bdhesse

A writing WordPress.com site

Month: September, 2014

Screenwriting Books

My screenwriting books finally arrived today, so now I’ll start trying to write a script. I’ll let you know how it goes as I figure it out. I’ll also let you know how find the books.

While I do that, I’ll also be writing a few more short stories for some more competitions. When I finish with those stories, I intend to go back to editing my novel. I’m hoping to finish the editing by November because I intend to partake in NaNoWriMo. I’ll keep you updated on those as they happen.

I’m also close to being half way through Atlas Shrugged. I’ll have to pick up my pace, but I’m sure I can be finished well before the scholarship is due. I’m getting anxious because I haven’t head back about any of the other scholarships that I applied for, or any of the competitions. But I think that’s just my being impatient. It sounds like it could be as long as December before I find out with a lot of them.

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God’s Slave

I finally went to a film at the film festival! It was called God’s Slave and it was amazing. It was about a young man whose family was killed by terrorists. He was then trained to be a terrorist himself. He was literally raised to be a suicide bomber. The movie showed his struggle between his belief and his desire. It also showed the fight between Muslim terrorists and the Israeli state. It did a great job at painting both sides in a negative light while making the main character sympathetic. I would definitely recommend this movie.

Who Will I Be Reading To My Children

I’m not yet at that stage yet where I’m ready for children, nonetheless I enjoy thinking about which authors I will read to them and why. I’ve decided that I will not let my children grow up without reading Tamora Peirce, Mercedes Lackey, and J.K. Rowling to them. I intend to begin reading Tamora Peirce’s Tortal series’ to them when they’re four. It will probably be a bit too advanced for them, but I don’t want them starting kindergarten without my having begun reading those books. Why? Because I want both my boys and my girls to view girls as equally capable of being strong before they get brainwashed into thinking that only boys can run fast and play sports. Once I’ve finished those books, I want to read the Harry Potter series with them. That series does an amazing job at creating empathy, and it deals quite effectively with the problem of bullying. I then want to return to Tamora Pierce and her Circle series’. Again, I want them to see that boys and girls are equally capable of doing things, but this time in a different way. I also want them to be introduced to some LGBT characters early on (though the Lioness Quartet deals with gender issues quite effectively). I want to finish with Mercedes Lackey’s books because they are by far the most advanced. But Lackey has amazing female characters (and male ones), and I think her books will build on the lessons learned from Pierce’s books. I intend to read these books to my children between the ages of 4 and 12. I’m hoping they will re-read them on their own after that.

My partner wants to read Niel Gaiman to our children. I think his books would be great for encouraging creative thinking. I also think his stories have some good lessons for children. He touches on selfishness in a few of his stories, and I think the weirdness in them will help kids deal with fear more effectively.

Who do you plan to read to your kids? Or who have you read to them? And why?

Uncanny Valley

I’ve been thinking a lot about uncanny valley lately. Well, that and just weirdness in general. It’s funny how the little things can be far more irritating and problematic to us than the big things. Giant aliens with long, smooth black heads and sharp teeth are creepy, but a perfectly human looking creature that doesn’t emote properly (as humans are used to) is far more unsettling. Why is this? Is it because the unknown is just too difficult for us to properly understand? Or is it simply because we expect more of the second one so it breaks our understanding more?

I’ve heard a lot that you’re supposed to avoid uncanny valley whenever possible, but some people use it quite effectively as yet another story telling tool. So when should you use uncanny valley? And who would you say uses it well?

What kinds of weirdness do you like in film? What kinds do you hate? Personally, I’m a fan of weird.

2000 Followers

I now have over 2000 followers! Thank you for all the support everyone. I hope you continue to enjoy my blog 🙂

GoFundMe

My university club is trying to put on a conference. Check us out at http://www.gofundme.com/ey9uy4. Please donate if you can and share our event on facebook and twitter.

The conference will be about social justice from a freethinker view point. We will have at least one speaker talking about social justice within the LGBT community, though we may have as many as three. We will also have one speaker talking about social justice as an atheist. It will be a one day conference held in January or February.

Once Upon A Time

My partner and I came across a very interesting card game the other day. It’s called Once Upon A Time. The game gives you cards based on common elements of fairy tales. You have to use the cards to create a story. It is actually quite difficult because you have to be very good at thinking on your feet. I would suggest purchasing this game if you want to improve your story telling abilities, or if you are trying to foster creative thinking and reading and writing skills in your children (or siblings/cousins/nieces/nephews).

To go a bit more into how the game works, you begin with two to six players. Each player gets an ending card and a number of story cards. The goal is to play all your story cards so you can play your ending. If you lose your turn, you have to pick up another story card. If your ending doesn’t work for the story, then you discard it and pick up another story card and a new ending. The story has to make sense and the cards you play have to be relevant to the plot.

It sounds easy, but it’s really easy to get lost, or t just have no idea how to use your cards. You only have 5 seconds to play a card, so you really have to think fast. But it’s a great game: you can make up the story however you want, so you can be as traditional or as non-conforming as you want. It’s also really fun to see what the other players come up with. And any age can play (though reading is a requirement, but it says nothing about not playing in pairs 😉 ).

