Enchanting Beauty And The Beast

I have a small confession to make, I have never watched the original animated version of Beauty And The Beast, and to be honest, I haven’t watched most of the classic Disney films. I was a kid who was more into watching The Matrix Trilogy than Disney films, but now that I’m older (and having gotten heavily into Once Upon A Time) I’m giving Disney films a go, and seeing as this remake had just been released, I decided to give it a go.

Starring Dan Stevens, Emma Watson and an all star cast of wonderfully talented people, Beauty And The Beast tells the story of Belle, a bookish young woman who ends up trapped in a run down castle, owned by a prince, who has been turned into a monstrous beast, thanks to a curse. The Beast is a rude and terrible creature, and the only people who can stand him are his old servants, who have all been turned into sentient objects. Only a beautiful woman can break this curse and return everyone to their original human form, but she has to fall in love with the beast to break it.

It’s a tale as old as time, but it’s absolutely brilliant! I absolutely loved every moment of the film, from the incredible special effects (Dan Steven’s doesn’t just voice Beast, he actually motion captured his body and facial expressions throughout) to the wonderful songs, it all comes together so beautifully.

Of course, this is a Disney movie, so things do generally come together beautifully. But sometimes remakes can be awful, but this one wasn’t. It may be because I haven’t seen the original, and so can only compare it to the Once Upon A Time version of the characters, who are, in a lot of ways, wildly different. But to me, this films seems to be lovingly remade from the original animation, and done brilliantly.

Dan Steven’s Beast is so perfectly misunderstood at the beginning, and becomes a such a nice person, I couldn’t help but fall for him. I wasn’t expecting him to have such a nice singing voice either, or be such a wonderful dancer.

The same goes for Emma Watson, and she plays Belle brilliantly. Belle is an intelligent girl, one who can save herself, and she does so several times throughout.

And that is without mentioning Luke Evans, who plays Gaston. Somehow, he made the character likeable, yet easily hateable at the same time. I couldn’t take my eyes off him whenever he was on screen.

All in all, Beauty And The Beast is a wonderful remake, made by a talented cast and crew. I was easily swept up in the magic of it all, found the story enchanting, and everything to do with the film brilliant. I truly feel like I missed out as a child not watching the original, but I’m glad I saw this one first, at this age, so I could appreciate it as much as I did. The only thing I’d suggest as an improvement would be to see more the Beast as a human, or possibly more of a back story for him, so we as an audience got to see how Beast became to be so beastly a person. Other than that, this is a fantastic film, one I would highly recommend seeing.

Legion Is Unleashed

legion-is-unleashed

Last night, Fox released a new TV show from the Marvel universe – all about Legion, otherwise known as David Heller, and his struggle to deal with his powers. Or, more accurately control the powers he doesn’t even know he has.

David doesn’t know that he’s a Mutant, instead he thinks he’s a paranoid schizophrenic, who has been admitted to a psychiatric hospital, and is trying to deal with his illness. But as a viewer, we are shown that this is not the case. David in an incredibly powerful Mutant, who can do incredible things. Things like switch bodies, move objects with his mind, possibly even read minds too, and so much more that hasn’t been explored yet.

And, there’s been a murder. Or someone has disappeared, and only David knows what has happened, but his fractured mind can’t make sense of anything that has happened. Someone desperately wants to know though, and more importantly, want to study David’s powers, leading to more mystery and intrigue.

What is really clever about this show, is how the writers show David’s perception of the world. We see his memories, his fantasies, and through trippy graphics, hints of his true power, all while not being given all the answers to what is going on. Right up until the end of the episode, we are kept guessing as to who everybody is, what is happening, and what is real and what is David’s imagination. It’s confusing, but in a good way, you can follow along, but there’s still mystery as to what is actually going on, and I absolutely loved it.

I know I say that a lot about Marvel’s TV adaptions, as well as it’s films, but I did genuinely love this too. Going in, I had no idea just what Legion was, further than the fact that David was a Mutant, and I came out absolutely gripped, and desperately needing more of this series.

I must commend Dan Stevens for his acting skills, he has made David come to life brilliantly. And after some internet research on the original comic counterpart, I can see how well he has laid the groundwork for David’s powers and psyche to come to life. It was subtle, yet excellently done, I can’t wait to see what he, and the rest of the series, does next!

