Long Live John Blake!

SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! Do not read further if you have not watched The Dark Knight Rises yet but intend to ever.

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When I walked out of the theater after The Dark Knight Rises, there were several things going through my mind.

But mainly John ROBIN Blake.

I wanted to badly for Joseph Gordon-Levitt to play Robin. But even though I thought his character was just a guy named John Blake, I really grew to love his character quickly. In his youth he had a hard and troubled past, much like Bruce Wayne, but without the resources. Yet he rose above his circumstances, worked hard, and became one of Gotham City’s finest.  And at the end when you find out his name is John ROBIN Blake, and that Bruce left him his cave and everything in it (essentially his legacy), I had to really contain my urge to fist pump in the air.

C. NOLAN!!! IT’S ROBIN MOVIE TIME!!!

Right?

Right?!?!

Nolan has said multiple times he’s “done” with Batman, but we all know Robin isn’t Batman. Even if he became Nightwing he wouldn’t be Batman. Duh. So in my mind, this is still possible.

Move aside Cat Lady, John Robin Blake was the star of The Dark Knight Rises as far as I’m concerned, and he deserves a movie.

But could it pretty please be coming one day?

But could it pretty please be coming one day?

One with Barbara Gordon, Harley Quinn, and the Riddler.

I’ve started a movie treatment, folks. And though I hesitate to put this on the Internet as anyone can steal my idea and claim it as their own, I am willing to risk it because I want this movie to be made. But if my idea gets stolen, I demand a 1% cut of the movie’s gross profits and a chance to meet with Christopher Nolan. Thank you. Now that my demands have been made…

Robin John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has been working with the Boys’ Home in Gotham reestablished at Wayne Manor after Bruce Wayne’s (supposed) death while working behind the scenes to prepare for his role as Nightwing when Gotham needs him.

One day the Boys’ Home welcomes in a new intern, a graduate student studying social work named Barbara Gordon (Emma Stone or Ellen Page), who also happens to be Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldham)’s daughter.

Meanwhile, Arkham Asylum psychologist Dr. Heather Quinzel (Ellen Page or Olivia Wilde) is devastated by the death of one of her patients, the Joker, who she found fascinating and wrote her doctorate dissertation on. The Joker leaves Heather a note telling her to seek out an old friend of his, Edward Nashton (Leonardo DiCaprio) who lives for riddles and games.

Heather quickly finds herself immersed in Edward’s world and he convinces her to finish the job the Joker started, and the two become a team as Harley Quinn and The Riddler.

That’s all have so far, but clearly Barbara Gordon has to become Batgirl and help Blake out, and clearly they would fall in love. (Also, Christopher Nolan needs to get someone else to flesh out Gordon’s character and her relationship with Blake, since he is apparently incapable of creating good women characters or romantic relationships unless they were in the movie Inception. I volunteer!)

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Does this not look like the makings of an awesome movie?! (I don’t know who did the Photoshop job of Leo, but thank you.)

So there you have it, Mr. Nolan. The ball is in your court. I can be patient and wait a few years, but I want this movie to happen. I will be waiting for your call.

What would you like to see in a John Blake movie?

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My Top 10 Antagonists

Today I wanted to do my own top ten list, my top ten antagonists. And perhaps because of the subject matter, I agonized over this list. I actually came up with a lot more than I anticipated, including ones that weren’t human (and I don’t mean aliens, though they made it on the list as well…), but I may save those for another day. And though there are several great antagonists out there in the world of stories and I know I could easily think of more than these, here are the ones I chose to spotlight. (These are from movies, TV, and books.)

Antagonist: a person who is opposed to, struggles against, or competes with another; opponent; adversary. (from dictionary.com)

#10: Carl Hanratty (vs. Frank Abagnale Jr.), Catch Me If You Can

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Carl Hanratty is not who you would think of as a typical antagonist. After all, he’s really the good guy, chasing after the bad guy, Frank. But it’s Frank’s story, so he is the protagonist, which makes Carl his antagonist. I love a good cat and mouse hunt story, and this is just about the best in my opinion (the movie version more so than the more accurate book, since it’s been dramatized, though the book is a great read). I especially love how the two of them really have a respect for each other in a way, as well as how they secretly love talking to one another every Christmas because there is no else they can talk to. Carl may be the good guy, but he has own issues to wade through, and though they oppose each other for most of the movie, Frank helps him see that. Carl, in turn, helps Frank use his abilities more productively and cut his prison sentences short by helping the FBI better recognize fraud.

