Setting Your Baby Free

I was in conversation with someone who works for… let’s say… a certain network about Our Gentle Sins. How Exciting!

But, she warned, “Once they get their fingers into your story, it will no longer be under your control.” She went on to intimate that they would twist and change and do what they wanted with it.

I’ve heard many writers get upset about this. Some writers in my own circle were offended for me when an editor from the Chicago Tribune’s Printers’ Row Journal asked if they could change a name in my story. The editor felt the nickname would confuse the readers. I responded – please change what you feel is confusing. My writer acquaintances took me to task on that – how dare I give them permission. I should fight for my story.

There are things I would fight for, things I have fought for. When the editor publishing West End wanted to change a slang Midwestern term, I didn’t agree. I argued that it made it more authentic and we had to trust the reader to figure it out in context. But small things like a nickname or a comma, I have no problem with those. Some writers do, however.

One publisher asked me to take one of my short stories and turn it into a long style poem. My first response, no, no, it can’t be done – but then, I was intrigued by the task! Picasso was once challenged to change one of his paintings to a negative – black and white inverse – he took that challenge and ran with it, changing the colors in multiple ways! The results of which line the halls of his museum in Spain. Sometimes change is not the enemy.

However, I do know what producers, directors, movie studios, and television does to novels and stories. They interpret into their own little idea. They change things for dramatic purposes, for comedy, for whatever reason may suit their purposes at that point in time. But – isn’t that what they’re paying you for? They are taking your characters, your setting, and they’re bringing new life to it. This may be a very different life that the writer intended. But that happens anyway.

Many people have misunderstood “The Ghost in her Room.” However, it didn’t stop them from enjoying the story. They just had their own interpretation of it. It brought something to their lives that I hadn’t intended. It didn’t make it wrong. I think that means I did something right!

When a reader engages in your story, identifies with your character or event, aren’t they changing it into their story or their idea of your story? Once we set the baby free in the world – that baby becomes something else and we have no control over it. It takes on a life of its own. It affects the world and the world affects it.

There are certain things I hope Our Gentle Sins will carry forth – the message of hope, of recovery, of leaving the mistakes of the past in the past, and building the strength as an individual to move forward in this world. We can only wait and see!

Tired of Crime and Murder? I’m in the Mood for Holiday Movies but not looking for mushy love stories.

I read an article which stated people who watch a lot of crime shows experience more anxiety. Well, I can totally relate to that. But does that include the news too? Because that’s where I’m getting most of the crime and murder stories these days.

In any case, around this time of year, my mind turns to happy holiday movies. I occasionally watch the corny ones, but many are rehashes of the same old storyline. I wanted to make a few suggestions for movies for anyone who needs a break from real life but doesn’t want to see the mushy meet-cute and sickly sweet romances that seed the streams.

  1. Lovehard – Netflix. Cute take on catfishing. AND they’ve rewritten to one of the best/worst xmas songs. Remember, Baby It’s Cold Outside as sung by Dean Martin and Marilyn Maxwell? It has some very rape-y lyrics. He’s trying to talk her into staying – and then she sings, “what’s in this drink?” Not very appropriate! This movie features a rewritten version by Nina Dobrev and Jimmy O. Yang titled “Maybe just go outside.” “I really must go/No problem there’s the door.” LOVE IT!
  2. No Sleep Til Christmas (HULU) looked a little odd and I almost didn’t take a chance on it. But it was actually a very nice movie. Not too mushy or silly – a different style then the run of the mill holiday romances.
  3. The Truth about Christmas – a comedic and refreshing take on a holiday romance. The reward for honesty is food (and freedom!)
  4. Ghosting: The Spirit of Christmas. Soooo goood! No tween romance here. There is a romance, but soul mates are much more complex than a dating site swipe.

From the family fun list:

  1. The Christmas Chronicles – Kurt Russel and a peek of Goldie Hawn. It’s adventurous and fun!
  2. Christmas on Holly Lane – Friends and family come together on Xmas.
  3. Dash and Lily – had to mention it as it’s not up for renewal, but I’m thinking of writing some fan fic for it.

Finally – ALL TIME FAVORITES!

  1. It’s a Wonderful Life. I am a Jimmy Stewart Fan. (Have you seen Harvey?!)
  2. Scrooged – Billy Murry in the 80’s – Hilarious!
  3. The Ref – not many people are familiar with this. Great for a laugh. It’s dated and completely politically incorrect. If you make it passed the first 10 minutes, you’re in for a treat – uhm, well, if you’re into dark comedy.