Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Lately I've been thinking a lot about characterization.  To me, this is the most important part of the story, and the part that is the hardest for me.  If I don't like the main character, I'm not going to spend 300+ pages listening to her story.  Characters have to pop off the page, be likable, but also have some problem that they have to fix.  A lot goes in to making good, three dimensional characters.  And for me, something that gives that character an extra spark is quirk.

I've been thinking about secondary characters as well as main characters, and there are some really good quirks out there that make all the difference.  If that person didn't have the quirk, they would fall flat.  And some quirks push the character over the top to brilliance.

Some of my favorite quirks are:

-Glee's Sam Evans' impersonations.  Sam is kind of a throw-away character on Glee.  You probably don't even know who he is.  (He's also known as Trouty Mouth and played by Chord Overstreet).  But every time he does one of his impersonations on the show, I smile.  It makes me like him a little bit more.

-Paranormalcy's Evie's Pink Taser.  Evie has a quirky voice already, but what puts it over the top is her pink rhinestone taser that she uses to tase vampires.  It's the dichotomy of girlie girl and fierce soldier that gets me.

-Ocean Eleven's Rusty Ryan is always eating.  Brad Pitt's character is eating in almost every scene.  It's just kind of funny to see him always holding some new food, and gives his character just a little bit more depth.

-Looking For Alaska's Miles' love for reading biographies of famous writers, but not their famous words.  Really, John Green puts a lot of quirkyness into all his characters, which is why I think his characters work so well on so many levels.  But it was reading about Miles that made me first realize why I loved it.  The quirk is so detailed that it makes Miles so real as a person.  You can't help loving the fact that he loves it, because it's so specific that you truly feel that it couldn't have been made-up.  His character obviously pulls on my heart.

What makes a good quirk?  What are some of your favorite character quirks?

Monday, November 26, 2012

To rewrite or push on?

So I've been rereading a half finished manuscript (27k) that I put aside to work on revisions.  I've finally finished rereading it (it was tough...) and it needs a lot of work.  Things are out of order and don't make sense, things are way too easy, there is too little characterization, and almost no description of the world (it's scifi).

I'm wondering, should I rewrite/revise what I already have, or just push through and finish it to the end before I start the daunting task that is revisions.  I'm leaning towards finishing (though the word count will be very low) and then revising, but I don't want to finish it and then realize everything has to be rewritten.  There's just so much I have to change and add in the beginning parts for the end to make any sense or be any good.  But I know you're "supposed" to just push on and finish the first draft so that you have a whole thing to work on.  And I might be able to see the full picture better, though I feel like I already know where I'm going.

What do you do when you revisit a half-finished manuscript?  Finish the draft or revise before finishing?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

hitRECord and JGL

I went to see JGL (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) on Monday night as he traveled with his hitRECord tour.  I knew about hitRECord before going to the show, but had never participated.  The website didn't have a whole lot of information on how to participate/upload/record, and I like to know details before I give out my email. :)  I figured I'd play around with it once I had more time (ie. didn't have to worry about grad school assignments).  But once I was at the show, I could actually see how cool it was.

Here's the basic gist: is an online collaborative community/production company created by JGL and his brother Dan.  Artists can upload various projects (all called records) which can then collaboratively be "re-mixed".  Artists can submit videos, music, short stories, literature, poems, photographs, spoken word, dance, animations, screen-writing etc, for anyone in the community to use.  The end result is some pretty cool videos all collaboratively made from many different people.  JGL says in the intro video, think of it less as an exhibition place (ie. Youtube), and more like a studio to make things together.  Collaborators will call for specific talents too; they might need a singer, or guitarist, or animator etc.  Anytime any one of the productions makes a profit, half goes back into the company, and half goes to every person who contributed to that production.

hitRECord logo.
At the show, JGL brought audience members up on stage many times to discuss their tweets of "The Road", which was one of the themes of the night.  (That, and having everyone record everything).  He also showed a bunch of the collaborative videos, and then some remixed videos.  Some collaborators on the site were asking for different clips, one of people dancing, so he brought up people to dance in front of a green screen, which then could be used for one of the records.  JGL also had some voice actors come on stage and record a short, one-sentenced monologue, while he filmed them being lifted into the air.  It was silly, and fun, and interesting, and engaging.  JGL also has a shinning personality; he seems so sincere and has such an enthusiasm   Many a curse word were used (which was perfection), and you could tell how much he loved this company and how much it meant to him and how much he wanted people to get involved.

I like the idea of being creative in multiple different ways.  I've always had multiple interests (bass guitar, piano, singing, writing, photography) and this was a cool way to tap in to a bunch of different facets of creativity.  Plus, being able to collaborate with people all over the world is really cool.  I know for myself, a lot of my music playing friends moved away and don't like around me any more.  This would be a good outlet for that.  Plus, I don't have to lug my bass anywhere, and if I want, don't have to play more than one song.  (Sometimes I get distracted...)

So if you're into collaborative things like that, check it out.  It's actually pretty cool.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Review of Wreck-It Ralph

Cuatro (the bf) and I went to see Wreck-It Ralph last Thursday.  (For those in West Philly, The Rave theater has $5 tickets all day, or $8 for 3D).  We both that it was sooo good.

Here's the summary from IMDB.
A video game villain wants to be a hero and sets out to fulfill his dream, but his quest brings havoc to the whole arcade where he lives.

Basically he wants to become a "good guy" by winning a medal.  Shenanigans ensue and he ends up going to various games to bring back his medal.

I really did love everything about this movie.  Ralph was such a good character, and the other minor and major characters were also complex.  The plot had some twists and surprises but was still very easy to follow (I mean it is a kid's movie).  The video game worlds were either based off of familiar ones, or were actual games.  The one racing world, was kind of like Mario Kart, but it was based on candy (called "Sugar Rush"), and seeing everything made of sweets was really cool.  At one point they even built a racing car made of candy at the factory.  It was all pretty inventive.

We also saw it in 3D which was AWESOME.  I usually don't like 3D, but I think it's much better for animated movies.  We were commenting on how we could see the texture on Ralph's overalls, which was a little bit mind-blowing for us.  We didn't expect the animation to be that good or that real.

I absolutely recommend this movie!!  Def go see it if you have time.