Thursday, June 23, 2016

I Know It's Breaking All The Rules...and Going Against (What Could Sound Like) Good Advice...

...but I can't be anything other than what I am. Which is, FIRST, a Catholic.
All the other terminology, including "writer," comes second to that.
And I'm very public and very unapologetic about it.

When you're searching for clients, hoping to put work together, and trying to do things that "don't offend" people, you don't take stands like I take.
Some folks will come right out and tell me this is career suicide.

And they could be right.

On the other hand, ETERNAL suicide is not something I'm interested in courting. So if it comes down to a choice, guess which way I'm going to choose?

If there are any employers or potential clients out there who are put off by a public stand...
...who don't agree with what I say, believe, and profess...
...and who won't hire me because of it...
...yes, that may cost me a few bucks.

But what it'll cost YOU could be far more.
So I "yam what I yam," and that's not going away.
Ever.

Just so's we're clear. :-)

Onward and upward,
Janny

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

How to Shoot Your Credibility to Hell in 3...2...

Yet another wonderful (!) encounter with Clueless Movie Script Writers.

Was watching a Lifetime movie the other day called YOU MAY NOW KILL THE BRIDE. Now, before you crucify me for watching Lifetime movies at all, it must be said--some of them aren't bad. True, some of them tend to be a bit predictable, a bit too angsty, or a bit too soap-oper-y to be realistic--but, on the other hand, there's nothing like a tall glass of wine and a good escapist movie to relax with after spending a day at the keyboard, wrestling with a cat, and lifting 160 pounds in the gym. 

Right?

So...I'm watching this. It's creepy. Psychotic chick, has a crush on her half-brother to the point where she literally destroys all his relationships. Even killed a former fiance on the wedding day. And she plans to kill the latest one, too. Worms her way into the wedding, sabotages pretty much everything, then threatens bride and groom to be with a knife, gets hauled away because she's Off Her Meds, etc.

Fast forward to happy wedding day, except, of course, it isn't...because somehow, Ms. Psycho is OUT of the hospital now and has managed to hide herself in the bridal chamber, where she's going to kill the bride. Puts the bride underwater, dresses in a wedding gown, shows up in front of the preacher, etc. Of course, the bride manages to live through it all, as does her groom, even though Ms. Psycho actually stabs HIM in the course of the struggle. And somehow manages not to drown in a bathtub, even though the bride holds her underwater for something like 2 minutes while said bride is fighting to get the psycho's hands off her throat.

This is AFTER Ms. Psycho has also attempted to murder the maid of honor, by the way. 
Yeah. Chickie has issues.

OK, so...eventually newlywed Bride and Groom go to visit Psycho Sister in the Psych ward. It's not clear whether this is regular hospital that she's just in a psych wing of, or if it's an actual locked treatment center, but the net result is portrayed about the same. She's there in her little hospital pajamas with the elastic waist and no strings, ties, hard objects, sharp objects, or other contraband. She apologizes, they tell her they've heard she's made "great progress," and they give her a wedding picture that she asks for so she can "face what's real."

Only the wedding picture is in a wooden frame.
With a GLASS FRONT.
She takes it, tells them how lovely it is, and they let her hold it.
The attendant then comes and tells them it's time to go.
And Psycho Sister KEEPS THE PICTURE.

Of course, the minute they're out of sight, Psycho Sister drops the picture on the floor, shattering the glass. Which she then proceeds to pick up and shred the picture with...all with no one intercepting, observing, or intervening. And at the end, of course, she has that evil little crazy smile on her face, and she's ripped everyone out of the picture but the bridegroom, chanting, "he loves me, he loves me not, he loves me..."

Now, it makes a great final scene. EXCEPT IT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN THAT WAY.
In what alternate universe, first of all, is a mental patient in the hospital allowed a picture frame with GLASS in it and WOOD with sharp corners?
In what alternate universe, second of all, does the attendant see her clutching the picture and not take it away?
In what alternate universe, as well, are people walking around proceeding as normal a little distance away, while she drops this in the hallway, breaking it, then sits down next to it and starts picking up glass IN THE CORRIDOR OF A MENTAL UNIT?

Apparently, this happens in the Lifetime universe.
I promise you, it won't happen in any mental ward I've ever encountered.
Or if it does, someone's head will roll, swiftly and with no second chances.

There are so many things wrong with that scene that it destroys the credibility of the entire rest of the movie. Which, as these kinds of thrillers go, wasn't bad. True, there was a bit of suspension of disbelief involved, and more than a little muttering at the TV saying, "Oh, come ON. No. You don't owe her an apology. She's a psycho. Listen to your maid of honor."

...and such things.

But, hey, clearly Lifetime decided it needed High Chilling Drama at the end...and what's creepier than realizing Psycho Sister's been faking everybody out and she's going to get out eventually...and probably make good on her intentions? Yeah, leave everybody horrified. Great touch! Wow! Wonderful!

Um. No. Not when it depends on absolute STUPIDITY in order to be created.
Sorry, Lifetime. Not in THIS Lifetime.

