Top Ten Things On My Reading Wishlist

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is my Top Ten Things On My Reading Wishlist (if you could make authors write about these things you would. Could be a specific type of character, an issue tackled, a time period, a certain plot, etc.)

Seeing as I do write, while compiling this list I wondered: Why aren’t I writing these stories? And the answer is, I haven’t been so particularly inspired to yet. But who knows, maybe one day I will! But in the meantime, if someone else wants to write on of these stories, that’s be great because I would love to read them! This week’s list is in no particular order, and all these are YA story ideas unless otherwise specified.

1. WWII Historical Fiction Set in America

There’s been a fair share of WWII historical fiction lately, set in other countries: The Book Thief, Between Shades of Gray, Code Name Verity, etc. And I’m grateful for these, because for those of us who do live in America, sometimes we need to get outside of our USA bubble and see how the rest of the world sees things. But remember Molly from American Girl?

meet-mollyI’ve been interested in WWII history for a long time, so even as a girl I was fascinated by the story of a girl my age and how she coped with the war at home in America. I would absolutely love to see a YA story like this!

2. Story Set in Monaco

monte_carlo_casino_monacoOnce upon a time, I saw something about the country of Monaco on TV, and since then, I’ve been mildly curious about it. We see books set in France, Italy, Australia, etc., but what about Monaco? How’s life look like there? I actually wrote a short story about a teen American girl visiting Monaco when I was in high school, but I haven’t been able to find it and quite frankly, I knew very little about the country. I’d love to read the story from someone who knew what they were talking about.

3. A Little Women Retelling

little-women-retellIt’s no secret that I love Little Women. Because of this, I have attempted a couple different retellings, but neither of them have stuck for me yet, but we’ll see… maybe one day something will. (BTW, I will finish my Little Women movie dreamcast posts one day…). I love this story and want to see a truly justifiable retelling of it, either in a contemporary or futuristic setting. Also, bonus points if Jo and Laurie hook up this time. 🙂

4. Jane Austen Contemporary Retellings, a la Lizzie Bennet and Emma Approved

ja-retellingsBasically, I want to see stories very similar to The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and Emma Approved as novels, and obviously more suited for that than the video format. I suppose they would be more New Adult, but I would want them to not be too focused on sexytimes, but rather stay true to the nature of Jane Austen’s stories. And I know there are Jane Austen retellings out there, but I would love for the same author to write six books based on Jane Austen’s six books and that would be in the same universe, and be as awesome as these Pemberley Digital videos. I would DEVOUR these books, so someone give them to me!

5. Retelling of Alice in Wonderland that Involves Traveling to Other Worlds/Dimensions

I came up with this one very randomly. I have nothing else to add, but I think it sounds awesome.

6. Set in Well-Known Cities That Aren’t LA/NYC/Chicago

I love big cities, but it seems the same ones get all the love. Why not more books in Seattle, Houston, Phoenix, Nashville (though I think this one is rising in popularity… I just wish we could see more Nashville stories NOT involving country music), etc.? I’ll admit I don’t think much about where the story is set when I seek out a book, probably largely because I’m usually reading things set in the future, but if a book was set in Houston or Nashville (the two areas where I have spent the vast majority of my life) my interest would be at least piqued.

 7. Teens Who Work in a Comic Book Store and Go on Geeky Adventures

geek-costumesI think this one is self-explanatory, and would be so fun!

8. Teen Science Geniuses a la Fitz-Simmons

fitz-simmons2Fitz and Simmons are the two scientists on the show Agents of SHIELD, and they’re also my favorite characters from the show. They totally play off each other with their science facts and geeky quips and I want a book with a duo like them! But since I fail at science, I will not be writing it.

9. Teen Olympian Athlete

Eiskunstlauf: Tara Lipinski zeigt ihr WM-Gold

Was anyone else totally into Tara Lipinski, 1998 Olympic gold medalist?

As someone who has never been particularly good at sports, I have long been fascinated by the ability of Olympian athletes, and would love to read a YA book about a teen playing in the games, particularly a gymnast, a swimmer, or an ice skater. I would love to read a realistic look of what it takes to train for, qualify for, and be in the Olympics as a teen athlete.

