Thursday, August 25, 2011

Who's Asking About the Past?

Just because it isn't in the story as shown doesn't mean it didn't happen.

By that I mean storytellers need to know the backgrounds and histories of their characters even if those parts of their past are not told in the tale at hand.

As an example, in the movie Back to the Future (and its two great sequels), a high school boy is friends with a crazy (no no, crazy is too harsh... eccentric?  wiley?  frazzled?) scientist with a doctorate who specializes in wacky inventions and has a Rube Goldberg Machine to feed his dog.

The fact that they are friends is pivotal to the story... and when the movie begins, Marty is entering the Doc's (he calls him Doc) "lab"/garage.  Thus, from the start, they have an established relationship.  There's no denying they're good friends.  Even so far as the Doc telling Marty to meet him in the parking lot of the mall at 1:15 in the morning and Marty does it without question!  We're to accept their friendship and go on with the adventure. 

However, fans have always wondered... how does this unlikely pairing exist?  Why does a teenage boy (who has aspirations of being a rock star and problems at home [like so many of them out there]) with a girlfriend choose to spend his time with a (ahem) strange Doc of weird science?  Likewise, why does a white-haired scientist who's been [seemingly] unsuccessfully creating things since at least the 1950's such as a mind-reading helmet (which looks more like an Erector set dome with hair curlers) want to have an angsty kid hanging around?  Oh sure, plenty of answers can exist.  And the speculations ran rampant.  Everyone had their own idea of this duo's dynamic beginnings.  But what's the truth?  Which one is correct?  IS one of them correct?

It turns out yes, there is a definitive answer.  Why?  Because the truth is that director/writer Robert Zemeckis and writer Bob Gale, as well as the actors and others involved with creating the film had their own version of the origins of the friendship between Marty McFly and Dr. Emmett Brown.  Why?  Because as storytellers, they needed to know.  It would affect how the characters reacted, hence the actor's performances.  And it had to all come across as believable.  Which it did... I don't think anyone ever called "foul" on their friendship, just a "Hmmm...what's the deal?"  It didn't present it self as problematic.  Rather it became intriguing.

How do we know there's a definite tale of how they met and became friends?  Not so long ago in the media news, we were treated to the insight by Robert Zemeckis himself.  You can read it here if you're curious.

My point, then, is that a story exceeds the boundaries of the medium in which it is told.  Just because a piece of the characters' or situation's history is not revealed in the book, the author(s) must have an idea of what it had been.  It's not possible to create a successful tale and not know the backstories.  For knowledge of it will shape how the bits that ARE shown play out.  It helps to have the intesity of the emotions and situations bolstered by the past.

Think of your own relationships.  Are they not affected by what had been forged long ago?  If we were to tell an adventure from your life as a book, would it not behoove us to feel the fervor of what had been to better understand the events and kinships that exist during said adventure?  Of course.

Then again, it's not always important to actually know in the storytelling.  After all, we're telling specific events.  The audience can easily be bored by every detail of the past.  In the case of Back to the Future, for instance, we don't need to waste precious movie time with the events that Zemeckis described as the start of their friendship.  They're not part of the tale being told.  Imagine if it the film showed that scene.  We'd then have to show the progression, the build of how they came to care about each other... and thus it would take "forever" to get to what the movie is really about.  But again, these previous moments in time shine through in the background, for as I said, no one questions their being pals.

So it's up to an author to realize what information is pertinent to the story at hand.  But it's also up to the author to know what's pertinent behind the scenes, even if no one wants to or needs to know.  Yet if you do it right, they will want to know.  Any writer who cannot tell you about the extraneous bits of their story isn't doing the job.  That's not to say that every single bit of minutia of has to be known, but by golly, if asked, the answer should come springing forth.  And if it doesn't, don't fear, the characters know... just ask them.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Da DA Da...DONE!

The illustrations are done!

Finished circa two in the morning, all the pictures of scenes from chapters in my interquel Peter Pan: Betwixt-and-Between are now complete.  The final one, showing a scene lifted from an obscure and unused part of Barrie's tales of Pan, turned out well also.  How wonderful that this little known Pan moment is brought to (still) life!

There didn't wind up being any more extra pictures beyond the original two extra, but hey... a picture for each chapter and then some is nothing to sneeze at... come to think of it, what IS to sneeze at???  At any rate, there are 14 chapters and thus, 16 pictures.

What's left to do?  Well, I think I'd like a peppering of tiny images at the chapter headings.  No worries though in terms of it taking too long.  They certainly won't require any elaborate concocting like the story illustrations.  Just simple adornments.

Don't hate me, but I also need to write and insert stuff that goes in the beginning of the book such as the Foreword, Acknowledgements page, Contents, etc.  Oh - and the back cover picture (but I now know what that will be - thanks to a suggestion from my buddy Laughter!)  After those are done (and some re-re-proofing all around) it will be on its way to availability.

