Friday, December 16, 2011

Chicken Scratchings for self-publishers

I was reading about book covers, then "how to lose a book sale in 2 seconds - or less", and then I decided to share this information with my readers :-D

I'm interested, perhaps you are too :-)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Book giveaway

I don't know much about this, but I know I have been looking at Hilary Wagner's books. I mean... RATS! I LOVE RATS! RATS ARE THE BEST!!!

I so hope she includes us Europeans in the giveaway, and that I win! :-D

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Writer Magazine

I subscribe to free email of The Writer Magazine. It's full of interesting articles. Now, because I'm not a "paid customer", I don't get the access to all the articles... Even though they offer a lot of interesting articles for free (like importance of reading bad writing), there's always some that are not free... Like "To make good conflict, play with the motivation", "7 tricks for the perfect pitch", or
"The importance of inclusive writing"... which made me think of something people say to me all the time: "Don't write about gay people just because you would like to have a homosexual character in what you are writing, if you are not gay, because you don't know enough of their culture and might say something a gay person would never say..." 
Isn't THAT something really prejudiced to say? And it's usually gay people who say so.

I can understand that people are afraid to be described as charicatures and token samples of their group by chauvinist people, but what would the harm be, if I described the person just like any other person in the story, but just switched the gender of their beloved one? Is really the "gay people don't act like that, they wouldn't ever say things like that, have those hobbies, behave like that" the worst thing that can happen?
I perhaps need to try to be more clear. I have been thinking about inclusivity, and I would want to create a world that is NOT just white, heterosexual and Western. I was asking if I could just let the character kiss her girlfriend, the same way I would kiss my husband. The relation would be mentioned not because of her sexuality, but because she is the main character's BFF, and I want to add more color and depth to her character. My husband is an important part of my life, and I find it hard to imagine any BFF whose relations wouldn't matter.

Of course I don't know anything about being a gay and trying to hide that fact from the world, just as precaution, I know nothing about the things people do to avoid uncomfortable consequences, or... well... what ever motives people have. Some take the difference and turn it up, some play it down, and I know nothing about how people with differences different from mine do it, why and what are the consequences...

But in the same way, I know nothing about neuronormal people. I know nothing about people who are not white, female, social-liberal, polylingual, middle-aged, straight, Pagan, bla bla bla. In fact, most of the people know nothing about the life of people different from themselves - AND WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT - we are all unique individuals... so if people were to write only about what you know, and only about people who are like you - we shouldn't ever write anything. Except horrible egocentric memoires. What a wonderful reading that would be... >;->

Well, then there's "Zombies can bring your story to life". I haven't read the article - I can't as I'm not a subscriber - but I was thinking about the things zombies are symbols of... or some people I know who are like zombies. There's emotional vampires, why not emotional zombies?
Come to think about it... what if Edward WAS a "real life" vampire... emotional one. What if he "really" was "sparkling"... you know some people with such a charm they seem to be sparkling, dazzling, shiny things? You know these enigmatic, extremely attractive people you just cannot turn to look at? Aren't all the vampires always described like that? Most psychopaths and narcissists are very charming. They need their followers, fan club, entourage... they don't seem to exist without people telling them they exist...
What about writing Dracula but in modern time and with psychological vampire as Dracula? Bah. Someone has certainly come up with that idea several times already :-D

How to turn into a werewolf. Really interesting insight to the world of Otherkin.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"Mortal Instruments"

Such a stupid name...

The story was great, original, interesting and well told.  But...

I hate Clary. I really don't see any good qualities in her. She's selfish, so darn egocentric, and then is supposed to dislike Jace for being conceited... I suppose she does, because he steals her stage. Which is why I suppose he had to fall in love with her, and make her the center of the universe again.She is unfair. She is immature, whiny, drama queen, never thinks about anyone else, it's always Clary, Clary, Clary. MY mother, MY brother, MY best friend, MY, MY, ME, ME, ME...

The book starts by a scene in a club she keeps going, even though her only friend hates the place and follows with her only because he's in love with her. Later in the book we find out her mother hates her going there too.
Such a lovely, considerate person, who puts her beloved ones' needs and wishes before her own, huh?

She does things that she resents when someone does them to her.
First time she sees her mother after she's been in coma for a long time she dares to be afraid of her, because "oh my god, you don't look like my bohemian artist mother! You look dangerous! Stay away from me!" Then she starts screaming at her because she didn't tell her her real father is a psychopath and they used to live in a fairyland and she's in reality a demon-fighting half-angel. Yeah... that's something you tell your kid. Nevertheless, she herself doesn't even think twice before choosing not to tell someone the truth because it might be hard to hear or something.

I suppose it's really nasty of me, but Clary... she tried to tell you, but what did you do? You rushed to listen to bad poetry with your best buddy .
And what does the mother do? APOLOGIZES!!! As if Clary was right! As if she had the right to yell at her mother!
I suppose the mother deserves it, not for "lying", but for having totally spoiled her daughter and making her the bitch she is.

The girl always did what she wanted, no matter how convenient it was for others, how well it fitted the general plan, how smart it was etc. Uh.

I threw the third book to the wall and broke its back. That's how infuriating the little bitch was to me.

Okay, let's play a little with marysue litmus test.

Is the character named after you?
Let's see - Clarissa "Clary" Fray by Cassandra Clare (pen name)

Is the character's name an unusual spelling of a more common word or name?
Well, yes it is! 99% of Clarissas are either Cassie, Clare (Claire) or Rissa :-)

Does the character's name describe her/his personality?
Clara - clear, bright
Fray - fight
She's sort of a half angel and sort of genetically designed to fight... Yeah, I'd say so.

Does your (mortal) character appear to be much younger than she/he really is?

Is the character highly attractive without having to work at it? She's really beautiful and she doesn't know it... It's repeated over and over again how she looks like her mother, but her mother is beautiful and she's not. So yes.

Are one or more other characters attracted to her/him?

Is an otherwise chaste or stoic character immediately attracted to her/him?
Oh, but see - yes! You see, there's this angelboy who was brough up to believe love makes you weak, but then he meets this girl and from the first moment he's a changed boy...

Does the character have an unusual eye color, or otherwise exceptional eyes?
Green - I'd say so.
(The hero's eyes are golden, and the villain's eyes are black.)

Does the character have unusual or exceptional hair?
Well, it's red. I would say yes.


Well... she doesn't have a clone or identical twin, she isn't a genius but she has this miraculous angel gift, talent, that no-one has ever had and won't ever have either bla bla bla
She isn't really related to royalty, but her father is the archvillain and her mother is like a fairytale heroine in their hometown, so I would say "yes".
"Is the character rich or well-to-do" - well, for a daughter of a single mom who's an artist - I would say so. Because of course, her mother is like the most talented artist in the world, and one of the very few artists who actually not only can support themselves with their art but are reasonably wealthy.
(Oh, and Clary, of course, has inherited her talents, even though she thinks she doesn't draw so well and all.)

Was the character ever estranged from her family/tribe/country/etc.
Well, yes! Her mother took her away from her homecountry to protect her, and no-one knew she existed.

Does the character have amnesia?
Oh, look at that, she does!

Is the character a minority, a woman, or a member of a lower caste, who succeeds or makes a contribution in spite of her/his social disadvantage?
Yes, she is! She's a minor and brought up away from the traditions of this proud race and somehow saves everyone. Hooray!

Does she have an angsty past and does she angst about it during the story?
Yes, to both. Oh, her mother LIED to her, and STOLE her memory, even though it never happened, and she wasn't raised like an half-angel, even though she would have been so good at it, and is, even though her mother LIED to her... you get it.

Was the character an illegitimate birth?
No, but a "secret baby"

She wasn't really ever abducted, her mother was.
She wasn't really ever abandoned, because her mother wonderfully disappeared straight after she had found someone else to take care of her
She never really run away from home, that was sort of taken care by the mother being abducted and her home trashed, and... well...
But yes to all. 

Is the character unusually accomplished for her/his age/species/etc.?

Does the character have a faithful pet or animal familiar?
She has a best friend who acts like her familiar and pet dog, except he is very much smarter than that. To Nephilim mundanes are a bit like pets, so I think this counts.

Does the character ever easily learn a difficult skill
Oh, but she's BORN a half-angel, so of course she knows how to use weapons by nature!

Is the character the sole or last practitioner of a particular martial art or magic?

Does the character have any particular skill at which she/he the best or among the best?

And is she/he widely knows for this skill?
In the end of the book she is.

I don't know anything about Cassandra Clare's taste in music, clothes etc. but Clary's taste in music, clothes etc. is described, so I assume Cassie and Clary share these preferences. Wouldn't know.

