Friday, December 31, 2010

Goes to 11...

Wishing everyone a great new year - the year of Nigel Tufnel!*
May you have a minimal amount of the rain that must fall
and prosper in the ways you wish.
And a special thanks to all the fans I've gained in 2010!
*Reference to the film This Is Spinal Tap

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I'm Off Down Santa Claus (& Black Pete) Lane...

A little "Festivus Mircale"* -
I learned via posts and chats on the internet that both
Lemonie and Andrea Jones coincidentally watched 
Christmas in Connecticut on the same day/night
that Bart and I showed it to Josiecat
who watched it for the first time. She loved it.

I'll be away for Xmas
and be gone for a little over a week.
Wishing everyone lots of joy!

*Okay, not really.  But go with it in the spirit of the season ;)

PS - If you don't know who Black Pete is... that's your holiday homework  ;)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Living or Dead Is Purely Coincidental...

You know that disclaimer at the beginning of books and the end of movies that runs something along the lines of:

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Well, besides the fact that I understand why such a disclaimer exists, I now even more so do.  I just Google'd (as they say) the names of the characters in the novel I'm working on... and YES, all three of them are real guys somewhere in the world - or had been.  (One of them is deceased, appropraitely for this book.)  One is off by a single letter.

I went on to try the main character of What If It's a Trick Question?  Yep.  There's some guys out there with HIS name, too.

If only it were possible to come up with a character name that is not an actual person!

Actually, it is possible.  I've done it.  Well, I have at least done so in the sense of defying the 'almighty' Google.  The main character of my two-books-finished-and-one-other-started-Quadrilogy doesn't show up.   And neither do the main two guys from my novel Midnight Chaser... except in the boy's case to show up from one of my own posts.  Then again...these stand-alone moninkers are probably the result of my purposeful desire to create unheard of names.  For example, the boy's last name comes from a Danish word that's not used as a surname.  And the Quadrilogy character's surname is derived from a mis-spoken line of someone my best friend Laughter once knew.

I would prefer to always invent 'pure' characters, of course.  But I've learned that's not really feasible in the least.  I had such fun trouble finding the names of the guys in this new book that I can't imagine having to literally (pun noted) create some that didn't previously exist and then still have character approval/confirmation on them!  And besides, utterly invented names do not always sound plausible.

By the way, the 'disclaimer' in Peter Pan's NeverWorld, since it does in fact deal with some real places & events and Michael is partially based on a real person, reads:

References to real locales, people or historical events are used fictitiously. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of imagination and any resemblance to actual locales, events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

And yes, "are products of imagination" refers to/includes Sir J.M. Barrie as well, but of course.

There's an interesting origin story in its own right attached to the famous "purely coincidental" disclaimer, as told by Wikipedia.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Just Not Rite for Me

Well, I think I’m going to have go ahead and call the “Writing Ritual” experiment a failure. (See this post.) It certainly isn’t working the way it had been intended.

For one thing, part of the “Ritual” requires it to be dark outside. And while yes, that goes with the elements of the book, that cuts my available work time in half. Not so much a problem, it would seem, assuming that I often compose at night anyway? Well, limiting that portion of time to being able to tend to a candle and such with some privacy doesn’t always happen. Plus, I can’t seem to set a specific time on account of all the other events and stuff in my life. In other words, before I’d write when inspiration struck, where or whenever it struck. Thinking “I’ll remember that for later” or even writing the idea down for later just doesn’t work. By the time that candle-induced later arrives, the guys have shut up.

Also, the times that the cards do conspire for me, it’s not like there’s a great flood of material coming right then. Whereas I feel like I missed out on listening to the guys when THEY wanted to be relating their story.

I know that writing at a scheduled time works for many writers, so I thought I’d try it out. Since I didn’t have any trouble composing stories before without a “ritual” I guess I’m just not one of those for whom ‘forcing a time’ or ‘environment’ does any good.

Oh well.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dawn Treader a Little Off Course

Perhaps you know from previous posts how excited I had been to see next Narnia movie, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I adored the last two movies. Both The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian, in my opinion, had been brought to the screen in amazing glory – even with the rewrites, additions and changes. For these tweaks only served to strengthen and smooth out the story C.S. Lewis had put down on the page. Very little had been sacrificed to allow the revisions… and what had been brought to the tale fit in as if it had always been there. In short, I thought the film managed to improve the original books while keeping them primarily intact.

I had to wait longer than I thought possible to see the new film (after filling with such joy when I saw the trailer back in June). For the reason of trying to coordinate a few friends who wanted to see it with me: Cassidy, Buttercup and Bart’s sister Lage. Sadly, Lage couldn’t make the time that worked out for the rest of us, but she knew that might happen and offered from the get-go to opt out if need be. So as it turned out, we saw it a week and day after its release.

