
What about the word nigger? That's another powerful word.
Should writers be able to use these words in fiction? I think so. Words cannot hurt you. They are just words. Censorship is wrong. In a free society writers should be able to write whatever they want - as long as they are not breaking the law! And by that I mean have not plagiarized another work or portrayed a real life person in a negative light.
I always find it funny when movies and TV shows blur out an actor's mouth when the script calls for them to swear in addition to beeping out the word. What is the point of blurring their mouth? Oh god forbid we see their lips shape the word "Fuck"
Somebody think of the children!
Monday, January 21, 2013
Carrot juice. Yeah. You heard me.
I almost would not have a problem with this book if it wasn't for the carrot juice bit. If they said "Take some antibiotics..." I might have been okay with it. It is risky as hell to deliberately encourage a child to contract an illness but I can understand their reasoning. Most of the time once a child gets a common childhood illness like measles they will never get it again. But once they get it they could also die.
Big gamble. I don't get how some parents would rather their child get sick and risk death or brain damage then give them the vaccination.
But...that's me. We all have different opinions. Just because I do not agree with something does not mean I should try and convince other people to think the same way that I do. I hate it when people try to do that to me. Live and let live. We should be able to raise our children without judgement from others.
At the same time though...this book is a little dangerous. I have no problem with it being on sale but perhaps it should come with a warning at the front saying that it is anti-vaccination? That way it will not confuse children and other parents. Because claiming that measles, a disease that can kill, can be cured with carrot juice is dangerously stupid advice.