Also, Clary looks like a 12 years old boy, being 5 feet short, thin with "small chest and narrow hips", yet she is like the most beautiful girl this half-angel brought up by other perfect human specimen "the most beautiful people Clary had ever seen"... Cassandra Clare looks very much like me, and I kind of have two favorite "marysue" looks, one is a 5 foot fairy and the other 6 foot amazon.

Anyway. Marysue. In a fantasy book it's sort of okay to be marysue, but... she's too much.

Nevertheless It was a really good story, such a pity the main character was such a bitch I just wanted to slap her... or put her head in a bucket of water and keep it there until the bubbling stopped.

P.S. I'm so infuriated with Clary and other such little details in these books that I had to go to and read the negative reviews to feel a little better, and was reminded of other little details that made me grit my teeth, and I was told that this story wasn't quite that original, but - I liked it, and I could see past the annoying little problems - something I couldn't do with Outlander, so I still think it's a good story. :-)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sorry about the absence

I've been busy. Not writing, now... or that too, but about languages.
I have these... seasons, I suppose they could be called. One can follow my blogs, and see clearly that there's a lot of posts in certain months, and then the blog is practically dead the rest of the year. Which reminds me of that I need to update at least two of them, for the sake of other things. Anyway.
Seasons... this the season to be j... er... to be learning languages. I'm taking the 52 in 52 challenge.
Yes, you guessed right. I'm learning 52 languages in 52 weeks.
Yes, that makes a language a week, about 200 words a day, the whole year, and in the end of the year I will have at least the basic understanding of 52 more languages.
I have chosen European languages (and a couple of non-European; Arabic, Hebrew and Aramaic, because those two Ara-s are being spoken in this area by the countless of refugees from Middle East, and Hebrew - well... it's not only because my husband is Jewish, (that's why I'm going to learn Yiddish) but because a lot of magical scriptures written in Hebrew. It's kind of the third Classical Language, even though it's mostly just Christians who study that. Which, BTW, is the reason why Alphonse Constant... uh. What ever. And also because I have chosen languages related to each other and if I'm going to study Arabic, Aramaic and Maltese, I can just as well study Hebrew. I assume the vocabulary will be mostly similar, and thus easier to learn.)
I have also chosen some languages I already know a little, like French and Spanish and... well... I have been studying languages on and off since I was about 10. Okay, okay, I'm a linguaphile. What ever. ;-) The purpose - for me - is not to learn 50 totally new languages, but to improve my knowledge of 52 languages. I could have chosen English as one of them, heaven knows I could use improving, but I am all right with the amount of Finnish, English and Swedish I have. I read books in all three language all the time, and I think that's enough "brushing" I need. With the languages I've already studied the goal is to learn to read fluently, or at least comfortably... what ever the difference is. To get better in the passive language. I firmly believe in reading, and I can't wait to get my hands to the novels written in some of these languages... I am certain that I will read at least five of the languages on my 52 list well enough to dive into the literature... (says she with a mad gleen in her eyes...)

I have no doubt in my ability to learn 200 words a day, and understand, comprehend, grasp a language in a day so that I can also use the vocabulary, at least as passive understanding. I've done that before. (Come on - I'm an Aspie. I am Autistic - to some level. The girl has to have some benefits of the condition!) But I'm a fickle person, not especially steadfast, and I doubt my ability to stick to the challenge and commit and actually do the work. If my past tells anything about me, that's the thing. I am amazing to start things, and the worst to finish things. I noticed to my surprise that this is my seventh year with NaNo! SEVEN YEARS!!! And I haven't manage to stick to it longer than about a week, until last year, when I had the support of my husband. I just couldn't let him finish and not finish myself. :-D

Anyway, that's why I'm here.

NaNo is coming, are you ready?

I have lost my Otherkin Scribe. :-( I lost it when the computer crashed, then my genius husband managed to retrieve it, and now I've lost it again... and this time I lost it... somewhere. I have put it somewhere and I don't have the slightest idea where. It's not where I was certain of it was. Maybe it got a life of its own and wandered off. Uh. Hate when that happens. Maybe the Otherkin took it. Oh, well. I have written it once, I can write it again. It's not that it was something extra super special and wonderful and amazingly well written. LOL It was written 2005. Or something. I have learned a lot after that, and I still suck in English, compared to what natives do.

No, I am not going to actively improve my English, I will let reading work its magic. And I just read the Percy Jackson 5+2 and I am on Mortal Instruments, book 3. Interesting little detail - what these two series have in common is ichor.
Another little thing here... I just said to my husband, that one of the downsides with being a person who loves fantasy books written to 12 years olds is that there's plenty of supply, so we will never run out of books to read... so there is really no NEED to write a book I'd like to read. Even though it would be nice to read a book where the hero is acting like a real 12 years old, and the world treats them as it does preteens. It would also be nice to miss this teen anxiety and hissyfits. It would be nice to read about sensible teenagers - they do exist, you know. Actually, most teenagers are sensible. Sure, your brains fail you just when you need them most, and there are all kinds of new emotions and sensations and by now you know most of the people are lying, but - hey, that's life. That's the way it is. Nevertheless, most teens are "good kids". Nice, kind, sensible, relatively calm, lively and lovely. Yes, they will yap back if they think you're stupid, and they will, because you are, and they will rebel and they will question and they will think they know enough and you're just an obsolete relic of some ancient eras put on earth to bother them, but they still will not behave like spoiled, selfish, stupid brats. Most of them actually understands that it's important, even essential, in "can save your life" to do as you are told by someone you know is a lot better equipped to deal with the situation, like a teacher, a parent, a werewolf, angel, god, hero or what ever who's been doing "this" before you were even born, when the situation is some sort of an emergency or in other ways such that you have not dealt with that before. Fifteen years olds who go to dark backrooms after a bunch of guys waving knives is suicidal or stupid - or both, not a brave kid doing what she believes to be right. Stupid. A 12 years old kid who hasn't held a sword in his life does not win - or even manage to keep the sword for five minutes - when fighting the God of War or another kid whose been fencing since she was 7. A skeleton detective does not take a 13 years old girl he hasn't seen before this day with him to the world of demons, monsters and dark secrets, to "help" him investigate her uncle's murder. He takes her to her mom, and tells the mom what she did so that she will not let her sneak out the bedroom window.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"I like my heroines with bite"

Stella Duffy wrote in Huffington Post about sympathethic heroines... the thing is that we have to find something likable in the characters we read about, to want to read about them. I think she has mixed likable and "niceness".

For example her Theodora."I say this with an awareness that the protagonist of my latest novel, "Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore" has been seen as unsympathetic by some. Of course, sympathy is in the eye of the beholder, so while some readers have found her cold, or even ruthless, others have found her funny, smart, passionate, as well as ambitious."

Yes, and a lot of people find Scarlett O'Hara unlikable. Like me, for example, or Alexandra Ripley, who was chosen to write a sequel to Gone With The Wind. And surprisingly many find the "new and improved" Scarlett likable, as they made a tv series of the damned sequel and more sequels and what not. That to me is disrespectful, extremely unlikable and hateful.

If you don't LIKE your main character, DON'T WRITE ABOUT HER. 
If she's yours, go ahead and change her. 
If she's not, DON'T WRITE ABOUT HER. 
You have no right, no excuses, no acceptable explanation to take someone else's character and change her to your liking, just because you can.

So, Alexandra, thanks to Scarlett, I will not read one book of yours. You should have had the ovaries to say "no", and leave the sequel to someone who finds Scarlett likable, because she is passionate, ambitious and has bite.
Also, as Margaret descibes her very clearly in the beginning of her book, and says she has BLACK hair and pea green eyes, you don't go on giving her RED hair, just because you think it fits better, or because her name was Scarlett or because in some movie, tv-series, fan art or something she's depicted as redhaired.
No, if you think there's something wrong with Scarlett, you write a book about Ruby O'Donnell from Kerry, who has in every other way the same life as Scarlett, except that she doesn't, because your Ruby would not have seduced her sister's beau, and your Ruby would have realized the value of Rhett - or Seth Valet, and been happily married to him and mother of several babies, as brilliant and beautiful as their parents. Or something.

So - I like my heroines with bite too, but I find the biting girls likable... Sympathethic. I like heroines who are really intelligent, not just think they are SOOOO smart, and "wise gals". I like heroines who have self confidence enough to be kind and tolerant and friendly. I like heroines who have ovaries to stand for what they believe in, even when it's not "nice". I want a heroine who is personal and interesting rather than beautiful, I want a heroine who is rather strong than cute, rather salt than sugar, rather old and experienced, and mellowed down by the experience, than young and innocent and stupid. I want a heroine who is equal to all the males in the book, not submissive and worshiping. I want a heroine who behaves well, due to her kindness and compassion to her fellow human beings, not because she has been "raised right". I want a heroine who dresses nicely, but is not a fashionista. I want a heroine who used to be a tomboy, someone who doesn't curl her lips or roll her eyes, someone who is no-nonsense and takes on the jobs she knows she can do, because someone must do them, and does her work well, swiftly and without whining, because I don't drink whine, not even with cheese and crackers. I don't find the preppy High School girls likable, or shallow people who care only about their looks, or Paris Hilton types, or cheerleaders or Dora from Anne of Green Gables. It's interesting that even Lucy found her bland and boring, so she isn't talked about much.

