Ladies and gentlemen, we have word count…

Yes, a whopping 587 brand-spanking ~*sparkly*~ words on the new WIP!!

I’m not officially signed up for NaNo, but I consider myself a member of NaNoWriLife…all the same, I consider myself challenged by my self (possibly more powerful than an internet of other novelists) to crank out the words. DO YOU HEAR THAT, ME??

It might be too sad to do a word-meter, so we’ll just celebrate these words without comparing them to the ones still unwritten. But I am soo excited. :D Also, that DARKNESS thing I was worried about might not be as bad as I thought.

Now if I can just put down MORE words in a 2nd POV, we might actually be going somewhere…

Scary Movie – 28 DAYS LATER (!!!)

Okay, I purposely avoided information about this movie so that I would receive it in the purest possible form. And I WAS NOT disappointed. :D

Since everyone in the world has seen it besides me, I’m going to go ahead and talk about ~everything~ (SPOILER ALERT).

Firstly, I have to say that 28 Days Later did not leave me *scared* the way I thought it might. I’m not sure if I’m getting desensitized or what, but I just haven’t seen anything lately that has made me want to sleep with the light on. There were certainly *scary moments* – mostly just places where I was startled – but I DON’T want to give the impression that I didn’t enjoy this movie because I really ~*LOVED*~ it!!!

Why did I love it? The cinematography was fantastic. The story was intriguing – the STUPID animal rights activists (this is EXACTLY why I dislike PETA) at the beginning, and especially poor Jim waking up from a coma all alone in London. THAT gave me chills.

Best moments: The "infected" priest: YES!!! – Selena hacking up the guy she was with in the beginning – The flat tire in the tunnel.
(And BTW, can I just ask who else ever saw the 90s version of THE TOMORROW PEOPLE on Nickelodeon? Because that had a HUGE effect on me and the MS I just finished and Naomie Harris was IN THAT *and* 28 Days Later and I used to have a HUGE crush on Christian Tessier, and I just had a HUGE OMG moment).

Biggest shockers: Finding out that Christopher Eccleston was a bad guy (Nooooooo!!!!!!!). Also, is it wrong of me to be much more deeply disturbed by the fact that the military guys fully intended to lure, trap, and rape women (AND A &*$%#@*&! BARELY PUBESCENT GIRL) than by all of England being *infected*?? Cuz the way that went down made me far sicker than any seething venomous zombie-thing. I’m kind of guessing that was the idea…

…Which leads me to Goriest Moment Ever: Jim gouging out needs-to-die-military-boy’s eyes out by hand. As satisfying as this finally was, I totally had to look away – the ONLY time I did in the entire movie! And S pointed out how interesting it was that (at least to me) the most offensive violence in the movie was done MAN vs MAN, and ~not~ INFECTED vs MAN. Hmmmm.

So really, what was there not to love? :) I’ll admit, there were some places where you just had to suspend belief a bit…such as the 30-second virus gestation…and the fact that when you stab people at close range, blood spray is likely to enter your eyes/lungs…and you probably shouldn’t kiss someone covered in blood of unknown origin…

Also, the ending was brilliantly vague. Early in the movie you hear that the virus has spread globally…but then there are hints that maybe it is limited to Great Britain, which may just be quarantined. By the very end, it is clear that other humans are alive and well, and flying planes around, but you’re still not sure exactly what the damage is. Although the 30-second gestation seems like it would be prohibitive as far as global infection. A seething venomous zombie-thing would NEVER make it through airport security…I think. But also, if the rest of the world was okay, wouldn’t they have tried to make radio broadcasts or something into Britain for survivors?

Anyway, I give it: A+++++ (YAYNESS!) Well done all around, but I guess what else can you expect from Danny Boyle? And it DOES make you stop to consider PLAN B…what would YOU do in a zombie-infection apocalypse??

Up Next: Maybe Argento’s OPERA, or DEMONS, IDK yet!!

New MS Mumbles

So, everyone knows what you do while you wait to hear back on queries, right?

You stop obsessing over THAT MS and move on to a NEW one.

I guess I’ve reached that stage, only it’s not in MS form yet…people, I am outlining. (!!!!!!!) Never thought I’d say that.

And it’s going really well! I had a super-cool idea for a new premise, and first few chapters, etc. I think I know the right direction to go on POV (there will be TWO this time – 1st-person, I think…if I can bring myself to do it. I heart 3rd-close). I even know my characters a *little* bit already. And I HAD been stuck trying to figure out where the whole thing was going to go (after said super-cool premise), but today I THINK I KNOW.

BUT…………..this one is going to be a lot "edgier/darker" than the last one. And I don’t know how I feel about that. I mean, I have absolutely NO problemwith edgy/dark material. I love reading it, and I’m excited to write this story. But it’s like, SO different. I feel like if both books ever made it into print, one would need a pseudonym or something because they just DON’T go together.

