unusual

Like Silligirl, I think it would be easier to list five things about me that are usual. But I’ll try!

  1. I learned to cook meat, and cook it well, without ever tasting it. I call it my sixth sense, the Meat Sense. Or maybe it’s just a Cooking Sense, since I can cook pretty much anything.
  2. I can cook and bake equally well. Most people can do one or the other. (Cooking, you see, is an art. Baking is science. I guess most brains don’t go both ways.)
  3. I love the domestic arts. Cooking and baking, obviously, and also sewing, knitting, embroidery (I’m not very good at that one yet)… I even like to do laundry, though I don’t like the half-mile trek or remembering to get quarters. If I had a washer in my kitchen I’d be in heaven. I have a small amount of experience with weaving and spinning, and am thinking about making my own butter. For real.
  4. I kill plants. Which I think is kind of weird considering the other items on my list.
  5. I am a city girl through and through, born and raised in Manhattan and a happy resident of Los Angeles. But my dearest dream is to live in the desert with some chickens, goats, and a garden. Obviously I will have to work on my gardening skills.

I tag Unkempt Mommy and Nova. That is, of course, if you want to. (I get tagged all the time and hardly ever follow through. I suck at memes.)

10 Signs A Screenplay Might Be Written By Me

Tagged by Yojo. I took the liberty of changing it from books to screenplays since I have never written a book and don’t plan to. These all apply to scripts I wrote with Will.

1. It is written in a distinctive voice. Not just the dialogue (which is written in several distinctive voices, thankyouverymuch, none of that nonsense where everyone sounds the same) but also the action/descriptions. And that voice changes for each project.

2. There is an insanely high body count. And the deaths (let’s be honest: kills) are creative, varied, and disgusting.

3. It is probably an ensemble piece.

4. It’s genre. We just can’t do comedy or drama. Our one comedy attempt is also horror. We’ve written three horror scripts, a sci-fi/action script, and two westerns.

5. It ends on a down note. We really love the bittersweet. And, OK, we also love the nasty, and I do not mean sex (this time). If we don’t kill everyone or at least all their friends, we don’t feel that we’ve done our job.

6. The non-conformity to screenwriting rules gives Erik hives. We’re sorry, Erik.

7. It is non-commercial, meaning that no one will buy it even though it’s well-written, because they’re afraid it won’t make money and/or they won’t know how to market it.

8. It is either insanely short (like, under 80 pages) or insanely long (like, I managed to cut it down to 118).

9. It is nigh-on-impossible to come up with a logline (one to two sentence pitch/summary) because the plot is just too damn complicated. Or maybe too simple. You aren’t sure.

10. There isn’t a Mary Sue in sight. I mean, unless you count the fact that Will has always kind of dreamed of being a badass gunman. This is why I switched from fiction — my stories were always a couple of Mary Sues sitting around being boring. Now I can’t even come up with any Mary Sue characters. I’ve tried.

I tag Jess, Mindi, and Nina. If, of course, you want to play. (Please answer for whatever medium you wish. The original meme is 10 Signs A Book Might Be Written By Me.)

No rants contained within.

30 Tiny Moments, Day 1

I’ve been admiring Amanda Soule‘s posts over the last month, in which she posts just a photograph, perhaps with a very brief explanation or a link to something she finds inspiring. Jessica of Kerflop admired the project, too, and started a flickr group for other folks to post their 30 Tiny Moments to. Above is my first contribution to the photo pool. Predictably, I caught Sam enjoying his Duplo early this morning. There is truly something magical about Lego, and I am so glad we exempted them from the no plastic rule.

Writing Meme

I got this from Nova.

What’s the last thing you wrote?

For the sake of this meme, I will not count blog posts, so… I think the last was the most recent draft of AMERICAN GOTHIC.

Was it any good?

Yes.

What’s the first thing you wrote that you still have?

I don’t have it here, but my first book was called The Old Well In The Creek, and it is at my father’s house. Or possibly my mother’s house. One of them has it.

Write poetry?

None that I will fess up to.

Angsty poetry?

Is there any other kind?

Favorite genre of writing?

To write, short stories (though I haven’t in ages) and screenplays. To read, short stories. And screenplays. Hmmm.

Most fun character you’ve ever created?

What the hell kind of question is this?

Most annoying character you’ve ever created?

All of them annoy me. They do not shut up, except when I need them to exposit.

Best plot you’ve ever created?

I am not so big on plot. I like the one where the cat is stalking the guy, and I like the western.

Coolest plot twist you’ve ever created?

If I tell you, I will have to kill you.

How often do you get writer’s block?

It’s hard to say. Mostly I have trouble making time to write, or finding energy to write, which is not quite the same. Though I did have writer’s block for about four years once.

Write fan fiction?

Only if my humorous “Abridged Buffy” stuff counts.

Do you type or write by hand?

Type.

Do you save everything you write?

Yes, but I am terribly disorganized about it.

Do you ever go back to an idea after you’ve abandoned it?