I liked it. No, I didn’t love it. I liked it very much. It’s quite good. But no, I didn’t go over the moon as I had with the first two. Why? Oddly, the very thing which made me adore those is what killed the joy in Dawn Treader. Rewrites. This one proved quite heavy on the alterations. Sure, the others shifted scenes and incidents and added much – but all the while it never felt as if anything had been lost from the book. Here, it did in fact feel like parts of the story were noticeably missing. Why? Because they were. What I imagine must have been time/length constraints, many chunks of many scenes did not occur. And some parts vanished completely. And then we had the problem of scenario overlap. Lewis’s narrative takes us across the sea and the ship and characters stop at many islands along the way, looking for the lost Lords of Narnia (the friends/supporters of King Capsian’s father who had been exiled by the villainous Miraz when he stole the throne.) Well, in the movie about three or so of these islands had been combined into one (and again, other parts didn’t make it in at all.)

One of these removed sections can be found on The Lone Islands, the place of the slave traders. As I expected from the trailer, they punched up this scene with some action/fighting. But unlike the others, when the extra peppering of action had been sprinkled into the tale, it didn’t enhance but rather negate the original intention of the book. Yes, it’s true they had a bit of fighting to free themselves, but in the film it’s an all-out battle. I wouldn’t mind that – except the entire conversation between Bern, the ruler of the island, and Caspian is gone. In it, the young king shows his forceful nature. In a grand and tempered manner he berates the misuse of power and speaks of the importance of freedom for all peoples. [It’s really not as heavy handed as it sounds!] I’d been looking forward to hearing/seeing the harangue played out. Nope. The issue is resolved with that bigger battle only. I just didn’t think that right… it went against the character of Caspian and the message of the book.

Besides taking out entire chunks of the Magician Coriakin's island, they even rewrote the reason the Dufflepuds are invisible… so as to help bolster the major change implemented into this tale. In the movie, they must gather the seven swords of the seven lords and place them on Aslan’s Table near the edge of the world to prevent the “evil” green mist from the Dark Island from stealing all the light in Narnia. In the book, breaking the enchantment is only about the three sleeping Narnia Lords asleep at the table and although there is an island in/of darkness, the green mist and sword gathering does not exist. Apparently the quest to discover what happened to the lords didn’t seem enough for the filmmakers. So they restructured the story around this “evil mist” concept…throwing in a “save the villagers who where lost to it” along the way. I could have done without that addition, especially the stowaway little girl who wanted to see her mother again.

I won’t delineate all else that had been axed or rescripted, but suffice to say it had been way too much.

And yet… I liked the rewrite on its own. Truth be told, it really did work well (except for the rescue of the people and the little girl.) Keeping the dragon around, for instance, so as to fight the Sea Serpent… a wonderful thought. And nicely executed. Plus, the circumstances surrounding that revision caused a much more compelling and powerful redeeming of Eustace. Admittedly in Lewis’s book it could use a little more oomph to his character development. And since he goes on to be in Narnia and is one of its best heroes, this new story twist made that even more plausible. Here, the “overlap of scenes” made entire sense, then, and didn’t seem merely a time constraint.  Even Coriakin sending them on the sword-gathering quest had been a nice touch, giving him a little more reason to be there than just one of the adventures they had along the way.

Another tweak I especially enjoyed is the doorway home. I think it’s much better than what Lewis wrote.  It ties it to the entrance much more logically and had been very fun to watch. And yet – it’s not entirely different from Lewis.

I looked up who the writers were for each film. For The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe it had been: Ann Peacock, Stephen McFeely, Christopher Markus, Andrew Adamson. Peacock dropped out for whatever reason and the other three penned Prince Caspian. But for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader it had been just McFeely and Markus from that group with newcomer Michael Petroni. I should note that Andrew Adamson had also directed the first two films, whereas Dawn Treader had been helmed by Michael Apted. Hmm. Had Adamson had been the one keeping the stories in check?

So, all in all, it’s okay. It’s a very good movie. I just wish it followed suit with the other two and kept closer to the book (while allowing rational additions and changes.) Assuming that they continue on with The Silver Chair, here’s hoping Adamson will return at least as a writer.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hammering Out Well, It Seems

Back in January, I mentioned Kenneth Branaugh's helming of the movie Thor.  In a quick recap, after a table turned in Hollywood and the focus came back onto Asgard, my interest piqued. 

To keep some sort of progress report, here's my thoughts given what's transpired since.  I'd seen some stills prior to the recently released trailer .  I neither loved nor hated the costumes and sets in the images.  But I guess it's only fair to say my feelings wobbled toward it not being quite right for my tastes, assuming I even know what those are when it comes to the character of Thor - not to mention while balancing the look of a comic book character.  Well, I must say I'm much more pleased than I thought I would be.  There's something about seeing the costumes and sets in motion, combined with the delightful and obligatory action sequences that casts aside the doubts I had.  From what I know off the top of my head of the Marvel comic, it appears that they are changing it up a bit. Which goes with the trend of revamping a comic when presented with a new adaptation, especially when changing media.  I like the simplicity of how this familiar scenario is presented amid all the pomp and circumstance.  It seems well played.  I really like the way the hammer zips back to his hand.  Nicely done.  At this point, I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Spotlight on the Coming Shadows

I’m guessing that these two movies will spring forth a barrage of comparisons or mentions of Peter Pan and his shadow. And yes, I’ll be slightly irked about it when it happens. See the post: Shadow of a Doubt

I can’t decide if this movie will be good or not. It looks like a lot of fun, but it also borders on the bad kind of silly. I’m teetering. Plus, I’m not so very fond of the one actor in it... but I can overlook that if it turns out to be a good film.

