Book vs Movie

I’m sure I’ve hit this topic before. But I’ve had discussions recently where people say the Harry Potter movies ruined the books and my brain went haywire. So I have to rant about this topic.

First, I’ve read all seven Harry Potter books. I’ve seen the movies that have been released. And anyone who says “the movies are horrible in comparison to the book” (or anything like it) ought to be abducted by aliens. Why am I so harsh on that? Well, there’s this author, you may have heard of her, her name is J.K. Rowling. She wrote Harry Potter. This is HER world that SHE created. But guess what, she wrote books, not screenplays. So someone adapted her books to a screenplay. Someone with his or her own interpretation of what Rowling wrote. Then, you get the casting director. This person is trying to find a talented person who fits the character that they’re viewing. And finally, you have the director with his or her cast and crew putting together this film based of his or her interpretation of what was in the script.

And in the end, you know what you get? A lot of different viewpoints of the same thing. I read the books and found different things interesting and cool versus what other people saw. We may have read the same book, but we all didn’t see the same thing. Some people see Harry as courageous while others view him as annoying. You know what’s the best thing here, though: J.K. Rowling has approved the movies.

Second, you do realize you’re not comparing apples to apples right? You’re not even comparing apples to oranges. In the entertainment industry, here’s how I view this. If someone were to compare Harry Potter to Percy Jackson, I’d say we’re comparing Golden Delicious to Gala apples. If someone were to compare Harry Potter to The Count of Monte Cristo, I’d say that’s more like comparing Golden Delicious Apples to Pineapples. It’s not really fair because some people prefer citrus zing over light and sweet. When someone compares Harry Potter (book) to Harry Potter (movie), it’s like comparing a Golden Delicious apple to a Golden Delicious Apple Pie. The apple is now just an ingredient, not the product. You’re going to taste it, but you’re not going to get the same things.

I just have to roll my eyes at people who compare books to movies. They’re missing out on what they’re really watching. As someone who didn’t read books 1-3 before seeing the movie, I saw absolutely no problem with Prisoner of Azkaban’s movie. When I hear complaints of “they left out (blank), (blank), and (more blank)”, I say “I wasn’t confused. Movies have a different structure.

By the way, I’ll give you that the movie makers ‘ruined’ Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. However, I bet most kids saw the movie before reading the book. Yeah, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was ten times truer to the book. But I was more entertained by orange Oompa Loompas the size of Hobbits than one man over-cloned. What about the Wizard of Oz? Did you read it before watching? Did you know the multiple ways that it’s not like the book and almost ‘ruining’ to it? Probably not. But again, that’s why I don’t compare books to movies.

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

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Rant This Way

Today I’m going to rant. Why? Because isn’t the internet used for people to give their opinions that no one cares about anyway? Seriously, one of my favorite scenes of You’ve Got Mail (yes, I like some chick flicks, deal with it) is when Meg Ryan writes an email with all her problems and states that she’s just sending the message out into the abyss of the internet (or whatever, I’m paraphrasing.)

Anyway, here is today’s rant:

Gnomes are people too. Dwarfs are people too. Elves are people too. So are Trolls. Brownies. Wizards. Merfolk. Fairies. Sprites. I could go on (since in my book, they do.) But here’s my point: why can’t a ‘Gnome’ be referred to as a person? It’s egocentric, in my most humble opinion, to state that a Gnome or Dwarf isn’t a person. To me, if the being looks similar enough to a human, then you have no right to say I’m wrong in calling them a person. Is Spock not a person? What about Chewbacca? Is Harry Potter a person? Or Hagrid? Seriously, I would say they’re people and that each one is a person. I’d throw in Willow and Griphook. I could even possibly say C-3PO is a person, especially if I say Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation is a person.

What is it with thinking that, just because they don’t ‘exist’ in our world, that they aren’t people? Is it because they’re that different that we can’t possibly see them as being people? Does referring to them as people lose the fantasy or sci-fi taste that is supposed to be in the book/movie/tv show? Or is it simply because you don’t see them as a person and solely as an it?

