June in Review

The theme for June turned out to be Hurry Up and Wait. I gave my critique group this month to read and make notes on my second draft. Right now I’m trying to get us all in the same place at the same time to discuss “There With You” and where it goes from here. Look for a post about that meeting sometime in July. In the meantime, I’ve kept busy with some day job work, some volunteer stuff and working out at the new YMCA down the street from my place.

Here’s what else I was up to:

Books

You guys. I didn’t read a single book this month. I know! Maybe I needed a literary break after getting the second draft ready to go? *shrug* I don’t know.

BBCE read “The Tiger’s Wife” by Tea Obreht this month, which I had already read and talked about in March. Don’t worry – I’m about to crack open July’s selection and I have a few more lined up at the library.

Movies

I borrowed “Drive” from the library because I know a ton of people who raved about it. Ryan Gosling is a movie stunt driver who has a side job as a getaway driver for hire. He becomes close with single mom Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her son, who live in his building. Everything is fine until Irene’s husband comes home from jail, gets mixed up with the wrong people and Driver (yes, that’s really his character’s name) tries to help him out. Things go terribly wrong and become terribly violent. It’s a gorgeous movie, cinematography-wise, but the story is pretty depressing. And I know the director used a lot of slow-mo for synergy with the fast pace of the driving sequences, but after a while it was like, “I get it, dude. Driver does what he has to do. I didn’t really need to see him crush that guy’s skull with his boot in super slow-mo.”

I’m just going to get this out of the way: I’m a fan of Kristen Stewart. 1. I think she’s a good actress. 2. She’s totally awkward in real life, and I like that. In the great Battle of Snow White Movies 2012 (“Mirror Mirror” vs. “Snow White and the Huntsman”), I was Team SWATH from the get-go. It looked dirty and dark and epic, which is the exact opposite of the Disney-fied Snow White and what I’m super excited to see with these fairytale re-imaginings. (I also very much enjoyed Tim Burton’s take on “Alice in Wonderland,” but, to be fair, Burton/Depp/Carter can do no wrong in my book.) SWATH was entertaining, with lots of very cool special effects, costumes and sets. Charlize Theron as the evil queen was where the movie suffered, in my opinion. Yes, she’s gorgeous and her costumes were uh-MAY-zing, but she got too much time. There’s only so much freaking out needed for us to understand that she’s nuttier than squirrel poo. The movie is called SNOW WHITE and the Huntsman, after all. More time for the development of Snow’s journey to reclaim her throne would have been welcomed. Oh, and before I forget – Chris Hemsworth? YUM.

“Hysteria” is about the invention of the vibrator, and it’s based on a true story. In 1880’s London, Dr. Mortimer Granville (Hugh Dancy) wants to treat people by way of a new-fangled idea – sterilization. Unfortunately, the medical community thinks “germ theory” is hokum, so he gets sacked from a lot of jobs. He finally finds employment at the office of Dr. Dalrymple, who uses a very specific kind of massage (ahem) to treat women for “hysteria.” Symptoms include sadness, depression, impure thoughts, restlessness, anger, anxiety, nervousness, lethargy, frustration, moodiness… basically just general emotions that men couldn’t bother to figure out. Anyway, Dr. Granville is very popular and has so many patients that he starts to get hand cramps and can’t… perform. His rich buddy Edmund (Rupert Everett), who is obsessed with new technology, helps Dr. Granville invent the “mobile personal massager.” Needless to say, it’s a hit. Dr. Granville becomes super rich and uses his wealth to start a clinic for the people he’s really wanted to help all along. It’s a charming movie. Funny, yet infuriating. Did you know that “hysteria” was diagnosed all the way up to 1952? And, as depicted in the movie, if a woman’s “hysteria” was deemed too dangerous she could be institutionalized with a mandatory hysterectomy?? SHOCKING. It’s a good thing I was born in this era, y’all, or I’d have been either thrown in the looney bin or burned at the stake.

Internet Highlights

Artist Jimmy Thompson uses Draw Something to create a music video to John Mayer’s “Queen of California.” So cool!

Writer’s Digest listed 72 of the best quotes about writing. You might see some of these again as a Quote of the Week. ๐Ÿ™‚

21 pictures that will restore your faith in humanity via BuzzFeed. They totally work, too.

Brain Pickings and author Oliver Burkeman take an interesting look at how to find happiness – through negative thinking.

I always get creative ideas in the shower! Turns out I’m not the only one.

Mental Floss’ list of 11 authors who hated the movie versions of their books.

Sadly, San Antonio didn’t make the Daily Beast’s list of 20 most creative cities. Austin got in, though. And it’s only an hour away.

Forbes shared 20 ways to find your calling, with visual aids to boot!

World conflicts would be very different if they involved bombs of the poetic variety.

A story about a girl who has ideas but can never seem to execute them? I didn’t realize my life had become a story. ๐Ÿ˜‰

RIP Nora Ephron. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Here are some of her quotes, and an essay, and some words of wisdom, and advice to writers from long before she became a Hollywood success.

Coming up in July

The critique group and I will sit down to discuss “There With You,” and I’ll be doing another round of edits and polishing with their feedback in consideration. Also, Dianna and I are starting “The Artist’s Way” Part Deux on July 1. Are y’all ready to join in? Let’s do it!

Tricks of the Trade: Method Writing

One of the few things I know about acting is Stanislavski’s method concept, where performers conjure up emotions from their real life experiences to channel into a scene.

The first time I heard of using method to write was a few years ago when I took a workshop with the San Antonio Romance Authors.

Whoa.

Hold on.

Clarification:

  1. We were talking about how to write believable sadness, embarrassment, glee, etc. There were no method romance examples. (Thank goodness, because I’m kind of a prude. My memoir could be called “Fifty Shades of Red,” because that’s how many I’d turn if someone was explaining how they used method writing for a love scene. Gah!)
  2. I took the workshop because they said the information could apply to all fiction writers. (Which was mostly true, except I laughed all the way through the lesson on conflict: “If your main character is an environmentalist, make her love interest a land developer that she hates at first, but then…”) Haha, I’m laughing again just typing that! Anyway, as you can probably tell, I’d be terrible at writing romance.

So, this woman came in and talked about method writing. The example she used was when she needed to describe her character’s humiliation. She channeled a memory from high school, when she was on student council and assigned to give the new boy – who ended up being the new BMOC – a tour. She had a major crush on him and worked up the courage to ask him to the homecoming dance. He said yes. The night of the dance, he stood her up. And he basically ignored her for the rest of their high school years. She used her own feelings from the experience for the scene she was writing. (For the record, she told us that guy eventually apologized for being such a tool.)

How have I used method writing?

My main character in “There With You,” Shannon, has an enemy in the school’s head cheerleader, Emma. There was one cheerleader in high school who was a real bitch to me, along with one fellow dance team member. Let me tell you – it was A LOT of fun to write Shannon’s interactions with Emma. Through Shannon, I get to express everything I was thinking (but never said) back in my day.

At one point, Shannon is confused about her feelings toward Mark. The fun came when I got to write her jealousy. I used the time that the guy I liked dated my friend after I introduced them when we were all hanging out as a group. Oh man, I hated both of them so much! I basically turned evil until they fizzled out, so let’s just say Shannon isn’t pleasant, either. ๐Ÿ™‚

Your turn

If you had to write a jealousy scene, what would you use to go method?