This, folks, is why you do your research.
And if you can't write that scene that way, you think of an even better one that is actually realistic.
That is, if you're not too lazy.
Or if you don't underestimate the intelligence of your viewers so much that you figure they'll never know the difference.

Which could also be construed as an interesting bit of sexism, considering that Lifetime's always sold itself as "television for women."
Your target audience is that stupid, is it?

REALLY.

Thoughts?
Janny

Saturday, May 28, 2016

THIS Is Why You Need (GOOD) Editors, People

Is it just me, or does NO ONE know how to use the language anymore?
Facebook is rife with memes talking about all the misuses of things like THEY'RE, THEIR, and THERE. Not to mention all the funny poems about how English spelling versus pronunciation is inconsistent, to say the least. :-)

But there's one usage I haven't seen much said about: POUR versus PORE.

Probably for good reason...because NO ONE seems to know how to use the words right.

Quick reference guide:

Unless you've got a pitcher tipped, a container ready to be emptied, or a bucket of sand that needs to be added to a castle, you're not POURING over a document. You're PORING over it. 
Yes, there's a difference. And yes, it does matter.

Next time I see a published book with the heroine "pouring" over a book, a document, a letter, or other thing she's obviously reading and examining, I'm going to quote the dang thing on Facebook, identify the ignorant author, and ask which liquid or solid her character dumped on her reading material.


This is why you need editors who actually understand the English language, people. 

Unfortunately, most of you who DO need this won't ever read this post.

(sigh.)

Thoughts?
Janny

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Removing My Ladder from the Wrong Building

Came to an interesting conclusion last night, with a finality to it I haven't had before.

Much as I would love to write sweet romances, I'm going to quit trying to do it. 

Not because I "can't write" them--after all, I won a Golden Heart for one. <3 But it's as if the "window" for those books was only open for me during a limited time period, and that window has now shut.

This is not a bad thing. It's just as valuable to discover what you're  not as "good" at as it is to discover what your strength is.

I came to this conclusion after working on some stuff last night during sprint--a sprint that was very profitable in that I was able to crank out a whole bunch of words picking up where I left off, to see if there was "anything there." Reading through the remaining old material, however, I found myself thinking, "This is nice, but do I really want to go anywhere with it?"

I discovered that while I probably could go somewhere with it...I no longer really wanted to. And I could even see in that material how, to some extent, my heart wasn't in it...even though at the time I thought myself totally invested and enthused.

Just shows to go ya, you can fool even yourself sometimes. 

However, give me a neato psychopath, an innocent in his/her way, a reason for someone to get killed (or very nearly), and some romantic sparks flying all around it...I'm there. 

That's where I'll be from now on.

Yours for staying up past our bedtimes reading "just one more page"...


Janny

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The First Toe-Dip in the Lake...

...was, indeed, as cold as I expected.

But I suspect future dips will start to feel REALLY good when it gets hot outside!

In the meantime, here's the view from my office window:

Yeah, I'm a brat. :-)

More to come,
Janny

Monday, May 23, 2016

A Pitching Parable

Here it is, Saturday morning, when someone comes on Facebook talking about Kensington's Lyrical Press line looking for thrillers and suspense. (!) Naturally, with CALLIE'S ANGEL sitting right there on my computer ready to find a home, I jump all over this.

Which then begins an interesting comedy of errors.

1. It seems the author who recommended her editor also admits her editor has moved from New York to Seattle. Which means that her editor is now a freelancer. Or something like it.

2. Of course, that also means her editor's not listed with the "normal" editors on the Kensington page anymore...

3. ...except that--wait, wait!--she actually IS on one of their pages as an assistant editor...

4. Which sets up an interesting dilemma when Author Who Is Ready To Pounce On This attempts to send an e-mail to said editor, and it bounces back.

5. The editor the aforementioned recommending author is NOW with (having been moved along in the process), however, is still WITH the company.

6. So Pouncing Author says, "I'm going for it"....

7. ...only to forget to take the OTHER editor's name out of the salutation on the e-mail. So I've got a "Dear Ms. F" when I'm actually pitching "Dear Mr. S."

8....prompting said Pouncing Author to follow up immediately with a short e-mail note saying, "I really do know what I'm doing, honest."

9. Which should be a cautionary tale to all of you out there: if you're going to recommend someone pitch your editor, GIVE HER E-MAIL ADDRESS in your post.  Don't say, "PM me for the e-mail address," and then fail to answer the PM. If it's NOT okay with your editor to do this without asking her, don't talk about the recommendation until you've got that okay. If you get flooded with PMs asking for that editor's e-mail address, answer them. Yes, ALL of them. You asked people to contact you, after all. Don't leave them hanging afterward.

10. With the actual e-mail address of this apparently now freelance editor, I could have saved myself a whole lot of grief, including saving myself looking like an idiot to an actual editor at a place that claims to want books like I write.

11. If I were a conspiracy theorist, I could wonder if this author deliberately set people up to fail, masking it as enthusiasm and "spreading good news." But...no. I really am not. A conspiracy theorist. Much. Well, okay, hardly ever.

I'm going to go change my aluminum-foil hat now. And hope that "Mr. S" has a sense of humor.

(sigh)
Janny






Thursday, May 05, 2016