Quote Monday

Small Steps

I finally submitted my first screenplay, Fate(s), to two screenwriting contests – the Academy’s Nicholl Fellowship and Final Draft’s Big Break.

I’m feeling pretty good about it, and now I can finally move forward on the other stories I’ve written or need to.

What small (or big) step will you take today?

Wishing you all the best!

The Looming Deadline

FinishLineAheadHello, my friends!

I wanted to let everyone know I’m still here, and aside from the continual exhaustion I face from my day job, which until recently had been sapping all my creative energy like some sort of vampire, I have been on a fiendish race to finish the rewrite of my first screenplay (again) in time to make the regular deadline of the Nicholl Fellowship tomorrow.

For those of you who have been with me for some time, I have complained from time to time (and time again) about that blasted 3rd act.  For once, I’m feeling pretty good about it, which is perfect since I don’t have any time to really mess with it if I want to get it in on time.

There’s nothing like the adrenaline rush of an impending deadline to kick one’s creative butt into shape.  I’ve been anxiety ridden all week and that flush of emotion and the stress to reach that goal have been both nerve-wracking and welcome.

I’ll be back to my ramblings next week, and hopefully working towards new goals.

If you’re entering the contest I wish you lots of luck!  And I hope you’ll do the same for me! :)

Happy Writing!

Discrepant Writer Reviews – Death Comes to Pemberley

DeathPemberley

Death Comes to Pemberley recently popped up on Netflix, and as a Jane Austen enthusiast, I was excited to see they had picked it up.  I had been seeing articles, set photos, etc. for some months, so I made the effort to watch it almost immediately.  If you are wondering why I hadn’t watched it sooner, it’s because we haven’t paid for television in over 3 years.  So yes, I’m fairly out of the loop on most things.

Based on the novel of the same name from 2011 by P.D. James, I have to say I have been less inclined to read any of what is basically fan fiction of one of the most famous love stories in all of literature.  This is not a judgement in any regard.  I love fan fiction, I write some myself, but what I have discovered in some of the reading I have done is that it lacks the…hmm, what’s a good word…magic?

Jane Austen ran in the circles she was writing about.  Modern day writers can only emulate what they’ve studied, read, and seen because we have not lived it first hand, and again, by no mean is this a shortcoming.  I love period pieces, and if we only wrote about what we “know”, we wouldn’t have the wide range of diversity we do in any medium.  As writers, we each have a voice, and when it comes to something as widely beloved as Pride and Prejudice, you have to get it just right.

So here is my quick review.  Twoandhalfstars

The film was broken up into three parts.  I’m pretty sure it could’ve been told in two.  Anna Maxwell Martin and Matthew Rhys play our leads, Mr. and Mrs. Darcy in their sixth year of marriage planning their annual ball when tragedy strikes.  A murder.  Because of the people involved, a wedge is slowly driven between the couple and we are given a glimpse as to the repercussions of following one’s heart instead of one’s head – or at least in the minds of these characters.

The actors are both very good, but I felt Elizabeth was cast incorrectly.  She was not the same spirited woman I have come to love and this is where I blame the writing.  She seemed weak, and that spark that had attracted Darcy to her in the first place was replaced by insecurity and she was kind of dull.  Darcy was too distant, even from the beginning of the film, and because so little is really known of him from the original material beyond those honorable traits we know and love, he too came off a bit dull.

Now, I haven’t been married, so maybe after six years of marriage in this world, they’re a little bored of each other, but when we leave them at the end of Pride and Prejudice, it’s not that I expect the permanent happily ever after, because it is based in “reality”, but I expect more than this.  Of course there will be hard times, etc., but I also expect that the challenge they presented to one another would carry over.  They should have spirited debates, and still have some spark…well, I think so anyway, and that was missing entirely from this tale.

I didn’t feel/see any spark between these characters, and I almost felt like the obligatory “romantic”, oh, let’s call it what it was, the sex scene was meant to reassure us that they did indeed have “something”, but that doesn’t happen in Jane Austen’s stories, so I know it was meant specifically for modern day audiences, and for me it felt out of place.