We constantly have dozens of ideas on the back burner. I don’t think we ever really abandon them, but sometimes I am surprised by which we choose to discuss or work on.

What’s your favorite thing you’ve written?

GUNFIGHT AT HIDE PARK. Which is hilarious, because I have not yet written a word of it. I wrote the outline, and Will wrote a rough draft. I have a date with it tomorrow, though. Soon we will have a completed draft. I hope.

What’s everyone else’s favorite story that you’ve written?

I have no idea. A lot of people seem to be fond of DOGS OF WAR, but none of them enough so to option it.

Do you ever show people your work?

Yes. Feedback is crucial. It helps that I write with a partner, of course, but we really value outside opinions after a point in the writing process.

Did you ever write a novel?

No. I have the outlines of two novellas, but neither has enough plot so I have abandoned them.

Ever written romance or angsty teen drama?

Nope. I mean, I wrote angsty dramatic things when I was a teenager, but I don’t think that’s what the question really means.

What’s your favorite setting for your characters?

I don’t have one.

How many writing projects are you working on right now?

If I count them, I will cry. My active projects are just three. I think.

Do you want to write for a living?

Yes. Is this a trick question or just a stupid question?

Have you ever won an award for your writing?

No.

Ever written anything in script or play format?

That is pretty much all I write, other than the stuff I write here. Though I am working on a craft book proposal.

What are your five favorite words?

Fuck, shit, hell, damn, cocksucker. (We have been watching Deadwood, so I don’t think I am very reliable on this one.)

Do you ever write based on yourself?

No. Um, well. Not any more.

What character have you created that is most like yourself?

Can I just not count my pre-Will stories that were thinly veiled tributes to boys I liked? That would be awesome. Other than those, I really don’t think any of the characters I write are much like me.

Where do you get ideas for your characters?

Currently, Will thinks up most of our characters. Having a writing partner is very helpful.

Do you ever write based on your dreams?

No, I don’t think so.

Do you favor happy endings, sad endings, or cliff-hangers?

I like bittersweet endings.

Have you ever written based on an artwork you’ve seen?

Well, we wrote a movie that is sort of based on another movie. Does that count?

Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?

Yes and no. My own spelling and grammar tend to be decent, but I am terrible at catching the mistakes I do make (which annoys me since I have been paid as an editor in the past). Will’s punctuation concerns me.

Ever write anything in chatspeak (how r u?)

No.

Entirely in L337?

No. I thought it was the same as chatspeak, though, so clearly I know nothing.

Was that question appalling and unwriterly?

Yes.

Does music help you write?

It used to, but now I find it irritating.

Quote something you’ve written. Whatever pops into your head.

The lock doesn’t keep people out. Anyone would break it if they wanted to, but we haven’t got a better one. We put up the sign. No one can get past that.

(From an abandoned adaptation. Maybe someday I will go back to it.)

Weekly Winners

I’ve come across this Photo meme on a couple of blogs recently, and just came across the original. I figure this is a sign, so I am going to participate. Because I? Am a follower.

The idea is to post my favorite photographs taken (by me) this week. I decided to go for the photos I think are the best, not the ones I love the most. I just don’t think the internet needs to see any more blurry pictures of my kid doing something cute, you know?

The view from the Hollywood Hills:

weekly winners

A close-up of the berries:

Weekly Winners

And an over-the-shoulder shot behind the bar:

Weekly Winners

Click on any of the photos to see them larger at Flickr.

I am not certain how I feel about calling my own photos “winners.” Not because I don’t think they’re good enough (I do) but because it just feels that I should be awarding other folks’ work.

The meme that’s going to BLOW YOUR MIND.

I don’t mean meme in the sense of quaint little internet quiz one answers and then tags bloggy friends to answer. Oh, no. I mean meme in the more genuine sense. Viz lolcats. How many spin-offs have there been? A gazillion, that’s how many. But there is one area of the LOL that has yet to be tapped.

LOLviking

Presenting: LOLvikings. The brainchild of my genius husband.

I have created a dedicated page and I invite you all to email me your own LOLvikings to add to the page. Please send images to viking at noirbettie dot com. Images may be up to 730 pixels wide.

(My apologies to the man in the photo above. I have no idea who he is. But I think he is hot.)

The meme that’s going to BLOW YOUR MIND.

I don’t mean meme in the sense of quaint little internet quiz one answers and then tags bloggy friends to answer. Oh, no. I mean meme in the more genuine sense. Viz lolcats. How many spin-offs have there been? A gazillion, that’s how many. But there is one area of the LOL that has yet to be tapped.

LOLviking

Presenting: LOLvikings. The brainchild of my genius husband.

I have created a dedicated page and I invite you all to email me your own LOLvikings to add to the page. Please send images to viking at noirbettie dot com. Images may be up to 730 pixels wide.

(My apologies to the man in the photo above. I have no idea who he is. But I think he is hot.)

