Top Ten Tuesday – Favorite TV Shows or Movies

Hey everyone!

Sorry, again, for the absence from the blogosphere. I’m really hoping to get back on a semi-regular blogging schedule once the insanity from work calms down after the next two weeks.

Today is Tuesday, so I’m doing another Top Ten Tuesday inspired by the fabulous people at The Broke and the Bookish blog.

Today’s topic… Favorite TV shows or movies. Movies would be too hard for me, I think. My top five are fairly solid, but after that it gets dicey. I like more movies than TV shows, so it’ll be easier to snag my top ten TV shows.

And here they are!

1. Sherlock – The current BBC version. LOVE IT! Benedict Cumberbatch is my favorite actor (and he’s also the physical inspiration for my villain), so I had to check it out when it first came out. I so wish they had the time to put the seasons closer together than TWO YEARS APART!!! The next season isn’t due out until January 2016. *Whimper*

2. M*A*S*H – Yes, the army show from the 70s/80s. I adore the characters and although they find humor in their situation, there are so many serious and enlightening moments regarding war.

3. Downton Abbey – This was a serious contender for numbers one and two, and often, they change around. I love historical anything, but especially historical shows. You’ll probably see a fair amount of British shows in this queue, as well (see what I did there?), because I’m a bit of an anglophile. And Maggie Smith (aka Professor MacGonagall), cannot be beat!

4. The Big Bang Theory – These dudes are hilarious, and Jim Parsons does a phenomenal job as Sheldon. He definitely deserves the Emmy awards he’s received for that part.

5. Doctor Who – Another contender for the top slots. It’s a combination of so many fabulous loves of mine, and the details in the storyline are out of this world! (Literally and figuratively). Another great example of how small details come back in big ways.

6. Seaquest – This show was only on for three seasons, but I loved them all! The first season is the best, of course. It combines a lot of things I love: science, the ocean, mythology, good vs. evil… Love it!

7. Bones – I have quite a few seasons of this on DVD, and I used to watch it over and over again. They deal with some heavy stuff, but manage to keep some lighthearted, hilarious moments in it. And I’m sorry, but David Boreanaz is in my top 10 favorite good looking guys.

8. CSI – NY – This one held the top slot for a few years, but so much else has come about and changed since then, but I still love it. The relationship between Danny and Lindsay is probably my favorite on-screen romance. Remember that my favorite literary couple is Anne and Gilbert from Anne of Green Gables. Again, combines science, mystery, romance, humor… all the best stuff!

9. Supernatural – This one might move up the ranks a bit in the next few months as I’ve just started watching it. The Winchester boys are *ahem* pretty darn hot. But the plot is awesome and pokes fun at a lot of other shows. (Can you tell I like sci-fi/fantasy yet?)

10. Phineas and Ferb – Yep. Rounding out my top ten is a sweet Disney Channel original series. I don’t even know if I can explain what it’s about, but it’s pretty stinkin’ awesome! I started watching it when I nannied for a family during grad school and I got hooked. I still watch it when I can. And yes – it is a cartoon. I’m not ashamed.

 

There you have it! My top ten TV shows of all time!

On another note, I’m super frustrated/excited/upset because, although I’ve finished the first book in my MG series, I had a jolt of inspiration on how to rewrite the beginning. Again. It’s been rewritten at least 20 times, but each time it gets better.

I take comfort in the fact that other writers do this all the time. Even after it gets to a publisher/editor. J.K. Rowling said she’d wanted to use the beginning of book six (The Half Blood Prince) since she started writing the Harry Potter series.

So now, here I am… back to the beginning. I’m hoping it’s just the first 30-50 pages or so… but we’ll see where it takes me. Hopefully not too far down the rabbit hole.

Happy Writing!

 

“I have rewritten — often several times — every word I have ever published. My pencils outlast their erasers.”
― Vladimir NabokovSpeak, Memory

“Rewriting is the crucible where books are born.”
― Cathryn Louis

“When asked about rewriting, Ernest Hemingway said that he rewrote the ending to A Farewell to Arms thirty-nine times before he was satisfied. Vladimir Nabokov wrote that spontaneous eloquence seemed like a miracle and that he rewrote every word he ever published, and often several times. And Mark Strand, former poet laureate, says that each of his poems sometimes goes through forty to fifty drafts before it is finished.”
― Susan M. TiberghienOne Year to a Writing Life: Twelve Lessons to Deepen Every Writer’s Art and Craft

Villainous Villain – Or Not?

Dr. Evil(Spike.com)

My villain. My villainous villain. My villainous villain who may not be so villainous?

Or who at least may have a different backstory than anticipated.

I recently had a burst of creative insight into my villain. If you’ll remember from previous posts, my villain is physically based on Benedict Cumberbatch.

He's the inspiration for the villain in my middle grade book series. Good choice, no?

Would you trust him? 

I’ve already discussed changing some of the physical characteristics of my villain, but when my brain decided to ram straight through my preconceived notions about my villain, it really got me thinking about my favorite villains.

There’s the villains you love to hate, the villains you love, the villains you pity, and the villains you just plain out hate.

Which do you prefer?

Some villains are just out-and-out evil and there’s really no explanation for why. They just exude evil because… well – just because, I guess.

Then there are villains that you can pity or feel sorry for because their background has led them to perform these sinister acts (not that their acts are justifiable, by any means).

What do you like? Who are you favorite villains and why? Villains who have black hearts and just hate because they can? Or do you like to see a little humanity in them before they utterly destroy everyone else and themselves?

I’m in a bit of a conundrum and I need some advice.

PLEASE SHARE!

And Happy Writing!

