T is for Travel: A Literary Tour of Britain

TWhether you’re a resident Brit, or just visiting on vacation, if you’re a book lover, there’s plenty to see and do in the UK.

Here are just a few places to include in your literary tour of Britain.

 

HPKing’s Cross Station

Every Harry Potter fan knows that King’s Cross Station is where Hogwarts students catch the Hogwarts Express from at the beginning of the school year. While the station is a real place, the magical Platform 9 ¾ is purely fictional.

However, as the Harry Potter series grew in popularity, King’s Cross Station saw an influx in tourists, and erected a cast-iron “Platform 9¾” plaque in 1999. With part of a luggage trolley installed below the sign [the near end of the trolley is visible, but the rest has disappeared into the wall], the site is a popular tourist attraction, and the location of the sign has had to be moved on three occasions.

In addition to the Platform 9¾ plaque, within King’s Cross Station is also a Harry Potter souvenir shop, which sells a wide range of merchandise including house t-shirts and scarves, replica wands, and even owls! (Don’t worry, they’re not real!)

The Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9 ¾.

 

cropShakespeare’s Birthplace

For fans of English poet, playwright, and actor, William Shakespeare, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire is a must-visit location.

On Henley Street is a restored 16th-century half-timbered house, where it is believed that William Shakespeare was born in 1564 and spent his childhood years.

It is now a small museum open to the public and owned by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

The site offers many attractions for literature lovers, including live readings performed by a troupe of actors (you can even request a scene from your favourite Shakespeare play), The Shakespeare’s Treasures Exhibition; which features a range of unique and priceless objects – including documents and portraits, and the Beyond Words Exhibition, which features an array of Shakespeare memorabilia, contemporary artwork, a copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio and a timeline of Shakespeare’s life.

http://www.shakespeare.org.uk/visit-the-houses/shakespeares-birthplace.html

 

320px-Perrotts_Folly_CropLord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy, The Lord of the Rings, may not know that many locations and characters were inspired by Tolkien’s childhood in Birmingham, where he first lived near Sarehole Mill, and later near Edgbaston Reservoir.

In fact, the water tower at the edge of Edgbaston Reservoir and the near-by Perrott’s Folly, are said to have inspired the towers Orthanc and Minas Morgul.

 

428346-111502-800The Chronicles of Narnia

In the 2005 movies adaptation of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, only the Pevensie Siblings’ journey to ‘Coombe Halt’ was filmed in the UK.

However, in 1988 a TV adaptation of The Chronicles of Narnia was filmed at Hawkstone Park in Weston-under-Redcastle, Shropshire.

The park’s historic and stunning follies, featuring a series of tunnels, grottos and arches, amid the beautiful Shropshire landscape made the perfect backdrop for Narnia.

In addition, Hawkstone is commonly connected with Arthurian legends, and in Graham Phillips’ King Arthur: The True Story identifies it as the possible final resting place of King Arthur.

 

stonehenge-circle-pink-skyStonehenge

As one of Britain’s most well-known landmarks, it’s not surprising to learn that Stonehenge is commonly featured in popular culture.

It’s appeared in two episodes of Doctor Who, the movie National Lampoon’s European Vacation, and in an episode of Spongebob Square Pants, Spongbob creates a large monument of stone sponges similar to Stonehenge in order to distract jellyfish.

In the literary world, it serves as the backdrop for the climax of Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles.

It’s easy to see why the prehistoric monument – located in Wiltshire, England – has made such a mark in fiction. Just 42 miles from the mythological location of Glastonbury Tor (which has been linked to the legend of King Arthur), Stonehenge’s spiritual associations makes it the perfect magical muse for any writer!

I hope you enjoyed this Book Lover’s Guide to Britain. Of course, these are just a few of the wonderful literary landmarks around the British Isles, and readers are welcome to comment with their own must-visit sites for Bibliophiles.

