Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bucks and Free Throw Disparity

In truth, this was an awesome game!  I felt compelled to DVR it and I am glad I did because it turned out to be Bogut's career high for points!  Overall, it was a well played game and the foul calling for this game seemed pretty fair.  As far as I could tell, there wasn't too much of a disparity between calls.  I did not find myself wondering if the refs were bought off or that the team doesn't getting any respect.  It seemed like decent basketball to me.  

Let's look at last night's game versus the Orlando Magic.  The free throw disparity was ridiculous.  In fact, the refs took two free throws away from Michael Redd.  I don't understand how they could have not have called that a shooting foul.  Redd was clearly going up to the hoop when he was fouled.  The Bucks didn't get to the line very often.  it doesn't mean they weren't fouled on shots, it just means that all of them weren't called.  The Bucks were 7 (makes) of 9 (attempts) compared to 21 of 26....  

Okay, now I'm curious to take a look at the free throw disparity for each game this season:

Game 01 - 10/30/09 - Bucks (11 of 19) at 76ers (29 of 34) - Loss 86 to 99
Game 02 - 10/31/09 - Bucks (24 of 33) vs Pistons (19 of 25) - Win 96 to 85

Game 03 - 11/03/09 - Bucks (05 of 10) at Bulls (20 of 31) - Loss 81 to 83
Game 04 - 11/06/09 - Bucks (12 of 18) at Timberwolves (10 of 17) - Win 87 to 72
Game 05 - 11/07/09 - Bucks (12 of 16) vs Knicks (13 of 17) - Win 102 to 87
Game 06 - 11/11/09 - Bucks (22 of 25) vs Nuggets (27 of 31) - Win 108 to 102
Game 07 - 11/14/09 - Bucks (19 of 30) vs Warriors (25 of 28) - Win 129 to 125
Game 08 - 11/16/09 - Bucks (11 of 17) vs Mavericks (17 of 22) - Loss 113 to 115
Game 09 - 11/18/09 - Bucks (11 of 13) vs Nets (22 of 25) - Win 99 to 95
Game 10 - 11/20/09 - Bucks (17 of 21) vs Bobcats (26 of 43) - Win 95 to 88
Game 11 - 11/21/09 - Bucks (18 of 24) at Grizzlies (21 of 29) - Win 103 to 98
Game 12 - 11/23/09 - Bucks (9 of 14) at Spurs (22 of 26) - Loss 98 to 112
Game 13 - 11/25/09 - Bucks (16 of 22) at Hornets (28 of 31) - Loss 99 to 102
Game 14 - 11/27/09 - Bucks (20 of 22) at Thunder (26 of 35) - Loss 90 to 108
Game 15 - 11/28/09 - Bucks (13 of 17) vs Magic (14 of 25) - Loss 98 to 100
Game 16 - 11/30/09 - Bucks (11 of 21) vs Bulls (27 of 33) - Win 99 to 97

Game 17 - 12/02/09 - Bucks (9 of 12) at Wizards (25 of 34) - Loss 102 to 104
Game 18 - 12/04/09 - Bucks (14 of 19) at Pistons (23 of 33) - Loss 96 to 105
Game 19 - 12/06/09 - Bucks (12 of 16) vs Cavaliers (25 of 27) - Loss 86 to 101
Game 20 - 12/08/09 - Bucks (17 of 19) at Celtics (22 of 31) - Loss 89 to 98
Game 21 - 12/09/09 - Bucks (24 of 28) vs Raptors (25 of 33) - Win 117 to 95
Game 22 - 12/12/09 - Bucks (10 of 17) vs Trailblazers (21 of 29) - Win 108 to 101
Game 23 - 12/16/09 - Bucks (12 of 17) vs Lakers (29 of 33) - Loss 106 to 107
Game 24 - 12/18/09 - Bucks (11 of 14) at Cavaliers (24 of 31) - Loss 82 to 85
Game 25 - 12/19/09 - Bucks (13 of 20) vs Kings (22 of 29) - Loss 95 to 96
Game 26 - 12/21/09 - Bucks (9 of 20) at Pacers (16 of 22) - Win 84 to 81
Game 27 - 12/23/09 - Bucks (28 of 33) vs Wizards (31 of 35) - Loss 97 to 109
Game 28 - 12/26/09 - Bucks (18 to 25) vs Spurs (15 to 20) - Loss 97 to 112
Game 29 - 12/28/09 - Bucks (18 to 24) at Bobcats (22 of 28) - Loss 84 to 94
Game 30 - 12/30/09 - Bucks (7 of 9) at Magic (21 of 26) - Loss 92 to 117 
Bucks overall win/loss record: 12 wins 18 losses 

Game 31 - 01/02/09 - Bucks () vs Thunder () - Not played yet

When the games are called fair, the Bucks have a fairly even chance of winning.  When the free throw disparity is close to zero, give or take 3 or 4, the Bucks win if they shoot well, lose if the other team shoots well, and the point differential at the end of the game is usually pretty close.  