PETER PAN  is excited... are you?
For any and all who are anxious to read this "missing history" of Peter Pan - thanks for bearing with me through the process and for being patient.

SO... anyone want an a sneak peak at an illustration until then?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Penultimate Complete!

One more!

Yep, that's right.  There's just one more illustration to create for Peter Pan: Betwixt-and-Between, the interquel novel of the eternal boy's "missing" adventure.

The penultimate pic, like the others, turned out well.  I'd been working on it while Laughter had been here and he gave me some input.  In fact, he liked all the pictures.  He's just as charmed as everyone else.  His words of praise still ring in my ears.  Hosah.

I do know what the final picture will be... at least in what it will depict.  It is, however, different from what I had planned.  But after another read of the chapter, something leapt out at me that would be not only fun to make but poignant.  Besides being a pivotal moment for Peter Pan in the story, this scene is taken directly from Barrie himself and incorporated into the novel.  A curious (but merry!) event which had been intended for his treatment onto the silver screen.  I'm rather fond of the notion that this creation of his is given a shot after all...(since 'his' movie never got made.)

And there you have it... ever closer to the pages being in your hands, dear readers.

Keep your window open!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

UN-fairy Exposure

I'll be the first person to tell you that you should believe in fairies.
Even if I weren't obsessed with Peter Pan,  I'd still tell you to do so.

Yes, I believe in fairies.

But here's a guy who is, it would seem, either making a mockery of the belief or trying to profit from it or both.  Jose Maldonado, a 22-year-old bricklayer in Guadalajara claims to have a real fairy.  He says:   I was picking guavas and I saw a twinkling. I thought it was a firefly. I picked it up and felt that it was moving; when I looked at it I knew that it was a fairy godmother.

It died, so he put it in some formaldehyde. Now he "allows" people to take a gander at it for a fee.  Seriously?

Just look at it.  Like I said, I'm all for the belief, but you've got to be pretty hard up to want to see a fairy to give any sort of credence to THIS sad little piece of plastic.  What a horrid way to make a few bits of cash.

Saw it twinkling, eh?  Can anyone say "Glimmer of plastic coupled with working out in the sun too long"?  Good!  I knew you could!
Came out some time later, here's the proof
that  Jose is being over-taxed
mentally and physically

Please, don't let this taint your own belief in the wee folk who populate the world... but if you want more info, the article is here.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Laughter Reigns

My Blog Profile - bigger!
Just a note to let you know
that I'll likely not be posting from now
until at least through
next Friday.
My best friend Laughter
is coming back in town tonight! Hooray!
He'll be staying with us...
and I get to have a mini-vacation "playing"
(in a Barriesque way) with him.

(If you're wondering, he's in town to see a few concerts...
no, I'm not attending them.)

It could so happen that I do post,
but I thought I should give fair warning
and reason as to my hiatus.

Until again....

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Three Cheers for Lumley!

A long while back I reported that Moat Brae house in Dumfires with a garden where J.M. Barrie had been living (which helped inspired the Neverland for the story of Peter Pan) had been in danger.

Fortunately, the wonderful Joanna Lumley (probably best known here in the United States as the cranky and delightfully wicked best friend Patsy Stone on Absolutely Fabulous) has taken it upon herself to make sure that the historic house is saved!

She’s been successful, thank goodness.

And as it turns out, she just put up a statue of Peter Pan to boot.

I’m so very pleased with her efforts, thank you, Ms. Lumley, ever so much.

But why does the (otherwise impressive single-trunk carving) look like the Disney version? Darn it.  It's such a shame that Disney has such a hold on the perception.

Oh well. It’s a marvelous, generous and wonderful gesture to preserve the site - and that’s what counts!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Peter Pan and Macy's

So last night Buttercup and I watched this week's episode of Teen Wolf. She's my watching partner. I don't view it until we can get together in front of my big screen. For the record, still love the show. Even this far into the season (only one episode left as of now) scenes from (or references to) the movie source material manifest in amusing ways. Bravo to all.

But the real point of this post is a commercial that aired quite a few times.  I caught it even in fast-forward.  But then, with the big glowing word 'Wendy' on the screen how could I miss it?

Apparently Macy's (yes, the store) has a forthcoming series called Wendy.  And you guessed right - it's a take on the famous Barrie tale.  Here, Peter Pan is called Pete.  It's updated, you see.  Am I enraged?  No, of course not.  Why?  As I've said before, I applaud reinterpretatons or reimaginings.  Take a spin on this amazing story.  It's only when it's meant to be contiguous to Barrie and fails that irks me.  Anyway, it looks like fun.  Kind of a Melrose Place meets Peter Pan.