Peculiar Children, Peculiar Film

This week has been absolutely manic – concerts, replacement bus journeys, starting my third and final year of university, and a cinema trip. I was knackered by Thursday, but I recently read the Ransom Riggs book Miss Peregine’s Home For Peculiar Children, and really wanted to see the film, so I decided to go, despite how tired I was.

In the end, I’m really glad I went to see this film, because I did enjoy myself a lot. Admittedly, there were a few things that annoyed me – mostly to do with changes with character’s, or changing scenes from the book – but when the film is looked at without comparing it to the book, it’s very good.

All the children are suitably creepy, the Hollows are scary, and the universe of the Peculiar’s is incredibly captivating. The all star cast, including of Samuel L Jackson, Asa Butterfield and Judi Dench, are brilliant and compelling. Tim Burton’s directing gives off the right amount of creepiness, which is exactly what this film needed. Something would have been deeply missing if everything didn’t feel slightly wrong and out of place.

Audiences going into this film blind and no prior knowledge will thoroughly enjoy themselves. Fans of the book may leave a bit annoyed, especially if their sticklers for accuracy in adaptions.

Some characters are different ages to their book counterparts, a lot of scenes are taken out (though some of this was for run time, which is understandable), and the final fight against the Hollows is completely different. I can see why the final fight was different, as it gave the more minor characters the opportunity to shine, but to me it still felt a bit jarring. After a few more watches, I’ll probably be able to move past it, but right now I’m not sure whether I’m annoyed by it or not.

On the whole though, Miss Peregine’s Home For Peculiar Children is very enjoyable, and highly entertaining. It sticks to the book for the most part, the cast are great, and it has a brilliant mix of creepiness and wonder, which was exactly what I had been expecting. Book changes are jarring, but as a stand alone film, it’s quite solid and stands by itself well enough.

 

 

Writing Through The Noise

Writing Through The Noise

So, you want to write. You’ve got your story line sorted, you have scenes planned, and you’re inspired. In fact, you’re raring to go, itching to get started. But, there’s a problem. A very big problem in fact. You’re surrounded by people who won’t stop talking to you, or have put the TV/radio on, or are doing noisy things. And now you can’t concentrate, and therefore can’t write. So what do you do?

I’m afraid I can’t help with that, because I don’t know, because I haven’t figured it out myself. Since I moved three weeks ago, I have so far only managed to have one good day of uninterrupted writing, the rest I have been plagued with non-stop noise. That’s the problem with moving in with other relatives who don’t yet understand how you work, and don’t go out often – they want to talk all the time, and continue in their normal routine, without realising that they’re disturbing yours.

For years, I have had about 40 hours a week of uninterrupted time to myself, while my Mum was at work, which I used to write and read to my hearts content. Now I’m down to 8 at most, and the rest of the time I’m in the company of someone who talks a lot, and has the TV on for most of the day. It’s something I am definitely not used to, and it’s something I am now struggling to adjust to.

You see, I find it very difficult to write while there’s any sort of distraction. I can deal with writing with musical accompaniment, as that can be inspiring, but everything else is pure distraction. If someone is talking to me, that means I have to reply and think about the conversation, therefore I cannot concentrate on my story line.

If the TV is on, I get distracted, even when it’s a show I’m not interested in. I end up getting sucked into watching whatever is on, or find myself wanting to work whatever is going on on the TV into the story I’m writing, which is obviously not a good idea.

It’s a nightmare, and one I’ve been living in for the past three weeks. I’ve yet to come up with a solution to the problem. The only thing I can try and do is crank up the volume on my headphones, and hope to God it drowns out the TV/puts people off talking to me. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But it’s all I’ve currently got. Until I can sort out my own ‘writing space’ I am stuck in with the noise. The noise that doesn’t seem to let up for a minute. Even with the new space, I don’t know how well it’s going to work. I’ll be away from the TV, but it doesn’t stop people coming in to talk to me.

I’m praying it will help my productivity a bit, but really, there is no catch all solution to the problem. If there was, that would be what this blog’s subject. But there isn’t. So the only advice I can give is to crank up the volume on the music if you’re in a similar situation. Crank up the volume and try to adjust the best you can.

If not, well, there’s always waiting for everybody to leave or go to sleep, and writing then.

Though if you have any ideas, leave me a comment and tell me, I’m dying to figure this out and stop the distractions!

