Tuesday, October 23, 2012

From page to screen

Hey y'all, it's my turn in the blog chain again and this time Michelle picked the topic:

There are so many book-to-movie adaptations out there. Which are your favorites? Which are your least favorites? Why? Do you make sure you've read a book before you go see the movie adaptation, or do you prefer to read it after, or not at all?

My favorite part of going to the movies is the previews. Every time I see a trailer for a new book adaptation, I get super excited and punch my husband in the arm...even if I've never read the book. I recently saw the teaser trailer for Life of Pi and was so proud of myself for recognizing it right away, that I jumped up and down in my seat. Later, my husband pointed to the movie poster and said, "There's that book you like so much." I've actually never read it.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower has been on my to-be-read list for a long time. I'm a firm believer that the book is always better than the movie. There are so many nuances to a written story that can't be captured on the screen. Plus, I prefer my imagination to most of what Hollywood dreams up. I usually like to read the book before seeing the movie, but I'm tempted to make an exception for Perks of Being a Wallflower. It looks so good! And I've heard so many great things. 

I like watching the movie versions of books I love to see how someone else's vision compares to my own and of course to point out all the things that were cut. I love the Harry Potter movies for this. For me, Prisoner of Azkaban is probably the movie that got it most right, but Goblet of Fire is a plain old fun movie even if it's not as true to the book.

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events has to be the WORST book to movie adaptation ever. They took three books and tried to cram them into one movie. Jim Carey totally ruined the movie by hamming it up with his stretchy face instead of actually playing Count Olaf. I love that series and it's a total shame that movie was so bad.

What about you? Which adaptations do you love to hate?

Check out Michelle's take from yesterday and see Cole's tomorrow. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Name of the Game

Hello! I was content to let my little blog die and then wallow in the graveyard of the interwebs, but my amazing critique partner, Kate Karyus Quinn, convinced me to join this blog chain. So I've resuscitated this little space and now I'm back! Like a zombie blog.

I'll post every other week as part of the chain, and I'll try to do more than that, but my life is about to get crazy, so we'll see what happens. Kate chose the first topic of the chain:

What's in a name? What if Harry Potter had been Larry Snotter? What if Edward was Jacob and Jacob was Edward? What favorite books had character names that you loved or hated? And how do you come up with your own character names?
I've actually been thinking about names a lot lately. I'm expecting my first baby in a couple of weeks (hence the life about to get crazy thing). My husband and I went on a road trip and for hours did nothing but bounce names off each other. We wanted to choose a unique name and at some point we started joking and suggesting every word on passing street signs and bumper stickers as names for our son. We got to the point where one of us would say a name as a joke and the other would say, "Wait! I actually like that." Eventually we found one.

I think of a name matching an individual's personality but most of us don't choose our names. Our names are often more meaningful to our parents than to us. 

A lot of the time I don't pay attention to character names as I'm reading. There are tons of books I love, but I have no idea as to the main character's name. 
But sometimes a name stands out and that character and his/her name is forever burned into my brain. Hermione can only be the brainiac at Hogwarts and Katniss is forever the girl on fire. I love the name Lennon, or Lenny, in The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson.

I recently read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. There are two narrators, a husband and wife. I can't remember the guy's name. (Actually, did he have two?) But Amy. It's a common name. I have multiple friends named Amy, there are tons of celebrities and characters with the name. But Amy. The way the male narrator said her name in my head with such emotion (whether it be love or hate or both). Amy is now imprinted in my mind as Flynn's brilliantly written character.

I'm currently reading The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown and all three main characters are named after Shakespearean characters and they carry with them the burden of their namesake's story.

I don't get too attached to my own characters' names. I tend to like boy's names for girls. My first novel starred Sam (Samantha), my second had Alex (Alejandra), and now the girl occupying my brain is Jung. I found the name on a random name generator website. She's of Korean descent, so I looked up gender neutral Korean names and found Jung. It works because the story is about mental illness and so it also alludes to Karl Jung, the psychologist.

I think names, whether they be fictional or actual, are things we grow into rather than labels that define us. I have so many friends that when I first met them, I had a hard time pronouncing their name or thought it was a bit unusual, but once I got to know them, that was their name and I couldn't think of them as anything else. That's why we're not sharing our son's name until he's here. It might be a bit unsusual, but once he's born, he'll be so adorable no one will question it as he grows into it. I hope. :)

Check out Michelle's take on names from yesterday and tomorrow see what Cole has to say.