And this one, which is forthcoming from DreamWorks Animation SKG, especially seems like there will be people who bring Peter Pan to mind:

Me and My Shadow The story of Shadow Stan, an extremely frustrated shadow who yearns for a dynamic life but happens to be stuck with Stanley Grubb, the world's most boring human. Finally pushed to the brink, Shadow Stan breaks the singular rule of the Shadow World ("They lead, we follow"), and takes control of Stanley!

Here’s a little tidbit for you -- given that the “living shadow” idea is so prevalent in Pan pop culture, I’m playing with the idea for the second book of NeverWorld.  It’s partially (probably half) written and one day I will get back to it. Although truth be told, I’m much more interested writing the third book. Why then isn’t that the second one? Among other factors, it’s a storyline time frame issue.

Well, here’s hoping we get some stories out of these two films.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Which Words Last as Last?

Since I don't really focus on Captain Hook much (since he's out of the picture for my purposes) I tend not to remember or notice as many details concerning him.

I did recently stumble across something to be curious about though - his last words.

What are they?  Well... that depends - are we going by the play or the book?

When it comes to being "canon" I go to the book first.  But that's only because when I expand on Pan, I'm doing so in novel form. 

In the play, he invokes his Alma Mater:  Floreat Etona
In the novel, having goaded Peter to kick him rather than stab him:
"Bad form,” he cried jeeringly, and went content to the crocodile.

Now since the book came second, one must think that Barrie consciously changed his mind as to what the pirate lord said.  I'd imagine that must be the case, since in the novel the whole good/bad form is played up to a large degree, especially concerning Hook.

However, when checking into the last time he revised his own story (a la his unused screenplay) Barrie again uses Floreat Etona.  As a second however, though, it is not written with quotes around it as are the other bits of dialogue (on the screen, as it would have been a silent movie.)  Thus, we can see that it is definitely important that Hook be associated with his school as he comes to his end.

So perhaps we can reconcile this non-threatening incongruity in this way:  Hook said "Bad form" and thought Floreat Etona.

Also interesting to note the contrast of what Peter Pan said as his last words when he thought he faced death:
To die will be an awfully big adventure.
I say interesting because either way as per Hook's last words, he's being childish.  That is... with his Alma Mater quote one can argue he's longing for his boyhood school days.  With his other words he's reduced to mocking his foe, as a child might do.  Pan, on the other hand, seems to face it bravely and with a very mature philosophical spin.  In Hook's defense regarding the screenplay:  He does walk the plank with commendable bravery (while thinking of his Eton days) and dives straight into the crocodile's mouth.

Just me over-analyzing again. In either case, at least ol' Pirate James knew that he'd be speaking his last words and could choose them. Someone else I'm thinking of didn't have that luxury!  What also comes to mind is that if we're dealing with the alternate timeline of the Barrie universe, a la the Neverland of author Andrea Jones, what would Hook's final utterance be then? (Just fun to think about - this is in no way meant as any kind of indication as to upcoming events in her books.)

And that's the last word on the last words.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Peter Pan in Kensington Broadway?

Don't worry (that is, if the title makes you worried) as of right now such a thing is not going to happen.  But I came across this article on the 'net and apparently it almost did.

Colin Meloy
The Decemberists regularly perform with stage props and weave complicated storylines into their songs. Their 2009 album The Hazards of Love was a rock opera that they performed in full on tour. You’re never going to believe this, but frontman Colin Meloy grew up doing theater. For years, talk has swirled about Meloy writing a Broadway musical; in 2007, he told The Portland Mercury, “There was one that nearly worked out, but it fell through. It was based on Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, which is the prequel to Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie.”

Link to page.

 Quite interesting indeed.  I'm not so sure it wouldn't work, actually.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Thrice Upon an Epic...

Lately I’ve heard/seen the word “epic.”

The three best (okay, probably only) examples are:

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World - with the tagline An epic of epic epicness.

Epic Mickey - a video game adventure for the famous mouse allegedly grand enough for the title and supposedly finally doing him some kind of justice among a myriad of Mickey games.

And, well, sort of, the movie of The Smurfs. NOT the upcoming one, but the one which had been tinkered out by two guys well before the 50th Anniversary a couple or so years back. Quickly: They over-analyzed and studied all comics, TV episodes and all things Smurf info to hammer out a logical (since it otherwise is a sea of seemingly contradictory and/or incomplete info [for instance, we don’t even know what Gargamel wants with the Smurfs]) storyline that had been meant to span a three film arc and thus had been described as, yes, an epic. (It’s too bad we aren’t getting these guys’ tale and instead get a rehash of Enchanted.)

