Follow Bliss Friday 8-31-12

August 31, 2012 § 3 Comments

Week’s Highlights from the Creative Realm

Superman and Wonder Woman in Love!

I love Superman, and I love Wonder Woman, I’m just not sure how I feel about them together. I know, forgive me, I’m a Clois fan. I have to get back to the comic book store pronto and check this out.

Superman and Wonder Woman - the Hidden Killer

Superman and Wonder Woman – the Hidden Killer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kittens and Hedgehogs and Baby Dragons at Bubonicon

Bubonicon 44 Mayan Perry Logo by Ursula Vernon

Okay, there was a lot more than that at Bubonicon 44 this year, but I have to mention the adorable art I got last weekend that is going up on the office wall. One is “Hedgehog’s Balloon” by the convention’s guest artist, Ursula Vernon, whose graphic novel, Digger, has been nominated by the World Science Fiction Society for the 2012 Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story.  The second is “X Marks the Spot” by Alan F. Beck, one in a series of illustrations for book concept The Adventures of Nogard and Jackpot, about a kitten and the spirited baby dragon she discovers in her closet. Yeah, I love the little critters. I learned to read on The Tale of Peter Rabbit, so what can I say?

Illustration of Peter Rabbit eating radishes, ...

Illustration of Peter Rabbit eating radishes, from The Tale of Peter Rabbit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And speaking of Bubonicon, I really enjoyed the “Genre State in Hollywood” panel with Melinda Snodgrass, Michael Cassutt, and George R.R. Martin.

Data (Star Trek)

Data (Star Trek) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“I fear the special effects.” —Melinda Snodgrass (whom George R.R. Martin affectionately described as the one “who wrote the best Star Trek episode ever, ‘The Measure of a Man’”) commented on the tendency of Hollywood to spend a lot of money and time on special effects and forget to spend any time on a character we actually care about.

Lost was stealth science fiction.” — George R.R. Martin, on how the show started out looking like a Survivor-esque stranded on the island drama, and next thing we know we’re like, are they really on an island?

“If you do whatever the network tells you to do, you will fail.”—Michael Cassutt, on how to deal with execs who often change their mind and don’t know what they want anyway.

English: Publicity photo of Buddy Ebsen and Ir...

English: Publicity photo of Buddy Ebsen and Irene Ryan from The Beverly Hillbillies. Episode is “The Clampetts in Washington” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At one point the three of them were joking about high concept pitches, and George quipped, “It’s The Beverly Hillbillies, but it’s a drama.” The more they thought about it, the more they kept laughing, and when Melinda added, “It’s Justified meets The Beverly Hillbillies,” everyone just lost it.

Celeste and Jesse Forever

Romantic comedies are supposed to be, you know, romantic. Still, I might just have to check this out to see how the formula is flipped. It’s supposed to be hilarious, and is written by and stars Rashida Jones, so that’s a plus.

“Obsolete Pile of Pressed Tree Pulp”

Opus (comic strip)

Opus (comic strip) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The 2007 Opus comic strip by Berkeley Breathed where Auggie gives Opus an eReader and Opus winds up using the glow from the device to illuminate the pages of his hardbound copy of To Kill a Mockingbird is still how I feel about the whole eReader thing. Even though that comic is taped to the wall of my office, this is the weekend I buy my first eReader. Yep, it’s happening. I have a couple of . . . um . .  .  hot books that I’m dying to read, and they’re in eBook format.

Week Thirty-Four: The Writer’s Journey

August 28, 2012 § 3 Comments

August 26th

Following the advice of a couple of my fellow LERA writers, I am taking a break from the novel rewrites. Over the next couple of weeks or so, I’m reading other books in my genre and doing some craft homework.

I finally cracked the spine on Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey that I bought back in February at the Southwest Writers Script and Screen Conference.

Reading this book is like coming home. Years ago I read an article about the hero’s journey plot model in The Children’s Writer. I still have the newsletter and keep it handy whenever I am struggling working on plot. It was from this article that I first heard of using the mythic structure for writing and Christopher Vogler’s book.

Vogler has worked as a story consultant for Disney and 20th Century Fox. His book is a breakdown of Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey, told in contemporary terms with examples from modern movies such as Star Wars, Romancing the Stone, and An Officer and a Gentleman.

Cover of "An Officer and a Gentleman (Spe...

Cover via Amazon

His illustrations of the different archetypes are fascinating. Bogart is the anti-hero in Casablanca, “M” and “Q” are the multiple mentors in the James Bond series, and Kathleen Turner is the shapeshifter in Body Heat.