 

 

S is for Shipping

SShipping, initially derived from the word relationship, is the desire by fans for two or more people, either real-life people or fictional characters, to be in a relationship, romantic or otherwise. It is considered a general term for fans’ emotional involvement with the ongoing development of a relationship in a work of fiction. Shipping often takes the form of creative works, including fanfiction and fan art, most often published on the internet. [source]

 

I was first exposed to shipping via the Harry Potter series. In the beginning, I didn’t know it was called shipping, I just thought Harry and Ginny, and Ron and Hermione made cute couples and I hoped they’d be together when the series ended.

Despite some people’s feelings, I was pleased when in the Deathly Hallows epilogue it was shown the two couples were married with children.

For me, the OBHWF summed up everything special about the series. Love, friendship and family.

Ron and Ginny were already siblings. Ron, Hermione and Harry were best friends, and Ginny and Hermione were close. For them to be bonded by family was the perfect way to end the series, in my opinion.

There are also some fan theories that suggest each of the four represent a united Hogwarts: Harry who could have easily been sorted into Slytherin, Hermione who was almost placed in Ravenclaw, Ron who has the loyalty of a Hufflepuff, and Ginny the Gryffindor.

I felt that both Harry and Ginny, and Ron and Hermione as couples complemented each other nicely, and balanced each other’s best and worst qualities. Harry, the Chosen One, needed someone special and Ginny was certainly that. She was feisty enough to not take any of his crap, and never feel like she was in his shadow. In a lot of ways Hermione and Ron were a case of opposites attract, but that’s just on the surface. If you look at the characters’ cores, justice and loyalty is important to both of them, and their strengths counter-balance the other’s flaws.

I loved to imagine Harry and Ginny, and Ron and Hermione gathered in the Burrow with the rest of the Weasley family celebrating Christmas.

How can you not love this?

Harry-Ginny-and-Ron-Hermione-double-wedding-daniel-and-bonnie-30444829-645-479

What are some of your favourite ships; Harry Potter or otherwise?

Let us know in the comments below, or via Facebook and Twitter.

J is for Juggling Writing, Parenthood and a Job

JWriting, revising and marketing a book. Raising a family and being a good spouse. Holding down a full-time job in order to support aforementioned family.

These three things alone can be time and energy consuming enough that they’d count as a full-time job, let alone when you combine them.

Yet many modern writers are also parents and have a 9-5 outside of their publishing careers. So how do they manage to juggle writing, parenthood and a job?

The answer is lots of coffee and very little sleep!

I jest, of course. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I only drink de-café tea, and I try to get at least seven hours of sleep each night.

For me, the key to juggling all the responsibilities I have is to schedule, so no time is wasted. I know exactly what I should be doing when, and I have clear deadlines on tasks. It also helps me prioritize my time, and I knew when binge watching Daredevil on Netflix is a bad idea, because I have a twenty item long to-do list.

Admittedly this doesn’t always go according to play, and sometimes things get pushed to the back-burner, but for the most part it works.

I also try to set clear boundaries for myself, like always taking an hour every evening to watch TV with the Hubby when the kids have gone to bed, or making sure most nights we eat home-cooked dinners, and not take-out.

Of course, everyone is allowed an off day sometimes. There are occasions when I just don’t feel like cooking, or times when I put off something on my to-do list so I can play video games.

The important thing to remember is balance. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Alternatively, all play and no work makes Jack a stressed out boy!

Which is why it’s sometimes completely okay to admit life is getting a little too much and take a few days off to recuperate.

[G] Game of Thrones: I’ve Read the Books, and These Are Six Things I Want in Season Six

G[Please note this post contains spoilers from the A Song of Ice and Fire books and speculation about what could happen in the TV show in relation to book events.

Trigger warning: mentions of rape and death.]

 

Game of Thrones Season Six begins in a little over two weeks, and I’m ridiculously excited for the new season.

For the first time since getting into the show we’ve caught up with the books, meaning I don’t know anything that’s going to happen. Plus, with the show diverging from the books more frequently with every season, even if some things from the books are yet to happen, there’s no guarantee they’ll ever appear in the show.

With that in mind, here are six things I’m looking forward to in Game of Thrones Season Six.

