Friday, November 24, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-November 24, 2017

It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa CainTonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

I'm a little late posting this, partly because I'm lacking in motivation after such a busy day yesterday.  After a full pot of coffee, I'm starting to finally get on the ball with what I need to get done today.

Zoe had a great birthday, and she's learned how fun it is to open gifts.  She loves wrapping paper, but most kids do, don't they?  Here are some pictures I took of her on her birthday.  Isn't she cute?

I ate way too much food for Thanksgiving, but a lot of the dishes I attacked included fresh vegetables and fruits, so at least I got some good nutrition in there.

I've made some good progress on the short story draft I've been meaning to work on.  It's almost half done, and it would be cool if I could finish that draft by the end of the weekend.  I have no idea how likely that is, but we'll see how it goes.

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, November 17, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-November 17, 2017

It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa CainTonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

We bought a used car last weekend.  It's an SUV that has enough room to haul the kids and various other things, which is nice.  Since it is used, it needs a few repairs done.  We already got one of those fixes done, and the others will be completed as time and money allow.

We also got a new washer and dryer.  Our old washing machine was completely dead, and our old dryer took about six hours to actually dry anything, so it was past time to get them.  We also got both for the price we'd been expecting to pay for one, so that was great!  I'm definitely happy about that.

Zoe's first birthday is on Wednesday!  I can't believe she's going to be one year old already.  She's been proving her age by walking across our living room for the past week.  She's still wobbly, but she's getting better at it every day.

To all of my fellow American blogging friends, Happy Thanksgiving!  I'm going to be eating entirely too much food over the next week.

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Remakes Blogfest

It's time for the Remakes Blogfest!  Our hosts for this one are Alex J. Cavanaugh and Heather M. Gardner.

Let's face it.  Remakes abound these days.  A lot of the time, remakes are made to cash in on nostalgia, and they're often done so poorly it hurts.  In a world filled with terrible remakes, it might be reassuring to know that remakes can be done well.

The process of writing this post was more difficult than I originally imagined it would be.  I've seen a lot of remakes, some of which I didn't realize were remakes until much later, and that got me to thinking about what makes a good remake.  I can't quite plot the trajectory I ended up taking, but one thing led to another, and all of the sudden I found myself debating the terms remake, reboot, and retelling.

In general, these terms aren't so easily defined.  People seem to have different ideas of where the lines are drawn.  It's generally agreed that remakes stick close to the original source material.  The primary reason to make a strict remake tends to be to make use of updated special effects.  And to make money, of course.  This might be one reason why I find a lot of remakes dissatisfying.  They ultimately seem pointless.  If the original was so wonderful that you want to make a completely faithful remake, then why bother?

Reboots happen a lot these days too.  These take the original premise, but often take the story in a different direction.  This can be an interesting route to take.  You can explore how beloved characters react to new scenarios and contemplate the alternate paths history might have followed under other circumstances.  The recent Star Trek films are an example of this.  While they're not perfect, I have enjoyed them for what they are.  As long as you stay true to the heart of the source material, a reboot can be a good way to entertain old fans while drawing in new ones.

Then comes the category I personally find most intriguing: the retelling, aka the re-imagining.

The retelling is the least loyal of the three.  Here you can have wild divergence from the original source material, though you can still see it there, hidden in the bones of the piece when
you pick it apart.  It serves as inspiration, helping to lay the foundation for something new.  Why do this, though?  Why are we compelled to retell stories across time?  There are untold worlds worth of stories to be told, but we keep coming back to the same ones and reexamining them.  Why do we keep adapting Shakespeare's plays?  Why do we keep making new works based off The Odyssey?

I think a part of it has to do with the themes of these classic stories.  Shakespeare's plays continue to resonate because they speak to love and loss and greed and pain.  No matter how much society changes, those human emotions stick with us.  Those old stories are a part of us.  We grew up with them, and we continue to relate to them.

That being said, we also live in a time vastly different from Shakespeare's day.  While our humanity remains, our worries about the world are different.  We live in a world where the wonders of science both excite us and frighten us.  We value what science has made possible while also worrying about how our own human failings may lead to disaster on a much larger scale than was previously possible.  In retelling these old tales in a new context, we can explore what it means to be human in modern times.  We can examine where we've come from and speculate about where we may be going.

That brings me to one of my favorite retellings.  It may not be a remake in the strictest sense, but I feel like it falls within the spirit of this blogfest.  I have fond memories of watching this film as a kid.

Forbidden Planet sends Shakespeare's The Tempest into deep space.  The story has been greatly changed, obviously, but it's still there, repackaged in sleek metal and special effects.  It explores the old themes in a new context.  I'd recommend watching this video to learn more about the relationship between Forbidden Planet and The Tempest.  It's pretty brilliant.

What are your feelings about remakes?  What remakes have you enjoyed?

Friday, November 10, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-November 10, 2017

It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain! Tonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

I got some great news regarding one of my short stories this week.  Near the end of August, I submitted a short story called "Becoming Death's Personal Assistant" to for an anthology called Normal Deviation.  The premise of the anthology intrigued me.  The guidelines required us to use the chosen photo as inspiration, come up with three story ideas, get rid of the first two, and write a story based on the third idea.  I did just that, and I found out this week that my story was selected for publication in the anthology!  I'm definitely excited about this one.