#9: Gollum (vs. Sam and Frodo), The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

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Gollum is not the most obvious of antagonists, as he is not really evil. He’s more like a victim of a terrible curse who has just gone completely mad, allowing the power of the ring, the power of Sauron, completely overtake his being.  But that being said, he is certainly an adversary of Sam and Frodo’s as Frodo bears the ring. Sam can see right through Gollum’s lies and tricks, but Frodo, under the weight of the ring, cannot. And we cannot forget of course that even before Gollum crossed paths with Sam and Frodo, he riddled with Frodo’s uncle Bilbo in a battle of wits. He may be sneaky, but Frodo and Sam prevail when the ring is thrown into Mt. Doom (and spoiler – Gollum along with it!).

#8: Javert (vs. Jean Valjean), Les Miserables

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Javert is also the good guy, much like Carl, but the guy he’s after, Jean Valjean, has truly become a changed man since he broke parole. Javert cannot accept the good that Valjean has done, however, because being graceful to him means justice has not been served, and justice is what Javert lives for. He is an antagonist with the best of intentions, but is so set in his ways that he would rather sacrifice himself than see Valjean live in grace.

#7: The White Witch (vs. Narnia and Aslan), The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

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The White Witch (or the Queen of Narnia as she has deemed herself) has managed to make it only winter in the land of Narnia, and that, in my book, definitely makes for an evil person. She turns Edmund and several of Narnia’s creatures against Aslan and his ways, and believes she will continue to rule over the land. But of course, Aslan defeats her in the end, with the help of the four Pevensie children and other loyal Narnians.

#6: President Snow (vs. Katniss)/ The Capitol (vs. the Districts), The Hunger Games

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The Capitol was evil long before President Snow came to power, forcing the children of the districts to compete in an annual fight to the death competition, The Hunger Games. However, throughout The Hunger Games trilogy, President Snow is the clear figure head of the Capitol who is quite determined to burn out the spark of rebellion Katniss started.

#5: “Father” (vs. John Preston), Equilibrium

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John Preston lives in a society where feelings are not allowed, which are controlled by mandatory medicine.  When Preston misses a dosage, however, he starts to see his world through new eyes. “Father” is the figurehead of the society’s government that everyone follows and listens to, and it is him that stands against everything John Preston has come to stand for, and he is the one Preston must take down in order for a revolution to begin.

#4: Bester (vs. Michael Garibaldi), Babylon 5

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Bester is a prominent member of Psi Corp who antagonizes all the senior staff members of the space station Babylon 5, but it is Michael Garibaldi who he particularly goes to war with. I don’t want to get into spoiler territory because it is so good and you really need to watch it unfold for yourself, so check out Babylon 5 if you haven’t already. It’s completely dated-looking, especially in the beginning, but hang on because the story’s so good and it all really peaks in season 3.

#3: The Borg (vs. everyone), Star Trek (particularly The Next Generation)

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When the Borg is first introduced in Star Trek: The Next Generation, they are just about the creepiest villain ever. “You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.” For you non-Trekkies, the Borg is a cyborg collective that assimilates humans (and other alien species) into the collective. So essentially, you remain alive, but you will be completely Borgified and not yourself. There are a lot of great Star Trek episodes about the Borg, and it’s far more than I can get into here. But talk about a scary antagonist.

#2, The Joker (vs. Batman), The Dark Knight

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I don’t think I can describe The Joker better than Alfred: ” Some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.” He is certainly a fascinating character of psychology. Though he was deeply disturbing, I sometimes wish I knew more. Sometimes I’m glad I don’t.

