Thursday, March 28, 2013

PIPPIN: How far will you go to be extraordinary?

So yesterday I went to see PIPPIN and I can't stop thinking about it.  Like seriously.  I'm still in awe.

PIPPIN's been my favorite musical since my highschool did it when I was a freshman.  It was the first experience I've had of it, but I fell nose over tail for it almost instantly.  I was lucky enough to go to a hs that had an extraordinary music program (we had an honors choir, a cappella, even did Les Mis when I was a sophomore, complete with a barricade and revolving set.  Yes, it cost us a lot.  Yes, I bet we're still trying to pay it off now).  I was in the pit band, playing bass, and with each performance just fell in love with music more every time.

So when I heard there was going to be a revival, I couldn't believe it.  I'd been waiting for a Broadway performance of it since then (uhh, for 10 years, I guess.  Wow, I'm too young for anything to have been 10 years ago...)

ANYWHO.

Now this wasn't just your average performance of PIPPIN.  This was AMAZING.  And I've seen a lot of B'way shows, living so close to NY.  It was better than I ever thought it could be.  Like blew my brain.  This was PIPPIN meets Cirque Du Soleil.  They had acrobats climbing poles, hanging on hoops and swings, doing ridiculous flips.  They used the stage in such a great way, since now they could use it in three dimensions, instead of two.  They also changed the Leading Player role to a female which was innovative (and during the war scene her dancers were changed to dudes, which I thought was a really cool detail that some people may miss).  And the grandma was seriously incredible (you'll see what I mean if you see it; I don't want to spoil anything).  There was something for everyone in it: romance, action, dancing, acrobatics, brilliant singing.

And you can't talk about PIPPIN without discussing Pippin.  Matthew James Thomas, who was also in Spiderman: Turn off the Dark (and is British, I feel like that's necessary to mention), was cast as the lead.  And seriously guys?  He was perfection.  He was so genuine and naive in the beginning, caring towards the grandma, awkward when he had to be awkward, all around adorbs, and overall amazing.  AND DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON HIS VOICE.  Holy *swoons*.

And I love this musical because of the message. (Okay, I love it because of the music, but the message is big too).  Pippin just finished his education and he wants to know what he's doing with his life.  (So essentially, a New Adult book).  He tries all these different things, but just never feels fulfilled.  I just think it's a really relatable story, one that many people have felt in their lives.  What do we do to feel fulfilled?  How far will we go to be extraordinary?  Or as Pippin sings, Here I am, to seize my day, if someone would just tell me when the hell it is.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Perks of Being A Wallflower: Book vs. Movie

I recently finished reading The Perks of Being A Wallflower.  That meant I could finally watch the movie.  I was really excited about the movie because I love Logan Lerman and Emma Watson.  I was also really interested in Emma Watson's American accent (she did pretty well I thought).

But for me, my favorite part of the movie turned out to be Ezra Miller who played Patrick.  He was seriously perfect!  But I'll get back to that.

I had never read Perks before, and as a seriously shy introvert in middle school, wish that I had read it then.  I thought the voice was a little young for high school, but I got used to it as the story progressed.  In the book, I really got the sense of Charlie's, for lack of a better term, simple-minded nature.  Everything was black or white to him.  He didn't really understand the concept of lying, even for a good cause.  He liked following the rules because it meant he had a handbook for the situation.  He was pretty socially awkward.  But he noticed everything and understood what people liked.  He was a great listener.

And those things that I liked in the book, didn't really show up well in the movie.  I thought Logan Lerman did a good job as Charlie, especially in the end scenes, but it's just really hard to see someone noticing other people in movies.  It didn't translate as well to film.  At one point Patrick states outright that Charlie notices things and that he's a wallflower.  It wasn't subtle, but it got the point across for those who didn't read the book and knew the nuances of Charlie.

Patrick is the largest character in the movie and I thought Ezra Miller played him perfectly.  He was funny and not too over-the-top, but endearing and genuine.  Plus seeing "Bland" as Mary Elizabeth was cool.  I thought she did a really good job in that part, even though that's not at all how I pictured her.  One of those times where film did it better than my mind.