I mean, both books do have some similarities…I like to write speculative fiction based in science. For the most part (My YA heroes are Christopher Pike and Scott Westerfeld). And this new MS is going to be like that…only a little heavier on the sci-fi. Which kind of surprises me, but REALLY shouldn’t considering the idea for it, which would make you laugh at me about this if I told you what it was. (Sorry! Sekrit!)

And on top of the sci-fi lean (which is really just fine by itself), my MCs and what happens to them is just a little bit scarier. It’s darker, grittier, and so are they. They make my last MC look like a Puritan. So I’m like…is SHE TOO PURE? Or ARE THEY TOO DARK? Or are they all who they need to be and I should just shut up and understand that the two worlds will never meet…except on a hypothetical bookshelf? *headdesk*

Scary Movie – PHENOMENA

YES! YES! YES!

(Ignore the stupid American title, PHENOMENA is best!!)

OMG, let me first say that I came to this movie QUITE reluctantly. All I knew about it was that INSECTS played a major role, and that ~creeped~ me out!! I assumed they would be horrific killer-insects that murdered people in disgusting devouring ways.

I WAS WRONG.

The insects were BENEVOLENT!!

And this was probably my favorite role ever for Jennifer Connelly. WIN! So here’s the set-up (typical a la Dario Argento): Young girls are being MURDERED around a not-so-friendly girls boarding school. A gentle old wheelchair-bound entomologist is trying to help the police solve the murders. MEANWHILE, Jennifer Connelly (who couldn’t have been more than 15) is sent to said ~scary~ boarding school by her father who is some kind of rich rock star you never see. She has episodes of sleep-walking and sleep-walks right into a (particularly marvelous Argento-style) murder. She flees in the night, and somehow finds herself at the home of the wheelchair-bound entomologist, which is WEIRD because she can SPEAK TO INSECTS TELEPATHICALLY. (o_O)

I really, REALLY don’t want to give the ending of this one away for those who have not seen it! I will say that I was left asking, "So what the hell happened?" but in the BEST possible way, AND there were in this movie: 1 insane mutant child, 1 vengeful school marm, 2 decapitations, 1 vengeful chimpanzee, 1 cesspool of rotting things and *floating* skulls (YES, they FLOATED), 1 not-believable boat explosion, and SEVERAL endearing insect communcations. Awwwwwwwwww.

So my rating: A++++

Next Up: 28 Days Later, dammit! Finally confronted S on his queue-tamperings. Caught him red-handed!!

Footnote: Have also recently watched Silent Hill (B-) and What Have You Done to Solange? (A-) which were both good, but the latter was better, OF COURSE. Like Black Christmas, it had a (more disturbing) abortion sub-plot. And in wonderful giallo style, some really, really disturbing murders.

14 Months

So today’s kind of a big day for me.

And that got me thinking about the past 14 months.

Actually, let me back up, because according to my Word files, MF has officially existed for almost two years. Two Thanksgivings ago, I was playing around with writing more than I had for a long time. I messed with some short stories and poetry, but this one idea kept needling through my mind & wouldn’t leave me alone. I wrote a short story, which became a first chapter. For the next nine months, I struggled through and finished writing a first draft. I showed it to my family. They *loved* it. I submitted the first draft to agents.

*blush* I got a lot of rejections. :) One of those rejections took the time to mention what the agent didn’t love about the work. It wasn’t the idea so much as the writing. I sat on that for a while. I bought some fabulous books. The most important one being: Self-Editing For Fiction Writers. I LEARNED A LOT.

I stopped subbing, and started rewriting (14 months ago). Overthis period of time, I read more books, and messageboards, and continued to learn. I started this journal, met some wonderful people (*waves*) and continued to learn. Several times, I stopped what I was doing and wondered if it was a waste of time. Several more times, I decided it wasn’t, and pressed on.

My entire plot changed. My characters changed. Some of them got new names, others new personalities. Their relationships changed. They stopped breathing and coughing their sentences. But the basic idea I started with, the one that wouldn’t leave me alone, stayed the same.

I’m generally a self-motivated person, but I continued to learn a lot about discipline. I wrote myself sticky notes, and I’ve left them up over my desk to remind me to keep going:

"5,000 Words BY MONDAY!"

"NO Messageboards this AM! _____ got an agent! REVISE!!!"

"You got NOTHING done tonight because you procrastinated! Your four lines SUCK and you’re going to be fat!"

Honestly, I can’t look at them now without laughing. S reads them and says I’m mean to myself. It’s a weird thing, self-motivation.

So today is a big day, because I’m sending MF out again. Today feels so much weightier than the last time I sent queries. I’m not exactly sure what’s going to happen now, but I know I’ll understand everything that DOES happen in a way I didn’t 14 months ago.

