A novel idea

Okay, so there’s this woman I’ve been “friends” with on social media for about eleven years now. She’s single, close to thirty years old, still living with her parents and hating it, looking for a job, and basically spending her life living off her art and playing video games. She’s a character and a half and I soooo want to write her.

But I’m not sure I can. You see, she has a particular ailment that she’s extremely sensitive about, that is so much a part of who she is that I can’t write it out of her. So if I write a novel and use her, even though it’s fiction, I’m sure she’ll see it to be herself. The novel, even though she is the protagonist, will not be very flattering as she herself has a rather distasteful personality. What to do…

I know! Isabella Morgan may just become an author.

What would you do?

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It’s My First Blogaversary!

Isabella Morgan has officially been alive for one year. Funny, I don’t feel a day less than 25.

I think about updating this blog every so often, but strangely I can never think of a thing to say when I get here. I intend to hang on to it though. Never know when I’m going to want to lash out over something that I can’t express, using my real name.

Anyhoo, I’m not saying anything here either, other than that I’m amazed it’s been a year. Maybe I should make a resolution to come back here every so often and post what I’m really thinking. Which is usually along the lines of, WHAT THE FUCK?

Happy Blogaversary to me!

It’s All About the Grammer

Yesterday I joined the politest Facebook group ever. It’s a genre-specific book-lover’s group; in an older post, one of the members was complaining about the growing number of mistakes she’s been finding of late in e-books. To quote:

The amount of spelling and grammer errors lately are really bugging me. It’s like they don’t even have editors to correct their spelling and grammer or something.

Now I’m not one to make fun of people but it was difficult to stay away from this completely – no one in the group pointed out her glaring irony. Maybe there is hope for humanity after all – or maybe I just fucked that up.

This is part of One-Liner Wednesday (sort of). You can join in too by clicking the link. http://lindaghill.com/2015/09/30/one-liner-wednesday-tastes-like-steve/

…and that’s how the literary world ended.

The unimaginable has happened.

Close on the heels of finding out that E.L. James, author of Fifty Shades of Grey, has begun writing a “How To” book on writing (which makes me throw up in my mouth a little every time I think of it) came the suggestion from Kobo that I pre-order her next novel. It may or may not be entitled Grey – it was hard to tell through the blur of tears as I read the devastating news email. What I did get was that the book is, get this, Fifty Shades of Grey AGAIN but through the eyes of Christian Grey instead of Anastasia (aka Mrs.) Grey.

I’ve mourned the loss of the money I threw away spent when I bought the trilogy enough, I think, to know better than to buy the same thing AGAIN. But fans of the first three books surely will.

Will millions of readers die of boredom? Or worse, will they live to take advice from Ms. James on how to write a novel?

Stay tuned. And don’t worry, I’ll be there to hold your hand when the literary world gets whipped right out of existence.

 

SoCS – Almost Ready

Am I cheating by posting a SoCS post here? Maybe. But you see I’m not ready to come back. Not quite. I did say that I would take a month off from blogging and that month is almost over. What I wasn’t expecting was the freedom to do other things while I wasn’t blogging. At least not this much freedom.

I’m within a hundred pages of the end of my sixth edit on my novel. I’ll go back and work on the first third of it after this and then re-write the first two chapters and I’m done. It’ll be off to publishers and agents.

As much as I want to come back to blogging, I’m hesitant to let go of my focus on my novel. So close to the end… so close to seeing it in print. I’m standing at the precipice, my arms are like helicopter blades spinning – okay helicopters on their sides. Helicopters crashing. That’s not good, is it?

See? This is why I’m editing my novel.

This post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Find it here http://lindaghill.com/2015/05/29/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-may-3015/ and join in the fun!

badge by Doobster - may his blog rest in peace
badge by Doobster – may his blog rest in peace

W is for Watered-Down

Even as a child I was appalled when I watched a movie in which the language was watered-down. I don’t know that they still do it to the same extent, but I remember hearing “darn” dubbed over the word “damn,” and “heck” over “hell.” I’ve never been able to understand it. One would have to be completely isolated from society not to hear these words used between people in normal conversation. What’s the big deal about hearing them in natural conversations on the screen?

