Of all of the basic elements that make up a successful narrative, the most important one to my mind is the story question.
Today I started reading a book and by the beginning of the second chapter, I felt like I couldn’t go on. The writer had yet to ask the story question.
In a nutshell, the story question grinds down the narrative down to a sentence or two.
- Star Wars: Can a small band of rebels destroy an evil empire?
- Pride and Prejudice: Elizabeth Bennet must marry because she has a small inheritance and no brother to inherit directly from her father. But she will give into the pressure to marry or will she marry for love?
- Jane Eyre: Can an orphaned young woman remain true to herself and not change to please others?
But, even with a great story question, the key is to ask the story very question early in the story.
- Star Wars: The opening scene is that of the Empire’s warship closing on a ship they believe belongs to the rebellion.
- Pride and Prejudice: Elizabeth Bennet is the second oldest of five daughters in a family that is without a direct male heir. Her mother is crowing about their new neighbor, a young man who is single and reputed to be wealthy.
- Jane Eyre: Jane Eyre is an orphan, living with relations who abuse her. She is reading a book and trying to hide from her cousins who frequently mock and bully her.
In creating my own fiction and critiquing fiction by other writers, I have learned that the story question is the most important question that is not only asked by the writer, but by the reader. In my experience, if the question is not asked properly and early on, it is likely to be lost in the narrative. If it is lost in the narrative, the reader or audience may never find it and walk away.
That is the last thing any writer wants.
It takes a brave (or foolhardy, depending on your point of view) actor to step into the shoes of a character that is known and beloved the world over. Especially in a prequel or sequel.
The full trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story was released on Sunday.
Alden Ehrenreich will be stepping into the very large shoes that Harrison Ford first made famous 41 years ago when Han Solo was introduced to audiences. Taking place 10 years before A New Hope, Han is still Han. Brash, cocky and still hell of a pilot, he gets entangled in the criminal underworld and goes on a journey that will lead him to the rebellion. His journey to the rebellion is incomplete without Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover).
As usual, Lucasfilm (and Disney by extension) gave fans just enough to get us excited without giving too much away. At this point, the film can go one of two ways. It can be like Rogue One and open the door to new characters/narratives within the Star Wars universe. Or, it can be like the prequels and basically suck.
Only time will tell. I can only hope and pray that the film lives up to the promises laid out in the trailer.
Yesterday, Lucasfilm teased us with the teaser trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story. Today the full trailer was released.
Needless to say, I am very excited about this film. Han is such a dynamic force of a character. To see where he came from and how he became the man the audiences meet in the bar on Tatooine in A New Hope is very exciting.
Han would not be Han without Chewbacca (played by Peter Mayhew in the original film and played by Joonas Suotamo in this film) Lando Calrissian (played by Billy Dee Williams in the original trilogy and played by Donald Glover in this film). There are also new characters, Qi’Ra (played by Emilia Clarke) and Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson).
So far, based on the trailer, it looks to be a good film. I can only hope that the film lives up to the promise in the trailer.
Han Solo is one of the most recognizable characters in film history.
Played by Harrison Ford in four of the nine released Star Wars movies, Han Solo was the space cowboy who became a hero of the rebellion.
This summer, Solo: A Star Wars Story is slated to hit theaters. A prequel to A New Hope, the movie tells Han’s story before he joins the rebellion. Alden Ehrenreich will be stepping into the very big shoes that Ford created forty-one years ago.
While Lucasfilm is not releasing any details beyond what is in trailer (which is not unexpected), I can only hope that this film not only lives up to the legacy of the series, but also gives the audience new insight into one of our favorite heroes.
2017 was a good year for the publishing industry, at least from my perspective. Below are top ten books for 2017.
- The Genius Of Jane Austen: Jane Austen was a genius, this book explains why.
- Growing Up Fisher: Joely Fisher’s unconventional autobiography is a look into her very unique Hollywood family.
- What Happened: Hillary Clinton’s brutally honest reminiscence of the 2016 Presidential Election is one for the ages.
- Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman: This must read book examines how female celebrities are questioning what is acceptable for a woman.
- The Making Of Jane Austen: Jane Austen was not born a writer, she made herself into one.
- Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Leia, Princess of Alderaan: The book tells the story of Princess Leia two years before the events of A New Hope.
- Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman’s Awakening: Saudi Arabia is known the world over for its oppressive laws against its women. Manal Al-Sharif is fighting to change that.
- Mr. Rochester: Written from the point of view of Edward Rochester, Charlotte Bronte’s most famous hero, the book is an eye-opening story on the man readers thought they knew.
- You Can’t Spell America Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My Fantastic First Year as President Donald J. Trump (A So-Called Parody): Alec Baldwin co wrote this hilarious book from the mind of you know who. Ridiculously funny.