#1: The Dominion (particularly Dukat and Weyoun, vs. The Federation), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

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I don’t even know how to begin to explain The Dominion to someone who has not watched Deep Space Nine. They are a group of aliens from another quadrant, really three different species who work together as gods, middlemen, and warriors. They join up with a species in the Alpha Quadrant, the Cardassians, to oppose the Federation, and Deep Space Nine is the front line. Gul Dukat and and Weyoun are two faces of the Dominion that Deep Space Nine deal with and know far too well. There is just too much to say about  them, but while the two of them specifically have different methods when it comes to dealing with the enemy, they are both undoubtedly evil. And with all their schemes, they are amazing villains to watch.

 Who are some of your top antagonists? What do you think makes an antagonist particularly threatening to the protagonist?

Review: The Matched Trilogy

Since The Hunger Games I have been seeking out other young adult dystopia stories. So far I have read: the Matched trilogy (by Ally Condie), Divergent and Insurgent (first two of a trilogy by Veronica Roth), The Maze Runner series (trilogy + prequel, by James Dashner), The Selection (first of a trilogy by Kiera Cass), The Giver (a little bit more classic, by Lois Lowry), and I started Delirium (first in a trilogy by Lauren Oliver) but halfway through stopped caring about any of the characters and thus stopped reading. And unfortunately, aside from The Giver and The Selection, these other stories don’t seem to have it down.

What is it?

I’m not really sure.

It’s part realistic and interesting dystopian future, part great characters, part engaging story. I mean, all these stories have these traits somewhat, otherwise they would have fallen by the wayside like Delirium (sorry to all the Delirium fans… I know there are many out there…), but it seems something just seems to fall flat. And I fear so badly my books will do this too. So in an attempt to understand what I like best in these stories… I’ll analyze them… starting with Matched, Crossed, and Reached.

matched trilogy

I read Matched last summer by the pool and on the beach while in Destin. I actually really, really enjoyed it and flew through it Hunger Games style. After finishing it, while still on vacation, I insisted on going to the Barnes and Noble in Destin to buy Crossed. Read it and liked it alright, though not as much. Then I had to wait for Reached. I got it in January with a gift card and read it. And the book was fine, in fact some of it was pretty interesting, but towards the end I could see it spiraling down fast in a way I was not thrilled about. Both the second and third books also lagged in places, unlike the first. But let me break down further…

Problem #1: She chooses the wrong guy. I won’t spoil this for those who have not read, but our main character, Cassia, has two guys pining over her, much like The Hunger Games. Both guys are decent, don’t get me wrong, but the guy she didn’t pick… I just loved him way more. More than the other guy and more than the main character (like how I cared way more about Peeta than everyone else in The Hunger Games). I think this a large part of the reason why I loved Matched more than the others… because things still seem quite hopeful between Cassia and the guy. But ultimately, it doesn’t happen. And it crushed me.

Problem #2: Mushiness + poetry = ICK. The second book is most guilty of this. Cassia lives in a society where everything is limited: there are only a hundred songs, a hundred stories, a hundred paintings, etc. that society is exposed to. When she discovers “new” poetry, it excites her. She wants to use it to communicate her feels. And it gets mushy. With the wrong guy. Boo.

Problem #3: Crossed is kind of weak in hind sight. First, there were all the unrealistic aspects of it: Oh, I have taken poison but can trek through deserts and mountains. Oh, we just stumbled upon the Resistance and they let us join. Oh, my new friend just saw a picture of this guy and decided she’s in love with him. And again, there’s the mushiness: “I want nothing more to cuddle in a cave and read poetry with my love!” (That’s not an actual quote but it could be… blech!) And there’s a lot of walking.

Problem #4: They kind of ripped off The Giver. I didn’t realize this until I read Reached, since I read The Giver in between Crossed and Reached. As I read Reached and it reminded me of all the ceremonies and rituals the Society had, I was like ohmygoshthisisfromthegiverwhy?! When it comes to dystopia stories, I want to see new and fresh ideas. Sure, all books borrow ideas from others, and that’s OK, and though it’s not a blatant rip-off, there were more similarities than I cared for.