10. Teens/Young Adults Flying in Space, a la the Red Squad from Star Trek

Red_SquadIn the Star Trek franchise, there are references to an elite group of cadets from Starfleet Academy called Red Squad who receive special and advanced training flying in space. In an episode of Deep Space Nine called “Valiant,” the Red Squad cadets were aboard the U.S.S. Valiant with an adult crew, when all the adult crew were killed in enemy fire and the cadets were forced to step up and take charge of the ship. It was a very interesting look on how a spaceship run by young people would work, how they would respond to having to answer to one another as officers, etc. Basically, I would love to see some of the ideas from this episode expounded on and explored in a book (something other than a Star Trek book). And I would love to hear the perspective of the specially trained teens about flying in space and their hopes for their future in a space career.

So what’s on your reading wishlist?

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Favorite Christmas Scenes in Non-Christmas Movies

Recently I talked about my struggle with Christmas movies, but how there are some “Christmas” movies I enjoy that take place during the holidays, but aren’t really Christmas movies, since they really take place over a much larger portion of time. Here are four movies with Christmas scenes I really enjoy…

While You Were Sleeping

While You Were Sleeping is, for me, the standard for all chick flicks, which means I’m not generally a fan of chick flicks, because this one is just so much better! For the uninitiated, due to a misunderstanding, Lucy (played by Sandra Bullock) finds herself being accepted into the family as the fiance of the man whose life she saved but is asleep in a coma. This happens on Christmas and she ends up spending the holidays with them. I love this scene especially where the family has this funny conversation at dinner that is quirky, yet also feels like it could happen around a number of dinner tables.

Little Women

You all know my love for Little Women, and Christmas comes up a few times throughout the movie. I particularly like the Christmas scene when the girls’ father comes home from the war, but this is also a nice scene where Beth gets a piano for Christmas. Times have been tough for the March family during the war, as we see from the first few minutes of the movie, but Beth is not one to complain. She’s been sick and so when the March family’s next door neighbor, Mr. Lawrence, gives her this piano, it’s just a sweet moment.

Catch Me If You Can

Christmas also plays a fairly significant role in the movie Catch Me If You Can, as Frank Abagnale always seems to talking Hanratty, the FBI agent pursuing him, on Christmas day. (Side note: this is just a motif for the movie and not part of the real life story, but it’s one I enjoy.) This scene in particular is a stand-out for me because every time I hear this song, I think of Frank in the snow, outside his mother’s house.

Emma

Out of all these movies, Christmas plays the least significant role in Emma, but I enjoy the scene of Emma and her friends and family at a Christmas party. She tries to listen in on a story about the mysterious Frank Churchill, but is constantly being interrupted by Mr. Elton. Then after the party, we have this fateful scene of Mr. Elton confessing his love for Emma and her rejecting him. By the way, do you think Senator Elton on Emma Approved will make known his feelings towards Emma during a Christmas party?

What’s your favorite Christmas scene from a non-Christmas movie?

catch-me-if-you-can-christmas

Little Women Dreamcast: Part One

Guys! Guyssssssssss!!!!!!!!! They’re doing another adaptation of Little Women (thanks to Read Books and Blog for this news)! Squeeeeee!!!!

*Contains self*

As may be obvious from my blog name, I’m a big fan of Little Women, and though I simply love the 1994 version and Christian Bale will always and forever be Laurie in my heart, I am still really excited about a newer adaptation! So long as it’s done well, of course! So of course, I have to dreamcast! This will be part one of my dreamcast, in which I cast the four girls and Laurie, AKA the main characters. Then in Part Two I will fill in the gaps of the secondary characters.

I decided I wanted to use actresses and actors who are actually relatively close in age to the characters, which is a little difficult because of the large span in time in the story, but I didn’t want to cast a 30 year old for a 15-20 year old girl. This means no Amanda Seyfried for Amy, or Mia Wasikowska for Beth, or Aaron Tveit for Laurie, though I think would all have been perfect just a few years ago!

Meg: Emma Watson

Emma-WatsonI think Emma Watson would do a great job of portraying the often prudent, but still learning and growing, Meg, the oldest of the March sisters. She chooses to marry a poor tutor because she knows the value of love over money, and patinetly waits a few years to do so.