Writing While Moving

Writing While Moving

Moving house is stressful – there’s boxes everywhere, nothing is where it should be, and the entire world feels off kilter. It completely throws you off, daily life is put on hold until the whole house is sorted, so what happens to your writing during this time?

It stagnates, generally. As of right now, I’m a week into a house move. There are boxes literally everywhere, I have no bed, just a mattress on the floor, and I only just managed to put my clothes in my wardrobe. This video suddenly has become relevant again:

And in the last five days, I have written about 900 words, the same amount I can usually average in one sitting.

Quite frankly, it’s driving me insane. I’m used to writing seven hundred words a day on one of my two ongoing long projects, but right now I’m stuck writing one/two hundred words a day on a small project I only work on when I have no ideas for anything else. I have so many ideas for my other two projects, but I can’t write on them, because I have no time.

Currently, every day is being spent unpacking and moving things round, hoping to fit it in this new house. My mind is utterly taken up with that, and I spend so long doing it I have no time to think of how to get more words on my page. It’s utterly maddening, there’s nothing worse for a writer than not being able to write.

So there’s only two options to choose from in this situation. 1) Give up writing, risk losing all ideas and getting out of practice, possibly chucking myself into the dreaded writers block. Or 2) Continue writing the little pieces and note down the bigger ideas, plot and plan inside my head until I do get time to write again.

It’s a tough one, I’m desperate to write, but I can’t. I’m sure there are others like me who know this feeling. It’s a terrible thing to feel, and unfortunately there is nothing to be done, apart from wait for the house to order itself. It times time, and patience (which I don’t have by the way), and a lot of hard work to get things sorted. But it’s worth it in the end. You get there, and the writing is a lot sweeter because of it.

Pointless Character Death

Hey, long time no see. Blame the damn assignments for uni. Anyway, I want to talk in this blog post about a problem. Something that is a major problem in so many really good franchises, that don’t just annoy me, it annoys a lot of people. I’m talking about pointless character death.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally fine with character death… sort of. But only when it is a necessary death that serves a purpose. When it doesn’t serve a purpose and it was simply done for either shock value or to create tension between characters, it really winds me up.
Take Sam on How To Get Away With Murder, his death was necessary because the entire show is built around Keating and her students getting away with his murder. His death was semi-justified too, he was an absolutely horrible human being, for reasons I won’t get into for people who plan on watching the show, and his death is the premise of the first season.
Another example is Rue from The Hunger Games. Its a horrendously painful character death, but it serves a purpose of sparking off the revolution and forces Katniss to fight back and get revenge on that Capital.
But when a character death is utterly pointless, I just get so annoyed. Recently, I was watching season 10 of Supernatural, and it got to – spoiler alert here guys if you’re not on season 10 – where Charlie Bradbury died. And her death was so completely and utterly pointless and wrong that I was angry about it for days afterwards. Basically, she died to drive a wedge between Sam and Dean, that was it. She died for that single reason, there was no other reason whatsoever. And it was incredibly annoying.
I mean, the writers could have not killed her, and just injured her instead, easily! The whole reason why her death caused the wedge was because she was helping Sam find a cure for Dean and they were lying to him about it. But because she was in danger, Sam had to tell Dean what was happening, and it caused a huge wedge between them because she died. But the same effect would have been caused if the writers had saved her, but she was badly injured instead. She could have easily been badly injured and the wedge would have still been made. Hell, Cas could have saved her, because he can teleport because he’s an angel and the wedge between the brothers would have still been there.
But no, the writers killed her off. And now she probably isn’t coming back. 
This happens time and time again in things, TV shows especially, where characters are killed off for no reason. I understand it when an actor wants to leave, like with Derek and Greys Anatomy, but even then that death could have been avoided. Derek could have simply just stayed in DC and asked for a divorce or something instead of dying in one of the worst character death scenes I have ever seen. I cried after that one. Actually cried, and I rarely cry over character death, I generally end up just getting annoyed.
Because characters aren’t supposed to just die to create tension, or to be a shock that creates hype on the internet. It’s supposed to really mean something. It’s supposed to be like Buffy’s mum, who died to force Buffy to grow up and stand on her own two feet. Like Dobby, who died saving Harry. Like probably Captain America, who’s death will hopefully force Tony to see the extent of what he’s doing and stop the war.
It’s supposed to be like that, not a death just for hype. When it’s for hype, it’s just pathetic, and clear that the writers are lazy and have no idea on what to do with a character anymore. It’s stupid, and I hate it. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand when writers have to rapidly change story lines because actors are pregnant, like in Bones, so they have to write something like Vincent dying to force Booth and Brennan to finally sleep together out of shock or something, so Brennan gets pregnant. That I can totally understand, but surely it doesn’t always have to end in death?
Can’t a character just be injured for once? Or can’t they come back as a ghost? Or decide to move away? Or something that isn’t them dying for once?! Killing someone off isn’t the only way to get rid of them, it is entirely possible for characters to leave through other means and still have it hurt like hell. Look at the Doctor and Rose at Bad Wolf Bay, Christina leaving Greys Anatomy, Zack turning out to be Gormagon in Bones!
All of those hurt like hell, and with Rose and Zack alike, created great plot twists people weren’t expecting. It’s entirely possible to create a feels inducing moment without killing people off. Writers, take note of that, and stop killing people like Charlie Bradbury off. Please, before I lose my mind.
What do you guys think about character death like this? Do you think any of the people I’ve mentioned had a good send off, if so, why? Or are there any other characters you pretend didn’t die because their deaths were so utterly pointless? Or did you see a really great character send off that didn’t involve them dying? Let me know down in the comments, it would be great to hear from you!