So I would say, def read the book first, then see the movie.  Both are good, but you'll get a lot more out of it if you read the book first.

Friday, March 22, 2013

What to write next?

Guys, first off, this is my third post this week.  Who is this person and what did they do with Steph?

Anywho, now that I've finished TDoC, it's on to the next project.  But what should I write next?  That really *is* the question.

There's been a few ideas swirling around my head for a while.  The one that's been around the longest is a music/band idea, but it's pretty generic, so I've pretty much shelved it for later.  The next one, I have this fantasy setting in my head that I want to use, but I don't have a plot or characters.  The third one is contemporary, which I've never tried before, but it's almost fully formed.  I know most of the characters, the plot, and the setting.  But it's New Adult.  And it's sad.  Like, really sad.  And so so different from what I've written in the past.

So which do I pick?  I already started plotting out the NA one, but I don't know if I want to take the time to write it all if it's not marketable.  I don't want to shoot myself in the foot before I've even started, ya know?  Maybe I should plot the fantasy one out and see which one is pulling me in.  I feel like my heart is in the NA one, mostly because I already know where it's going and who the characters are, but the fantasy setting is looking so good in my head right now (and also on my Pinterest page)...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

FIRST DRAFT OF TDoC IS FINITO

Woohoo!!  Last night I finished the first draft of MS2.  This one didn't come as easily as MS1, as the characters are very different from me and what I tend to like.  Especially the LI who is introverted and compassionate.  I tend to write LIs that are brash and cocky, the Damons instead of the Stefans.  I know this LI needs work, but I still really like him and his pink watch.

Anyways, I figured I'd do a recap posts so I can move on to something new.  (Isn't that how it always is??)

What is the title of your book?

THE DISLOYALTY OF COLORS.

I actually really like this title.  Once I sat down to brainstorm titles, it didn't actually take that long to come up with.

Where did the idea come from?

I've always been interested in synesthesia (when one sense is crossed with another so tastes have colors or smells have colors) since I learned about it in an Intro to Psych class in college.  I remember a girl saying that when her mom was making dinner, she would have to turn down her music in order to be able to smell what was cooking.  That situation kind of just blew my mind.  I also love codes and secret messages, so it just kind of spiraled from there.

What genre does your book fall into?

I'm calling it YA SF since it's set in the near future.  It's also a little bit cyberpunk, I think, but I'm afraid that would pigeon-hole it too much.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

One sentence is really not enough for everything that goes on!  ugh!

Here it goes:  In the near future, sixteen-year-old Tesla Sonenclare, using her synesthesia and code-breaking skills, accidentally uncovers a heist plot to steal government intelligence, but then quickly becomes the only suspect.

How long did it take you to write your first draft?

Oh man, I lost count.  I wrote half of it during two months last summer, but stopped to revise a different book.  I guess it's been two months since I re-started?  Plus a month before the New Year.  So five months total.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I've been calling it INSIGNIA meets HEIST SOCIETY.  That's really about it.  Maybe CODA by Emma Trevayne because she said it was also a bit cyberpunk, but that's not out yet, so I haven't read it.  (But seriously can't wait to!)  Maybe CINDER because of all the technology.  TDoC kind of hard to describe.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

This is always a hard one.  Tesla has platinum blonde hair, almost white, and brown eyes, so someone who looks like that.  (Very specific, I know...)  If you crossed Darren Criss's looks (and musical ability) with Matt Smith's personality, you would get the love interest, Nohl.

What else about the book might pique readers interests?

It kind of has everything.  Action (because of the heists), cool new technology, but also a deeper theme of learning who you are and what someone would sacrifice to save his or her family.


So there you have it, THE DISLOYALTY OF COLORS in a rather big nut-shell.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Torchwood vs. Doctor Who

So I just finished Torchwood: Children of Earth (season 3).  I was going through DoctorWho-withdrawl, so I figured something loosely based in his world might do the trick.  While it's not the same as Who, I did enjoy parts of it. And while watching, I started to see a lot of similarities.