I absolutely hate plotting, and the hero’s journey is the only plot structure that holds my interest and that I can work with until the bitter end. I am really enjoying delving into this book. The only question is whether I can handle the separation anxiety from my laborious rewrites for the next few weeks.

Five Favorite Things about Grimm, Ep 203: Bad Moon Rising

August 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

“There are some things about your family you don’t even tell your closest friends.”

Yeah, that mating ritual consummation stuff was creepy. Seriously. Minor spoilers ahead.

Favorite Conflict

Hank freaking out at the therapist’s office is what I imagine a returning soldier might go through. Hank’s only there because the symptoms have gotten so bad, and he’s struggling to stay in control as he tells some stranger his problems. Then he loses it and goes into attack mode, and the therapist tries to pretend she’s not totally freaked out by her own patient.

Russell Hornsby as Hank Griffin — (Photo by: Scott Green/NBC) via KSiteTV

Favorite Little Moment

Monroe is at the hospital trying to jog Juliette’s memory and she asks, “How do you know Nick?” Monroe’s eyes practically pop out of his head as it dawns on him that he can’t really explain that. “Oh—uh . . .” He’s got nothing.

Favorite Character Reveal
After hearing how the crazy Coyotl ritual is supposed to go down, Nick heads toward the door to avert an atrocity. Monroe asks, “Don’t you want to hear how it went with Juliette?” Nick stops, impatient, knowing what the answer is before he asks the question. “Does she remember me?” “No,” Monroe admits, and Nick covers his disappointment by saying “I have to find this girl.” The man is great at compartmentalizing for the greater good.

David Giuntoli as Nick Burkhardt — (Photo by: Scott Green/NBC) via KSiteTV

Favorite Quote

Nick: “It’s sort of a family problem.”

Favorite Links

Grimm viewers, what did you think of “Bad Moon Rising”?


Week Thirty-Three: Save the Cat and Shouting Secrets at the Albuquerque Film Festival

August 22, 2012 § 3 Comments

August 19th, 2012

I’m reading Going Cowboy Crazy by Katie Lane, a fish-out-of-water contemporary romance about Chicago city-girl Faith who goes to a small town in Texas looking for her long-lost sister. What she finds is her sister’s ex-boyfriend, and the sparks start flying.

The next book I am looking forward to reading is On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves. Oh, yeah, and I really need to get that eReader sometime soon.


I finished my Beat Sheet from Save the Cat. That book keeps coming up in the topic of story craft. Just this weekend, I attended a screenwriting panel at the Albuquerque Film Festival, and the producer’s reader recommended this book. He talked about how when he reads a script, he looks for something to like in a character, something to make him root for the character. I thought, hey, that sounds like Save the Cat! Sure enough.


“It’s a family drama where the family happens to be Native American.” —Korinna Sehringer, director of Shouting Secrets

Speaking of the ABQ Film Festival, I was sitting in the lobby at the KiMo theater chilling out before the feature film started, and a pretty blond with a European accent sat down by me and asked if I was there to see the movie. When I said yes, she exclaimed, “Oh, good!” Turns out she is the freaking director! Very interesting that a Green Card holder from Switzerland told the story in this movie so well. In Shouting Secrets, a Native American family, separated by location and life choices, come together when the mother suffers a stroke. As the misunderstood father tries to keep everything under control, the family differences play out awkwardly, amusingly, and explosively. Gil Birmingham (Billy in Twilight) plays the father, and he was looking pretty sexy, BTW.

I really enjoyed this movie; it had lots of laughs and heart-tugging moments, but not the saccharin kind. In the Q&A that followed the movie screening, an older Caucasian man in the audience marveled at the actors’ performances. A man from Mexico commented on how so many of the scenes really “touched everyone in the audience.” A young Native American man said he was really happy about the many moments in the film that he could relate to.

Pinti, Tushka, and Wesley are siblings who come together for their mother’s illness in the film Shouting Secrets. Courtesy Shouting Secrets movie.

Korinna herself said she connected to the protagonist’s storyline: he hadn’t visited home in almost a decade and hadn’t returned his mother’s last phone call. Korinna said that when she had been applying for her Green Card, she worried about receiving that phone call announcing that something bad had happened to a family member in Switzerland, and her being stuck in the U.S., unable to get back to them in time. She also remarked how “it’s so easy to get busy with pursuing your dream or making a living, and saying, ‘oh, I’ll call them next weekend,’ and that weekend turns into months and then years.”

That this movie so resonated with a diverse audience proves what ABQ Film Festival producer Rich Henrich said at the screenwriting panel: “Focus on themes that are broad and universal enough to be human.”

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