And now they’re apparently talking about removing swear words from ebooks in school libraries by installing a “Clean Reader” app. The app blanks out profanities in a way that imitates the “beep” in a talk show brawl a la Jerry Springer. As though we can’t fill in the blanks ourselves.

What purpose do these things serve? Is a cleaned-up book going to protect our children from the world? Seriously? Have the people who came up with this idea ever been out in public?

Next thing you know they’ll be banning lawn darts! Oh, wait…

V is for Vulva

My A-Z Challenge this year contains posts about writing adult content in fiction – you will not find any adult fiction within the parameters of the challenge, except for illustration purposes.

While it’s sometimes hard to decide whether to use the proper names for body parts or the slang, (as discussed here “J is for Junk”) it’s possible to go too far when being specific, especially for a writer who doesn’t research or understand the function of said body parts.

The example I’ve come across most often is during sex scenes where his penis reaches her womb. Seriously? How long is that sucker? Does it tickle the back of her throat while it’s up there?

Vulva, as described at http://www.innerbody.com/image_repfov/repo13-new.html (where, incidentally, you won’t be treated to a series of pictures, unlike Wikipedia):

The vulva is the collective name for the external female genitalia in the pubic region, including the labia, clitoris, and urethral and vaginal openings. These organs work together to support urination and sexual reproduction.

How many times have you seen it used as though it’s a specific bit of the vagina? I can’t count.

But my absolute favourite of all time comes from 50 Shades of Grey wherein Ana presumably dies and comes back to life.

Finally, my medulla oblongata recalls its purpose.

From google search page:

This section of the brain helps transfer messages to the spinal cord and the thalamus in the brain from the body and controls breathing, heart function, blood vessel function, digestion, sneezing, and swallowing. Sensory and motor neurons from the forebrain and midbrain travel through the medulla.

That one deserves applause, don’t you think?

T is for Transparency, U is for Unbelievable

I have little patience for a novel or movie that I can see through right from the start. Even a romance, which you know is either going to end up happily ever after or the dog’s gonna die, it’s possible to have such a conflict in the story that there is no way for the reader/viewer to deduce how the resolution will come about.

Even worse is an unbelievable resolution that causes me to throw the book across the room in a fit of frustration. I don’t like it and the cat really hates it.

But you know what’s the worse thing of all? That I’m having such a hard time getting through this challenge. Anyone who knows me will tell you I don’t give up. But honestly, I may not make it through “V,” even though I already have “X” scheduled to go for Tuesday.

Ugh.

That is all for today.

 

R is for Romance and S is for Sucks – The Longest Ride Movie Review

Okay, so not all romance sucks. There are some Good romantic movies out there, and then there are the Bad and the Ugly. I don’t usually do movie reviews but I really can’t let this one go without at least a mention… which somehow ended up being a long tirade. Go figure.

I don’t know if the novel, The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks is any better than the movie – it may be since it seemed to me the directing and the acting was at least as much if not more responsible for the horrific viewing experience I put myself through as the writing… but ugh!

Let’s start with the annoying tittering laugh that came from the lead actress. Actually, that’s not really fair; this should be about the writing, right? Because my A-Z is about writing. So I didn’t mention anything at all about the giggle from hell that made my ears feel like they were being attacked by a cheese grater at the least appropriate times in the movie.

(spoilers ahead)

How about instead I talk about Sparks using every single romantic cliché  known to mankind in one story? And misogynist? Oh boy. The story consists of two separate story lines – one taking place in the present (between Luke and Sophia) and one being told by the character played by Alan Alda (who incidentally saved me from chucking my popcorn and walking out). Both relationships can go nowhere but both couples enter it anyway.  The present day romance is between a professional bullrider and an art student who plans to move to New York for the best job evar. At the same time (but not really because it’s happening in the 1940s,) the other couple, Ira and Ruth (Ira is the young Alda) get married despite the fact that she wants a big family but he’s sterile because of an infection he caught in the war. Basically it’s the same story told twice only we’re supposed to believe Alda is teaching the present-day couple something about their own relationship.