Anyway, it got me thinking about the word “epic.” Sure, I/we know what it means. But do we know the actual definition? Moreover, are these uses then warranted? Or are they just touting the word to make themselves seem more grand?

Another way of saying it... do words, too, as well as characters, sometimes reach beyond the scope of themselves in everyday use? Have we put the word “epic” for example, on a level higher than itself? I mean, not everything can be an epic... and when something is described as one, the expectation is for something pretty magnificent.

So, knowing our tendency to be over-superalitve, as well as my penchant for etymology and true definitions, I decided to go back to the ground roots of this word.

Note that such descriptions as “impressively great” are in fact part of the meaning. So it’s no wonder it became a lofty description.

As it turns out, I would classify each example above as worthy.

Yes, I realize that Scott Pilgrim is making light of the word in that tagline, perhaps even bringing my point across in and of itself. But truly, the film does fit this mold: centered upon a hero, in which a series of great achievements or events is narrated in elevated style. There's definitely a series of achievements going on... and the very world the characters live in has a level of heightened reality

I can attest to Epic Mickey as worthy as I have gotten through the game once already as a “good mouse” [It can be played more than once as per the choices in gameplay one makes affect the outcome of the game] and it does in fact feel very long, as per the definition. Just the opening animation/cut scene along brings with it a sense of the majestic. It’s one of those games that seems like the end is nigh... and then a barrage of new and extra-cool stuff piles on for more adventure. And Mickey, if anything, turns into quite the hero on a variety of almost never-ending quests.  Even more interesting, it brings to light a lesser known and unintentionally "lost" character of Walt Disney himself - his first creation, Oswald the Rabbit.  Truly an epic feel.

I cannot for sure say how the abandoned Smurf trilogy would have played out, but since it had been compared to The Lord of the Rings in terms of its complexity and scope, one can only assume.  And I have to give them credit for undertaking such an endeavor as bringing focus and concrete answers to the deceptively simple creation of Peyo.

So, I’m happy to say that these epics haven’t abused the word.

And it’s not just that we often over-build up words. We deteriorate them, too, such as “awesome.” That’s bantered about constantly to describe everything from a job promotion to the taste of French Fries. “Awesome” has lost a bit of its luster and original meaning... as in the Grand Canyon is awesome, not necessarily a cool TV ad or a cup of coffee.

I just think too much about such things, I guess...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Why Do They Fall for It?

What’s with Disney disposing of their villains via having them fall to their death?

Sorry for the spoiler if it is one, but Bart and I saw Tangled not too long ago and it hit me.
It happens way too often in Disney’s flicks.

Is it a way to be a little merciful (so as not to show the hero actually kill the baddie)? No, that’s been done.

Is it a lack of creativity? Possibly, but that assessment is rather harsh... especially given the satisfying explanation as to why it’s done in the movie UP (Pixar) in the DVD “extra features.”  Also, it's not as if they don't have other ways to kill the villain in other movies (although arguably some of those had already been established as per the story from which they'd been adapted.)

Is it that fitting of a comeuppance? Perhaps often (as it is in Tangled) but certainly not every instance.

It just seems rather wearisome. It reminds me of the alien, from the Alien movies.
Is there seriously no other way to get rid of them than to blow them out an airlock?

I’m hoping I never have to have a villain fall to his or her death.  At least I know in the current book that's a definite impossibilty!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Chapter the None

Who says there are rules on how to write a book?

Okay, there probably actually are a few...

...but I'm thinking I'm going to blur one of the basics while writing this new novel.

Usually my chapters are about 10-15 pages long.  There are always exceptions, of course, as per the needs of the story.  Andy's adventure has chapters which are only 1-5 pages long.  And though Jeremy generally follows the 10-15, he's got some bits of his story which are much longer.  So it's not like I've not changed up this aspect of my novels before.  But it seems I'm going to be even a little bolder for this book.

I'd been thinking about the scene I'm working on.  It's just about finished with it.  But if so, then I am left with just a chapter of about 2 pages.  True, I've had that before.  But as I ponder it further, there's just something about this novel that isn't fitting into the mold of "chapters."  I'm realizing that the perspective of the characters don't lend themselves to "chunks of time."  Rather they're more in an amorphous and free-flowing river of it.

Thus, I just might forgo the idea of "chapter" altogether.  How about that?  A novel with no chapters.  Breaks - yes.  The standard  chapter - no.  If you're asking "Would not each break constitute a chapter, then?"  I respond:  Not how I'm thinking of it.  There will be no headers/titles to each one.  There will be no numerical progression.  Just a stream of breaks and chunks of text with no minimum or maximum length, as per the mind-set and interactions of main characters.  When you're somewhat outside of Time, it would definitely appear and behave unconventially.  Therefore, why not reflect that in the writing of it?