I guess we’ll see… :)

Remember When…

Stole this from

[info]dawn_metcalf.  

 

Let’s have a little fun! :D

If you read this, if your eyes are passing over this right now, please post a comment with a completely made up and fictional memory of you and me.

It can be anything you want – good or bad – but completely fictional.

When you’re finished, post this little paragraph in your blog and see what your friends come up with.

Go on, I dare ya!

Scary Movie – THE HAUNTING (1963)

Ohhhh yeah, some real SUSPENSE, finally!!

THE HAUNTING

So, this was a CLASSIC example of a movie that could never live up to the book it was based on. But it was an EXCELLENT attempt! I listened to The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson <3 on audio last week, and Sunday we settled in for the movie to compare.

Perhaps I should warn that I didn’t find the book all that scary (SPOILER ALERT) until mental illness hit the scene. Yep, WAY scarier than ghosts! Eeeek. The movie poster above does an amazingly accurate portrayal of poor Eleanor’s mind. Although…in the movie, it wasn’t clear whether Eleanor was really nuts, or if THE HOUSE WAS MAKING HER NUTS. In the book, I kind of assumed it was all her. Heh.

So, freakiest things about the movie: EVERYTHING UNSEEN. There were voices, and noises, and you NEVER saw where they were coming from. LOVE that kind of scary movie! All suggestion, nothing shoved down your throat! It’s a lost art, we all know. Weirdest thing about the movie: A young Russ Tamblyn (Dr. Jacoby from TWIN PEAKS) in the role of Luke. Weird. Worst departure from the book: Dr. Markway and Eleanor’s sexual tension, Theodora being a byotch, Mrs. Markway’s character getting *ruined* (she went from oujia-board wielding nincompoop (sp?) to dry, uninteresting skeptic. :-P Character most TRUE to the book: Mrs. Dudley. "I set out breakfast at nine. I clear up at ten." ROFL.

Scary Movie Rating: B+. Not sweating-screaming-hiding-under-blankets scary, but definitely caused a few jumps! And in 1963, probably caused more than a few NIGHTMARES. :) Overall, a MUST for the classic scary catalogue.

Ok, so we’ve worked our way up to THE REAL THING! Next movie up: Phenomena by Dario Argento. OH GOD /INSECTS\ I DON’T KNOW IF I CAN TAKE IT. *SHUDDER*

Scary Movie(s) – The Others AND Mothman Prophecies

This is going to be a two-fer. This week we’ve watched:

            THE OTHERS                       THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES
           

Okay, so these were both kind of concessions to S, who still needs a night-light. ;) BUT I was pleasantly surprised to find that BOTH movies were SCARIER than I anticipated!! I didn’t even think MOTHMAN was supposed to be scary at all, but trust me – it WAS. In like, the best kind of X-Files way. And there was a moment in THE OTHERS when I screamed DIRECTLY in S’s ear – at about the decible I used to use for swim meets back in the day - and I haven’t done that since we had our first movie date at ID4. Oh god, don’t think about when that came out…

THE OTHERS:
Wow, ok I’ve always thought Nicole Kidman was nice to look at, but I was never that impressed with her skills as an actor (see Far and Away…or actually, don’t). But she was GREAT in this movie! It had everything a classical ghost story has – big spooky house (extra points for being an old manor), shifty servants, slamming doors/furniture, mysterious pianos that play themselves, beautiful dark scenes edited for maximum TENSION, and GHOSTS. Should I ruin the twist? I think I’ll resist…but in full disclosure, I already kind of had an inkling as to what it was before we started the movie, and it STILL snuck up on me and was very intriguing to see how they pulled it off! Wonderful ambivalent ending. Oh yeah, and Christopher Eccleston was in it!! Reason enough to rent!! B+

THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES
I do not like Richard Gere, for completely irrational reasons involving my sister and PRETTY WOMAN, but he was watchable in this movie. Did not make it or break it. I was trying to superimpose David Duchovny’s face on his, but he kept moving… ANYWAY, S just finished reading this book, so I indulged him. He listens to a lot of Coast to Coast AM podcasts. Most of them are whacked-the-hell-out, but some (particularly ones about EVPs *shiver*) can be strangely compelling. According to S, this movie only faintly resembled the goings-on in the book, but it was FREAK-Y without ever even showing a MOTHMAN. Eeek. Basic plot: Richard Gere’s tragically endearing wife (Debra Messing) dies in the beginning and he experiences strange phenomena that lead him to this little town in W. Virginia called Point Pleasant (true story!). All the people in this town have been experiences strange things, and some have even SEEN the MOTHMAN, who is described as being 8ft tall and scary as shite with wings and an insectal voice and his name is Indrid Cold. EEEK! So Richard never resolves anything about the Mothman, even after being lured with glimpses of his dead wife, but he does find LURVE with a lady cop played by Laura Linney that I found only *slightly* unbelievable as a rural W. Virginia cop, but what are you going to do? Much of the FREAKY events in the book/movie ACTUALLY TOOK PLACE, which gives this movie even further scariness cred. I give it a B.