Eventually both couples break up (as they do) and Alda states in the movie something like with love must come sacrifice. So both couples have to have their sacrifice and here’s where the misogyny comes in. Ruth can’t stand being childless anymore so she leaves Ira… with two small suitcases. He gets everything else – the house, the dishes, the heat, the roof etc. Meanwhile Luke, who has been slowly trying to kill himself with the bullriding because OMG it’s all I know how to do! gets hurt and Sophia gives up her job in New York.

We switch back to the past to find out Ruth went back to Ira with her two little suitcases – she probably got tired of squeezing herself into them every night to sleep – and then years later she dies... oooh, what could possibly happen with the other story?

Well surprise! Luke goes on to win the biggest bullriding prize there is! Amid flying bull snot and an eight second ride that lasts, by virtue of slo-mo, about three hours, he becomes The Best in the World!! (It didn’t go unnoticed by the way that there was no one in the competition who didn’t have a Texan accent… but Texas is the world, right?) He flies off the bull and stands in the middle of the bullriding area and looks around at the crowd… she’s not there!!! Oh noes! I’ve done this all for nothing!

Meanwhile, after a visit between Sophia and Ira during which she says to him something to the effect of, I’ve really enjoyed meeting you and talking to you, which actually means, I know you’re going to die now but I’m glad I got to know you before you bit the biscuit, he dies!! Holy shit, did I call that one!

So there’s an auction. Ruth had a priceless collection of art because she was an art student too (duh, same story) and Ira conveniently invited (by way of his lawyer) both Sophia and Luke to attend. To get them back together. Because duh.

There’s a portrait of Ruth being auctioned off first and no one seems to want it. The price goes down and down and then Luke, who has just presumably won a kagillion dollars for being The Best Bullrider in the World buys the portrait for $600, thus cementing the relationship between himself and Sophia for all eternity. The end.

Okay no, there’s one little twist I didn’t mention. So if you too would like to go and see this horribly cliché movie and roll your eyes, giggle in all the wrong spots, and resist the temptation to climb over all the other people in the packed theatre for the final ten minutes of the film, you’ll have something left that I haven’t told you about.

Knock yourself out.

I’m probably going to catch a lot of shit for this review but what the hell. If I can save just one person the money they could otherwise have spent on a bottle of wine or a delicious Big Mac, it’s worth it.

Edit: I suppose since the main character, Luke, lived his entire life in North Carolina, that he has a North Carolinian accent – all sounds Texan to me. But what do I know? I’m Canadian, eh?

Q is for Quality

Wanna be an author? Well lucky you! In this day and age all you have to do is throw a bunch of clichés together, mix in a few proverbs for good measure and lo and behold you have a novel! And then you have a choice – to e-publish it for free or, even better, go to a vanity press where they’ll gladly slap your drivel between the covers of a paperback and charge you thousands of dollars for your masterpiece!

A friend of a friend did just that. According to her author page on Amazon, she had never enjoyed reading for pleasure until one day she borrowed (not bought) two romance novels, read them, decided telling a story wasn’t rocket science and wrote a book of her own. Her work of art is available for the low low cost of $8.04 for the e-book or $23.49 for the paperback. Surprisingly, it hasn’t sold much.

While fools and their money are indeed easily separated, I find it scary to know that there are even more determined writers publishing their crappy wares for free. How does one sift through the chaff?  How many first chapters must one read before finding something worth paying $2.99 for?

I remember spending hours scanning the shelves at the book store as a teenager, looking for a cover or a title that sparked my interest. I could leave the store with my purchase reasonably sure there was something of quality in that molded plastic bag with the store’s logo printed on it. Now even the fact that a book has a publisher isn’t a guarantee that it might be worth buying, unless it’s from one of the big five.

Is there a trick to finding quality in published works that I’m not seeing? Or is it really like searching a needle-stack for a piece of hay?