Problem #5: The meetings in Reached are very anti-climatic.  It’s hard to get into the details of this without spoilers, but there were several meetings between people that should have been interesting in some way, but they just fell flat. By Reached, I almost feel like Condie gave up on doing anything new or dynamic with the characters individually or when they interacted with each other.

Problem #6: Ky never seems to care about the causeOne of the guys, Ky, is painted as a pretty strong character in some respects. He is against the Society, however, he’s not in love with the Resistance like Cassia and Xander. By the end of the trilogy, I wasn’t so in love with the Resistance either, so I understand, but it felt so weak for him to just play along for Cassia. Everything he did was for her. I can respect that to some extent, but after a while it just feels kind of pitiful.

Problem #7: Lackluster ending. I don’t mind endings that are left open to interpretation. I don’t mind the sentiment that some things are unresolved now because it will take time. I don’t mind  growth in characters. But I don’t like endings that feel like they just stop when the author doesn’t know what to write anymore, and I don’t like characters having sudden changes in personality so they can move on to different paths and I’m supposed to be happy for them for that.

Things I did enjoy about the series… the first few chapters of Matched were beautifully written and made me feel so happy. The Society, though it did borrow from The Giver, was also pretty interesting. In Reached, there is a plague that spreads and mutates, and that to me was pretty interesting, but unfortunately that story line ended up sagging instead of thriving. And I did really enjoy one character, but did not care as much for the others… even Cassia was just OK for me.

The first few chapters of Matched were literally good enough to carry me through reading the series, and though Condie does have a beautiful writing style, overall, it left me feeling unsatisfied.

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If only William Shatner had made an appearance in the books. Instantly more gratifying. I have no idea why this picture exists but it made me smile when I stumbled upon it.

So if you’ve read this series, what did you think of it? Any other young adult dystopias you would recommend for me?

Favorite quote from the trilogy: “You cannot change your journey if you are unwilling to move at all.” (from Reached)

My Top 10 Favorite Characters in the Classic Book Genre

For the first time (I mean, this is only my fourth post, after all), I am participating in The Broke and the Bookish‘s Top Ten Tuesday topic, and I hope I will be able to participate in this every week or so. This week the topic is the top ten favorite characters in the genre of our choosing. I gave this some thought, and was surprised that the easiest list to form was 10 characters for was classics, but I suppose this is because I had to read so many classic books for school. Unfortunately, for three novels I chose 2 characters, making up 6/10 of the list and not providing much variety. I thought about bending the rules and doing a Top 5 Classic Characters and Top 5 Dystopia Characters, and while the latter was quite easy to compile, it was hard to whittle my Top 10 to a Top 5 . (Perhaps we’ll see the Top 5 Dystopia characters in a future post…) So all that to say, sorry for all the repeat novels and my lack of variety. Some criteria: I had to have actually read the book, of course, and not just seen the movie (so this eliminated possibilities such as Emma and Lord of the Rings). I also have to remember liking the character distinctly from the book (I liked Bilbo Baggins fine in the book The Hobbit, but I enjoyed him more in the movie; of course I think Pride and Prejudice, since I saw the movie before I read the book, probably suffered from a prejudice while reading). And just so you don’t think I’ve only read 6 classic novels (though I admit there are many more I need to read), there are several classics I did not find one character that I particularly loved and the story was more about the message for me (like The Picture of Dorian Gray), or I just hated the book (that’s a long list). So with all that out of the way, on to my list…

1o. Catherine, Northanger Abbey

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I don’t think of Catherine as a particularly extraordinary character, but maybe that’s why I like her. She’s nice and normal, and you’re happy for her when she finds love. Sometimes, it’s best to keep it simple.

9. Narrator, Rebecca

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I read the book in tenth grade and then watched Alfred Hitchcock’s take on it and remember really enjoying both. It’s amazing to me how much a character can resonate with you, and how personal she can feel, when you don’t even know her name.

