Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Insecure Writer's Support Group

It's the first Wednesday of the month and time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. A huge shout out to our fearless leader Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this group, and for all this month's wonderful co-hosts. If you're an insecure writer looking for some empathy, check us out here!

I don't have a lot of writing insecurities for this month, namely because I haven't written anything in while and therefore cannot be insecure about it (well, unless you count insecurities about getting back to writing, etc.). So instead I want to commemorate this auspicious day, which in case you haven't already read, marks the FOUR YEAR anniversary of the Insecure Writer's Support Group and the two year anniversary of the IWSG website. It's amazing to see how far this group has come, and I'm so thankful to be a part of such a wonderful organization of writers. I've met so many wonderful people through IWSG and been offered some inspirational words of advice and comfort on my own journey as an aspiring author. 

Don't forget to head over to the website today and check out the amazing opportunity offered there today (hint hint, it's a short story contest)! And HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the wonderful, amazing Insecure Writer's Support Group!

Monday, August 17, 2015

"Feel Good" Movies: An Animated Debate

I saw this meme the other day and thought, "Wow, I totally understand the person who came up with that". Because once upon a time I watched this horrible, terrible, depression-inducing film and sustained long-lasting trauma still prevalent today. I can't imagine who could ever watch this movie and actually classify it as "feel good".

The same could be said for a number of other "children's" movies. Bambi. Old Yeller. And don't think for one second I've ever got over the Baby Mine scene from Dumbo. Seriously, who comes up with this stuff? After Disney burned me in 1988 with the delightfully depressing Oliver and Company and then moved on to the killing shot -- otherwise known as that horrific Land Before Time scene where Littlefoot sees his shadow and thinks he's found his dead mother -- my parents wisely decided to stop taking me to kids' movies featuring animals.

Now, with impending motherhood barrelling toward me, I have my own decision to make. Every parent is faced with this same dilemma. Will they let their children start watching PG-13 movies before the age of thirteen? Rated R movies . . . when is too soon? How much do we shield our beloved offspring from film and TV horrors?

My parents have often been teased or criticized for allowing me to watch The Terminator when I was seven years old. And okay, I may have gotten a few nightmares from that one. And sure, Aliens is perhaps not the most appropriate film for a nine-year-old (I think their regretted that decision in retrospect).

But the truth is when I look back at my childhood cinematic education, I've come to terms with my fear of robot uprisings and alien invasions, but the first strains of Baby Mine can reduce me to tears faster than the time it takes for Walt "Trauma Inducing" Disney to kill off an animated mother. So I ask you -- what can we really consider a "feel good", kid-friendly movie? 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Insecure Writer's Support Group

It's the first Wednesday of the month and time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group. A big shout out to Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this amazing group, and all his co-hosts of the month for their help keeping things running. If you're an insecure writer or just looking to support those of us that are, check us out here

I'm seven months pregnant and my writing inspiration has shriveled up for the summer. So instead of writing about my insecurities, I thought I'd share a few quotes about writing from sources much more inspiration than myself. Check them out: 

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” 

“Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very;' your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” 

“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” 

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” 

“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.” 

“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” 

I hope you enjoyed the wise words (the last quote in particular hits home for me). To all my fellow insecure writers out there, keep bleeding, weeping, getting up in the middle of the night to bang away at your keyboard and generally acting like a socially acceptable schizophrenic!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Spectacular Movie Speeches

Ahhh, The Fourth of July. One of my favorite holidays, just chalk full of wonderful traditions: food, fireworks, and best of all, watching a little human/alien interaction going down in the creme de la creme of July 4th movies, Independence Day! It's a tradition I've upheld since 1996, and one I'll continue to uphold until my dying days. 

You've just gotta love that dialogue. "Welcome to Earth" (or if you prefer the phonetic version, "Welcome to Earf"). Pretty much all of Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum's interchanges. And of course, the famous presidential speech. Every time I watch Bill Pullman give that presidential address to the pilots facing down the invading alien forces, I have to fight the urge to stand up and salute. It's no small feat. 

