Round-Up: Suzanne Collins, Justice League?, and Captain Kirk

Suzanne Collins

Good news for Hunger Games fans! Suzanne Collins is going to start writing another young adult series! Hooray! We don’t know what’s is about, but if these characters are as engrossing as those in The Hunger Games, it hardly matters. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what she has to offer us next!

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Justice League?

Though my favorite superhero is Batman, I have been really enjoying Marvel’s offering of The Avengers and the various movies for their characters. Justice League? Eh, I mean, it might be good, but I hard time imagining that I would like it as The Avengers. But let’s face it, if you attach Christoper Nolan’s name to it, my interest level will increase by 1000%. Many have wondered if Christopher Nolan would be involved with a Justice League movie should one be made, and/or if Zack Snyder (the director for the upcoming Man of Steel movie) would be involved. And all these questions have been answered! OK, not really, but they both did comment on the matter. And they were both nice and vague about it, saying basically, “Mmmm… maybe…” I won’t even know how much I care until I see Man of Steel and see if I enjoy Zack Snyder’s incarnation of Superman (since I’ve never been interested in Superman before). And then there’s the matter of Batman. Joseph Gordon-Levitt please. Or Christian Bale. But no one else would be right, not now, not so soon after The Dark Knight Trilogy. What are your thoughts on a possible Justice League movie?

MAN OF STEELNew Kirks Judged by Old Khans

This is an interesting article that compares Star Trek Into Darkness with original Star Trek films, as well as Abrams’ Kirk with the original. Does J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek betray what Star Trek stands for? Believe it or not, similar questions were asked about the second original Star Trek film over 20 years ago. And how is new Kirk learning lessons versus how old Kirk learned his lessons? If you read the article, let me know your thoughts on it!

kirkx2In other news, I finally finished The Book Thief. It is, without a doubt, the most heart-breaking fiction story I have ever read, but so amazing at the same time. The way it is written is beautiful, and just… wow. I don’t know what else to say. I’ll just save it for the review, which I hope to post later this week. My books from Amazon are supposed to come in later this week (finally… I think their shipping has gotten slower… and one of the books is the aforementioned The Book Thief now that I finished my library e-book of it… oops…), so I’m not quite sure what I am reading next yet until then.

Any book or movie news/points of interest been on your radar lately?

Character Consistency in Stories

I was listening to a podcast review of Star Trek: Into Darkness and I was a little surprised to hear some of the people on the show say they felt some of the characters were inconsistent from who they were in the 2009 film.  Likewise, I have also heard some complain that Tony Stark was inconsistent in Iron Man 3 compared to how he was before.

I disagree with both of these viewpoints, but it did get me to thinking about consistency in characters in stories (primarily from movie to movie). Just when is the character experiencing a natural change in their arc, and when is it just out of character? Personally, I found Elizabeth and Will wildly inconsistent in the second and third Pirates of the Caribbean movies as to who they were in the first one. But I know people who disagree. Why do some of us accept certain character changes and some of us not?

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Bones contemplates this for us…

The Consistency of the Story

I think part of it is how you view the story overall. For instance, I thought the second POTC movie was a ridiculous rehash of jokes from the first and that the third movie got way too serious. The first story was such a fun romp and I felt the next two films deviated from what made the first one so good. Since I did not enjoy the plots of the story and the twists that were happening, I felt that the characters themselves were taking actions that were not consistent with how I viewed them in the first movie.

In the 2009 Star Trek film, Kirk is cocky and confident, much like Tony Stark is in Iron Man, Iron Man 2, and The Avengers. With Tony, I think we start to see him change in The Avengers, when he makes the decision to sacrifice himself (though ultimately he makes it out fine) to save all the others. In Iron Man 3, he is wrestling with what he experienced in that moment: being worried about Pepper, shocked by the fact that aliens are real, etc. I could see the thread of what happened. And he still certainly had plenty of Tony Stark moments.

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With the Star Trek films, I admit it’s not as clear cut. At the end of 2009, Kirk gets the Captain’s chair at an extremely young age and with virtually no experience. In Into Darkness, he appears to be much the same, taking big risks with the belief that it will always work out fine. He gets lectured that it won’t always be fine, but none of that means much until he (SPOILERS for the rest of this paragraph) sees Pike die. Pike is like a father to Kirk, so his death really rocks his world. He wants to hunt down the man responsible, but he also has to learn what risks are necessary and which ones are not. It’s hard to fit so much change in a two hour film without it feeling too forced, but at the end Kirk makes a decision like Tony does. Maybe there could have been better ways to develop these two plot lines, but for me, they were fine. But I also embraced the entirety of their stories.

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If a story is filled with plot holes and weird twists that no one believes, people are not likely to buy into what the character is doing either.

