Monday, September 9, 2013

More about character quirks

I think I spoke earlier about a list where the author had named things like "disability" and "pacifism" as character flaws.
It turns out that is a "character flaw" list for live role play players. Like Dungeons and Dragons. In that world both pacifism and disability can be seen as "flaws". But the one who posted the list forgot to mention this origin of the list, and suggested it for fiction authors...

Now, there's this e-book of 1001 character quirks to make your characters rounded and "real".
I think "SlyShy" says it all in her (or his?) review of the idea. (Now, that's just based on the information given on the advertisement page about the e-book, so we could be very unfair and wrong. Could.)

Here's some of the suggestions:
100 free character quirk ideas

I'm sorry to see this blog isn't flying. "1003 character quirks". I think he (she?) had a good idea there. Because "character quirks" are free and easily available. Plenty of material and apparently interested public.

Here's some thoughts by Audrey Kalman.
" the reasons behind the characters’ appeal and endurance “may lie in a deep psychological or mythic resonance, the artistry of their presentation, or the special circumstances of time and society that brought them into being and sustain their popularity.”"
 But - lists...

list of character quirks
50 random character quirks
100 Character Quirks You Can Steal from Me
quintessence of quirks (for roleplayers)

Writeworld's page on quirks

Yeah... For some reason I'm thinking about fanfiction and Marysues... I mean... none of that is really interesting. I don't care if someone bites their nails... unless the author makes me interested in it, like Terry Pratchett. And it doesn't really say anything about the character.

Use character quirks to grab the readers' attention

Oh... 


Closer quirks

Monday, June 10, 2013

8 Unwitting Mistakes Freelance Writers Make

by Melissa Mayntz - from "Trent Steele's Smart Writers Newsletter"

You do everything right - follow guidelines, edit well, promote yourself - so why doesn't your bank account reflect writing success?

Many freelance writers make multiple unwitting mistakes that jeopardize their productivity and their paychecks.

1. Working In Pajamas

Can't you write just as well in your sweats and robe? But the more casually you dress, the more casually you are likely to treat your work. Instead, dress casually as you wake up, check email, and get started on your day, but then get dressed appropriately and you'll find your energy levels up and your productivity increasing - if only so you can soon kick off the shoes again!

2. Not Investing In Yourself

Freelance writers need more than paper to perfect their craft. While you may invest in yourself with good technology, there are many other supplies you may be lacking. A comfortable chair with the right lumbar support can keep you in your office longer, and a well-organized desk will keep all the pens, paper, and notes you need at your fingertips for a productive day. Invest in your off time as well with a relaxing massage or nice dinner out to recharge your batteries, and you'll be ready for another work day.

3. Not Using Family

"Write what you know" is a key lesson freelance writers learn, but don't forget to write what others know as well. Family members, friends, and neighbors can all be good resources for a wider range of expertise that can lead to more articles to write, boosting your paycheck.

4. Too Many Projects

More work means more money, right? Not always! A writer overburdened with extra projects and tight deadlines may be able to complete them all, but none will be done well. Instead, focus on a lower number of better paying projects, and complete them well - doing so will impress editors and lead to higher pay rates and additional assignments.

5. Being a Perfectionist

Editing your work is essential, but editing a dozen times and questioning the placement of every period will slow down how much you actually write. Instead, minimize your editing to be sure all obvious errors are corrected, but don't edit for so long that you miss deadlines or fail to send your work out at all. Editors appreciate a piece that is as correct as possible, but if one mistake slips by your eagle eye, don't stress over the consequences.

6. Overnetworking


A blog, Facebook page, Twitter account, or other social site is essential to keep in touch with your readers and promote your work, but promotion can quickly use up hours of writing time without earning a penny. To take advantage of these tools without excess, use a timer to ensure you're not socializing too long, or opt to work on only one or two of the tools, rotating so each gets attention every few days.

7. Not Checking Spam


A spam filter is useful for blocking nonsense emails or eliminating junk, but it's important to regularly check your spam for the occasional missed message. An editor's response to your query, an invoice request, or a contract confirmation could all accidentally end up somewhere other than your inbox, and if you don't find those messages, you're missing important income.

8. Not Taking Days Off


The more you work, the more you earn - but work too much and your earnings will go down. Exhaustion, poor health, and stress will take their toll on your creative juices and sap your productivity. Plan a full day each week to take completely off - no research, no editing, no perusing new markets. Instead, try something new or enjoy a hobby and you'll not only come back to your office refreshed, but with new inspiration for even more writing.

