The “Good Parts” Version

I recently read Cary Elwes book, As You Wish:Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride.  When I heard this book was out, I did a very strange thing. I ran to Barnes and Noble and bought the hardcover. And I paid full price! 

Normally, I buy digital. Largely because I am drowning in books. So obviously, to me, this was a special “must have” book.

After purchasing my copy, I dropped everything I was doing and read it. I laughed, I cried (especially the parts about Andre the Giant) and I remembered my own life back then with this strange nostalgia.

It’s hard to believe that when the movie was released in 1987 that it wasn’t a theatrical success. It’s popularity arrived after the video release of the movie. Then, I’m sure there were plenty of people who’d wished they’d seen it in the theater.

I’m one of the lucky people who did see it in a theater. And, while many years have passed, I remember that experience. My college housemates and I went to a matinee (probably to escape studying) in nearby Virginia. It was LOVE at first viewing. I remember thinking it was the most amazing movie I’d ever seen. In short, I knew I’d seen something special. Almost life changing.

It wasn’t any one thing either but a combination of the perfect actors, with the right director and, by golly, the dialogue. So many gems. These  are some of my favorite:

“Inconceivable!”

“Get used to disappointment.”

“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

And, the most romantic way of saying, I love you – “As you wish.”

Now close to thirty years later, as a writer, I can’t help but think, “Damn. This is like the most perfect fairy tale. Ever.”

And not just the movie version, but the book too. Somehow, I managed to completely miss reading the book growing up. I rectified that when the 25th anniversary edition came out. One of the writer lessons I learned (and must have internalized) was the subtitle: The “Good Parts” Version.

And it means exactly what it says. No long, boring dissertations about landscapes, clothing, room decor, etc. In short, all the things I hate as a reader. All the parts that I gloss over or skip right past.

I’m in the process of editing my first contemporary romance- Over Easy. And I’ve been cutting like a fiend. I’ve been creating what I hope is, The “Good Parts” Version.

And really, that is what editing should be all about. Creating the best, grab the reader by the pants, version of a story.

All pictures 515

 

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Friday Favorites – 5 Film Adaptations That Don’t Suck

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''l be first in line for Dangerous Curves Ahead: The Movie!
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!

Frosted #Loki Charms – He’s Maniacally Delicious!!

I took a break from writing this past weekend and caught Thor: The Dark World.

While I am a fan of the luscious Chris Hemsworth, I must admit (and I’ve said it before) that I love the bad guy – Loki! Largely due to Tom Hiddleston’s fun and charming performance, I only wish they’d give Loki his own movie.

In my opinion, nobody does it better!

Now, I hate to blog and run, but I have another book to finish before 2013 ends. So, I leave you with this burning question and a funny video clip- Who is better: Thor or Loki? 

No! Not Another One Gone!

Ever heard that celebrity deaths come in threes?

I don’t know if that is scientifically true, but lately famous people from my childhood are passing away left and right. And the more I think about, the more distressing it is. I grew up with these people. They were on television entertaining my great aunts, my mom, and a very young me. Or they were making history or teaching me skills like counting. I felt like I knew them.

Not to mention that their deaths remind me of that old adage – Life. No one gets out alive.

Case in Point (and this is not an all-inclusive list, just from the past week or two):

Ernest Borgnine: Actor

Younger Son: “Isn’t he Mermaid Man?”

Me: “Well, yes, but he’s was famous for so much more. I remember him from McHale’s Navy. I used to watch it when I was kid.”

Younger Son: “But he was Mermaid Man too.”

Me: “Yes. And he won an Oscar in the 1950s for Marty.”

Younger Son: “Do you remember that? Did you see that movie when it first came out?”

Me: I think, how old does this kid think I am? My out loud answer: “No. How old do you think I am? Call your grandmother and ask her.”

Younger Son: “He was in Red, wasn’t he? That old guy in the vault.”

*Sigh*

Phyllis Diller: Comedian

Younger Son: “She seems familiar.”

Me: “You know her because she’s the voice of Peter Griffin’s mom on Family Guy. Oh, she was the Ant Queen in A Bug’s Life.”

Younger Son: “Do remember her from when her career started?”

Me: “She was 92 when she died. Do the math!”

Ron Palillo – Arnold Horshack, Welcome Back Kotter.

Younger Son (in mock girlie voice): “Oh no, not him too.”

Yes, he was making fun of me because by this point, I was whining.

Jerry Nelson: The Count from Sesame Street

Younger Son: “Oh, that’s too bad.”

I wait for him to ask me the inevitable question.

Younger Son: “Do you remember him on Sesame Street, Mom?”

Me: “Yes!” Now, I need to add that Younger Son hated puppets so he never watched Sesame Street or anything with people in costumes. He was totally scared of them. We went to Disney World when he was about three and he freaked out. It was not a happy time for him. That place is infested with giant costumed characters!

Neil Armstrong: First man on the Moon

Younger Son, ever the comedian: “So Mom, do you remember the moon landing?”

Me (after an aggravated sigh), “Not really. I was a toddler at the time.”

So this leaves to me wonder – how will I really feel when my contemporaries pass on (from old age)? I shudder at the thought!

I can already imagine the conversation, hopefully in the far, far distant future.

Younger Son: “Oh no!” said in a mock girlie voice. “Not Brad Pitt!”

Me: “Nooooo!”

Then I really will feel old.

How about you? Anyone else feeling the same way?

 

There May Be Blood, Mr. Lincoln

Happy Friday everyone! Be sure to visit me at the Scribes today for – The Art of Letting Go.

Regular visitors to this blog (and the 7 Scribes) know that I love movies, books, and television shows. My tastes are all over the place –  ranging from Downton Abbey to Shaun of the Dead.

Over the past few years, there have been several books that re-imagined fictional and historical people/events with an injection of supernatual beings. Pride, Prejudice and Zombies, Android Karenina, and coming to you this weekend in movie theaters – Abraham Lincoln,Vampire Hunter.

When I first heard about the books, I was amused. I even read Pride, Prejudice and Zombies. It wasn’t really my cup of tea. So I passed on reading anymore paranormal spoof novels. Being a paranormal author, you’d think I would love these books. But I don’t. It could be that I have very little time to read. Or it could be that I wasn’t in the right mood to enjoy the book.

Who knows?

I do love Christopher Farnsworth’s Nathanial Cade novels. There is a vampire and a president. Except the premise is more unique and more plausible (I know. Laugh. We are still talking suspension of disbelief). The vampire works for the president. As opposed to the future prez hacking up the undead.

The verdict is out on the movie version. I may go see it in the theater. Or I may catch it on HBO. We’ll see.

In the movies, President Lincoln, may be a bad-ass vampire slayer. But this is how I prefer to think about him: as a bad-ass president.

 

What’s your take on literary classics with a supernatural twist? Any plans to see Abe Lincoln, Vampire Hunter?