Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A Fairy Tale Community

If you have read my book, "The Mermaid and the Unicorn," you may have noticed that the second half of the dedication is to "The Marchens." Who are "The Marchens" and why are they worth a book dedication?

This is their story.

In the course of my life, there have been three crossroads moments. Times when I had multiple paths to take, and the one I chose changed the course of my life forever.

One of these forks in the road occurred during the fall of 2007. I was finishing my sophomore year at college and undergoing a seismic shift in my understanding of self and plans for my future.

Oddly enough, just as I solidified the decision not to continue at my university, I fell in love with a book about a young woman going away to college for the first time. This book was "Waking Rose." 

I'd read the first two books in the series earlier in the year ("The Shadow of the Bear" and "Black as Night," by Regina Doman) and had been riveted by these modern retellings of traditional fairy tales. Yet it wasn't until I picked up "Waking Rose" that I really found myself truly captivated. Rose Brier reminded me in so many ways of myself, and I found inspiration and encouragement in her journey. A lover of books and theater, with a flair for the dramatic and a habit of sensing the romantic in everything, I felt that her story captured a bit of my soul and put it on paper.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

"The Gifted" - Just Another Superhero Show?

Photo: Fox

Of all the TV shows in the world that I have wanted the most--but expected the least--X-Men has to top the list. While Fox's "The Gifted" is not quite "Classic X-Men" it nevertheless remains truer to comic book roots than most of the movies. This gives it an edge and unique flavor that already set it apart from the plethora of other superhero shows on screen this year.

"The Gifted" was, it seemed, hobbled from the start with a less than A-list team of mutants. Those who grew up on any of the animated shows might recognize one or two names, but most of the characters are obscure even for comic book readers. Indeed, many viewers may be tuning in more for the actors than the premise, if Amy Acker's fan club is anything to go by.

But the X-Men have a proud tradition of taking no-names and turning them into stellar stories precisely because they focus on character development and strong plot rather than A-list headliners. My absolute favorite X-Men title is "X-Factor Investigations" which took a whole band of b-list and c-list mutants and grew them into a strong cast of three dimensional characters. "The Gifted" seems to be doing pretty much the same thing, and is off to a good start.

That is not to say that the show is without flaws. Balancing the mutants and the Strucker family plotlines is a mix they have not yet perfected. And yet...the show is slowly melding different ingredients into an increasingly engrossing whole. First and foremost it completely understands that the appeal of the X-Men revolves around their outcast status, and the family of misfits they form.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Not the Hook you're looking for

In OUAT 7.2 we saw the long awaited single-episode of Emma Swan--but that was hardly the biggest highlight of the episode. Beware of spoilers below!

Photo: ABC

In the lead-up to season seven of "Once Upon a Time," it was clearly stated that the Regina of season seven would be OUR Regina, and not a doppleganger.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Once Upon a Time: Remix

"This is cool," said my husband when I told him about the premise for Once Upon a Time's seventh season. "Now I can watch it with you!"

Which is excellent because with the new Friday night slot, the earliest I'll get to watch new episodes is Saturday mornings, as we don't have a television in our house. So I'm pretty psyched that our Saturday morning couple tradition for this year is going to be watching OUAT.

Because, let's be honest, I'm addicted to this show. It's gotten pretty lame in spots, but I haven't given it up. And I'm glad I haven't because it's my television candy. Super sweet and not the best mind food, but entertaining and fun all the same.

OUAT's original premise was a remix of the Disney versions of fairy tales. They've turned that on it's head several times for two-parter episodes, but not for a whole new season. And never this drastically. After a good wrapping up of the old storylines and characters and a summer to adjust to publicity photos of the new characters, I was ready to dive in.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

How Authors Forget Their Own Facts

When I was a younger reader, it used to bug me to no end when an author would mess up their own continuity. "They wrote it!" I'd think. "How could they forget that fact?"

Then I started doing multiple drafts of my own books, and sequels, and I realized how difficult it is to keep all of one's facts straight when sometimes they change in every draft!

I'm not a natural note-taker. I tend to trust my memory to remember things. Yet between my advancing age (haha) and my fibromyalgia brain fog, I've found that the old gray cells have become a little cluttered and fuzzy. I've got to keep notes in order to keep my stress levels down.

Microsoft Word has a track changes feature that is helpful when looking at changes you've made between drafts, but it makes for a choppy reading experience and I prefer to only use it when approving changes by an editor (and vice versa). To keep track of fact changes, I keep a daily log and I'll also leave comments for myself in the text to remember to sync up or double check any changes I make.

Today, word processors with tools like the in-text comments, find and replace, and track changes make the work of smoothing out continuity much easier. I'm in awe of those authors who hand wrote their novels (or used a typewriter) and still managed to keep things quite straight. I mean, anyone who has read the drafts of J.R.R. Tolkien knows that he changed hundreds of things throughout the course of writing his entries for Middle Earth, and somehow "The Lord of the Rings" remains fairly clear from a continuity standpoint. A good editor can catch a lot, but not everything, especially if you're doing a sequel and you got a new editor in-between projects.

So, anyhow, as I work hard to keep the continuity intact for "The Song of the Fay" I have developed greater appreciation and grace for all of the authors and editors who work hard to achieve the same tasks for their works.

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