Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The 10th Kingdom

Perhaps you didn't get to watch this fantasy gem of a TV mini-series (9 hours), but it's one of my favorites. My husband bought me the DVD set for Christmas one year. It's where I fell in love with Scott Cohen as Wolf.

It's back in the news because it's coming to Blueray on November 3rd for it's 15th anniversary. I've been married 15 years and we watched it together and bonded over this movie. It's special to me.

The trolls are a bit cheesy, they sort of overact, but you let that slide because they spend half the movie as solid gold statues. They come into their own by the end of it.

The cheesiest parts are when they are in the 'real world' of New York City. They stick out like store thumbs. Many of the New York scenes are a bit cheesy, (the licking the shoes, the vacuum eating the rugs and curtains while saying clean clean clean), but NONE of them with Scott Cohen. Those parts are amazing. His therapy session is the best!

As a writer, I think some of it could have been edited a little. Once the characters cross into the fantasy realm of the 9 Kingdoms, the show comes into its own. I personally like to rewatch the 2nd and 3rd DVDs of the set. It's still long, but each part adds something to the story.

There's love, denial, fairytales, magic, and an epic quest to save the Prince and reconcile with the past, finding one's destiny.

Virginia is 'so cold' as Snow White's ghost tells her; her heart is closed off. Maybe it's the cruelty of reality living in a city with her father a disrespected maintenance man and she a disrespected waitress.

Then there's the nod to one of my favorite actors of all time - Warwick Davis. He is amazing, as usual, as Acorn the dwarf.

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Anyway, they are asking for fan love in the form of a video, no more than 40 seconds, of why a sequel should be made. Here a few of my thoughts, not recorded on video.

1. The trolls would be different, since (spoiler), their father is dead, they certainly could easily be tricked out of ruling their kingdom and play only minor roles.

2. Virginia and Wolf will have a child, maybe a few, and would need to travel between the worlds. Some teenage angst and a new love story could emerge between a child of theirs and a new character who needs someone or something rescued. The child could escape there, be forced there by trickery, or magic, and Virginia and Wolf could either be stolen away or kept from entering the world.

3. The Prince could have a child as well and perhaps that Prince or Princess would fall in love with Virginia and Wolf's son or daughter.

4. This story included Snow White, Little Bo Peep, Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, King Cole who wore the Emperor's Clothes, beanstalks, a magic wishing well, Fairy Godmother ideas, and gypsies. Perhaps this new one explores a different Fairy Tale mashup with these stories intersperesed. Oooh, Giants would be a nice twist.

5. Special Effects have improves vastly in 15 years! They could do some REALLY amazing things.

6. Fairy tales are always a safe bet when it comes to views, but with good editing and hindsight and insight on what worked and what didn't, a sequel could be BETTER than the first.

As long as Scott Cohen and Warwick Davis are on board, I'm in!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Importance of a GOOD Editor

AuthorConfession #35
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I make friends on Twitter or other places with other authors who self-publish. There is a risk involved with this. Not like a stalkery kind of risk that they take over your identity or rob your house, but all self-published authors have to make a decision about editing, to do it themselves, or to get someone else to do it. As a writer, I want to support them, but when their published book downright NEEDS a real editor and is very hard to read from the first paragraph, I cannot honestly support their work.

Beta readers who are HONEST and authors who can take CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM are essential to this process. Nothing kills your fans like a product that doesn't live up to all your hype. "Buy my book! Here's a sneak peek!" and the sneak peek sucks because the author didn't get anyone good to read it; that's a real bummer.

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It's like a bad blind date.

If the character is human, then not human, then magical, then can see behind their head, then I'm inside their head, but their thoughts would be better explained by an omniscient narrator, but the author prefers paragraphs of italics filled with questions that are telling and not showing the reader...INHALE, then I'm not going to read past the first page. I'm certainly not going to buy it.

I'm gonna leave before the main course by sneaking out the bathroom window.

Not that my own works are all quality. All of my free stuff hasn't been edited by a GOOD editor. As I learn, I go back and edit myself. I'm much better now than 10 years ago. I republished and updated two old works this summer. I am not immune to mistakes.

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Unedited authors learn slower. Join Critique Circle and help authors learn. If you are writing and need beta readers, join Critique Circle.

Pay for an editor if you can. Don't let your friends edit your works who don't read a lot, or don't write as much as you do. They will think you are a god or goddess of the typewriter and will only tell you you are awesome and never tell you that you suck.

David Lodge says he doesn't listen to academic criticism, "designed to exert the critic’s mastery over the text." Yeah, you don't HAVE to listen to all critics, but you DO have to listen to some of them. You are not superior to all others, but you do have the right to not listen to them and to not change parts of your story that you feel work, or bring your books to the 21st century, or whatever you tell yourself. Don't let them kill your voice. But do let them help you grow.
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Compromise with yourself and your critics.

Lastly, I made up that Author Confessions number. Perhaps I should edit it and make it number 1 and do a series...  I realize that the hashtag author confession is a real thing with a calendar of topics for the month. Yeah, I'm not part of that. This is just me and my thoughts.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

How I Make Book Covers

This week we found out we were rejected by Asimov's.

My aunt said she'd buy a copy of our story if we published it. She's very sweet. My co-author said he wasn't opposed to the idea of making it into an ebook and using that later as a freebie when we market our longer works.

I began to work on some book covers. I came up with 2 of them and needed some opinions. You can help until August 14th if you have a Wordpress account.

Vote here.

Making book covers is easy with Canva. Sign up. Check it out. It's free. You choose a template that works for you, then you can edit the text and font, as well as change the background images. Download the images to your computer in whatever form you choose. I download them all, just because of the different file formats required for different self-publishing sites.

You may use images released for commercial use. Pixabay has a decent selection. Download the images and use them for whatever you wish. I use them for book covers and for making memes for Spoonfuls of Sugar.

I know that's a big link dump, but that's how I'm feeling, full of helpful information. I hope I can help you, too.