Jo: Hailee Steinfield

hailee_steinfeld2Hailee Steinfiled has proven she can play with the boys in True Grit and Ender’s Game, and Jo’s a bit of a tomboy herself. Yet she is also full of love and creativity, and I can see Hailee bringing all these things to Jo’s character.

Beth: Abigail Breslin

abigail-breslinIn her brief scenes in Ender’s Game, Abigail Breslin displayed a kind and emotional character in Valentine, and through this performance I saw the potential for a Beth March. Beth is quiet and compassionate and helps temper Jo, and I believe Abigail could bring that balancing force for Hailee’s portrayal of Jo.

Young Amy: Sophie Nelisse/ Older Amy: Dakota Fanning

amySophie Nelisse is playing Liesel in The Book Thief, which I have not seen yet since it has not been released yet, but she really looks the part of Amy! Though Amy is a very different character from Liesel, more spoiled and vain, I would hope she could pull it off. Dakota Fanning also perfectly looks the part of an older Amy. I thought about doing an Elle/Dakota combo since they are sisters, but I felt Elle just wasn’t young enough. And of course, I think Dakota would do a great job with the role of older Amy.

Laurie: Logan Lerman

logan-lermanLogan Lerman is easily one of my favorite actors under 25. I’ve hardly seen anything he’s done, but I’ve seen him in trailers and I know he’s played a wide variety of characters. He’s just got the “boy next door” look, and Laurie literally is the boy next door for the March girls. As far as I know he and Hailee have never acted together, but I can imagine they would play well off each other. Oh, and Dakota of course. Unless, you know, we change the ending. 😉

What do you think? Who would you like to see as the March girls and Laurie? Any ideas for who you would like to see as the secondary characters?  

Little Women: An Awesome Coming of Age Adaptation

Awesome Adaptations is hosted by Picture Me Reading, and is a focus on book-to-movie adaptations that we think are awesome! Today’s topic is an awesome coming-of-age adaptation.
book-movie-littleI think Little Women is all about coming of age. It focuses mostly on Jo, but also on her three sisters, from their youth to their early adult years as they go through separation from their father, simple Christmases, sickness, suitors, adventures, and tragedy. It’s no secret from the title of this blog that I am a big fan of Jo’s story in Little Women, and I think Louisa May Alcott really captured the spirit of growing up quite well. I love that in the end, Jo writes her and her sisters’ story after a tragedy stirs her heart of Professor Bhaer’s words to write from her heart. I think it’s important advice for all writers to heed.

Here’s a scene from the movie that breaks my heart every time I watch it or read it in the book, but I think is a critical turning point for Jo in the story:

What scene from Little Women (book or movie) stands out to you? Or what do you think is an awesome coming-of-age adaptation? 

Names in Fiction vs. Real Life

I mentioned recently that my husband and I have been watching the TV show Fringe on DVD. I have noticed that in the last couple of weeks, I have found myself growing more fond of the names Peter and Olivia, both of which are names of main characters on the show. I never really disliked these names before, but I didn’t particularly love them either. They were just fine for me. But now I find myself liking them more as I come to like the characters.

But I think I have to be predisposed to like the name somewhat first in order for this phenomena to happen. When I read The Hunger Games, I found myself liking the name Peeta as I liked the character. I have never known a Peeta in my life, but of course it does resemble Peter. But on the other hand, I didn’t find myself growing to like the name Katniss. I think it’s the right fit for Katniss and I went from thinking it was a stupid name at first to an appropriate name for a character, but let’s just say it didn’t hold quite the same charm for me. And it wasn’t like I was going to name a baby Peeta but…  let’s just say there was a period of time where if someone else decided to do it, I wouldn’t have judged them too harshly for it.

peeta-katniss

It’s interesting to me how our perceptions of names can change due to fictional characters with these names. There are some names that seem type-casted to fit a certain kind of character. I remember my senior year of high school when my yearbook/journalism teacher, whose first name was Chip, lamented that characters named Chip are always some lame sidekick. I have found with my name, Amy, the character is generally pretty self-centered and weak-willed, which makes me sad.

amy-littlewomen

I’m going to throw your writing in the fire and then steal the guy you should have ended up with… (OK, I don’t actually hate Amy in Little Women, but she’s no Jo.)