Five Writing Strengths

Nova, who is generous enough to consider me a real writer, has tagged me for a horrible, awful, bad meme. She wants me to list my five strengths as a writer. Obviously that’s crazy. How about ten weaknesses? Or a more general post on why I suck? That would be easier.

Oh, FINE. But I’m going to do my five strengths as a collaborative writer.

1. I am ruthless. I know when to cut and I just do it. The only place I have difficulty doing this is with dialog — I am always convinced I will lose something great if I cut a line Will wrote. But with everything else my figurative red pen slashes left and right with wild abandon. Here’s an example: we’re working on two outlines right now, a modern ghost story and a western. We’ve been working on the ghost story for a while and we just couldn’t get things moving quickly enough. It was all character development, character development, mood, mood, mood, and it was good but nothing was happening. When I started working on the western outline, I wanted to avoid that so I started in the middle. Skipped right over all the backstory and character introductions and just put that stuff in later. That outline was finished in an afternoon (and it’s good). So I went into the ghost story and said, “Hey, can we move this action from halfway through to right here at the beginning? We can meet the characters after.” And you know what? It works brilliantly.

2. I craft a near-perfect sentence. I have good grammar, excellent spelling, impeccable punctuation, and a way with words. Sure, I do not use these skills very often here, but trust me — I have ’em. And when one is ruthlessly editing a script down to the bare essentials it helps to be able to actually get your meaning across.

3. I am a little bit evil. I don’t pull punches when I write and I know when (and how) to push something to the next level. So if something is a little disturbing, I can make it outright horrifying, and if something is sad I can make it heartbreaking. I think I do this without going too far (unless too far is called for), which is sadly rare.

4. I know my weaknesses.
Wait, hear me out! This really is a strength. Will and I divide the work up in what I think is a fairly non-traditional method for collaborators. I know that I am not good at first drafts because I don’t really hear the characters in my head, so Will does the first draft. Lest you think this makes me an editor rather than a co-writer, we outline everything first in great detail, and my second draft often takes drastic departures from the first. It’s a great way to work because it plays to both of our strengths. (I actually have been working on a post about our writing process for months. One of these days I will finish it.)

5. I can type. Sorry. I am pretty. Whoops! I don’t know how that got there. I can take notes. Phew! I thought of a legitimate fifth strength. In general, I can hear critique of my/our work and think about it honestly and objectively and go on to implement changes without bristling too much. I make an exception for idiotic notes, of which we have received (and ignored) many. But when it is necessary, i.e. we are working for someone, I can take even the dumbest of notes and make it work. And I am always willing to consider that something I think is a stupid idea might actually be a great one, or at least inspire something better.

Here’s the part where I tag other writers (and please know that I consider this absolutely optional):

  1. Jess
  2. Katherine
  3. Mindi
  4. Nell
  5. P@
  6. Stephanie
  7. Uccellina

Edited to tag more people, because I can.

The Dystopic Movie Meme

Stole this fun movie meme from Ryan. You just bold the ones you’ve seen.

1. Metropolis (1927)
2. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
3. Brazil (1985)
4. Wings of Desire (1987)
5. Blade Runner (1982)
6. Children of Men (2006)
7. The Matrix (1999)
8. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
9. Minority Report (2002)
10. Delicatessen (1991)
11. Sleeper (1973)
12. The Trial (1962)
13. Alphaville (1965)
14. Twelve Monkeys (1995)
15. Serenity (2005)
16. Pleasantville (1998)
17. Ghost in the Shell (1995)
18. Battle Royale (2000)
19. RoboCop (1987)
20. Akira (1988)
21. The City of Lost Children (1995)
22. Planet of the Apes (1968)
23. V for Vendetta (2005)
24. Metropolis (2001)
25. Gattaca (1997)
26. Fahrenheit 451 (1966)
27. On The Beach (1959)
28. Mad Max (1979)
29. Total Recall (1990)
30. Dark City (1998)
31. War Of the Worlds (1953)
32. District B13 (2004)
33. They Live (1988)
34. THX 1138 (1971)
35. Escape from New York (1981)
36. A Scanner Darkly (2006)
37. Silent Running (1972)
38. Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001)
39. Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)
40. A Boy and His Dog (1975)
41. Soylent Green (1973)
42. I Robot (2004)
43. Logan’s Run (1976)
44. Strange Days (1995)
45. Idiocracy (2006)
46. Death Race 2000 (1975)
47. Rollerball (1975)
48. Starship Troopers (1997)
49. One Point O (2004)
50. Equilibrium (2002)

You’d think I would have seen more of them, considering the fact that I wrote a dystopic movie. Oh well.

I did not bold Planet Of The Apes, but I’m pretty sure I saw all of them once when I was on a bender. Also, I take serious umbrage at the inclusion of Pleasantville, which is not a dystopic movie at all. Furthermore, I have seen one Mad Max movie but I don’t remember which one. I think it was maybe Thunderdome, which somehow failed to make this list. Most mysterious. And lastly, I corrected the title of entry #32.