It might be "fun" and/or useful for the reader, too.  S/he can create personal stopping-points.

As I've said before - every novel is different.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Names Beyond the Book

Isn't it wonderful how sometimes a character becomes so ingrained into (pop) culture that its very name becomes a meaning or condition to describe a real life person? For instance: Scrooge. As in “Don’t be a Scrooge!” Other examples are Walter Mitty, Don Juan, Sherlock Holmes, Romeo and Simon Legree. Then there are the occasions where the character’s name is modified a bit to create a new word: Quixotic. Or adding a word in conjunction: A Mickey Mouse Operation.  And, of course, Peter Pan Syndrome.  Which, of course, brought on this post.

What author wouldn’t want their character immortalized beyond the scope of the page?

Then I realized something.

In every instance I can think of the moniker is used pejoratively.

You’re not supposed to like being called Quixotic (impractical, impulsive and rashly unpredictable).  If you’re a Walter Mitty you’re got your head in the clouds. “No sh**, Sherlock!” is said to someone who’s being an idiot at the moment.

Are there any used which do not “bad mouth” someone? Even “Romeo” has come to mean someone who is overly-sappy or lovey to the point of nausea.

It might not be so wonderful, then, for the author. Then again, it’s no less grand that the reach of a character’s popularity moves beyond mere story.

So now I’m torn between wanting it to happen to one of my creations and not.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Given the nature of the subject matter of the new novel (a simple twist on a haunted house) I keep feeling compelled to write in the dark. It just seems apropos.

Well, I’ve extended that idea. I’m trying out something new. I decided to have a little ‘ritual’ each time I set to bring the story to the page. Right now it merely involves a few simple bits such as ceremoniously lighting a candle. Maybe it will develop even more 'steps' as time goes on... I just figure it should have a séance quality to it.

I tried it out last night and will again tonight.  So far it’s got a lot of potential. It lent a spooky aura...not just the glow of candlelight but being aware of the emptiness surrounding me. I really did feel more connected to the characters than before.

However, it’s also true that I found the writing to be slow-going. But not in the sense of not knowing what should be there nor even having trouble scribbling to the page. Rather I kept belaboring over the choice way of putting it down. That’s happened to me before, but, this time in reverse.  Unlike before, it hadn’t been me who objected to the words I'd write. I thought them just fine.  But my guys in the story didn’t seem to be very appreciative. So I’d re-craft what I had (at one point realizing an unintentional double entendre that HAD to be disposed of since there are no romantic feelings between the two of them) and wait until they approved. These guys seem to be giving me great impressions of how they feel rather than spouting out the story bits. Not that they aren’t forthcoming with what’s happening in their tale, they are very much so, even to the point of surprising me already. But with say, Jeremy, well, he wouldn’t stop rambling and I had to write like a madman to keep up with him. These two are wading in each moment, making sure I totally grok what they’re experiencing (even if it doesn’t appear directly onto the page) and hence I’m trying to carefully distill the essence into those ‘choice’ words.  Instead of the slowness frustrating me, I reveled in it - absorbing the atmosphere.

It’s so remarkable... how each book develops differently.

As for the music playlist I compiled before... it’s working pretty well. I might have to tweak it a bit. But then, I haven’t gotten through all of the songs on it yet either.

And so my ‘ritual’ will continue... and I certainly hope it produces great results. (Well, duh. ;] )

Of course, I won’t be able to utilize the ritual every single time. For I don’t plan on writing solely at home in the dark of night. I often bring my work with me.  If I’m in a café or by the lake... well, no candles can be lit. But whenever I write at home, I’ll fire up the steps to composing. It will be interesting to see if I can notice a distinct difference or not.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Pain of Joy

I came across another one of those crazy word wonderments.


One can be overjoyed, but what about just joyed?
Nope, not really.  It doesn't count as a word in the dictionaries I checked.

It's odd, since it takes wee bit less effort and one less word to say
 "It joyed me." than it does to say "It brought me joy."

And yet - "enjoyed" is fine, which again, causes more to be there than necessary, it would seem.

Apparently it had been okay to say "joyed" at one time, since we find it in use by Shakespeare in 
Henry IV, Part 1
Poor fellow never joyed since the price of oats rose, it was the death of him.

No, I didn't pore over the the Bard to find that... nor did I know it off the top of my head.  The only reason I know it is because had it listed as a quote for "joy."  Hmmm.  And yet it doesn't appear AS a word.

Words can be weird.
Maybe I just notice and care because I work with them?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

An "X" for 'Jeopardy!'

This time Jeopardy! didn't have an answer regarding the famed eternal youth, rather someone who could be construed as having a Peter Pan Syndrome.  He's also one of my favorite characters as well.

