A Movie Review?

I’m soon to write another post here, but I left this on my Facebook page and decided to share on my website, as well. I seldom ever write any kind of a review, but I have waited for so long to see this movie.

I went to a friend’s house on Wednesday, and we watched The Man Who Invented Christmas. Here is my review of that movie.

Knowing this was supposed to be a portrayal of potentially real events gave me the hunger to see what Charles Dickens did in his writing (or how someone else perceived it) that I might learn from.

If you are not a writer, this is a great movie, because it shows very much how intense a writing project can get, especially when you are under pressure. We find our phrases, words, circumstances, and people in everyday life. Sometimes, a complete stranger has a look that sparks an entire story. When we get so absorbed the rest of the world needs to just leave us alone, we never mean any negativity to those we love. Well, we really do mean, “Leave me alone!” or, “I don’t have time, right now!” but usually, that’s only temporary, as the movie points out. It does occasionally happen, though. It’s just that we get so connected with our characters. We have to get connected to see every little quirk and interpretation that make our characters who they are. We have to see, feel, and convey these things to convince our readers the characters are real. And, we need to stay in the story until it is complete. Even stopping to sleep or go to the bathroom is a huge and unwelcome interruption.

If you are a writer, this movie has a fantastic manner of bringing those scenes and actions we see in our heads into his life, very much like the ones that play through our heads as we feverishly write what we are seeing. It also shows how we often like to enjoy life, probably a bit too much, at times. It serves as a good reminder to pay closer attention to our attitudes when we get to that intense place with our stories. If you’re a serious writer–especially if you’re a pantser–you know exactly what I’m talking about.

The main character is charming, fun to watch, full of entertaining pockets of personality. I love the different faces he makes throughout the movie.

The little snippets of info at the beginning and end of the movie are very helpful in understanding the full weight of Charles’ position.

I enjoyed the story within a story, how the writer(s) gave him his own demons to conquer as he drove himself to the end of the story he was writing, and how HIS main character played into helping him conquer those demons.

I loved the message Charles wanted to convey with A Christmas Carol. I, too, believe he achieved his purpose.

The one thing I liked least was the purple lipstick he wore. I realize it helped emphasize his facial shifts that were so cute, but the color was maybe a touch too noticeable. However, when he is portrayed as a child, you know it’s him, thanks to that ugly lipstick.

Another thing I did not like was studying over this in a political manner. I didn’t like how the story line might be used politically (in today’s twisted views), so I abandoned those thoughts early on.

Overall, I really enjoyed the movie. It wasn’t the most outstanding I’ve ever seen, and it could have been much more intense, but I still felt connected because I’ve written in a similar manner and found my inner beast can be almost as ugly as his may have been. I’m certain none of my works have been quite as earth-shaking as Charles Dickens’ masterpieces, but I’m thrilled to know that what he went through was very much like what I go through as a writer. It’s nice to feel such a connection to someone who made such an impact in our world.

If you watch this movie, I’d suggest making your atmosphere as theater-like as possible, so you can focus all your energy in the story line. Today’s world creates way too many interruptions. For that reason, I believe the theater is where this movie would be best viewed.

And, there is the question of whether to allow a child to view the movie. As many others have said, I believe children should be at least 8 to 10 years old and have recently seen and understand the movie A Christmas Carol, or even better, have the story read to them and discussed with them, so they can understand the events of this movie.

I plan to watch this movie again–very soon–with my wonderful, writer husband. I’d love to gain his insight and interpretations.

If you saw this movie, please tell me what you thought of it. I’m curious to learn the views of others.

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The Craft of Writing Mini-Conference

FREE CONFERENCE

From the Tulsa NightWriters Club in Tulsa, OK

Who should attend the conference this Saturday, Nov. 5th?
Writers who are new.
Writers who have been around the block.
Writers who want to know more about the craft.
Writers who are not published.
Writers who are published.
Wannabe writers, who would like to know how hard or easy it is to write.
People who write books for children, teens, adults, old folks.
People who write fiction, nonfiction, or poetry.
People who write for magazines.
People who write for newspapers.
People who write books.
People who want to learn more about the books they read and how the really good ones can be so exciting.
YOU.

NOTE: You do not have to be a member of the club to attend. But, you do have to download the agenda/registration form at https://tulsanightwriters.wordpress.com/the-craft-of-writing-mini-conference , fill it out, and return it to the email address listed.

See you there!

