Monday, August 24, 2009

Organized Thoughts? Who Has Those?

Yesterday, the topic of discussion on Twitter's #writechat was 'Inspiration VS. Organization: Tips & tools for each and how they work together'. So, that got me to thinking...I couldn't offer tips on either topic.

For the most part, I am an organized person. Or so I’ve been told. I hate clutter so I try to keep my home as meticulous as humanly possible. My bookshelves house books of varying size but you wouldn’t know it by looking at them—I’m an expert book ‘clusterer’. I even colour-code so that the spines don't clash.
My bedroom closet keeps my folded clothes in organized piles and my clothes hangers? Well, they’re all the same. They must always be the same. NO WIRE HANGERS!
My desk at work has to be just so—everything has its place. Stapler beside printer, pen holder beside the phone, post-its, well post-its are everywhere because I have an addiction to them.
I re-organize my purse/bag just about every night before I go to bed so that I’m all set for another day at the office. You boys would be shocked to learn just how much garbage a woman can accumulate in her purse in just one day.
If I were to live in a home that was disorganized and cluttered, I wouldn’t get anything done because I would feel so stressed out by my surroundings. Have you ever seen that show Hoarders on A&E? I can’t watch it! It’s like a horror movie.

Here I am bragging while there’s one area of my life that is in complete disarray; my writing.
I have boxes of papers, cocktail napkins (it’s amazing what a glass of wine can do which is why a lot of famous authors were hopeless alcoholics), matchbooks, LOT’S of post-its, receipts etc. with my scribbling on them. Most of the good stuff has been placed neatly into my trusty laptop but every once in a while, I’ll stumble upon some prose or dialogue from my novel written in eyeliner or lipstick on the back of a receipt.
Even when I have the proper tools around me to get some writing done, I still find it hard to jot down random thoughts and ideas into the computer—I prefer my post-its or notepads.
I have notebook after notebook with pages of post-it notes strategically placed even though I had plenty of lined paper to write on.
If anyone saw the way I keep my writing, they would be appalled considering how anal I am about everything else in my life. They would also question the language I write in because even I can’t read my handwriting anymore.

A fellow writer once told me that the reason why my writing is not organized is because my thoughts are ‘unorganized’. Meaning, I don’t write in sequence. I wrote the epilogue to my novel before I wrote the first chapter. I wrote the last paragraph before I wrote the third chapter. And so on. I write the story as it comes to me and it comes to me in spurts, especially dialogue.

Even though this is the one area of my life that is out of control, I don’t feel stressed about it at all, strangely enough. I think that’s because writing brings me so much joy and allows me to just take and take. My pen & paper never asks for anything in return. It’s a give-give relationship!
The first and only one that I will ever have in this life.

As for inspiration, you'll have to go back a couple of posts to see how I'm doing with that these days.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Tom & Summer Have Saved The RomCom!

For a couple of years now, I've been proclaiming that the Romantic Comedy is dead. I'm like a broken record and my friends are really starting to despise me. However, I had a lot to go on when I came to this harsh conclusion.
Now, let me take you for a startling stroll down (recent) RomCom memory lane so I can prove my point.


What Happens in Vegas
This shit grossed $220 million--looks like a lot of people suffered. They should have known better. The movie stars Cameron Diaz (the worst 'actress' of our time) & the equally bad and incredibly annoying Ashton Kutcher who usually ends up playing Michael Kelso in every film. Between the two of them, not much acting range. Storyline was okay but all that slapstick! They had to throw that all in just to keep the audience awake, I guess. Movies like this shouldn't be allowed to happen. We're good people--we don't deserve this kind of treatment.

My Best Friend's Girl
Starring some talentless 'comedian' named Dane Cook. He was in that abomination called 'Employee of the Month' with none other than the incomparable Jessica Simpson--she should be banned from movie sets, entirely. But, I digress.
Also stars Kate Hudson (her track record with the RomCom isn't all that bad--remember 'How To Lose A Guy..'? Not bad, right?) as 'the best friend's girl'. She'll be regretting this one for years to come. I think film critic Wesley Morris from the Boston Globe sums it up well: 'The inexplicable romantic comedy career of Dane Cook marches on.'