Anyway. I found out that Texas board of education bans books because someone with the same name has written something else they don't like. On the other hand, they don't like music, if they disagree with the composer's/lyricist's/artist's opinions on something that has nothing to do with music.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Percy Jackson

I have been reading Percy Jackson. Now... I like the idea. I think the movie was okay. I liked the book a lot.


He's 12. Sure, half-god, superman, but still 12. I mean - this is what you should be seeing. This is a 12-year-old girl (Joey King) and a 12-year-old boy (Quinn Lord with green eyes and black hair). You know, 12, the age when Harry Potter fought the snake in the dungeon. Remember how bravely Daniel Radcliffe tried to fight the basilisk but didn't manage to look very convincing? I do. That is a 12-year-old.
This 12 years old superchild beats the other superchildren the first week he's on the superchild camp. All the other superkids have more experience, knowledge and training.
He fights an adult super-superman within a month and - wins? An adult super-superman who is an expert in fighting. This kid has barely held a sword in his hand before June of his 12th year alive, but who cares, he manages to keep his side against the thousands of years old God. Yeah...
And the guy who wrote this is a father...

He likes Greek myths. He's been studying Greek myths. In depth. But he doesn't recognize Dionysos when he sees him, doesn't recognize a faun when he sees one, doesn't recognize anything he sees... and he has to be explained things from... eggs. I mean - he's sitting by a table with a satyr, having killed a minotaur and seen a flying horse, and the guys have to convince him that he lives in a world where the Greek gods are not just tales... I mean... I would believe I was dreaming or something, and if there are satyrs in my dreams, sure, pour in Greek gods and anything. I'll believe. Geesh.

It's like Donaldson and the white gold guy. Every step of the road insisting nothing that happened was happening, and even though some unbelievable, miraculous things happened all the time - like he not having leper any more - he refused to believe he was "not in Kansas anymore", and everyone else in the world he was knew better than him what it was all about. No way. Idiot.

They yap at him about not mentioning names, but when he guesses, then the names start dropping all over the place. Geesh!

"You mean the Greek gods are here? Like ... in America?”
"Well, certainly. The gods move with the heart of the West.”




Oh, yeah. Europe is dead. Who cares what happens here. This is the Old World, so old it's practically dead. Just like the Old Testament, you know. Joka vanhoja kaivaa sitä tikulla silmään, as they say.

The girls' bathroom "smelled just like any public bathroom" - I don't think so. Girls' bathrooms don't smell as much as boys' bathrooms to begin with and this is the summer camp of halfbloods. It would have been kept squekey clean.
Also, the kid makes the water wash away the bullies. These experts on Greek mythology wonder who's his daddy...
He's not good at anything but canoeing. Who's his daddy? No idea...
He doesn't have the looks of any of the other campers, even though all the other kids look like each other, and his mother told he looks like his father. Who's his daddy? Blank stare.
He gets in the water and immediately gets better. Huh?
They have to see a glowing trident above the boy's head to get it!

And why the stereotypes? Why keep only some?

"If you're a child of Aphrodite or Demeter, you're probably not a real powerful force."
Yeah... I mean, Aphrodite's and Demeter's kids were really nothing compared to the kinds of... Orpheus and Heracles. Or Perseus Jackson. I mean... they just caused people to fall in love or fear, invented agriculture and stuff... nothing important. Whereas using water as weapon is something really big and mighty and powerful, a true force to consider. Yeah.

"You're probably a child of Hermes. Or maybe even one of the minor gods, like Nemesis, the god of revenge."
So there are children of the lesser gods around, but still Aphrodite's and Demeter's kids are not important?

"Number eight, the silver one, belongs to Artemis," he said. "She vowed to be a maiden forever. So of course, no kids.”
Athena was a maiden Goddess as well. No kids. Nevertheless, she's given them, and plenty of them.
"Annabeth sat at table six with a bunch of serious-looking athletic kids, all with her gray eyes and honey-blond hair."
Yeah... "male logic"?

I mean, if he twists the myths, why not twist properly? I suppose girls are not interesting. Demeter and Hera are the "three big ones" sisters... who cares. They are not interesting.

BTW Rick, goats don't eat metal. They don't eat tin cans nor aluminium cans. It's really stupid to make your satyr pack his backpack full of scrap metal and apples to snack on.
And a 28 year old faun doesn't know more than two songs? Sure.

Then the movie... He beats Athena's daughter, who is more or less a regular camper, the first week on the camp? Poseidon couldn't beat Athena, how would his idiot son won over Athena's daughter in her game? Please.
Golden blonde California Girl? And 12...?
At least the film makers realized how impossible it is for a 12-year-old to do what the book says.

P.S. The second book was not as good as the first one, but still okay.

Helle and Frixos! Not Europe and Cadmus! Now... that is unforgivable... almost got me off reading the book.

Harpies: "plump little hags with pinched faces and talons and feathery wings too small for their bodies" - like cafeteria ladies and dodos.
Oh. Let's use the later misfiguration to describe harpies, after all, they are female.
In reality harpies are the spirits of storm winds and gusts and very beautiful.

Monday, September 26, 2011

"The Chaos"

Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.
Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it's written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.
Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene, mankind.
Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation's OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.
Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rhyme with hammer.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.
Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Foeffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
Dull, bull, and George ate late.
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific.
Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the differences, moreover,
Between mover, cover, clover;
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.
Petal, panel, and canal,
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Tour, but our and succour, four.
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.
Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie.
Face, but preface, not efface.
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Do not rhyme with here but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.
Pronunciation (think of Psyche!)
Is a paling stout and spikey?
Won't it make you lose your wits,
Writing groats and saying grits?
It's a dark abyss or tunnel:
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.
Finally, which rhymes with enough,
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup.
My advice is to give up!!!

-- Gerard Nolst Trenité

They say that "if you can pronounce correctly every word in this poem, you will be speaking English better than 90% of the native English speakers in the world."
I can't. I don't even know what sward and ague are. I don't know how "face", "preface" and "efface" are pronounced differently. I'm really glad I'm Finnish :-D

P.S. A new person I've never heard of before; Barbara Newhall Follett... reminds me of  The Lady Vanishes

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Hobbits and Wonderland

So - what's the connection? Both fractures of someone's imagination? Sure, but there are others... I didn't expect to find Wonderland when I started thinking about hobbits.

When I was in craft school, I wanted to have an exhibition of hobbitian clothes. I was inspired by a wonderful watercolor of a girl in Muhu costume. She was short and stubby and was wearing these amazing stockings, that showed under her skirt...
Tolkien says
"I picture a fairly human figure, not a kind of 'fairy' rabbit as some of my British reviewers seem to fancy: fattish in the stomach, shortish in the leg. A round, jovial face; ears only slightly pointed and 'elvish'; hair short and curling (brown). The feet from the ankles down, covered with brown hairy fur. Clothing: green velvet breeches; red or yellow waistcoat; brown or green jacket; gold (or brass) buttons; a dark green hood and cloak (belonging to a dwarf)." 
- velvet breeches, waistcoat, brass buttons... very folk dressy.
These velvet breeches are what I imagine when I think about hobbit costume, and they are from late 18th, early 19th century. The time when the idea of national costumes and folk dresses was being created... So we are not talking about Victorian costumes for hobbits, but Georgian...

So I have been thinking about this for 20 years. I have sketches, ideas and notes, but not a stitch to show. Anyway, I was thinking about the dolls to wear these, like in Victorian and Albert museum... You know, the white mannequins with just a dash of color on their faces... but I'd prefer faceless cloth mannequins. I have been thinking on how to make them myself, and that has kind of been the problem here.
So I started thinking about easier alternatives, like papier mache dolls. (Easier for me). And then I thought about that perhaps there already is mannequins available, so that I don't need to make them myself!
A hobbit is about a meter high. That's about the size of a five years old child. Now, the dfference of a child and a hobbit is naturally that adults are shaped a bit differently from children. Quite a lot, actually... Naturally, the child mannequins could be padded, but... the shape is still not quite right. Too much padding needed...
So I started thinking about little people, and especially the "proportionate dwarfs"... You know, when I was growing up and I first learned about dwarfism, the term "midget" was the appropriate term to use of proportionate dwarfs. I wonder if they make mannequins for miniature people? Wouldn't know.

