Friday, April 30, 2010

The Beauty of Britain in the Spring: IM2 Early!

Forget about Paris in the springtime. Nothing compares to England in the spring or summer. Britain's landscape is evergreen, but at this time of year, rich and lush beyond reality. The sun finally reveals its glory, the days are impossibly long making you dare to believe night may never fall, and pools of sunbeams adorn the ground--expansive seas of rapeseed. England in the springtime inspires hope, love, and poetry.

The other great thing about England in the spring and summer: early blockbuster movie releases. My dh and I saw Iron Man 2 yesterday. Right now, I'm typing with one hand and biting the knuckles on the other, I can barely contain my glee. Where do I begin? Robert Downey Jr. He is perfection once again as the narcissistic, hunky playboy, who really doesn't need a publicist since he does a fine job of promoting himself. The movie is big, explosive, engaging, sexy, and it will not disappoint. Is it better than the first? I would say it is on par with the first, but takes the storyline deeper.

The movie picks up six months after Tony Stark announces to the world he is Iron Man. Mickey Rourke does an impressive job, without going over the top, playing the clever villain Whiplash, a composite of Blacklash and Crimson Dynamo from the comics. He left the brash and comical performance to Sam Rockwell, who plays Justin Hammer, Stark's rival. And I believe Hammer is well-served by Rockwell. Scarlett Johansson is quite Va-Va-Voom as Black Widow. Kudos to Jon Favreau for giving her a kick-ass, albeit small, fight scene, instead of simply making her eye candy. I must admit seeing her in that skintight costume made me wish I was ten pounds lighter and more agile. I'll have to blow the dust off my Pilates DVD.

Movies are a lot like books and I believe writers can learn a great deal from films. IM2's flaw is its sagging middle. Both a book and a movie should explain how a character gets to a certain point/solution. If the director, Favreau, rushed it, the movie would have suffered loss of depth. An action movie must seize depth where it can in my opinion. If a movie is all gunfire and car crashes, the audience can get desensitized and the big scenes can lose impact. There have to be moments when we take a breath and watch the character get to the next stage. My dh referred to those breathers as dead spots.

Every story is not meant to be a rollercoaster ride, but a writer must find a way to keep the tension/conflict on the page and avoid the dreaded dead spots, where our readers will skim. Fortunately, movie directors keep films around two hours and there's little chance someone is going to walk out while RDJ figures out the cure to his palladium blood poisoning.

If you are an Avenger fan, this movie will be foreplay heaven. It tickled me silly with little wet dream teasers about what is to come. Pun definitely intended. The tantalizing clip shown after the credits roll will only satiate those who are waiting for 2011. That's all I'll say about the clip because I don't want to give it away.

For IM3, my dh and I agree, we'd like to see a villain who doesn't require a mechanical suit. Go see IM2. Don't over analyze it and have a great time.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The P Word

The other day, someone questioned me about why I have a website and blog when I'm not even published. The person, who shall not be named, even used the p word ... premature. Take a deep breath fellow writers and exhale slowly. The question did not fluster me. It was easy to answer because I asked myself the same question. As for my blog or website being "premature", to that I say the person simply used the wrong p word.

I didn't consider creating a website or starting a blog until I took a workshop on building an Author Brand. A great class that taught me about the importance of having a web presence before you're published. I'd never really given any thought to what I wanted my "brand" to look and feel like. I thought you write the best book possible, struggle to find an agent, then the publisher does the rest once you've finished your final edits. Say it with me people, NAIVE.

Publishing is a tough industry to break into with fierce competition. Landing an agent is like finding a unicorn. To catch the attention of these mystical and elusive creatures you have to hone your craft, produce a great novel, and show them you understand this is a business, which requires work on the part of the author long after you've finished writing the book. After the workshop, I still debated about when to create my presence on the web. Then I read an interview by super agent Holly Root and she said that she actually checks to see if a potential client is already out there on the web. I kept reading interviews. She is not the only one. Many authors advise the aspiring and naive to get started sooner rather than later. The pros will far outweigh any potential cons.

A farmer does not sit and stare at a barren field wishing for a bountiful crop. In order to reap a harvest, you have to till the soil, plant the seeds, and water it (yeah, I'm a city gal) or pray for rain. Success does not happen in a vacuum.

Someone once said success is when preparation and opportunity collide. I think it was Oprah :). Every book I write is me tilling the soil. This blog and my website are the seeds I have planted. Trust me, I am praying for rain.

One day, my magic 8 ball hasn't revealed when, my opportunity will come and I'm the kind of gal who likes to be Prepared.

Fellow writers, what steps have you taken to prepare for publication? Wise authors, what preparatory steps did you take that helped with your first sale?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Welcome

Welcome to my blog!

As an aspiring author on the long, rocky road to publication, I figured it was only natural for my first post to be about, you guessed it, writing. I have recently come out of the closet to friends and co-workers regarding my passion for storytelling and dedication to see my name in print. I did receive one "are you crazy" squint, along with a mute head nod, but overall everyone has been encouraging and optimistic.

The scariest part about having a dream with unlikely odds of success is sharing it with others. I asked myself many times before telling anyone, except my dh (darling husband), what if I fail? What if I tell people about my hopes and dreams and I don't succeed? My answer: remove failure as an option. By putting myself out there, so to speak, I was making a commitment to myself that I would succeed. If I believe in my talent, have faith in the universe to support my desire, and passion to fuel me, then there is nothing to fear.

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain." - Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear from Dune

Yes, I'm a movie fanatic, but moving right along ...

The hardest part about having a dream is pursuing it. Many people say, "I want to travel and see the world", but wait until they have saved enough, retire, or overcome their fear of flying. Many people say, "I want to do something with my life that makes me happy, but can't because I have to pay the bills." Many people say, "I want to write a book, but I don't have time." Remove the "but" and just do it!

At an early age, the wanderlust bug bit me. Since I was seventeen, I have traveled all over the world. Do I come from an affluent family? Far from it. In fact, my colorful past has enabled me to give my stories a backbone and my characters substance. I wanted to write a book. I've finished three, well, two and three quarters. Did I have time? No, I made time while working a full time job, serving as a military reservist, and taking online workshops to hone my craft. I still had to make time for my dh and canine kiddies. I bow to all of you on the same road who are able to juggle the balls with children added to the mix, Bravo.

I am following my bliss and enjoying the journey, even the bumpy bits. Make the most of your life starting today. I hope you'll stick with me as I chronicle my adventure.