However, in those instances when the opposing team has close to or exceeding double the amount of free throw opportunities that the Bucks have, the Bucks will lose.  

If you look closely at some of these games, the Bucks did play well despite adversity.  Sure it's frustrating to lose by 1, 2, 3 or 4 points, but to hang with some of these teams and be able to be in the position to win these games is a great achievement.  The key here is too examine why we lost, what key mistakes happened, what wasn't done, etc.  Once you know why these things are happening the way they are, then the appropriate steps need to be taken to correct these mistakes.  

As fans, there are some things we must accept:
1.  Rookie mistakes - they will happen and if the player isn't in the same position in a game situation often enough, the learning curve will be slow.
2.  Basketball intelligence - there are some players that will never get any smarter - why?  Not sure.    
3.  Consistency - not all players are consistent and will not score consistently.  
4.  Foul trouble - As much as we hate the free throw disparity, there's not much that can be done about it from our POV.  Unfortunately, there is no direct way to contact the David Stern or Stu Jackson to ask for clarifications on some of these gross mistakes that the basketball refs make. 

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bucks vs Lakers

Twitter and Facebook were very active Wednesday night after the Bucks played the Lakers. 


Well, the NBA officiating came under fire and close scrutiny.  For whatever reason, it seems that the NBA officials do not like the Milwaukee Bucks this year as evidenced by the fact that our opponents seem to get more foul calls than we do.  

Can someone please explain to me how a guy can run down the court, leap off the court using his own feet, fly through the air and land untouched in between two Bucks and still get a foul call?  There wasn't one there, but yet the Lakers got to the line.  

Of course the one most of the tweeters were commenting on was the blatant charge that was called a block on Bogut.   That was not a block.  It was a charge.  What made this situation even worse was that the refs appeared to take their lead from Kobe.  

Hello!  I thought the refs were supposed to be independent of the players?  Why are they looking to Kobe for direction here?  (Note: I didn't see this, but that's what all of the people who watched it on TV noticed and commented about it.)  

Okay, didn't the NBA just have issues about a ref fixing games for cash?  Well, I think that more investigating is needed because the officiating that has happened in Milwaukee has definitely indicated that there are some refs making shady calls.  

Time to clean house and get new refs who know how to call a game fair!  No more discriminating star treatment!  All games and all players should be treated equally by league officials.  I don't care if it's your first game or your last or if your a star, if you commit a foul, it should be called, and if someone fouls you (no matter who you are, rookie or not), it should be called.  The game should be called the same for all four quarters.  No exceptions.  

Time to fix this problem NBA Commissioner, or the NBA itself will start to lose its fans and eventually teams!!!!!!!  Less teams = Less endorsements = Less money!!!!  

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Fun and Games


Yeah, yeah, I know, it's been awhile, but, hey, I've been busy!

I've got myself onto Bogut's Squad 6 and pretty happy about that, but since I have to be at every home game cheering my loudest and proudest, it takes time away from other things, like this blog.

I haven't forgotten, I've just been thinking about what I'd like to chat about.

General Hospital

I've recently gotten caught up with GH for this week and I can honestly say I really like Jonathon Jackson playing Lucky again. Lucky seems to have much more depth now and it's been really cool to see all that old footage again! They still make me cry!

You know, it's been awhile since I've gotten tears in my eyes but that exchange between Luke and Lucky where he was trying to tell Lucky about Elizabeth and Nicholas really got me! I was very teary at the exchange, which is something I've missed! It's very hard to ignore the onscreen chemistry between Lucky and Elizabeth now. Day by day, the attraction between Nicholas and Elizabeth seems so ridiculous that I think it's just time for the writers to let it go. The kissing just doesn't seem real to me, although, it never really did.

The difference I feel is like night and day. When Greg Vaughn played Lucky, it was so hard to see him with anyone, let alone Elizabeth. Since Jonathon Jackson came on the scene, I can actually see him as a real person again and I want him with Elizabeth. I can't help it. The more I watch now, the more I am convinced that Lucky and Elizabeth belong together!