Even the definition of ‘person’ maintains ‘human being’ in it. Grr! I’m right! And I don’t care who agrees with me. 🙂 Of course, if you look at the definition you can see that I am choosing to ignore the #1 definition and go with #4, #8, #9, #10, and #12.

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

Willy Wonka and the Seven Deadly Sins

So, quick story, I was given some new medication and was told that it could make me drowsy or awake. Well, I decided to start it last Friday night because I’d rather not be able to sleep than fall asleep the next day and leave my wife with the two kidlets. Well, obviously, whatever I did, the side effect was going to happen and I was definitely awake.

But thanks to Netflix and instant streaming on my Wii, I decided to watch a movie I know very well, since the familiarity would help me close my eyes and fall back to sleep. The movie, of course, was Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  (The original. I don’t mind that it has nothing to do with the book. As you know, that doesn’t determine whether or not I like a movie.) And it helped me sleep. Unfortunately, the next day, I took the pill to verify whether or not it was the medicine’s fault or not (of course it was.) So I watched it again.

During my second weekend viewing of Willy Wonka, I discovered that each of the five children exhibit one of the seven deadly sins. Also, Willy Wonka and Grandpa Joe exhibit one. But there are one or two characters that exhibit a form of the seventh sin.

1. Lust: This is the one that was difficult to find. However, if you look at lust in a less sexual way, you will see that both Augustus and Veruca exhibit this trait. Augustus goes after food, lusting after it. Veruca, however, lusts for possessions. She who has the most toys wins, in her opinion.

2. Anger: Grandpa Joe and Willy Wonka argue at the end of this almost 40-year old flick. They both hold anger in their voice as they speak their lines. Both of them show it quite well.

3. Gluttony: This is definitely Augustus’ main trait. He must have all his chocolate. And he must enjoy it all, until he falls into a river of chocolate.

4. Pride: If you pay attention, this fits Violet best. Why? Violet is most prideful because she is the most showy. “I did this, I did that” are her attributes. She wants others’ attention and will do what she can to get it and think that she’s the best at everything.

5. Greed: Yes, this is Veruca’s trait. She sees it, she wants it, she whines/complains/throws a fit, she gets it. She wants whatever looks to make her own something more than someone else. She’s greedy down to the core. It’s all “I want ___”. I still like Grandpa Joe’s line “What she wants is a swift kick in the pants.”

6. Sloth: Mike doesn’t do anything. He just sits and watches TV, day in, day out. His TV dinners are served on the couch and he’s never even been to the dinner table. And he wants a gun? To do what? Shoot the TV? He’s not going anywhere while watching Cowboys and Indians fight in a John Wayne movie. Dude! Get off your duff!

7. Envy: Charlie Bucket, our humble main character, does indeed prove his envy early in the movie. Now, he doesn’t remain envious throughout the movie once he gets what he wants. As I looked at Wikipedia’s definition of envy, I saw that it stated the emotion as being “I want what you have and I don’t want you to have it.” So at 2:30 Sunday morning, I questioned whether or not envy fit Charlie. And then I saw his envy. Pre-factory, you see a lot of jealousy. Envy, however, is worse than that. It’s when Violet is on the TV and he’s watching it. You know he wants to take the ticket out of her hands and run with it.

So there it is. The seven deadly sins Willy Wonka style. What do you think?

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

To Start or Not to Start

Prologue: This is the part of the book that people love to hate. What is it about the prologue that makes people so upset? The prologue didn’t do anything to them. It just tried so hard to stand out. That master, known as the author, gave the prologue its life. For whatever reason, the master did not want it known as chapter one. It wasn’t part of the main story, it just started the story. But why did everyone hate it? They were jealous, jealous of it’s existence. Jealous that it wasn’t part of the story. Jealous that it was thought of by the master as something ‘better’ than the rest. But, in the end, the prologue was given its spot because the master’s leaders permitted it.

Chapter 1: Why do people hate prologues so much? Nathan Bransford recently did a blog asking people their thoughts on prologues. Someone, who decided to remain nameless said “Can’t stand them. Never read them anymore. If it’s not important enough to be part of the book, why put it in at all? If you have to explain what we’re about to read in the book, or set it up, then your first chapter is probably off.” I hated this opinion. Another person who defined herself as Queen Mab said “I have read a few prologues that worked. My general impression is that the writer had something important about the story, but was otherwise unable to work it into the story–which translates to laziness. Sorry, to be so mean, but it’s how I feel.”

Here’s the first question that comes to mind: Would you tell Van Gogh that there are too many irises in his paintings? Would you tell Beethoven that one of his symphonies could do without its intro? Have you ever looked at other arts and thought: there’s a prologue? Let me give you an example of one: Have you ever listened to the song “Sweet Emotion” by Aerosmith? If not, go find it and listen to it and then get your butt right back here to this soapbox blog. The first few seconds of that song is totally a prologue. It’s bringing you into the song. It’s not a main part of the song. It’s not that useful to the song. But it gives the song a “sweet” essence that without, would make Sweet Emotion…well…less sweet.

Chapter 2: Writing is an art. The author who has a prologue isn’t lazy. I wrote a prologue for my current WIP. Yep! Was I lazy because I didn’t and don’t intend to weave it into the rest of the story? No! I like, nay, love my prologue. I feel that it is so good and so important that it should stand on its own. I don’t think prologues are bad or are a faux-pas. In all honesty, I’ve thought that some authors were just lazy not to include one in a few of their books. And sometimes, I think that some books should have had a prologue because of what chapter 1 was.

Example 1: Harry Potter. I don’t think a prologue was absolutely necessary in any of Rowling’s works. But she did end book 7 with an epilogue. I think it would have worked had chapter 1 of book 1 been a prologue.

Example 2: The Gypsy Morph (by Terry Brooks, book 3 in The Genesis of Shannara): I hated chapter 1! Why? Because it was a prologue. You’ve been reading this series for two books now. You’ve invested time into all the characters. The first chapter in book 3 had nothing to do with any of those characters. And the character in that chapter appeared one more time in the book: in the last chapter (or a chapter or two before it). That first chapter was off, really off. It just didn’t fit quite right as chapter 1. It should’ve been a prologue. But, at the same time, I’m not Terry Brooks. I didn’t restart the Fantasy genre. Regardless, I feel it would’ve been better as a prologue, but since I don’t see Mr. Brooks using any prologues, I think he kinda doesn’t like them. If he’d called that first chapter a prologue, you couldn’t dare call him lazy. Why? Because there was absolutely no way you could get that chapter anywhere else into the rest of the story. Not any of the rest of the characters even got near that one character. It was well-written and very necessary to the story.

Chapter 3: Sometimes a prologue is used to just dip your foot into the water of the story. Sadly, my long-term memory is eroding and so I can only come up with one book that does this. It’s called On Second Thought by Robison Wells. His prologue starts with a moment that takes place after the bulk of the story. His main character then jumps back to how he arrived at this situation. (I’m still reading it, but I’ll get there eventually.) It wasn’t laziness. It didn’t need to be chapter 1. It was Rob’s artistic way of showing you something important to take note of. (And yes, it’s appropriate to end sentences with a preposition! Booyah!)

Chapter 4: In the end, authors should be able to choose this. It seems that some authors are anti-prologue or hate prologues. *cough*Terry Brooks*cough*. James Dashner doesn’t seem to like them either as chapter 1 in the first two 13th Reality books could easily have been called a prologue. But he chose (or his editors, don’t really know) not to call them that. It does make them seem a little out of place. But again, it’s his artistic license.

Chapter 5: If my prologue ends up on the proverbial editing room floor, it will be posted on my website, whenever I get one. I will not really weave it into the rest of the book. I don’t write prologues because of their necessity. I write them because I like them. My prologue takes place 15 years before the rest of the story. Tamara Heiner (who I’ll be naming more and more as her book “Perilous” comes closer to publication) had a prologue for her story White as Snow that she had brought with her to our boot camp. And you know what, I loved it. The information in the prologue was important enough for her. Even after what she told the rest of the group about her book. One of the other women in our group, Deirdre Coppel, asked if the information in her first chapter would serve better as a prologue. Because of what she was going for, it wasn’t going to work to us.

Epilogue: Prologues can be done, if they’re done right. And the same goes for epilogues.

FYI, I’m still a Laker fan and don’t consider the Celtics a Cinderella team. (We are referring to the team that won the NBA title 2 years ago, right?)

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

Be Not Aware of Thursday the 13th

Last Friday, I posted on Facebook (and may have put it on this blog, if not I’m saying it again) that it had been 12 years since I got my drivers license. Yeah 12 years. I’ve been driving as long as the tweenies have been alive. Great.

Well, today marks another day in useless trivia about me. There are two items that make today special. One, it has been one year since my wife and I closed on our condo. Best debt I ever got myself into. No, seriously, it is. After living for over 3 years in my in-laws basement apartment (yes, it had its own entrance, bathroom, kitchen, etc.), it was nice to finally be out in our own place. I am grateful for my in-laws, but I am much happier in my own home.

The other item is that today makes the longest amount of time that I’ve ever held a job.  Believe me, this is a great achievement, something I’ve looked forward to since the beginning of the year. I was at my old company for 1 year 11 months and 10 days before they decided to let me go because I wasn’t “qualified” for the position they needed. Today is my 1 year 11 month 11th day at this job.  Now, I did spend my first three months in a temp-to-hire position. But that was in name only. After about a two days, my boss was impressed enough to plan on keeping me for as long as I was willing to stay. And I’m willing to stay a lot longer. Yeah, I want to be a published author, but believe me, finding a job that I really enjoy along with having a boss that I like working for and co-workers that aren’t stabbing everyone in the back is still wonderful. (No, I’m not kidding on the ‘co-workers that aren’t stabbing everyone in the back’ part. Not even remotely.)

You know, being someone who was defined as lazy and entitled by his own father (don’t worry, he never said it, I just know he thought it) I have to say that I am impressed with myself. I have come a long way in growing out of being the teenager who just wanted to sit at home and play Zelda all day. I have been hired for 9 different jobs. The shortest was three days, when I learned that it was a six-day a week job and not a five-day. I was with one company for six months. I had a job that I loved but had to leave due to something happening: twice. Regardless, making it through this has been awesome. And not once have I left my office thinking “I don’t want to come back ever again.” That’s what has made this job worthwhile.

But, I do intend to leave it. You know, that day when I’m as awesome as James Dashner and have a three-book deal and a five-book deal at the same time. Or the day that I’m as cool as Dan Wells and get to tour Europe because my book sells great there. But until then, I’m satisfied using my lunch time to work on my book and get to meet all these other awesome authors. Until then….

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

Subjectivity

Before I get into today’s topic, I must say that my favorite agent-focused blog is offering a contest for Fantasy/Sci-Fi writers that I intend to enter. (Funny, some people would probably advise me against it, but whatever.) Here’s a link to the “Guide to Literary Agents” blog contest. And I’ll have to add them to my blogroll. I’ll be advertising it on Twitter as well. Do they deserve that much advertising? Yeah, because it’s an awesome blog. (I’m saying ‘they’ but I really believe it’s just a ‘he.’ Oh well.)

