Scribblings and Musings

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Suspension of “Dis”-Belief

I will be the first to admit, I haven’t had anything published … traditional, INDIE or even “self-published”; unless you count my blogs. So I don’t consider myself a “real writer”, though my college instructors would argue that point, because anyone who creates a written work is a writer.

HOWEVER …. that isn’t what this blog is about, but sort of a “disclaimer”.

From what I have read, seen, and learned there are several guidelines to writing.

I think one of the rules of writing should be “continuity”. With that said, how can a successful writer of a book series (such as say John Sandford–“Prey” novels; Debbie Macomber and her “numerous” series), movie franchise or even a TV series expect continued success without continuity?

It has been the lack of continuity (written and visual) that has led to the decline of a series.

While I will admit that in the land of “fiction” there are certain creative licenses you can take to make the story, movie, or episode engaging and entertaining for the audience; when you start re-writing a history that you established (and not that long ago — less than 1 year), that takes the “suspension of belief” to a whole new level. It becomes almost “soap-operish”. I know, that isn’t a real word, but I will be honest and admit, that is the best I could come up with. It’s like those soap operas where the kid is born this year, and 2 years later, they’re adults with children.

There are certain cases where that level of story-telling should not be employed, explored or even thought.

To be honest, I enjoy “constructive criticism” — that is the type where someone says “hey, this is wrong — here is my suggestion to correct it or better it”. Constructive criticism lets a writer know that what they are writing is sub-par, but there is hope for it. I am open for that.

And, I can even ignore the “shifts” in certain things (such as James Bond going from Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Sean Connery to Roger Moore, etc) as long as there is a sound and sufficient reason (actor too old for role, no longer interested … ).

BUT, to alter an important aspect of an established character’s past (without  a complete “re-boot”) in a credible TV series, that is where I draw a line.

For example, in NCIS, we take the character of Anthony “Tony” DiNozzo, Jr (the first DiNozzo we were introduced to) …

In Season 1’s “One Shot, One Kill”, we learned Tony dated his “high school music teacher”. In Season 8’s “Baltimore”, we learn more about “Wendy” and that Tony had proposed to her.

For those who own the DVDs, I would go to approximately 11:58 when Danny shows Tony the fortune cookie. Danny mentions that Tony asking “his high school music teacher out” was brave, and Tony stated it was Wendy who asked him out.

About 14 minutes later (again, on the DVD version) at 25:08 Danny recovered the ring that fell out of Tony’s pocket and Tony states he asked Wendy, she said yes, but he had to take the ring back for re-sizing (too small).

So, let’s go with the established “canon”:

1. Wendy WAS at one point in her life Tony’s “high school music teacher” (that can cover grades 9-12)

2. Wendy had to be older than Tony (depending on what grade he was in, would determine the exact age difference)

3. Wendy asked Tony out, Tony subsequently asked Wendy to marry him

4. After joining NCIS Tony and Wendy did not get together

With the news breaking that Wendy is going to be on NCIS (perhaps a potentially re-occurring role), we find out she is now an investigative journalist and apparently closer to Tony’s age (at least in looks). In real life, the actual actress is 2.5 years younger than Weatherly.

Now, we already established that this is the “Wendy” who was the music teacher. So, how does a music teacher go from teaching music to being an investigative journalist?

I will explore that by saying she switched careers due to the widespread dissolution of the music programs in schools.

HOWEVER …

That doesn’t settle the age difference . As a teacher (and not knowing what grade DiNozzo was in when she was his teacher), she would have to be at least 22 when she taught school, if not say around 26. It would depend on the state she taught in, their requirements and how soon she started her “education”.

Let’s use this example:

DiNozzo 9th Grade (14-15)/Wendy (22; brand new teacher) (This is assuming he didn’t repeat a grade, and didn’t advance either). That is 7-8 years difference “minimum”. If she was his teacher in his senior year–12th grade (17-18) she would be a MINIMUM of 4-5 years older.

So, the actress who is set to assume the role of “Wendy” would have to portray a character at least 4-8 years older than DiNozzo, as most high school teachers need a bachelor’s (4-year) degree to teach. That would put her in her mid 40’s and in some cases likely too old to have “little DiNozzos” (which is something Tony has expressed on countless occasions), unless the writers want to re-write that as well … again, anything is possible at this point.

While I don’t presume to tell writers of the #1 show in America how to do their jobs, there is only so much reality that they can ask us to suspend to believe a story. This is a series about a real agency after all. While the actors are just acting as though they are agents in this agency, this is where some shows start to go down hill–too much suspension of belief.