8. Sonya; 7. Raskolinkov (Crime and Punishment)

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I read this novel for AP English my senior year of high school, and it made such an impact on me that I revisited it for my creative thesis project for the Honors College four years later. Sonya is a great redemptive character who has been through so much herself, but helps Raskolinkov when he opens up to her about what he has done. And though you cannot help but wonder if Raskolinkov is off his rocker, what I love about his character is that he is so human. The crime he commits wracks him with guilt, and he cannot be made whole again until he suffers the punishment.

6. Sherlock Holmes, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

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Of course Robert Downey Jr. plays the role of Sherlock Holmes so brilliantly, but I remember reading the stories of Sherlock Holmes and just being struck by how smart he was. I loved that he could pick up on the details that no one else could. He is definitely a fascinating character.

5. Aslan, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

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I considered Peter and Lucy for this list as well, as I love them both dearly, but Aslan imparts such wisdom and I just love him throughout the whole series of books. He always says and does the right things at the right times (no surprise since he represents Jesus). He is definitely a good lion… but not a tame one.

4. Mr. Darcy; 3. Elizabeth (Pride and Prejudice)

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Sorry to put them in Top 10 lists right in a row, but I couldn’t help it. How can I not love this witty, intelligent, made-for-each other couple? Their individual personalities, the interactions between them… they’re just great characters! And by the way, if you love Pride and Prejudice as much as I do, stay tuned to the very end of the post!

2. Laurie; 1. Jo (Little Women)

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Well, number one should not be too shocking considering the title of this blog. But I also absolutely adore Laurie. I think my heart shattered into a thousand pieces when Jo rejected Laurie (it still hurts my heart every time I revisit the story), but I also had the thought, Well heck, I’ll take him! And of course, what makes Laurie even more awesome in the film is that he is played by Christian Bale. But seriously, I love how playful and loyal Laurie is, and Jo and I are practically the same person in some ways.

If you enjoyed my list, be sure to check out some of the others who participated!

Also, if you love Pride and Prejudice, you’ll probably love this web video series I found yesterday called The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. It’s a modern-day adaptation of the story all told through Lizze’s vlog. It’s a simple format but it has good production, the writing  is smart, the characters are spot-on, and the the way they adapt certain situations for modern times is well done. There is some mild language in some of the episodes, just as a warning. I may or may not have spent my day off yesterday watching every.single.episode. Yep. I found it that addicting. Watch the first episode (and the proceeding 88) right here:

So who are your favorite characters from classic literature?

Embarrassed About Accomplishment?

It’s amazing to me how we, as people, generally tend to be. We pride ourselves as experts in world politics, parenting, fashion, you name it, but when we receive a compliment or an accolade, most of us feel suddenly humbled or even downright shy.

“It wasn’t much, really.”

“I don’t really deserve this.”

“Well, it wasn’t that hard.”

What’s also difficult is when you achieve a personal accomplishment, and you think to yourself: This is so awesome! I want someone to know! Not so that they’ll be impressed… I mean it’s not the most awesome thing ever… but I just want someone besides me to know. But I don’t want to seem like I’m proud or bragging… 

So here is…

The other day, after three and a half months, I basically completed a 76,000+ word novel. This was after spending a year writing a 67,000+ word novel. That was after spending ten years writing a 46,000+ word novel. Do you understand the strides I’m making here?

But again, I don’t want to be braggy (I honestly don’t), so this is the part where I downplay everything.

It’s not like it’s Pulitzer winning material or the next Harry Potter. All three of my stories need a TON of work before I even think about self-publishing or sending it off to someone to publish. 

I’m trying to balance all these thoughts. It’s good that I realize I haven’t mastered the craft of writing yet and I still have A LOT to learn. It’s good that I recognize that the first draft is no where near the last. And it’s good that I’m not already promoting my young adult dystopia series with a Facebook  page as I send this off to the fastest self-publishing company out there. (Which would be dumb for more many reasons, but especially since there are actually still some parts that I have highlighted yellow in Word because I plan to change them but haven’t yet, but have otherwise finished the story.)

But I don’t have to be embarrassed or afraid to say, “Hey, I’m super excited because I wrote over 75,000 words in less than four months and I have never, ever, ever done that before.”

