Archive for February, 2014

My first impression of Guardians of the Galaxy was that it would be about a raccoon who had a thing for machine guns.

Not a very good first impression.

But as I kept hearing more about it, I became more and more intrigued. Once I saw pictures of the main cast, my expectations started to rise and I began to get extremely excited for this movie.

That excitement culminated in the trailer that was released yesterday. I think I’ve already watched it 20 times, and I just keep going back for more. So, why has this film really caught my attention? I’ve got a few reasons.

But first, just in case you haven’t seen it yet (or even if you have), here’s the trailer:

1. The cast. I don’t know much about Chris Pratt, who plays the lead character Starlord, but if the trailer is any indication, I think he’ll be brilliant. I’m a huge fan of Zoe Saldana, who plays Gamora, and I think she’s a great actress who also happens to be extremely skilled at portraying roles that require a lot of action and physicality. Bradley Cooper, who will voice Rocket Raccoon, is also a great actor, and I can’t wait to hear him on screen. And although there are others — many of them big name actors — the other one that sticks out to me is Karen Gillan as Nebula. As a huge fan of Doctor Who, I’m glad she’s in this movie, but I’m even happier that her role looks totally badass.

2. The CGI. Let’s be real: When one of your main characters is a talking raccoon who has a proclivity for high-powered firearms, you have to make sure it comes off in the right way. Although we’ve only seen a few glimpses of Rocket, and even fewer of him actually in action, I think he looks fantastic. The CGI looks so real and well-done, and for some reason, it just works. I can’t explain it, but any hesitance that this movie would be silly (in a bad way) has gone completely out the window. Groot, the huge tree-like creature, also looks amazing.

3. The tone. The tone of this movie is quite different from a lot of the other Marvel movies we’ve gotten so far. The closest to GotG‘s tone would be Iron Man, I believe, because Iron Man is filled with snappy dialogue and clever humor. GotG looks like it’s going to follow that same path in terms of humor, but I’ve also been hearing it described as “colorful” in the same way Star Wars is, which is a completely and totally perfect comparison. Movies like Captain America aren’t drab or monochromatic, but there’s a certain coldness to them. GotG is full of greens and reds and blues. The spectrum is all over the place, and I think that’s going to help this world feel more real and alive.

4. The marketing. This is a strange reason to be excited for a movie, but it does make sense, I promise. Right now, we don’t know much about GotG other than the trailer we’ve just seen. That was our first big look into what this movie is going to be like, and the trailer was incredible from start to finish. It began with what could have been an intense and cliche action sequence, but instead we saw the main character give up his stolen loot without attempting to fight back at all. The dialogue is funny from the beginning, which comes full circle with the song at the end. In between we get a few action scenes, which are always welcome in my book, but the majority of the footage focuses on the main characters, describing who they are and what their roles will be without feeling heavy-handed. A lot of people who watch Marvel movies aren’t familiar with the source material, and I think this is doubly true for Guardians of the Galaxy. But within just a few moments, I already like and understand these characters and am completely invested in them.

5. It’s original. It seems strange to call this movie original when it’s based off of a comic book that’s been around for so long, but when you compare it to other movies out there currently — even ones in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — it’s truly unique. Marvel is uber successful at the moment, but I’m sure even they weren’t positive they could pull off a talking raccoon, a giant tree, and a green lady as part of their main cast. These risks make me believe that this movie is going to be unique and won’t follow the same structure other Marvel movies do. Taking the biggest risks will give you the biggest rewards, and I think Marvel is going to hit this one out of the park.

If you’re like me and don’t know much about Guardians of the Galaxy, I suggest watching this hilarious but extremely informational video about the group. It describes their pasts, their powers, and more.

You can also check out this article on Hypable, which breaks down the trailer.

Here’s the inevitable followup question: Are you excited for Guardians of the Galaxy?

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I usually don’t write to music because I find it distracting, even when it doesn’t contain words. Lately, however, I’ve been finding myself needing a little something else to get into the mood.

I only listen to soundtracks when I’m writing because if the song has words, I’ll start singing along to it and be way too distracted. And, inevitably, that just leads to me going to Twitter or Tumblr and distracting myself further.

Frozen SoundtrackSo, I stick to the soundtracks.

Right now I’ll admit I have mostly Disney soundtracks because I find those to be the most familiar and soothing. Plus they just make me happy. I do have Lindsey Stirling‘s CD on there, though, and that makes a great background for action scenes because her violin work is usually enhanced by dubstep. But I have Pocahontas, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Frozen, too.

But I need more. And I need more variety. So, I’d like to know what you guys are listening to while you write. What really speaks to you? Which tracks do you find are good for the slow scenes versus the fast ones, or the romantic scenes versus the violent ones? I’d like to try writing to music more in order to see if it positively affects me.

In other words, help a girl out! I’ll be taking your recommendations and adding them to my writing playlist in the hopes my Muse is further inspired.

Frozen was an instant hit in theatres, and “Let It Go” has spawned a lot of great covers.

And some covers that are a bit more…colorful.

Like this one using clips from Batman & Robin with Mr. Freeze singing the song. Let’s just say my nerd heart singing right along with him.

Shout out to Mark Schroeder, who does a killer Arnold voice.

Admit your faults

Posted: February 4, 2014 in Writing
Tags: , , ,

SplatterA lot of writers have a hard time letting go of their manuscripts and just getting the damn thing published. One of the biggest reasons is because it’s constantly not ready, it’s not done, it’s not perfect.

Perfection doesn’t exist, and it never will. Even the most beloved books on our shelves have their issues, but it’s a matter of those issues being outweighed by brilliance.

So learn to live with your mistakes. And learn to admit your faults.

Sometimes you’re going to have to settle when it comes to your story. You’ll have to use that cliche to get from point A to point B, or maybe you’ll have to leave that plot hole because there’s just no way to fill it.

A perfect example of this is The Avengers. If you listen to the audio commentary, you’ll hear Joss Whedon talking about his experience writing and directing the movie. The commentary itself is brilliant if you’re a Joss Whedon fan. I could listen to that man talk about anything. He so funny and insightful, and I love the way he operates.

But that commentary is also a gold mine for writing knowledge. And one of the biggest things that stuck out to me was when he talked about the scene where the Chitauri all died after their mothership was destroyed by the nuclear bomb.

I’m not proud of that either, okay? That’s… It was necessary to make sure we understood that they didn’t have to just clean up for the next 17 hours by still fighting, but… So they could actually have their moment of triumph. But it’s a device I am not fond of and probably shouldn’t have brought up.

I’m glad he brought it up, though, because we often think that writers don’t know when they use a cliche or can’t tell they’ve used a trope in their story, when in fact they probably just couldn’t find a solution to their issue. It’s not the end of the world, and it doesn’t mean they’re not brilliant. It’s just how things have to work sometimes.

Let me rephrase that.

It’s not the end of the world, and it doesn’t mean you’re not brilliant. It’s just how things have to work sometimes.

Your manuscript is not going to be perfect. Not ever. Make it as good as you can and then send it off to live in the hands of your readers. If there’s something wrong with your story, admit to your faults. Sometimes it just can’t be helped. But being aware of those issues and trying to avoid them in the future is the best thing you can do.

Have you ever written something and known it was a cliche or a trope, but also knew you couldn’t get around it? What did you do in a situation like that?