There’s an odd side story involving Wickham, played by Matthew Goode, and that does have some bearing on the story overall, but in the vein of a mystery, it was still rather convoluted.  The other failing was the absence of Jane and Bingley, the two people dearest to our main characters.  I think there were two scenes with Jane, and they didn’t amount to much.

I love the idea of seeing more of two of my favorite characters, as I’m sure does every Janeite, but I would almost prefer to imagine their fates as an open-ended tale without any real knowledge of what happened.  Looking back on what I’ve written, it doesn’t sound that promising of a film, but it had its moments, and I was glad to have the opportunity to watch it.  If I were flipping channels and it was on, I’d most likely leave it for a bit, but it’s lack of overall charm doesn’t compel me to go out of my way to watch it again.

Well, that’s my take anyway.

Happy Sunday!

The Best of Quote Mondays

I was scrolling through my image gallery and saw all these wonderful quotes I’ve posted and thought it might be time to do a sort of “best of”.

YouSayIDreamTooBig  TheOneReason  *HowFarYou'veCome

Looking back, I have found that my quotes were meant to boost my own morale as I have struggled with unemployment, keeping motivated, staying focused, and achieving my goals, but because these are topics I’m sure, we, as creatives have all struggled with, I hope you have found them useful as well.  These are among some of my favorites.

What'sReallyImportant  Determined to Succeed Quote  EveryNewDay

I wish for each of us to reach the level of success we desire and I hope you will continue to find the quotes inspirational and a boost to your own morale.  Keep reaching for those goals, make new ones, and make a little progress everyday!

Persevere1

Wishing you all the best, my friends!  Happy Writing!

The Dragon Age Obsession Saga Continues…Part 3

InquistionPosterSo in my absence and “sticking my head in the sand” I have neglected one of my favorite topics, Dragon Age.  For those of you who are new to my rambles, I have a particular fascination with the game series, some might call it an “obsession”, I would almost call it that myself, except I saw this…Obsessed:Dedicated

…and I felt a lot better about it. :)

I started this series some time ago, here’s Part I and Part II.  I’ve decided to write Part III on the companions, the merry band of misfits you recruit to join your cause.  I was trying to go in order of how one might proceed through the game, so perhaps this one should be about story, but Dragon Age is currently amidst a March Madness-type narrowing down of favorite characters to create The Dragon Age Ultimate Party, so I felt this was appropriate.  My choices, just FYI, are The Warden from Origins as the leader along with Alistair for the warrior, Varric from DA2 for the rogue, and Dorian from Inquisition for the mage.  #DAUltimateParty

So before I discuss the companions, of which I won’t go into too much, because “Spoilers”.  Any Doctor Who fans out there? ;)  Here are a few of the pros and cons.  In the two previous games certain actions were only available after a character “liked” you enough.  Their approval allowed for romance options and loyalty.  There was gift giving available and specific tokens for individuals, in addition to personal quests that would garner favor.  A bar on their character profile page gave you some indication of your friendship with them, but that disappeared in Inquisition.  At first it really bothered me, because how am I supposed to know if someone likes me enough?!  But this is more true to life.  The “so-and-so approves” or “greatly disapproves” text still pops up, so your only indication of character favor is based on how many times you’ve seen your favorite agree or disagree with your choices.

Also out for the majority of conversations is the positive, negative, or sarcastic indicator that allows you to choose how you would like to respond.  The Sis saves before every. single. conversation. which allows her to see the results of each conversation option and its effects.  She wastes a lot of time doing this, but she also probably has a better understanding overall.  I will, on the other hand, play the first time through just as I want.  As I always play “nice” when a character’s morality is measured, it’s fairly easy for me to distinguish what my character would say.  In all of the games, this wins favor with some while others find my do-gooder behavior tiresome.

In keeping with the idea of conversation, there’s lots of it!  This is something I truly appreciate, and Dragon Age as a series has never failed in this.  You can make quite a bit of conversation while in camp, but one of the best additions was the added supplementary conversations while you’re just walking around.  I became rather partial to who I kept in my party because of this; Dorian, Blackwall, and Sera seemed to be the most talkative and some of the things they talked about…so much fun!

