Monday, May 28, 2018

Don't Forget to Remember

Greetings Pups,

Happy Memorial Day!

I thought I would take this opportunity to very quickly say a few words about this holiday so we, myself included, don't take forget what it really means. I love the fact that this day has been set aside so we can be reminded to, not only remember those who have sacrificed themselves for the freedoms we enjoy, but also honor them. While I do hope that we all take some time to really do that, I know this day is filled with other things as well. Of course, I've seen all those memes about how it's not just about having a barbecue, which is true, but those celebrations, I think, can lend themselves to the more important meaning of the day.

Obviously, as I said, Memorial Day is when we remember those who have died in service of our country. As a strong supporter of our troops, I've always taken this day to do just that, more so than I usually do. But there is something else we can do, and this is where those gatherings with family and friends comes in. We really should take this day to celebrate the lives that we have and who is in them. By remembering those who are gone, we can remember to not take for granted that we are still here. One of the best ways to do that is by enjoying life, living it to the fullest and using every moment we have to make things around us better.

While I personally know a few people, family included, who have served in some branch of the military, I have never had to go through the pain of losing someone because of it. For those who have, I can't even imagine how hard this day must be for them. But I hope that, even as they let themselves grieve, they remember that they are still here to carry on the legacy and the memory of the ones they have lost and to embrace life all that they can. And I pray that their hearts are comforted today and always.

So, as we celebrate this day, I hope we can do it for many important reasons, by celebrating life, the ones of those that are gone and the ones that we still have.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer

Monday, May 21, 2018

How To Admire a Writer

Greetings Pups,

Here's the thing. I have no delusions of grandeur when it comes to my success as a writer. I am well aware that I have not really been successful at all, and I have learned to accept that. It sucked for a while, but considering my plans for repackaging and reinventing, perhaps it is best that there aren't a lot of my books in circulation out there. And whilst I am grateful for everyone who has acknowledged my work, I know I don't have some kind of huge fandom. That is also okay with me. More than okay, as a matter of fact. Mostly I feel that way because I think there are some people out there who don't know how to be a proper fan, or more accurately, a proper admirer. Not all, but some.

I've noticed this quite a bit in the community of people who claim to love books and the writers who create them, and many of them are fiercely loyal. Sometimes, TOO fiercely, but that's another discussion. Still, even when they love a book or a writer, they are often willing to give criticisms, which is very good, and I think most writers will agree with me. Now, whilst I don't mind if you just straight up tell me that you think my writing is awful, as it is your opinion and I never EVER want to silence anyone for having an opinion, I do prefer constructive criticism, because I'm always looking to improve myself and that can be very helpful. So, I consider critiques something to be welcomed, again, as I'm sure most writers do.

However, there is something I've noticed getting mixed in with said critiques. Sometimes it's underlying; sometimes it's blatant. And that something is trying to tell writers what they should be writing. "Grrr" times ten. Yes, there are few things more annoying to a writer than a bunch non-writers telling us what to write. I've been seeing this a lot lately, A LOT, and it is awful, especially when it comes from people who say they love books and those who create them.

Honestly, if you say you love a writer, why are you trying to change who they are and what they do? And even if you DON'T love them, why? It is not your place to do this. When it comes to expressing what you want to see in books, giving an opinion is one thing, but telling specific authors what their content should be is just too much. And practically shaming them because they didn't write what YOU think they should have written? I can't even. If you think a book should have certain types of characters or tell certain types of stories or have certain types of messages, then go write that yourself. OR find someone with books that contain every item on your literary checklist. Do not - DO NOT! - tell a writer what to write. It is extraordinarily disrespectful to do so. If you don't like what they're doing, don't read it. Simple as that. Don't dictate what they do or how they work, because you risk making them into a different artist altogether.

If I may mention something as an example, I recently watched an interview with Donna Tartt. If you don't know who Donna Tartt is, she is a very successful and well-loved writer, who, from 1992 to 2013, only published three novels. Many people are not happy about this, because they really love her writing and they want more of it, obviously. And they probably think she should write faster, something I am certain they are not silent about. Well, in this interview, she mentioned that, at one point, she tried, really tried, to write faster, and you know what? She didn't like it. She didn't enjoy writing when she was doing it at this pace that didn't suit her. So she stopped and went back to her routine. And God bless her for that, because changing her process would have made her a different writer and made her produce different work. Work that would not truly please anyone, least of all herself, because it would not have been a proper representation of who she is. And that would have been tragic.

Now let me reiterate something, as I feel it is necessary. I do not have an issue with criticism. In fact, I think writers should listen to it, whether it comes from fans or fellow artists, because you never know what you might hear that might help. But no writer should ever let anyone dictate their imagination. It does a disservice to everyone, to the craft and to the story that wants to be told. And as far as the fans go, if you love a writer, love them for who they are, not what you think they should be, or just don't love them at all. The bottom line is this. Find good books. Read good books. Love good books. And just let everything else go.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer

Monday, May 14, 2018

Inspired To Kill - TV Movie Review

Greetings Pups,

Everyone knows I love a good movie about writers. What you may not know is that I also love Lifetime movies. Now what do you think happens when you put those two things together? That's right. You get a very happy ME! So, I decided to pick one of the writer/Lifetime movies to discuss here today, and the winner is . . . Inspired to Kill. Get it? Inspired? Because writing! Also, someone is probably going to die. Let's do this.