Made of Honor
Capitalizing on his 'mcdreamy' or 'mcsteamy' crap or whatever the hell it's called from a show I don't watch, Patrick Dempsey stumbles upon a script so bad, Dane Cook turned it down.
No, just kidding! However, Patrick should have turned this one down because he had such a hit with Enchanted. He didn't need this one. Nobody needs this. This film was a blatant (and terrible) copy of My Best Friend's Wedding.
I would like to point out though, Patrick has great RomCom potential. He was in a somewhat cheesy yet charming movie called Can't Buy Me Love back in 1987.

There was a lot more mediocre RomComs in 2008 but I could be here all day, people.

So, here we are in 2009 and this is what Hollywood has given us so far:

The Proposal
A match that should have been left on the cutting room floor: Sandra Bullock & Ryan Reynolds.
I called this one early on. The trailer didn't look that bad (Betty White was in this film!) but what made me think, 'this movie is going to suck' was the amount of publicity it was getting. The studio was shoving this one down our throats--big time. Bad sign. If the movie was any good, you wouldn't need local morning radio shows talking about it every 20 minutes.

The Ugly Truth

Do I even need to critique this film in any way? I'm sure you've all read the less than stellar reviews recently. Or worse, you were one of the poor bastards that parted with your hard-earned dollars to sit through this monstrosity. Again, I called this piece of shit as soon as I saw the trailer for it a few months ago.
That part at the end of the trailer when Whiny Heigel says, 'sucker!' made me cringe each and every time I saw it mostly because people in the theatre actually laughed. It frightened me. AND the film used Flo Rida's 'Right Round'. He should sue.

August 14th, 2009:
I finally had the opportunity to see (500) Days of Summer. Why did I wait so long? Because this little gem is in only a handful of theatres while complete SHIT films like the ones mentioned above, are in every theatre across the city. That hardly seems fair, I know but this is Hollywood. It's ugly, isn't it?

The movie stars Zooey Deschanel & Joseph Gordon-Levitt (remember him in 3rd Rock? He's still just as adorable) as two very different people with very different outlooks on life and love. However, they end up forming a 'relationship' that Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) wants to label while Summer (Zooey Deschanel) just wants to have fun with. It's a love story with a twist, I guess you could say. The twist is that this movie is closer to real life than any other RomCom I've ever seen--it's unpredictable and extremely refreshing. Tom is a bit melodramatic but it doesn't matter--you buy it.
I can't say much more without giving the plot away so just do yourself a favour and go see it. Here's a link to the trailer:

And Hollywood, if you're listening, PLEASE give us back the great Romantic Comedy. You know, the ones that were funny and had well-written characters that we actually cared about.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Neverending Quest For Inspiration

Artists say it all the time; 'Inspiration is all around, you just have to open your eyes'.

So, once upon a time, I was living this phrase; I was inspired to write everyday, no matter how hectic my schedule was. However, sitting here now, uninspired I know exactly why I used to write more; naïveté.

Once I announced that I am officially going to write a novel, things changed. As an over-achieving, slightly OCD basket case, I placed an enormous amount of pressure on myself and agonized over every sentence, every word. I can literally spend days on one sentence. Isn't that ridiculous?
Currently, I am in the midst of changing my novel from first person to third person, with a twist. Don't ask--it's hard to explain what I want to accomplish. It's a genius idea (in my head) and if I can pull it off and write it the way it deserves to be written, I know my book will be better off.

This new idea of mine has made me feel like running the other way instead of tackling it, head on. It's so much work to change now but if I don't, I know I'll regret it. If I don't, I'll obsess over it until I do.
I fear my novel has become a chore.

I used to write because I loved it so much, not because I expected to get published. I could write anywhere, anytime, it all seemed so simple. I could write a 1000 words on my subway commute to work in the morning--easy peasy. Now, I'm lucky if I can get a few hundreds words down in a week.
This past month, I've been trying to find that old love again but it's been terribly difficult because I have unfinished chapter after unfinished chapter, hanging over my head. I can hear my characters screaming for attention, screaming for some well-written prose--they're fed up with me. I have to say, the feeling is mutual.

Instead of whining about it (ok, so this post is kind of whiny), I've decided to blog more and write some short stories, create some different characters. I have even decided to start writing poetry again, something I haven't done in a VERY long time. Don't be alarmed, I won't be posting any of it on this blog.
I think if I can get some distance from my novel, I can look at it from a different perspecitive. I'm hoping I'll miss it so much, I'll come running home one day, open my laptop and not stop typing for days on end. You know that feeling when your fingers can't keep up with the thoughts? I love that feeling. I miss that feeling. To me, that's inspiration.

I hope that trite saying really is true; 'absence makes the heart grow fonder'.