On fangirling and writing fanfic

Hi, all!

I know. I’ve been neglecting all of you. But I have been writing a ton of Fangirl Friday blogs over at my other site, Women and Words, so if you wonder where the hell I am, check there. And the Twitterz, where I go by the cryptic handle @andimarquette.

Anyway, I’ve got a lot of things in the works right now. I recently published a short novel at Ylva — it’s a thriller with a little romantic undercurrent. Here’s the link, if you want to see more.

I’m working on some rewrites of my other stuff to get it back on the market…yeah. That’s been kind of a clusterfuck, and I apologize a jillion times over for that. Hopefully that will be remedied soon, but seriously. Clusterfuck. I can’t even with that. Sigh.

Plus, I have to admit, this election season has given me super angst. This whole fucking year has given me angst because of all the shitty-shit that’s gone down in a variety of quarters, which means I’ve sought escape in order to maintain my emotional and spiritual (and physical) health.

Along those lines, I’ve basically reclaimed my 37th childhood and decided to go fangirl for various things (see my posts at Women and Words) and seek solace with like-minded people. At least we can all fangirl together.

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Bring out your dead: on killing characters and historical tropes

Hi, peeps! (see what I did there, given the holiday? Heh.)

I hope this weekend treats you well and that everything is fab with you and yours.

This, my friends, IS A MAJOR LONG-ASS POST. But one in which I need to unpack a few things with regard to certain tropes.

I’ve been thinking about the characters I write, and the characters I’ve grown attached to through other people’s writing, and how it affects people when a writer decides to kill a character.

Writers make decisions all the time on which characters live or die, and that depends on a variety of factors, including the genre, narrative arc, and the personal arcs of the characters themselves. It also depends on where the story may be headed, especially if it’s a series, and how that character is going to fit into a larger picture down the line, if at all.

So there are any number of factors involved in a decision to remove a character either from the printed page or a TV show or movie. And there are any number of things that can happen, both inside the story and outside once the character’s death occurs.

There are also much larger currents at play, and those, too, have a role in reactions. Especially outside the story, among those who are following it.

Specifically, I’m thinking here of a couple of series on TV that I follow. Those are The CW’s The 100 and AMC’s The Walking Dead.

And here’s where I put the SPOILER ALERT. If you follow both these series and you have not seen the most recent episodes, DO NOT READ ANY FARTHER. STOP NOW.

I MEAN IT. SPOILERS.

NOT KIDDING.

Okay, fine. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Let’s proceed.

And because this is a looooong piece, with lots of rumination, grab your fave delicious beverage and snacks before reading on. I’ll wait.

dum dee dum. la la la. ::checks the Twitterz:: ::plays around on Facebook::

Okay, ready? Let’s go.

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It’s baaaaaa-aaa-ck! Walking Dead!

PEOPLE!

WALKING DEAD resumes Sunday February 9th. Check your local listings so you, too, can get swept up in the madness.

As many of you know, I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about the ZA (Zombie Apocalypse, for those of you not briefed). You can see that here. And here. And here, here, and here. Oh, geez. Here, here, and here, too. Oh, and this one is about SEX.

Damn. I’ve blogged a lot about the ZA. That’s not even all the blogs. Maybe I should get out more.

Anyway. Here’s a sneak peek from the upcoming f*ck-up-ed-ness that is sure to be the second half of season 4.

And here. Find out how long you’d live in a ZA. Take this quiz here. And you can download the “Dead Yourself” app to see how’d you look as a zombie.

All right, peeps. PREPARE!

Happy Friday!

What the X-Files taught me about series

Hey, Happy Thanksgiving to those of you who engage in this American holiday.

I’m not really big on the holidays (as in Thanksgiving-Christmas), as some of you know, but I do enjoy the bit of time off I can take to catch up on my chillaxin’.

So I took yesterday off and basically freebased over half of Season 1 of the X-Files. I’m up to episode 15 (there are 24). It’s been years since I’ve watched the series, and though the costumes, hairstyles (and shut up, but I’m trying to bring back Mulder’s look), cars, and technology are dated (season 1 premiered in 1993), the writing and characters remain strong. Not every episode, mind you. There were some episodes that just didn’t work (like this one; sorry Chris Carter. Just. . .no.), but for the most part, it remains a strong show with episodes that still creep me out.

source (re-sized here)

Basically, if you want to write a series — any series — and keep it going for a long time, use the X-Files as a potential model. Not in terms of what actually the show is about, but rather how its infrastructure is put together.

Continue on for my ode to the X-Files. . .

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When an apocalypse hits…

where will you be?

Hi, folks–

Here we are on zombie and/or apocalypse Saturdays. First, tomorrow is the next episode of AMC’s Walking Dead, which has been on mid-season hiatus until now. So if you’ve been following that, there you go. I’m already getting my therapy lined up…

Second, Tuesdays, the National Geographic channel is airing a program called “Doomsday Preppers.” It’s exactly what it says it is. Each hour features about 20 minute segments with a different person or people preparing for an apocalypse. The form that apocalypse takes (e.g. financial, grid collapse, natural disaster) depends on the people. So you get, say, 3 people an hour who are serious apocalypse preppers. Then the NatGeo crew provides some feedback to each prepper, and offers suggestions (if necessary) to improve their prep. Then the commentator tells you, the audience, what the actual chances are that an apocalypse like the one the people are prepping for will actually happen.