But that lead me to googling "proportionate dwarfs", and one of the results was "The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb"
This book is about Lavinia Warren, who was a miniature person, a proportionate dwarf. She had a rather interesting life, she and her sister, Minnie (Huldah).
This is the wedding picture - In the middle the happy couple; 
Charles Sherwood Stratton (General Tom Thumb) and 
Mercy Lavinia Warren Bump (Vinnieh); 
Vinnieh's maid and little sister Huldah Pierce Warren Bump (Minnieh) 
(to be mrs Edmund Newell, who was better known as General Grant Jr. or Major Edward Newell) 
and Tom's best man George Washington Morrison Nutt (Commodore Nutt). 

I was interested, so I looked for more information, and at among the reviews I found this:
"I thought it unrealistic that Lavinia, a full grown woman, was portrayed as having only fear when it came to the physical side of life. The lifelong horror that grips Lavinia whenever she imagines a man might touch her is hard to explain based on one offhand comment of her mother's she overheard as a child. We tend to outgrow childhood and we tend to rebel against the strictures of our parents, yes? Why is her marriage so empty? Her supposed love of PT Barnum is as unfounded in fact as the author's treatment of Alice Liddell in "Alice I Have Been." I know, this is fiction, and in fiction a writer can take liberties. But I found it odd that in a book about a child (Alice), a six year-old was portrayed as having a grown woman's understanding of her own erotic power, and the desire to use it to capture a grown man's sexual attention. In this book, an adult woman (Lavinia) is portrayed as a frightened child who prefers not even to imagine such a thing. I think this was a strange choice on the part of the author, though not as strange as her choices in the "Alice" book."
-- Just Karen (
I have to say that I don't find the idea of a Victorian woman having "only fear" when thinking about sex. Our attitudes are the children of all kinds of things, and something one happens to overhear has significant importance in shaping of our attitudes and opinions. I was afraid of sex, because I had read and heard over and over again, from every possible source, that first time hurts. It doesn't - if you do it right. Now, I was born 1969, grew up in the "sexually liberated" 70's and 80's, there was plenty of sensible, correct and... what's the word? Anyway, plenty of sex quides and erotic novels around that gave me the idea that sex is something enjoyable and nice... this was not the case with Lavinia. She was surrounded with "close your eyes, and do your duty, it will pass quickly" and "you are not supposed to ENJOY ANYTHING ESPECIALLY NOT SEX!!!" messages and, frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of Victorian women considered sex as nothing but a duty, and not a very nice duty at that... I mean... we have "better than sex" cake. CAKE! We have jokes about people's sex life and the lack of it. Women trying to bribe their husbands and boyfriends to do things like taking the garbage out with sexual favors. Women faking orgasms. Good sex being something rare and amazing... and WE live in a time where sex is not considered generally dirty, disgusting and sinful.
On top of that, she was the size of a three years old child. As far as I understand, most adults find the idea of someone having sex with a three years old girl horrifying, and not only because of the mental damage, but also because of the physical damage. I find the fear quite reasonable.
Also... there's a lot of people in the world who live in celibacy. Some have chosen it themselves, some have not. Some accept self-satisfaction as part of celibacy, some don't. They are mostly all right and don't much miss sex. People don't NEED sex. We need intimacy, touch, hugs and kisses, pat on the shoulder, someone holding us tight when the storm passes, we need holding hands and  gentle strokes over cheeks...
Now, I have to say that I haven't read the book, so I don't know if Vinnie was described to get terrified if her husband tried to hug or kiss her, but even that would be understandable in time when those things were considered being "almost sex". It's still not unrealistic, I think. There are people who are so afraid of food they rather die of hunger than eat, and they have no rational explanation to their fear either.

About six years olds with desire to capture a grown man's sexual attraction - ew. That's why I couldn't read the Time Traveler's Wife either. Poor Henry. Brr. But - now again I have my own interpretations, that do make sense for me. It's not unusual for children to feel flattered, delighted and happy about attention, and see past who it comes from. It's not unusual for children to imagine their lives when they are adults and say things like "when I grow up, I'll marry ---" without any implication of having sexual fantasies about the person in question. Marriage is something you do when you become adult, and it's like mommy and daddy (usually) and it involves love and children. Some kids even know how children are made. Kids are not stupid. None of this has anything to do with having erotic feelings about adults, pedophilia and lolita phenomenon and all that stuff... I haven't read this book either, so I cannot say my opinion on what Melanie Benjamin tried to say, but - as a lot of people have read Time Traveler's Wife and NOT caught the "child with desire to capture a grown man's sexual attraction", there's always the possibility that it doesn't really exist here either.

Nevertheless, here's two more interesting people:
Lavinia Warren and Alice Liddell

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sir Geroge Sitwell

(in)decorous taste posted about sir George Sitwell... He also refused to pay his wife's bills so she was injailed and his daughter refused to go to her mother's funeral because she didn't approve of her parents. Those two kids on the floor are Osbert and Sacheverell... such names :-D All three children became writers.

There you have a man who really lived his life as he wanted... "as you would live if money was not an obstacle"...
How would you live yours?

And why don't you?

Monday, September 12, 2011

What's your motivation?

Money, fame, recognition... they are there, aren't they... it doesn't matter that you write because you have to write, or because the book you want to read doesn't exist, or... the not-so-noble and rather-stupid motivations are there. I admit.

But that's not why I write. After having thought about it long and hard, that's the DREAM part of it. I HOPE and WISH I could support myself with my writing, and it would be WONDERFUL if I got RICH by doing something I love to do! Amazing! That's the reason why I send my manuscript to a publisher :-D That's not why I write.

Of course it would be nice if people recognized my worth and value as a writer, if I got praise, awards, fans and all that... or sort of. Fame is not a nice thing... people think they own you, if you are famous. You don't even need to be very famous, just enough for people to know you exist, and there are always people who will start objectifying you.
It's like celebrity crushes. I suppose all women have them, perhaps even men. In Polyvore there's this "50 celebrities you'd date" thingy.
Now, I have a crush on Nathaniel Johnstone. Who? The string instrumentalist of Abney Park. What? Never mind. I mean... he's just an ordinary guy living somewhere in USA. It's like someone would have a "celebrity" crush on me... you see, I am an internet persona - google Ketutar, and most of it is me - and my photo has been published online... so it's possible. Unlikely, but possible. :-D Now, Nathaniel is a bit more famous than I am, (4 million results to some 70.000 ;-)) but I don't think he can be called a celebrity. In his own circles I presume he is, but... outside? No. So - why do I think I have the right to make him the object of my fantasies? I know OF him...  People believe they have the RIGHT to people they KNOW OF...
Now... what if fantasies actually influence other people? What if the power of thought is so strong we actually effect other people's lives by fantasizing about them? What if celebrities don't manage to keep up their marriages, because there are so many fans imagining being married to them? What if these thoughts seep into their dreams, and make them confused of who they actually love? What if...?

Also, praise... if it doesn't come from inside, it's pretty worthless. If there's a hole in your "bucket", nothing will fill it. You will still believe yourself more than anyone else. Even if the whole world would tell you you're amazing, but you think you're not, you will only believe the whole world is either lying to you, or really gullible. You KNOW you're a lie. You KNOW you're not worth anything. You KNOW it would have been better if no trees were killed to make paper to print your books on. Electricity on your computer is wasted with you writing the words...

So - in the end, I am the only person I have to please and entertain with my writing, and the only person whose opinion matters anything - so my own pleasure and entertainment is in the end the only motivation that counts...

Make it count ;-)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

50 + 50 books all kids should read

50 children's books

* Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll.

* Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi.

* Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kastner.

* Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome.

* Black Hearts in Battersea by Joan Aiken.

* The Owl Service by Alan Garner.

* The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.

* Moominsummer Madness by Tove Jansson.

* A Hundred Million Francs by Paul Berna.

* The Castafiore Emerald by Hergé.

* The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson.

* A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

* Just William books by Richmal Crompton.

* The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde.

* The Elephant's Child From The Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling.

* Treasure Island by R.L. Stevenson

* The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway.

* The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono.

* The Singing Tree by Kate Seredy.

* The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson-Burnett.

* Refugee Boy by Benjamin Zephaniah.

* Finn Family Moomintroll (and the other Moomin books) by Tove Jansson.

* Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney.

* I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith.

* The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien.

* The Tygrine Cat (and The Tygrine Cat on the Run) by Inbali Iserles.

* Carry On, Jeeves by PG Wodehouse.

* When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr.

* Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett. 

* The Story of Tracy Beaker by Jacqueline Wilson.

* The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

* The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.

* Mistress Masham's Repose by TH White.

* Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

* How to be Topp by Geoffrey Willams and Ronald Searle.

* Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz.

* Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo.

* Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

* The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier

* Animal Farm by George Orwell.

* Skellig by David Almond.

* Red Cherry Red by Jackie Kay.