Next in queue: THE HAUNTING (FINALLY!!)

One more set of eyes?

I’m going to say it out loud: I am about to sub my manuscript. To living, breathing agents that I respect. A lot. *tremble* I have gotten some wonderful feedback on my MS recently, and I think I’ve fixed the major problems (yanno, like the whole beginning not working). I’m feeling really good about it right now…between the inevitable waves of doubt. Part of me just wants to send my (totally awesome) query letters out and not look back. But part of me would feel better if someone else read it once more before it goes out (like, to catch the places where people might be eating cereal on one page say, and pancakes on the next?). I’m not looking for a line-by-line crit.
 
Have you read between the lines yet? I’m looking for volunteers!
 
And actually, I’d be happy just to get feedback on the *all new* first chapter. Because like, *wipes forehead* I don’t need to tell YOU GUYS how important those first ten pages are, do I?
 
I’m more than happy to swap reading for this again. If you want to just trade first chapters, that’s cool! If you don’t have anything ready now, but can make the time to read for me, you may hold that over my head until a future date when I’d be glad to return the favor! Also, if you’ve seen this MS before and would have another go at it…you’d be made of awesome. If this thing makes it into print, I have a nice, shiny spot on my acknowledgements page just waiting for your name. :) I’m hoping to wrap this up as fast as possible, but I understand that ALL of you are busy-busy friends! Let me know in comments or send me a message if you might be interested!
 
BTW, this is a ~63k Contemporary YA with a sci-fi/magical realism bent.

Scary Movie – BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974)

As promised, BLACK CHRISTMAS was good horror watching!!

I had never heard of BLACK CHRISTMAS until a few years ago when S and I started really getting into classic horror. And then I found out it was directed by Bob Clark of A Christmas Story (which previously trampled Miracle on 34th Street as my FAVORITE X-MAS MOVIE EVER), which made it all the more intriguing…and even more disturbing. Kinda like if you found out that Mr. Rogers did porn on the side or something (please, I don’t want to know).

So we had a bit of trouble tracking this one down at the local Video Rental. We had it in the Netflix queue, but it wasn’t coming fast enough, so we went down to Video One (or neighborhood seedy movie rental) and managed to find it on VHS (much grumbling from S about how the quality would be so bad he wouldn’t be able to hear – it was FINE, and I thought the crappy VHS added to the effect!)

I won’t spoil anything, but the back of BLACK CHRISTMAS reads like a holiday porno. Hmmm…this keeps coming up. It’s about a group of sorority girls and their wayward house mother who are spending Christmas in their sorority house because no one loves them enough to want them home. They start receiving perverse disturbing/harrassing telephone calls, and what do they do? KEEP LISTENING, and INVITE EVERYONE IN THE HOUSE TO COME LISTEN, which is exactly what you’re supposed to do in that situation, right? LOL. And then the big shock of the movie came (ok screw it, SPOILER ALERT) – the VIRGIN is the first victim!! Srsly, right after I turned to S and said, "she won’t die, she’s the virgin – she gets asphyxiated in her closet! Then the guy in the SCREAM mask leaned over my shoulder and stuck his tongue out at me and said, "Nya-nya."

Anyway, as you can probably guess, the perky sorority sisters are picked off one by one by some unknown figure hiding in their attic. I was glad to see the house mother go – she was a badly dressed cliche. My fave part was the byatch sister who was stabbed with her own crystal unicorn – BRUTAL. But seriously, it was sitting there in the camera foreground screaming "IRONIC WEAPON." On top of all this, the MC (only girl who doesn’t die) informs her handsome turtleneck & shag haircut boyfriend that she’s pregnant, but she’s having an abortion and he gets absolutely no say, and she doesn’t love him and doesn’t know why she even told him about it. He proceeds to morph into SCARAY boyfriend and smashes his beloved piano (ouch). Um, and that’s about it. There’s a big ho-down with the killer stalking the MC, but she gets away and (somehow with a fireplace poker) kills her SCARAY boyfriend instead cuz she thinks he’s the killer.

Two annoying things: They NEVER find the bodies of the virgin or the house mother (in the attic), and who the killer is and his motivation for killing is never revealed other than snippets of his harrassing phone calls when he talks about Billy and Agnes, and "don’t tell them what we did." I had to go to Billy’s wikipedia page afterward to fill in the gaps, but then it all made sense. That must’ve been frustrating in 1974!

Up Next: Possibly The Others, The Haunting, or The Mothman Prophecies (S’s pick – whatevs, I called him out on horror avoidance).