#writinglessons: Hotel Artemis

(Caution: Long post ahead!)

Image result for hotel artemis

I just watched Hotel Artemis and was loving the movie right until the ending. Have you ever seen a movie where it’s obvious the producers/directors just wanted to round up the story arcs as quickly and neatly as possible? Well that’s what this ending felt like and it left me…slightly disappointed.

Anyway, let me get back to that ending I mentioned by discussing the rest of the story.

Ready? Please look away if you don’t want spoilers. You can skip to the end to read how I would have ended the movie. I’ll put a big sign for you so you won’t miss it, okay?

Continue reading “#writinglessons: Hotel Artemis”

Advertisements

#Writinglessons: Tomb Raider & the ‘status quo’

For writers, the first part of their book typically shows the main character’s ‘Status Quo’. By that, I mean a snapshot of what their life is like at the beginning of the story. From there, things typically go to hell or at least that’s what I aspire to do in my books.

I was recently watching the latest installment of Lara Croft–Tomb Raider starring Alicia Vikander–and the opening scene (which I’d equate to the opening scene and ‘Status Quo’ segment of a book) was an eye opening experience for me. No, not because the movie was an exquisite example of film making or storytelling, but simply because the filmmakers did something that I found instructive.


Now, if you are yet to watch the movie and don’t want it spoiled for you, I suggest you walk away right now and come back when you’ve watched the flick. If, however, you simply want to learn a storytelling technique, then forge ahead!

Back to what I learned. In the beginning of the movie, Lara Croft is in a boxing match. She faces a stronger, more skilled opponent and yet in the face of certain defeat, she doesn’t give in. She rather lose than capitulate.

The filmmakers used the status Quo segment of the story to highlight a major characteristic trait of hers. This stubbornness, or as her father later said to her in a video, “I know you don’t like being told what to do”-plays a major role in the decisions she makes later in the film. (Sort of).

For me, the lesson is to use the status Quo section to not only show the character’s life but to show who the character is. What makes them who they are. Plant the seed of an important part of their story that influences the plot later on. That should arguably help for the creation of a satisfying read for the reader.

As to whether I learned anything else from the movie, the answer is yeah. However, in my opinion, I learned what not to do. For instance, when a character does something that doesn’t make sense, expect a readers suspension of disbelief to abate. (I feel like I notice this more than anything in books and film because it is a problem that terrifies me as a writer.)

Specifically, Lara Croft boxes and when she gets to Hong Kong  (spoiler!) She is able to chase down a petty criminal and retrieve her stolen bag. Then the thief pulls out a switch knife and all of a sudden this boxing, bike racing (yeah, she lives for a thrill) chick is running away from some punks? She didn’t even try to put up a fight.

It didn’t jive well with me though I assume the filmmakers wanted to show an uncertain Lara Croft before she became the adventurer and kick ass Lara Croft fans expect. Maybe I’m just having a hard time adjusting to a Lara Croft that isn’t baddie Angelina Jolie.

Nah, the filmmakers didn’t realize that making Lara Croft scared one minute then able to swing herself off a crashing boat in the middle of a storm the next, would throw a viewer (me) out of the story.

Anyway, now I’m yearning to watch Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Lara Croft: The Cradle of Life. Maybe after I’ve re-watched John Wick and John Wick Chapter 2. I’ve got a beef shawarma and a bottle of Riesling. Yup, that’s what I’m about to do tonight!

writinglessons: The Good Fight

I spent a few days watching episodes of The Good Fight with my cousin recently. She’s pregnant and the baby had her sleep cycle on ridiculous, so scripted tv programs were a perfect way to bide the time.

She (my cousin) informed me that The Good Fight (TGF) was a spinoff of The Good Wife. Neither shows had ever been of interest to me and with an already stacked to-watch-list, I didn’t think I should add TGF to my schedule. Boy, am I happy I did.

the-good-fight

Source: Variety

The show is set in the city of Chicago and specifically in the offices of the city’s most prestigious all-Black law firm. You’d think it would be a show about black people and the crucial or tangential issues involving them.

Instead, and quite cleverly, the story is really about three female attorneys trying to find their way at the firm. Two of those attorneys are white (yes, I know it’d obvious from the poster above).

Their race, while sometimes important, is far from crucial to what makes the show so incredible. Its the complicated relationships between themselves and the characters they encounter that produces the tension, conflict and pleasure of this program.

Take Ygritte Maia (lady number 3 in the poster). The complexity for her lies in her relationship with her parents and particularly her father.

Continue reading “writinglessons: The Good Fight”

#Writinglessons: Embarrassment – A Storytelling Device

Empire is one of the scripted television shows that I enjoy watching. Check out my post on the shows I indulged in last year. The show is a combination of several things I enjoy watching – it’s got a lot of drama, high levels of family conflict (I grew up watching Dallas with my mom in the ’80s), ratchet galore (uh, I watch LHH and the Real Housewives franchise) and fabulous clothes!

Continue reading “#Writinglessons: Embarrassment – A Storytelling Device”

#Writinglessons: Emotion Amplifiers

As I noted in a previous post, I’m doing less writing and more reading nowadays.