* Talkin Turkeys by Benjamin Zephaniah.

* Greek myths by Geraldine McCaughrean.

* People Might Hear You by Robin Klein.

* Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman.

* Einstein's Underpants and How They Saved the World by Anthony McGowan.

* After the First Death by Robert Cormier.

* The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd.

* Beano Annual.

Hmm... which children's books I think all kids should have read?
Astrid Lindgren, at least some of it. Preferably all :-D Emil and Pippi anyway.
C.S.Lewis, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
Mary Poppins
The Wind in the willows
Three musqeteers and Monte Christo
Something by Burroughs and Verne
Something by Enid Blyton
The Secret Garden
Watership down
101 dalmatians
Black Beauty...
Well, all the classics :-D They are classics for a reason.

50 picture books

Shaker Lane by Alice and Martin Provensen

Next Stop Grand Central by Maira Kalman

I Can Fly by Ruth Krauss Illustrated by Mary Blair

Come Away from The Water, Shirley by John Burningham

365 Penguins by Jean-Luc Fromental Illustrated by Joelle Jolivet

That Rabbit Belongs To Emily Brown by Cressida Cowell Illustrated by Neal Layton

Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins

Big Rabbit’s Bad Mood by Ramona Badescu Illustrated by Delphine Durand

Madeline And The Gypsies by Ludwig Bemelmans

Oh, The THINKS You Can Think! by Dr. Seuss

The Book about Moomin, Mymble and Little My by Tove Jansson

The Story of The Little Red Engine by Diana Ross and Leslie Wood

The Happy Lion by Louise Fatio and Roger Duvoisin

The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson

Would you Rather by John Burningham

The Circle of Days by Reeve Lindburgh and Cathy Felsted

This Little Chick by John Lawrence

In The Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

The Adventures of Uncle Lubin by W. Heath Robinson

Little Bear by Else Homelund-Minarik and Maurice Sendak

The Illustrated Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by John Tenniel.

The Complete Nonsense and Other Verse written and illustrated by Edward Lear

The Just-So Stories written and illustrated by Rudyard Kipling

Just William by Richmal Crompton, illustrated by Thomas Henry

Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorn, illustrated by Granville Fell

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, illustrated by John Leech

The Adventures of Tin-Tin written and illustrated by Hergé

The Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, illustrated by Mervyn Peake

Albert and the Lion by Marriott Edgar, illustrated by John Hassall

Sindbad the Sailor and Other Stories From the Arabian Nights illustrated by Edmund Dulac

Pierre by Maurice Sendak

The Miracle of the Bears by Wolf Erlbruch

Trubloff by John Burningham

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

Jitterbug Jam written by Barbara Jean Hicks, Illustrated by Alexis Deacon

The Tiger Who Came To Tea by Judith Kerr

Wave by Suzy Lee

Olivia by Ian Falconer

Le Voyage d’Oregon written by Rascal, illustrated by Louis Joos

The Doubtful Guest by Edward Gorey

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

The Happy Lion by Louise Fatio and Roger Duvoisin

Geraldine, the Music Mouse by Leo Lionni

Croc and Bird by Alexis Deacon

No Kiss for Mother by Tomi Ungerer

Puss and Boots by Ayano Imai

Haunted House by Jan Pienkowski

Mr Rabbit and the Lovely Present by Charlotte Zolotow, illustrate by Maurice Sendak

Crictor by Tomi Ungerer

The Rabbits by John Marsden, illustrated by Shaun Tan

Ginger by Charlotte Voake

The Tiger Who Came To Tea by Judith Kerr

Slow Loris by Alexis Deacon

Clarice Bean, That’s Me! by Lauren Child

Starting School by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

The Story of Babar by Jean de Brunhoff

Marshall Armstrong is New to our School by David Mackintosh

Cars And Trucks And Things That Go by Richard Scarry

Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Dogger by Shirley Hughes

Scarry's books, Sendak's books... the little caterpillar... brambly hedge and Beatrix Potter... and... well... take the kids to a library and let them loose in the picture book section, and let them borrow one book every week. So they'll read 50 books every year, since they get interested in books :-D They will find books they are interested in, because there are so many of them.

If they read Tintin, Asterix, Oompapah and Lucky Luke, great! If they read other series, like Donald Duck, fine. Kids aren't supposed to read "good" literature, but get in the habit of reading.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hush, hush...

Nothing is happening on this front. Or any other front for that matter.

Well... I'm into food now, updating my food blog and such. Right now I'm a food writer :-D

I also try to get my Asperger's understood and under control. It's good for a lot, they say, but right now it's hard to get to the good things as they are locked behind the anxiety.

To my surprise I noticed I have 16 followers to my Illustrator's Inspiration blog! WOW! :-)

More interesting people: Remember Me

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I like Flixter...

I like Flixter... I especially like the suggestions of similar movies the other users give. I find it useful... but then there are people like this "lover one hot sexy" aka "krazy sniper". "She" just suggests anything "she" happens to think. Here's some of her suggestions as movies like The Enemy of the State. (She gives over 100 suggestions, BTW)

Men in Black (1997)     25/21 (54%)    
Beverly Hills Cop (1984)     9/7 (56%)    
Romancing the Stone (1984)     6/5 (55%)    
Johnny Cash i København (Johnny Cash in Copenhagen) (1971)     7/6 (54%)    
National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1 (1993)     5/4 (56%)    
Osmosis Jones (2001)     5/5 (50%)    
Dr. T & The Women (2000)     3/3 (50%)    
Highlander - Endgame (2000)     8/8 (50%)    
King Kong (2005)     19/19 (50%)    
Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)     5/5 (50%)    
Ali (2001)     7/8 (47%)    
Purple Rain (1984)     10/11 (48%)    
Pet Sematary (1989)     7/8 (47%)    
The Omen (1976)     8/9 (47%)    
Das Boot (The Boat) (1981)     6/7 (46%)    
On Golden Pond (1981)     5/7 (42%)    
The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982)     4/6 (40%)    
The Birdcage (1996)     5/8 (38%)    
Van Helsing (2004)     10/13 (43%)    
Bloodrayne (2006)     4/7 (36%)    
Glitter (2001)     4/7 (36%)    
Stalingrad (1992)     3/6 (33%)    
The Little Mermaid (1989)     11/15 (42%)    
The Breakfast Club (1985)     8/12 (40%)    
Pretty in Pink (1986)     6/10 (38%)    
The Lord of the Rings (1978)     14/19 (42%)    
The Hobbit (1978)     9/8 (53%)    

Okay... men in black and ali, both has Will Smith, so I suppose that could be... similar... Not really, but... there's at least some sort of logic there.
Johnny Cash in Copenhagen. What? How is that a movie similar to Enemy of the State?
The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings? Huh? THE LITTLE MERMAID??? My 9 years old niece loves the little mermaid, but I doubt she'd like enemy of the state.
I never knew Pretty in Pink is about the government surveillance and control of citizens. Everything one learns as one lives.
Interesting thing here is that even though I could see some sort of wink to this theme in movies like Best Little Whorehouse or Breakfast Club, if dragged to the extremes, On Golden Pond? Four weddings?

The most interesting thing is not these random suggestions. What do I know how this person thinks... the most interesting is the following numbers. More than half of the people in Flixter thinks Johnny Cash in Copenhagen is like Enemy of the State! Almost half of the people think Little Mermaid is like Enemy of the State!
People like this drives Aspie me mad. They are sabotaging a good system, created to help people.

P.S. If you'd like to befriend me at Flixter, I'm Ketutar there too :-)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I'm a book hoarder

"Don't you read?" or the fears of a book hoarder

Well... one reason is that it's not my book. I live with another book hoarder, you see.

But, as I write this, I face one wall of bookshelves, filled with books, books stacked on books, in two rows and all that. I suppose most book hoarders know what I am talking about. Let's go through a couple of shelves, and I'll tell you why the books on those shelves are kept.

I got that book from my parents.
That I got from my brother.
That from my sisters.
That I bought myself, because it is a very beautiful and inspiring book. I feel good while reading it.
That I bought because I'm interested in the subject.
That I got as a Christmas present, because I'm interested in the subject. I wouldn't have bought it, but it was a gift, and you don't throw away gifts. Or give away or sell them.
I got that one.
That's Henric's.
Those were part of a book listing. I wanted one book in a set of four, and even as I don't want the others, they are good books, and one should never, ever throw away books - not even bad books - and no-one will buy them.
Those I bought because I thought I'd like them, but I hate them.
That's my Alexandre Dumas collection from 19th century. I doubt it's worth anything, but it makes me feel rich, and I love Dumas' adventure books.
That's my Jules Verne collection.
I might read that self-help book some day.
That one is on my to-read-list.
Those I enjoyed reading, and even though I doubt I'll ever read them again... books are friends, and you don't throw away, give away or sell your friends. Besides, no-one would want them either.

