Jeanine O'Loughlin

Fantasy, Science Fiction & Historical Fiction Author, Blogger, and Geek

Month: June, 2015

Pride Month – Tennessee Williams & The Glass Menagerie

June is LGBT Pride Month so let’s take some time to appreciate authors of the community and their great works.

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Tennessee Williams 3/26/11 – 2/25/83

An American playwright and author best known for his works The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Orpheus Descending and Sweet Bird of Youth. Many of his pieces were adapted to film and in 1979 he was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.

The Glass Menagerie premiered in Chicago in 1944 and reached critical fame that eventually launched the play onto Broadway where it won New York Drama Critics Circle Award in 1945. The play centers around Tom Wingfield’s memory of his mother Amanda and his sister Laura who suffered from a limp caused by a bout of polio. With a small cast and an interesting, and a twist at the end of the play makes for a play that many say reflected his own unhappy background. The play would later become a film in 1950; directed by Irving Rapper and staring Gertrude Lawrence, Jane Wyman, Kirk Douglas, and Arthur Kennedy as protagonist Tom Wingfield to mixed reviews.

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tennessee_Williams

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Glass_Menagerie

*Please note that for the sake of my sanity and in support of everyone’s right to be themselves I have disabled comments on these posts.

Friday Book Recommendation

http://www.amazon.com/Fahrenheit-451-Novel-Ray-Bradbury-ebook/dp/B0064CPN7I

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A classic science fiction novel by Ray Bradbury about a future without the love and appreciation of books. Firemen are no longer the heroes we envision today saving lives from burning buildings, but censorship teams whose sole purpose is to seek out banned written material and burn it to ashes. Published in 1953 it is regarded as a classic piece of American science fiction that can still resonate with people today and bringing to the forefront the fear of censorship and an ignorant public.

How Do I Handle Action Sequences?

Thinking Through My Fingers

“Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.” – Issac Asimov

Action sequences such as, combat, chase scenes, or even sex scenes bring excitement to a narrative. My first pass of an action sequences reads like an instruction manual; Character A moves their hand this way and Character B moves out-of-the-way. Not very exciting at all. If I have a story that has a big action sequence a lot of my time in the first draft editing is to take the list of instructions and turn them into a narrative adding description and embellishment. I try to consider sensory elements, what it’s felt like to have similar situations or feelings occur to myself. I’ve had the wind knocked out of me, or felt my heart racing in fear or excitement. If you’ve never been in a sparring match or a fist fight you might not know exactly how it feels to kick something that feels like a brick wall. However, you probably have had a moment where you’ve jumped off something and when you hit the hard ground you got that sharp pang up your leg from the impact.

When writing stories like the Hunter series I have extraordinary characters doing extraordinary things and I have to try to understand how it feels to do something so I can give that to my reader. I have had martial arts training when I was younger, which helps (thanks Dad), but I also have watched demonstrations online or ask people around me who do those things. I think being able to experience something yourself is the best way, if at all possible, and can be so much fun. I was a theatre rat (drama kid) in high school and one thing that every drama teacher will talk about is method acting… taking an experience you have personally had and using that to generate the emotion of your character. I feel that this kind of method also can help in action sequences or any high drama scene you’re writing. Put yourself in the place of the character and just tell the reader what you feel.

Things I’ve done that have helped me with action sequences:

Archery

You can usually find introductory classes around and they aren’t expensive

Martial Arts

Most gyms have a kick boxing class and learning what it feels like to actually strike a solid object is very helpful for any combat scene

Running

Not just jogging I mean sprinting or running until you want to collapse. Feel your lungs burning and your legs go numb (okay maybe not that far but you get the idea).

Rope/Rock Climbing/Pull Ups

Feel what it’s like to try to lift your own body weight. Ropes aren’t soft and cuddly either… You can get splinters and burns from it too.

Balance Beams/Curb Walking

Try walking along something narrow a 2 x 4 from Home Depot will work. Balance as you go across. My favorite was 2 ropes between two trees (one for your feet and one for your hands). You can set these up just a few inches/feet above the ground to keep it safe. It’s harder than it looks, especially if you lived somewhere windy like I did.

All of these are things you can easily do and really can help you understand the skills a lot of our extraordinary characters have and can be done with minimal expense. Just be safe and smart about it and really take in how you feel during the entire experience.

Happy Writing!

Weekly Writing Prompt

Books

These prompts can be used in any way to get you writing. Whether it’s the subject matter, setting or character; as long as you are writing that’s all that matters.

This Week’s Writing Prompt

Riot

Happy Writing!

Pride Month – Oscar Wilde & The Importance of Being Earnest

June is LGBT Pride Month so let’s take some time to appreciate authors of the community and their great works.

Oscar_Wilde_Sarony

Oscar Wilde 10/16/1854 – 11/30/1900

An Irish author, playwright and poet of the Victorian era. He is best known for his play The Importance of Being Earnest and his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. Oscar Wilde was fluent in both French and German in addition to his native English. When Wilde moved to London he was welcomed into fashionable cultural & social circles of the time and became one of the best known personalities of Britain’s elite well before his written works received notice. Many of his works were considered offensive to Victorian era morality, and many would say that Wilde was simply a man ahead of his time, which ultimately led to his incarceration and some would say his death.

Wilde’s novel The Picture of Dorian Gray was published in 1890 in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine as a complete story, but later published as it’s own novel in 1891. In the magazine publication the editors felt that the story was “indecent” and without the author’s knowledge removed five hundred words before publication. However, even with the censorship the story still offended the moral sensibilities of British book reviews of the time.

The Importance of Being Earnest was first performed on Valentine’s Day of 1895 in London’s St James’ s Theatre. It’s a satirical comedy in which the protagonists maintain fake personae to escape social obligations of the time. it was criticized for not containing a social message, but was considered one of the greatest comedies of the time. Many say that this play was the climax of Wilde’s career but was also the start of his sad persecution for his sexuality.

In 1985 while The Importance of Being Earnest was still performing in London Wilde had the Marquess of Queensberry prosecuted for libel. The Marquess was the father of Wilde’s lover, Lord Alfred Douglas. However, the trial unearthed evidence of his relationship with Lord Douglas and eventually led to his own arrest and trial for “gross indecency with other men.” He was convicted and imprisoned for two years’ hard labour. Wilde continued to write while in prison, but his works never again reached the fame that he had once achieved. Upon his release in 1897 he traveled to France where he remained, never to return to his home of Ireland or Britain. Wilde died destitute in Paris at the age of 46 in 1900 of cerebral meningitis. Wilde’s tomb currently resides at Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. In 2011 the tomb had to be cleaned of the lipstick marks left by so many admirers, and a glass barrier was installed to prevent further marks of damage.

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Wilde

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Picture_of_Dorian_Gray

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Importance_of_Being_Earnest

*Please note that for the sake of my sanity and in support of everyone’s right to be themselves I have disabled comments on these posts.

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