The Correct Response.
But that's not the reason that I am posting this answer.  It happens to be one of the rare instances where Jeopardy! is incorrect.  What's worse, the clue says to be more specific.  Well, if we're being specific, one of the words used here does not count as right.  I bring it up because it's actually an 'issue' in the film.  Ramona Flowers (the girlfriend) corrects him over and over until the technicality is revealed.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Peter ZEN

Bart started thumbing through the book on the left,
The Little Zen Companion.  It's a collection of (what else?) but Zen-ful quips by David Schiller.

Well, look what's right on page 3!

A quote that certainly embodies the spirit of Barrie.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gobbles of Thanks

I'm most thankful for having such wonderful friends & family.
Especially Bart.  He's cooking in the kitchen right now...
since we're hosting our first Thanksgiving.  [I better go help! ;) ]
And may I extend my thanks to any and all fans out there!

p.s. - Am I the only one who can't stop thinking about Scott Pilgrim today?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Yet Another PAN Window Opens...

Seems like the window to let Peter Pan in just won't stay closed...

(I can't help but think this would both please and disturb Mrs. Darling!)

Coming in 2011 is a 6 issue comic book series from SLG Publishing
by R. Rikki Simons & Tavisha Wolfgarth-Simons is

Peter Pan and the Ghosts of Neverland

The pixies of Neverland have befriended Peter Pan for as long as he can remember. But truly, they are not Peter’s friends. Whenever a child says they do not believe in fairies, a fairy of Neverland drops down dead. What better way for fairies and pixies to keep themselves safe from oblivion than to imprison upon their magical island a child who will believe in them forever — a child who will never grow up. Every day is a new world to Peter, and under the fairies’ spells he forgets the faces and names of the Lost Boys and pixies who have played and died by his side. But one night, a hundred years after Wendy Darling first found Neverland, Peter starts to realize his life is only an illusion. The pixies, in their panic, decide Peter needs a more familiar distraction to keep him linked to Neverland — and so they look to the spirits of long deceased friends, ghosts whose squabbles once kept Peter’s interests far better than any living Lost Boy: Tinkerbell and Wendy.

The general idea of this is quite interesting. I kind of like that the fairies (called pixies here) are not actually the friends of Pan. It certainly seems like something that could be true given their personalities as laid out by Barrie. The Neverland is definitely construable as a type of prison. But would having Peter there to believe in them really save them from all the "full of sense" kids out there? Peter couldn't even stop Tinker Bell's light from eventually going out. Then again, since it's possible that Tink's demise could be just from natural causes rather than a nasty child's words one can hardly blame Peter's lack of belief. Perhaps this is addressed in the story? I also rather like the concept of "ghosts" being used, since Barrie had quite a bit of them peppering his thoughts and stories other than Peter Pan's adventures. The ghost of Wendy Darling is intriguing... I always thought of Hook as a ghost. (Not for a story, just in general.) But incorporeal Wendy? That has some promise. Depends on the execution. (Pun noted.) I'm a little skeptical in general, given the pointy ears, but then, I'm known as a stickler for the details. ;)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

PAN at the Window Yet Again

Another Peter Pan movie is coming...
sort of...

I'd heard about this one the first time it showed up on the horizon way back in 2006.  But, as with anything and eveything in Hollywood, the changing of hands and decisions and delays caused it to wait by the window for a while.

This new film won't be a direct version of Barrie's tale.  It's of the "re-tooling" variety.  Here, Captain Hook is a former police detective in search of the child-kidnapper Pan.  Doesn't sound too bad in the sense of having a little fun with the tale.  I also recall it being set in New York, though the filming is set for Europe next fall.  The script (at the time of 2006) is by Ben Magid and it's (currently) just called PANBen Hibon will direct.

I wonder if it will just be a romp in the sense of playing around with the elements, but not including any of the deeper psyche.  One would hope it does do so, considering "profiling" is so much a part of the "police mythos" we've come to expect regardless of how much its grounded in reality.  (Which of course it is... but stories tend to exaggerate the truth.)  The other factor that makes it seem like it won't miss the levels of Barrie is that it's reportedly "dark."  Of couse, that could just be a reaction to the "child napping" aspect being played up.

Here's hoping it's a good take on it.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Let the Music Fit the Words

I did begin the new novel.  But not until way late on Sunday night/morning.  My weekened wound up full with stuff that I hadn't anitcipated at first.  Plus a little proscrastinating on my part.  Just a wee little bit.

I’m happy to say that the characters are quite vivid for me. Despite my having thought about what they might say next in their conversation, I never really knew. But when the pen went scribbling, my guys did in fact speak up. And I’m quite pleased with their rapport. I already see their relationship and personalities even with the little bit that I’d churned out.

It turned out to be just a little for I couldn’t help but need music to write to, as per my usual penchant. Sure, I could have just picked something on the spot... but then that song would have ended and I’d have to choose another. That would have disrupted the flow for me. Sure, I could have set it to a particular album, but then... which to use?

Thus, since my flow would be stop and go anyway, I carried through with what the guys were saying and then began my “playlist” for this book. That entails going through my list of songs and deciding which are appropriate or might be inspirational for each particular story. Some of my choices came directly from the characters looking/listening over my shoulder.