Besides. Books are beautiful. Books are not clutter. A hoard of books is a library, and that's a good thing.

Monday, June 27, 2011


The previous post was deleted because it was published in wrong blog. Obviously it should have been published in Need More Fiber. The error has been corrected now.

I don't know if I said it here, but I have realized that I suck at writing novels, at least at this point of my life. There is something I'm better at, and that is screenwriting. Movie scripts are shorter and I can use my strengths; creating characters and writing dialogue, better. My biggest problem with novels is that I have really learned to kill my darlings and use as few words as I can to say it. I just cannot fill in a novel. Perhaps I'll try again in some twenty years or so.
I am planning on changing my novel ideas into movie scripts.

Now, I was reading the Writers' Guild of America's list of 101 best screenplays... and there are both Godfather I and II. I don't get it. I would really like you to explain to me why it's supposed to be so great a movie? What's good with the script?

I find the movie boring and depressing, filled with angst, and... well... It HAS some great acting performances, I don't say anything about cinematography, editing, directing, lights and camera... I assume those are okay, but the SCRIPT IS INCREDIBLY DULL, BORING, UNINTERESTING...
I don't find any of the characters in any way interesting, I don't care one bit about any of them - or perhaps a little about daddy Corleone. I find Michael whiny and weak, and his wives are... pale. What I remember best from the movies was the horse's head and the girl blowing up in the car. I have seen all three movies. I saw them as an adult, just a few years ago, just to see what's the big deal with these movies, and I had to force myself sit by the television and keep watching.
I didn't laugh and cry, I yawned and murmured about being so stupid that I decided to see these movies. That's nine hours I'll never get back.
Perhaps there was metaphors, allegories, parabels and deep wisdom and what ever, but it was hidden so well I missed it. And what's the plot? What's the hook? What's the theme of these movies? A story of a spineless mafia boss who doesn't agree with the ideology, but is forced to take upon the responsibility, and the kills, mames and rapes crying all the way to the bank. I mean... what's the purpose with these movies? Mafiosos are people too? What? There are good reasons for people to do what they do? Huh? What? I don't get it.
So I really need you to tell me why this is supposed to be a good movie and a good movie script.

Best cast in movie history? Doubtful, but the actors cannot save a crappy movie.

"there is certainly no denying that The Godfather was a very well made film and innovative in some ways due to it's cinematography, editing and certain camera effects"
I have seen extremely well made movies with all the best editing, "cinematography" and camera effects, but those things don't make a crappy movie good.

"It is near flawless."
In what way? I can find dozens of flaws. The worst flaw being the crappy script, which for some reason has been voted as one of the 101 best movie scripts the last 100 years - by WRITERS.

" no one is more attractive than Al Pacino as Michael Corleone."
I can come up with 100 guys who are more attractive as Michael Corleone by Al Pacino. On the other hand, I'm not into that kind of guys. Nevertheless, an attractive main character doesn't make a movie script good.

"The only movies that can even hold close to The Godfather Part II are Raging Bull and Once Upon A Time In America.  Yes, I just listed three movies with De Niro.  That man is a legend, a genius, and a godsend.  The day he the day that true cinema dies.  Same goes for Scorsese."
Frankly, Scorsese is responsible for some of the worst movies in the movie history, like The Age of Innocence. The scenography is amazing, the costumes, make-up, lights and camera, absolutely delicious, but the script! The movie made me hate Daniel Day Lewis and think he must be one of the worst actors ever. The girls did their best to save the movie, but not even they could rescue it from Scorsese. Yuk.
But - if you think Scorsese and De Niro are "true cinema"... you think there was no cinema before 60's and there will be none after 2030's, probably even earlier. Your loss.

" a masterfully shot movie with tremendously powerful and unforgettable performances."
Probably masterfully shot. I don't know much about that. What I do know is that there are dozens of movies that are just as masterfully shot.
Unforgettable performances? Can't remember any of them. Marlon Brando had mouth full of tissue for some weird reason. I thought he was better in Streetcar Named Desire. Al Pacino was better in The Scent Of A Woman. Robert De Niro is lovely, I agree, but he isn't in the movie that long time. On the other hand, I assume he made some impression to me, as I find daddy Corleone most likable of all the characters in the movie.

"Mix that in with an unflinching look at organized crime rising in the early 20th century of American culture, as well as more themes than you can shake a stick well as one of THE most memorable closing scenes that decides a character for LIFE..."
Why would anyone want to look unflinched at organized crime rising in the early 20th century of American culture? Godfather, Goodfellas and Scarface made mobsters "fashionable".  Every "gansta" says Scarface is their favorite movie and they act like him. These movies are idolising crime, that's what they do, with "unflinching look at organized crime". Bull.
"More themes than you can shake a stick at" is not a very good idea. Keep it simple. When people try to say thousand words with every screen of a movie, all we get is a confusing soup of boredom.
THE most memorable closing scenes that decides a character for LIFE. I can only remember the closing scene of Godfather I.

"To truly appreciate this film you need to watch it start to end in a dark room with no1 bugging you and break down the film scene by scene and take note of the camera work, acting and dialogue. Withing the first 30 minutes you realize why Marlin Brando was one of the greatest actors to ever live, then to watch Al Pacino be born as the next greatest actors of our generation in the restaurant scene moments later. Truly an amazing movie."
I saw it in a dark room with no-one bugging me and my idea of a good movie is not one where I CAN break down the film scene by scene and take note of the camera work etc. A good movie is one that makes me forget that it's actually people saying what they are paid to say, written by someone - in some cases a lot of someones - thought of hours, days, months, even years -  in world constructed just for the make-believe... when I start noticing scenography, acting, clothes, camera and lights, editing and such, it's because the script stinks to high heavens.

"Engrossing motion picture that features some of the finest editing, cinematography and performances ever. There is a wonderful theme of family that runs through this film and its later sequels. No one is truly judged. Love is unconditional. God is the one who truly judges."
Oh? I didn't see unconditional love. I saw unconditional love die, because people considered their obligation more valuable than unconditional love. I saw people being judged for petty things, judged and condemned to be killed, betrayed, left, degraded... punished in different ways. The people who we are supposed to believe are unconditionally loved are being judged for failing The Code put in place by someone else. People are being forced to follow someone else's rules, Michael, Sonny and Fredo, but also everyone connected in any way to the family. Daddy Corleone does care about the people, everyone of his "subjects", but Michael doesn't care...
I also didn't find the movie the least "engrossing".

""The Godfather" is a huge piece of film entertaining, involving sentiment, nostalgia, filial affection, pride, integrity, loyalty, corruption, honor, betrayal and crime"
It wasn't entertaining; I missed the sentiment; nostalgia, perhaps, for mafiosor; I'd say possessive "affection" instead of filial; pride for something not worth being proud of; not much integrity, loyalty or honor but corruption, betrayal and crime, yes.

"an exquisite Mafia epic"
A Mafia epic, sure. But, frankly, most epics are terribly boring and pompous. So also Godfather.

"their steadfast loyalty, love for blood relations, and code of ethics"
 With other words, sense of self-preservation, possessiveness and... er... I assume even questionable ethics are ethics.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Save The Cat

I read Save The Cat yesterday. It was interesting, but after having read mixed reviews of the book and having thought about the pantser/tinker issue, I suppose it would be best to use Save The Cat for the editing process, and not the writing process. I think it would be best to just sit down and write the 110 pages needed for a manuscript and THEN read Save the Cat, and check if the characters and the structure is right, and so on.

I think it's interesting that Blake Snyder finds "Villains closing in" a difficult part of the manuscript. I think it's kind of natural. First you state the present and the reason why the present has to change. All stories are about change, so all movies are about change as well, so the status quo cannot stay, it has to change. Either because of inner reasons, which is what happens in a drama, or outer reasons, which is what happens in an action movie. (Put very loosely :-D )
Then you present how the main character starts changing, steps into act two, and the movie is all about play and games. This is where you put the jokes and such. It's like the phase in losing weight where you are full of motivation, you are losing weight, you get results, you are eager, willing and full of energy and do all kinds of things.
Then comes the midpoint, which is sort of a top (or low point, if that's how you want to play it) and after that everything changes. The week when no weight is lost, the week when you are full of resentment and resistance, you don't want to exercise, you don't want to watch what you are eating, you question your motivation, you wonder why you should lose weight in the first place, because you should be all fine what ever you are, and all the scary stories about heart attack and such are just boogie man stories, told to scare people to buy diet products. You're fine, you don't need to lose weight, you don't need to sacrifice and all that... You just don't care anymore, it's not worth it - and what happens is that the "villains" creep in. A week later you find out that you have eaten you back to where you started. You might even have a minor heart attack, something to scare you properly - perhaps someone dies because of obesity. That happens, you know. Humans are not created to weight over 100 kilos.
Then comes the mourning period, and it follows the stages of loss and grief. You cannot believe you spoiled your diet. You are angry at yourself for doing that. You are really sad because you failed. You are full of regret, fear of that you cannot make it all better again, you can't fix it, full of anxiety and despair.
Then, when you hit the rock bottom, you take yourself from the neck of your collar, and decide, for real this time, and keep the diet, and don't even look at the scales or mirror for half a year, not before someone tells you how much weight you have lost, how good you look, when you notice you have to buy new clothes, because your trousers keep falling off you... and you climb to the scales, heart shivering of fear, and see that you have reached the goal, you have lost the weight, and you didn't even think of it. The diet has become a lifestyle. You have a skinny lifestyle, not fat one, so you are skinny, active, healthy and happy. You won.
So we put in the closing picture, which shows happy, smiling and beautiful you walking down the same street the miserable, sad and fat you was walking in the opening picture.

