Screen Characters Blog Hop

Thank you to my twitter/blogger/writer favorite Susan Kicklighter, Writing For Kicks, for including me on this Favorite Screen Characters Blog Hop. Rules of the game… name your ten favorite TV or Movie characters, then nominate ten friends to do the same.

I love this but it is a really good, unintended, personality test. I love villains. I love characters willing to do anything to meet their goals… driven, singularly focused. Unfortunately I’m noticing that many of my favorite female characters are prostitutes. Strong women, sacrificing, typically are not Carol Brady characters. I’m going to dig deep here.

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Al Swearengen, Deadwood
No character in recent memory has shown such a complex diversity of emotions. He was vile, funny, terrifying, but had a sweetness that made him the perfect character in my book.

Darth Vadar, Star Wars
I can’t help it, I love every second he’s on screen. At this moment I’m wearing this shirt.

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Jesse Pinkman & Walter White, Breaking Bad
I don’t think it’s possible to list one without the other. To understand how Walter’s criminal genius unwinds his humanity, you need to observe Jesse’s hallow, childish, undeveloped psyche grow into his own true humanity. They are perfect foils in their twisted father/son bromance.

Joan Holloway, Mad Men
Male characters never have to go the distance to do what it takes to succeed. They are blessed with the ease of violence or self sacrifice that never includes their own sexual self sacrifice. Joan will do whatever it takes to be something more.

Cullen Bohannon, Hell on Wheels
Confession, Cullen is the inspiration for my main charachter in Circling. Cullen’s grief and strength as well as his blinding need for justice, of his own making, spoke to me and he is sexy as hell.

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Sarah Connor, Terminator
No one is more driven than Sara. I love her transformation between the first and second films. She tries to find support within the system and realizes saving the entire world is on her… and she meets the challenge.

Katniss Everdeen, Hunger Games
Katniss had me at “I volunteer as Tribute.”

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Baroness Karen Blixen, Out of Africa
The Baroness fought for her coffee, fought for the Kikuyu, fought syphilis and fought for her man. In the end she lost mostly everything, but her dignity and strength were stunning.

Willie Wonka, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory
For younger readers, let me clarify, Gene Wilder is the only Willie Wonka. Period. Sadism dancing with a cane in a purple velvet jacket. Perfection.

That was fun. Join me?

Gary Bailey
Bill Cunningham
Aaran Bhansal
Dena Rogers
Carrie Mesrobian
Michael Frost
Kris Holt
Pieran Dodo
Louise G. White
Victoria Davenport

For Worse Or For Better

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A rainy Saturday is the perfect day to write. Unfortunately yesterday I had to attend a work event. Yes, it was outside, and mostly tented, but truly it was miserable. The tent sucked. The parking sucked. The traffic sucked. I am sure there was a place to pee, but I chose not to venture there.

My second novel, Forever Falling, is nearing the end of first drafting. My characters and I have about 10,000 more words to journey together, before I let them rest awhile. Shit is getting real, as they say, in this land of fiction.

This has been an excellent writing week. Two or three pivotal, very challenging, scenes are finally taking shape. When they started to unfold, the action was fairly clear, but the internal and external dialog were a bit muddled. I wasn’t nailing it. I wasn’t getting near enough to it. I was seeing it, but not feeling it. Then my week got weird.

I was having some fluttering in the area of my heart. It was absolutely nothing but still required an EKG, which failed after three attempts. It reported that my pacemaker is functioning perfectly. No, I do not have a pacemaker, but I appear to be a cyborg. This all required me to share way more of my anatomy with my slightly too cute above the neck doctor, than I typically choose too. Topless horror.

Then there was the annual celebration at work. Suffice to say I was standing in the middle of 160 sitting co-workers taking photos. My dress wrapped my foot and you can guess the rest. There are two ways to go from there, you can cry and run out of the room or understand that you have a captive audience and perform some standup. I chose the latter and while my material was off the cuff, it wasn’t terrible. My newest Facebook friend deemed me the next Jennifer Lawrence. Somewhat of a triumph. Still miserably stressful.

And then writing went to a very different level. Oddly this week I have been writing a humiliating experience for my male main character, Callum. Then the great work face plant happened and Callum’s feelings of shame and embarrassment became much more accessible. He was exposed (much like my breasts) and degraded (much like looking up at 160 co-workers from the floor). The timing on this was fantastic.  As much as I like writing from beautiful landscapes and listening to the pounding of the surf, there is something to be said for inserting the shitty day to day into the lives of your characters.

Long live the bullshit. It keeps this land of make believe more real.

Setting the Scenes

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Well hello there!  I must confess a first draft does not lend itself well to consistent posting. Here I am with a few minutes on my hands and I think it is time for an update. At my last post (aside from a guest post and share) I was sitting poolside in Park City, Utah, turning a business trip into a fuck load of fun and adventure. Before that fantastic opportunity arose, I had booked a short trip to visit Asheville with a good friend.

I have always wanted to visit that famously quirky, musical, artsy, beautiful city tucked away in the mountains. Starting Book 2, I felt that I needed to find my characters.  For me characters and plot are completely driven by setting. My friend was very supportive of my insane I have to go to Asheville to find my story declaration and found us a wonderful hotel,  a bizarre car, fantastic concert, etc.

20140613_134721With regard to the car. I am full of regret I did not photograph it. This Dodge Avenger was not my typical ride. I was a bit put off by the fact I literally had to spread my legs to drive it. Who’s damn idea was that? The steering wheel only fits between one’s thighs, it raises no higher. Few things can rest between one’s thighs and be so disappointingly un-erotic.

wpid-20140612_211230.jpgAlas – I digress. We ate in amazing, interesting little restaurants. We saw Andrew Bird perform at The Orange Peel and about 27 other musical street performs every day. We walked the waterfall that Katniss  Everdeen walked in the Hunger Games. We drove miles and miles of mountains and walked miles and miles of city. There as quite a bit of bourbon and red wine, too. I took about 1,200 photos. And in all of that, the story began to reveal itself.

I am almost 30,000 words in now. I am a big believer in revising. The first draft is all about meeting these people. You have to meet them and then decide how and where, they will have what kind of sex. And then, I have to decide how I’ll destroy them and finally how (and if) they’ll save each other. On examining my first drafting style it seems I let my characters be very lovely to each other for awhile. I need a lot of words to fall in love with them before I can load them down in conflict. I’m there now. The pain is starting to flow. We are all bleeding on the page.  I think I’m enjoying it a little more than they are though.

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I looked back at my Freeing The Pain post to remember what it was like with Circling. I have to say this is an intense process. My sleep is effected, my day job work focus is for crap. This is truly all consuming. There are very few people on the earth that understand this and it is a little isolating. One of my favorite writer friends has been a bit off the grid. I miss our plot chats. Writers I implore you, appreciate those writer friends who want nothing more than to debate whether you need to mention if your character spits or swallows.

(Too much? – I certainly hope so. XOX)