I'd not been able to find much of it on the ol' interwebs.  But looking again I found all the answers posted by some nice person named Lauren on 'Yahoo! Answers' here.

Essentially it's a web series showcasing their lines loosely based on the "timeless story" (as it says.)  Macy's paired with Alloy Entertainment.  It premieres September 25th. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Putting the THUNDER Back in the 80's CATS

Well, I’m happy to be able to report that yet another “reboot” has been totally worth it. Cartoon Network has released a new version of the 80’s cartoon Thundercats. And it’s to purr about.

I liked the original show, but I wouldn’t say I’d been a true fan of it. But that doesn’t affect my opinion of how well it compares. For both Bart and Buttercup, who would count themselves among those enthralled with it, also really like this new take on it.

For one thing, the animation is superior. But that’s really no difficult task.

What I like best about the new Thundercats is that it begins further back in time. Nutshell: A handful of surviving Thundercats (including the heir to the throne) are forced to leave their planet of Thundera, only to be pursued and thwarted by the “villains” of other anthropomorphic animals as well as a mysterious and freaky mummy-like character named Mumm-Ra who wants the “Eye of Thundera” which is embedded in the Hero’s sword.

The first go around, we only briefly saw their home planet and knew virtually nothing about their ways, customs and culture. To be honest, this is one of the reasons it never really shined for me. I wanted that backstory to be able to care about the characters.

The second go at it, we (as I said) begin much earlier in the tale. Thus, providing a richer understanding. We even now see Lion-O’s (the Hero) father, the king. But in terms of making them more understood beyond cat-humans, this cartoon series has done something rather interesting. The Thundercats are not exactly the great beings we once thought them to be. It’s their kind (cats) that oppress the other animal-beings...hoarding the resources and enslaving them. They’re the bad guys in this one! Of course, Lion-O does not like this once he discovers the truth and speaks out against his father. Nothing really new here, as this is the same plot as Fritz Lang’s Metropolis from 1927. But it works rather well.

Another reason the original seemed a bit flat to me is that the “villains” (animal-based humans and Mumm-Ra) seemed arbitrary. They just were there, and hated the Thundercats, wanting that sword’s “eye.” Now there might be something I’m forgetting which helped explain them beyond “bad guys.” But even if it did, it had obviously not been memorable. Here, though, it’s different. We see that Mumm-Ra is an ancient evil once thwarted by the Thundercats and that the Eye belongs to him - once again painting the ‘cats to be not so stellar on their morals. I’ve already mentioned their abuse of the other creatures. There’s more to it than all this, fortunately, but I’m not going to bore you with it.

They’re also so much more cat-like than they were the first time, which only makes sense (and had bothered me before as well.) They’ve taken some liberties, such as making Tigra and Lion-O brothers, changing up relationships and such... but hey, it’s a reboot. It’s not supposed to be exactly the same. So far the changes are welcomed. The character design is such that they’re easily recognizable as their 80’s counterparts but they’re more sleek and tweaked just enough to be “new.”  Oh - they also gave the Thundercats - get this - THUNDER & lightning to use!  Cool.

Snarf 2011

80's Snarf

They even managed to keep the most annoying character, Snarf (annoying in voice [always saying 'Snarf Snarf'] and intrusiveness), and tone him down to something not so damned irritating.  (Reboot Snarf doesn't talk [as of yet that I've seen] beyond a version of his trademark 'snarf' but it doesn't sound the same.  The difference, for instance, between a cat's actual meow and our saying "meow.")

And so, because this version cares much more deeply about the story it would seem [even to the point of trying to make sense of one of the more ridiculous bits in the original: The Ro-Bear Berbils [cyborg bears with tufts of fur from their metal] by having a glimpse of them as a relic from a time of technology now thought to be mere myth, proven wrong when Mumm-Ra awakes and joins forces with the others who have been developing this mythical weaponry ever since...] ANYWAY, I’m liking it very much - mostly due to the bonus of actual storytelling this time!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Wendy? Word.

My best friend Laughter and I have been playing Words with Friends on our phones lately.  We now have three games going at once.  It's rather fun... and if you can't figure it out from the picture, it's really a knock-off of Scrabble.  It's one of those games that I've always liked but no one ever really wants to sit down and play.  Now, on the go, it's in the palm of our hands.

I bet you've already read the tiles at the bottom there.  Yeah, sure, I rearranged the letters to spell Wendy, but I didn't alter the letters which had been allotted to me.

Is the omniverse conspiring corroboratively with me?  I'll just go ahead and believe so, for it makes me happier.

Scrabble/Words with Friends isn't merely fun.  It's a way to keep one on one's toes in terms of words and vocabulary.  Maybe not to a high degree, but the tumbling around of tiles into words definitely has some beneficial affects on getting creativity flowing.  I also enjoy the words that it won't accept, as in the ones I make up and wish were real so I could utilize that Triple Word Score space.  In the game, such words are not allowed, but in the hands of an author it can indeed be brought into existence and defined.

