Sunday, June 26, 2011

Petting the Dog

Topic: A quick tip for rounding out a character

Good writers will flesh out lush, elaborate worlds with round MCs and supporting characters, each with their own back stories and motivations. But then, out of the shadows, comes this thing. This 2-dimensional face of evil (with horns!), thwarting your beloved protagonist at every step, at all costs, for no other reason than that this dude (or gal) is a real piece of work.

Unless he's a demigod living in the fiery depths of Mordor, this antagonist will need humanizing and fast. I know! *Scrabbling in the screenwriter's toolbox...* Why not have him pet the dog? You know, that adorably sweet, loveable, fuzzy-eared next door neighbor dog with the gimp leg? And for no other reason than that Antagypoo likes dogs. He really does.

And if not the dog, maybe save a baby, or decline squishing the grasshopper at his picnic, or stand up for the stuttering boy in class, or . . . you get the point.

This is not a quick fix. But it will help with antagonists and rough-around-the-edges protagonists alike, especially near the beginning of a book, when we haven't learned enough about the characters to really care about them.

Can you think of famous book or movie characters who "pet the dog?" How about when Harry Potter saves the boa from captivity in The Sorcerer's Stone? A pseudo "pet the dog" moment.

More on "petting the dog."
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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Middle Grade Binge Follow-up

The results of the Feb MG reading binge are in, thanks to a curious reader and fellow writer. I started replying with this list but quickly realized a comment this long should be its own post. So, here it is! Thanks, Michelle! (Here she is on twitter.)

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen -- Good book, with an interesting premise and loads of suspense. Was a little annoyed with narrative style at times, especially the use of repetition to create tension. But it did create tension...

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman -- Wonderful! I recently saw this book reviewed as "charming"; I absolutely agree. Lovely characters, interesting themes, compelling plot.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling -- I admit books 1 and 2 in this series are my least favorite. The world of magic is stunning, and characters are thoroughly enjoyable and absorbable (if I may), though not round at all in most cases. Pacing was odd, very slow near the beginning. Despite these drawbacks, a very enjoyable book.

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen -- A curious book with possibly too-round characters, causing the plot itself to take backseat. I enjoyed it for many of the same reasons I enjoy adult upmarket fiction, and was glad the MC was so likeable and realistic.

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang -- So much fun, kept me on my toes. The artwork and stories are exquisite and humorous. Couldn't put it down and have been recommending to everyone.  (Sent it to my deployed husband.)

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan -- Enjoyable, not as a much as I'd hoped. I read it quite ravenously (what's going to happen??), but then felt no desire at all to continue reading the series. I think the characters fell somewhat flat for me.

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer -- Fantastic. A bit squirmy in places; I found the themes rather mature for the intended audience, though not too mature, I think. It was also slow at the beginning. But very good.

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin -- How I love this book. It's gorgeous, deeply interior, inspiring. And short enough that even if you have misgivings, you could read it in a sitting; you too will have the chance to fall in love with Earthsea as I have.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

"No way... I can't believe this!"

Before I quit with the craziness (I hope I never really do), there's one more video y'all should see.

From the creators of Needlemouse the Musical and resulting from AJ Pinkerton's writing and directing brilliance and Peter Srinivasan's excellent photography and sound design skills, I give you...

SINGACHU: A Pikachu Song!

Shot on location in Los Angeles.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

When you take a break from writing... (Needlemouse LIVE) GEEK ALERT

...Do something CRAZY!!

(The following is a story and special thanks. Jump straight to the video.)

After leaving CGLA, I needed to get my head screwed back on for returning to the life of an aspiring writer -- writing every day, thinking, living breathing like a writer.

I took a three week vacation to visit friends and family in L.A. and Seattle. And the third week, I returned to L.A. to perform for SEGA of America's Sonic Boom event at Club Nokia on the E3 floor.

The event was amazing. A sea of blue hedgehogs and others dressed to the nines as Sonic characters ranging from classic Sonic, Knuckles, Amy, Tails, and Eggman, to Cream and Cheese, Blaze, Jet, Shadow, and Chaos.

We were preforming Needlemouse: The Musical LIVE for a crowd of about 2,000 Sonic fans. It was overwhelming to take a round about the club in costume and be greeted by flashing cameras and cheers. After walking the path of gold rings back to the dressing room we shared with Crush 40 (a humbling and exciting experience), we geared up for the show. It would last about 3 minutes total and would bring to a close a trip that started in Japan for directors AJ Pinkerton (Modern Sonic) and Nathan Morse (Eggman, Shadow), as the US winners of the Needlemouse 19th Birthday Competition.

I can't say how grateful I am to the fans at Sonic Boom, to SEGA, and to Aaron Webber (better known as Ruby Eclipse), the Brand Manager for Sonic the Hedgehog Generations. Thanks for an awesome opportunity to perform the part of Amy Rose.

And special thanks to Peter Srinivasan (Tails) for securing me the part, and to Casey Dwyer (Knuckles, Classic Sonic, Eggbot) for stepping in at the last minute and bringing the show to the next level.

And here it is! A fan video of Needlemouse: The Musical LIVE!

Watch a video taken from the VIP balcony (without all the fan noise) here.
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