The website (link above) offers a breakdown of the episodes, tips from preppers, and bios of the various preppers. Kind of interesting, if that’s your thing. I rather enjoyed it.

And third, author Julianna Baggott has released Pure, the first in her post-apocalyptic series. It’s getting rave reviews and she has an excerpt posted on her website. Seriously. Check this out. Click HERE for those opening pages.

Wow. Lyrical, tactile, narrative gold. Do yourselves a favor and pick this one up. It’s been optioned for film rights. Personally, I think the book’s vision will be ever Pure-er than any movie could make it, but I’m sure the visual impact of the movie will be pretty darn amazing. 😀

There you go. Some doomsday stuff for you to consider and enjoy, if you’re weird like me.

Happy reading, happy writing, happy watching!

Walking Dead and other stuff

Hi, kids!

This week was crazy busy. First things first. I’m trying to get all validated for the site Goodreads. I’m sure many of you are familiar with it. Once the elves over there ascertain that I am, actually, Andi Marquette and the books they have with that name were actually written by your truly, then I’ll let you all know. I’ll be doing some giveaways and groovy stuff like that over there. WOOOO!

And the other thing is that I decided to try that Kindlegraph stuff. So yes, my books are available through Kindlegraph for online signing. If that’s your thing, go on over and I’ll be glad to sign away.

And finally, I hope you’re getting ready for Walking Dead! Season 2 premiere is this Sunday the 16th. I posted about it HERE. Check that link out to see what it’s all about if you’re not familiar with it.

All rightie, that should hold you for a little bit. Hope you’re all well and happy Friday!

TV tip: Prohibition

Hey, kids! Let’s talk about booze, sex, and immoral behavior! WOOOO!

Or rather, let’s talk about the historic context for those in the U.S. and how a political and social movement to ban alcohol actually ended up fueling all the vices it hoped to eradicate/regulate.

To that end, I HIGHLY recommend Ken Burns’ series that just aired on PBS called Prohibition. Burns is a skilled documentary maker, and he always finds really interesting people to talk on the films and he gets great archival material and super soundtracks. This one is no exception. You can find out more about it and see the episodes RIGHT HERE AT THIS LINK, along with some great information about the era and the history of the movement, which, my friends, dawned some 80 years before the 18th Amendment was actually passed in 1920. It was the first and remains the only amendment to the Constitution that has actually curtailed rights in this country.

I’m a historian, and sociopolitical movements like Prohibition prove fascinating to study because of the myriad layers. The movement was fueled by religious fundamentalism, but it ended up providing a venue for women to enter the public sphere and engage in radical civil protest that was considered appropriate for them, given that they were trying to put an end to drink to save the household.

The movement was also fueled by xenophobia and “Drys” directed a lot of their ire at the onslaught of immigrants who entered this country in the late 19th century and early 20th from European and eastern European countries. Tied up in that was anti-Catholicism and anti-Semitism (the movement was Protestant), directed again at many immigrants to this country. The Dry movement framed its arguments in terms of “true Americanism.” Those who don’t drink are somehow better and more American than all the slovenly immigrants/Catholics/Jews who bring their drinking habits with them and try to ruin the country.

However, as you’ll see, when you try to outlaw something, and basically legislate morality with a self-righteous “we know best for you” approach, chances are, lots of people are going to flout that. And, indeed, that happened. Illegal alcohol sales and production climbed, thousands of illegal bars mushroomed in cities across the country, and for the first time in U.S. history, women were going to these clubs. Because when nobody is supposed to do it, then everybody does it and all bets are off. Hence, the 1920s Jazz Era created the social milieu in which traditional boundaries within the realms of sex, gender, and sexuality were tested, crossed, and ignored. Crime escalated, too, as big crime bosses developed illegal booze businesses (think cartels) and as a result of that, violence escalated.

This is a great series, and it provides a window into our past. I said elsewhere that if you want to understand America today, look to the past. You’ll definitely see some parallels in the political and social movement of temperance and some of the movements on the political landscape today. There are lessons to be learned from history, and I’m always amazed when I delve into it that the more things change, the more they do stay the same, in many telling ways.

Here’s a trailer for “Prohibition” to wet your whistle.

Happy watching!

Walking Dead, Season 2

Greetings, earthlings–

Whew. Majorly hectic week. I know we all have those, but gads what a pain in the you-know-what.

Anyway! Zombie Saturday! Time to talk about a super-cool show!

