Southern belle with a story to tell. Refreshing iced tea served after literary punches thrown.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

And Karnak says the Oscar for Best Picture goes to...

Shhh!  He's making an Oscar prediction! And he predicts Argo to be the big winner!

Tomorrow night is glitter-night folks, the night when we ooh and ahh at celebrity red carpet arrivals and find out who wins best of the best in the movie industry.  And for me, it's a chance to see if my prediction for Best Picture prevails.  Plus, I love to see who's got on the best evening gown.  Personally, I've always thought they should award two more:  one for Best Gown/Tux and another Oscar for Best Red Carpet Entrance, but  so far, nobody from the Academy has asked for my opinion. I'm sure it's a minor oversight. (insert laughter!)

Now to those who follow my tweets (I'm @joeynga), you'll know my fondness for the movie Argo.  But let me clue you in as to why my friend Karnak and I  predict Argo will win Best Picture.   

It involves two little words.

Plot elements.  

And if you haven't heard about this film, then watch the trailer.

From the music (love the soundtrack) to the set design/costumes, to the script,  Argo is dead-on perfect.  Plus you have a storyline that's simply too fabulous to believe, but yet it all happened...and was based on a true story.  You know you can't get any better than that. 

For those of us old enough, (and I am old enough) You might remember seeing yellow ribbons all over your hometowns.  I know as a child, I remember being frightened for the American hostages, and watched it play out on the nightly news, right before my family sat down to eat dinner.  

And there's also depth to the main character.  He's in pain, separated from his wife and misses his son, but Tony risks his life to get six U.S. diplomats secretly out of 1979 Iran during the hostage crisis.

But in the end, there's one line that sums the audaciousness of the scheme to get the hostages out, and it's fabulous.  For the sake of decorum, I'll bleep out a few letters to keep this post PG-rated.

"Ar-go f*** yourself."

For those who know my thriller writing style, you know I am a sucker for a helluva good hook, and that line is definitely one to remember.  

Argo is to me, the ultimate thriller,  and hubs and I have enjoyed watching it two times already and plan on buying it when it's available on d.v.d.. Incidentally, we rarely do that these days.

In closing, if you're a thriller writer, or just love to see how a story *should* come together, then I suggest you watch this film.  The last ten minutes had me sitting on the edge of my seat, and your heart is in your throat.  It certainly taught me a lesson as a writer, and I thank Mr. Affleck for the time and care in creating Argo.  As for me, personally I'm hoping he *almost* gives the famous Argo one-liner when he accepts the Oscar tomorrow night b/c of the oh-so-wrong snub in not being nominated for Best Director (it is a PG-show).  

Do yourself a favor, go watch it.  As of last weekend, it came out on pay per view.  But if you wish to read it, know it's also a book, too!  I'll for one read it as soon as I finish doing some more manuscript reading for a critique partner & get final edits on the synopsis for my Evil Little Manuscript I'm querying.  (Cross your fingers folks, I'm just barely beginning that wild ride! Only one out.)

So tell me, what's your favorite film that won on Oscar night?  Did it have its origin as a book?  

Friday, February 8, 2013

Retelling the Tale!

What the blarney's in that jar?  Why is he dancing?  Read on and find out!
Pardon the dancing leprechaun.  I'm ready for February to be over and for March to come in like a lion, bringing with it the warmth of spring...and of course a beach for my spring break!

In the next few paragraphs you'll figure out why the Irish dude is dancing, but for now, let's turn to the topic of creativity in our manuscripts.

I have a confession for you, and if you're truly honest with yourself, you will admit the same damned thing.  As a writer, I desperately want to believe that 100% the ideas for the manuscripts I create are unique and totally mine.  And in truth they are, but on some minuscule level they may remind you of another work.  After all, there are only so many ways we can present a story of good versus evil or of love and heartbreak.

Alas, such is the art of storytelling.

And in recent years, we've seen unique twists on familiar tales.  We've witnessed the bloodsuckers of Bram Stoker's Gothic nightmares morph into a pop-culture phenoms, taking the form of angst-ridden, teen vampires that sparkle in the sunlight.  Soon in theaters, we'll get a retelling of a childhood bedtime story,  Jack and the Beanstalk, and who can forget 2012's "Snow White and the Huntsman"?

Anyhow, what I'm getting at,  is we're all on some level retelling one or more elements in the stories we write.  But if you are a writer who plans on undertaking the monumental task of actually retelling a classic tale, then make damned sure your story is unique.  Make it shine or sparkle (like a thousand year old teen vampire!) and put your own unique twists and turns in the plot.  Throw us for a loop and make it sing with creativity.

To drive my point home, I'm going to let you listen to the musical retelling of a famous Irish folk tale.  It's about a highwayman who robs the wealthy Captain Farrell, steals his gold, and brings it home to his wife.  However in a bitter twist of fate we find out the wife was actually schtupping Captain Farrell on the side.

So what does a betrayed highwayman do?  He shoots the guy, and then loses both the girl and the gold and eventually his freedom.  At the end, we sadly discover he's singing us this song from inside the cell of an Irish prison.  Sniff, sniff, tear.

Let's listen to this song, sung by two very very different bands.

In the first song, rejoice in the gorgeous Irish countryside and marvel at the simplistic melodies of the Dubliners (circa early 1960's).

Now crank it to eleven and hold your lighter high and dance like a tipsy leprechaun to Metallica's version of the very same song.  

Now you get it, right?  Well, maybe you understand everything in our fun little video exercise, except for say,  the line in the song that says "Wack for my daddy-o".  What the Blarney does that mean anyway?

We've heard two versions of the same song.  Both songs work perfectly, but in completely different ways.  They're re fantastic and engaging, but very, very different.

In closing, you will use similar themes in your writing, but dare to find a way to make your tale incredibly unique.  Make it yours! Only the character names, situations,  and story worlds differ.