On a new note, I am very much intrigued with this new artist guy. From the way it looked on Friday, that face we see (James Franco's) is not really his own, but a mask he dons to go in public.

The real question is, who is he really? Is he the guy who took the photo of Michael to convince everyone that Michael was dead and became twisted because of it? Or, does it mean the photographer is really AJ? That would explain why he is bent on revenge against Jason and Sonny. This should make for an interesting turn of events!


I love this show for more than just the fact that Castle is an author. The characters are well constructed and believable, but that isn't necessarily what keeps me watching. It's the actors, and not necessarily Nathan Fillion, though I do enjoy watching him. It's his daughter. Between Castle's daughter (Alexis - played by Molly C. Quinn) and his mother (Martha - played by Susan Sullivan), he loses quite a bit of the spotlight in this show. It's not just the talent of these two lovely actresses, but the carefully executed banter written by the show's writers. Castle's family as well as his profession as a writer adds a dynamic to the show that does manage to set it apart from the other crime shows, making it unique to watch.

However, I would still love to see another Firefly movie in the future!


I've been a fan of the Milwaukee Bucks for quite some time, but I have been re-energized recently. The first thing that I found to be utterly cool about the Bucks is that Andrew Bogut bought 100 season tickets in the lower bowl of the Bradley Center for extreme fans. Bogut's goal is to get the Bradley Center rockin' during the games with crowd noise, giving the Bucks a true home court advantage.

I was just handed these tickets, I had to go down to the Bradley Center and audition in front of the Bucks organization and Bogut himself. However, Bogut was recovering from the flu and Charlie Bell filled in for him. It was a very cool experience!

Since we've been sitting in this section. We've had the opportunity to meet some very nice young people and a few other people our age. Of course, I think that we are among the oldest members of the Squad, but I don't care. It's really fun.

But it isn't just being a member of Squad 6 or the fact that I've been crushing on Andrew Bogut since we drafted him that has me energized for this Bucks team. It's rookie Brandon Jennings, it's the return of Ersan Ilyasova, it's the energy that players like Charlie Bell and Carlos Delfino exhibit when they're on the floor. It's the fact that this is a team that fights and scraps and doesn't give up! It's the entire team and the presence the have on the court.

Oh, and did I mention that Bogut slapped hands with me at the end of Saturday's game? Yeah, well, he did and it was a life-fulfilling experience. He is just as gorgeous and sexy up close!

Of course, I have to wonder - do sports figures look at us weird, extreme fans and laugh at us because we consider them to be celebrities? Or do they truly appreciate the way we hero-worship them?

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

I have been catching up to the current episode of GH and am doing a happy dance that Jonathon Jackson will be returning as Lucky!!! 

For all those skeptics out there, Jonathon Jackson played the role since he was very young.  In fact, if you've seen the movie, Deep End of the Ocean, then you'll know just how good he always has been.  Jonathon Jackson has been up on the big screen in several big movies. He was in Camp Nowhere, a truly classic kids creating havoc movie and one of my favorites, and not because of Jonathon Jackson, but because of who is in the movie with him.  Genie Francis and Jonathon Frakes play the parents of one of the girls at the camp.  Realizing that this was his first movie roll, I'm convinced that's how he got cast as Lucky.  But he was terrific and has grown into a terrific actor.

What makes Jonathon Jackson so great?  Well, when I see him in his movies, even though I can say, "Hey, that's Lucky Spencer," soon after that, his acting makes me completely forget about Lucky and become absorbed into his current character.  Not once have I been able to do that with Greg Vaughn.  No matter what he did in the past couple of years as Lucky Spencer, I still could not get his character "Dan" from Charmed out of my mind because he played the two characters so similarly.  

As it seems to be GH's way of bringing Lucky and Elizabeth back together, I'm very curious about that beginning scene where he says, "Hi.  Remember me?"  Part of me wonders if it's a joke some sort of role-playing - as in let's start over from some point, or if there is some connection to Jonathon Jackson's return and Helena's so-called brush with Valentine Cassadine.  

Another reason I am glad to see Jonathon Jackson return?  Well, I'm so sick of seeing Lucky played as this constantly angry man.  That was never Lucky's demeanor.  In fact, as far as I recall, Luke and Lucky had resolved all those angry feelings when Lucky was younger because Luke felt just awful about not realizing the truth and Lucky understood and, if I remember right, forgave his father.  And I believe that's how Luke remembers it too.  

