A blogfest double header!

February 13, 2012

Okay, there’s two blogfests that I’m participating in today. First off, the Origins blogfest, where I’m supposed to talk a bit about my origin story as a writer and storyteller.

The first story idea I ever remember coming up with, I was probably six years or so, and it involved – I kid you not, the adventures of a native Canadian boy, living near the site of Sydney, Nova Scotia, before Europeans came to Canada, and an iron mine and blacksmithy. My mother did try to tell me that she didn’t think the Native Canadians mined for iron or worked with it in that time, but I just didn’t care.

There isn’t much more to the story for several years. Coming through my ‘middle grade’ years, I remember being very convinced that I could write science fiction and fantasy if I worked at it, and managed to finish a few short stories on our family computer, a PC-XT clone. One of them involved a murder mystery at a school for wizards, (Pre-Harry-Potter, but I was probably influenced by the Roke School in Tales from Earthsea,) where all the main characters had miniature dragons as pets in brilliant gemstone colors. (So there’s a bit of influence from ‘Dragonsinger’ as well.) And I actually submitted a science fiction tale to a magazine, that was more than a little bit like ‘Wesley Crusher gets a peer group’ – a handful of bright, precocious teenagers all working as unofficial pre-cadets on a starship, and signing up for a space warfare tactics competition as a team.

Okay, that’s enough origin story I think, moving on to Blogfest 2. The Hook Line and Sinker blogfest calls for a 500-1000 word hook, and I’ve got to go with the opening to my new novel idea, ‘The Scroll:’

Will heard something, and looked out beyond the loading dock before realizing that the sound hadn’t been what he was expecting – not a van entering the parking area, but running shoes against the asphalt. For a second he panicked, wondering if the entire plan had gone wrong, if this was somebody from the University sent to intercept the package before he could secure it. But then he spotted the person running around the corner of the building, recognized her, and a smile broke out on his face. He left the museum, went down the stairs and stretched out his arms for a hug. Mandy took a moment to catch her breath before nestling in against one of his shoulders, her auburn ponytail brushing the side of his face. Read the rest of this entry »

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Update – what I’ve been reading lately.

September 10, 2011

What I was reading earlier.

Hey there. Thought it was time for another update on my readings and such.

  • I finished “The Prisoner of Azkaban” two weeks ago, and loved the ending! Time-turners for the win, and what a little zinger Harry gets to give Uncle Vernon right at the end! I have to admit, I let myself get pulled astray a little by a few half-understood spoilers, because until the truth was revealed I was wondering the whole time if it were possible that Professor Lupin and Sirius Black were the same person.
  • As mentioned, I finished “The Light Fantastic” in one day at Fan Expo. Thatsa lot of reading in lines. Discworld is great stuff!
  • Started “Tehanu” in the Earthsea series, which I’ve heard a lot of not-so-complimentary things about, and I’m really enjoying it, even though if it’s a little less epic than the other Earthsea books. Also “The Rock Rats”, by Ben Bova, sequel to “The Precipice” which I heard via audible.com – also interesting, though I’m hoping that we get some stealth suit hijinks soon and Martin Humphries gets another slap in the face somehow.
  • Speaking of audible.com, I just finished listening to “The Ring of Solomon” and enjoyed that a lot too. Jonathan Stroud lived up to the previous Bartimaeus trilogy, even without being able to draw on any of the human characters from previous books. It was a little disorienting, I have to say, to be living in a historic Israel that didn’t bear much resemblance to the Bible stories except for a few names and facts in common.
  • Read through all of ‘Buffy Omnibus Seven’ (the graphic novels that came before Season Eight) on the plane to and from Atlanta.
  • Still working on “King Kelson’s Bride” and “The Gripping Hand.” I guess that’s it for now.

What, if anything, have you been reading lately?

PS: I just noticed something. There is a kinduv spoiley link in the Wikipedia article for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I won’t say which character, to avoid being spoiley myself, but if you click on the name of this character, who appears quite benign in the first two and a half books of the series, you end up at the article for ‘Death Eater’, and even if you haven’t managed to hear anything about the Death Eaters, the picture really makes it clear that they’re not the good guys. 😉


Novel Films blogfest, Part Two

August 2, 2011

Okay, I already talked a bit about why I like or dislike certain movie adaptations of books yesterday, but for part 2 of the blogfest, I’m going to go into a bit more detail.

A good movie adaptation must be true to the core magic of the book, while taking advantage of the visual medium to add to it, and be willing to cut away the stuff that doesn’t necessarily fit within a movie’s limits.

In ‘The Princess Bride,’ when comparing the book to the movie, I always think of the segue between the Man in Black climbing the Cliffs of Insanity until he duels Inigo Montoya. In the book, Inigo has a long flashback while he watches the stranger climbing, thinking about his father, how the six-fingered man came to his father’s shop with a commission, and then killed his father with the sword rather than paying. How as a young boy Inigo challenged the six-fingered man to a duel, but lost, trained and studied fencing as he grew up, and signed on with Vizzini to support himself as he searched for his revenge.

It’s covered in some considerable detail, and really takes the reader out of the main storyline, even though it’s great material.

In the movie, Goldman makes a choice which would probably have been better in the book, and is amazing in the movie with Mandy Patinkin and Cary Elwes – after he agrees to lift the Man in Black to the top of the cliff, Inigo offers him a chance to rest before fighting for his life, and awkwardly asks if he has six fingers. This breaks the ice between them, and Inigo tells the important details much more briefly, with the Man in Black reacting to his history.

It serves as a bonding moment between the two characters, foreshadowing how they will be comerades in arms on the same side by the climax, and at the same time it doesn’t detract in the same way, because Inigo and the Man in Black are sitting right there, on the cliff-top, swords at their sides, and so we’re reminded that the swordfight is going to be starting any minute.

Read the rest of this entry »


Adaptation Blogfest – Novels into Movies/TV shows

August 1, 2011

Okay, so I’ve signed up for the Novel Films blogfest and I cheated slightly by doing the rounds before making my own post. I got some great ideas, and I’ve also decided that I’m not going to include play to film or comic book to film adaptations in my list, but I will include novel series into TV series, just for the heck of it.

So, here are the cases where I’ve read the book and scene it:

The Princess Bride – a true classic by any standard. Of course, it helps that the author of the book, William Goldman, wrote the screenplay as well and had a lot of experience adapting other people’s books into screenplays. On his DVD commentary, he said that if people could only remember him for one thing, he wanted that to be Princess Bride-related.

A Wrinkle in Time – a surprisingly good movie version of a favorite book. I got a chance to see this at the Toronto children’s film festival, Sprockets.

Earthsea. Ugh – not the worst fantasy film I’ve ever seen, but they messed up so much of the greatness of the two source books.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – took a long time to get made into a movie, and I think it was pretty much worth the wait. Just a shame that there won’t be movie sequels.

Starship troopers – joke of a movie, for such a great novel. Sigh.

The vampire diaries – I started watching the TV series first, and then went back to read the first book in the series, which was interesting, but overall I think I like the TV version better.

Also: Read the rest of this entry »


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