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Friday, July 22, 2016

STAR TREK BEYOND

One of the abiding pleasures of “Star Trek,” in its old and newer iterations, lies in its balance of stubborn consistency and canny inventiveness.
A. O. Scott  - New York Times


The actors, in particular, carry the essence of Roddenberry’s inclusive vision into the present. Star Trek Beyond is designed to dazzle. 
Stephanie Zacharek - Time


A return to fun, and a return to form for the new version of the old Trek. 
The 13th Trek movie is also the second good odd-numbered installment in a row. Lucky for some. 
Chris Hewitt  - Empire

What did I think of it?

INTO DARKNESS almost persuaded me never to see another new Star Trek movie ever again.

But STAR TREK BEYOND has redeemed the franchise for me.  

It tilts the eyes, stirs the imagination, tickles the funny bone, and touches the heart.

What more could you ask for?

This film further develops the Spock/McCoy feisty, funny dynamic from the old series and breathes new life and depth to it.

This is the first film of the three reboots that begins with the full crew, separates them into new teams, and then reunites them --

all the while keeping the momentum going forward in fun, unexpected twists and turns.

"Oh, but it is the same brand going where it's gone before" is one thing some reviews whine.

Not every wheel needs reinventing. 

 Sometimes it just needs a little axle grease and a shine ...

which STAR TREK BEYOND does ... for me.

After all, all I can say about a movie is what it did for me.  

And this movie made me a kid again, enjoying the wonderment of a universe of spectacle and mystery.

And Jaylah is my new Sci-Fi heart-throb.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

HOW TO MAKE TIME WHEN THERE IS NO TIME

“The moment of victory is much too short to live for that and nothing else.”
 - Martina Navratilova


Don't you wish you had a time machine?  I sure do.  You could have a 48 hour day every day.  

Think how much you could get done!

Well, there is only one way to get more time -- you take it.

All of us under-utilize time.  

Time we could use for our novels is waiting for us to seize it:

Waiting in line. Time you are in the car.  In the shower.

If we look hard, we can find the time that we are giving away.  

We just have to look for it in the right frame of mind.

There are little slices of time we are letting go fallow.  

Take back a few minutes every day, and you will be surprised how it builds up to quite a chunk of words written or ideas discovered.

If you had a time machine, 
what would you do with it? 


“You may delay, but time will not.”
- Benjamin Franklin


 “Time is what we want most,
but what we use worst.” 
- William Penn 

Monday, July 18, 2016

HOW TO CREATE SUSPENSE

The suspense is killing me ...


The FIRST rule ...

Create characters with such depth and resonance that the reader cares when you place them in jeopardy.


The SECOND rule ...

SLOW BURN.  

The danger must approach relentlessly, slowly, seemingly unstoppably ... then BAM!!



The THIRD rule ...

SIZZLE sells the steak.  

The problem of readers being bored isn’t solved by adding action but instead by adding apprehension. 

Suspense is anticipation; action is payoff. 

You don’t increase suspense by “making things happen,” but by promising that they will.



The FOURTH rule...

FORESHADOW don't TELEGRAPH the danger.


The FIFTH rule ...

Make Death not an IF merely a WHEN.  

Make the suspenseful scene seemingly impossible to get of.


Now, get out there 
and raise some goosebumps 
on your readers!

I'M IN LOVE

Just don't tell John Oliver ...

“It's the most emasculating thing I could possibly do to go out with someone who has actually done something valuable with their life."

 “I can’t come home and say I had a really tough day at work today and see her roll her eyes and go, 

‘Really?’ And she would be like, ‘I can’t imagine how difficult it was for you. You clown!’

Rightly, I have no place to whine about anything. 

That’s the problem with living with someone who has fought a war. You lose the moral high ground.”
 - John Oliver


While she was in high school, she was involved in a terrible hit-and-run accident. She had to learn to speak and walk all over again.

After 9-11, she enlisted in the Army as a medic in response to her horror at what had happened.


How did they meet?