How the writers intend to tackle those issues remains to be seen, and I will remain open to the episode that airs. But, I am not the only one who seems perplexed by all this. Some people have taken to TV Guide’s article to voice their thoughts about it (some have expressed the fact she was 10-15 years older than him, so I might have further research to do).

I wanted to voice my concerns in a blog so readers could understand how I put everything together. Also, my thought was too long and complex for a comment box. As of right now, I am on word #1040-1041.

While I am a late-comer to NCIS, I did a lot of research. I had been watching it on USA since 2008-2009, and began watching the season 7 episodes online in May 2010. In June 2010, I purchased seasons 1-6 on DVD and literally watched EVERY single episode. When I learned there were two episodes of JAG that introduced the “team”, I purchased JAG season 8 and watched Ice Queen & Meltdown (have seen those 3x each, so far).

In August 2010, I got season 7 on DVD and was thoroughly acquainted by the time the 8th season aired. So I have seen EVERY single episode anywhere from 2 to 3x, perhaps more. In that respect, I know the series from the beginning episodes to the most current one.

While I can appreciate the writers efforts to put Tony in touch with his past, there needs to be a certain “realism” to it. Casting someone younger and who looks about the same age (of a former student) to play an OLDER role … that is a bit of a stretch of the imagination. If they are making Wendy near the same age, they will lose credibility and viewers. And, if the writers are not careful about the “job switch” and making it believable, that too will cause credibility issues. I don’t want that for NCIS. They have done an amazing job of gaining viewers and growing with the times to start losing the credibility they have so rightfully earned.

I’ve had a lot of favorite shows go downhill after a shorter period of time. NCIS is not only #1 every week, but replaced M*A*S*H as America’s #1 favorite series. I would honestly hate for it to lose its standings because of a slip … because once those slips start, they tend to snowball out of control.

Those are just my 1300+ words worth of thoughts 😉

For reference, here is the link to the article: http://www.tvguide.com/News/NCIS-Perrey-Reeves-1041349.aspx

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New Year’s Resolutions

Sorry I haven’t posted an update in a while, it seems the holidays — from Thanksgiving forward came up too fast for me. Add in school and being sick to the chaos … it was, well, a chaotic 6 weeks. I did have an 8 day break from school, however that was not nearly enough. I almost forgot how nice it was to have breaks in between classes.

Overall, I did enjoy the Christmas holiday.

Among some of the Christmas gifts I got were the Rory’s Story Cubes and Rory’s Story Cubes–Actions, and I can’t wait to try them out with a few new ideas I have swirling about. Ok, that is an understatement. I have no less than 40-50 active projects, which I need to sort out. Of course all that takes time, and sadly I don’t “have all the time in the world”. There are only 24 hours in the day and I need to work within those hours as much as possible.

As far as my novel, I haven’t written on “Finding Faith” since winning NaNoWriMo at the end of November, however that is another one of my New Year’s resolutions–to finish and publish it.  It’s hard to focus on one project at a time when the others want some attention too. So, I am trying to spend January reorganizing my hours and time to suit my writer’s mind and get some work in on ALL the projects I have open. I will also have to fit crocheting, reading and some “movie” watching into the schedule as well. Believe it or not, crocheting while watching a movie helps develop my mind and the creativity. Reading as a similar affect as well. By reading a book, I can see how other authors put their words and stories together and have a “frame” to outline my own stories by.

This is going to be a long, tedious and likely time-consuming process, but I am hoping it will be well worth it. I know there are some things I likely won’t have time for, and some I will have to give up entirely.  I might not be able to blog as much as I have been, and I might have to limit tweeting … but I have come to appreciate my “gift” and I am tired of making excuses as to why I can’t get something done. Also, after spending the New Year watching some movies I hadn’t taken time to appreciate when I was younger, and love them now as an adult, I have been “inspired” to write more.

And yes, my photography is still an essential part of my life, as well as my writing. There are stories everywhere, I just need to take the time to tell them 🙂

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Less Than 10K To Go …

Well, here it is  …. 4 more days left and I am less than 10,000 words to go (counting down to less than 6k actually, was up in the 5 digits when I started this blog).

Being sick over Thanksgiving night and Friday morning did not help at all. Sleeping most of Friday away also hindered me. But, it also gave me the drive to make this happen. I didn’t sacrifice most of October to prep and worry, just to miss out.

I am making a special effort to get through this goal, while also trying to write a paper for my Criminal Law class. Thankfully, I am in week 4, and only have three more assignments left. And, I have managed a nearly perfect grade. Currently I have a 98% with all assignments graded.

My story is now coming along better than it was. I am in Chapter 7, which could be a halfway point. Now, my “antagonist” has shown up and clearly this is going to be a great story to tell. I’m in the downward slide, despite the fact the story isn’t even finished. It’s hitting the goal that counts as winning.