My NaNo-Notes

Getting ready to tackle the 2013 NaNoWriMo Challenge? So am I. I wrote my first 50,000+ word novel last year. I was shocked, but thrilled at my own success. I had so much fun I’m doing it again.

Here is a list of ideas I wrote for myself in February. I hope it will also help you. Please share a link to this page if you know someone else who could use a little help. 

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Whatever you can do in advance to get a better idea who and what you will be writing about will be very helpful to you when you begin writing your novel.

1. Make a list of things you know a good deal about. Your list might consist of any of these or more:

  •  cooking
  • cleaning house
  • sewing / knitting / crocheting / crafts
  • family history / genealogy
  • swimming
  • travelling
  • reading, writing
  • teaching, learning
  • raising animals – what kind?
  • working on cars, boats, furnaces, pools
  • tornadoes / earthquakes / storms / tsunamis
  • murder investigation techniques
  • making __________
  • using __________
  • finding __________
  • motorcycling, bicycling, walking
  • driving a truck, train, plane, trolly, bus, race car…
  • photography, videography
  • illnesses, vitamins, medicines, medical procedures, etc.
  • wars / military / peacemaking

The ideas above will help you form story lines (sub-plots) you can use in your novels.

2. Make a list of things you want to know more about. Use ideas from the list above or others you can think of. These will be the things you want to study about before it is time to write your novel, so you can easily use them.

3. Make a list of ideas the main story line in your book might be about…

  •  the adventures of a neighborhood gang
  • a couple of buddies who accidentally fall into unsolved mysteries
  • a photographer who falls in love
  • the life of an animal in the zoo
  • a journal of someone’s travels
  • life of a drug dealer
  • a Christian who is looking for love
  • a singer who makes it big and dives hard
  • someone who wants to start their own business
  • a series of murders in a circus company

4. Make a list of the main characters your story will be about. Give each person:

  •  name
  • age
  • color of hair
  • color of eyes
  • body type
  • height
  • health – frequent issues, super-healthy, occasional issues, cancer, etc.
  • personal history – neglected, spoiled, bullied, the bully, etc.
  • results of personal history – needy, easily intimidated, pushy, etc.
  • quirks
  • things they love
  • things they hate
  • habits – bites fingernails, leaves everything unlocked, etc.

5. Determine some other items, locations and other detailed info you will need for your main characters –

  •  car details
  • neighborhood type – safe, dangerous,
  • everyone knows everyone, nobody knows their neighbors,
  • houses on a block, an apt. bldg., farms in the country
  • job or school background
  • favorite places to go

6. Make a list of your supporting cast.

  •  brothers and sisters
  • parents
  • partners – spouses, live-ins, same sex, opposite sex, etc.
  • children
  • classmates
  • best friend(s)
  • co-workers
  • someone they have to see often – banker, store clerk, pawn shop owner, etc.
  • Who are the good guys?
  • Who are the bad guys?

If any of these people need a little more detail about who they are, what they do, etc., go ahead and make a list for them, too.

Basically, you want to get to know your main characters and begin to think of things that might happen in your story line. You will need a main plot — the overall problem and solution the book will be about, and many sub-plots — the smaller challenges or “chapters” that daily life offers us all, once in a while. Lists #1, #2 and #3 will help you design and organize those plots.

When you actually start writing, some of the things you have already decided will change. Don’t let this bother you, but be sure to make the changes in your notes, so you will still have a good reference when your book is almost finished and you need to refer to the info, again. Also, keep a copy of your notes on paper or on a thumb drive as well as on your computer. If your computer crashes, you want to have a backup copy.

Now that you’ve got your story background designed, let your mind wander along the story line you would like to follow until it is time to write. Feel free to make guideline notes (about what will happen when) to keep your story on track when you write it.

You will only need to write about 1,667 words per day to finish your novel in time. If you start doing some daily writing now, you will be conditioned to working in a specific time and place and your family will be used to accommodating your needs. By writing something almost every day, you should have little problem meeting your daily quota during the challenge month.

Don’t know what to write about on a daily basis until it is time to write your novel? Start a journal and write about how your day went. Or, write a fictional story every day. I try to write a factual journal entry most days and a fictional journal entry most days. I sometimes miss a whole week at a time, but I write as often as I can.

Keep yourself focused on private time when you write. No Facebook, no texting, no phone calls or company.

Here is a good place for more NaNoWriMo suggestions: Nano Prep: The NaNo Jar