In 2008, John was working behind enemy lines at the RNC for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

When convention security chased after him for entering into a restricted area Oliver, who was still on a temporary work visa,

found himself at risk for potential deportation.

 Attempting to avoid arrest and subsequent Breturn, the reporter and his camera crew happened upon a group of veterans who offered to help them hide.

Yes, you guessed it.  

Among the veterans was Kate Norley.  John worked up the nerve to exchange email addresses with her.

A friendship, then a romance happened.  

He proposed to her on St. Thomas in 2010, and they were married a year later.

Kate did all the painful work again when she had a baby boy with John in 2015.
***
I keep hoping the Western will be re-born as a genre 

(my main hero, after all, is an undead Texas Ranger!) 


This movie looks promising:

Saturday, July 16, 2016

ARE YOU EXCITED?

Are you excited about this?


 A FAMILIAR HOPE {The Force Awakens} hugely disappointed me:

Same plot points placed on a new movie with Katniss Everdeen for Luke Skywalker.

After 30 years this was the best they could come up with?  Really?

But this Star Wars movie looks to be its own creation ... and entertaining to boot.

What new movie are you looking forward to?

P.S.
Life as a rare blood courier has taken a turn into over-drive 

so I have not been able to visit all of you as I would like to. 

Sorry.

Sometimes life is a harsh mistress.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

HOW TO MAKE YOUR BOOK A PAGE-TURNER

A book is a journey we do not have to take.  
We must be persuaded to do it.

Usually it is the set-up that does that for us: a unique or intriguing situation.

But once the book is picked up, 

it will be the characters who will tug us along to find out what they will do and say next. 

Do they make us laugh?  Do they make us root for them?

As humans, we are driven to seek an understanding of others,

for in understanding them, we come close to understanding ourselves ... 

and perhaps we will not feel quite so isolated, alone.

HOW TO ENGAGE THE READER

1.) EACH STEP MUST TAKE YOU SOMEWHERE 

As I've said: each book is a journey.  Characters, descriptions, or dialogue ... must move that journey along ...

or you are making the reader simply jog in place!


2.) TONY STARK ON A ROAD TRIP

Wouldn't he be a hoot on a road trip to anywhere?  
Your characters must entertain in some form or fashion

or your reader will opt for more enjoyable companions.


3.)  WHERE IS THE DARTH VADER OF YOUR TRIP?

Success conceals; adversity reveals.

Is he looming like a storm cloud on the horizon?

Or is she sitting, smiling like the false friend she is, right beside your hero?

Does his motivation make sense to the reader or does he exist merely to be the Big Bad of your story?

Your reader should see that he/she is just one bad day away from becoming that person.


4.) WHERE IS THE TICKING BOMB?

Imagine a tense company board meeting: 

the founder is being betrayed by his best friend in a hostile take-over.

He is bravely, intelligently fighting for his dream while the Judas is smugly smiling.

Unknown to them both, but known to the reader, a terrorist bomb is ticking beneath the table ...

right in plain sight should someone just bend down to pick up a fallen pen.

Tick ... Tick ... Tick.

Can you see all the various ways that could play out?

Your hero staggers out of the board room, having lost it all as his wife rushes into his arms ...

just as the bomb goes off, killing all those within the office.

The Judas in betraying his best friend ends up saving his life.


5.) WHERE IS THE WONDER, THE MAGIC?


It does not have to be literal magic but the wonder has to be there to draw your readers in and keep them.

SAME OLD, SAME OLD plots can become riveting if you spin them.

Robin Hood is the villain; 

the sheriff is the valiant, misunderstood man of honor 

trying to keep peace in order to prevent the King from ordering mass executions of the peasants.

A simple view out of a stagecoach window can become magical if your protagonist describes it so that the reader views it with new eyes.

My tagline to the front page of 
THE NOT-SO-INNOCENTS AT LARGE is


“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but in acquiring new eyes.”

– Samuel McCord

Hope this has helped in some small way, Roland