Jonathon Jackson has such a range of acting skills.  I am actually going to like Lucky again and I can see that Lucky and Elizabeth will have their onscreen chemistry again!  To be honest, even though they are trying to make Nicholas a partner for Elizabeth, the only other character that Elizabeth had any really visible onscreen chemistry with was Jason, but even that wasn't completely convincing because they just didn't seem to really fit together.  

This stems back to my previous post.  Onscreen chemistry, couples either have it or they don't.  

As much as I hate Claudia, I'm going to hate to see her go because Sarah Brown and Maurice Benard have some great chemistry together.  Maybe, they'll kill Claudia off, ditch Laura Wright as Carly and replace her with Sarah Brown and then put Sonny and Carly together again, because you fellow watchers of GH have to realize that this baby is probably really Sonny's kid.  I'll laugh if the kid is born with dark hair.  And, I still think that Michael is really Jason's kid.  We all know that the Quartermaines can rig all the DNA tests they want...  I like Drew Garrett as Michael.  He's done a great job and has worked his way into the role.   Well done for him, and did you notice how much Michael now resembles Jason?  Sign of things to come, I say!  

I'm really enjoying the storyline of Dominic/Dante more than I thought I would.  I'm really enjoying the twists they have with the mob stuff.  Oooh, the more Sonny and Jason, the better!  I'm liking Johnny Zacchara a lot too!  I'm glad that him and Olivia are working to get back together, I really like them.  

Olivia's hair has a slight wave to her hair in Thursday's episode and I like it much better than the her straight hair.  I don't know, it does something for her.  

I was worried there for a bit about GH, but they're getting things together.  I seriously hope they do not make Elizabeth have Nicholas' kid.  That's just way too unfair to Lucky.  Three kids that aren't really his?  Time to stop with that storyline, it's been used way too much.  Let's just let Lucky and Elizabeth (now that Jonathon Jackson is back) work their way back to each other.             

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Favorite Characters

Hey there,
When you write a book where people can use their own minds to imagine the people, you can put whoever you want to together, because the chemistry will always be there.  However, when it comes to onscreen mediums like movies and TV, it's that onscreen chemistry that matters more than anything.  If two people have it, they have it, if they don't, they don't.  Two people can be married and love each other, but never have the onscreen chemistry to play two people passionately in love.  You know why?  

Because being on the screen is acting and when you love some one, really love them, you are too comfortable with them off screen to remember to act.  Plus, you end up bringing your real life baggage to work with you and the lines between on and off screen can be blurred and even the adoring public forgets that bit of truth.  Remember the movie Eyes Wide Shut and all the flack that Tom and Nicole took because they had to be directed during the love scene?  Hello, it's a movie and the director had certain things in mind for the shots, so he had to tell them what to do!  They may have loved each other, but they didn't have really great onscreen chemistry.  
Now, you have two people, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan - each married to two different people, but they have really awesome onscreen chemistry that they made really good movies (Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail), great and a really bad one (Joe Vs the Volcano), tolerable.  It's the onscreen chemistry between Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks that made these movies so great - and both are married to two different people.  Onscreen chemistry can make or break a movie, just as much as it can make or break a TV show, which is why I really dislike it when soaps replace one actress/actor with another for a character because chances are, that new actor isn't going to cut it.   
When I was young, I used to watch a ton of soaps, now, I'm down to just one - General Hospital.  It isn't just the established characters that keep me coming back, it's the writing and the acting cast.  I swear, they must use people who read/write romance novels because their scenes have only gotten better in recent years.  Sonny Corinthos is the best mobster!  And Jason?  Don't get me started there!  I could write an entire blog devoted to how great I think Jason Morgan is. 
But honestly, I haven't been a fan of Carly since Laura took over her role, but let's face it, the actress who originated Carly (Sarah Brown), now playing the role of Claudia Zacchara, was the best of the lot!  I am so glad GH brought back that actress to play Claudia because of all the actresses they've put with Maurice Benard, these two have had the best on screen chemistry.  
I am also glad that they aren't going to put Sonny and Olivia together because, to be honest, the actors just don't have the onscreen chemistry, not the way that Sonny and Claudia and Johnny and Olivia do.  These are two very hot, very steamy couples who can turn up the heat just by looking at each other!  I hope GH realizes what they've got and does their best to keep Johhny and Olivia together and Sonny and Claudia together.  
Now, Elizabeth and Lucky - what can I say?  When Jonathon Jackson played Lucky, they had some really good on screen chemistry.  When it comes to Greg Vaughn, sorry folks, but it's just not there.  She had better chemistry with Jason, but I do like the idea of Sam and Jason.  I think I always have.  Kelly Monaco is a great actress and her and Jason really do have this great onscreen chemistry that can burn down a few barns.  So far, I think that GH has been ignoring a major, major on screen pair for two long.  
Way back, when Amber Tamblyn was still playing Emily, I really thought, even then, that Elizabeth and Nicolas had chemistry, and they still do!  I can't believe they wasted time with this Rebecca crap (the only storyline in GH history I thought really, really stunk!).  I'll be clad when it's over and done with.  I never really liked Nicolas and Emily, but I did like the character of Emily, but I was more of an Amber Tamblyn fan than a Natasha Livingston one.  With Amber, the niceness and caring seemed to real, but with Natasha, it never seemed real, it always seemed fake, like acting.  That's how you find the good actors, they make their roles seamless, so well done that it feels as if they aren't acting at all.  Which is why onscreen chemistry is so important.  You want the electricity to flow, and not seem artificial.  You can't force chemistry, because it won't work and can make the acting seem awful.  
So, I have a request - please GH writers - stop with this stupid Rebecca crap (let Nicolas just walk away) and just put him and Elizabeth together, please!  It's been far too long!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Please be patient....