The Consistency of Voice

I was listening to another podcast called “Writing Excuses” (what can I say, I’m a podcast junkie), and in a recent episode they were discussing why the writing in The Avengers worked so well. One of the main things they praised about the movies was the consistent character voice, and for ALL the characters! But they said there were even a couple of times that the voice was not consistent but it was so well-played it didn’t matter. The big example of this was with Thor’s line about Loki being adopted. They said it was OK with them, even though it didn’t sound like something Thor would say, because the joke was perfect, it needed to be shared, and Thor had to be the one to deliver it.

I think this goes with the next point…

The Consistency in Tone

I think the example of Pirates of the Caribbean works well for this. I did not feel the tone of the second and third movies were not consistent with the first. And going back to The Avengers, though Thor’s joke was not consistent with his individual character voice, it was consistent with the tone of the movie and the dialogue in general.

This might be why some struggle with Iron Man 3 or Into Darkness, because both movies are a little dark than their predecessors. I personally do not find them to be such large departures, and I find the overall tones still consistent, but there is some change. I mean, among Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Avengers, and Iron Man 3, there are three different directors at work. But tone can change as the characters grow, it’s just a matter of balancing the change tone, character, and story in a way that is believable and trying to stay consistent in voice and other areas.

The Consistency in Back Story

It is extremely important for writers to remember what they (or other writers working on previous projects before them) have written about a character. Likewise, it’s important for the character to have actions that match up with their personal back story. Sometimes the writer may not know the back story for the character until a lot about the character has been written, but as long as it matches with the character’s behavior, that is fine. Kirk from the J.J.-verse is different from Roddenberry’s Kirk. This Kirk lost his father and thus grew up in a very different household. He had the same mother and he still lived in Iowa, but one major difference completely changed the way he was living his life. So when the 2009 and Into Darkness Kirk is more immature and more reckless than the original Kirk, it makes sense, because he didn’t have the same strong father figure.

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When there’s a disconnect between a character’s past and their present, without a middle that connects the change between the two (which would be more backs story we would need), we find the whole character unbelievable.

But no matter how hard a writer tries to balance all of these things, not everyone is going to agree on what works and what doesn’t work. It is the nature of art.

What do you think? Who are characters that you believe show great consistency throughout their story arc? Who are some characters that you feel do not?

Wednesday Round-Up: Marissa Meyer and TV Shows Galore

Marissa Meyer Blog Post (via Goodreads)

What I liked about this post, “Winter: The Beginning of the End,” is that Meyer talks a little bit about the process of writing and especially finishing out a series. She talks about all the different plot points and relationships and character arcs and all that which is going to have to find a way to wrap up in the end of The Lunar Chronicles. She says she wrote the first draft for Winter in 2011 when she first sold Cinder, because she did want to it to flow well with that story. Now, she has to rework it after having written two more books in-between, to see what still works and what doesn’t quite fit anymore. It made me realize that published authors don’t necessarily have an easy time with their rewriting or editing process (which I have lamented about). I appreciate how much thought she is putting into this, and it probably helps she already has a draft under her belt. Sometimes I find the end of a series disappointing and/or rushed-feeling, so I’m hoping Meyer finds that balance of tying up those loose ends and pacing herself until the last page.

Season Finales

As I have mentioned before, I am fan of the show Castle, and of course we got a cliffhanger for the end of season five! I am surprisingly not feeling too anxious though, I think largely because I have faith in the writers. I think they have the potential to make the end decision interesting and not as black and white as it appears. (*SPOILER* on the Castle Facebook page fans are posed which will she choose, ring or job? I don’t think it’s that simple though. It can be a lot more complex.) But we’ll have to wait and see how it all turns out!

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And if you’re like me, you’ve been wondering when the heck the “mother” of “How I Met Your Mother” was going to show up. (I was starting to think the show should really be called “How Everyone Found Love Except Me”)  And this is from someone who doesn’t watch the show, ever really (I’ve seen just a few episodes, mostly from the first season). Well, for the season 8 finale, which is the second to last season for the show, she is finally revealed – briefly! Even if you’ve only seen a couple episodes, you still might find the clip where she is revealed interesting:

Series Premiere!

I only watch about one or two TV shows at a time, and all I have now is Castle. Well this fall that’s going to change with the premiere of Josh Whedon’s new show, S.H.I.E.L.D., all about the intelligence agents behind The Avengers. And you know the guy I was missing so much in Iron Man 3?

He’s baaaaaack! Yay!

(Side note. My husband asked me, “Do you know why Joss Whedon brought Agent Coulson back?” I ask why and he replies, “So he can kill him again.” I hope not, but he makes a valid point!) At first I was kind of sad to see Coulson was the only familiar face, but was I seriously expecting someone from another show to be on the show, or Samuel L. Jackson to regularly appear? And I think Whedon is great at creating characters, so it’ll be great to meet new ones. And though I liked The Avengers, and Serenity, I think his true strength is in TV (OK, I base this off Firefly only as I have not seen his other shows, but Firefly was great!).

Anything TV related you’re excited about? The  American Idol finale is tomorrow… this is the first time since season six (when I first started watching) that I have not at least kept up with the contestants much at all (I did skipping watching one other season though, when Ellen was judging and Lee won), but apparently it’s a showdown of two girls!