InquisitionParty

I’ve started playing the Mass Effect series, also from Bioware, and with the confirmation of a game 4 due out next year, I’m hoping they take a cue from Dragon Age in regards to the romances; conversations, scenes, options.  With Inquisition, Bioware raised the bar.  Romance options are not only based on race, but also sexual orientation.  In the previous games, there were characters that could be romanced specifically by either a male or female lead, some by both, but this time around, there were more lines drawn.  Dorian is gay, as is Sera.  Solas can only be romanced by a female elf.  Commander Cullen, an NPC, is (luckily) a romance option who can only be wooed by a female human or elf.  This approach, in addition to creating a transgendered character found in Iron Bull’s party, has garnered Bioware a great deal of praise and plenty of accolades including a Special Recognition Award from GLAAD.

Here is the lineup: Your advisors are Leliana, Josephine, and Cullen, all NPCs, but of which two are romance options.  I would include Cassandra, a warrior, as well since she’s with you from the very start and initiates the Inquisition.  Along your travels you can recruit the following: Varric – a dwarven rogue, Solas – an elven mage, Blackwall – a human warrior, Iron Bull – a Qunari warrior, Dorian – a human mage, Sera – an elven rogue, Vivienne – a human mage, and Cole…he’s a bit of a complicated rogue.

What you’ll realize is that these characters are 3-dimensional, and this is a great lesson for us storytellers!  There is diversity, and passion, and spirit, and those make for good characters in any medium.

As I’ve rambled, yet again, I’ll wrap it up.  Goodness, I almost need to do another post on this topic alone.  The politics in the game surround a mage/templar conflict.  The companions you recruit all have their own backstory and ideas on how this problem should be resolved.  Because of this conflict, I chose to play my first time through as a female human mage.  Most characters and even NPCs will have their viewpoints and will treat you accordingly until you “win” them over.  There’s fear and skepticism, conflicting religious ideology, political intrigue, and so much more.  As you move forward, making decisions, and influencing the people around you, you will find that this is a fully fleshed out world where your choices have consequences and can shape the world around you.  Again I say, “It is so much fun!”

If you decide to play and want to know your romance options, here’s a guide from IGN.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

You know you’re a writer when…

Rachael C Marek:

The life of a writer…a fun read!

Originally posted on Suffolk Scribblings:

Writing.jpg

I thought I’d have a little fun today so I gave myself an hour to come up with as many different situations I could think of when you know you’re a writer. So, you know when you’re a writer when…

  1. Every argument you have becomes fodder for your WIP, but smarter, snappier and with you winning.
  2. You would rather spend time on your WIP than do work that pays more in a day than you book will likely earn in a month.
  3. You love every part of your WIP.
  4. You hate every part of your WIP.
  5. You know what WIP means.
  6. You stop a conversation mid-sentence to write down a plot point that’s just occurred to you.
  7. You cannot stop thinking about your novel. Ever. Even in your dreams.
  8. You know your main character better than your best friend.
  9. You have conversations with your characters in your head.
  10. Your friends stop asking about…

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Quote Monday on a Tuesday

Great worksI honestly have no idea what is going on with me right now, and because I don’t want to complain (because it really does no good), I’m going to try my best to get back to my routine and hopefully find some solace there.  I was trying to keep up with the Blogging U class, write my screenplay, while trying to find a new job, and a plethora of other things happening at the moment, and I feel as if I’m failing at everything.

I thought with more on my plate I would achieve more, but what I’ve discovered is that I want to stick my head in the sand and ignore it all.  Not really productive.  I stare at the computer for long stints without much action, I’m tired and/or feel brain dead a lot of the time, and I just haven’t felt that oomph, you know, that thing that compels you.  I just don’t have it at the moment.No Stopping

I’m not giving up by any means, but I need to seriously do something about my current situation and kick my butt into gear.  I have no one to blame but myself, and I am thankful for so many things, even the not-so-great job for peanuts, but I know it is the one thing encumbering me from doing more with myself.  Close to Success

Ah, the life of a creative…finding the balance between making money and doing what we love.

I hope you all are well!  I apologize for being so absent, again, and thank you for letting me rant.  Happy Tuesday and Happy Writing!!

I am open to words of wisdom and advice! :)