I also got a lot more writing done on my untitled novel in progress.  I'm nearing the 20K mark, and I hope I can keep up my momentum.

We're also looking to buy a used car in the next week or so.  We have the funds to buy something decent.  I'm just hoping to find something good in our price range.  Wish me luck on that!

What would you like to celebrate?

Friday, November 3, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things-November 3, 2017

It's Friday!  Let's Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa CainTonja Drecker and I are her co-hosts.

The kids had a great time trick-or-treating.  It was freezing cold, but at least it wasn't windy.  I had the kids wearing heavy layers of clothing under their costumes, so that helped keep them warm.  Jude dressed up as Foxy from the video game Five Nights at Freddy's, while Lyle dressed up as a creeper from Minecraft.  Zoe was an adorable little pumpkin.

It's November, and I've submitted twelve stories so far.  I've had a lot of rejections, of course, but I'm trying not to feel too bad about that.  I've been submitting to big magazines that see hundreds of stories every month, so that's to be expected.  Why do I keep trying when the odds are so stacked against me?  Maybe I'm crazy, but I still feel like I need to keep trying.  Every time I get a rejection, I turn right around and resubmit elsewhere.  If nothing else, I'm proud of my persistence.

I've been making some progress on my writing goals for the month, and I'm determined to keep going.  As long as I have coffee, I'll be okay.

What would you like to celebrate?

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Mistakes of the Past Release

Luc seeks atonement for the actions that banished him from his home. Living as a priest in a small town, he strives to show how much he’s changed with the hope that one day he can return to his family.

Haunted by the guilt that destroyed her family, Rose has shut her heart off. She vows to never let anyone near again lest she hurt them. When she meets Luc, she can’t deny the draw she feels to him.

But the past is not easily forgotten. When Luc’s past finds him, Rose is caught in the middle. Forced to face who he used to be, Luc must decide if he’s willing to give up his chance at redemption to save Rose. But doing so means he won’t be able to hide who he is. Will Rose be able to reconcile the man she knows with the devil he used to be? Or are the mistakes of the past too damning?

Buy Links:

About the Author:

Patricia Josephine never set out to become a writer. In fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. She was all about art. On a whim, she wrote down a story bouncing in her head. That was the start of it and she hasn't regretted a moment. She writes young adult under the name Patricia Lynne.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow, and an obsession with Doctor Who.

Thornwood: Creating a fictional town
I have a habit in my writing, I don’t often use real places. In my YA, Snapshots, the city Cyc lives in, I didn’t have a name until one of the very last drafts. I picked a name along the lines of Los Angeles and had a bit of meaning. In Path of Angels, and Abducted Life, there are no names for the towns the characters are from. It just wasn’t important to the story.

But when it came to Mistakes of the Past, I needed a town name because it matters to Rose. She wants to escape the town and the tragedy attached. Plus, the characters kept talking about the place. When I introduce Rose, she’s looking at the name to the town!

Many writers will use real places, but that has its downsides. You gotta get details right. That’s hard if you don’t live near the place. And trust me, someone who lives there will let you know. This is the main reason why I often make up the places where my characters live. I can arrange it how I need it to and don’t have to worry about getting it wrong and throwing readers out of the scene.

Of course, that’s not to say I don’t get inspiration from real towns and cities.

Thornwood is actually a mix of two towns I grew up around: Newberry and Curtis, Michigan. Curtis is a tiny, little tourist trap. You can drive through it in a minute. Newberry is bigger, but not by much. I mashed them together to get a small town where most everyone knows each other, but it’s also big enough for a hospital. Both aren’t too far from where I currently live, so the inspiration for the city (which I never bothered to name) is inspired by that. Although, that city is much bigger than the one I live in.

Will I ever use a real life place for a story? Yeah. It will probably be somewhere I have visited or can easily. That will allow me to make sure the streets I use are accurate and makes sense.


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Insecure Writer's Support Group: November 2017

It's the first Wednesday of the month, and you know what that means!  Let's convene another meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support GroupAlex J. Cavanaugh is our leader, and he's assembled another wonderful group of co-hosts: Tonja Drecker, Diane Burton, M.J. Fifield, and Rebecca Douglass.

Be sure to visit the IWSG website!

This month's optional question pertains to NaNoWriMo, and that brings up a little insecurity of mine.  I'm a writer who has never participated in NaNo.  Sometimes it feels like I'm the only one, though I know that can't actually be true.

So why have I never taken part in this event?  In the beginning, I found the idea of it too intimidating.  Resolving to write a novel in a month is one thing, but publicly declaring that intention and then having to follow through?  A little bit terrifying.  I admire everyone who has done it, and I would like to eventually do it too.

Why not try it this year?  Well, having a baby in the house who crawls everywhere and is trying to learn to walk makes that difficult.  Fingers crossed for next year.  Instead of doing NaNo, I'd instead like to set some writing goals for November.

Goal #1: Finish the rough draft of a short story I started writing a little over a month ago.

Goal #2: Write at least 15,000 words in the novel I started writing earlier this year.  I'd like to do 20k, but 15k sounds like a good minimum.

To those of you attempting NaNoWriMo this month, good luck!

What has you feeling insecure?