Hi there,

I am moving my author site here for the time being, so please be patient during the construction process.



Monday, April 13, 2009

BBC has Great Chemistry

One of my favorite channels to watch is BBC America. Tonight, I stumbled on to a great program, one that I found more interesting to watch than American Idol (which isn't very hard because I'm not that big a fan of the show), Any Dream Will Do. This past Sunday was the second week of telecast, which is where I jumped in. This show chronicles the search for the next Joseph in Andrew Lloyd Webber's West End Production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

PLEASE NOTE, if you want to watch the show and the drama unfold, do not, do not, do not go looking for it on the Internet because the show is currently going on in London, which means that the winner is already known on to the local BBC audiences, just not the US viewers, unless you go looking for it. Apparently, the competition actually took place in 2007 in the U.K., which really sucks because this is a really talented bunch of well, men. They have great voices, acting talent and when you add in the drool factor some of them have in spades, it's a can't miss show. I was very impressed by the amount of talent. This is the way it should be for any show. All of the participants had really good voices, so the judging was less on vocals and more on stage presence and acting ability. The point of the song choices was to challenge the singers to find the strongest one.

I don't normally rave online about reality TV because here in the U.S. reality means how much controversy and problems can we create to get people to tune in next week, talent doesn't really matter. I had to rave about this one because it is/was truly about the talent. What I think also helps the show is that there are four other judges besides Andrew Lloyd Webber. The first judge, John Barrowman, is a BBC fan favorite from the series Torchwood, that also has experience in playing lead roles in theater companies. The second judge, Denise Van Outen, is really more of a Londoner, so I can't say too much about her except to say that the public knows and respects her talent. The third judge, Bill Kenwright, is no novice when it comes to successful national theatrical productions of the play and Jesus Christ Superstar, so he knows what he needs to succeed. The fourth judge, Zoe Tyler, is London's premiere vocal coach.

Why is this show great it's got me talking? Well, for starters, I love Graham Norton and try to watch his talk show religiously (yay for the DVR!). Second, all the judges truly work with the talent and try to bring out the best of each contestant, even if it means rearranging a song. The point of this show is not judge bashing or ratings, but honest remarks and constructive criticism design to help each contestant grow not only as a possible Joseph, but as an artist as well and it's clearly evident that the judges want to see these people succeed in the business, even if it isn't with this production, which is why they try to be as honest as possible.

What else makes this show great? Well, at the end of the show, they all sing a song that I think is from the play, but not really sure. I think it gives the performer leaving one last chance to be Joseph, as his coat is removed from him. I did some poking around on the threads for the show and found that many of the contestants have CDs out or in the works. I'll try to locate them for you and put them here somewhere.

I can actually say that I can't wait to see the next installment next week!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Characters - Beyond the Second Dimension

We've all heard at one time or another that our characters are flat. Okay, so what do you, as an author, do with that? Well, it isn't enough to know that you're characters are flat, you need to know in what area they fall flat in.

Characters can be flat in a couple different ways: personality, emotionally, physically, and psychologically. So, if you're having trouble figuring out just how your character(s) fell flat enough for someone to comment on them, ask them to elaborate.

How do you stand that character up and give him or her enough mass to hold themselves upright?