 

Sansa Finally Getting Some Retribution

I wasn’t entirely happy with Sansa’s season five arc. When season four ended, she looked to be in a more powerful position, and I was ready for her to start becoming a player in the game. Instead, Littlefinger sold her to the Boltons and she ended up being raped on her wedding night to Ramsey Snow.

I sort of understand the need to simplify the “Fake Arya” story from the books, but I hate that it was at the expense of Sansa’s development.

Thankfully, at the end of season five she, along with Theon, escaped Winterfell.

In season six, I’m hoping she isn’t recaptured by the Boltons and instead finds someone to help her (Is Brienne still in the area?). It’d be great for her to gain some power – perhaps through an alliance with the Riverlands and the Vale, and reclaim Winterfell from the Boltons.

I could see season six ending with Sansa back home, finally, and mounting a search for her brothers.

Which brings me to …

 

Bran Showing Us the Past

I’m not sure Sansa will ever find Bran, and I don’t think his story is connected to the politics of Westeros in the same way Sansa’s is.

When we last saw Bran at the end of season four, he’d finally located the three-eyed crow (YAY Bloodraven!) and the next part of his supernatural training was about to begin.

Readers of the books got a glimpse of that training in A Dance with Dragons, when we saw Brandon Rivers, aka Bloodraven, teaching Bran how to warg into weirwood tree, and use them to view scenes from the past.

I think this will be Bran’s arc in season six, and under the tutelage of Bloodraven, we will see him use warging to view events from the past, which have implications for the future.

Events such as what actually happened to Lyanna Stark during Robert’s Rebellion, specifically her imprisonment and death at the Tower of Joy.

 

Finding out If Jon Snow Is Really Dead

Speculation about Lyanna Stark and the Tower of Joy can only mean one thing; R + L = J.

The books have me utterly convinced Jon Snow’s real parents are Lyanna Stark (Ned’s dead sister) and Rhaegar Targaryen (Dany’s deceased brother), and I think through Bran we finally discover this to be true in season six!

But what is the point of finding out Jon Snow has royal blood if he’s dead?

I personally don’t think he’ll be staying dead for very long.

We already have proof in the form of Beric Dondarrion, who has been revived and healed by Thoros using the Lord of Light’s power, that people can be bought back to life by worshipers of R’hllor.

The only other R’hllor worshiper we’ve seen in the show is Melisandre, who was last seen returning to Castle Black, after things with Stannis went wrong.

I think Melisandre knows more about the war against the White Walkers than she’s letting on, and that she’s seen visions of Jon Snow leading ‘men’ to victory against the supernatural forces encroaching on Westeros.

It’s my belief that Melisandre will use the power of the Lord of the Light to bring Jon Snow back to life in season six, and he’ll soon learn that Daenerys Targaryen isn’t the only person with the blood of the dragon!

 

Dany’s Continuing Journey, Which Will Hopefully Include Westeros

When we last saw Dany, she had fled Meereen on the back of Drogon and soon found herself surrounded by a Dothraki horde.

Thankfully, she had the sense to drop her ring, so that hopefully Daario and Jorah can find her.

But before they do, I’m hoping Dany proves to be a self-rescuing Princess Queen, by climbing onto Drogon’s back and dracarys’ing the Dothraki horde.

From there, I’d like Dany to return to Meereen to free Viserion and Rhaegal and gather her army, before making a beeline for Westeros, to claim her place as true Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.

 

The Political Unrest in King’s Landing

At the rate things are going in King’s Landing, if/when Dany finally arrives, there might be nothing for her to conquer.

Season five ended with Queen Regent Cersei Lannister being forced to do a walk of shame by the Faith Militant, and Queen Margaery still imprisoned and awaiting trial.

There were some hints of what’s to come for Cersei, when Qyburn introduced her to the newest member of the Kingsguard: an 8-foot-tall man in golden armor.

But other than that, the future of the Lannister/Tyrell alliance, and the fate of the royal family in King’s Landing remains unclear.

My hope for season six is that Margaery is freed from prison, and the Lannisters get what’s coming to them. How? I’m not too sure at this moment.

