Some Very PUN-ny Halloween Humor

Happy Halloween!

Good Time Stories

Photo Credit: Lobo 235 via CC Flickr Photo Credit: Lobo 235 via CC Flickr

We all need some smiles, chuckles and humor each day…and Halloween is no exception! So, without further ado…here we go!

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Do zombies eat popcorn with their fingers? – No, they eat the fingers separately.

What do you call a ghost with a broken leg? – A hoblin goblin.

Why don’t skeletons like parties? – They have no BODY to dance with.

What do witches put on their hair? – SCARE spray.

Why do mummies have such a hard time having friends? – They are too WRAPPED UP in themselves!

TherapyWhy don’t angry witches ride their brooms? They’re afraid of flying off the handle.

How can you tell that vampires like BASEBALL? – Because they turn into BATS every night!

Why didn’t the skeleton cross the road? – It didn’t have the guts.

Why are ghosts so bad at lying? – Because you…

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So Much for Happily Ever After

The way I rate entertainment is based on how much I care about the characters. Whether I’m watching a film, series or reading a book, if I care about the characters I will enjoy the reading/watching process. (If the story’s good too that’s an extra bonus). Viewer/reader apathy is a sign of bad entertainment. (Well that and bad writing – but that’s a whole other topic).

With any series I’ve followed for a long time, I get irrationally attached to the characters. So much so that I had to physically stop myself from turning to the last page of Harry Potter. (I just wanted to check they were all ok!)

Two of my favourite things are coming out this month. The 7th Shopaholic book and Season 11 of Grey’s Anatomy (although I don’t actually know when that will be shown in the UK). I’ve googled Grey’s Anatomy a bit … just to break up the work day monotony, you know? Anywho. It’s all pointing to the two central characters splitting up. (Pause for shocked silence).

This news actually upset me. I love Grey’s, it’s just great escapist watching, and after ten years of loyal watching I want my two favourite characters to live happily ever after. Forget this splitting up nonsense. For me, one of the joys about escaping into light fiction of any media is the promise of a happy ending. It’s why I enjoy chick lit and rom coms so much.

I really hope this is just drumming up media attention, because if they do split up (god forbid) it’ll feel like I’ve wasted all those hours of my life caring. I could never re-watch an episode because I know that’s how it ends.

I know, I know, this doesn’t affect real day to day life. But in a way it does. Happy endings  give you hope and make you feel good. And when things don’t go how you want them to, well it’s a classic case of pinning life’s disappointments somewhere they don’t necessarily belong.

So here’s my plea to writers and creators, in a universe you can control (i.e. fiction), feel free to create a bit of dramatic conflict but let your romantic leads run off into the sunset in the end. Please?

After all, if I want upset on my screen, I can just turn on the news.

On a side note, (and a bit of good news) I’ve reached over 100 followers. I’m absolutely delighted and can’t thank you all enough for reading 🙂

The Game of Thrones Bandwagon

You’ve hooked me George, I’m right on board. This is a series I couldn’t help but want to review.

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I accidentally started watching GOT this year. It just happened to be on while I was in the living room and I found myself asking all the ‘who’s, why’s and what’s’ that come with starting something 4 seasons in. It wasn’t a love at first sight thing. The story and the characters gradually drew me in.

If it hadn’t happened to have been on and a friend hadn’t told me how much he was enjoying the books, I probably never would have bothered with the books at all … and I would have seriously missed out.

George R R Martin is an artist. He’s created the most amazing world, filled with the most brilliant collection of characters. The sheer breadth and depth of his work deserves a round of applause and absolutely all of the acclaim it has received.

The basis for the story (if you’ve been hiding under a rock) is about the power struggles of a fictional land, ruled by a King and governed by lords. Oh and there’s a big wall protecting the realm from the wild and that’s guarded by a band of warriors (they’re a bit like fighting monks). It would take me too long to do a proper summary of all five books. So instead, I’m going to tell you what I liked about it and why you should definitely read it.

1) He is an excellent writer. This point should never be overlooked. His words flow off the page with ease, the subject matter can get heavy but the words will never weigh you down.

2) The characters are like proper people. No character is truly all bad or all good, they have both good and bad parts to their personalities. His characters are the most vital part of the story, each chapter is told by a different character and you find yourself sympathising with them. The problem is, that when you’re favourite character belongs to the wrong cause, well, you don’t know who to side with then. There are so many protagonists and antagonists that your allegiances are constantly changing.

