Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Certainly there are stigmas with occupations like the socially awkward IT guy, the superficial salesman, engineers who are too literal, and so forth. I'd like to bury the hatchet between two notorious rivals, especially in high school, the dumb jock and the snobby writer.
This shouldn't be hard to do to meet in the middle. After all, Ernest Hemingway was a guy's guy. Not to toot my own horn, but I boxed for a bit. Frank Dorchak, one of my scribe buds, clearly hits the weights. And Jeanne Stein is a black belt!
The athletic organization that I point you to, believe it or not, is the NFL. It seems fitting since, amongst my RMFW and Pike's Peak Pals anyway, that our Broncs bit the dust in the playoffs. We fans twiddling our thumbs now, are looking for a reason to keep watching the grid iron, so why not some literary education from the big oafs in the tight pants? Yes, I'm serious.
First off, there's the running back who just wants to hit the shower, but the reporters hound him with the typical inane questions. Sweating, hobbling, he answers, "Well, you know...we gave it everything and...you know our quarter back was on today...and you know blah blah blah..." This is freakin' gold. Gold I tell ya. That persistent 'you know' typical of lots of sports personalities is called a dialogue marker. You could slap such a verbal crutch on one of your characters and your readers would develop an ear for that person's dialogue. You could even skip the tag 'Evan said,' or 'Roxy smiled,' to identify the talker because the reader knows the speaker by the marker.
Then there are those commentators. Seriously, one of the things that turns me off of a manuscript is the lack of pizazz with word choice. Verbs are a great opportunity for colorful turn of phrase and newscasters like Collinsworth and Aikman are usually pretty good with the action words. On the Cowboys game, a touchdown with some ricocheting off of several blockers summoned, "He spun into the end zone," from the commentator. On an accurate sharp pass, you may hear, "And Manning bullets it to the receiver." Some of these may be a little purple, but at least they boast some passion...you know, man?
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
However, beware! There are those phones that lurk out in shadows, waiting to sneak into your manuscript and expose you as a fraud. I've seen them in the work of good friends who have English MAs, unfinished pieces that they asked me to eyeball. In a recent manuscript of mine, Janet caught that I wrote chalk full when it's supposed to be chock full. I know the definition of passive voice, appositives, can dazzle you with my text book knowledge, but DOH, I missed these. Thanks for the catch, by the way, Janet.
Here is an awesome list. Go figure, it was on Wikipedia, but I like to run through it and recall if I used any of these that might be iffy in my print.
If you're waiting for something a little more snarky and comical from me, I assure you some postings are on the way. You know the story The Emperor's New Clothes? I'm the kid who squeals that the king is naked. I'll be pointing out the obvious yet hidden with some song and dance in 2015.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
In The Green Hills of Earth, a short story by Robert A. Heinlein, “Noisy” Rhysling, a blind and dying balladeer is catching rides back to Earth where he wants to be laid to rest. Yet he sacrifices himself to repair a malfunctioning space ship. His final song, before he dies…
…harsh bright soil of Luna -
Out ride the sons of Terra,
Far drives the thundering jet -
Saturn's rainbow rings -
the frozen night of Titan -
We pray for one last landing
On the globe that gave us birth
Let us rest our eyes on the fleecy skies
And the cool, green hills of Earth.
Then there are Batty’s final words in Blade Runner:
“I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I've watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.”
Yes, Batty is the “bad guy,” but at that moment he’s captured his life as neatly as the pair of doves he holds in his hands. And he is transformed, as is Dekker, the “good guy.” Both want to experience “things you people wouldn’t believe.”
It takes courage to set emotions to paper and perseverance to claim the tale. It takes courage to be a writer. We might not wear armor and carry swords, but then again, I have traveled through space, danced on moons, and won the battle of battles. I’ve traveled back in time and flown P-51s. I've risked my life to save others, and I’ll do it all again tomorrow. I hope you will, too.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Today, we have a necropolis of film suggestions that are guaranteed to, if not shiver your bones, at least leave you satisfactorily entertained. And I'll throw in a couple of reading suggestions.
I'm going to go with the blue chip, power punch time investment first. King Kong, under Peter Jackson's direction, awed moviegoers. Chances are you've seen it since it's played on one of the thousands of HBO channels daily, but if it never made your rotation, the selling points are many. Great performances alone by Adrien Brody, Naomi Watts, Jack Black, and horror veteran Thomas Kretschmann will dazzle the first-time watcher. Kyle Chandler nails it, poking fun at stars, too. A very sympathetic monster pays a perfect tribute to the original 1933 version. The graphics are breathtaking. This film is appropriate for all ages, yet is STILL meant to be scary, which is easy to forget amidst all the adventure. One scene--I'll just say insects--crowns it as a horror flick.
His name is synonymous with Hannibal Lecter, but long before Anthony Hopkins made the evil psychiatrist a household name, he shined in a psychological creep fest and masterpiece entitled Magic. There have been a stack of movies which played on the spooky dummy theme (Chucky comes to mind) but most of them fall short of a deep story, or worse, resort to violence to sustain an audience. Magic, however, grabs heartstrings through the very sympathetic main character Corky Withers--sympathetic, but clearly depraved. Thus, an inevitable tragic wreck is coming and the watcher has no choice but to cringe and give in to his curiosity as to how it will play out. The dialogue between Corky and Fats the dummy is chilling. You'll start believing Fats is alive. In praise, Anthony Hopkins IS REALLY A VENTRILOQUIST. It's a complex role enough with the tormented Corky. When one considers that Hopkins is doing the voice of Fats the dummy, you'll see that his performance is actually better than that of the cannibal character. Magic was written by William Goldman of Princess Bride, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid fame, by the way. This would be a great remake as long as another master actor lives the lead role and the director's helm is betrothed to a lover of the novel and original release. The trailer alone is eerie!
As a strict father--hard to believe, I know, considering my wild streak--I try to find appropriate frightening treats for my kid to watch. The Woman in Black delivered. It has all the right stuff, creaking floors, apparitions, things jumping out to startle you, but doesn't cross over the line. Big thumbs up.
Because I always suggest oldies, I thought I'd at least try to recommend something fresh. Proxy passed the test. This story is out there! For me to plug something that has lots of gore means that it has other merits. Such is the case with Proxy. Warning readers, this is a full tilt boogie splatter film. The main character miscarries due to a violent attack, but the characters are unique and I got to admit that each scene riveted me to the grand finale. Very independent and off the beaten path.
For books, I highly HIGHLY recommend Chuck Palahniuk's Haunted. It's been one of my favorites for years. Got the hardback. Chuck's gritty attitude is not for everyone, but his style is as loud as a punk rock guitar solo. This is a collection of short stories by fictious writers who are trapped.
And you could do much worse than my novel, On a Dark Desert Highway. It's getting rave reviews. Yep, it has a beast, a feast, dancing, sweat, mirrors, champagne, the device, candles, and most importantly, no way to leave. I assure you the ending will be one of the biggest surprises you've ever read.
For film recommendations from previous years, check out:
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
His agony started from a misprint. Devon Jensen observed the copy of his new release Art Tragedy with a glow that only an author can feel when finally seeing the book in hand after 12 months of creating and an additional period of unfathomable edits and marketing preparation. Then his eyes fell upon the typo—a flaw in his perfect, beautiful child. To most, the error would hide behind the context. It screamed at Devon, however, like a lamb being slaughtered.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Elvis in the CIA, Zombies, and Stephen King Movie Factoids - Welcome to the World of Writer Andrew Rausch
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
See more of his work at http://vimeo.com/102116605