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When I posted this on Instagram the other day I was excited to surpass the last novel. I didn’t know yet that I was going to make it up to 76,000.

By the way, this did not come easily. When I started this novel in November (since – full disclosure – there were some bits and pieces of it that had been written out before and I had a lot better grasp on this particular story line than I did for the previous novel) I had a goal to finish both it and the next one in my series by the end of 2013. I put a lot of time into writing these last three and a half months. I know the next book will not be quite as fast, but I do hope I can get it done by the end of the year. And when I am ready to revise all these stories, I will certainly be more focused on the quality than the quantity. But before I could revise it to perfection (or as close to it as I can get), I had to write something. And lately, I’ve gotten much further along in writing something than I would have believed four years ago.

What are you hoping to accomplish, or have you accomplished, that excites you but also makes you feel a little sheepish?

My Top 10 Favorite Fictional Couples

In honor of Valentine’s Day a couple of days ago, I wanted to share my Top 10 favorite fictional couples. It was a  little hard to compile the list, but when I thought about the couples I was most excited to see come together, these were the obvious ones. These are not in any real order, though I tried to save the best for last… which is a little hard to choose when you love them all so much! There are spoilers for two Star Trek series, The Hunger Games, some Jane Austen stories, and other things as well, so proceed with caution.

10. Will and Elizabeth, Pirates of the Caribbean

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Let’s get something straight here: there is only one Pirates of the Caribbean movie, savvy? There were no sequels, savvy? The characters were never completely rewritten in order to accommodate ridiculous plot points, savvy? Now that we are clear on that, I love Will and Elizabeth. When I first saw this movie as a junior in high school, I absolutely swooned over Will Turner (ironically, when I first saw this movie my future husband was probably in the room with me… little did I know!) and I adored just how much he cared for Elizabeth. He’d die for her! He’d partner up with a pirate to save her! He was the best and she held her own too.

9. Pam and Jim, The Office

Jim-and-Pam

I have never watched The Office consistently, but let’s be real, who doesn’t love Pam and Jim?! It’s the sweet story of a guy falling for a girl who’s engaged to someone else, but in the end manages to get her. It’s romantic while still being real, not a fairy tale but completely adorable. I love how Jim persevered through it all to win Pam over in the end.

8. Trip and T’Pol, Star Trek: Enterprise

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In the very first episode of Enterprise, when I saw Trip and T’Pol and their tension, I knew that there was a very good chance they would end up together. And it certainly did not seem like they would when T’Pol went through the marriage ceremony with her betrothed that she really cared nothing for in order to help her mom, but after T’Pol’s husband agreed to a divorce (which I am not a fan of by any means, but in this case it was really more of an annulment), she was available once again. Of course between their hurt prides and egos it was not a simple reunion, but she finally admitted to Trip she actually did care for him. We’ll just say the rest is history, because we all know that Terra Prime is the real finale, not These Are the Voyages (curse you Rick Berman and Brannon Braga!).

7. Julian and Ezri, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

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I listen to a few Star Trek podcasts, and I know there are people out there who don’t care much for Dr. Julian Bashir, especially when he hits on women. And I know there are people who don’t care much for Ezri Dax, saying she’s inferior to Jadzia. Well, I disagree with these people as I happen to love both characters, and I especially loved it when they got together! Poor Bashir had pined after Jadzia Dax for years before she chose Worf. But when Ezri came along, she was the same but different. She was Dax, but she wasn’t Jadzia. And at some point, Ezri realizes that she really cares for Julian too. They have some cute and awkward interactions before they finally get together almost right at the end of the series. (And for those who are completely confused about the connection between Ezri and Jadzia, you can read this. It may or may not help. This was also a super big spoiler in multiple ways. Sorry.)