Now, I need to get ready for my acceptance speech, champion’s dinner, and that big check …. wait, there is no check right? 😦 darn …

Well, I will be meeting a goal. So here I come checkered flag!

(Let’s hope it’s not a green-white-checkered dash to victory lane)

😉

 

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Two-Thirds …

I haven’t been very good at updating this blog (or my others). I apologize for that.

I will say studying Criminal Law, attempting to write a novel (in a month’s time), having a life (well, keeping up with family and friends on Facebook as well as Twitter; which I love), trying to read a book, crochet and sleeping is challenging. There are only 24 hours in a day, and we sleep 1/3 (or should) of them away. With hobbies, housework, and errands, time gets away from me. If it were possible, I’d love to “borrow” time to get everything done.

While I am one of the lucky students enrolled in online classes, there is a certain amount of participation required.  Here is an example of what I need to do during each week (or module as they are called):

You must participate in, at a minimum, one academic-related activity on two separate days of a week to meet positive attendance for the week. An academic-related activity is defined as: A post, a journal entry, a Dropbox submission, or a completed My Lab activity. 

Not to mention I have to write and do research for one paper per week, and respond to two classmates on the “discussion” board.

I should spend about 45-90 hours of the 5 weeks studying, reading, researching and preparing assignments “outside” of class. While that translates to 3 hours per day, that is a minimum. So, there is a LOT of work there. I’m learning to manage, and of course there are some concessions I HAVE to make. It’s been tedious, but so rewarding to see the grades and progress I am making in my class.

But, that isn’t why I am writing this blog…it’s about my “novel”.

So, you’re wondering…how is my novel going?

It’s going 🙂 (better than I thought, not as well as I like).

I am just starting day 21, with 9 more to go. I should be at 35,000 words, but I am currently at 31,259. That puts me three days behind. Not to worry though, I have a few days to spend catching up. I might even get ahead as well, something I have been HOPING to do.  Since the holidays are coming up and my school has extended the due date by 2 days for one assignment, I would like to get the story to the 50k word mark. That is only 18,741 words to write, or type. I figure if I give my self all day Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to write, there is no reason I can’t make this happen.

There is an interesting part though… I am not even at the half-way point for the story. When I was outlining this in October, I thought I didn’t have enough material for a novel, now I think I have too much. Sometimes I have wondered what I got myself into. But, I am no quitter. Sometimes I think I’ve forgotten how to quit–which is a good thing.

I wouldn’t change it for the world though. It’s been rough on my nerves, but I’ve been given a wonderful blessing, I won’t say I regret signing up for it…because I don’t. Now, if you don’t hear from me again, it’s likely I have climbed back into the story and I won’t give up until I hit 50,000 words. Then I have another 6 months to finish, edit, revise, edit and publish it.

I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving.  I certainly have a lot to be thankful for this year 🙂

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Day 4 …

It’s just barely day 4 of NaNoWriMo and for some reason I feel behind, even though I’m actually on par.

I’ve written one full chapter and over 5700 words. This is not near where I want to be, but sadly I have been distracted. As one “friend” put it when I complained I only had 4000 words, she said “that is 4000 more than what you had”.  I guess she’s right 🙂

With my current word count of 5762, divided over three days that puts me at over 1920 words per day. At that rate I will complete the goal 4 days ahead of schedule. Of course my goal is sooner. That won’t mean the novel is finished. Far from it indeed. It just means I will have made the goal.

On the other hand, I also need to focus on my school work. So I will be spending the weekend writing and working on the stuff for school. That means I’ll be extra busy. I’m almost tempted to set both laptops up side by side and work like that, though it seems overkill, lol 😀 … I do want to succeed though.

I know I need to sedate the inner perfectionist, editor and critic. They are slowing me down. There is so much I want to say and I am watching how I saw it. I am also trying not to ramble and be perfect. There is simply no time for that, so I will need to be more vigilant and patient with myself.

I think I am winning the battle though.

For now, I need some sleep. As always, after a refreshing night’s rest, I’ll be able to tackle the day 🙂

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It Begins….

It has begun!

Yes, today is the first day of my “Introduction to Criminal Law” class as well as National Novel Writing Month.

That means for the next 29 days, I will be like a ghost, lol. So far, as of this blog, I have my first assignment done, as well as the story outline completely done. I’ve also written the first 454 words of my story. I am hoping to get as much done as I can.

Trying to put it together is a little difficult at this point. I am treading somewhere I haven’t been.

I also have a paper (11/3) and PowerPoint presentation (11/7) due as well.

I know I signed on for this, so I have no one to blame but myself. However, if I am not as social as I usually am, you’ll all know why.