Which makes me wonder . . . what are some other great movie speeches? I thought long and hard about this, and after some serious debate I think I've narrowed it down to my top ten favorites. Here's the movies that made my list.

Top Ten Spectacular Movie Speeches:

#10 - Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
I know my cousin absolutely hates this scene from the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie, but I always liked it. A band of pirates, coming together to face down an angry pagan god and the British Navy. A female Pirate King leading them. And an epic raising of the pirate flags in a united front proclaiming freedom. All ingredients for cinematic excellence.
Favorite line: "Gentlemen . . . hoist the colors."

#9 - V for Vendetta
I cannot say that I love the film adaptation of V for Vendetta; in fact, I think it's a gross raping of the source text, stripping it of it's original context and repackaged it for American audiences. However, the speech that V broadcasts to London does stick out in my mind as wonderfully inspirational. A voice breaking the silence, asking for others to stand with him. To no longer remain silent and turn a blind eye to the injustice of the government in return for an oppressive "peace".  It may not be my favorite film, but I cannot help but love V's speech nonetheless. 
Favorite line: "But again, truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty you need only look into a mirror."

#8 - Goonies 
In deference to my childhood, I have to make room for the great Sean Astin speech from Goonies. With one puff of his inhaler and a few well delivered lines, he rallies his troops and remind us all that even children can make a difference. That every child deserves their moment to be a hero. Sniffle.  
Favorite line: "Goonies never say die."

#7 - 300 
I have often wondered what the casting call was like for this movie. I have a sneaking suspicion that it was spearheaded by a group of women who rounded up the prospective actors and asked them to remove their shirts. And let me just say . . . effective. Now, eye candy aside, this movie offers one of the more impressive film speeches I've seen. A legion of Spartans on the eve of great battle, facing superior numbers and, ultimately, their death. Offering their lives in the name of freedom. A scene worthy of this list, would you not agree? 
Favorite line: "No retreat, no surrender."
[I also particularly love the line later delivered by Michael Fassbender: "Our arrows will blot out the sun." "Then we will fight in the shade." Delicious.]

#6 - Dead Poets Society
It still hurts to know that Robin Williams is gone. But he lives on in so many great films, not the least of which is a movie that reminds us seize the day. To live life to it's very fullest. And to make every day extraordinary. And Captain, my Captain, you will never be forgotten. 
Favorite line: "Thoreau said most men lead lives of quiet desperation. Don't be resigned to that. Break out!"

#5 - Remember the Titans
A great movie, with many powerful speeches. But none more so than the Gettysburg speech given by Denzel Washington. A speech asking for everyone to put aside their hatred and come together as one unit. A speech worth hearing once again in light of all the racial violence in today's news. 
Favorite line #1: "Fifty thousand men died right here on this field. Fighting the same fight that we're still fighting amongst ourselves today." 
Favorite line #2: "Take a lesson from the dead. If we don't come together right here in this hallowed ground, we too will be destroyed."

#4 - Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
If I were surrounded by an army of Sauron's forces and facing down death itself, I'd be tempted to crumble with fear. I'd be on the first train or horse or giant flying bird outta there. That is until Viggo Mortensen rode by in a vision of armor clad splendor, reigniting the courage of men and inspiring a last, if possibly doomed, stand in the name of fellowship. Man that guy gives good speech. 
Favorite line: "But it is not this day!"

#3 - Gladiator
Still one of the greatest battle films of all time, I never get tired of watching Russell Crowe take on hordes of angry foe. But by far the best scene in the film is his spectacular speech delivered on the knife's edge of obliteration, rallying the gladiatorial forces into a deadly unit reminiscent of the Roman legion he once commanded. Is it any surprise that this made #3 on my list? 
Favorite line: "Whatever comes out of these gates, we've got a better chance of survival if we work together. Do you understand? If we stay together we survive." 

