U is for Unchangeable and Unchanging Characters

Some characters are unchangeable, unchanging, and in fact, have no business changing.

This isn’t the normal thing that is taught in writing classing and it is not the normal writing advice given. But, months after watching the Skyfall, I have become convinced of the truth of it.

I blogged about Skyfall after I saw the movie. I don’t mention it in the post, but I feel like this movie hurt Bond’s icon status.

In this movie, 1) Bond grows older and 2) also has a past, complete with parents and big house.

Someone asked me how it was and I replied: emotional. Which is damn odd for a James Bond movie.

Before this movie he was the Man of Mystery. He had no past, no future, few connections to people other than a bevy of Bond Girls in each and every movie.

The only movie he ever changed in was the one where the girl he was in love with betrayed him and broke his heart. Nothing otherwise.

Every writing class, most every piece of writing advice will say that characters need to grow. Good stories have characters that grow and change.

I feel like someone tried to do exactly that to James Bond in Skyfall and it failed.

I feel like him getting shot by friendly fire, retiring in the Caribbean, and coming back vastly off his game were attempts to give him a character arc he wouldn’t have otherwise. I also feel like he doesn’t need to have a character arc necessarily.

James Bond is an icon. No need to mess with that.

Or if they insist, they ought to have done it slower. Lots slower. The character development should have been done at a snail’s pace, over a number of movies. That might have worked. As it is, I just feel like they were trying to shoehorn a past and development and all that jazz into his character.

Also, at the end of Skyfall, he says he’s ready for the next mission at the end and its business as usual. So, yeah.

I have to reconsider if I even want to see the next James Bond (comes out next year!) in theaters. If it is like Skyfall, than maybe not.

N is for Noble Characters

So I don’t really feel like blogging but have to complete the challenge so…

This is a list of some noble characters.

Noble, as wordweb defines it is: having or showing or indicative of high or elevated character

l. Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden

The man works as a private detective. He consorts with paladins and vampires and faeries. Despite it all he does things that are not always in his best interest and not always -or entirely – for money.

2. Samwise Gamgee

He follows Frodo when he didn’t have to, to keep Frodo safe.

3. Surreal SaDiablo

She’s an assassin and a prostitute. But she used her skills to kill those who need killing and also put ignored her own needs to do what she felt what was right.

I am tempted to put Anita Blake on this list, but am resisting. What do you think?

Who are your favorite noble characters?

M is for Myth

M_LeMannequinI loved myths as a child.

I devoured Roman/Greek myths in grade school. (Of course they were the only myths we learned in class.) Later, I discovered Norse myths and Celtic myths and Native American myths. I tried Egyptian myths, too, but they just confused me.

Actually, I think I stopped reading myths because of that confusion. It seemed to each god had ten different names and I couldn’t tell who was talking to whom.photo-main

They were a balm when I couldn’t read my usual mysteries and children’s horror.

I turned to them when I needed to create myths for my own world. I love the loki stories, the coyote stories. And, also, the turtle and elephant stories.

That’s not to say they feature prominently in my own world. But it’s a jumping off point, you know?

L is for Lies

L-12A couple years ago, while randomly browsing the internet, Iran across this title: Telling Lies for Fun and Profit by Lawrence Block. (His books are good.)

It’s a book on writing and the title got me thinking. I never picked up the book, but the title stuck in my head.

A story is made up, a piece of fiction. It doesn’t exist. That, on one level, makes it a lie.Lies

But! Everyone knows a story can’t be real. Not everyone knows such a thing of other, more normal lies.

On the other hand, a story must have emotional / psychological truths. How would anyone relate to a character otherwise? And it must have at least some factual truths, else someone will cry: bad research!

The best lies are supposed to have truth, so that doesn’t mean the story can’t be called a lie. Even so, I cannot quite convince myself I write lies. Perhaps it would he easier if the word didn’t have negative meanings.

What do you think? Is aIl fiction some bizarre form of lying?

Has anyone read the book? Does it offer an explanation? Maybe the title is just an example of someone’s expertise at title creation something eye-catching and memorable.

K is for Kinky

Kinky is my K word-and I don’t mean hair.

I don’t talk about these books much. They are not a guilty pleasure; I don’t feel guilty. But some people act oddly around them.

I mean books where all kinds of erotic things happen – things involving handcuffs, rope and other adult toys.

I got into this genre almost by accident. The first book I read was the first Sleeping Beauty book by Anne Rice in high school. I didn’t like it and I couldn’t finish it. I still don’t. I think it crosses the safe, sane and consensual line. Especially the consensual line.

I was a member of LKH’s forum at the same time and someone recommended a book by Joey w. Hill called Natural Law. I looked it up, I read reviews -and than found it in the library.

I haven’t looked back.

Natural Law is an early work. But it is nothing like Sleeping Beauty. Nothing! I was wonderfully pleased.

Joey W. Hill is one of my favorite authors these days. Her writing has only become better over the years -hotter, more intense. I only wish I could write with such intensity.

I have found other writers I like – Kim Dare, Chris Owens.

I haven’t read Shades of Gray , but, for reasons I don’t entirely understand myself, I am not really tempted to. It’s not the subject material. I think I’ll dislike it as much I disliked Twilight.

Do you read kinky romances? How did you discover them?

Jinni

My J word jinni. My take on it is slightly different.

Only the tip of his nose, lower cheeks and jaw was spared. The rest of his face was covered in shadow as dark as night.

