Saturday, August 28, 2010

Lessons from Big Fat Liar

Sorry, the Lessons from series have been absent for a little while. I haven't watched anything that I felt I could apply to this. Was doing a lot of reading recently and with more obscure writers (at least ones I'd never heard of).

big FAT liar is pure genius. I'm still in the watch and be amazed phase. I've seen this movie so many times that I can recite many of the lines and know the plot like one of my own stories.

I laugh every single time I watch it. According to some research this movie didn't do so well and got panned by many reviewers. I have to admit to being surprised at first, but then I remembered that often the movies and shows that I love generally don't do well either in the general populace or with reviewers (reason why I never base my viewing on any reviews).

So back to the movie itself. big FAT liar is a kid/teen comedy about pathological liars. My favorite parts of this movie are the characters and the running jokes for each one of them. You have to really listen to the dialogue to catch all of them or you'll miss them. The movie may be over the top in many ways, but also has a lot of under the radar humor. Part of what I think makes the movie so good is the soundtrack. Of course, soundtracks isn't something that writers have a lot of say in, but I'd say the music could even be a character of it's own.

Onto the lessons...

1) Our hero is met up with who he could become as the villain. You have the pathological liar as a child seeing what a pathological liar as an adult can and does do. It's actually kinda deep. Consider when creating your stories, taking an element or key characteristic of your hero and bestowing it on your villain as well. What type of dynamic will you create when something the hero does without thought or is proud of is also something the villain does well?

2) I love the gags. I would like to be able to think of gags like this off the top of my head. Alas, I don't appear to be there yet, but I hope to be able to learn to be as creative as the writers were in this one.

3) Not really a lesson, but Amanda Bynes is a comic genius. Need I say more.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Curse Has Found A Home

I thought I'd told everyone, but I realized that I'd yet to post the good news on my blog. My paranormal novella about shapeshifters and witches has found a home at The Wild Rose Press. The contract is in the mail and I'll be going into edits with my editor soon. I'll keep everyone up to date on the process.

I was just scanning their catalog as I prepare to fill in my cover artist sheet (descriptions and recommendations for the cover artist) and have been thrilled to see how vivid their covers are. They have so many great examples that I'm having a hard time deciding if I'd rather have a people cover or an object cover. Though the cover artist and the publisher have final say on the cover design it's nice to know that they care enough about the author's opinion to require us to fill in the form. The form is super long and extensive. I'm taking that as a good sign.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Prune Your Prose! Ten Tips to Tighten Your Fiction Writing

Linnea is an excellent instructor and I highly recommend any course she is teaching. 

***** Permission to Forward Granted *****
RWA® Online Chapter presents:

PRUNE YOUR PROSE! Ten Tips to Tighten Your Fiction Writing
Instructor: Linnea Sinclair
August 16th – 29th, 2010
Registration Period: August 2-15, 2010
Fee: $15 Non-Chapter members. RWAOL Chapter #136 members; free.
Payment method: PAYPAL is recommended!

It’s safe and fast! Check and money orders also accepted.
Registration: http://www. rwaonlinechapter .org/campus.htm (without the spaces)

NOTE: -Use your real First and Last Name & Choose Pay Option.
ONLY Chapter #136 members choose the Chapter Member option button.
For more information:

CLASS DESCRIPTION: As the saying goes, “Close only counts in…hand grenades.” Don’t let your manuscript bomb because of easily overlooked errors, or for lack of sophistication and polish. Learn how to make every chapter count, every scene earn its keep, every main character memorable. Award-winning Bantam Random House author Linnea Sinclair will take you though ten tips (and more!) that will make your story shine, move it out of the slush pile, onto an editor’s desk so that—when on the shelves—it can garner reviews that note: A must-read, by an author who never disappoints!

Attendees should bring sample pages of their work-in-progress (including their first page) and be prepared to share and improve!

BIO: Winner of the prestigious national book award, the RITA, science fiction romance author Linnea Sinclair has become a name synonymous for high-action, emotionally intense, character-driven novels. Reviewers note that Sinclair's novels "have the wow-factor in spades," earning her accolades from both the science fiction and romance communities. Sinclair's current releases are GAMES OF COMMAND (PEARL Award winner and RITA finalist), THE DOWN HOME ZOMBIE BLUES (PEARL Award Honorable Mention), SHADES OF DARK, HOPE’S FOLLY and REBELS & LOVERS.
A former news reporter and retired private detective, Sinclair resides in Naples, Florida (winters) and Columbus, Ohio (summers) along with her husband, Robert Bernadino, and their two thoroughly spoiled cats. Readers can find her perched on the third barstool from the left in her Intergalactic Bar and Grille at

FORMAT: Course is conducted via online discussion (bulletin) board on the RWA® Online website. Non-chapter members MUST complete both the workshop registration AND the discussion board login registration for access. Instructions for login are presented after the registration pages (or to return to the login instructions, go to http://www.rwaonline...strationTY.htm. The workshop is available for up to one week after the end date and a downloadable archive of the workshop will be available the week following the workshop.

***** Permission To Forward Granted *****

Monday, August 2, 2010

Lessons from Veronica Mars

Or Bad Boys and Why We Love Them

Logan Echolls the character that stole the show in Veronica Mars. Introduced to us by our heroine as the "obligatory psychotic jackass" that every high school has. He starts the show as the ultimate villain to our plucky heroine. I read somewhere that the character wasn't originally one of the main characters, but after you watch Jason Dohring's performance you can see why he quickly became one of the leads.

Logan starts the show not being the most loving character, but we know he can't be all bad since he was loved by our heroine's best friend before the show started. I am personally under the impression that Logan's evolution of character had a lot to do with the chemistry between Jason and Kristen Bell. They start out as enemies, work to wary allies though sometimes still adversaries, to a crucial episode that pitches their relationship to something more. The scene is below and categories the one thing that Veronica could always count on from Logan. He will always be her white knight and will ride in to protect her from the true bad guys. This is the first time, but definitely not the last.  

But true to Joss Whedon's simple analysis of ratings: "Buffy happy ratings go down. Buffy sad ratings go up." In this instance, I seem to think it would be "Logan tortured ratings go up. Logan sweet and happy ratings go down." So, Logan has to return to his bad boy ways more often than we can count. Yet, it's revealed that he isn't "bad", but is truly tortured by an abusive father, and because of his extremely loyal and protective instincts he acts out when things feel wrong to him.

Lesson learned from the bad boy Logan.

1) They can be very bad and still be redeemable.
2) You must have a reason for them to be bad other than it is fun, easy, or you just want a bad boy character.
3) Bad boys that our heroines fall in love with are often tortured in their past. A happy past is not allowed. Happy moments, yes, but there must be some sort of tragedy.
4) They can relapse as long as there is a legitimate reason that messes with their heads. 

More of Logan coming to Veronica's rescue or defending her in some way.