If it's merely a case of the reader wanting to know more about the physical appearance and description of your character, ask them what they feel is lacking. Maybe the problem isn't necessarily lack of detail, but how long the reader has to wait to find it. Be sure to put a face to that name early enough to draw the reader in, even if the current features are temporary and might be different from the true ones. It will help the reader put things into the proper context.

If you're not sure how to get your descriptions any clearer, maybe you need to test your description skills. The best way to do that is to start with your own body and how you would describe it. Then, give that description of yourself to your significant other and ask them to guess who you are describing. Then you might want to move on to other people (family and friends) that may be in a position to recognize your physical description. See how many people guess that it's you? If some have trouble, ask they why? Maybe you left out some key detail that helps cement the picture in their head.

As a test, repeat the exercise for a couple of other people you feel you know very well and then test your description with the people who may be in the best position to judge your description and see if they can guess it correctly. The results can tell you a lot about yourself and your relationships with others. How observant did you find yourself to be? If others found your descriptions lacking, you've just identified a weakness. The best way to fix this is to observe people and try to describe them. The more you practice, the better you'll be.

If their seems to be issues with the personality, psychology, or emotional nature of your character, the problem may be that you did not dig deep enough into your character's mind and you need to go back and pick it some more.

How do you do get deeper in to a character's head?

Well, the first thing I suggest that you do is think about yourself and what makes you tick. Make up a realistic situation, put yourself in it as the main character and consider how you fit into all of the facets of it. What would motivate you? How would you react in this situation? What would your thought processes be? If you aren't sure, talk it through with the person who knows you best and ask them what they think you'd do and see if you agree with what they came up with. If not, why not? This might help you arrive at your answers. How do you're life experiences effect your answers?

Once you get some sort of understanding of yourself, move on to other people that you know (male and female). How would they react in the same situation? Do you understand what would motivate them in that situation and what their thought process might be? If not, then you need to discuss this activity with them and find out how they answer the questions to try to see what makes them tick.

The interesting thing about this type of exercise is that you learn a lot about yourself and your relationships with other people. If you were able to answer them in some way, you need to test how accurate you were. Who do you think you know better, your family or your friends? To see how well you really did, talk to them and find out how close you were.

Be sure to understand how their life experiences effect their decisions. That can help you better understand a character type you chose to write about and help you to dig deeper into your character's head to find the missing pieces.

If you did very well, the problem could be that you just need to add a few more well placed details to make a more complete picture to help the reader understand your character better. Maybe the problem is that you don't understand the character type well enough (soldier, car salesman, etc.) and you need to do more research into character types.

Yes, a character interview/questionnaire can be helpful and informational, but it won't take you very far if your understanding of your chosen character/character type is lacking. The best way to discover this is when readers or others, "in the know," tell you.

Another way to give your character substance lies with the emoting and the, "show don't tell," approach. To really make an impact here requires two things - physical gestures and speech descriptions. Sure, a character may be smiling when he says something, but how does he say it and what kind of smile is it? Does he have a sarcastic, bored (as in a sense of ennui), or devilish tone?

Another parameter to consider is the emotional and physical responses of the other characters involved, if there are any. How do they react to what he says and how he says it? Do they laugh and call him a card, are they offended and slap him before walking away, or are they downright scared with chills running down their spine?

What the character says and does when alone (especially a villain) can be very telling for motive and attitude towards other people.

Hopefully, I have helped you find a way to flesh out that character that's giving you trouble!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Unique Characters?

To me, one of the hardest parts about writing is creating unique characters. I'm always reading, so I am always finding new character types, but inevitably, I find that someone has already created a character similar to what I am working on. Of course, the character type is never exact, but close. It used to bother and frustrate me, but not anymore.

During an Ancient Egyptian Civilization course, we had a class discussion about the advancement of early civilizations. During that discussion, an argument was made that a civilization couldn't make huge strides all by themselves but had to be influenced by other societies and/or civilizations. Conversely, another argument of that discussion brought up the notion that all it took for a society to advance in great leaps is for one person to have an ingenious idea and for others to listen to and support that person. Which means, that it is totally possible for two civilizations to evolve along the same lines even though they might be oceans apart. The over all point of the discussion was to say that human beings tend to think alike, or solve the same problems in similar fashions.

The more I thought about this, the more it made sense. Think about it for a minute. Where might we be today if they actually listened to Galileo when he first proposed his thoughts? What about Kepler, Da Vinci, and all those other intelligent people who were considered heretics at the time, even though they were leagues ahead of their generation? I guess we might be a bit farther along than we are now, but maybe not.

