The Plot Thickens Book Review

A good plot is the key to any story. But developing that plot is not as easy as it may seem.

Noah Lukeman’s 2003 book, The Plot Thickens: 8 Ways To Bring Fiction To Life is a writer’s practical guide to creating and building up the plot.

Mr. Lukeman starts the first two chapters of book with writing exorcizes. He asks the writer questions about the characters inner and outer life. He then follows up with chapters that speak of creating suspense within the story and following the characters on their journey.

What I liked about this book is that the advice is practical. Regardless of the skill level or experience of the writer, we all could all use a little help every now and then.

I recommend it.


The Critics Were Wrong (Maybe)-Dracula-Dead And Loving It (1995)

Hollywood and science have a lot in common. When an experiment or a movie is a success, they repeat the formula and hope that the success will be repeated.  Sometimes, the experiment or movie is not as successful as it is hoped to be.

Mel Brooks has developed a reputation over the years to have a unique comedic sense. Not quite politically correct, but insightful, satirical and for the most part, entertaining.

His success in satirizing classics such as Frankenstein (Young Frankenstein, 1974) and Robin Hood (Robin Hood: Men In Tights, 1993) did not extend with the same success to Dracula-Dead And Loving It (1995).

When Dracula (Leslie Nielsen) starts to terrorize London, Harker (Steven Weber) must work with Dr. Seward (Harvery Korman) and Professor Van Helsing (Mel Brooks) to kill the vampire and save his fiance, Mina (Amy Yasbeck).

Were the critics wrong? I hate to say it, but no, they were right.  As much as I adore Mel Brooks as a comedian and a filmmaker, this movie is just not good.

Do I recommend it? No.


The Critics Were Wrong (Maybe)- Super Mario Bros (1993)

On the surface, converting a video game from the small screen to the silver screen seems like an easy task. The characters, plot and fan base are already in place. The only challenge is making the movie. Or so it seems.

In 1993, Super Mario Brothers was transferred from the small screen to the silver screen.

Mario Mario (the late Bob Hoskins) and his brother Luigi (John Leguizamo) are plumbers from Brooklyn. When Princess Daisy (Samantha Mathis) is kidnapped by the evil King Koopa (Dennis Hopper), Mario and Luigi must travel to another dimension to save the day.

Were the critics wrong? No. While I give the filmmakers an A for effort, this movie is just wrong for so many reasons.

Do I recommend it? No.

What Year Are We In?

Rachel Beyda is a sophomore at U.C.L.A., majoring in economics. Her professional goal is to become a lawyer.

To get the ball rolling on her future career, she presented herself as a candidate to join the student judiciary board.

Ms. Beyda is of the Jewish faith and is active in the Jewish community.

The questions leveled at her were not to confirm if she would remain an impartial and fair judge, they were to confirm if her faith would create a conflict with the cases she might judge if she were chosen.

Excuse me? Did I hear that? What year are we in? Are we in Germany in the 1930’s or in the United States Of America in 2015? What does her faith have to do with her ability to be a responsible  and impartial member of the student judiciary board?

If Ms. Beyda were of any other ethnicity or her skin was a different color, these questions would have never been asked. Or had they been asked, the students who asked these questions would have felt the repercussions immediately.

Instead the administration chose to pretend that it did not happen. That is, until the press got wind of the story. The apology from the students  and the statement from the university chancellor seem half hearted and forced to me.

Today’s college students are our future leaders. With future leaders such as these, I am afraid for country and our future.


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