A Day in Dillan’s Life

Dillan walked through the hall with her head down. Her long black hair hid her sad face. Her pretty new skirt was caked with mud and her pink sweater was no longer pink. A tear dropped from her cheek as she entered the nurses office.
“I have to go to the bathroom,” she told the nurse, who was sitting at a computer paying little attention to the dirty child who had entered her office.”Make it quick,” the nurse said without looking up. “The bell is about to ring.”
Dillan scurried into the bathroom at the back of the nurses office. She hurriedly scraped the mud off of her clothes and scrubbed her tear-stained face. When she was as clean as she could get herself, she ran off to class.
She tried to sneak into her classroom unnoticed, but it was to no avail. The teacher watched her as she came in.
“Good God, child!” the teacher cried. “What have you done to yourself?”
Dillan’s lip quivered. “I didn’t do it!” she replied defensively.
The teacher sniffed. “Well I can’t let you sit through my class looking like that,” she said. “Go to the office and get them to call your mother. Tell her to bring you some proper clothes.”
Dillan stood back up and headed out the door. As she did so, she could hear her classmates snickering.
Dillan walked to the office slowly.
“Can I help you?” the secretary asked as Dillan walked into the office.
Dillan nodded. “Mrs. Jackson says you have to call my mom. She says I need new clothes,” Dillan whispered softly.
“Very well,” the secretary replied. “What is your name?”
“Dillan Sanders,” Dillan whispered.
The secretary flipped through a thick book until she found Dillan’s name. Then she picked up the phone and began dialing.
“You may take a seat,” the secretary said when she hung up. “Your mom will be here shortly.”
Dillan sat in one of the offices few uncomfortable chairs. She fidgeted as she sat there. It felt like she had been there forever.
Finally Dillan’s mother rushed in through the main door. “What happened?” she asked Dillan as soon as she got close to her child. There was deep concern on her face.
Dillan burst into tears. “Those boys said I was a freak!” Dillan wailed. “They pushed me down. They wouldn’t let me get up.”
A flash of anger crossed her mother’s face. “Did you tell a teacher?” she asked.
Dillan shook her head. “The playground monitor saw them,” she said. “He told me to go inside and get cleaned up.”
Her mother’s jaw dropped. “And what did he do about the boys?” she asked.
Dillan shrugged. “They were in class when I got there,” she replied.
“He didn’t punish them?” her mother asked.
Dillan shrugged.
Her mother sighed. “Here,” she said, handing Dillan a bag of clothes. “Go get changed. I’ll talk to your principle.”
Dillan ran back to the nurses office as her mother walked into the principle’s office.
“I have to use the bathroom again,” she called as she ran inside.
This time the nurse looked up. “Why aren’t you in class?” she demanded.
“I have to change,” Dillan replied.
The nurse looked Dillan up and down. “So you do,” she replied. “Make it quick.”
Dillan hurried into the bathroom and threw her new clothes on. Now she was wearing a pair of pink jeans and a white bunny sweater. Happy with her new outfit, Dillan bounded back to class.
“I thought I told you to get some appropriate clothes,” Mrs. Jackson said when Dillan entered the classroom.
Dillan looked at her confused. “What’s wrong with my clothes?” she asked. She was once again on the verge of tears.
Mrs. Jackson scowled at her. “Little boys don’t wear pink,” she said coldly.
The class snickered again.
“I’m not a boy!” Dillan cried.
“Yes you are,” sneered one of the boys who had pushed her down the hill. A tall, lanky boy with a face full of freckles.
“I am not!” Dillan cried.
“That’s it!” Mrs. Jackson yelled. “I want you out of my classroom. Go to the principle’s office.”
Dillan ran back down the hallway crying. As she approached the office she saw her mother yelling at the playground monitor.
“My daughter is a human being!” she heard her mother shout. “Why can’t you people treat her like one?”
“Mrs. Sander,” the man said indignantly. “Your son is confused, and your encouraging him isn’t healthy. How will he ever learn to be a man?”
Her mother’s jaw tightened. “So you think you know better than every psychiatrist I’ve taken her to? Every doctor?” she cried. “What do you have? A two year certificate in how to watch children on a playground? A four year teaching degree? And that somehow makes you more knowledgeable than the people who have studied  gender non-conformity and gender dysphoria?”
The man blushed. “I’ve worked with children for years,” he said. “I think I know what normal childhood behaviour is. There’s nothing natural about your son.”
Dillan watched the man in shock.
Her mother saw her standing there. “Oh dear,” she said. “I’m taking my daughter home. I’m done with this school.” She stormed over to Dillan and picked her up. She carried her daughter out of the school.
Dillan looked back knowing that she would never have to see all those mean people again.

Atlas Shrugged, D&D, and Screenwriting

I feel like Atlas Shrugged could have easily ended with Dagny crossing the bridge on her train, and yet it’s still going. Now she’s trying to get a motor built for a new kind on Engine. She’s also found the missing philosopher. She’s still one of the few non-useless characters, and she still comes across as interested in nothing but money. Seriously, she turned a road trip with her new lover into a business trip, which led them to the new motor. Her lover also has a reputation for being cold and greedy. It’s quite annoying really.

In other news, my D&D campaign starts tomorrow and I still haven’t gotten my character finished. I honestly don’t know what I want my character to be. I can’t even pick a bloody gender. I guess I’ll just make it up as I go along.

As far as screenwriting goes, I’ve ordered some books. I found the Screenwriting Bible on the chapters website, which I’ve heard is really good. Hopefully they’ll come soon and I can start practicing. They aren’t due to arrive until October though, which I find a bit sad.

Why Do All the Cool Things Have to Happen When I’m Busy?

I just found out that the annual film festival is going on in my city. It apparently opened yesterday (or, since I haven’t gone to bed yet, today). I’ve never had the opportunity to attend the film festival before (it happens in the beginning of the school year, so I’m always busy), but I’m hoping to go to a few films this year.

I’ve always been a fan of independent films, and I’d like to see some local films. The movie industry in my city is growing, so I’m hoping to see more attention heading our way soon. I also think going will be good for my current project of trying to learn how to write a screen play.

But right now this is just a pipe dream: school has to come first, so I don’t know if I’ll have time to watch anything. I may go this weekend, but I’ve already got a fairly full schedule. Oh well, I guess I’ll see what happens…

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