So I expect the next round of writing to go quite well, considering that the guys are forthcoming with themselves and I’ve got a collection of tunes to play in the background.

Now if only I had a title! This will be the second time I’m starting a novel and don’t know what the title is before I begin. Sure, titles sometimes change anyway during the course of it, but not always. It’s a little disconcerting not having the name of the book, especially since it’s one of the first questions people ask. Oh well... I’ll just have to live with it. It worked out fine for Jeremy’s story. I didn’t have the title of that book until three-quarters of the way through!

A Little Lesson on Teach

Just had to share:

On this day in history -

1718 English pirate, Edward Teach (a.k.a. "Blackbeard"), was killed during a battle off the coast of North Carolina, near Ocracoke Island. British soldiers cornered him aboard his ship and killed him. He was shot and stabbed more than 25 times.

One of the most infamous pirates to be sure.  And yes, he's mentioned in Sir J.M. Barrie's masterpiece.  We learn that Captain Hook had been Blackbeard's bo'sun.  For the record, a reference to his ship is one of the hints to Hook in my book Peter Pan: Betwixt-and-Between.

Blackbeard is also going to appear alongside everybody's current favorite buccaneer in the upcoming installment of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Saturday, November 20, 2010

And They Shall Speak...

I should be starting the new novel any time now.  I've been through the notes and ideas.  It's taking shape.  I don't have all the details worked out, but then, I never truly do.  That's part of the fun of writing, to make discoveries along the way.  But I've got enough to go on and thus begin.  I expect the pen to be lifted at some point this weekend.  I've also been researching based on something one of them said before.  It's amazing how a little delving into stuff can lead to so much more digging and items to look up!

I might also fiddle with an exercise I still have from one of the classes I've taken at some point - I'm guessing it's from my days at the Young Master's Constortium for the Arts back in middle school.  It's called "Twenty Questions to Ask a Character" by Winifred Madison and it, as can be expected, jumpstarts the traits and "rounded" qualities of the players in one's work.  For you see, I am still looking for that one guy's (the blonde) motivation.  I'm quite certain of what he does and I'm equally certain there's a good reason.  He's just being very secretive.  Which is good from a certain point of view, in that the other characters wouldn't be aware of his behavior anyway.  He doesn't come into the story for a little while yet.  And even though I like to write out of sequence, I'm itching to figure out how to handle and execute the first scene.

Here's hoping the guys speak up when I call!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Looking for Gold in those Yellow Bricks

We all knew it would happen.
We just hoped it wouldn't happen.
But I'm afraid it is.
<--- That.  Remake.

They're even using the 1939 script.

If you ask me, doing a remake would make more sense if they stuck closer to the book.  Then again, the famed movie arguably has a lot of stuff much better than Baum's quick tale.  Sure, today's movieworks with OZ would be fun, but this seems to me to be a case of "just because you can... doesn't mean you should."

Dear Robert Zemeckis, WHY?

Can't we just leave it as is and rejoice in only having OZ re-tooled in the upcoming film
OZ: The Great and Powerful?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How to Fly?

See how the Darling children are flying here?

You know what I've often wondered?  Is that a comfortable way to fly?

I mean, really.  Parallel to the ground so that you have to lift up your head and thus risk a crick in your neck?
Not just your neck, but your upper torso often needs to be bent.  Try it out on the floor and you'll discover... no, it's really not all that comfotable.

And yet, that's the popular way to depict flying.  Not just with Peter Pan and company, but often with other flying characters such as Superman.  Why is that?  Because it looks cool?  Yes, I can see the desire to "look upon the world below" and this way lends itself to that... but wouldn't that position become tiresome?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking it in the sense of  dismissing it as valid.  Likewise, I don't necessarily think that another depiction would be any better or worse.  Just curious is all...

It's also interesting to note that in most stage productions, Pan & company are upright while flying.  Naturally this results from how the flight contraptions are designed, as it wouldn't be feasible to create the 'parallel flight' on (over?) the stage.  And yet... when productions (such as film or animation) are able to produce "flight" without the visible harness and such -- the natural inclination is to do it the 'parallel' way.

What did Barrie write in his novel regarding the "flight habits" of Peter Pan?

In this ‘first’ example there is no description.

“I say, Peter, can you really fly?”
Instead of troubling to answer him Peter flew around the room, taking the mantelpiece on the way.

Later, in the same (Nursery) scene, the Darlings' attempt is put this way:
They were not nearly so elegant as Peter, they could not help kicking a little, but their heads were bobbing against the ceiling, and there is almost nothing so delicious as that.

Bobbing their heads. Hmm. If it’s true that they were parallel to the ceiling, it could be that they bobbed their heads while laying flat. But doesn’t it seem more likely that they were “standing too high” in mid-air?

