Feeds:
Posts
Comments

I spend a lot of my driving, walking, and exercising time thinking about my stories. Many times I am wondering how a sub plot is going to work or how can I make a character more realistic.

It was on one of these occasions that I found a really fun game that actually helped me develop one of my characters. I originally intended to see how many of my characters were too similar and how to make them more unique. I had no idea it would help me realize some deeper feelings my characters had like prejudices and beliefs.

So here is the little exercise and it is meant to be fun.

Pick out the main characters in your most developed stories and put them together. How do they like each other and get along? Would character 1 from story A get along with character 2 from story B? If so, why? If not, why? I think one-on-one introductions are best.

Advertisements

Story Days 2010

I took the last 5 days off from work and home life for a mini vacation. Most of this weekend was spent in a lovely little mountain town called Story, Wyoming. Every year Story has an annual celebration that involves activities like the Dutch oven cook off, live music, chicken roping, parades and silent auctions.

For the last few years my family likes to get together at my sister’s cabin for the weekend and partake in the festivities. I’m sure that a few of you know this already but my favorite event of Story Days is the quilt show.

I’m a bit hyper active when it comes to creative projects and I’m always bouncing around trying new hobbies. One of my most consistent and favorite hobbies is making quilt tops. I get up to Story about two times a year to do quilting with my sister and usually have two or three other quilts going on at a time. I love the different patterns and fabric choices. There is just too much fabric to play around with!

Every year at Story Days I’ve been able to show off a few quilts and, not to be a bit boastful, I usually get quite a few comments on some of my more vibrant quilts. This year I was able to land two honorable mentions. Below are pictures of the 5 quilts I brought plus a bonus quilt that I gave to my sister and brother-in-law for their anniversary a couple years ago.

Fall Leaves I

My first quilting class in Story at Piney Creek Cottage.

Days on the Farm

My mother’s quilt made from flannel and upholstery fabric. The quilter did an amazing job. Sadly I’m not able to show the quilting in the photos I have.

Hunting

This quilt was made for my uncle for his 60th birthday. Shhh, don’t tell him. He hasn’t seen it yet.

Peace Angel

This is my first attempt at a stained glass quilt. I bought the pattern from Snowy River Quilts in Laramie. The Bonus quilt pattern I did mostly on my own and pulled the stained glass pattern from one of the stained glass books that I own. I have another one that is almost finished and I hope to show next year

Memory Quilt

This is a memory quilt that my sister and I made together with a bit of wordy help from my brother. It has childhood pictures of some of our favorite times and hobbies we like to do with our father.

Never Let Me Go

Have you ever seen a movie trailer that seemed really interesting and when you found out the film was based from a novel you went straight to the bookstore or library and brought the book back home and set to reading? I did this with the book Never Let Me Go. I watched the trailer out of curiosity and thought it was an intriguing story. I wasn’t sure what was going on, but I had a hypothesis about the characters, which made me really interested to find out more. Fortunately one of my friends had read the book and highly recommended that I read it as well.

Never Let Me Go was written by Kazuo Ishiguro in 2005 and was a finalist for the Booker Prize and Arthur C. Clarke Award. It’s such a wonderful novel. Though, I have to say that it is very sad. I don’t usually like to read sad stories but this one was just too interesting to pass up.

The story centers on a group of children that grow up in a boarding school in a secluded area of England. There is no mention of parents and the children don’t seem to know of any life before the school or in the outside world. At first it seems like the children are like any other group of children but there is this weird magical realism to the storytelling that hints to the reader that these children are different and are being raised for a specific purpose. The children are taught that when they reach a certain age they have to give “donations” and after a certain number of donations their lives will be complete. The language is so casual regarding the word “donation” that it is a little confusing at first. The children seem to understand in a naive way what it is but it is not fully explained to the reader/viewer until much later.

It is interesting and sad to see how these children grow up knowing exactly how their lives are going to play out and yet they are so accepting of their fates with only a few outbursts of frustration. It is so tragic to watch/read about their lives but so beautifully written.

I highly recommend this book and I am really excited to see the film.

Personal Conflict

I watched Hayao Miyazaki’s Kiki’s Delivery Service this week and thought that it was an excellent film. Like most of his other films, Kiki’s Delivery Service was bright, cheery and stared a strong female character with a determined mind of her own. Kiki is a 13-year-old witch who has reached the point of her life where she must leave home and spend a year on her own.  She flies, as a witch should, away from home and towards the ocean until she finds a little town that she quickly realizes is not as friendly as her naive mind had hoped. Yet, she recovers quickly and for lack of a better subject to study, starts up a delivery service.

It was such a sweet film and great for children. There were no scary or nefarious characters, which kind of threw me off. The amazing part about this story, aside from the art and the creator of course, was that the main conflict was so simple and true. Basically, the movie showed that Kiki’s enemy was herself. It was her opinion of herself, her loss of confidence, which was the conflict. This is so true in everyday life. How often do we not succeed because of our own lack of confidence? I love this as a children’s movie theme with no other distractions.

