Wednesday, May 30, 2012

"Until you've lost your reputation, you never realize what a burden it was or what freedom really is." - Rhett Butler

500 pages into Gone with the Wind, and Rhett Butler is well on his way to becoming my all-time favorite literary character.  Not because he's handsome and charming and smart, while also being the epitome of Southern bad-boy (though all these things help), but because he's entertaining.  Every scene in which he partakes in dialogue, I end up laughing out loud.  His blunt, sarcastic comments keep me turning pages way faster than any of Scarlett O'Hara's wild whims.

But, I'm not so sure if he's earned the title of favorite character.  I can hardly choose a favorite book; selecting a favorite character is ten times harder.  Still, I have a list (though they're not ranked in any particular order), and Rhett has now joined the ranks of:

  • Dr. Livesey, the cool-headed, doctor who's kind yet still badass enough to fight pirates in one of my favorites,  Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.
  • Javert, the inspector who devotes his life to arresting Jean Valjean, but eventually has a change of heart, in Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo.
  • Uncas, literally the last of the Mohicans, in James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans.  He doesn't talk much, but his daring deeds to rescue the damsel-in-distress speak for themselves.
  • Severus Snape and Sirius Black, both bad-but-actually-good wizards of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series.  Pretty self-explanatory.
  • Elizabeth Bennett.  Again, self-explanatory.  Strong despite hardships, smart and tactful, with a good heart.  The famous heroine of Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen.
  • Jay Gatsby, the wealthy former bootlegger of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.  To be played by Leonardo di Caprio in the upcoming movie (SO EXCITED).
  • Colonel Aureliano Buendía, the amateur alchemist-slash-war hero of Gabriel García Márquez's A Hundred Years of Solitude, who somehow manages to appear in practically every one of Márqeuz's works.
And plenty more who have earned my favor -- which I don't bestow lightly upon literary characters.  Several months after finishing the books, I'm still debating whether to give the honor to The Hunger Games's Haymitch Abernathy.  I like him--I like him a lot (especially when played by Woody Harrelson)--but I'm not sure if he has earned his way onto THE LIST.

What about you?  Who are your favorite characters of all time?

Monday, May 28, 2012


"I love deadlines.  I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." - Douglas Adams
So as usual, I planned to be much more productive than I actually have been these past few weeks--which is why I promised a short story by the end of May.  Five pages.  Single spaced.  Not too difficult, right?  Well, it wouldn't be, if I hadn't forgotten about it until tonight.  And if I had the slightest idea what I was going to write about.  Because I don't.  At all.

So, that leaves about 74 hours to brew up a plot, birth some characters, and polish it all into a nice shiny story.

And after two hours of hitting my head against the keyboard, here's what I've got so far.

"Your mother is gone, Bea.  She...she didn't make it."

Well, that deadline might just whoosh by.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Book Stalking

Check this out!  If you love creeping (and who doesn't?), this is an interesting way to see what people are reading around the world.

Yet another way to get distracted.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Super Villain? Or Super Author?

After a few weeks, I have finally seen The Avengers.  What took me so long?  Because I didn't want to see it until I watched all the movies leading up to it:  Iron Man, Captain America, etc.  And for some reason, I just stubbornly refused to watch Thor.  I just wasn't into it.  Probably because, of the gang, Thor was the only one about whom I had no prior knowledge whatsoever.

So when I finally watched it a few days ago, I really wasn't paying attention.  Instead I was on my computer, working on revisions, checking Facebook, Tumblr, the usual.  Until I realized that this guy--

Loki, from Thor and The Avengers

--is also this guy--

F. Scott Fitzgerald, from Midnight in Paris
My reaction?  "THOR'S EVIL BROTHER IS F. SCOTT FITZGERALD!"  At that point, I was a goner. Sorry Tom Hiddleston, but since Midnight in Paris was the first movie I saw with you in it, you will always be F. Scott Fitzgerald to me.  Even when you're trying to take over Earth.

Though honestly, if Fitzgerald were trying to conquer the world, I think I'd be okay with that.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Thermostatic Neck Frills

I just looked at my very first draft of THE REFUGEE...and cringed.  Though I also broke into a fit of mild hysteria when I read this:

"Have you tried the thermostatic neck frill yet?"

According to Wikipedia, "Neck frill is the popular term for the relatively extensive margin seen on the back of the heads of reptiles with either a bony support such as those present on the skulls of dinosaurs."

But what I meant was a ruff, such as one typically imagines as essential to Shakespeare's get-up.

Hmmm...Quite fashionable.  A thermostatic (temperature-regulating) ruff would be kind of awesome, actually.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

My Three Favorite Things

Hemingway editing on his boat.

My three favorite things:  Hemingway, writing, and boats.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

We all do it...

What do we all do?  Psychoanalyze.  Our families, our friends, ourselves.  Especially ourselves.

So why not psychoanalyze characters as well?
A very useful website to help writers combine psychology and fiction.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Recreating this in my garden...

At least, I would if I had a garden.

"Never was a story of more woe..."

Supposedly the House of Montague, in Verona, Italy.
"...than this of Juliet and her Romeo" (V.III.309-310).

Arguably the most famous closing lines in the English language, they're also the reason I was left unsatisfied when I first read Shakespeare's classic tragedy.  To me, Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet are weak characters.  Cowardly characters, to choose death as they do.  Frankly, their stupidity makes me angry! (And don't get me started on Mercutio's death!)

Which is why I started to write Curiosity, a retelling of the play (as if the world needs another one of those.  Once we start making movies like Gnomeo and Juliet, we know we've exhausted the story).  More than anything it's may way of coming to terms with a frustrating finale.

An excerpt:

Supposedly the House of Capulet, in Verona, Italy.
I reach out, wrap my fingers around the handle.  It turns easily; I push open the door just enough for my body to slip through, and close it gently behind me.  Soft morning light pours forth from the window, ripples over the floor and spirals around the balusters of the bed, bathes the silver candlesticks in golden warmth.  The walls have faded to yellow cream, and in the sunbeams the dust floats fairylike, and the corner-spun cobwebs sparkle.  It seems no one has entered this room for ages.

I wonder...I run my fingers through a sheet of dust that blankets a wooden dresser.  They skim the edge of a piece of parchment, trace the cool glass of an empty inkwell, finger the ruffled down of a quill.  I blow, and the dust rises in a cloud, but the paper bears no name.  But maybe...All of a sudden it hits me.

This is the room of Romeo Montague.