I’ve got to say, I love it! It took a while for me to accept that this was to be a period of learning and not one of creation. Still, I’m enjoying the focus on craft and have pinned several relevant writing tips at my Writing Tips board on Pinterest as well as shared several links to important writing advice on Twitter.

In my quest to become a better writer, I downloaded Emotion Amplifiers from Amazon when it was available for free. Written by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, the book provides writers with tips on how to strengthen the emotional tone of a scene. The authors highlight that doing so can enhance a reader’s emotional investment in the story and it’s characters, as well as assist with the pace of the story.

Image result for emotion amplifiers

As a writer whose editor kindly noted a need for such in my WIP, I definitely found Emotion Amplifiers to be useful and recommend it to any writers who need it.One of my goals as a writer is to keep my readers engaged from beginning to end. I want 1o eliminate any skipped pages or paragraphs and encourage my readers to love (or hate) my characters enough to want to see what happens to them. I think this book will help me achieve my objective.

If you don’t have the Emotion Amplifiers book, get your copy at the following online outlets

KOBO

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

Kindle

As of 10/12/16, the ebook is free on Amazon!

What books have you read recently that you find useful, be it for writing or something else? Do share! I’m currently reading Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey (pen name for 2 dope science fiction creators) and will soon read Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran to learn more about the self-publishing business.

#writinglessons: Star Trek Beyond

I finally watched Star Trek Beyond and loved it!

Image result for star trek beyond

What a great movie. Right amount of laughs, tension, action and heart-racing fear to keep me engaged. Even the bad guy made sense in the end.

So, what did I learn from the movie?

Plenty. Continue reading “#writinglessons: Star Trek Beyond”

#writinglessons from Independence Day Resurgence

I tried y’all.

I really tried.

But.

Independence Day Resurgence was super hard to watch and put me to sleep (granted, I have a lot going on and have been underslept as of late).

Source: meowgifs.com

I don’t think I got halfway through this flick but in an attempt to stay awake, I pulled out my phone and started taking notes.

Continue reading “#writinglessons from Independence Day Resurgence”

#WritingLessons from George R.R. Martin

I recently read an article which reviewed a talk George R.R. Martin , author of the Game of Thrones books, gave in Australia.

As a fan of the television series and a writer aspiring to create worlds that readers can get lost in, it’s no surprise that I paid close attention to what he had to say.

Here are a few of the tips I took away from the article:

  1. don’t let characters wallow in despair for too long;
  2. avoid cliches;
  3. show violence truthfully but also show its after-effects; and
  4. use grey characters (i.e. not all good, not all bad).

He had a lot more to say but those four tips spoke loudly to me.

(I’m sorry that I don’t have a link to the original article. Please don’t shoot me.)

Have you joined my mailing list? It’s very easy, just click here to subscribe.

#WritingLessons from #GOT S6 E10

I just got to watch Game of Thrones because, I hardly get to watch my preferred tv shows live.

 

It is what it is, but my life doesn’t always permit me to watch much live tv but the news.

Anyway, this season finale episode was … PURE FYAH!!!!

Yes, I loved almost every second of it and I managed to walk away with a few #writinglessons. Please be aware that spoilers lie ahead.
  1. Shock the hell out of everyone. As a writer, I know the importance of shocking my readers.  It is always important to give them something they don’t expect. Like, I didn’t expect Tommen to off himself the way he did. I also didn’t expect Cersei to off everyone in the septum the way she did. As in, damn, Cersei is a cold-blooded BAWSE.
  2. REALLY shock the hell out of everyone. I’m certain I wasn’t the only one surprised that Cersei and Qyburn would use children as assassins. Like DAMN. But it’s those sorts of surprises that make for a good story. Oh, and the irony of the young destroying the old was a great image and I wonder if that will be a theme in the future.
  3. Allow your characters to be their true self. Eventually. Cersei – the black queen has come into her own, forced there by a series of events.  Daenerys – the dragon queen has relinquished love, with no emotions, in order to gain the seven kingdoms (is she going to be just like her mad father?). John Snow – the bastard Targaryen has become the king of the north (but trouble lies ahead what with the secrets between himself and Sansa). Arya Stark. Need I say more? These essential characters have come into their own and I like it. Ooh and I can’t forget Granny Olenna Tyrell. She cut those Sand sisters at their knees in her typical quick tongue and she’s about to be that granny out for revenge. Long story short – be true to your character’s character.

And now, I’m off to see how I can apply these few tips to my story, THE PURSUAL. It goes to the editor later today and I’m so nervous.

Have you joined my mailing list? It’s very easy, just click here to subscribe.

 

 

#WritingLessons from Nollywood

Nollywood is the colloquial term for Nigeria’s homegrown movie industry. It’s considered the second largest by volume, after India’s Bollywood and America’s Hollywood.

We all know quantity does not equate to quality.

Nollywood movies, while dramatic, highly entertaining and (sadly) often realistic portrayals of real life for the average Nigerian, do not always measure up to well-crafted stories. That has something to do with the economics of Nollywood – films are made quickly on the cheap.

(You think I’m kidding when I say they are dramatic, heehee)

I recently watched a movie (because despite their challenges, I enjoy Nollywood) and walked away with the following #writinglessons –

Continue reading “#WritingLessons from Nollywood”