Tag Archives: Stephen King

6 Degrees of Seperation?

Nine million terrorists in the world and I gotta kill one with feet smaller than my sister.”

~John McClane~

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My most humble and sincere apologies to everyone.  It’s been hard (literally and figuratively) to sit my butt at the keyboard and converse with you about one of my true loves… writing. I have been ill for a little bit and with the fairly frequent weekend visits to Dallas, TX, I’ve just been pretty wiped out.  The upside to this is I have been watching movie after movie after movie because laying in bed, there’s not much else to do. In the past couple of weeks, I have seen over thirty on DVD. I thought I would take a moment to share a couple of finer moments with you.

Becoming Jane must be seen with Pride and Prejudice – back to back and in that order.  I have also decided to add Jane Austen’s residence to my bucket list of places to visit.

Speaking of The Bucket List, I don’t know if I recommend watching it while sick in bed. It’s a tremendous movie. I love Jack Nicholson’s movies overall and realistically I should have paired the Bucket with another of his I enjoy, As Good as It Gets with Helen Hunt. Of course, this reminds me, if you haven’t seen Prizzi’s Honor co-starring Kathleen Turner, do so. You will thank me later. (It’s much snappier and crisper than the more modern / similar Mr. & Mrs. Smith)

There was also the “tear-fest” that ensued when watching Fried Green Tomatoes, Beaches, The Time Traveller’s Wife, and The Lake House in a marathon session one afternoon. Gads. I’m such a girl sometimes. Fried Green Tomatoes is one of my favorite performances by Kathy Bates. I got a first taste of her acting abilities in Stephen King’s Misery and in it’s own 6-Degrees of Separation, she also starred with Jack Nicholson in About Schmidt. But Bates’ diversity of characterization is amazing. If you haven’t seen her in The Blind Side, it’s a total turn-around from Misery and her role as Mama in The Water Boy still has me rolling after all these years.

Ah… the Water Boy. Adam Sandler. I did take in a double-feature one night when I couldn’t sleep. I had to watch Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore, a hero story all in its own. I’ll admit it. I’m not a huge Sandler fan. But there is no denying the comedic timing and talent he possesses.

But the heroism didn’t end there. O.M.G. Fantastic 4, The Green Hornet, X-Men, Daredevil and Elektra came into play. I know. I know. A lot of people weren’t at all impressed with the last two, but I have a thing for Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner (remember Alias???) And because I’m a huge fan of action movies… those led into a Lethal Weapon marathon that just makes me smile. I mean, forget the weirdness of Mel Gibson as he’s aged and the divorce settlement with his ex. At the end of the day, the man is a hell of an Oscar-winning actor, producer and director. Plus, he has those blue, blue eyes.

Another actor with some pretty blue eyes (and also a fellow Texan) is Matthew McConaughey. Yeah. I did it. I watched four of his movies as well. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Failure to Launch and Fool’s Gold. I haven’t had a chance to see his fairy-dust, chest-beating performance yet in The Wolf of Wall Street, but I’m sure that’s coming soon.

A couple of other movies that bear seeing for too many reasons to list here are The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Water for Elephants and Eat, Pray, Love.  Each of these is based on an amazing book and the screenwriters did a fabulous job of transferring the critical elements of each story to the screen. (And yes, I finally watched EPL because of the number of references to it “Raj” makes in the hit TV show “The Big Bang Theory.”

So tonight… I shall sit and devour yet another movie. I’m torn as my choices are becoming fewer and further between. Most of my DVD collection is in Dallas so I’m making due with what’s left here in town for now. On another trip down there, I will have to pick up another 50 or so.

I shall leave you to your own devices while I snuggle up in bed with Bruce Willis. It’s a Die Hard kind of night. Yippie-ki-yay, mother…….

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Tools of the Trade

“Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.”
― Stephen King

Stephen King is a prolific writer and gifted storyteller. I have to admit I’m partial to his earlier works. I find when talking about the tools of the trade, Stephen’s quote is essential.

The Thesaurus. Most writers will use one at some point in time in their writing life. I freely admit I will use one as the moon turns blue, but it’s not to search for the “right word.” I use it to break up word echoes within my writing. In writing fantasy, I have a sword – a blade. But within a page how many times do I want to write those two words? I may throw in weapon. I may change it to the type of sword (katana, broadsword, foil, rapier, scimitar…) or I may use the word “brand.

The thesaurus is sometimes used by writers who are not avid readers. I’ve found if you are an avid reader, you absorb the words you read and bolster your vocabulary.

The Dictionary. There is never a reason to use the wrong word. When I am reading a story and find someone has misued a word it dulls the experience and makes me call into question their experience and ability.

This goes beyond the “they’re”-“their”-“there” issue (which should never be an issue with someone who is looking to be a professional.) I am talking about someone who misuses words such as “irregardless.” It’s NOT a word people. You may mean irrespective or regardless. But irregardless is irresponsible. Use a dictionary. Look it up.

Books on Writing. There are good ones. There are bad ones. And I’m not going to give you recommendations (though I have read MANY) because what my needs from one of these types of books are may not be what your needs are.

These are books I do recommend for several reasons:
1) Subject Matter. If you have problems with plot, dialogue, characterization or world-building, there are books to address each of these issues. Advice in these areas aren’t gospel, but helpful if you are trying to figure out how to solve the problem you have.
2) Naming. Books regarding names are essential. Names have meanings and that subtle impact of the “right” name – including surnames makes all the difference in the world.
3) Story Starters. Don’t go nutso with these. However, one or two of these books are most excellent for breaking writer’s block, clearing the mind and finding new ideas.

There are some other considerations for writers – tools that can be helpful.

Every writer needs tools in his/her tool box.
Every writer needs tools in his/her tool box.

A small blank notebook. You never know when ideas / inspiration will strike. It’s helpful to be able to jot it down on a moment’s notice. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. You just don’t want to have to look for receipts in a purse or use napkins or dollar bills to scribble your ideas on.

A voice recorder works equally as well for many people. Some smart phones these days have this feature. But if you don’t have either available, call yourself and leave a voice message. Don’t lose a good idea because you can’t write it down.

Writing Implement. For all that is good and pure and holy in the universe. I LOVE pens. I’m rather a pen kleptomaniac and have had to learn not to just snag someone’s writing utensil. With that said, a good pen or pencil is vital to any writer. It also corresponds nicely with the aforementioned notebook.

Computer / Software. I prefer to write on a computer using a standard word processing program. I also utilize a writing program for my novel needs. It rather depends on what I’m doing at that moment. There are many different types of software designed for writers and I have several I have used in the past. I’m currently trying out Scrivener. I’m not sure yet if I like it or not. We’ll see.

The publishing world has stepped into the digital age and truly, even if it’s an older computer. I believe that some sort of computer with a word processing program is a tool that cannot be overlooked.

I know much of this sounds like common sense, but sometimes we, the writers, lose our common sense when crafting our work and also forget to eat… which reminds me. I forgot breakfast again.