- The Great Gasbag: An A-to-Z Study Guide to Surviving Trump World: Written by The View co-host Joy Behar, this novel is for anyone who needs a laugh, especially considering what has come out of D.C. this year.
This will be my last blog post for 2017. Wherever you are, have a safe and happy new year. See you in 2018.
Filed under Book Review, Books, Charlotte Bronte, Feminism, History, Jane Austen, Jane Eyre, Movies, Star Wars, Television, Writing
“Do. Or do not. There is no try.”-Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back
One of the more common signs of depression is how easy it is to stay home and do nothing.
The weather in New York City for the past few days has been frigid. Walking outside is akin to walking into an icebox. No amount of layers can protect against the freezing temperature.
I could have stayed in today after completing some minor errands. It would have been easy to say that the weather makes for an excuse for staying in.
But I knew I couldn’t stay home. I couldn’t let the depression win. Not today at least.
It took a lot for me to get out after completing my errands. More than I expected. But I did it. I know that my depression will never go away. But if I have the courage and strength to fight against it, then maybe one day, it will not have the stranglehold it does on my life.
A year ago today, Carrie Fisher passed away.
Writer, actress, mental health activist, mother, daughter, sister, feminist, Fisher was an icon to many for many reasons. Playing Leia Organa in the Star Wars film franchise, Fisher helped to change the way women are portrayed in film, especially in science fiction and fantasy films. Leia was not just the heart and the brains of the rebellion, she was whip smart and in charge.
Leia grabbing the blaster from Luke’s hands and shooting at the storm troopers was a small moment in A New Hope, but a big moment in the history of women on-screen.
After Star Wars and in between her other roles, Fisher became one hell of a writer, publishing her own work in addition to gaining the envious title of one of the most in demand script doctors in Hollywood. She was not afraid to speak openly about her addiction and mental illness issues when others were still in the closet about their addiction and mental illness issues.
The thing that will always stand out for me, is that she was herself, warts and all. Unapologetic, unafraid and upfront. We should all be so brave to be ourselves and not give a sh*t what someone else thinks of us.
For that, she will always be my hero.
RIP Carrie. A year still seems like yesterday.
A good sequel, when properly written, is always a thrill. It’s a thing of curiosity, to see where the character’s lives have gone and will go since we last saw them. The late Carrie Fisher knew a lot about sequels, she played Leia Organa in the Star Wars movie franchise.
She was also one hec of a writer.
The Best Awful, Fisher’s sequel to her best-selling novel, Postcards From The Edge, takes place a few years after the events in Postcards From The Edge. Her fictional alter-ego, Suzanne Vale, is now the mother of a young daughter, Honey. Honey’s father has just left Suzanne for a man. Wanting and needing a replacement for her ex, Suzanne decides it’s a good time to stop taking her medication. The results and the adventure she goes while off her medication is well, an adventure to say the least.
When Suzanne finally hits rock bottom, her ex, her movie star mother and her friends decide that the best thing for Suzanne is to be put in a mental hospital. Going into the hospital maybe the very thing Suzanne needs to move on with her life.
Fisher’s bouts with mental illness are part and parcel of her persona. What I loved about this book is that not only is it funny, but it speaks to the truth of what it is to bipolar and live with the ups and downs that being bipolar brings.
I absolutely recommend it.
A celebrity autobiography is a funny thing. It is part confessional, part life story and part point of view that can only be told uniquely by the celebrity who is writing the book.
Joely Fisher is the daughter of Connie Stevens and the late Eddie Fisher, in addition to being the half-sister of the late Star Wars icon Carrie Fisher. Recently, she has published an autobiography entitled, Growing Up Fisher: Musings, Memories, and Misadventures. Written candidly and openly, Ms. Fisher talks about what it was like to grow up in a famous Hollywood family and how that experience shaped her career and her adult life. She also writes about her sister, as only a devoted and loving family member can.
I really loved this book. I loved it because Ms. Fisher is not afraid to reveal her faults and her missteps. She is also talks about what is to be the daughter of Hollywood and how it affects how one’s view the world.
I recommend it.
Yesterday would have been the 61st birthday of actress, writer and mental health advocate Carrie Fisher.
Originally known to audiences as Princess Leia Organa from the Star Wars films, she was the daughter of the late singer Eddie Fisher and his first wife, actor/singer, the late Debbie Reynolds.
I could write about what her legacy is to the millions of Star Wars fans around the world and to the millions who are suffering from mental illness, but that’s been done. I want to remember as a woman who was not afraid to call out the bullshit, especially in Hollywood. Since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke two weeks ago, the floodgates of women who were sexually assaulted, not just by Weinstein, but other men in Hollywood have come forward. One of these men assaulted a friend of hers and Carrie responded as only she could.
In honor of Carrie, I give you Star Wars Rap Battle: Han Solo vs Princess Leia.
Happy Birthday, Carrie. You are gone, but never forgotten.