Every freelance writer makes mistakes, but if you can avoid these errors even while you do everything else right, you'll soon see your writing problems fall and your profits rise.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Fairy Tale Giveaway Blog Hop

The Random.org has spoken and it spoke the number "6" - that is Darlene from Darlene's Book Nook :-)

So, Darlene, I'll be expecting you to read the book and write a review and publish it somewhere and leave me a link to your blog in this blog. Preferably also this blog entry. :-)

But because there's only 16 of you, I'm going to send a little something to each and everyone of you :-)
I was a bit sad about the fact that most people wanted the new and shiny giveaways from other blogs, and so few of you wanted what I have to give. So all of you are extra precious to me, so I will send all of you a little something. (It fits in an ordinary letter.)

Send me your address to ketutar at yahoo dot com, and I will send you snail mail :-)

(Now, I said to Darlene, that if she can wait for her book for two more months, I can put on "mischievous baby animals", as the Swedish post office publishes such stamps, but I was wrong, they give those out in August... and that long I don't think you want to wait... but apparently there should be these. Those are stamps illustrated by a fashion illustrator Lovisa Burfitt, on the theme "write letters". Two of those on each envelope, what do you say about that?  So - if you have any preferences...? Let me know.)



"Twice Upon a Time" is a collection of re-tellings of fairy tales, edited by Denise Little and cover art by Yvonne Gilbert.

The stories included are
Spinning a yarn, by Jody Lynn Nye (Rumpelstiltskin)
How I came to marry a herpetologist, by Nina Kiriki Hoffman (Diamonds and Toads)
Puck in boots, the true story, by Connie Hirsch (Puss in boots)
Case #285B, by Esther M. Friesner (Goldilock an the three bears)
The Beanstalk incident, by Jane Lindskold (Jack and the Beanstalk)
Gilly the goosegirl, by Nancy Springer (The Goose Girl)
Fifi's tail, by Alan Rodgers (several)
The golden stair, by Richard Parks (Rapunzel)
True love, or the many brides of prince Charming, by Todd Fahnestock and Giles Custer (several)
Savior, by John Helfers (Little Red Ridinghood)
Wolf at the door, by Lupita Shepard (The Three Little Pigs)
The castle and Jack, by Tim Waggoner (Jack and the Beanstalk)
Baron Boscov's bastard, by Jacey Bedford (Cinderella)
The emperor's new (and improved) clothes, by Leslie What (The Emperor's New Clothes)
One fairy tale, hard-boiled, by P. Andrew Miller (mostly Rumpelstiltskin)
Feeding frenzy, or the further adventures of the Frog prince, by Josepha Sherman (The frog prince)
A leg up or The constant tin soldier (Gonzo version), by Gary A. Braunbeck (The Steadfast tin soldier)
Mrs. Myrtle Montegrande vs. the vegetable stalkers/slayer, by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough (Jack and the Beanstalk)


My copy is from 1999 and I have read it. There are some boxed pages, and light creases in its back, but no stains or wear. It looks like any average once read pocket book.

Here's the Amazon.com's page on it
Here's a review.
Here's another review

It is not for children, there's both sex, drugs, violence and cussing - not bad, but enough to make this not for children.
The quality differs a lot, as does in most anthologies. My favorites are brides of prince Charming and herpetologist's wife, but there's a lot of good stories. I wouldn't mind if no-one wants to have this book. :-D

Fairy Tale Fortnight Giveaway Hop

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Happily N'Ever After II - Snow White, another bite @ the apple





I forgot I hated Happily N'Ever After I.
I forgot I hated the stupid creatures, Mambo and Munk.
I forgot how bad the animation is. (Compared to other contemporary animations. Barbie is better... and that's much said.)

But I'm glad I did, because "Another Bite @ the Apple" was better than the first one.


In this, Snow White is a spoiled, vain, egocentric brat. She lost her mother, who was good and kind, when she was just a kid, and now her life is all party, fun and looks. Her father decides she needs a woman's touch, so he decides to remarry.
There is this ugly girl who was told that the Queen was loved by everyone because she was beautiful, so she tried to be as beautiful as the queen had been. The Magic Mirror makes her that. She looks exactly like the Queen, and the King wants to marry her.


Snow White isn't happy about it, and mopes, so Lady Vain gets an enchanted apple from the Mirror. She gets Snow White to eat the apple. The apple doesn't kill her, it makes her share her innermost thoughts. This Snow White has something nasty to say about everyone living in the town, and Lady Vain lets everyone know what Snow White thinks about them, and they get angry and Snow White flees from the town.
(Remember, the apple didn't twist her mind, she really, truly thought that way.)

