Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Five: Five Movies That Make Great Writing Tools

I do a lot of workshops and articles on writing and I find movies the universal experience to clarify all those writing rules. Here are some of my go-to standards:

1. Romancing the Stone: this flick about a sheltered, shy romance author and the bold adventurer who captures her heart during a treasure hunt is the ideal example of Goal, Motivation, and Conflict. Joan Wilder wants to rescue her sister from kidnappers in Colombia. Jack Colton is a poacher trying to capture enough rare jungle birds to buy a sailboat. Kidnappers will kill her sister if she doesn’t bring them a treasure map. Jack wants nothing more than to sail around the world alone. Joan is na├»ve, sheltered, and has never experienced love or adventure. When she arrives in Colombia, she gets on the wrong bus and winds up stranded in the middle of the rain forest. Her misadventures stack up from there, and are all based on her internal conflicts. Jack’s internal conflicts are that he’s suspicious, unreliable, and slightly on the shady side of the law. When Joan inadvertently releases his cache of rare birds, he sees all his hard work and hard-earned money fly away with them.

2. Pirates of the Caribbean, The Curse of the Black Pearl: I do a lot of talks for school-aged kids and when they hear I'm a romance author, the boys (and even some of the girls!) usually groan. But then I let them know that each one of them has seen and enjoyed at least one romance movie in their lifetime. I run the gamut and ask them to raise their hands if I list a movie they've enjoyed: Shrek, SpiderMan, and by the time I reach Pirates, every hand is raised.

3. Shallow Hal: There is no better example of Point of View than this film about a man who's given the chance to see women for their inner beauty. The heroine, Rosemary, is played by Gwyneth Paltrow both in and out of a fat suit. When we see Rosemary through Hal's eyes, she's thin and beautiful. When we're in someone else's POV, we see the obese version. In one terrific scene, thin Rosemary is standing beside Hal as she's introduced to one of his old girlfriends. But in the plate glass window behind Rosemary, her shadow is fat. Truly, well done!

4. Walt Disney's Beauty and the Beast: Need to write a short synopsis and you're hopelessly stuck? Check out my article on my Gina website, The Top Ten Questions for a Successful Synopsis, which uses this particular film to condense a two-plus hour movie into roughly a four hundred word summary.

5. Cheaper By the Dozen (2003 version): This is one of those movies I cite as a pet peeve. Mom of twelve sends a manuscript to a friend in the publishing world and in the space of a week, she gets The Call, copies of her hardcover book (?) and is booked on a whirlwind talk show tour, ending with a guest shot on Oprah. Ah, Hollywood. Gotta love the fantasy.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the Friday Five Family for more fun lists today! Their links are in my sidebar.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Five: Five "Seminars" I'd Like to Hold With My Family

Every time I go away for a conference, an image pops in my head: my return home to the blackened remnants of a burnt-down house and my family huddled in a circle on the front lawn in their bathrobes, attempting to open a can of tuna with a screwdriver. Think I exaggerate? Maybe. A little.

But clearly, there are household skills my family just can't seem to master. And so before my next trip in April, I may have to give them a few crash courses in survival in the millenium.

1. Indoor Plumbing: Nothing to Fear. Apparently, my family is completely unaware that we have running water. Thus, no one but me knows how to fill ice cube trays, pets' water bowls, the Keurig, pitchers of drink mix. And forget dirty dishes. They'll pile up in the sink, on the counter, on the kitchen table, the dining room table, and even travel into bedrooms.

2. How Laundry Gets from the Dryer to Your Drawer. Why remove clothing, fold it, and set it in your drawers when it's just as easy to yank out of the dryer where it's lain for a week? How else can you get those interesting wrinkles and creases?

3. Toilet Paper Replacement. I've heard there are families who debate whether the toilet paper should unroll up or down. In my house, I'd just be thrilled to never see an empty cardboard tube again.

4. Putting Garbage in its Place. From the used K-cups (coffee for the Keurig brewer) that litter my counters to the empty milk cartons and overflowing kitchen trash can, nothing gets removed by anyone but me. This course would demonstrate how anyone can actually use legs and hands to dispose of these items without assistance.

5. Litter Box Maintenance or Why the Cat is Glaring Daggers at You. Two cats means daily cleaning of the litter box, a skill that eludes other family members and is the reason we'll be remaining simply a two-cat family, regardless of the pleas for another kitten.

What "seminar" does your family need to attend?

Don't forget to check out the other Fabulous Friday Fivers. Their links are in my sidebar.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

It's a Valentine's Party!

I'm guest blogging over at Long and Short Reviews and the Goddess Fish Party Pavilion all day today. Stop by often. You could win a Kindle or another great prize. Join the fun!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Friday Five: Five Things I Plan to Do on Super Bowl Sunday

If you're anywhere in the US, you know this weekend is the Super Bowl, a time where football fans and non-fans alike gather to watch the game, marvel at the commercials and host huge parties. Now, I don't mind football, but I admit to being self-absorbed about most sports. Unless my kid's playing, the winners and losers mean nothing to me. My world keeps spinning in the same direction, I still have to go to Le Day Job on Monday, and unless I win the pool at the office, my financial picture remains the same. In other words, I just can't be arsed.

So the tradition here is the boys go skiing. Yep, it's a male bonding event the hubster and my son look forward to every year. They're gone waaaaaay early in the morning, spend the day on the slopes, and then hit the nearby pub for giant burgers, beer for the man and root beer for the boy, and all things masculine while they watch the battle on the gridiron. My daughter will be working until six p.m., which gives me a full day to myself. Oh, the decadence! So while the rest of you are gobbling up Buffalo wings and screaming at the refs, here's what I'll be up to:

1. Mani-pedi. I'm long overdue to take care of my extremities and this winter's really beaten my fingers and toes until they resemble the streets outside. Time for some TLC for my digits.

2. Color my hair. Don't worry, I'm staying red. But Clairol had the nerve to discontinue my beautiful, unique shade. So now I have to experiment with new ones 'til I find the right blend. Experiment One was too dark. This is Experiment Two.

3. Shop. Yes, Super Bowl Sunday is the perfect shopping day. And since my current wardrobe needs a major overhaul, I'm up for some power spending.

4. Chick flicks. All the movies I never get to see, thanks to the non-romantic majority in my household. (What can I say? My husband considered "Crash" the feel good movie of the year. I've sat through "Saw" with the fam on Easter Sunday, and this past Christmas, we all cuddled up to watch "The Book of Eli.") I need some happy endings!

5. Write. (Naturally.)

However you spend the day, enjoy! Go (whatever team you're rooting for)!

Don't forget the other Friday Five participants. Stop by and see what they have to talk about this week. Use the links in my sidebar.