My feeling is something will happen during Margaery’s trial.

Could she call for a trail by combat, and have Cersei name her new 8-foot-tall Kingsguard knight as her Champion? If so, who’d be able to take on a Mountain like that?

 

Bye-Bye Boltons: The North Remembers

Speaking of people getting what’s coming to them, I hope season six sees the Boltons paying for their part in the Red Wedding, claiming of Winterfell and the rape of Sansa.

Going back to my first point, and my hope that Sansa gains some power for herself, I would LOVE to see Sansa unite the North, Riverlands and the Vale in the name of the Starks/Tullys, and with the combined forces reclaim Winterfell, and then give Roose Bolton and Ramsay Snow the retribution they deserve!

 

Of Course, There’s Plenty of Other Things I’d Like to See in Season Six, Too

As well as the above, I’m eager for further exploration of Arya and her arc with the Faceless Men, seeing how the Martells will continue to fit into the political schemes, resolution with the Wildlings south of the Wall and more information on the White Walkers and where their supernatural power comes from.

But, the six points above are what I REALLY want to see in Game of Thrones: Season Six.

 

So what about you? What moments are you looking forwards to in Game of Thrones: Season Six?

Let us know in the comments below or on our Twitter and Facebook!

(C) Comic Book to TV and Movie Adaptations

CLast week, we asked what is your favorite comic book to TV adaptation: The Marvel Universe, as presented by Netflix (Jessica Jones and Daredevil), The DC Universe as presented by the CQ (Arrow, Flash and Legends of Tomorrow), or Other (Gotham, Supergirl, Agent Carter, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D etc.)

 

comic tv

With a whopping 80% of the vote, The Marvel Universe, as presented by Netflix: Jessica Jones and Daredevil clearly won, but organizing the poll made me ask something … what makes comic book adaptations so damn popular?

Above, I’ve just listed nine comic book to TV show adaptations off the top of my head. Then there’s none DC/ Marvel ones, like the Walking Dead and iZombie, and cancelled shows like Constantine and Smallville. Coupled with that you’ve got all the movie adaptations. There’s five alone in 2016, with about 60 planned altogether for the next four-or-so years.

It seems we can’t get enough of them. Which is hardly surprising, as we all love escaping from real-life sometimes, and imagining what could be in the world was slightly different. Plus a lot of the comics interject real-world issues into the fantastical (i.e. X-Men and racism).

 

But, what makes some adaptations popular, and others fall flat on their faces?

Among the plethora of comic books TV shows and movies, you have things like The Green Lantern movie, X-Men 3: The Last Stand, and more recently Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice; all of which have come under criticism.

Some might say it’s staying true to the source material, but the CW’s Arrow, Flash and Legends of Tomorrow adaptations often stray from the comics, and they’re still popular.

Others might argue it’s based on the comic’s original popularity, but who the hell had even heard of Guardians of the Galaxy before the Christ Pratt staring movie?

 

For me personally, it’s a few things …

I do get upset if certain comic canon events are changed.

I have no issue with Oliver Queen’s love interest being Felicity Smoak, not Dinah (Laurel) Lance like in the comics, but when they tried to explain away the Phoenix Force as a split personality of Jean Grey’s in X-Men 3: The Last Stand, I was ready to go all Dark Phoenix on Brett Ratner’s ass!

Originally, I only watched movies / TV shows based on comics I was familiar with, but the more that were created, the more I watched, and that in turn actually got me interested in the original comics, so I can’t really say I like an adaptation more if I’m familiar with the comics. I’ve never read a single issue of Supergirl, but I sure as hell love the show!

One of the key factors for me is having characters I like. My favorite adaptations are ones with comic characters I’m already familiar with, or characters so bad ass I instantly love them. I think that’s why I prefer CW’s adaptations over Netflix’s. Sure, Jessica Jones is cool and all, but she don’t make me squee like an idiot like Felicity Smoak does.

Related to characters, another aspect that draws me in is the shipping. I know for some people they don’t care who a character ends up dating/ married to, but for me, the romantic relationships are important. It’s something I’m also drawn to in video games, books and non-comic book TV shows and movies. I think that’s why I don’t like the Netflix shows as much, because the romantic relationships aren’t as big a focus as they are in other shows.