She finds her way to the Seven Dwarves, who remember well the Queen, and because of her they decide to teach Snow White a lesson, and they manage to make her change her shallow ways to being as good and kind as her mother had been. 
So she goes back to the town just in time to interrupt the wedding, and her father decides he doesn't need to marry anymore, now that Snow White has changed. Lady Vain gets ballistic and uses the mirror as a weapon.


Earlier Snow White had met "Sir Peter", an orphan who grew up in one of Queen's orphanages, and who adores the Queen, and doesn't much appreciate Snow White. Now, that Snow White has changed her ways, Peter noticecs that he likes her after all. When Lady Vain starts shooting magic around, he jumps in to rescue Snow White, and is knocked out of the way. (and he stays knocked out!)
Her father joins the battle but he is old, and is just about to fall, when Snow White joins him and steadies his hand. Together - even Mommy Queen gets to be part of the family union, as they use her picture to guide the magic flare - they break the mirror and Lady Vain is ugly again.
They are just about to hang her, when Snow White interferes and tells her outer beauty is not worth much, it's only inner beauty that matters, and the dwarfs agree to teach her the same lesson they taught Snow White.
Happy End.

Now, it wasn't anything one will regret missing... it's more the other way around. One might regret seeing it... Especially if one paid to see it.

It has a nice message - helping others is what makes you beautiful, not clothes and make-up and hairdo.

Also, the villain, even though she tried to kill Snow White, is not evil, just misguided, and there's hope for her.

Animation, as said, was pretty bad.

The king is a poor version of the king in Disney's Sleeping Beauty, and he wears Burger King crown...


The wedding is accompanied with Wagner's wedding march, the bride is wearing a white dress, and the priest reads the Christian wedding ceremony... I suppose people wouldn't know otherwise that it's a question of a wedding.
And even though the prince... er... Sir Peter, the orphan, I meant, had to fetch Snow White to the wedding, and found her in the middle of the forest fixing Humpty Dumpty, and then they galloped back to the castle and had to get over hurdles to get to the church in time, Humpty Dumpty, and everyone else was in the church already... just in time to witness in favor of Snow White, when Lady Vain claimed she hadn't changed.

But if you can ignore such small details, it's not a bad movie.
It's not good either.

(Made 2009 by BAF (Berlin Animation Films)

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Snow White: A Tale of Terror



Just to remind myself, I watched Snow White; A Tale of Terror, again. This Snow White is from 1997. It is fascinating... because one doesn't really know if the stepmother, Claudia, played by Sigourney Weaver, is a witch or just mad.

The first time I saw it, I was seriously scared, and to my surprise, they managed to scare me this time too :-D
If I remember correctly, this movie was received with delight as a true Grimmesque retelling and as something seriously different from the cutie-pie Disney versions. There is a point when one isn't quite sure if anyone survives...

This is yet another Snow White where I like the Evil Queen/Stepmother most. Claudia was the most faceted personality, and her motivation was made very clear. As she was treated by both her stupid husband and his bratty daughter, I wish she had managed to bring her son back to life. Now, that would be an interesting story…
It doesn’t harm that the queen is played by Sigourney Weaver. I just adore her. I can’t decide if she is beautiful or not… because she can be the most beautiful woman just as well as quite ugly. Her Old Woman is wonderful, and reminds me of the Old Hag from Disney’s Snow White. So she chats, giving the harmless idea, one can imagine the old hag as a young woman… and the whole time I KNOW it’s Sigourney! But, she’s so good I forget her, and see the old woman as a young girl, playing around with boys, being witty and cute…

I felt sorry for Sam Neill for having such a horrible role to play :-D I think half of his lines were [groaning]. And the other half was mostly stupid.


As Snow White’s love interests, we see both David Conrad as doctor Gutenberg, and Gill Bellows, as Will, and outlaw. I know David from Ghost whisperer, where he plays Melinda’s husband, and Gill from Ally McBeal.  Good looking fellows.


18-years-old Monica Keena plays Snow White, and does a good job in portraying a bratty teenager. And I have to give her that she plays well a scared young woman too.



The manuscript isn’t very good. There's things happening in the movie that are there for the effect, but are not explained satisfactory, like the wolves in the opening scene and the zombie maid? Or is she just imagination? Or what? Also the dialogue is rather stupid. But it was revolutionary 1997. :-D

Director Michael Cohn, has made only three feature length movies, but he’s starting a new project, Sacrifice, with Forest Whitaker’s production company.