Inspired To Kill is a 2017 TV movie about a woman named Kara, played by Karissa Lee Staples. After a personal tragedy, she decides to move far from home to get a fresh start and also pursue a career as a writer. When she arrives, she meets another woman named, Charlie, played Olivia D'Abo (YAY!), who rents Kara a room and gives her a job at her local coffee shop. Kara also meets a myriad of other people, ranging from a nice guy at work named Jason (Matthew Atkinson) to an obnoxious guy at work named Tony (Daniel Booko) to an extremely skeezy professor (Jay Pickett) who teaches her writing class . . . and who wants to teach her other things, apparently. Ick. So, yeah, things are a bit hit or miss with her in the 'new friends' department.

But then one day, by pure chance, she becomes acquainted with a handsome stranger and fellow writer named Paul, played by Antonio Sabato Jr. They immediately hit it off and begin spending all their time together, although, he remains an allusive mystery to all the people in Kara's life. Ironically, at the same time, people start dropping dead around her. Is it a coincidence or is it something more sinister and close to home? Now if there's one thing we've learned in the history of Lifetime movies, it is that we must always be suspicious of the mysterious, handsome stranger and keep him at a safe distance. (And yet, so many Loki fangirls in the world.) But is that answer too obvious? I don't know. I guess you'll have to watch it. Yeah, this is the hard part about reviewing a movie that has a mystery to it. You can only say so much.

I will say, speaking of the plot, I enjoyed the interesting twists, and, whilst variations on said twists may have been done before, I liked the way that they put the whole thing together. I know some people aren't wild about the often predictable conclusions of movies like this, but to be fair, they put in multiple predictable conclusions, so you're constantly going back and forth trying to figure out which one they're gonna use. At least, I was. And the one they chose, I was quite satisfied with.

Along with all that, I also liked the acting here. Everyone did a good job with the material and played their parts well. Obviously, as you can tell by the aforementioned "YAY!", I love me some Olivia D'Abo, and I was really impressed by the young leading lady, Karissa Lee Staples, who I had never seen in anything before, but now I'm kind of interested in seeing what else she can do. Oh, and if these two don't do another movie wherein they play sisters or something, I will be very upset. Because they look SO MUCH alike.

Inspired to Kill is pretty much everything you want in a Lifetime movie. It's fun and entertaining and a bit over the top at moments. But again, that's what we want. And it's about writers, which just adds another sprinkle of awesome. So, if you're into these kind of movies, this is definitely one you'll want to check out.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer

Monday, May 7, 2018

Tale Foundry - YouTube Channel Review

Greetings Pups,

There are a million stories out there that have been told a million times over the years, the decades, the centuries. Most of us have heard them all and might have trouble finding interest in them anymore, even if the stories themselves remaining interesting. Therefore, we must rely on the special ones among us to find a new and creative way to relay those stories to the masses and make us embrace them and get lost in them once again. Enter Tale Foundry.

"If fiction were a material, we would be its manufacturing plant."

This quote appears on the Patreon page for Tale Foundry, and I would say it's pretty darn accurate, especially after I've watched and listened to so much of their work. This is another of the YouTube channels that I inadvertently came across whilst I was looking for other things. Probably urban legend stuff and whatnot. Anyway, one of their videos came up on under "Recommended" and I decided to give it a shot.

Well, I am so glad I did that, because I'm so delighted by what I found. I'm always delighted when I find people who embrace creativity and ingenuity the way that this channel has done. And it's hard, especially now, to be so imaginative and original with our ideas, but they have certainly managed to do that.

So, let me explain how things work at The Foundry. They generally do three part series and also some list videos, both on specific subjects. And if you've read this blog, you know I love me a good list. Anyway, they choose a topic, something from literature or a mythos or folklore from a certain country or whatever they want, and they create three videos. In the first two, they tell you and show you all the information they can on the chosen topic of the day, obviously through words and some artwork. In the third video, they share an original short story inspired by said topic. And that is why I love this channel so much.

There are so many places on the internet that you can go and find facts about whatever subject you want, but they can often be a bit dry and cold. Tale Foundry has found a way to do the exact opposite of that, but, by way of the short stories they write, they also are showing us how we can be inspired by what has come before us. And, as a writer, I find that to be an extremely valuable.

Now I suppose I should discuss the visual asthetics of Tale Foundry, as they are videos to be looked at. They seem to have kind of a steampunk thing going on, with muted, sepia tones and some images of cogs, which I love, by the way. They also have some artwork in there, as I mentioned, which has a bit of simplicity to it at some points, but when you look closer, it can go deeper. Basically, a lot of it is the epitome of the idea that it takes a lot of effort to make something look effortless. And then, there's the robot that we get to see. Yes, I said robot and he's awesome. He tells us the stories from the actual factory that is Tale Foundry, where he works with a few "humans". I think I got all that right, but just to be safe, go and check it out for yourself. Having said that, I'll wrap up this little review.

I love people who love to be creative and who just dive headfirst into it. Tale Foundry is exactly that. They have grabbed hold of their imaginations and turned them up to eleven. You can see how much heart and soul and effort and work goes into what they do, and as a fellow artist, I am so appreciative of that. I think there's a lot of flippancy in the world of content creators, and so many of them seem to not care very much about what they put out. Well, that is not the case with this channel. They clearly care and love what they do. And for this reason, I have chosen to support them in this small way. I do hope that what I've said about Tale Foundry today will inspire you to go and see the amazing work that they are doing.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer