Tag Archives: James Bond

We Are Family

Happy Friday everyone!! Casey here.

One of the fun things about being a writer is breathing life into your characters. Imagining a back story, figuring out their goals, their appearance, and so much more. But my all time favorite act is creating the hero and heroine’s family and friends.

Often times, I don’t have to think too hard. They present themselves rather quickly and can be scene-stealers if I let them. Early on, I usually know if the heroine has siblings and whether they get along. Or maybe her parents were overbearing and smothering. Perhaps, they weren’t there at all and she’s been raised by someone else. Same goes with friends, colleagues and pets. My stories have them all!

Coming soon to a story near you!

When I think of my favorite books and television shows, I can’t think of a single one where the main characters don’t have family or friends in their lives. Often times, their loved ones can push their buttons like no one else. And on the flip side, no one understands them better than anyone else.

Imagine how dull and boring Little Women would have been if Jo didn’t have her sisters. Or how lifeless Stephanie Plum’s adventures would be without Lula or Grandma Mazur. Even Ebenezer Scrooge, super curmudgeon, has his faithful nephew Fred to anchor him to his past through his beloved sister Belle.

On the other hand, the lack of a solid support system is just as telling and can define the character’s actions and reactions. There are a lot of orphans in books – Oliver Twist, Cinderella, Harry Potter, James Bond, Heidi, Clark Kent, Jane Eyre, and Frodo Baggins – to name only a small fraction!

Granted all of the characters I mentioned rose above their orphanhood and went on to perform good and heroic deeds. But none of them did it alone (thank you Ron Weasly and Hermione Granger).

Gather round family and friends!

And that brings me back to family and friends (aka secondary characters). For me, secondary characters are just as important. Like in real life, we would all be lonely if we had no friends or family. We are social beings by nature. Even if your character is mostly a loner, there is usually someone (either human or animal) in his or her life.

If you need inspiration, <ahem>, borrow bits and pieces of personality from your family and friends. Now that we’re in the full swing of the holiday season, there are more people than ever around. If you don’t mind the crowds, people watch!

Life is boring without friends. . . and wine!

So remember, when you’re creating your world, populate it with more than just the hero and heroine. Otherwise, all you’ll have is an empty and lifeless world.

Who are your favorite supporting characters? And without naming names, have you ever “borrowed” traits from friends and family?

Shaken, Not Stirred

Happy Friday everyone! Casey here. It’s Skyfall day!

Image from Skyfall – Official Movie site – http://www.skyfall-movie.com/site/

If you’ve hung around the Scribes blog long enough then you know we are movie fans. I’m sure I’m not the only James Bond aficionado around here. I started my 007 love affair at a young age, first watching Sean Connery, George Lazeby and Roger Moore on ABC with my family. At the time, I had no idea they were heavily edited. And, of course, all the double entendres went right over my head (Pussy Galore!).

The first James Bond movie I ever saw in a theater was Moonraker. One of the more campier offerings, but I distinctly remember everyone loving the metal-mouthed bad guy Jaws, played by Richard Kiel. I was probably in my early teens and still pretty naive about all the innuendo!

Over the years, I faithfully followed all the Bonds as they changed over time. I was thrilled when Pierce Brosnan finally got his chance with the Astin Martin. And while, I was sad to see him go, I loved Daniel Craig in Casino Royale. The harder edged story and the intensity really made me fall in love with the franchise all over again.

As writers there are some lessons to take away from the Bond movies. Part of Bond’s enduring success is a formula that’s stood the test of time and multiple actors playing our hero.

1. Action – I can’t think of a single Bond flick without several pulse pounding action sequences. And they aren’t there just for the thrill value either. They have a purpose and serve to move the plot along (although sometimes you have to wait until the end of the movie to see all the connections).

2. Babes. Lots and lots of babes – skimpy outfits required – Aside from our favorite secret agent, there are always at least two sexy women. One could be loosely considered to be the “love interest” (at least for the duration of the movie). The other (mostly in the earlier movies), slept with Bond then ended up dead later. Who could forget Goldfinger? Jill Eaton dead on the bed, clad only in gold paint. Or in Moonraker, when the sexpot is eaten by dogs. After a while, the first woman to have sex with Bond had the life expectancy of a red-shirted ensign on Star Trek.

3. Villains – no one has more fascinating, campy villains than Mr. Bond. Granted they have stepped away from some of the more cornball aspects of the series (Man with the Golden Gun – extra nipple anyone!). 007 always shines best when the villains are a match for him . Who can forget Sean Connery strapped to a table with Goldfinger cackling overhead – “No. Mr. Bond. I expect you to die!” Classic.

4. Gadgets – Bond has done it all and with the most amazing gadgets. Explosive pens, cars that morph into submarines, even a rocket jetpack. And the cars. So many beautiful and classic Astin Martins. I know, they strayed away from the AM in some of the films, but I hear it’s back and more awesome than ever in Skyfall.

5. Super sidekicks/happening henchmen- Q, Miss Moneypenny and Felix Lightner. They’ve all helped anchor James Bond and provide a sense of continuity no matter which actors have played them. And those henchmen – Jaws, Oddjob, Xenia Onatop (the fabulous Famke Jensen) and May Day (Grace Slick). There are way too many to name, but for a complete list – click here.

6. Exotic Locales – the locations are characters in their own right. I’m pretty sure Mr. Bond has been just about everywhere – including space.

7. Awesome catchphrases – Nothing says Bond like – “Bond, James Bond.” Or “Shaken, not stirred.” No one can quip like 007. There is always some humor. Depending on the actor and the decade, it’s dry or downright corny, but we fans love it all the same!

8. The Opening Credits – Nobody does it better. The classic theme song.That gun barrel eye view often followed by an amazing action sequence which culminates in opening credits (silhouettes of nude models, weapons – you name it) often sung by the pop star du jour.

Okay, back to writing. Yes, I know I got a bit carried away. Watch any Bond film and you’ll find all or most of these elements. And if you’re wearing your writer goggles, you will find the basics elements – the call to action, GMC, twists, black moments, love (okay, sex) scenes, and final victory.

I’m sure Ian Fleming, when he was writing his books in his hideaway Goldeneye, had no idea that fifty years of movies later, his characters would still be alive and thriving. Something most of us can only dream about.

I’m looking forward to seeing Skyfall. Anyone else? Favorite Bond actor? Favorite movie? Bond moment? Bond girl, villain, location?

Adventures in Trumptown

Hey, Scribelets! Has another week gone by already? It’s Suze again. I just got back from a four-day weekend in Atlantic City, so I thought I’d share what I learned:

Casinos Smell Bad.  No matter what kind of air purification system is in place, nothing gets rid of the smell of cigarette smoke.

Casinos Are Not Full of Beautiful Rich People. This is a James Bond Hollywood myth. There was no Sean Connery in a perfectly fitted tuxedo allowing a stunning woman in an evening gown to choose Roulette numbers for him. There were plenty of people dressed in sweatshirts and jeans. In fact, and I’m not just flattering myself, I was one of the youngest and most glam people around. Hey! Who just snorted coffee out her/his nose? I’ll have you know I did something with my hair and put on makeup and a cute jacket every day. (Shhhh, don’t tell Footwear Diva Jamie Pope this, but I alternately wore Skechers sneakers and a pair of those butt-toning shoes the whole time! Now, if she had let me borrow her gladiator sandals, I might have gotten a pedi and sacrificed comfort for style!).

Not One Single Sighting of The Donald. Or any other famous person, for that matter, except the poster for the drag show featuring guys dressed like Cher, Joan Rivers, Patti LaBelle and … Prince. Which seemed oxymoronish — a guy, dressed like Prince, in a female impersonator show. Or maybe more like a dude, playing a dude, disguised as another dude. I’m still trying to get my head around that one. And the show wasn’t even playing while we were there, so I guess I’ll never figure that one out.

Shrunken Heads Are Easier to Make Than You Might Think. One visit to the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum, and I feel pretty confident I could do it. All you need are some hot rocks, sand, and boiling water laced with plants containing tannins (tea or walnuts, perhaps?). Oh yes, and a head. Which, according to my son, “is the hard part.”

I Am Not Much Of A Gambler. I didn’t drop any money at all into the one-armed bandits the entire weekend. Is that a collective gasp I hear? Oh, I’ve got nothing against responsible gambling, and I planned to do some myself at some point. But Mr. Suze was at a conference most of the time, and my son was with me (and not quite old enough to be left to his own devices in a casino complex). Mom that I am, it just never happened.

However, on the last day, we’d grown weary of walking the celebrity-free Boardwalk. We still had a couple of hours to kill before we were scheduled to leave, so we followed about a thousand seniors into the Giant Bingo game and stood in the back, intending to watch for a while. Somebody always wins at Bingo (and we hadn’t seen a single person win a dime down on the casino floor), so there was guaranteed to be some excitement.

An adorable elderly man (Danny, whom I later learned had some vision deficiencies), approached my son and asked if he could come and play Bingo for his friend, who hadn’t shown up for the game. He didn’t want to let the extra cards go to waste, and the “authorities” apparently don’t let a person play two sets of cards at once. I gently explained that my son was not of age and could not play.

I had great fun losing with all my new friends!

Danny then asked if I would do the honors. My son assured me he would be fine in the back of the room, so I dutifully took my place at a table full of lively seniors who’d come in from Boston on a bus trip. I didn’t win, even though the sweet lady who sat next to me helped me watch my cards so I didn’t miss anything. They play some complicated games that I, with my grade school Bingo education, needed a bit of help with. Danny, perhaps overcome with grief at my not winning, did not stick around afterward, but my new friends allowed me to take their picture for the blog. When I offered to take down their e-mail addresses and send them links, my ladies shook their heads. “We don’t have e-mail, dear.” Maybe not, but they were having a great time on their adventure. And so did I.

How about you? Had any adventures lately? Have you taken a gamble on something?