6. Katniss and Peeta, The Hunger Games

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I was pretty much on Team Peeta the moment we got to know him. He was sweet and thoughtful and I just adored him. How could Katniss not see how great he was? Of course, she had bigger things on her mind, like surviving The Hunger Games, trying to fly under President Snow’s radar, leading a rebellion… Somewhere in Mockingjay, however, I realized I didn’t really care anymore if Katniss and Peeta ended up together… I just wanted him to be OK! Thankfully he was able to come out of his hijacked state, and Katniss came to realize how much she did care for her. I just wish we could have gotten better development of all this at the end of the book. But that didn’t change the fact that I was ecstatic when she told him “real.”

5. Rapunzel and Flynn/Eugene, Tangled

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I almost didn’t think of these two, but once I did, I knew they belonged on this list. When I watch Tangled, I feel like a little girl all over again. I’m pretty sure it’s my favorite Disney movie and I wish I could have had it in my childhood. I love how Rapunzel recruits Flynn Rider to help her escape her tower and find the floating lanterns, and that he is just trying to stay out of trouble, but somewhere in the middle of it all, they completely fall for each other. And the scene with them in the boat as the lanterns float around them is breathtaking to watch. I have never gotten so excited about a couple in an animated movie as I have with these two.

4. Steve and Peggy, Captain America

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It breaks my heart to even think about Steve and Peggy. Unfortunately, the ending isn’t as happy for these two, as Captain America seems to meet his demise at the bottom of the ocean, only to be revived decades later. Throughout the movie, I just loved every moment these two had together. In this movie, Peggy Carter easily became one of my favorite female characters of all time. She was strong and feminine at once, and absolutely steadfast and devoted to her work and to waiting for Steve. I felt my heart break into a thousand pieces when Steve realizes what year it is and laments, “I had a date.” Tears!

3. Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice

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The 2005 film Pride and Prejudice was my gateway into the world of Jane Austen, and boy did I ever fall in love with Elizabeth Bennett, Mr. Darcy, their mishaps, and their finally getting together in the end. I loved this movie so much I used “Liz On Top of the World” from it as my processional in my wedding. Of course none of us love Mr. Darcy in the beginning. He seems so cold and proud. But as the story unfolds, we understand the complexity of his character, how loyal and caring he truly is. I also related to Elizabeth so much, and understood exactly why she felt the way she did. What a relief it is the end when we finally see her come around and he asks for her hand in marriage once again.

2. Jack and Lucy, While You Were Sleeping

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Other than Jane Austen movies, this is pretty much the chick flick for me, as I’m not a fan of most of them. But what I love about While You Were Sleeping is that it isn’t crude and every character is so well-rounded and wonderfully quirky in their own way. Lucy thinks she’s in love with Peter, who she sees everyday at work when he boards the train. One day when he falls on the track and she saves his life, she rushes to the hospital to see him. Through a misunderstanding, the nurse tells Peter’s family that Lucy is his fiance, and craziness ensues. Of course, they’re upset that Peter (who is in a coma and cannot speak for himself) never bothered to tell them about Lucy, and while Lucy tries to explain who she actually is, they accept and welcome her into the family. As Peter sleeps, the situation gets even stickier when Lucy grows to care for his family, especially his brother Jack. He, in turn, falls for her, but feels it’s sort of hopeless. Thankfully, all misunderstandings are resolved in the end, and of course Lucy and Jack end up together after all.

1. Emma and Mr. Knightley, Emma

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It was hard to put this higher on my list than Elizabeth and Darcy, since they were my first Austen couple, but I think I might like Emma and Knightley as a couple even more. Their romance is like a sleeper hit, slowly and quietly blooming over several years of friendship. Emma is not interested in marrying anyone herself, but loves to match others. This results in some disasters, and she herself finds herself taking a liking to the mysterious but playful Frank Churchill. But when he leaves for a time, she realizes she does not miss him too much, just a little as a friend, and when her friend Harriet Smith reveals she has feelings for Mr. Knightley, Emma suddenly grows jealous. Mr. Knightley is aware of his feelings much sooner, though he bides his time and is a perfect gentleman throughout the story. And when they finally come together in the end, you know it’s a perfect match.

Who’s your favorite fictional couple? If you like this blog post, check out House of Geekery’s Top 10 Couples in Geek Fiction!