I can tell you that my novel “Finding Faith“,  is based LOOSELY on a journey I went through in August after the death of my aunt. Though I only wish the events that happen in the story would have happened in real life (well, a few of them anyway), that incredible  journey led me to where I am, and I hope I can eventually share it with all of you. In the few short days I spent in 29 Palms, California, I  found an inner peace I needed, and the courage to take this remarkable step.

A step that I hope will lead me to write more, and perhaps make a career out of it.

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And …. the plot thickens …

Here it is, 2 days before I start NaNoWriMo 2011 and the plot thickens. As I am re-reading my outline for the 4th time (so I can print it and work from it), I want to change a few things now I that I have the main idea down. That should be good, it would make it interesting, right?

Not with this story at least.

The direction my creative muse is going, is not where I want to go. I wanted to try something new, write outside my “comfort” zone for a change. My comfort zone is usually writing about police officers, FBI agents, NCIS agents; or writing my own “tie-in” stories about characters from TV shows. And yet, I am tempted to create an interesting “arc” for one of my characters by turning the main “male” character into a law enforcement officer to get my “law enforcement” fix in there.

That is not what this story needs right now.  I think this story would come across better as a “romance” rather than involving a crime in it to justify making the “main male” a law enforcement officer. Why have a law enforcement officer if there is no crime as part of the story? I can’t rationalize it. I will admit, there is a Marine Corps base in the town, and we know what is on a Marine Corps base. I don’t want to go that route though.

Despite reading something about sticking to one genre of writing, if I want to write a novel about “crime with a little romance”, I will do that later, or try to.

After all, right now, the main thing to do is to just WRITE.

Perhaps now might be a good time to try out that new Rory’s Story Cubes iPad app 🙂

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4 days to go …

I know I haven’t been very good at updating this blog. My “Post a Day” goal went awry, but I am back at it, again. Turns out my last few school assignments were a little tougher than I anticipated, but I do enjoy a challenge.

Not to mention, I have been writing here or there, working on other ideas as the “creativity” strikes. So I have been a tad busy.

Here it is, 4 days to go before NaNoWriMo 2011 begins — I’ve profiled my characters, and what characters they are 🙂 I am so proud of them already, even the bad one. Each story has to have an antagonist, so they might as well excel at being bad.

I’ve outlined the story and am currently making the last few revisions to the outline to make sure it isn’t too long, but long enough to tell the story. Since this is my first story, I am not hoping for much. It should prove to be amusing as well as inspiring. I haven’t even written the story and I feel as though I have already taken an incredible journey.

I can’t wait until I can begin writing this story.

November 1st will challenge me as I start my Introduction to Criminal Law class in addition to the writing challenge. I took the step to get my degree, now I need to take the step to become a writer.

 

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Completed Outline

I never thought this day would get here.  There were times I didn’t think I would have gotten as far as I have in my attempt to write a novel, especially “on-the-spot”. For me, the hardest part isn’t wanting to tell a story, or even telling the story…it is outlining and beginning the story

Today I completed the outline. Of course that means I will have to edit, revise, edit revisions…but the main thing is, it is done. I can take satisfaction in knowing I completed my first “non-TV” story outline. And, that is quite a challenge in itself.

I don’t really outline, so much as “free” write when I get an idea. I take my “excerpts”, piece them together and go from there. But I was excited to take this new turn and try something “out of the box”.

Now, to edit and revise….but first….some sleep 🙂

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A Little Behind, but Catching Up

I apologize for the lack of postings here lately 😦

I’ve been winding down the last few weeks of Introduction to Criminal Justice and Composition I. As of Tuesday I will be in week 7, which I am thankful for, and there are only 2 days in “week 8” (October 25th & 26th). I will get a break from October 27th to November 1st, so I can likely catch up and breathe.

I will admit, the most recent assignments required more research than I first thought…HOWEVER…I have been working on my story outline too 🙂

Even if it is a little memo here, little note here … it is something. I have learned that a little writing is better than nothing. As long as I make a little progress everyday, it adds up.

On November 1st, I will start Criminal Law and #NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) 2011 begins; so November is going to be a busy month for me.  Thankfully, I only have 1 course at a time. No more double courses for me (and yes, I am still considered a full-time student).

What is the reason for going to to 1 course? This is to accelerate my degree. I take 1 course every 5 weeks, as opposed to 2 courses every 8 weeks (Over 50 weeks = 10 classes per year, as opposed to an 8 class academic year).

Perhaps it will also give me more time for writing, which I will be quite thankful for.

I can stay connected to my characters, my story and perhaps my life. And, I might even have time for something new 🙂

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