Replaying Xena: Season 1 – The adventure (and my binge-watching adventure) begins

Xena - Sins of the Past

One season down, five more to go!

My decision to re-watch all six seasons of the show Xena Warrior Princess – which is set in Ancient Greece – corresponded with my decision to someday rewrite my shelved first fantasy novel as historical fiction, also set in Ancient Greece.

That and because Xena is such a thrilling character – my favourite fictional character, in truth – whom I hadn’t watched since the show ended in 2001.

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On Female Ghostbusters, Gimmicks, and the Nature of Storytelling

Ghostbusters original cast(1984).

Ghostbusters original cast (1984).

By now, most people have heard about the plan to reboot the movie Ghostbusters with an all-female cast.

Some people are really excited about it.

Others are really upset.

Like really upset, to the point of borderline self-righteousness, with words like “gimmick” and “pandering” receiving a thorough workout.

Maybe I’m just splitting hairs over semantics, but in and of itself, I don’t consider a gimmick to be a negative thing.

All marketing and media uses gimmicks or “hooks” to attract a target audience, in this case the hook being the casting women where previously there’d only been men, ostensibly to attract – at least in part – a target audience of female viewers.

Which right there may well be the real issue.

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Everybody Has a Favourite (Quote)

Just like chocolate, everyone has a favourite quote as well. (Image from the 2000 movie Chocolat.)

Just like chocolate, everyone has a favourite quotation as well. (Image from the movie Chocolat, 2000.)

Quotations, it can be argued, second only to cats, are the foundation of the internet.

For they are found everywhere online: in status updates; in tweets; as part of social media bios; within blog posts.  Sometimes an individual blog post will be nothing but a quotation.

I too enjoy a good quote.  Back in 2010, I did the 12-week self-help, self-directed artistic rediscovery course known as The Artist’s Way, which is the subject of screenwriter Julia Cameron’s book by the same name.

It took me 11 months to complete the program.

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Planning the Perfect Vacation: A (Don’t-Ask-Me) How-To

Vacation plane

Some people are awesome at planning vacations.

These are the people who research their destinations exhaustively to discover the hottest sites to visit.  The people who book things months in advance to ensure they don’t miss out on those activities that always fill up and sell out.

These are the people who know ahead of time exactly the type of vacation experience they want, and make a near part-time job of scouring tour guides and soliciting knowledgeable friends and colleagues to transform the trip of their dreams into reality.

I’m not one of those people.  Not even close.

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Work or Leisure: How Do You Perceive Your Writing?

All work and no play

Like many writers, I am balancing my as-yet unpaid writing efforts with my paid day job.

At certain times of the year, my job requires me to work overtime.  One such occasion recently occurred, and at the end of my protracted work day, I found myself riding the elevator down with my boss, who is also an up-and-coming writer.

We got to chatting about how we would spend the rest of our respective evenings, or what remained of them.  This morphed into talk of how we usually spend our evenings, in particular as related to our writing.

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Be it a bang or a whimper, be sure to start your story with conflict (and a question)

Story beginnings are tough; even I can recognize that.

Outlander posterWhen I’m getting ready to start a new writing project, I spend a lot of time developing and getting to know the main character.  One of the things I do is write a character monologue to help get a sense of his/her voice.

With my WIP, I had the brilliant idea to include this monologue as the novel’s opening – a decision for which members of my writing group rightly called me out when I read it to them.  Comments included,

“Nothing happened.”

“I was bored.”

“There was no action; it was just a bunch of information that didn’t mean anything to me yet.”

“I found it rather poignant.”

(I think I fell in love a bit with the guy who said that last one.  However he was already taken, plus he eventually quit writing and gave up the group, which suggests he didn’t really know enough about writing craft to give me proper advice.)

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I Never Miss a Deadline … Except When I Do (which is often)

Deadline

So, my WIP, such as it is, is indeed still IP.

To date, despite have been writing seriously for some six years, I’ve yet to complete anything novel-length that stands as a fully completed story – a fact that haunts me continuously.

I’d originally resolved to finish my WIP last year by my birthday, which is at the end of November.

I didn’t make that deadline, but consoled myself with the fact that I had an entire other novel to write to finish the story, my previously anticipated duology in fact being a trilogy.

But there’s still something about deadlines – something definitive and binding, which I suppose is the whole point.  I almost never set deadlines.  I really don’t like them, even though my “type” is supposed to thrive on them.

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