Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Setting rant!

I love Criminal Minds. It comes on CBS before CSI: New York on Wednesday nights. The science of profiling is another one of my big interests and this show feeds it nicely while making my eyes happy. (Shemar Moore...)

Tonight's episode was a female version of Jack the Ripper loose in the French Quarter. Cool! The French Quarter could totally have something like that happen. Love the premise and the fact that Reed is opening up a little bit. (finally!)

But, as a lifelong Louisiana resident, I have to nit-pick it. I just can't let it slide.

Number 1 complaint: WRONG ACCENTS!!!! The NOPD detective was a lifelong New Orleans resident. LeMontagne was his name. Though I'm pretty sure the scriptwriter spelled it LaMontayne, which is of course wrong since it's a Creole name. The detective sounded like he was from Texas! Wrong wrong wrong. New Orleanians have a very unique accent that's best described as Paris meets New Jersey meets Tennessee. I can spot it anywhere.

Number 2 complaint: The set designer has never been to New Orleans. There were several scenes with bars. 95% of the bars in the Quarter are on Bourbon Street. Bourbon Street is where a lot of nasty stuff happens- murders, rapes, things like that. That set didn't look like any version of Bourbon Street I've ever seen! They had planters on the sidewalks filled with flowers, twinkle lights hanging from the balconies and the street was so clean you could almost eat off of it. The only time Bourbon Street has been that clean was when Disney premiered the Hunchback of Notre Dame in the Superdome. They did a parade and part of it went down Bourbon Street since it's pedestrian traffic only. That was nearly 15 years ago. It's a street best viewed at night because then you can't see all the trash on the street because there's no street lights on Bourbon. Wise move!

Number 3 complaint: They always say New Orleans wrong! I will give them credit for having the "natives" say it correctly, but it always bugs me to hear it pronounced "New Orleens" by anybody. It ain't. It's properly pronounced by locals and Louisiana natives as N'awlins.

'Nuff said.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Fan fiction

Fan fiction can be a wonderful thing. Especially the communities that go with the different fandoms.

I've spent the last 5 months "taking a break" from my main fan fiction love, the Hardy Boys. I haven't missed the stories as much as I thought I would. What I've missed is the community at my favorite HB fan fiction library site, the Hardy Detective Agency. We're a tight-knit group, like family. We even fight like family, lol. The community at HDA was my lifeline through some pretty rough weeks a few years ago. They were there when I lost my best friend, when my Mimi nearly died, the first time my sister and I spent more than three days apart.

I dived back in headfirst yesterday. I've a lot of catching up to do in the library to see what's worth reading and what's not. Not everything in the library lives up to my standards, but quite a bit of it does. Some of these Hardy Boys fan fiction authors are better than some published authors! And the HDA has the highest standards of any fan fiction archive that I've ever seen. 9 times out of 10 I will find nothing in a story that is objectionable to my morals or goes too far description-wise. That's a true rarity in fan fiction.

I freely admit to having penned more than a few stories myself. I think at last count I was up to 7, with three in the works. They haven't been touched in 5 months, but they're there. One is a partnership that's so much fun. It's eery how much we think alike on this story. She does the hard part of plotting and I get the fun part of fleshing everything out and breathing descriptive life into the story. Hardy Boys fan fiction stories are the only things I've finished so far. Hopefully that will change though.

Fan fiction will take a backseat to my original fiction works for sure. But it's nice to be back!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Villains

I'm a fan of truly well crafted villains. On my list of truly well crafted villains is Hannibal Lector from Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon and Hannibal.

Last night I went to see Hannibal Rising. It tells the story of how Hannibal became who he is. His journey to being a serial killer is now complete.

It brought to mind the recent discussion on the ACFW loop about how villains are portrayed in today's popular fiction. Secular fiction tends to take the viewpoint of justifying what the villain does, trying to say he's not really evil and totally a product of his circumstances. Christian fiction naturally takes the Biblical view of evil, a view that tends to be more true to the real world and to real villains.

It can be argued that Hannibal is evil through and through. It can also be argued that he's merely a victim of circumstance. I don't know exactly what Thomas Harris thinks about villains are formed, but here's my take on this particular villain.

***MOVIE SPOILERS AHEAD***



Hannibal Rising finally goes into great detail about Hannibal's childhood and how he lost his family. He's Lithuanian and French, and grew up in Lithuania. In 1944 when the Russians and Germans were in their heaviest fighting in that country, Hannibal and his family retreated to their hunting lodge to try to stay safe. While there, his parents are killed and Hannibal is left to care for his little sister.

They're found by German mercenaries and they all end up holed up in the lodge during winter with nothing to eat. His little sister becomes sick, and the Germans decide to kill her. Cannibalism. It's a documented fact that this happened on the Eastern front.

Hannibal is finally rescued when the Russians push the Germans back. He's been traumatized by the gruesome death of his beloved sister, and witnessing the deaths of his parents, also due to the Germans. He spends the next 8 years in a Russian orphanage set up in the castle where he lived.

He finally runs away and goes to his uncle's house in Paris. There he is presented with multiple opportunities to forgive the Germans who killed his sister and to turn them over to an inspector who's hunting down war criminals. He purposely chooses not to turn them in, but to find their names and take care of them himself.

For theone who was in charge, his aunt begs him not to kill the man, but to forgive him. For a brief moment you can tell that Hannibal is considering the idea, and then decides not to forgive him, but to kill him.

It's a very gruesome movie, not for the faint of heart. Lots of blood and guts. But still beautifully done in terms of costumes and sets and location filming. And very well cast. The kid who plays Hannibal was simply amazing and really portrayed the depth of the character.

In the end, from my view, it leaves you with the impression that Hannibal CHOSE to be who he is. He didn't have to be a serial killer/cannibal. He had multiple opportunities to stop and chose to ignore every single one of them, rationalizing it in his mind. That part isn't portrayed in the movie, but I'm pretty sure it's all in the book. Harris isn't afraid to tackle the difficult scenes. Those scenes are what define him as a writer and allowed him to define Hannibal as one of the best villains ever created.

Circumstances do play a part in how a person turns out. There's no denying that. But today's society puts too much off on circumstances and not enough on personal responsibility and choice. I'm probably one of only a few people who will view the movie and Hannibal as a character in this way. But that's ok. I'm used to that!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

3..2..1.. Live!

Well, this is it. This is my blog for any and all musings/thinking out loud/rants related to my writing. That's what I consider myself. Not a tour guide, not an archivist, not a secretary. A writer. A novelist if you will. That what my true passion is, creating worlds and breathing life into them.

By worlds I don't mean fantasy. I'm not a fan of fantasy really, Narnia excepted. My true writing passion lies in the historical genre. I also have WIP's going in contemporary inspirational romance. I'd love for some of them to turn into romantic suspense, but so far the heroes and heroines don't want that.

This is where I'll post about my trials and triumphs as I take my writing to the next level. The level of pursuing completion and polishing my craft, and hopefully someday being able to put "published author" next to my name. It's also a place where I can rave about new favorite books, or old favorite books that I'm re-reading for the umpteenth time.

I'm sure there will be more than a few ravings about how I still struggle with head-hopping. That's where the title comes from. I confess. I'm a head-hopper!

Over on the sidebar are links to some of my favorite authors, a picture of moi and a picture of my cat. Zoe the Munchkin, aka the devil child. And yes, she's in my bathtub.