As someone who is constantly creating new characters in my head, I think about names fairly frequently. Sometimes the idea of a story hits me first, and then I seek out the characters and the names of the characters that seem to fit best. But sometimes, seemingly out of nowhere, a character name just pops into my head that won’t go away and I know I have to write out that character. Their name is sometimes something I might have considered strange just yesterday, but today it is perfect for my character. Sometimes I think of traditional names (Catherine), trendier names (Harper), and sometimes names that I just have no idea where they came from (Noa, for a girl, like Noah without a H… this one happened recently). When I think of the name of a character first, it always feels like a perfect fit when I base everything else around that, even if it’s something I would never name a real-life baby. But I also can’t help but wonder how people reading the story will respond to it. I know I have read books where I felt the character never fit their name. But I suppose we all look at names differently… there’s no way to really control how someone feels about a name.

All this to say… what’s in a name? Does your perception of a name change if you read/watch about a fictional character with that name? Has a fictional character made you like a name more or less than you did before? 

Revamping Stories

When we hear that Hollywood is releasing a “new” movie that is really a remake of something old, we all groan. Sometimes, this is for good reason:

the-earth-stood-still

I’ll admit I haven’t seen the original, but it HAS to be better than this.

But sometimes, it’s incredibly awesome:

the-dark-knight-trilogyIn my review for Cinder, I applauded the book’s unique and fresh retelling of a story we all know. When a retelling, a rebooting, or a revamping of something we’ve seen before is done right, it’s comfortable like being home, but also provides a new perspective like vacation. This has also been demonstrated well through the very successful (and rightfully so) Lizzie Bennett Diaries, the modern-day, vlog format retelling of Pride and Prejudice.

So I was quite excited when I was on Pinterest the other day and found this:

fakemovie-peanutswith the description that this was an idea for a fake Peanuts movie. I HAD to check the source for more details. Turns out the guy who created this collage has concocted a plot for a live-action movie with the Peanuts character in high school. Here is his idea: “Struggling to cope with the loss of his life-long friend and pet, Charlie Brown’s (Thieriot) high school experience has been as much of a downer as his childhood. His best friend, Linus (Lerman), is too busy obsessing over graduating early to get into the seminary to help Charlie with his problems; his sister, Sally (Osment), is boy-crazy and fundamentally worthless; his ex-girlfriend, Patty (Stone) is now an activist for whatever cause crosses her path; even his childhood pal, Marcy (Winstead), has abandoned her dorky past for pom-poms and now shuns her former friends. The only person left for him to turn to is his former enemy, Lucy (Fonseca), still hell-bent on becoming a psychiatrist. But maybe in this ocean of blackness, Charlie can find a glimmer of happiness before it’s too late.”

I am a big Peanuts fan, and I’ve always wanted to see the characters in a fresh, new way, but didn’t know how exactly… until I saw this! Granted, it could easily bomb and be terrible, but with the right writer and director I think it would be awesome!

linus

I mean, seriously.

Here’s another one from this guy’s blog:

fakemovie-101dalmations101 Dalmatians reboot with John Krasinski and Amy Adams? Um, yes please! Most adorable movie ever! (Though there is no mention of Cruella De Vil… I think Charlize Theron would be a great choice.)

And then one more:

fakemovie-modernlittlewomenA modern day adaptation of Little Women! I want this SO BAD! His idea for the cast is as follows: Lyndsy Fonseca as Margaret “Meg” March, Emma Watson as Josephine “Jo” March, Shailene Woodley as Elizabeth “Beth” March, Elle Fanning as Amy Curtis March, and Aaron Tveit as Theodore “Laurie” Laurence. Not shabby at all!  He didn’t include the modernized plot synopsis for this one, so I think I may have to indulge my creativity and create one and save it for another post on another day.

Here’s the link to the tumblr site if you want to see more of his lovely storyboard collages of new movie ideas or of movies/characters we already know and love.

What story do you want to see revamped in a great, new way?