Top 5 Most Important Editing Points

Hey, so here’s the start of my series of blogs/vlogs on editing your novels! I thought I’d start off with a check list of the most important things you need to check for in your work. It’s so important that you get these things right, as these are the basics of a novel that you have to get right in order to get anywhere else.
11)      Check for spelling and grammar mistakes. That’s an obvious one really, because spelling and grammar are very important things. Spelling should be relatively easy thanks to spell check, but grammar is a bit harder to deal with, but there’s a few things you can do to help yourself out. One is to read your work allowed to yourself, speaking and reading engages different parts of the brain, so you pick up more mistakes if you’re reading aloud. It sounds nuts, I know, but it actually works. I’ve done it before, and have had it recommended by several tutors so I know it works a treat.  And two, you can use a website called Hemingway, which checks through your work and clearly highlights sentences that need improving. I’ve used it loads and it works great.
22)      Check your story for coherency. Make sure that your story makes sense and that it is easy to understand. I’m not saying you can’t have a convoluted plot, if you want that, go for it, but you have to make it easy to understand, or you will lose your readers. Make sure that you’ve explained your plot fully in your story as you’ve gone along, and not suddenly including an important element with no explanation as to how it got there.
33)      Make sure you have tied up all loose ends. Unless you’re writing a series and are planning on tying up loose ends in a further book, all the fragments of the story have to come together to make sense by the end. Go through and make a list of all your plot points, and check off each thing you resolve and see if you have anything left over by the end. If you do, you’re probably going to have to go back and resolve that point somewhere. Obviously, if you’re planning a series out, you can resolve plot points in a further book, but make sure that by the end of the series you have actually done that. As for one off books, then you have to resolve all plot points or you’re going to anger a lot of readers, as they will want answers.
44)      Make sure you’re consistent. If you’ve started writing in first person, make sure you’ve stayed in first person throughout, unless you have a specific reason to change it. Check to make sure your characters physical attributes are consistent and haven’t suddenly changed for no reason, make sure you’ve kept to the same tense throughout (a flashback/memory is mostly where a change from present to past tense is allowed, everything else should be in the same tense). All of these things are really important, and you have to make sure you have kept everything like that the exact same way throughout the novel, unless there’s reason for things to change. If there’s no need for things to suddenly jump from present to past tense, then make sure you’ve stayed in the original tense.
55)      Keep your story line on the right track. You have to be certain that you’ve kept to your story line from the beginning until the end. A story is going to go nowhere if your character starts off trying to find their parents at the beginning, and ends up battling demons by the end, unless they have been drawn into doing that while on their original quest. If they’ve completed their original quest and have had to go on another straight away, fair enough, but you have to make sure that that original quest has come to completion by the end.
It’s all about consistency people; every single thing has to be consistent and kept on a similar path. And yes, editing is boring, I know. But it’s an incredibly important part of the writing process, and will be the thing that sharpens your story into the incredible epic it can be. The editing is so, so important, and you have to check for these things and change anything that is wrong, or your novel won’t go anywhere.

If you guys have anything else you check for when you’re editing your stories, please comment below, I’ll add anything to this main post, or start a new one, so we can create one massive checklist of editing!