So, if I can think of something neat and interesting, why shouldn't someone else be able to think of something similar?

When I accepted this as an inevitable possibility, I started to realize that it wasn't the character types that would be unique, but the personality that I breathed into each character that would make him or her unique. While I may find many people who think like me or experience some of the same things I do, ultimately, my voice will be different from theirs and the personality I give to a character will be different too.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Considering Time

Think about how ruled we are, as a society, by time. When we get bored, we look at the clock to see how much time until the lecture/meeting/workday ends. We look at the time to make sure we get to where we are going at the time we need to be there. Most of us are ruled by schedules and spend time coordinating our schedules with spouses, children and grand children. As a parent, you have to make sure there is enough time for everyone to get ready for school/work and that everyone gets where they are going. Does Jimmy have a ride home from soccer or football practice? How will Sally get to dance class this week? When do I have time to get to the gym?

Many of us have so many things going on that it's next to impossible to remember everything, so we use planners, calendars and PDAs to help us remember things like doctor appointments, meetings, birthdays and anniversaries. Even blogs give us the ability to program when we want a blog topic displayed. We have developed conveniences for our PDA/Blackberry/iPhone/laptop that save time by allowing email to be checked and written while having a telephone conversation.

Police even go to great lengths to recreate a missing person's schedule for the days prior to their disappearance.

With this in mind, ask yourself: How strongly does time matter when considering a story?

Well, in truth, that depends upon the story, doesn't it?

Or does it?

For most stories, time means everything. What I mean is that if you're writing a historical or regency, a lot of things need to be straight and correct to properly submerge the reader in the time frame in which you are writing. Sure, you know enough not to have anyone drink a soda or eat a Twinkie, but do you know enough to be able to name what brand of tea your character would drink or the prices of houses and such in that era? Well, if you're a history buff or a fan of those periods, you would. If you're a novice, like me, you wouldn't necessarily know all of those things, but you'd know how to find them. However, you don't have to be a history buff or a fan of the era to appreciate the effort an author takes to get things just right. An avid reader of historical novels can tell when something doesn't seem right or is out of place. Therefore, time means everything. To make a person truly believe that the story they are reading takes place in the past, the details need to be as right and true as possible.

How much does time really matter in science fiction or space themed stories?

This answer is a bit trickier. Why?

Well, it depends upon how long you want your books to be read and make sense. When most people write a futuristic tale, whether it takes place on or off earth, they try to pick a date far enough in the future so that the plot, storyline and futuristic creations make sense. The farther into the future a space travel story is set, the more comfortable we are with accepting what may or may not happen. Of course, there are other elements that go into building a world than just time, but for this post, time is all we are considering.

Back in the late 1800's and early 1900's and even into the 1950's, it was acceptable to use dates such as the 1980's, 1990's and 2000's as time settings for futuristic tales because no one had any clue as to what kinds of things could be made possible. In one such black and white movie from the 1920's or the 1930's, can't remember the name or exact date (I just know it was old), I saw a brief clip of planes flying through tall skyscrapers, reminiscent of a Ratchet and Clank video game. However, if you didn't take into consideration the date in which it was created, it would lose it's futuristic appeal. However, it was funny to think that people of that time thought that the popular mode of transportation of the future would be the airplane. What's even funnier, when you think about it, is that we are still trying to make cars fly.

Because much of the younger generations tend to have difficulty accepting or appreciating well crafted movies and books of the past, they end up being remade and "modernized." Dukes of Hazzard, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, Batman, Superman and Star Trek are some titles that come to mind.

Because of the way generations change in what they want/expect from books and movies, when choosing a futuristic time setting, it is just as important to consider how long you want your futuristic story to be considered "futuristic." Meaning, how many generations do you want to be able to appreciate your characters and storyline. Obviously, it's easier to write for the current generation and ignore future generations. Before you decide, please remember that those texts we consider to be classics are ones that anyone from any generation can enjoy. So you need to ask yourself this: Do you want to be among the ranks of Jane Austen, the Bronte Sisters, writers like H.P. Lovecraft or Ray Bradbury, or if you just want to be one of those authors that fades away with time and not remembered after you die? In other words, what is your target audience and how long do you want your work remembered?

Note, words like "bling," might be neat to use, but they will inevitably date your piece with a time stamp and can lose their appeal over time, so if you want to have some sort of, "pop culture lingo," in your piece, make it up according to what works best with your characters and storyline and make it easy for the reader to understand its meaning.