They try to make Captain Jack Harkness into the Doctor.  Jack has a mysterious back story that no one knows about and he won't tell.  While he doesn't regenerate, he doesn't die either.  He's supposed to have this snappy personality.  And while I see where they were going, I don't think they took it far enough.  There wasn't enough of that Captain Jack charm that we got during Doctor Who.  And when he did have some flirty one-lines, they seemed forced.  But the one thing they missed completely is the Doctor's compassion. To me, that's what we love about the Doctor.  No person is insignificant to him.  He treats everyone the same and with respect.  And Jack is pretty cold.

Hello there, Eleven.
What I did like about Jack was his love of kissing.  He had a lot of boyfriends.  In most shows, the leading man has tons of women, but here they took it a step further and made it women AND men.  It's also something we don't see a lot of in the U.S., so I appreciated it from the BBC.

I think my favorite part of Torchwood was Owen.  He was the tension of the whole show. And when we found out how he had joined Torchwood at the end of season 2, that just made me like him even more.  I also really liked John Hart (or Spike from Buffy, as I was told).  It's those characters that have so much conflict and tension that really moved the story forward.

Season 3 was a completely different series (and only 5 eps) so I'm not really going to get into that.  It was def the best of the seasons (though I haven't watched the last yet) and Jack's choice in the final ep was seriously heart-breaking and made me reconsider being a writer.  Okay, maybe not that far, but it really makes you ask how far you would go to have your characters make the tough choices.

Oh, and 'Torchwood' is an anagram of 'Doctor Who'... *mind blown*

In other news, Doctor Who comes back March 30th!

Monday, March 11, 2013

It Takes A Village To Write A Query on YA Stands

Queries are difficult.  Getting a 50k story into 250 words?  One can go crazy writing and rewriting a query.  That's why I entered YA Stands's It Takes a Village To Write A Query and was lucky enough to be picked!  It was such a good experience and I'm so appreciative of the nine people who read my query and gave me notes.  The fact that they took the time to help out was amazing!  And if you need query help, go and enter!

So head on over to their blog and tell me what you think of the query for my MS, The Disloyalty of Colors.  Any and all advice/suggestions are appreciated!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Warm Bodies vs. Warm Bodies

I just finished reading Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion.  It was (I think) the only book I've ever finished reading after I'd seen the movie.  As I said in my last post, I just can't finish books if I've seen the movie first.

But Warm Bodies (the book) was really good.  Marion has a great voice and created a great character in R.  He's a zombie, but he's conflicted.  He doesn't just want to eat brains, but wants something more in life.  If you can call being a zombie, a life.  (I did say he was conflicted).

I think my favorite part of the book was the voice.  R was funny and sensitive, despite being a brain-hungry zombie, and intellectual.  He thought about stuff, a lot.  And most of that didn't get in to the movie, so you really understood his motivation a lot more in the book.

Why yes, I will look into your blue zombie eyes.
In the movie, I thought Nicholas Hoult was a good R.  (Plus floppy hair!  *swoon*)  He did a good job of portraying a zombie that wanted to be human but didn't really know how to be.  He had a lot of expressions that I think represented R perfectly.  There's one scene where he is passing a guard and is desperately trying to act human, and you can see the pain in his face.  (It's also a funny scene in the book.)  There's another scene where these goats come up to him and he tries to shoo them away because he doesn't really know what to do.  I thought Nick Hoult also had a pretty good zombie walk.  I think his long limbs had something to do with it.  As with most 1st person novels that get turned into movies, I wanted more of R's thoughts and feelings, which is hard to do in film.  He really didn't have very many lines (he is a zombie after all) so it was hard to get into his head without the voice-overs.

I think I liked the book better, but since I had seen the movie first, I wasn't as invested.  Plus, Nicholas Hoult was perfection as R.  The story itself was an unusual take on zombies and pretty refreshing.  So I'd def recommend both!