Monday, June 20, 2011

I hate being so negative :-D

I get these ideas... well... nothing special in that. Everyone does.

Yesterday I was slouching on the couch, knitting myself a summer top (I have started it three times, and ripped it twice, because it was way too big. I won't rip it again.) and zapping. I like food programs, I see myself dressed in vintage clothes, you know, a bit pin-up girl style, talking about food with passion and knowledge and sensuality, like Nigella, Sophie, Leila and Jamie - a bit like Annabel, except with a nice voice.

Anyway, I also like to watch fashion. I like fashion. I think I could do a good job as a fashion designer - at least if I follow the fashion actively - and I believe I would do a better job as many stylists out there. I was watching the 10 best and worst dressed in rock, and I was amazed that they didn't mention Lil'Kim in the worst dressers list, and that they chose Sean Combs as the best dresser... never mind that...
I was also watching at Women on Top, and they were featuring Jodi Jones, the photographer. And she mentioned wanting to have a child, a daughter she could teach what she has learned of life and everything... and I saw a movie flash in front of my inner eyes, "Jodi's Son". What if she got a son? I have always wanted a son I could teach everything I have learned about life and all, and I picture him as an adult and still devoted to me, of course, I'm a bit of a Yiddishe Mama...

I have been writing too long at 750 words. I haven't been writing my BuNo, but I have been writing my June challenge at 750 words. It's typing 750 words on the page as quickly as possible, and that means it's just stream of conscience, with not much heads or tails. Not very good as literature, but - uh.

Also I was watching Heath Ledger's biography and someone said something about brotherhood... yes, there was an advertisement about the French weeks on some movie channel and France is about equality, freedom and brotherhood, and they were showing a clip of two men hugging each other, and together with Heath Ledger and Brokeback Mountain, and because I have been watching How I Met Your Mother lately - I had a marathon and I saw the last season in just a matter of days - and we have Barney Stinson and Bro Code, and all that melted together into a tv show of brothers. Then I naturally thought about Sisters, which is another tv series I loved.
The other tv series I love being Friends and HIMYM, which lead me to wonder why all the women in tv series are skinny and pretty. Mike and Molly was being attacked because people "didn't feel comfortable watching two fatties make out"... even though a lot of people in the Western world, especially in United States ARE "fatties. People just don't want to WATCH "ugly" people...

You know Dove's campaign for real beauty? People were saying that these women were UGLY and they didn't want to see "ugly women" like this on streets... You know this picture is retouched as well. The skin is made smooth, the teeth whiter and all the scars and stretch marks and other such blemishes are removed... yet there are people out there who have the guts to call these ladies UGLY. Especially when the person expressing the opinion looks like he should consider himself lucky if he got a girlfriend like this, because in that case the girl would have accepted a spouse below her level of attractiveness...
Frankly, I doubt the idiot has ever had a girl friend, so the only women he has are the ones he fantasises, and then, naturally, only "the best" is good enough.... but I didn't think HIMYM, Friends and Sisters were made for such guys. If Monica had stayed an overeater, it would not have made any difference in her character. Phoebe could have been fat, or at least "normal".
Like Renée Zellweger in Bridget Jones. Bridget Jones is supposed to be chubby, but her weight is under 60 kilos all the time in the diary... and to me - weighing some 100 kilos - that is an insult.

Reminds me of an idiot, who said he likes Jonathon Earl Bowser's art, because his girls are chubby, like normal women, and not skinny, like the media likes to show women today...

I WISH I was as chubby as that woman! Or chubby like Renée Zellweger playing Bridget Jones.

BTW, have you noticed, that when a man is chubby is not a question of a little bulge on the tummy... Unless you're Gerard Butler, of course.

So - I would like to ask writers all over the world, especially those writing romance novels and tv scripts, to make their heroines more "normal". Because, most women of the world are not actresses, and shouldn't need to compete with such beauty ideals, just as men looking like Gerard Butler in this photo (NORMAL) shouldn't (and most wouldn't) feel chubby. Jonathon's women are skinny, some with big boobs, some with smaller boobs, but none of them is chubby.

(Yes, of course I'd rather look Gerard Butler looking a little bit different, but as I am trying to lose weight and fighting my impulses and impatience, I know it's not easy to look like this:
yet, that's Gerard Butler's back two years ago, and I'm pretty sure he looks about the same in his latest movies. That's kind of his job. So, let the guy "hang out" every now and then, okay? It's not that he's ugly even when he's "chubby".

Anyway, back to being negative :-D
As I had the idea of screenplays, I went on looking for some help on how to write them, and as Quentin Tarantino learned to make movies by watching movies, I thought that I could learn to write screenplays by reading screenplays, so I went to Simply Scripts and stumbled over Babz Buzz, and  she was talking about Blake Snyder, who according to Babz was an angel. "Everything he did was positive".
And I love that quality in people. I don't have it. I'm always whining and grumping and complaining and criticising and ranting and... as you see. I love positive, happy, glad people, but even when I try to express this, I start whining about the unrealistic expectations on women's weight.


Here's about the role of The Board

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I am a ranting person

Looks like some people cheat. You can't write 750 words in 0 minutes or 2 minutes. The fastest typing speed ever was 216 words per minute, and I doubt even she could keep up with that kind of speed for any longer time. An average PROFESSIONAL typist writes some 60 words per minute, the best PROFESSIONAL typists reach 100-120 words per minute, and at that rate - a PROFESSIONAL typist writing a pre-written text - it would take 5-10 minutes.
So - someone writes the text first and then cuts and pastes it on 750 words... IF they even WRITE the text and not just copy it from somewhere - IF THEY copy and paste it, or if it is someone else doing it. No, that's counterproductive, and not what the site is there for.
That makes me wonder how strong some people's perfectionism and will to win is... 750 words is a very private place. No-one else but you can see what you write, how many words you write, your typing speed or any other such details. The only person you are decieving is you. YOU will lose the important information in the statistics, like typing speed and if you need to watch out for the adverbs ;-) It is a commitment, and copying and pasting a piece of prewritten text - whether it is yours or not - is cheating. And it is cheating you...

Writing practice: morning pages - at 750 words
the power of writing and morning pages
now, it should preferably be done by hand, as Julia Cameron, who - as far as I know - invented it, says, but then you really should type it from your handwritten notes into 750 words later...

On the other hand, a lot of writers handwrite, not type, but what are you doing in 750 words then? It is very technical, internet page, and, frankly, stealing your time you could use writing the "real thing"...

No. Cheating, I say.

And about the ranting; here's part of my 750 words of today:
Frankly, I haven't thought of that the Christians - or the fundamental evangelical Christians - are raising their children to obey blindly and believe the authorities without questions and verifying the information. Of course this thing about creationism and evolution become a big thing then; one authority claims one thing and the other totally opposite. The children need to be told which authority is correct, and as the school refuses to support the religious authority, the children would need to question his authority and verity of what he is saying, to be able to obey and listen the authority that is being supported by their parents and their government, that is the school... after all, they are being told to be good and obedient in school and do what the teachers say. It would not be acceptable to question the teacher, as that would be opposing an authority... so in reality it is the children who are between rock and a hard place.
Really sad. Considering that one would need to give a tiny allowment - or what it is called - that is, to acknowledge that science tells what and how, and religion who and why. These two are answering two different questions, and therefore cannot be contradicting each other.
It is really sick to believe the earth is just some thousands of years old, but when I asked a FEX about why the Bible MUST be literal truth, she answered, that if it wasn't NOTHING in it would be truth... 

It took me 17 minutes to write, and it is rated PG because of "sexual content". What? Where?

"Sexual content (Words like horny, aroused, hump): 25"
I use the word "love" once, "hard" once (between rock and hard place) and "creation" once or twice... but there is no reference to even "kiss", "hug" or "marry", not to talk about "harder" words. No euphemisms of love-making or genitals, at least none I know of. Not even "man" or "woman". So why is my language so "sexy"?

