Tag Archives: little women

Friday Favorites – 5 Fabulous Book/Film Adaptations

Happy 1st Friday of 2014. Casey here!

While I’m STILL finishing Lachlan’s Curse, I thought I’d share some of my favorite book/movie adaptations. In all cases, I’ve read the books and seen the movies. This is by no means my only favorites nor are they necessarily blockbusters (i.e. JK Rowling, Jane Austen or Tolkien).

I’ll be first in line for Dangerous Curves Ahead: The Movie!

If you’ve never read the books or seen the movies, give these a try.

1. The 13th Warrior - based on the book - Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton. Not for the faint of heart if you don’t like warrior violence but the payoff in the end is spectacular. This movie was highly rated at the time it came out and yet didn’t really spark at the box office. The director, John McTiernan has publicly stated the theatrical version was not what he wanted. I say – whatever!! It’s still a fun action flick loosely based on Crichton’s book (which is a take-off of Beowulf). The final battle sequence has the best “speech” I’ve ever seen. Obviously, I favor the movie version.

2. The Namesake - book by  Jhumpa Lahiri. Both the book and film offer an honest glimpse into family life and what it’s like to grow up in two different cultures (American vs. Indian). Don’t miss this one if you enjoy quiet stories about families and want to learn more about a different culture.

3. Stardust - book by Neil Gaiman. Set in the fantasy world, a love-struck hero embarks on a mission to locate a shooting star hoping to impress a girl. Instead, he tangles with witches, flying pirates, vengeful princes and a falling star with a mind of her own. I’d argue that the movie version is actually better than the book. The ending is a million times more logical and the cast knocks it out of the park. If you’ve read the book, then you know what I mean.

4. The Prestige - book by Christopher Priest. Wow. The movie’s story (about a grudge match between two magicians) is a head rush and really not much like the book at all. Again, another situation where I think the film ending was better (and more coherent). This is also a film where you should watch it more than once to get all the nuances. (Also starring the hunktastic Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale!).

5. Little Women (1994 version) – Okay, I know there are other theatrical versions, but this is my personal favorite. I love the cast, the setting, well, everything about this movie. While it is not an exact adaptation of the book, it still rocks the story of Jo March and her sisters (and a young, handsome Christian Bale doesn’t hurt).

So there you have it. Back to writing I go!

How about you? What are your favorite books turned into films?

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?

Why I joined a writing group or three

Hi there.  J here.  Welcome to our very first Scribe Theme Week!  Have you been enjoying it?  We have more of them in the works…just you wait.  So I want to tell you why I joined a few different professional writing organizations and community groups over the last few years and what I got out of them.

I began working on my first novel way back in the dark ages of 1996.  I never finished that book and I think in part it was because I loved Little Women as a kid.  I imagined myself as the modern-day Jo March, scribbling away, alone in my cold garret room, my fingers black with ink.  What female writer didn’t have this picture in her head at some point?  What I didn’t know was that I needed a community to get the job done.  Perhaps that isn’t the case for everyone, but it was, and is, for me.

In 2003 I began writing The Cordovan Vault.  I was lazy and wrote in fits and starts, oh so busy with my 50 hour a week job.  This was during my life pre-kids when 50 hours was about the extent that I worked.  I actually can’t imagine how I wasted so much time!  But by January 2006, I decided to take this dream more seriously and I joined the writing group at my local library.  I can honestly say that I am where I am today for taking that first step.

The writing group led me to my first Writer’s Conference, CAPA – U held each May.  I did my first Editor Pitching and learned many important things, especially that I wasn’t going to get anywhere until I finished writing the book.  I also met a woman there who told me about NanoWrimo.

If you don’t know about NanoWrimo, they you need to follow the link and check it out!  This is an online writing contest designed to spark creativity and get words on the page.  I participated the first time in 2007.  The weekly pep talks from published writers were invaluable to me.  Even well-known writers had been stuck, as I was.  They said the only thing to do was push through.  Rewrite later.  I took that advice and made it more than 2/3 of the way through the manuscript before hitting the next milestone.

I met Susannah Hardy in January of 2008, again at my local library’s writing group.  Susannah’s encouragement was critical to me finishing The Cordovan Vault.  She pushed me to finish the first draft, and then to revise it, making it a much better story.  And she’s the one who pushed me to get it published.  THANK YOU, Susannah!  :)  Now we all need to push her, because I’ve read some of her stuff (and you can too!) and her finished novel is wonderful.  You will want to read it.  I guarantee it. 

In late 2009 ish, I met Casey Wyatt (the soon to be published Casey Wyatt, that is!  Congrats!) at my library’s group too.  Casey and Susannah met PJ Sharon, who introduced us to the CTRWA, where we met Katy Lee and Jamie Pope, among a bunch of other kind, encouraging and fun writers. 

Today’s secret: While joining one of the larger professional organizations like CAPA or CT RWA is great (I get tons of support, marketing help, and other opportunities that I desperately need) I have to say that taking the first step and joining the writing group at my local library has been invaluable to me.  If you aren’t ready for a big professional organization yet, maybe a small group is the write (get it?!) one for you.

Today’s question:  Did you ever have a Jo March moment?  Is being a writer what you expected it to be or is it something different?