#2 - Braveheart
Well, Mel Gibson may have become something of a controversial figure in the film world, but no one can deny that he played an excellent William Wallace. And his speech . . . well, it goes down as perhaps the best film speech in cinematic history. It reminds us that some things are worth dying for. And to this day, every time I heart that speech, it makes me want to run out to buy a kilt, slater some blue pain on my face, and head to Scotland. 
Favorite line: "They may take our lives, but they may never take our freedom!"

#1 - Independence Day
As I mentioned before, this speech was the inspiration for my blog post. It is therefore fitting that it should make my list of Top 5. It's the speech that turns an American holiday into a celebration of a world united, joined together in their fight to survive extinction. Annihilation.
Favorite line: "We can't be consumed by our petty difference anymore. We will be united in our common interests." 

And there you have it. My list of the Top 10 spectacular movie speeches. I'm sure there are plenty who might argue against my choices, but hey, that's what the comment section is for. So what about you guys? Any favorite movie speeches? 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Insecure Writer's Support Group

It's the first Wednesday of the month and time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. A huge thank you to Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this group, and all this month's co-hosts for all their hard work. If you're an insecure writer or just looking to support those of us that are, check us out here!

My concern for the month centers around writing with a partner. I tend to be a solitary writer, territorial of my work and locked away for hours on end (preferably in the middle of the night) while I write. But for the first time I'm thinking or working on a new piece with another writer. And for the life of my I'm not sure how this is supposed to work. Do I write a chapter and they write a chapter, and review each other's pages? Do we write them together? How does this go? 

Are there any of you out there who've done the co-writing thing before? How did you go about starting? Did you like it better or worse than solo-ing it? Any tips, tricks, or pieces of advice? I am all ears.  

Good luck to all you other insecure writers out there, and as always, happy blogging!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Sway by Melanie Stanford Cover Reveal

Today is a special day. Melanie Stanford from Daydream to Writer is revealing the cover of her soon-to-be-published novel, Sway. A retelling of my favorite Jane Austen novel (and the inspiration for my blog title), Sway will be released this coming winter via Samhain Publishing. Check out the cover and book blurb:

Ava Elliot never thought she’d become a couch surfer. But with a freshly minted—and worthless—degree from Julliard, and her dad squandering the family fortune, what choice does she have?

Living with her old high school friends, though, has its own drawbacks. Especially when her ex-fiancĂ© Eric Wentworth drops back into her life. Eight years ago, she was too young, too scared of being poor, and too scared of her dad’s disapproval. Dumping him was a big mistake.

In the most ironic of role reversals, Eric is rolling in musical success, and Ava’s starting at the bottom to build her career. Worse, every song Eric sings is an arrow aimed straight for her regrets.

One encounter, one song too many, and Ava can’t go on like this. It’s time to tell Eric the truth, and make a choice. Finally let go of the past, or risk her heart for a second chance with her first love. If he can forgive her…and she can forgive herself.

Melanie Stanford reads too much, plays music too loud, is sometimes dancing, and always daydreaming. She would also like her very own TARDIS, but only to travel to the past. She lives outside Calgary, Alberta, Canada with her husband, four kids, and ridiculous amounts of snow.

Congrats to Melanie on her big news! The cover looks fantastic and I can't wait to read all about Ava and Eric this coming winter. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Insecure Writer's Support Group

It's the first Wednesday of the month and time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. A huge shout out to Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh and co-hosts of the month for all their hard work! If you're an insecure writer or looking to support those of us who are, check us out here

My insecurities for the month are simple. I'm moving. I'm so excited to be fleeing my tiny apartment and setting up camp in a wonderful house with my husband just in time for my baby to make a big debut, but it's hard work getting things all set up. It takes away from other important activities like writing and, you know, my sanity. 

On the other hand, I get an office. A real life, all to myself office. No squeezing my desk in a corner behind a couch or in a dark area of my already overcrowded bedroom. For the first time in my life I get to set up a space JUST for writing. And that makes all the chaos of moving totally worth it. 

So I guess maybe my monthly insecurities can -- for once -- be considered less substantial than my celebrations. Yay for June!

What about you guys? Any insecurities weighing you down this month?