Here's the two first texts I wrote to 750 words: Spinsters and the vampire story - after those two my sexual word count was up to 100 or so. Huh?
Well, the vampire thing is littered with the word "love", and there are some mentions of sex, arousing and seduction, but the spinster story? What's sexual there?

This is really bothering me. Where is the list of sexual content words in linguistic analysis?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

This feminine tosh

V.S.Naipaul claims that no female can write as well as he does and that he can recognize if a man or a woman has written a piece immediately, because women are sentimental and have a narrow view of the world...

The Naipaul test
I got 7/10. I would very much like to know what Naipaul got :-D
BTW; I tried to use Naipaul's words to decide, and that made me mark his text as written by a female.

I wish authors would stop making such claims, how ever true they think they are. Makes me believe the guy hasn't read many female writers, which unfortunately is true when it comes to most men.

Esquire: 75 books a man should read - greatest work of literature ever written?
I have read two, started two, and read other books by the authors, but... only one is written by a woman.
So Jezebel compiled a list of 75 books a woman should read
I think I get 7 of those :-)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Juno begins...

I have something I think Tart might appreciate... Beauty and other pleasing things :-D It's my Tumblr account where I plan publishing images I find pleasing :-) Fairytale illustrations, more or less naked men and heels :-D

I have been thinking about what I'll write this June (for BuNo - I like to call it Juno) and I have been printing a lot of my digital notes and they are inspiring. I just wonder if any of those will ever grow to a full novel size, or get edited or get sent to a publisher or published or... *sigh*

Here's a little something I found today: Escaping the Inkwell
No time to look at it more now, but one day...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Romantic heroines

I have been going through my notes from the Barnes and Noble "Writing Romance Novels" course by Leigh Michaels, and part of my notes are about the characters; 8 female archetypes. I was going to write about that and how the Waif created some waves... but I read on and I just have to react on Leigh Michaels "creating a sympathethic and heroic heroine"...

Now, I don't have her books so I haven't read the excerpt she is using to "prove" how her heroine is sympatethic and heroic... but her description... er...

In what ways is Morganna likeable?
Though she'd like to scream at the butler, she doesn't.
wait a minute, she'd like to scream at the butler? Why? If the butler behaves in ways that are not correct and polite, he's not worth his job, and he doesn't like or respect this girl he's being rude to. I hope he isn't HER butler. She takes care of her mother and sends her to rest.
She has a sense of humor, even in the midst of the troubles, she can joke a bit.
She sees things as they are and doesn't hide from the facts.
She not only feels responsibility for her mother's financial condition but she bristles at the suggestion that it isn't her problem.
Bristles? Someone suggests that she doesn't need to take upon herself such responsibilities - in which this someone is 100% correct - and she bristles?
When she unintentionally makes a rude statement, she immediately retracts it.
So she makes unintentionally rude statements. Oh so likable.

How is she real?
She hasn't told her mother all about this man she's met.
She's just a little tart-tongued at first ("did my father owe you money too?") and positively cutting at the end when she says she'd live in a cardboard box and eat cat food rather than be a trophy wife.
Someone offers her help and an easy way out from her problems without her asking for it, and she's not only sarcastic, she tells to a presumably attractive and okay person that she'd rather live - and let her precious mother live - on streets and eat catfood rather than marry him? That might be "real ", but it's not likable, sympathetic, heroic or attractive.


She's suddenly lost her father, and worse, her respect for him because of the situation he's left her mother in.
She loses her respect for her father because he's a dunce when it comes to money? Or because he allowed her mother to stay a trophy wife and do absolutely nothing, not even create a network of friends who could take care of her, if ever need be? Or because he didn't discuss with her mother about the finances, just like she doesn't discuss with her mother about the finances? Or what? How is this sympathetic?  
She's threatened with losing home, lifestyle, and social standing, though these are less important to her than her mother's losses are.
She was born into a social standing. You don't lose that just because you lose your money, because Money knows it's irrelevant. You can be a millionaire today, penniless tomorrow, and millionaire again day after. As far as I understood the hero wants to marry her because of her birth, not her money.  
Now she's faced with a difficult choice. She can save her mother, but at great cost to herself
Shouldn't be a difficult choice, if her mother's wellfare, status and lifestyle is that important to her. Besides, she can get divorce at any point, for example if she falls in love with someone else, and wishes to marry that guy What's the sacrifice here? He's bound to be attractive, and if she respects money, she should respect him.

She deliberately doesn't point out hurtful facts to her mother - like the people who should have come to call, but didn't.
So her mother is an idiot. So her mother is an unlikable idiot with no real friends. Go ahead and tell her anything, she won't get it anyway. I'm sorry, but being codependent is not heroic. It's stupid, harmful to everyone involved, places herself as a guardian of her mother, and as far as I know, her mother is not mentally handicapped or in other ways in need of guardian, but a grown-up woman... In fact, in the next sentence Leigh says she has no other reason to why she couldn't work except age and lack of experience. Where is HER chance to grow and be part of the decisions involving HER life? How does her daughter DARE to assume the guardianship, especially after her father failed so badly she lost her respect of him?
She knows that because of her age and lack of work experience, her mother is helpless to change her ciucumstances, and she doesn't hold it against her.
Why not? I'm sorry, but even trophy wives are capable of doing something so that they are not totally helpless if something like this happens, and frankly, even they are responsible for their own lives.
She's taken a job; though it can't repair the damage, it's something and it seems the only thing she can do.
It should be enough to give her an apartment and feed her. What else is needed? I mean, really, they have no friends in the whole world? Neither of them? How damn likable and sympathetic and wonderful are these people, actually? If I was left homeless and in debt because my husband can't keep his money, I have friends and family who would take care of me, at least until I get to my feet, and I AM disabled to some extend.
And when she's offered an option that can secure Abigail's future, she listens.
Oh? She's just a little tart-tongued at first and positively cutting at the end when she tells the guy she'd live in a cardboard box and eat cat food rather than marry him. I'm sorry but if I was the guy, I would say "So be it. Live on the street and eat cat food. "

I'm sorry, Leigh, but your description of your perfect heroine doesn't sound the least likable, sympathetic or heroic, on the contrary, she seems to have real attitude problems while at the same time being your typical codependent waif. *sigh*

I'm pretty sure I have read her books. I used to read a lot of Harlequins back in 80's.
Also, she is a published romance novel author, I am not. "More than 85 contemporary romances", and "more than 27 million copies of her books have been printed, worldwide, in 650 editions. Her work has been translated and published in 120 countries in more than 20 languages"... so, obviously she is right and I am wrong.

It's things like this that make me wonder if I'd ever manage to write a romance novel any publisher would be interested of.

Then back to the types... let's forget arche and stereo for a while.

Now, I don't think these two systems can be fitted on top of each other like this.
I also don't quite agree with these descriptions.

The best friend should be paired with the spunky kid, who is the quintessential "best friend". Why name her "spunky kid"? Why not "best friend"?

Men can be nurturing too. Where is the father figure? Are you saying it's okay for a woman to mother her lover, but not a man to father his lover? In spite of generations of women suffering from father complex, yearning for the acceptation of an older man, we are not to even mention this, because it's "ugly" in the eyes of feminist? Or what?

The free spirit? Loner-lover. And they exist in males too.

The waif? I'm sorry, Beverly, but some women are waifs. Some women are the silent mice watching the situation to develop as they decorate the room as wall flowers. Some girls do stay girls until they die. Innocent, pure, even as Sweet Charity, she will endure.
Now, if she has "tremendous strength of will", that I don't know. If you see Bella of Twilight as a typical waif, then so, because that girl will always get her will through... in spite of what ever who ever thinks.
They usually just follow the flow, and let themselves be taken. They are the classic romance heroines, young virgins, powerless victims of circumstances and in desperate need of the hero's protection, care,
I'm sorry, all feminists of the world, some women are like that, and they are not worse for that, and shouldn't be not talked about, or not portrayed as heroines, just because they aren't alpha females.
Interestingly enough, most waifs end up being just that - alpha females of an alpha male... mothers of more alphas, and you can be sure that mother keeps all her kids tightly tied with her apron strings...

And... doesn't that sound quite a lot like "ruler-thinker"...?

My father used to say "to minimize by praising" (ylentämällä alentaa, in Finnish - works better) - but make you to submit by telling how good you are, how much stronger, better and all you are, so you should be the one who sacrifices yourself, you should be the one who does all the work, you should be the one everyone gets to kick and walk over... after all, you can afford that, as you are soooo good! Ha.
I waited for 30 years for my turn, until I realized it will never come. There are always people who "need more", who should be compensated... Always.

Some waifs are not smart enough to use this to their benefit, but some are. Southern Belles, you know. Kitten factor.