So what about you guys? What comic book adaptations are your favorite? And what makes you love them so much?

Let us know in the comments below, or on our Twitter and Facebook!

Mer-Charmer Cover Reveal and Pre-Order Announcement!

We’re excited to reveal the cover for Amy Bearce’s middle-grade fantasy Sequel World of Aluvia Book Two: Mer-Charmer, and announce it’s now available for pre-order! If you’re interested in reviewing this series, please email marketing@curiosityquills.com

cover1000About Mer-Charmer:

Fourteen-year-old Phoebe Quinn is surrounded by magic, but she can’t muster any of her own. Her sister is a fairy keeper. Her best friends are merfolk. And all she does is dishes and housework.

When Phoebe finds out a terrible sea creature is awakening that preys upon the peace-loving merfolk, she becomes determined to help them, even though it means going with Tristan and Mina to their home deep in the sea.

Beneath the waves, Phoebe learns she’s more like her sister than she realized. The merfolk are drawn to her, and she can sense the magic of the sea all around her. Magic is finally at her fingertips, but that’s precisely why the stirring dark power under the waters decides it wants her most of all.

Now she must not only help the peaceful merfolk escape this ancient enemy, she must master her out-of-control powers. If she fails, she will die and darkness will rise and enslave the merfolk once more. But embracing her full power could cost her the very people she loves the most.

Genre: middle-grade fantasy | Date of Release­­: May 9, 2016 | Cover Artist: Amalia Chitulescu

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

Amy BearceAbout Amy Bearce:

Amy writes stories for tweens and teens. She is a former reading teacher with a Masters in Library Science. As an Army kid, she moved eight times before she was eighteen, so she feels especially fortunate to be married to her high school sweetheart. Together they’re raising two daughters and are currently living in Germany, though they still call Texas home. A perfect day for Amy involves rain pattering on the windows, popcorn, and every member of her family curled up in one cozy room reading a good book.

Find Amy Bearce Online:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodread

 

 

99 Cents Valentine’s Day Sale

Love is in the air! No, we’re not about to serenade you with the CQ rendition of the popular John Paul Young song! Love is in the air this Valentine’s Day, and whether you’re coupled up or happily single, there’s one thing everyone loves, a good bargain. So treat yourself or someone special in your life to one (or two, or three … or maybe all!) of our discounted romantic titles. We have over twenty offerings for you, all at 99 cents from February 13-14, 2016!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RELEASE BLITZ: Gyre, by Jessica Gunn

It’s release day for GYRE by Jessica Gunn, the first book in the Atlas Link Series! Jessica Gunn’s debut novel is a new adult fantasy from Curiosity Quills Press.

vortex in a column of water

Purchase GYRE: Amazon

Synopsis:

Chelsea didn’t try to teleport. All she wanted was to play the Battle of the Bands show. But after accidentally teleporting onto classified Navy vessel SeaSatellite5, all she’s rocking is the boat. Once it’s sorted out that Chelsea’s not a threat, SeaSat5’s top scientist offers Chelsea a position on the crew as an archaeology intern. Dr. Saint studies people with powers, believing them to be descendants of Atlantean refugees, except Chelsea’s powers are beyond anything on previous record.

While great for everyone else onboard, the miracle of Chelsea is Trevor’s worst nightmare. The same girl who’d given him a brief lifeline to sanity three months ago literally fell from the sky, under a mile of ocean, and onto the very station where he’s employed. Making matters worse, Trevor’s family are Lemurians, Atlantis’s enemy, and Chelsea’s presence is unpredicted—a wrench in an already unstable situation. But Trevor wants no part of his family’s war. The only thing he wants is Chelsea, Atlantean or not.

Days into Chelsea’s sudden appearance, SeaSatellite5 uncovers Atlantean ruins and a massive artifact cache, placing its entire, hundred-man crew in the crosshairs of an ancient war. There are those who want the Atlantean relics inside the ruins destroyed, and only Trevor knows the treasures for what they really are: Link Pieces, tools used by the ancient civilizations for their time-travel war.

With lies and shifting alliances abound, Chelsea and Trevor will have to think fast in order to save the station. If they don’t, the Lemurians will seize the artifacts and Atlantis will be destroyed forever.

Giveaway:

To celebrate the release of Gure, Jessica is hosting a Rafflecopter giveaway, with prizes including a signed copy of Gyre, an Aquaman Pop! Figure, 2 ebook copies of Gyre, and swag packs.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


About the Author:

Jessica Gunn

Jessica Gunn is a New Adult author and avid science-fiction and fantasy fan. Her favorite stories are those that transport the reader to other, more exciting worlds. When not working or writing, she can be found binge-watching Firefly and Stargate, or feeding her fascination of the ancient world’s many mysteries. Jessica also holds a degree in Anthropology.

To catch up with Jessica, follow her on Twitter (@JessGunnAuthor) or on her website, www.jessicagunn.com.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads |Website | Blog | Pinterest

On Dialogue, by Patrick Burdine

On Dialogue, by Patrick Burdine

I’m imprinting my thoughts into your brain, and it’s kind of cool and kind of creepy. Stephen King once wrote that that writing is telepathy* which means I am planting these thoughts directly in your mind, which is pretty efficient. However, most of the time we want to communicate our thoughts we need to use our mouths and our listeners ears. The same goes for the characters in our stories (unless the characters are deaf in which case manual communication is still written in similar fashion and the same for whatever corresponding organs exist for such purposes in the universe created by the author.) We usually call this dialogue (yeah, there is monologue and soliloquy, but let’s just go with dialogue here).

 

Dialogue is awesome, it’s my favorite thing to write. It is my favorite thing to listen to in movies, and is quite often the most memorable part of many books and movies. Take a moment, think about your favorite movie, think about your favorite part of that movie. Close your eyes now and imagine it. Odds are, it included a line or two of dialogue. Those words inspired you or broke your heart. Maybe they brought a smile to your lips or made you catch your breath. For me, by the way, what popped into my mind this time was from the movie “The Crow”, the part where the titular character had the junkie single mom in the bathroom and forced her to look into the mirror and said “Mother is the name for God on the lips and hearts of all children.” as the junk flowed from her veins. Any other day it could have been Pug saying “Tremble and despair, for I am power!” – Magician by Raymond E. Feist (I read the book once when it first came out and never forgot that line.) “…it’s hard to stay mad when there’s so much beauty in the world.”- American Beauty. Some of these lines are just so perfect that they enter the vernacular and take on life of their own.

 

And writing dialogue should be easy, right? I mean, we talk all day every day.

 

It’s not. In fact, good dialogue is one of the harder skills to master and one of the things that turns people off quickest when they are watching a movie or reading a book. How often does a character’s voice seem false? Maybe all of the characters sound the same? I’m going to blather on a bit about dialogue here because I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately and hopefully it will help me sharpen up my own dialogue and help give you a greater insight into why you like some dialogue and why some is just bad (and I’ve been guilty of writing it too!)

 

Dialogue isn’t actually how people talk. It’s how they wished they talked. Actual conversations contain lots of filler words, repeated phrases and words, and general junk. It sounds natural in the moment, but when looking for an economy of space and trying to communicate an idea in the best possible way most of the “uhs”, “ums”, and “yeahs” are just going to break the flow. Sure they’re natural, but they’re unnecessary and distracting. Just think of the number of times you’ve thought of the perfect thing to say days or weeks after a conversation. A writer has rewrites, so they should be doing that! Many writers skim over conversation in rewrite thinking its natural (or hoping an editor’ll catch it) and that is a mistake. Compare “I’m king of the world” to what we’d probably say which is “holy crap this is awesome!” The second is how people talk, the first is how we wish we talked.

 

The catch is that it still has to sound like people talk. Many people are writers because we like a bit(lot) of solitude. We like spending time with our imaginary friends. They all talk just like we want them to, and hit all of the inflections just right. Sometimes we go a bit cenobite (the historical type, not the spiky pain demon type) and forget to be social. Or it causes us real anxiety. It’s not personal, it just happens. If you’re an anxious type of writers, I highly recommend hanging out at a coffee shop with earbuds in but not plugged in to anything. Nobody will bug you and you get to drop some eaves, if you catch my drift. Sit near the line at Starbucks and listen to snippets of conversations to get a flow of how different people talk. Their cadences, the lengths of sentences, the slang groups use, etc. Writers are vampires, we should be drinking in the life from everything around us to stay vital and beautiful and powerful.

 

Show don’t tell by having your character tell! What I mean here, is use dialogue to allow your character to reveal who they are and progress the plot simultaneously. Dialogue is also fantastic place to really work on subtext. Sarcasm, insinuation, allusion, implication, or some kind of double meaning. Try to let the reader make their own assumptions and them reveal them to either be true (or not!) Thriller writers are real pros at this and a good way to bring that into your own work is to watch something outside of the genre you are writing and then try and bring some of those tools back into it.

 

All of this being said, dialogue isn’t (usually) the story. It’s just one more part that makes the entire experience completely immersive. It’s the difference between visiting a world and reading a book.

 

So tell me, what are some of your favorite lines from a book or movie (or play)?

 

*On Writing. I paraphrased, btw. You should read this if you haven’t. Seriously, it’s amazing. Part autobiography, part writer’s toolbox, part book of incantations, part lodestone-it’s one of my go to books any time I need motivation.

Patrick Burdine - Author picAbout Patrick Burdine

Patrick Burdine has written several horror short stories and most recently released the novella, “The Monitor.” He has written for film including the movie, “Slaughterhouse Phi: Death Sisters.” He also writes science fiction and is a Shell Case Short winner for his work, “The Bone Carver.” He is currently working with Curiosity Quills author Aiden James on the next installment in the “Dying of the Dark Vampires” series. He resides in Los Angeles, California with his wife and three daughters.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Thoughts On Kylo Ren, by Patrick Burdine

Thoughts On Kylo Ren, by Patrick Burdine

There will obviously be spoilers in this review. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, this probably won’t make much sense to you anyway since it is going to focus on my thoughts about the character in relation to things that happened in the movie so it probably won’t make a ton of sense to you, but anyway, consider yourself warned.

spoiler-alert-a-supercut-of-the

Okay, with that out of the way, here we go.

In my general review, along with a lot of blather, I talked about feelings, so I am going to start there and get into some more specific character choice thoughts. Starting with the feelings at the end of the movie, I remember feeling a bit let down at first. At least that is how I initially identified what I was feeling. The drive back from the movie much of the conversation between my wife and I turned out to be about Kylo Ren. He’s been the character that I’ve thought about the most in the time since seeing the movie, as well. I’ve also revised that initial feeling. It wasn’t a feeling of disappointment; it was a feeling of discomfort. I’ve come to feel that he is the most frightening and the most real villain that Star Wars has ever given us.

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I know, I know, the kneejerk reaction, my own included, is to say he is the apotheosis of the Millennial generation (which is unfair to the Millennials and to the character, but life is pretty unfair). The very poster child of “privilege” for his universe. His parents are two of the greatest heroes of their age. It’s not explicitly stated, but I think we can safely say he never wanted for anything. He’s obviously intelligent, and no doubt had the best teachers and mentors in the Republic. That he is gifted in the Force is without question (more on that later). I imagine growing up, the seeds of bitterness initially were planted when he began to notice that he was seldom “Ben” but more often “Han’s son” or “Leia’s son” and the expectations accompanying those appellations. Speaking of Han, let’s think about why we all love him, and what a shitty dad he would be. Dad’s are the ones who set the rules and make boundaries. This guy is a scoundrel and a rogue. He’s going to be the one making excuses for Ben every time he fucks up. A part of Han is going to be proud that he is a chip off the old block. Shooting first is cool when you’re at Mos Eisley, but not so much at the playground. The darkness likely began with the shadow of parents he could never escape. Add to that, the dialogue between Leia and Han about their arguing and a child’s assumption that all problems between their parents are the child’s fault and you can see the fractures forming.