 

“People are not born heroes or villains; they’re created by the people around them.”
― Chris Colfer

“He was as yet not sufficiently experienced in ruffianism to know that one villain always sacrifices another to advance his own project; he was credulous enough to believe in the old adage of ‘honor amongst thieves.”
― Émile GaboriauFile No. 113

If You Could Change One Thing…

We’ve all been asked that question before. “If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?”

Pfft. So corny and so predictable. I was once asked that in the one and only pageant I’ve ever been in. (And believe me, one was plenty – it’s insanity. But I won’t get into that).

Nevertheless, I do tend to think about this idea quite a bit. If I could change one thing about myself, would I really have the gumption to do it? If a magic genie granted me three wishes, would I take them and change everything?

I don’t know if I can rightly answer that question. There are physical attributes I’d change, but what I have makes me who I am, so I don’t know if I’d want to.

The trait I think I’d most like to change is to be more spontaneous. Ergh! I almost broke out into a rash confessing that.

Spontaneity gives me panic attacks. Obviously it says something about my lack of trust and my control issues, but I’m a planner. I can’t help it. But I think that sets me up for missing out on a lot in life. I never (or VERY rarely) take up someone’s offer to do something spur of the moment. The most spontaneous I get is planning something for the evening earlier that same day. And even that makes me uncomfortable.

That being said, while I was thinking this over, I wondered if there was anything I’d like to change about the characters in my books, especially now that their personalities and traits are fairly fixed in my mind?

If you’ve been with me since the beginning, you’ll know that my villain is based physically on Benedict Cumberbatch. But look what he did to me!

Ginger Benedict

 

Why did he have to make this so hard? I thought I had a clear image in my mind of my villain, but here he had to go and make it difficult. Hmph.

But besides the physical characteristics, I wondered if there were anything I’d like to change about my character’s personalities.

And the answer is yes! And you know what? I can do it! That’s what makes writing so amazing! Changing things up in mid-stride makes for plot twists and turns and keeps readers on the edge of their seats.

Now, I’m not going to change them so much that they’re lost as a character. Too much change makes them unrecognizable (unless that was your point in the first place). But I think I’ll be throwing in a few character changes throughout my MG fantasy series, not only for the readers’ attention, but to keep things interesting for me, as well.

So tell me… Is there anything you’d change about your characters? About yourself? What frightens you the most about changing a character mid-book? Would you ever do it?

Happy writing!

 

“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”
― J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

“If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

A Perfect Villain

Villains are such fun to write, don’t you think? And it’s even more important, I believe, to develop a strong backstory for your villain than it is for your hero.

The villain in my middle grade book series is a complex, calculating, cold-hearted man who has absolutely no remorse when he decimates a pawn in his highly intellectual plot against my heroine.

For every character that I either develop or that start talking to me late at night when I’m trying to sleep (they’re needy little buggers, I can tell you), I find a picture of a friend, neighbor, co-worker, random photo from the internet, or a celebrity that I think embodies their physical mannerisms.

My villain is physically based on my favorite actor, Benedict Cumberbatch.

Image

Nice, right? Now, I know Benedict is sort of a hot thing right now in Hollywood and with fangirls across the world, but I definitely wouldn’t consider myself a fangirl. I first noticed his talent when he played Prime Minister William Pitt in the movie Amazing Grace. One of his lesser-known works, I believe. I’ve never been one to be starstruck by celebrities. Yes, I’ve met a few, and I just see them as regular people. Except they’re ridiculously overpaid (but that’s for a another entry).

I greatly admire his body of work, his enormous talent, and, of course, his looks. I think the above picture is a little deceiving. He looks like a hunky Hollywood celeb, but if you watch his movies and television series, you’ll notice how much that face changes. Which is what I like best about him. Those facial expressions of his are unequaled. He can look incredibly innocent, manipulative, cold, calculating, destroyed, ecstatic… and he does it with only the tiniest transformations in his facial muscles.

Being a physical therapist, I am constantly analyzing how people move. Not just whether it’s normal or abnormal, but picking up the minute details of their physical characteristics. Benedict has remarkable control over his facial muscles, which is simply fascinating to me. I’ve seen him look demented, ugly, pretty, hunky, quirky, doofy – just to name a few.

His chiseled face makes him appear almost innocent and yet, at the same time, lethal.

That’s the kind of face I want for my villain. He’s not a villain that you’d look at and say, ‘Oh, right. That’s the bad guy. I can tell.’ He’s more ambiguous than that. If you’ve seen more than one movie with Benedict in it, you’ll know he can definitely play roles ambiguously. You’re not sure whether you love him or hate him, but there is something about him that inspires pity, or admiration.

My villain is a heartless piece of work, motivated by revenge, but also a deadly cunning that is virtually unequaled. His history is filled with death and destruction, yet he is impervious to even the slightest emotion aside from bloodthirsty revenge. But his face remains an implacable facade, rarely breeched by anyone. Which makes him even more dangerous. When someone betrays him, he doesn’t lash out at them with verbal sparring, nor does he physically abuse them. He can always farm that out. No – his face remains an icy barrier to his carefully guarded secrets, and his intense eyes lull you into a false sense of security.

One should never feel secure in the eyes of a villain.

Everything about him draws you in – his face, his eyes, his ability to mask his emotions, and his mastery of disguises. You can’t help but want to please him. But is it out of love, or some other deep-seated instability and fear?

When my books are published, I’ll let you be the judge.

Sigh. Everybody loves a good villain. I’m head-over-heels for mine.

“The villains were always ugly in books and movies. Necessarily so, it seemed. Because if they were attractive—if their looks matched their charm and their cunning—they wouldn’t only be dangerous.

They would be irresistible.”
― Nenia CampbellHorrorscape

“She should have known that villains often come with pretty faces.”
― Anna GodbersenThe Luxe