Start.

I suppose this is the part where I introduce myself. So… my name is Amy, I’m 26 years old, and I blogged consistently for years. Then slowly, after years of sharing my life online, I just got tired of it. I was starting to focus more on my fiction. I felt my blog had no real direction. Well, it did, I suppose… it was sharing my weekend with my friends. But I was tired of that and I knew that if I was going to blog anymore, it needed to be different. It needed to have a direction and be something that people I don’t know would find interesting.

But the thought of focusing on one thing and the thought of total strangers reading my stuff online was terrifying. Sure, I wanted to be a published author one day, but I wouldn’t hear most of the criticism, and it wouldn’t be as immediate and personal as a negative comment on a blog. (Actually, it would be just as personal, because if I do ever get published, I can guarantee that book will be like my baby… a true labor of love.)

February 7, I attended a great event called Start Night, thrown by Jon Acuff. He’s pretty much been my hero since I read his book Quitter. I am not even 100% certain how I found out about the book. I knew him from the few times I had visited his Stuff Christians Like blog, and then he started making appearances on a radio show I listen to. I assume I heard him on the radio that day, checked out his blog, and then on the side of the page saw something about his new book Quitter, which had the tagline: “Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job & Your Dream Job.” Needless to say, this intrigued me. I downloaded it to my Nook and started reading it right away even though I had been reading Northanger Abbey. And it changed my thinking; it changed me.

When I saw the announcement for Start night, I knew I had to go. I got my ticket the first day. It felt a little risky. I, the introvert, would be going solo. I would have to parallel park in the downtown area. I would probably be sleep deprived the next day. And it was also the due date of my friend’s baby. I had no way of knowing he would be born a month early. I just hoped it would work out. And it did.

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Waiting in line… thankfully not long.

The theme of the night, and of the upcoming book, was this idea of leaving behind the path of an average life and getting on the path to awesome.

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Inside the theatre… the switch from average to awesome.

I don’t think it sounds cool when I explain it, but it does when Jon Acuff does. Anyhow… and of course there was the idea of STARTING, to not put your dreams on hold any longer. Yes, keep your day job for now. Yes, be aware of your present circumstances and what you are capable of in terms of commitments and finances and what is important now. But dream of what’s ahead. Take every small baby step you can towards your dream and watch it grow. And don’t listen to the negative voices inside you that say you can’t do it, or the myth that you’ll be ready one day but you aren’t now. You’ll never really be ready. You have to start and go through an awkward, fumbling beginning and learning stage before you can become the master of your craft that you want to be. And not only is that OK, that’s what everyone who lives an awesome life goes through.

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Jon Acuff gave a great presentation of the material and I felt encouraged afterward. I got to leave with a pre-release copy of the book, which I am reading through now. Do yourself a favor and pre-order it.

All this to say, this blog is how I am STARTING, at least with my public writing. I have been writing pretty religiously for a little over a year now, and it’s paid off. Since November 2011 I have basically written 1 novel and I am almost finished with another one. That is more than I accomplished in my previous 15+ years of writing (but don’t get me wrong… I needed those years to start a lot of bad stories, ha).

But believe it or not, this blog is not all about my pursuit of writing. I think that would actually be quite boring to read about unless I posted my writing, which I am not doing quite yet. I do want to talk about stories however, whether they be in TV, movie, or book format. I love stories in all mediums. I majored in TV Production in college because I thought I might want to tell stories that way. I still hope to one day do a little something with film. But right now, I want  to write, and write, and rewrite, until I get that first novel bound with my name on the cover. But any exercise in writing and exploring story telling is beneficial I believe. So I will be discussing everything from Jo in Little Women (book and novel form) to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine to movie adaptations of Jane Austen’s stories to The Hunger Games… and everything else in between.

I still don’t know exactly how this blog is going to look as it progresses. I have sat on this idea for about a year. But it’s time to START and find out. Thanks for reading this long (I promise not all posts will be this long). And thanks for your willingness to go through the growing pains with me.

Tell me, what do you want to START? What’s your dream?