Thoughts on Mythic Structure: The Ordinary World

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Now that I’ve finished my series about archetypes, I am beginning a new one about mythic structure.

Mythic structure is also known as “monomyth” and even more commonly as the hero’s journey. Mythologist Joseph Campbell described monomyth in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Film development executive Chris Vogler adapted and simplified many of Campbell’s ideas in his book The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers. (I also like how Vogler modernized Campbell’s stages of the hero’s journey, making them less gender-specific.)

As with archetypes, there is some controversy over mythic structure, with the main complaint being that it results in clichéd and rote storytelling. But, as with archetypes, that only happens if you resort to clichéd and rote storytelling. Structure is a very important aspect of writing, whether it’s a novel or a screenplay. It’s necessary but also endlessly variable, which I hope to demonstrate in these articles about each stage of the hero’s journey. Continue reading

What The 2014 Emmy Nominations Got Wrong–and Right

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The Emmy nominations were announced this week. Some of my favorite shows got a boatload of nominations (Game of Thrones, Orange is the New Black, American Horror Story: Coven, to name a few.) So how come my main reaction was something like this:

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As I mentioned in my Pop Culture Awards post from last year, it must be rough to be an Emmy nomination judge, especially in the drama categories. There are so many quality dramas now, with so many quality actors giving amazing performances, it’s not at all odd that a lot of people get left out.

There were also surprises, many of them fabulous, but some of the snubs were mind-boggling.

Continue reading

7 Things I Learned From 2 Years of Blogging

Letter blogOfficially, I created this blog on July 1, 2012. I didn’t post anything until July 8. So I consider this entire week my blogversary.

It’s hard to believe it’s already two years since I started this blog. Some great things happened this past year. I have two stories that will be published in an anthology by Reuts Publications. For the first time, one of my posts was Freshly Pressed (featured by WordPress). Writing this blog has been mostly great, but sometimes it’s also a frustrating ride.

Here are a few things I learned about blogging the past two years: Continue reading

Game of Thrones Season 4 Review: The Great, the Good, the Meh & the Ugly

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BIG SPOILERS FOR SEASON 4 OF GAME OF THRONES.

I read a review before Season 4 of Game of Thrones started that claimed this was the show’s “imperial phase.” What the critic meant was that every TV show has a season where all the elements come together almost perfectly, resulting in its strongest season.

I have to disagree with this reviewer. While in some ways this was a fantastic season, it was far from perfect. Overall, the sum of its parts was greater than the whole. The great and good stuff were pretty darn amazing. But the not-so-great stuff was deeply disappointing. Continue reading

The 1967 in Film Blogathon – Valley of the Dolls

VARIOUS FILM STILLS

This post is part of the 1967 IN FILM Blogathon hosted by Silver Screenings and The Rosebud Cinema. Click HERE for a list of all the entries!

I have a confession to make.

When I chose Valley of the Dolls as my film for this blogathon, I referred to it as a “guilty pleasure.”

I am here to tell you that I feel absolutely no guilt for loving this film.

Why, one may ask, would a film enthusiast pick a movie like Valley of the Dolls when the subject of the blogathon is one of the great turning point years in cinematic history? Why not pick Bonnie & Clyde, or The Graduate, or Weekend? Continue reading

7 Reasons Twitter Pitches Don’t Work

Girl Softball Pitcher

One of the great social media tools for writers is the ability to pitch our work directly to editors and agents via Twitter. It’s rude and unprofessional to pitch to them directly via Twitter or any other social media (this is considered spam, people). However, there are Twitter pitch events every now and then where editors and agents participate and request partial or full manuscripts from writers. #PitMad and #SFFpit are two examples.

Creating a logline that distills the essence of your story in as few words as possible has always been a necessity for writers. Creating one for a Twitter pitch event can be even more of a challenge, as you have only 140 characters, some of which have to be used with the pitch event hashtag, and sometimes also indicate the genre and age category (MG, YA, NA or A for middle grade, young adult, new adult or adult).