Anyway, the point of today’s blog is a sort-of response to a comment that a friend of mine put on her facebook page. She stated that basketball great-turned-commentator Reggie Miller stated “Laker fans are very subjective.” Forgive me for this classic he said (me) she said (my friend) he said (Reggie Miller).  But I’m going to go on a wild guess here and state that 99.9% of all sports fans are subjective, otherwise, they’d be robots. My point is this: fans are subjective. Really? Yeah, they are. I’ve heard Steeler fans boo commentators when they stated that Big Ben did not cross the line for a touchdown against Seattle. I’ve heard Laker fans yell at the refs for not calling a simple travel call. But honestly: I don’t think Big Ben crossed the line, I don’t think that person was travelling. In the end, it’s because they’re a fan of that person/team and said person/team should be doing no wrong.

If fans weren’t subjective there would be no such thing as a fair weather fan or a die hard fan. I live in Utah. I’ve been subjectively called a Fair Weather Laker Fan. I was deemed a Fair Weather Dodger Fan. I was also called a Fair Weather Tampa Bay Rays fan. (Shoot, I’m a fan of anyone in the AL East that aren’t the Yankees or the Red Sox.) But you know what, I don’t fit a ‘fair weather’ description. I got offended once when a friend called me a fair weather fan just because the Lakers are winning. Obviously, he looked down upon fair weather fans. My response: “You do recall that I’m from Southern California, Dude, right?” This same friend, however, defined fair weather fan. He went to a certain high school and never cared for football that much after he graduated. But he started attending their games when they “started having winning seasons.” Come on! Don’t be a pot calling a kettle black. (Although nowadays, pots and kettles come in blue, green, red, orange, etc.) Please, I’m not a fair weather fan. I went to a Jazz game in 2004. Of course, they were playing the Lakers. And yeah, I rooted for the Lakers. The Jazz are actually my 2nd favorite team in the NBA. There’s nothing wrong with that. But the Lakers are still my number one and I’m still going to root for them. If, heaven forbid, the Suns go on to the NBA Championships, then I’m going to root for them since they represent my half of the country.

On the opposite end: my sister represents a die hard fan. She’s a die hard Laker fan. A die hard Dodger fan. Win or lose, she’s still rooting for them. Even if she knows they’re going to lose, she’s still rooting for them. She’s also a die hard Los Angeles fan. (This doesn’t have to be just sports.) She’s a die hard Belgian Beer fan (as much as I am a die hard Belgian Chocolate fan.) But fans are fans because they LIKE something. (Sometimes love, but that may require professional help.) Like is a verb that requires subjectivity. Duh! I’m sorry Reggie Miller, but just because you played basketball so well for so long, it doesn’t make you an expert in public speaking. Is there such a thing as an objective Pacer fan?

So yeah, fans are subjective. If they weren’t they wouldn’t be fans. If there are any 100% purely objective fans out there, I’m sure aliens will be abducting them shortly to figure out how they’re so emotionless. Speaking of…

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

My Feel Good Moment

There is no way I’m going to be able to top my most previous post. Yesterday, I had over 200 visits to my blog. From the looks of it, over 180 unique people reading “Timothy Types TMI” in one day. The only way I’m going to get more visits is if I were to actually become a published author. In addition to blog hits, I had more comments with that post than I did with any of my previous posts, even if you take out my own remarks.

For certain: Eight of my twenty contestants all read it and commented. I’m still ‘wow’ing over it. Annette Lyon was kind enough to share with all her friends, which is probably where the majority of the visits came from. So my small moment of LDS Writer fame is all thanks to Annette. She deserves a box of chocolates the next time I see her. Plus, if you haven’t read the comments section yet, you should. There’s some great trash talk from some of the contestants. (Personal favorites are Sarah’s and Josi’s thoughts.)

To top it off, I was amazed to wake up this morning and discover that I had six visitors today. The thing that shocked me: Two of them clicked on links to my blog from ‘Mormon Times.’ I saw that this morning and thought “What?” So I had to click on it to see how my blog was in the Mormon Times’ website. Big thanks need to go out to Emily Jensen for her brief mention that makes my joy out of yesterday’s post continue on.