Here's another review, from last year's Fairytale Fortnight

Friday, March 29, 2013

Snow White and the Dwarfs' Secret

The next movie I watched was an absolutely delightful Czech-German-Italian-Spanish co-production movie. "Snow White and the Dwarves' Secret", (Snehurka a Sedm Trpasliku / Schneewittchen und das Geheimnis der Zwerge). This lovely piece is from 1992.



It begins with the king leaving for a crusade and leaving the kingdom to be ruled by the Queen. She is vain and somewhat stupid woman. She starts her rule by sending Snow White with the court jester to the royal hunting castle, out of the way, because Snow White is becoming more and more beautiful every day. The dwarves in this are engineers and inventors, and they invent a truth telling machine - which is the magic mirror. One of them takes this machine to the court, dressed in a mechanical knight suit, that makes him as long as all the other men.



He falls in love with the queen, and therefore agrees to kill Snow White, but he's a good man, and cannot kill her. He kills a passing by wild boar, instead, to take its heart and liver to the queen as evidence of that Snow White is dead.

The Jester, who's in love with Snow White, starts looking for her, and manages to find out the truth about the Black Knight, that is the dwarf in knight costume. He agrees to take him to Snow White, but they are too late, the Queen has managed to find her first, and has given her the apple, and she is laying in the crystal coffin. The Fool wishes to say goodbye to her, and lifts her from the coffin, which makes the apple piece to pop out from her throat, and she's breathing and alive again.
It turns out that the Fool is no fool at all, but a prince, and they marry and live happily ever after.




The queen, on the other hand, goes home, and finds the knight machine and realizes that her Black Knight was a dwarf, and as the mirror tells her she is NOT the most beautiful woman in the kingdom, she gets angry and breaks the mirror, which in turn burns her badly and destroys her beauty. The priest, who has been following the happenings behind the scene, takes her to a cloister, where she can finally be useful and learn some humility.




Natalie Minko is a delightful princess, joyful, innocent, but intelligent and brave.

Gudrun Landgrebe is truly a beautiful queen. Her hairdos are amazing. They have given her a long, red hair, which is braided into crowns... Really fascinating.



The Jester is played by Alessandro Gassman, who is better known to the world as the face... or body, actually - from a couple of ads. And, yes, he was 27 in the movie, and even though he was very kind to the eyes, he's even better now, 20 years later.



I also loved the dwarves. The Black Knight (Sándor Köleséry) especially was lovely. So in love with the queen and being seen as a long man... but yet gentle and kind. So aware of his own weakness, and powerlessness... And he wasn't ugly either :-)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Snow White: The Fairest of Them All


Hallmark production
2001

I like this version of Snow White. In it, Snow White’s parents are ordinary people, living in their little cottage in the middle of nowhere. But when her mother dies, the father (played by Tom Irwin) leaves the cottage, his dead wife and takes the daughter to find people and food for the little one. He gets lost in a snow storm, and realizes that they are both going to die, his newborn baby and him, he cries. His tears melt The Green-Eyed One (Clancy Brown), a demon or genie, who fulfills his three wishes, even though he didn’t realize expressing them. His first wish is milk to the baby, second is his wife and queen, and the third one… I have to say that the Green-Eyed One interprets his words a bit freely there – “If you want a queen, you should have a kingdom. Do you wish to have a kingdom? “ “Everyone wishes for a kingdom”, he says, and the next thing he knows is that he’s sitting on a throne and is being crowned to a king of a small kingdom.
The Green-Eyed One goes to his sister (Miranda Richardson) and makes her beautiful. He makes the king fall in love with her.
Everything is just fine the next 16 years, but then Elspeth, the queen, starts looking for a younger husband. Unfortunately, her love interest isn’t interested in her, but the young and beautiful Snow White (Kristin Kreuk).
The make-up is interesting. I love Miranda Richardson as the genie's sister was really cute.


As this is a Hallmark production, you will see a lot of faces known from the television. The dwarfs in this version are a bit different. They are the Weekdays or colors of the rainbow. One of them, for example, is over six feet tall. (Vincent Schiavelli). If you are any way the same like me, you’ll recognize also Sunday (Michael J. Anderson – Carnivale), Friday (Martin Klebba; Black Pearl’s crew man) and Saturday (Warwick Davis; Willow.) Warwick Davis and Michael Gilden both played also ewoks.



This movie has been directed by Caroline Thompson, who is better known as the playwright of Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Corpse Bride.

The setting is interesting, as they seem to have taken more inspiration from Russian fairytales than the German ones.

Snow White: “What does it mean, beautiful? I hate that. Beautiful. Do person's outsides have anything to do with being kind, or considerate or caring towards others. No. Or gentle or generous? No. Or loving or giving or just or wise...”