October 16 brings us the premiere of season 2 of AMC’s Walking Dead, the TV adaptation of the graphic novels of the same name. If you’re a zombie fan and you didn’t catch this series last year, OMG get yourself caught up on it. If you haven’t run screaming from Netflix yet, you can get season 1 via that route if you don’t want to buy it. And if you’re a newbie to the show, AMC has a good rookie guide here. For those of you in the know, here’s the season 2 trailer.

I highly recommend Walking Dead for a variety of reasons. One, the make-up and effects are great. Two, the characters are well-drawn and the acting is really good. Three, great dialogue and pacing. Four, if you like horror/thriller stuff, this series will bring it in buckets. Excellent tension build-up in a variety of arenas: zombies, other (and not so nice) survivors, and drama between the characters. I think that’s what really distinguishes this series from your basic run-of-the-mill zombie scarefest. The very human interactions and drama that go on between people who are trying to negotiate new boundaries and ways of interacting in a world that has gone completely batshit.

That’s what really hammers this series home in terms of apocalyptic scenarios (in this case, zombies). How people deal with it. It’s not a hopeful “yay we’ll survive” kind of thing. The people that inhabit Walking Dead survive not necessarily because they think there’s something out there that will bring redemption and safety, but rather because they don’t know what the hell else to do. They’re reduced to the very basics of mammalian urges: to live, whether it’s a good idea or not. You also see the different ways that different people adapt to the new circumstances, and whether or not old internal moral codes hold and if so, how does a character enact them and why? What’s the point of maintaining a sense of ethics? That’s something a few of the characters struggle with, perhaps because to them, doing so anchors them to themselves and to a past that no longer exists, and it’s part of the way they feed their survival urges. But it’s also an interesting examination of what makes us human, and why that even should matter in a post-apocalyptic zombie-infested society.

And on October 3rd, you can catch a webisode — an inside story derived from Walking Dead. For those of you who caught season 1, remember the first episode when Rick leaves the hospital and he’s wandering around and comes across that zombie in the park who doesn’t have legs and she’s crawling along and it’s really kind of sad? A six-part webisode gives you her backstory. Her name was Hannah. So check back on October 3 to catch that.

Sure to be good stuff.

And also, if you get a chance, do catch a zombie walk/crawl if there are any scheduled in your local communities. Many are also charity events — that is, to participate, the organizers might request that you bring a can of food or donation for a local charity/food bank. Then have a party. You’ll see some great costumes (even if you don’t dress up yourself) and people just really get into it. Most also have after-parties, and those are way fun, too. It’s a good way to blow off some steam, tap into your dark side, and show off your mad costuming skillz!

And don’t forget, some hardcore zombie aficiondos out there are planning 3-day zombie apocalypse events. For info on that, go HERE.

There you go. Happy weekend!

AHHHHH!!! The Sky is STILL Falling!

Hiya, peeps.

Yesterday was Rizzoli and Isles night. I’ve blogged about them here.

So I switch over to TNT and watch Kyra Sedgwick in The Closer and then Rizzoli and Isles. The Closer has kind of grown on me, actually, and I like the characters. Then, after R&I, what should come on, but another installment of the Noah Wylie sci fi drama Falling Skies. I caught the 2-hour premiere of Falling Skies (blogged here), and I wasn’t too impressed. The worst part about it was the incessant spate of commercials. Completely disrupted the flow of the show. Completely. I didn’t watch one since then, deciding that if it was warranted, I’d check it out on DVD later.

As it happened, I watched last night’s episode, and it was pretty good. It works better as an hour-long because the pacing’s better and the commercial pacing’s better (though there are still way too many commercials). It was fairly easy for me to pick up the plot, even though I hadn’t watched anything but the first episode.

Here, we have Noah Wyle’s son Ben with the rebels; they got the harness off him, but he still has icky alien spikes protruding along his spine and the rebel doc discovers something kind of creepy about them. The skin and tissue around them is numb. So on a hunch, she goes and buts into one a skitter body they’ve got and lo and behold, she determines that the skitter was something else before it became a skitter because, buried under its bone and tissue and muscle is a harness. The implication is clear: the harness seems to somehow transform its wearer into something other than its original form. In other words, Ben and the other kid the rebels managed to get the harness off of might be on their way to alien-ville. Which reminds me of the fantastic film District 9, in which the main character is exposed to some alien fluid, which starts transforming into an alien.

The rebels also discover that there are bipedal humanoid-types who seem to be in control of both the skitters and the mechs. And our outlaw guy from the first episode? He’s figured out how to craft bullets out of mech-metal that penetrates their armor. He also discovers that a basic mech bullet is actually a bullet shell from Earth that they altered to meet their needs. The outlaw guy sardonically tells Wyle’s youngest sun, “they’re into recycling.”

Suffice it to say this one episode made me interested, so I’ll probably watch the season finale on Sunday and suffer through the commercials.

Here’s TNT’s re-cap of Episode 7.

I love an alien apocalypse show as much as the next person. In this case, if you do decide to watch Falling Skies in its entirety, I still recommend getting it on DVD or some other method where you can avoid the commercials. TNT is outta control with commercials.

Happy watching!