I don’t know about you, but I think…

The modern fictional character has largely gone the way of the dogs. Call me a cynic.

In my personal opinion, Fifty Shades of Grey was a new low point in modern story telling; in that there was no story to be found besides routine bonking and an over-abundance of adverbs. (Gasped, paled, blushed, groaned…) I read – most – of FSOG. Almost couldn’t bear it, but I had to know what all the fuss was about. The passage that stood out to me the most, and which many others may have overlooked, was when the main character took a long trip in her car. That was literally all that was written there. It looked like this, in a matter of three lines or so:

The MC (main character) got in the car to go to destination X. It was a long trip. MC got to destination X.

She was simply driving on a page. Zero scenery or weather or landmark descriptions.

I believe that fiction should be, and can be, tangible. As close to non-fiction in that realism as possible. This is how readers connect with characters, and the only way. I believe implicitly in BACKSTORY. If I walked up to you in the street and said, “A character in my novel, Nell, is only 22 and she dies in a horrific car accident”, I’m sure most people would agree that a car accident is a gnarly way to go. However, there is nothing much more that I can elicit from you in terms of emotion that that fleeting ‘Oh, shame’ sentiment, because, quite frankly – you have to know someone in order to care about them.

Getting to the nitty-gritty of a character’s makeup is one of the best parts of writing. Every living person has a history, and so should a character. To ascribe details to a character’s life, I focus on building around certain themes: MOTIVES. FEARS. FLAWS. PROBLEMS. GOALS. SECRETS. Subtlety is also a dying art, and is underrated. Secondary characters should be just as colorful and just as alive as MC’s, because we’re all the main actors on our living stages, so how are secondary characters to know that they are not the main characters in their story?

My first, and my eternal inspiration for writing short, powerful word pictures was through the lyrics and music of Joni Mitchell. I quickly learned that she could tell me more about the feeling of living through life than one hundred How-To writer books ever could. The point? She has been there. She is sending back postcards.

I’m not suggesting that everybody has to listen to Joni Mitchell in order to learn the subtle art of the metaphor. I’m simply saying that we need to dig a little deeper than the average mainstream dross we’re fed from every direction in the 21st century – from endless sex-scapades to seen-it-a mile-off punchlines and one-dimensional characters. We need better heroes, to become better writers – to better our readers’ experience.

Immortal

Image

To my mind, there are at least three distinct camps regarding the legacy of Michael Jackson.

1. You hate him

2. You love him

3. You view him with an ambivalent kind of curiosity, something akin to a side-show spectacle.

I crossed from a (kinder) version of the latter camp into true Fandom in 2005. Anyone with lingering question marks over the kiddie fiddling allegations should read “Unmasked” (a book written by a journo determined to prove Michael’s guilt who ended up with nothing but admiration for him).

Somehow, the man is dead. This person, who, through his art and through a sheer, blinding talent, built a career that spanned decades and left in its wake no less than record breaking feats in dance, singles sales, album sales, fashion icon status, and staggering charity contributions. Michael had love and creativity at the forefront of whatever drove him in life, and what truly drove him to inspire others.

Last Saturday, I went to the Immortal World Tour Cirque du Soleil, having greedily hidden my ticket away for months with visions of emotional arousal and wonderment, and a tad of gloating for those who envied me, having missed out.

There was – nothing – in this show that lacked. Let me just say this, as someone who is rarely prone to overstatement.

From the opening notes of “Childhood” with imitation Neverland Ranch gates set in view, I could not have asked for more. The dancers and acrobats were second to none, supported by a stunning sound stage and strobe lighting. Snippets of Michael’s songs and statements and videos were spliced throughout and truly – magnified – through achingly beautiful dance sequences. At one stage an oversized loafer-and-white sock even hoved into view, as well as an oversized white glove that began to walk on two fingers.

It was not just the trappings of an Icon that featured heavily, however, it was the Man. It took someone who knew MJ’s heart to put across in a tribute show what only true MJ fans could appreciate.

This was what Michael would have wanted.

This was what we wanted.

Not just another way to say goodbye, as with the fate-tinged ‘This Is It’ footage. But, a way to say hello again. And to embrace with true joy the opportunity to celebrate the life and times of someone whose depth of talent and breadth of charity I can safely claim has never been – or will ever be, again – in lifetimes.

Rest in peace, MJ. You’ve surely earned it.

Gold Dust Woman

Gold Dust Woman

I belong to the local pottery club. I’m not the most clever person there by any stretch of the imagination, but I do love creating things unique to my own mind. Pottery is beautifully self-indulgent, in that way, and just great therapy in general. This is my (weak) interpretation of the silhouette created by the wondrous Ms Stevie Nicks in one of her mystique-come-op-shop stage costumes… yet to be refined and painted. 🙂

The Other Side

The Other Side

My literary fiction novel ‘The Other Side’ deals with the life journeys of an Atheist, a Christian Minister, an Ex-Christian and a Wiccan. Please check it out! I guarantee you a good, smart read (if I do say so myself…) 🙂

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/366620

5 random things U might want to know about kiwis (New Zealanders)

1. We don’t like being likened to Australians, in accent or culture or… anything at all, ever.

2. Thanks to a general idolization of anything Hollywood, many Kiwis (especially the younger gens coming up) know more about other cultures than our own.

3. Our culture is one where you never boast about yourself. The ultimate expression of appreciation when asked for a comment on something YOU have done will likely be, “Oh, that’s pretty cool, eh?” – which is equivalent in any other Western society to “Oh my God! That is SO awesome!”

4. If you’ve ever watched our TV drama ‘Shortland Street’, just… please don’t think that it’s the pinnacle of our nation’s ability to write/produce/act. Some of us are mighty embarrassed by it.

5.  When we say ‘go out on the piss’ or ‘piss shop’ or ‘a bottle of piss’ we mean alcohol.

Insert attention grabbing title here

If I believed everything that television tells me, I’d believe that you have to be something extraordinary to be considered worthy of attention nowadays. I am not, however, a desperate housewife or a hoarder, an imagination-defying magician, a Top model, a housebound 400 pounder, or a Kardashian. Thankfully.

I’m a five foot-one little goer, actually. Born and bred in NZ. I love to write. No, scratch that. I live to write. I especially enjoy the organic process of life planting tiny idea seeds in your head (yep, including when you’re sleeping) and finding these ideas finally come to daylight with a voice of their own.

However, I’m currently in the middle-land of the writing zone. Having just published my first literary fiction novel, ‘The Other Side’ online, I’m happy to be able to share it and I have several other ideas germinating. But, nothing ready to pick, as yet. Will have to sleep on it a little more.

I’ve only recently become someone who actually enjoys using social media. I’ve always been a pretty old fashioned girl at heart even though I’m only 32. There isn’t enough place for the past, now. Many people seem to believe that old is useless; and I, for one, believe in a hearty mix of both old and new fashioned ways of living. For example, I love to chomp out poems on my canary yellow typewriter, but I couldn’t live without my USB device.

Last night I dreamed that there was some new media application whereby people could make up their own ending for whatever book they were reading. So, if they didn’t like the pre-existing ending, they sent their request directly to the author for a nominal fee – and so could own a personalized copy with their very own Happily Ever After (if that was what they chose, of course…!)

Anyway, sounded like fun to me 🙂