When Mr. and Mrs. Darling return with Nana, looking up at the window, Barrie says:
...and most heart-gripping sight of all, they could see in shadow on the curtain three little figures in night attire circling round and round, not on the floor but in the air.

Again, no “laying flat” is stated, nor necessarily implied.  Furthermore, one does not normally think of kids circling round and round in any other way but on their feet... and the fact that it remarks that one's image of the scene needs to be "elevated" could indicate that they're upright.

Other than saying they delighted in flying around church spires and whatnot, we get just these passages about “how” they flew -

Regarding Peter:
He could sleep in the air without falling, by merely lying on his back and floating, but this was, partly at least, because he was so light that if you got behind him and blew he went faster.

Okay, sure, in this instance he’d be “parallel” - but then, that goes without saying since that’s a natural relaxed position and he’d not get a crick in his neck to do so.

Wendy says:
"And even though we became good at picking up food, see how we bump against clouds and things if he is not near to give us a hand."
To which the Narrator explains:
Indeed they were constantly bumping. They could now fly strongly, though they still kicked far too much; but if they saw a cloud in front of them, the more they tried to avoid it, the more certainly did they bump into it. If Nana had been with them, she would have had a bandage round Michael’s forehead by this time.

That one sort of implies that their heads are going 'first' but then one can argue that they'd more likely see them before running into them, outside of Barrie's humor, I mean.  However, it can also be supposed that the kicking might mean in the sense of swimming, hence horizontal.

They were now over the fearsome island, flying so low that sometimes a tree grazed their feet.

Grazed their feet? Hmm. Although it is true in the “parallel” way of thinking as well, is it as strong an argument against it? Would not their tummy scrape the trees, then - or are feet only mentioned since toes extend a little beyond?

Can we assume, then, that since Barrie specifically mentions Peter Pan on his back and had been accustomed to seeing “upright” flying in the many times he’d seen his play that Pan and others do not in fact fly ‘parallel to the ground?’

Again, I’m not suggesting that it’s wrong. Just that it could be... and thus, I wonder.  And yes, the 'parallel flying' does "look cool."  Of course, it might actually be one's natural way of doing it, since the only similar experience available is swimming, as stated before.  By the same token, though, we cannot swim forward upright, so it might be more fun to be able to do so.  Or perhaps being horizontal is just plain more exhilarating?

For the record, I did (on account of having seen it before [yes, in Disney] as well as the Superman films as a kid) picture Peter Pan and others flying that way in Peter Pan’s NeverWorld.  However, it’s also true that I envisioned upright flight as well.  Sort of an "as needed/called for" kind of thing.  It's certain, though, that I have always pictured Peter Pan hovering about for no damn good reason other than being able to do it. I even made sure to present this idea in the novel.
Rising into the air for no particular reason other than the fun of it...
Fox’s Peter Pan and the Pirates and Peter Pan no Boken also have the eternal boy “needlessly and charmingly flighty” as well.

So what do you think? How does Peter Pan fly?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Little Red Riding Hood Rides Again

Hollywood is bringing us at least one more version of Little Red Riding Hood.  But not without a spin.  I reported on it very briefly once before when I first heard about it.  Such a long time ago that I'd forgotten there's a werewolf involved in this adaptation.  Apparently a lycnathrope is part of the tale in some of its earlier manifestations.  (For the record, I'm all for such a 'twist' since I am a fan of werewolves.)  But something someone said in the comments about the upcoming (March 11, 2011) movie prompted me to go and look it up.   It had been said that the Brothers Grimm version had a werewolf as well.  I happen to have a collection (just little paperback books) of the complete set of their stories so I picked it up and read...

I'm not sure if I ever heard the tale outside the general knowledge and (ahem!) retellings of it as a kid.  In the version/translation that I have, it's not a hood with a cape attached but just a little red cap.  Little Red Cap, as far as I can glean from the text, doesn't come across a wolf-man in the forest.  No, just a talking wolf.  But talking animals are common in fairy tales, so that's no big deal.  Granted, the illustration had the wolf upright on his hind legs and he wore fine clothes (completle with a snazzy hat and shoulder cape) but a drawing to accompany it isn't always a definitive piece of evidence.  Thus, it doesn't seem to me that a werewolf is in Grimm.  I'd love to know of any evidence that anyone can bring to this forest...

...but what really struck me is that the tale contains a sequel in and of itself.  Yes, really.  There's a quick little "addendum" of how Red Cap/Hood went back to her Grandmother's house on another trip with some goodies.  She meets another wolf - but she is not fooled again.  She isn't led astray by the wolf's temptations nor does she spill any information about where she's going. She is followed, however, and during the visit Grandmother notices the wolf, who jumps up on the roof.  There he waits for Little Red to leave so that he may gobble her up.  But Grandmother has a plan on how to dispose of the wolf so that Red may leave safely...

I'll leave you to find out what happens on your own.

I'm currently looking forward to the film Red Riding Hood.  Here she's a young woman, of course, but then, it will be playing up the (inherent) sexual tensions in the story.