On another note, I get a kick out of the words Laughter and I placed on the board.  I began it with "insane," he placed "ram" and, logically, then, I put down "reboot."  One could arrange those words into saying Hollywood likes to RAM an INSANE REBOOT down our throats every so often, like the new Spider-Man movie, but don't get me started.  Besides, I'm done with superheroes anyway, remember?

Okay, back to happier thoughts.  So glad Wendy appeared in my life in such a wordful and wonderful way.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

PAN Pan (as in *Almost All Pan)

Wouldn't it be great if you could have
the pertinent Pan texts of Barrie in one single volume?
Why yes, yes it would.

And now you can!

It's edited by Anne Hiebert Alton and from Broadview Press.

Actually there seems to be one text not accounted for... Barrie's screenplay.  But other than that, you couldn't ask for a better compilation - including the original 3-Act play (as opposed to the expanded full-length.)

You can find out more about it or order it here.

Go ahead and see all the goodies in it!

I have to give credit to Anon*, who sent me an email about this one.  As life gets more complex (with more and more to "check" and do) it becomes harder to be on top of all that's happening with the eternal boy, so I'm quite grateful that a fairy or two is whispering to others to whisper to me.  Thanks, Anon!

I'll be picking this one up... and any Pan Fan worth thy salt will do so as well!

*Barrie enthusiast and my faithful reader and #1 fan

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Wacky Wendy Tale

Just found out about this a minute or two ago from Twitter.

An author named Barbara Silkstone is using the story of Peter Pan as a springboard. However, it is not in the sense of a continuation to Barrie’s narratives, so it doesn’t raise a flag from me, the purist.

She’s using Barrie in a parody fashion, and it’s the second in a series of “Fractured Fairy Tales.” The first tackled Alice, from Wonderland/Looking-Glass fame, The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters

The one using the famous young mother of Barrie is called Wendy and the Lost Boys and here’s the description on Amazon:

When a deathbed promise to one of her agents leaves Wendy Darlin, feisty Miami real estate broker for billionaires, trapped on a super-yacht with Ponzi-king, Charlie Hook, she’s forced to join him on a quest to recover his hidden treasure. Along for the danger-filled adventure are an undercover SEC Investigator, who kindles a spark in Wendy with his ‘Johnny Depp’ eyes and Hook’s young female helicopter pilot who befriends Wendy as they sail the high seas, one step ahead of modern day ruthless pirates. A laugh out loud whodunit… kidnapping, revenge, and a little murder on the side. The second book in the Fractured Fairy Tales by Silkstone series of criminally funny fables, this comedy mystery is set in Miami and the Caribbean.

This is a modern morality tale that takes the reader on an action-filled ride with memorable characters and lots of laughs along the way. It’s Indiana Jones meets Romancing the Stone while still remaining faithful to the original Peter Pan and Wendy.
~ Consuelo Saah Baehr, author of Best Friends

It’s available on Kindle from Amazon for just 99¢ here, Alice is here also at 99¢.

She has many stellar reviews for the Alice book.
Best wishes to you, Ms. Silkstone!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Avast! Thank Ye and Hear Ye!

Well, well, well...

if it isn't the illustrious Andrea Jones, author of Hook & Jill, consorting once again with the flagitious Captain Hook.

Just something I whipped up not too long ago to both take a break from the creation of pictures for my interquel and as a way to say "Thank you!" to Andrea for having a gander at a revised section of said interquel.

The revision had been at her request, to solve a problem of congestion of information and introductions to characters.  I'm happy to say that my rewrites satisfied her and thus took care of the issue.  I'd thought it had as well, but it's nice to have a Pan fan (and the one who targeted the botched bit) and fellow writer agree.

Further report on the status of illustrations for Peter Pan: Betwixt-and-Between - nearing the finish line, folks.  For a little while I'd not been sure what to depict for the next chapter.  But I've just had an idea which might work.  I'll give it a whirl and see how it turns out.  Fortunately the picture to try for utilizes an image I'd been hoping to incorporate.  Glad to have found a place for it...?  I suppose I'll find out!  I've since shown the pictures I already have to even more folks... always well received and some sort of "How did you do that?" question comes up.  Thank goodness.

Beyond that, there are just two more pictures to be done.  Well, at least two.  I might be inspired to produce more than one for either chapter.  But thinking ahead to what's in those chapters I'm not inclined to think I'll be making other scenes for them.  Won't say "never" so to speak, though.

(Another photo manipulation of "Hook & Jones" can be seen on this post.)

And if you don't already have a copy of her amazing book, go get one... 
for I heard tale that the sequel, Other Oceans is also fixing to make its splash!