And yet it is such a great concept for stories. It was weird expecting an evil character to show up and it never happens. I found myself a little disoriented. I only figured it out after watching Kiki’s Delivery Service that this is also what threw me off in Ponyo. I kept expecting the story to take another direction but it didn’t. In Ponyo, I think I kept waiting for Ponyo’s father to turn horribly evil and stay that way. I thought the only way the two children, and the rest of the adults, could survive is if they conquered Ponyo’s father. But that wasn’t it at all. He was just concerned for his daughter and once his wife calmed him down, it was up to Sosuke, Ponyo’s friend, to prove that he did love and could take care of Ponyo to save the small seaside village.

What types of conflicts do you enjoy?

It’s over! I’m officially done with grad school and there is nothing left for me to do but wait for that magical little paper to arrive in the mail stating that I have surpassed all the trials that makes one a Master of the Library. It’s been a long and dry two years and it definitely hasn’t hit me yet that it is all over. In a way, I feel as I would imagine a hibernating bear would feel right when it wakes up: groggy, clumsy and in desperate need of a bath. But it’s over, yay!

What next, you might ask. Well, I think need to take it slow for a bit and kind of reconfigure what I want to spend my time doing. *cough, writing*. I’ve decided I’m going to take the next week off from doing anything brain intensive and just kind of catch up on some important reorganization *sigh, sorry writing*. I’m hoping that reorganization includes successfully cleaning out my small closet-like room to turn it into a temporary writing office. I’m also planning on catching up on some reading, deciding on a social cataloging website and learning how to add widgets, links and better graphics to my website. As for social cataloging websites I’m considering LibraryThing and Good Reads. Any thoughts?

**Spoilers** for the movie The Legion

I’m fascinated by Angel and Apocalypse stories. I love the idea of angels walking around us or coming down to protect some special person because that person is key in the up and coming Apocalypse and the survival of the human race. It’s most likely because I want to be that “special” person and how cool would it be to have an Angel hunt you down and protect you from the forces of evil. Okay, if it happened it probably wouldn’t be that cool and you’d wish that you were never chosen but still…cool!

A couple weeks ago I watched Legion and before I get started on this film I just have to say quickly that I haven’t watched The Prophecy yet but it’s next on my queue (right after a movie about a Norwegian farmer who orders a German mail order bride). Okay. I liked the idea of Legion and I was really excited to see Paul Bettany playing Michael and as expected the movie was pretty silly. I laughed quite a bit, which is probably not what the actors and director were trying to get at but hey, at least I wasn’t furiously throwing tomatoes at my television, and I was entertained.

However, here is where I had a problem. The movie had little character development where it mattered. It explained more about the secondary character’s background than the main characters. Of course, the secondary characters were still lacking but I understood more of who they were. I wanted to know more about the main characters. Why should I care about them? Who are they? What makes them so important that Michael would defy God, tear off his wings and join the ranks of Man? I also wanted to know more about Michael.

I was alright with the Joseph, Mary and Jesus concept (cliché but whatever) but I wanted to know more about those characters in this story. Jeep loved Charlie even though she was carrying another man’s baby but I didn’t understand why he loved her and what exactly she thought about him. And what exactly made her and the baby so special? I think this would have been easy to explain or show, which is preferable, but the film would rather show zombie-angel’s, gun fights and fights with razor sharp wings. There were a couple scenes where there was an excellent opportunity for Charlie to speak with Michael, or vice versa, and develop an amazing relationship while explaining plot gaps. But it never happened.  I want more story!

This has been my problem with a lot of movies, and some stories, lately. Their focus is on special effects and fight scenes. I understand that people do want to see the newest advancement in technology – and wow-factor brings in the audience – but it’s the story that makes the movie memorable. It feels like Sci-Fi and Fantasy movies are falling flat and not making money because there is too much focus on the effects. I would love to see more Sci-Fi/Fantasy movies and there can be so much creativity and excitement in them if only someone would take the effort to make a quality movie. I’m tired of remakes, reboots and the easy romance and action story that is so formulaic you barely remember what you watched a week later. Yes, 3D can be cool but if I don’t care about who the main characters are, I’m probably not going to spend the extra $3-5 dollars to watch them run around in a pretty forest.

I find that when and if I go to these movies I lower my expectations for plot and character development so I can enjoy it. I’m not going for the special effects even though I know I’ll be disappointed. However, do the film makers cut back on story because people go for the effects or do people go for the effects because they don’t expect much of a story?

And then again, there are those times where you just need to turn off your brain because it’s been working way too hard.

What are your thoughts about Legion and/or lack of plot and character development in movies? Please avoid talking about Avatar and Twilight because they are just too easy of targets.

JulNoWriMo

Just a quick post from me. I’m trying to convince myself to write a website review for a homework assignment and the convincing is only partially working.

For all those wonderful people that have some spare time to write, today is the first day of JulNoWriMo. Just like NaNoWriMo but for July. I would totally do this but I should probably focus more on the last bit of my grad program. I will be joining in November with as many friends as I can gather.

Here is the link for July: http://julnowrimo.com/

I hope you have a blast and please write in and let me know how it is going for you if you try it!