Time is more than just years in the past or future and in relation to what audience you focus your stories to, but it also helps to have a believable chronology of events. In other words, a timetable that makes sense.

Overwhelmed yet?

Hopefully, I can provide some clarity and relief.

The timetable/chronology must follow the logical time frame in terms of characters and technological advances. No matter what you choose to do with your characters in terms of aging, acquiring strength and having children, it must make logical sense or follow a pre-determined set of rules defined on the world you create, such as how many hours are in a day/night, days in a year, growth rate, etc. If characters on your world live longer lives, whether 100 or 1000 years longer than the average earth human, the way they handle their day-to-day lives needs to correspond appropriately as well as how they adjust to acquiring abilities. A person who lives to be over 1000 years probably won't view time the same way as someone who only lives to be 80 or 100 and may be more laid back or in less of a hurry than earth humans.

Time effects technology and technological advances as well. A reader may become disengaged if the existing technology, the way it's used and the rate at which it's developed seems unrealistic or unbelievable. The rate at which technological advances occur depends upon how much knowledge a group of people have to start with. If a group of people leave earth to colonize another planet, the time it takes to travel through space as well as how much knowledge (types of scientists and equipment, etc.) is brought with them must be considered.

When you bring in technology, you have to determine if the existing technology continues to work or not. If the technology fails, you need to determine how long it takes to fail and if the scientists have the abilities to determine why it fails and stop or prevent it. The timetable for experiencing any problem must be as believable as the time it takes for the characters to find a solution to the problem, if there is one. If there isn't a solution, reaction time comes into play. Reaction time depends upon character type, intelligence and availability of materials.

Time, something many of us take for granted, can be one of the most complex issues to deal with when writing. I hope I have managed to demystify some of it.

What methods do you use to deal with time issues?

Is there any aspect that still puzzles you or hasn't been covered enough?

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Have you ever wondered where some of the storylines authors use come from?

Well, they come from a myriad of places. Some stories are born of dreams, some nightmares and some stem from the complicated imagination of the author. But it doesn't end there. Sometimes story ideas come from the simple things in life - friends, family, co-workers, pets and pop culture.

Inspiration can be a simple word or phrase or a funny situation. Now, the story that gets written may not resemble reality at all, but the point is that reality is inspiration and it is everywhere, you just have to be willing to listen, even when you think it odd or morbid. It may sound odd, but I kept a box of stuff from my grandfather's desk and a box from my great aunt's house. Stuff that everyone else considered to be junk.

Why did I keep them even though they might be considered junk?

Because, there is a story or two in each of those boxes and these items are authentic to their era. Authentic pieces such as what I kept can go along way to cementing a story in the past, making it believable. A story won't be successful if you can't convince the reader the story is taking place during the time frame you say it does. But I didn't keep them because they were authentic, I kept them because I heard the stories screaming to be heard.

Now, the boxes have been patient and quiet while I have been studying and working to become the best writer I could be, but I think I've been hearing them waking up because I haven't been able to get a moment's peace since I graduated in December and, to add fuel to the fire, I saw my Grandfather in my dreams. It was as if he was telling me that it's time to listen and time to write.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Dreams and Souls

It took me a long time to get to this point in my life. I tried to take this part of my life and put it in a box because it didn't fit with the life I thought I wanted, nor did it fit with the life others encouraged me to follow. I did have two teachers that tried to encourage me, but I was too young to appreciate or understand the compliments they gave me.

It wasn't until years later that I began to grasp just how good my writing could be. It wasn't that people told me my writing was great, it was because they told me they wanted more. More of characters mentioned only once, of an unfinished short story, or about a world I created. It was in this moment that I realized that I have a talent that I was ignoring.

When I made the decision not just to become a creative writer but to pursue it, I felt something that I hadn't felt in a long time - whole. It might sound weird or cheesy, but it's true. By reconnecting with the writer in me, I found the missing piece of my soul. I felt empty for a long time and always attributed it to the loss of close friends and family members that I experienced in high school.

Sure, the loss of those people effected me greatly and a couple of them played a big role in who I am today, but the reason my soul was hurting and felt incomplete was because I had shut off a large part of my soul from myself. Now that it has been released, I feel whole, complete, and happy. I may not be published yet, but I am finally heading in the right direction. I am not just sitting on the edge waiting for my wings to grow and wondering if I'll ever fly, I am stretching them out and flapping, waiting for the wind to catch me!

I would like to know - What is your dream? Are you living it? If not, why not? How does that make you feel?