Now, there are some honorable mentions who I wish I could’ve included, but seeing as how no season of Survivor goes over 20 people, I had to limit my entries. Some of those that didn’t make the ‘cut’ are Heather B Moore, Jannette Rallison, Michele Ashmen Bell, Lisa Mangum, Stephanie Black, Clint Johnson, and gurus Orson Scott Card and David Wolverton/Farland. If I could open it up to the LDS writing community (i.e. editors), I would have to add Joshua P. (I think Perkey) and, of course, Kirk Shaw. Regardless, I would need a team to help me put together fun/funny challenges for my 20 contestants. And see, those are the people who I would want helping me come up with random challenges. Like how many autographs can you sign in a minute or who can come up with the best story mocking Ender’s Game.

So, let’s steer slightly away from a fake Survivor that’s never going to take place (unless someone wants to help me rope up enough people to actually play it, film it, and present it at the next LDS Storymakers…hint hint wink wink). There’s a certain thing about affirmation. We all like feeling important. Yeah, I really like to feel important (especially since I’m only important to a small group of people). But I also like to feel entertaining. More than feeling important, I wish to entertain people. And not in the whole “I’m notorious for doing some stupid crime and getting it watched on youtube by millions of people.” I like saying things that get people to laugh (although I’m not as funny as Howard Tayler or Marion Jensen.) In the LDS writing community, Annette made my randomly entertaining post semi-popular. Again, need to find those chocolates to send to her, and we’re talking a big See’s Candy thank you. Not the ‘Wal-mart had this after-Easter candy box’ for fifty cents.

But you know what’s funniest about my previous post? The person that I think it entertained the most is me. I wrote it without feeling out of my element. David West did a great post recently that I think everyone should read concerning viewpoints. Well, it wasn’t called viewpoints, it was called “A Question of Story/Taste”. Regardless, like the themes in that post, I don’t write things that I don’t feel steer from me or my personality. Brandon Mull has stated many times that he writes books that appeal to him. If I was given an offer from someone to write a romance novel, I’d have to turn them down. I mean, look at my example of romance writing for a reference here. Sarah Eden’s “Two Guys at a Gym” is more proper as a guy genre. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re missing out. If you do know what I’m talking about, you’re smiling/laughing.) Regardless, I love Survivor. I enjoy seeing the success of my fellow LDS authors. And in so doing, I enjoyed pitting them against each other in a fake Survivor.

I’m entertained by games. I really wish I could be on Survivor, Big Brother, The Amazing Race, or The Apprentice. Shoot, more than anything, I’d enjoy the games. I’d love to be on the team that came up with the competitions for these shows. That’d be fun. Plus, I wouldn’t have to listen to my voice while it was airing.

I’ve been entertained by so many different authors, this was just a way to say “Hey, I think you’re cool” without looking like a major stalker (I know, too late). Some of the people I named in yesterday’s post, I haven’t read a word of their work. Actually, most of the people I’ve either never read their book or only read the beginning. I’m a fan of some of these people because of who they are. I’ve only read complete books by Mull and Dashner. My wife has read Nunes, Pike, and, of course, Meyer. I’ve started books by both Wells, Borrowman, Lyon, Sanderson, and Savage. Technically, I’ve read about 30 or 40 of Howard’s Schlock Mercenary cartoon strips. But I’ve never read a word of the other half of the people’s work. (Of course, Elana has tasers in her book….intriguing.) The majority of these people I’ve heard speak and I think they’re awesome for it. Each one is talented in his or her own right. Each one is well-known for different things. (Even Elana is well-known with her winning the ‘most rejections in a year’ award.) Everyone deserves a feel good moment. This past post’s response became mine for the week. Now…on to do some useful writing….Well…..maybe….but I honestly can’t help but think “Is there really a way to get at least 16 of these authors together on a Saturday with a small camera crew, random games, and tiki torches?”

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.