Monday, February 14, 2011

What’s Your Favorite Romantic Movie Scene?

A couple of years ago, my wife and I had friends over to the house and one of the wives asked what everyone’s favorite romantic scene from a movie was. For some reason my mind went totally blank. Ask me my favorite action scene, (The first five minutes of the first Indiana Jones movie), comedy scene (the Ned Ryerson (Bing) series in Ground Hog Day), bad guy (Hannibal Lechter), fight scene (the second Mr. T fight in Rocky 3), and I’m good to go. But romance. Hmmm.

You don’t exactly win brownie points for naming your favorite fight scene on Valentines Day, though. So, with many deep sighs and significant head scratching, here are my three favorite romantic movie scenes.

1) Pretty much the whole movie The Notebook. I don’t know why, but for some reason that movie just gets me. There are so many memorable romantic scenes. My favorite is probably not the one most people think of though. It’s where James Garner’s kids come to try and get him to leave the nursing home and come home with them, He says, “Look guys, that's my sweetheart in there. I'm not leaving her, this is my home now. Your mother is my home.”

Even reading that makes my chest tighten. I think it’s because even after all the years, he’d still rather be with his sweetheart who can’t remember him than anyone else in the world. That’s the way I feel about my Jennifer, and I have no doubt I always will. So, yeah, mush.

I tried to find the actual clip. But this is the best I could do. You can hear the quote in the first couple of seconds of this music video.

2) Pretty much any old Meg Ryan movies. She just had the best smile in the world. And she and Tom Hanks were one of my favorite movie couples of all time. I could pick half a dozen scenes. But I really like this one from the end of You’ve Got Mail.

This version is actually without the dialog, but I think I like it even better because you get to focus on what an incredible job she does of portraying, surprise, confusion, sorrow, and ultimately joy (starting at about 2:11) that he’s the one who’s been writing to her.

3) I think I’m going to get slapped down on this one from some of my female readers. “Wait, you’re putting Adam Sandler in your top three romantic movie scenes!?” But yeah, he and Drew Barrymore are another of the couple that just click so well for me. Every time I come across The Wedding Singer on cable, I get pulled into it all over again.

I could list any of a dozen scenes from their movies, but one of my favorites is from 50 First Dates, where he realizes she has been singing and that maybe, just maybe, she remembers him. You’re all excited for him. And when he asks, “Do you remember me?” you are so sure she does, that when she says no, you are as shocked and disappointed as he is. That makes the scene where she shows him her paintings even more powerful. My favorite part starts right at 2:00 on the clip below.

So yeah, I don’t have a heart of stone. Silly Putty maybe, but not stone. In fact, I’ll add one more of my favorites. Just because it has my favorite actor of all time, and also because some of my own most romantic memories aren’t about going to expensive restaurants and staying in amazing hotels, but having nothing more than the love of my life and not needing any more than that. The scene starts at about the five minute mark.

Happy Valentine’s Day all. I hope you are spending it with the love of your life. And if you aren’t, I hope that you have a great movie to remind you that it won’t be long before you are united or reunited with that amazing someone that still makes your heart go crazy after more than twenty years.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Farworld News!!

Farworld Part4_lores

To date, I believe that I have received somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,000 letters and messages asking roughly the same question. “When is the next Farworld book coming out?”

Air Keep, the third book in the five book Farworld series was originally scheduled to come out in the Fall of 2010. For various reasons that did not occur. I still don’t have a firm release date, but I have several publishers who have offered to continue the series. Hopefully it will be released by Shadow Mountain, but one way or another, I AM getting book three out this year.

I’ve been neck deep over the last few months in another project that is now nearly done. And since you have all been so patient, I have decided to begin posting a chapter a week of Air Keep here on my blog. I’m not sure whether it will be on a certain day of the week or maybe I’ll change it up a little. But it will be at least one chapter a week. here.

Just a couple of notes about this. I’m not sure exactly how many chapters I will post. At this point I’m thinking about ten, but it could be more. Also, this is early draft stuff. There could be typos and things might change a little between now and when the book comes out. In fact, I’ll actually be looking for comments. So if you think something isn’t working or you’d like something explained, you might help shape the book. But if you need your Farworld fix, this will be the place to get it.

If you are not currently a follower, click on the little box over there on the right and become one. That way you will be notified every time I post a new chapter. And definitely tell all of your other Farworld friends to come check this out. It should be a lot of fun! See you next week.

Monday, February 7, 2011

You Always Hurt the Words You Love

Originally, I was going to title this post killing your babies. This being a writing site, I was of course referring to your literary babies. But when I googled “killing your babies,” I decided maybe I’d come up with a different term. So let’s go with, “You Need to Hurt the Words You Love.” This is in answer to David Glenn, who asked, “What does an author do if there’s something (like a character or a situation) that they really want to put into their book, but it doesn’t do anything to help with the plot?”

The answer is probably not what he—or many of us want to hear. Have you ever come up with a great character, scene, or turn of phrase that you are absolutely dying to use ion a story? Maybe you even wrote it out, planning to use it at a certain point in your book, only to discover that as you wrote the story, that character, scene, or phrase didn’t really fit anymore.

You try to make it fit, like Cinderella’s ugly stepsisters shoving and crunching their feet in a vain effort to slide into the glass slipper. But when your critique group, beta readers, or heaven forbid, your editor read it they nixed your baby. What to do? It’s a great scene. The character is so hilariously unpredictable. The sentence in a work of literary masterpiece.

I could beat around the bush here, but let’s be brutally honest. Cut it. Chop it. Kill it. Destroy it. Trying to keep a favorite scene that doesn’t fit into your story is like sticking an exotic orchid into a vase of daises. By itself it might be beautiful. Your character really might be as spectacular as you think she is (although she probably is not.) But it doesn’t matter. The orchid doesn’t fit among the daisies. Rather than adding to their beauty, it draws attention away from them in such a way that it actually harms the arrangement.

That’s what your “baby” does to your story. Even if you think you’ve camouflaged it well, the readers won’t be fooled. They’re reading an exciting beach thriller and unexpectedly come across a character that reads like something out of Lord of The Rings. Not only does the character seem out of place, but it pulls the reader out of the story that does fit.

More than one editor has suggested writers take their favorite line and cut it out of their books. That may seem extreme, but the reasoning is sound. If there is a particular scene or line which you love above the rest of your story, there’s a good chance it doesn’t fit with the rest of your writing.

Am I recommending that you cut out your favorite line? No. I’m not quite that heartless. But I do recommend that you look closely at anything that doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the story, whether you hate it or love it. Keeping the reader “in” the story is much more important than the brilliance of any one piece.