Monday, April 20, 2009

"Yeah, Right!"

My husband considers himself a lucky guy when he sends me to RedBox to pick out a movie and I come home with Hellboy II. I don't tell him it's because it's 7 PM on a Saturday night and the good stuff was taken and everything else was either college raunch or kiddie cheese. Besides, as with most fiction, I can usually always find something redemptive in a fantasy film. I'm dorky like that.

So we're watching the movie and there's a part where Hellboy is standing next to a row of lockers and the magic-smoke-guy is making all the lockers open and smack him all over. He then precedes to gradually fall down from the battery of locker doors, to which I emphatically replied, "Yeah, Right!"

My husband started laughing. "After all the stuff that has happened this seems incredible to you?"

"Yes," I said, "because two scenes ago he was fighting with a virtually indestructible troll-thing for a full two minutes and even though he was continuously pummeled and even lost a tooth he never once withered like he did just now from a couple of aluminum doors."

See, the problem wasn't that I found a magic-smoke-guy pushing locker doors open unbelievable. It was the fact that they didn't follow their own rules. This is such a basic concept in speculative fiction that I'm amazed how often, particularly in film, the rule gets broken. You can make anything happen in fiction. ANYTHING. But if you establish that your protagonist is strong enough to withstand blows that would kill any other mortal, without so much as a shake of the head, then you can't break that rule and have him wilt later at a series of much lesser blows. When you create a world you have to create its rules. It's the keeping of those rules that makes an audience able to suspend their disbelief.

Hellboy II is RedBox worthy, but don't pay more than a dollar to see it. The fantasy characters were intriguing (though I'm still wondering why the elves looked like vampires) but the action fell flat.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Language Killed the Story

When it comes to fiction I'm generally a cup-half-full kind of gal. Even when a story might not be right up my alley I'm usually able to find a measure of enjoyment in it and appreciate that it is probably right up someone else's. (Why does that sound vulgar?) I usually find something to applaud no matter what the content or style and very rarely have a beef with the author's choices. Even if it's not my favorite, I can concede that it might be someone else's.

I recently finished reading Prospero's Children by Jan Siegel. I found the story to be fascinating and I was very impressed with her grasp of language.

Until that grasp became so strong it was like a choke hold. My beef with this book was that Seigel clearly has the ability to write an enthralling book, but used so much muscle in the vocab department that it tipped the scale from impressive to irritating. The language and sentence composition became so ornate that I found myself wallowing through the text instead of gliding though it. Her lovely story was overshadowed by the flower in her words. Seigel is plainly talented and without doubt highly intelligent.

But, in some cases, just because you can doesn't mean you should.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Overly ambitious? I guess.

Contest is cancelled. Sorry to anyone who might have considered entering at the last minute. How do you pick a winner from one or two entries?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Aw, now you're just hurting my feelings.

It's only 250 words, friends.

I retract my minimum of 15 entries. I'll settle for one or two. Your chances of winning are really high. :)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


The hiatus is over and I'm ready to party! In honor of my re-immersion into bloggerdom I'm hosting my first ever writing contest. Tantalized? Read on, my friend.

The welcoming of hoodlet number 3 into my life has made me feel somewhat introspective and I find all my writey-thoughts simmering in the non-fiction area of my brain.

In general I'm not drawn to books biographical in nature. I think that's mainly due to the fact that so many of them read like textbooks. I'm not engaged.

My favorite non-fiction book, however, is just as enjoyable to read as good fiction. It is a memoir by Haven Kimmel called A Girl Named Zippy. It's always one of the first books I recommend to someone looking for something to read. The way Miss Kimmel writes about her childhood in rural Indiana is so sly, witty and poignant. Perky.

SO - In order to generate some excitement here in Hoodie-land, clear away some cobwebs and string up some cyber-crepe paper the contest rules are as follows-

Write a flash memoir of 250 words or less. Submit your entry to hoodiewriter(at)yahoo(dot)com by midnight Thursday April 9. The content can be anything as long as you are writing from personal experience and judging will be based simply on how engaging I find it. Basically if I like it a lot, you win. Pretty scientific, huh? Entries will be posted on this blog and comments are encouraged. And since I'm all about expanding the personal library, the winner will receive a new copy of Haven Kimmel's A Girl Named Zippy. I'll also choose 2 Honorable Mentions who, sadly, won't receive a prize, but will have that warm, honorable feeling about being mentioned.

There is a catch, however - There must be at least 15 entries for there to be a winner. Also, for every additional 10 entries above the minimum I will choose an additional winner. So, 25 entries or more equals 2 winners, 35 or more will produce 3, etc. So you see, it is in your best interest to get the word out.

Oh yeah, and in honor of my sweet, new, little thing, your entry must contain in it, somewhere, the word "baby."

Contest starts NOW!