His stared at me with eyes like chips of the sun-drenched sky, given life. I had failed him, I and I alone. Seated on either side of me, the other village elders trembled like leaves in a gale. The villagers gathered around us, shocked speechless.

Oh, but for all the honor we did our dead, had either of us expected this?

I kept my gaze fixed on his face; I didn’t want to look at the rest of him. I knew what I had done too well. “Blessed jinni, what may we do for you this night?”

His mouth opened; broken, bloody teeth shone in the firelight.

I rubbed my knuckles under the table, massaging away remembered pain.

“Die.”

I jerked. He’d been blindfolded. He couldn’t have recognized me.

He turned his burning gaze next to me, on my twin, whose life I had chosen over the fruit of my own blood.

The jinnis’ words came again: “Die.”

The villagers gasped. I looked up to see my son staring at me. His head whipped between me and the jinni of his own dead son. Understanding appeared on his face like a storm,  with soft rain and gentle breezes, than with the force of winds powerful enough to uproot whole trees.

He knew I’d betrayed him. I failed to protect his boy from the filth of my twin, as I’d failed to protect him decades earlier.

My son’s anger was a blade sharp enough to let free my lifeblood. And, this time, I didn’t fight him, didn’t try to protect my twin.

I is for Inspiration

Inspiration is what excites me. It is what gives me the beginning of an idea for a new story.

I find inspiration in pictures and music, and sometimes, random words. But mostly pictures.

Lately I’ve turned to 500 px for inspiration. It’s a site filled with the most amazing photographs. You can’t save them, but you can buy the pictures and share them via twitter and Facebook. That’s usually what I do – share.

deviantART is also a really good place to find pictures to inspire and amaze. deviantART has not just photographs, but drawings and paintings too. It has the most astonishing portraits. I share these, too. 
Sometimes I find inspiration in shadows and just the things you see every day – buildings, clouds, people doing what they do.

Sometimes I fine inspiration in the myths, legends and history of the world. History is fascinating. It’s a lot more than dates and deeds. There are stories behind the deeds and the dates are the timeline.

But most often it’s the other forms of art that most often inspires me – pictures and music. Is that strange?

D is for Dialogue

A story made up of nothing but dialogue is a challenge for me, because I’m not especially good at it. I haven’t written one in a long time and today I feel, oddly, inspired by soap operas. I suspect nothing good can come of this, but I’m giving it a shot.

dialogue

“Stay away! Go away, or I swear to god I’ll call the cops! Go. Go.”

“Baby, listen. Please, just listen. I’m -“

“You have the nerve to apologize, after what you did? With the pool boy!”

”It didn’t mean nothing. He wasn’t always a pool boy and I know him from way back. But I’m just into you these days, baby, just you. He means nothing to me. Nothing!”

“Out!”

“I-“

“Officer? Yes, my ex is harassing me and won’t leave. Could you – thank you.”

“You shouldn’t have done that, baby. You really shouldn’t have. You see this? Give me a hundred thousand and your computer, and the world won’t see it.”

“Get OUT.”

C is for Clothing

C is for clothing! That is, the clothes my characters wear. Usually, I don’t think about it all; I just have them wear whatever seems most sensible.

That’s just as well, because I start second guessing myself when I begin to actually consider, in detail, my character’s style. I mean, the current work in progress, the main character is a laid back, smart, charming guy. He wore jeans. I am sure he wore other things- a shirt, a jacket, but the only the article of clothing I mentioned was his jeans and only because he needed to take something out of his jean pockets.

But, later, I needed to really consider what he had in his closet. Was jeans too obvious a sign of a laid back guy? Too stereotypical? But I wasn’t thinking when I gave him jeans. So no. But what kinds

02-CityScape-Coat-Hanger-by-HookPegSupport-Cityscape-Art-1 of t-shirts? The kind with weird pictures and/or strange words or just simple, solid color tees? But words can be interesting. So what quote describes him best? What kind of pictures?

So, yeah, it was hard dressing him. But fun! And I still haven’t got his jewelry ironed out (he has a LOT of piercings).

But is there a wrong way to dress a characters? Do the clothes always have to reflect the character, even when they are not working? I want to say no, but I feel like I should say yes.

It’s just that clothes are a quick, easy shorthand for conveying who a character is. Maybe too easy, because it would be too simple to also stereotype like that. Question is, how do I avoid it?

B is for Boys Fiction

I was going to choose some other topic for B because, truthfully, I am not sure what boys fiction is. But then I thought, why not speak about my confusion?The_Hero_and_the_Crown

I don’t get how boys fiction is defined. I really don’t. Is it when the main character is a boy? Or when the author is a guy?

It’s only since I’ve been blogging that I’ve heard the term. The first time was probably when someone posted a review about the TV version of Games of Thrones and called it boys fiction. I was shocked because I’ve no idea what makes it boys fiction. (I was less shocked by the rest. Some people don’t like fantasy and I think that particular review was more about the genre than the TV show.)

So, okay, it’s not chic flick-ish. But beyond that? I don’t know. It’s not as if there are no women in Game of Thrones. And it’s a type of fantasy I read off and on in grade school and more regularly afterward. So, yeah.

As a child, it never really occurred to me there were books I shouldn’t read. Maybe such thoughts occurs to boys? Maybe they see a dragon, a girl on a white horse and a female writer’s name, and decide the book isn’t for them? (The cover for the Hero and the Crown, a childhood favorite.) It seems strange to me.

So I just don’t know what makes a story boys fiction.