Now imagine around this time, those arguing parents who have told this special child all along how special he is, decide to send him away to live with his crazy uncle who is going to teach you how to use these super powers and tell you that your grandpa was a seriously angry dude, and don’t be like that, despite the fact that he was widely acknowledged as the baddest dude in the universe until he decided not to kill his son (something that obviously stuck with young Ben). At some point along the way this guy got his hooks into him-

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Oh wait, sorry I mean this guy-

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And recruited him to the First Order, or the Knights of Ren. Or both. That’s a bit mysterious. Because the J.J. in J.J. Abrams actually stands for “JMysteJrious” (the Js are silent). He succeeds where M. Night Shyamalan fails, because he learned never to reveal the secret. Anyway, as long as I am digressing, I am kind of hoping that the Knights of Ren are basically the kids that Kylo Ben hung out with at Jedi Hogwarts and are his Slytherin House and went all Night of Long Knives with him.

Snoke (no doubt we will meet Nirrors in Episode VIII), is seemingly an expert in the uses of propaganda and psychology and either designs, or helps design a pretty sweet looking outfit for Kylo Ren. Although if he were truly masterful, he would have realized the coup of announcing the defection of Ben Solo to his side, but we’ll let that slide. Kylo Ren in outfit is WAY more impressive and menacing than Ben is, and part of war is a morale – both inspiring your side, and demoralizing your enemy, and his suit is impressive. I understand and respect that choice. When he takes the mask off, he just isn’t scary. Despite his power and skill and rage, he is young and largely unimpressive. He would kill you either way, no doubt, but as shown by General Hux conditioning and brainwashing is something that they are well aware of as a science, plus the pomp and circumstance surrounding the initial firing of Starkiller base, shows that they understand the value of morale, reveals this to be a conscious choice that sets him apart, not just an aesthetic filmmaker choice, and it is one that I it is fantastic.

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Getting back to his power, we know that he received some amount of training under Luke Skywalker, presumably a fair amount based on his offer to train Rey, and his ability to kill some/all of the other students (I find it hard to believe that after Anakin slaughtered all the “younglings” (and ugh at that name) that Luke wouldn’t have had a contingency escape plan, or not gather them all together – I think Rey and possibly others will be proof of that). Anyway, he has some serious power. While stopping a blaster shot could just have been a cool effect, I think it was a way of showing his power. Then walking around with it just hovering there, and finally releasing it was pretty impressive. Getting shot by Chewie’s bowcaster that had been shown to throw other people feet in the air and not getting knocked off the bridge (much less not dying, though he was seriously wounded). He seems like a sledgehammer of Force. Nothing he does is subtle, even when pulling things from people’s minds. So now we have an unstable, angry kid who probably didn’t have many boundaries growing up – and what boundaries he did have, his dad either subconsciously or overtly encouraged him to subvert. Even in the end he enables him, thinking he is helping.

This is why he is so uncomfortable and why we like to laugh at him. He reminds of us people we see in the news, or in our schools, or on our streets. He’s that guy that has everything but brings a gun to school and shoots it up for no reason that we can understand. He’s the name that we choose not to share on social media because we don’t want to make famous, and because we don’t want our kids to be like them. He is terrifying to me because like I said above, he is the most real monster that Star Wars has ever given us, and its easier to laugh and scoff than it is to look around for the Kylos in our midst.

[originally posted at: http://www.patrickburdine.com/thoughts-on-kylo-ren/]

Patrick Burdine - Author picAbout Patrick Burdine

Patrick Burdine has written several horror short stories and most recently released the novella, “The Monitor.” He has written for film including the movie, “Slaughterhouse Phi: Death Sisters.” He also writes science fiction and is a Shell Case Short winner for his work, “The Bone Carver.” He is currently working with Curiosity Quills author Aiden James on the next installment in the “Dying of the Dark Vampires” series. He resides in Los Angeles, California with his wife and three daughters.

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