Reading through some of the pitches during these events, what jumps out immediately is how bad most people are at creating Twitter pitches. Continue reading

My Writing Process Blog Tour

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I have been nominated by author Sandra Danby to participate in the Writing Process Blog Tour.

Sandra’s first novel Ignoring Gravity is about two pairs of sisters linked by a generation of secrets. It is currently available for pre-order. Sandra also has a lovely blog about living in rural Andalusia, Spain called Notes on a Spanish Valley. Thank you, Sandra, for inviting me to participate!

Now for my writing process: Continue reading

Tips For Creating A Great Beginning To Your Story

Debbie:

It’s been another busy weekend, so I’ve pulled this up from the archives! Will have a fresh post next week for sure!

Originally posted on MOON IN GEMINI:

1. Start just before something is going to happen, in the middle of something happening, or right after something has happened.  There’s a term in screenwriting called “landing in the scene on roller skates.” This is a great way to start a story. Basically, create a situation for your characters and throw them right into it.

You can even create a beginning where all three things are going on. When Stephen King’s The Stand starts something has already happened (an accident at a government facility has released a deadly flu virus) something is in the middle of happening (a guard at the facility manages to get to his house and grab his family so they can escape before the place is shut down completely) and something is about to happen (after they escape, the guard and his family will spread the deadly virus across half the country before they die…

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The Versatile Blogger Award!

versatileFellow blogger Rachel Lynn Brody has nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award!

Here are the rules for winning the award:

Thank the person who gave you this award. THANK YOU RACHEL!

Include a link to their blog: I Wrote This

Nominate 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award and include a link to their site.

Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

I am thrilled to nominate the following terrific bloggers for the award: Continue reading

Dumbledore Was A Manipulative Bastard (And You Should Be One, Too)

Debbie:

Hi, not feeling so great this weekend, so I dug up this from the archives. Hope you enjoy!

Originally posted on MOON IN GEMINI:

SPOILERS FOR THE HARRY POTTER SERIES AND PSYCHO FOLLOW (in case you’re the one person on earth who is unfamiliar with them):

HBO has been running the movie Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2 a lot lately.  Since it’s my favorite of the Harry Potter movies, I’ve watched it several times.

Love it.  A perfect ending to a great series.

One thing struck me on multiple viewings that hadn’t during all the years of reading the books and watching the movies:

Headmaster Albus Dumbledore was a manipulative bastard.

I cried like everyone else when he was killed by Snape in Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince.  You better believe I did.  For the longest time I didn’t want to believe he was dead.

But watching the last movie–wow.  It struck me that Dumbledore was a puppet-master like few others.  As Snape put it, he raised Harry “up for…

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Writers, Know Your Archetypes: The Hero

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1. Heroes often have an unusual origin story.

In spite of some people nowadays groaning at the origin stories in superhero comics and movies, they have a mythological basis. In folk lore and mythology, heroes may have an unusual conception. (Zeus was always turning himself into various animals so he could get it on with mortal women; several heroes in mythology were conceived this way.)

Or, they may be related to royalty, but for some reason are separated from their family. For instance, Perseus and his mother Danae are tossed into the sea by her father the king, because he was told by a seer that his grandson would one day kill him. Percy Jackson is a modern interpretation of Perseus, with a similar origin story (though his father is Poseidon, not Zeus). Continue reading

Thoughts on Star Wars Episode VII Casting

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Happy Star Wars Day! May the 4th Be With You! I thought today would be the day that Disney would finally announce the new Star Wars cast, but they beat me by almost a week. They announced it April 29. (Which, by the way, happens to be my birthday!)

I’m going to start with the awesome parts of the casting announcement. (Only actors were announced; we as yet have no idea who they’ll be playing, except, of course, for the veterans returning from the original Star Wars trilogy).

Continue reading

Pop Culture Roundup April 2014

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1. Stephen Colbert will replace Dave Letterman as host of the Late Show.

Dave Letterman announced he would retire in 2015 and people barely got time to speculate about who would replace him. It was quickly announced that comedian Stephen Colbert, host of The Comedy Channel’s Colbert Report, would be the new host. Continue reading