3) He roots the story in a past. Readers enter into the story at the end of a long summer, but throughout the novels you’re taught about the background of the land and it’s history. It’s a lot like reading about Alfred the Great, Ethelred the Unready etc. It also deals with the more immediate past and you get to know the background of the characters pretty thoroughly. (And there are some pretty big mysteries there that come out sooner or later!)

4) You’re always guessing. There’s too much going on to know who’s going to end up on the throne at the end of it. Sometimes I see the twists coming and other times I don’t. Just when I think I’ve figured it out a new plot emerges. I have an inkling who will be important, but how they will be important is a complete mystery- and I love that!

5) It’s not romanticised. A lot of this story is about war. With war comes death, rape and torture. Death is bloody and gruesome with faeces, torture is toe-curdling to think about, and rape is no big deal. War isn’t heroic, it’s awful. And when the ‘good’ cause are doing all the things the ‘evil’ cause are doing, you’re left wondering if one is ever better than the other.

I could go on and on and on about how much I’ve loved this series, but what I really think you should do is read it for yourself 🙂

Judging Books by their Covers . . .

As a figure of speech, ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover’ is a lovely sentiment, look to the inside and don’t be superficial. It’s a really great lesson. But when you’re talking about actual books, you know what, I completely judge a book by it’s cover.

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The cover is the first thing you notice, it can make you want to pick the book up or make a mental note never to touch it.

My friend Maddie refers to the chick lit section of WHSmiths as ‘the pink and purple bit’. She’s got a point. Chick lit covers are 9/10 pastel shades or varying degrees of pink. You don’t even need to read the title to know that’s their genre. The same goes for the supernatural, there’s a lot of black. In fact the more you think about it, the more you can pick out a genre and audience before actually reading the title of the book. (Also try googling these and looking what images come up: historical novels, teen novels, chick lit novels… you’ll start noticing similarities).

I’m not saying that the first impression is necessarily the right one, but I can’t help it. If the cover’s appealing, I’ll read the title, if I like that I’ll flick to the blurb, if the blurb’s good, I’ll read the book. This has backfired on me for better and worse.

CeceliaAhern_WhereRainbowsEndFor instance, Cecilia Ahern ‘Where Rainbows End’, has, in my opinion, an appalling title, 12367267-2an unappealing cover and a crap blurb – but you know what, I really enjoyed the book.

 

On the other hand, Claire Merle ‘The Glimpse’, has, an intriguing title, an interesting cover and a good blurb – yet I couldn’t get past the first fifty pages it was so bad.

So what about you? Where has your cover judgement let you down? What have you picked up that was an unexpected delight. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

I am what I say … or am I?

If you’re an artist, a writer, designer, painter, director, actor … should you keep your thoughts to yourself for risk of discouraging potential fans? Or should you say what you think? In short, how much are artists representative of their art?

Let’s look at some examples.

1) Oscar Wilde – Author, essayist and playwright. Wilde firmly believed art contained no moral Unknowninstruction. “Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.” He thought that whatever meaning the reader interpreted, came from the reader and not the work or the writer. Ironically, Wilde’s own novel was used against him in his trial as proof of his homosexuality. His work might have worked against him at the time but Wilde’s notoriety has helped his work stay canonical. In history, art and artist have been bound, despite that artists protestations.

 

2) Mel Gibson – Actor. A more recent example. In 2006, Gibson reportedly said anti-Semitic mel_gibson320remarks when he was arrested for drunk driving. It was a bad night all round for him on the PR front. No one is contesting that racism is wrong or that drunk driving is dangerous but should the actors actions off screen effect the way you view their films? (Good) Actors are chameleons, slipping their skin to throw themselves into a role, so little of themselves remain in the character. Is there a separation between liking the actor, admitting he’s good at his job, and disliking the man, in this case because he’s a racist? Or are the two too closely linked?

JK3) J.K. Rowling – Author. In more current news, Rowling gave a sizeable contribution to the Scotland ‘Stay Together’ campaign. Arguably, this is much less controversial than the other two examples but raises the same point. Rowling’s support for this political issue has nothing to do with her work. But there are people out there that would turn away from it because they hold the opposite political view, even though this political view would be cited nowhere in her work.

 

These are just three examples but there are tons more, some more controversial than others. Should we view art and artist separately or not? Historically they have been viewed as one and the same and you can see the reasons why. On the one hand, you’re paying these people and you may not want to see them better off for views or actions you disagree with. But there is a case to be made for viewing them separately, you may be paying these people but they’re not politicians (yet). You’re not paying them for their views, you’re paying them for their work, which can have nothing to do with them as a person.

It’s a fact that you can’t please everybody. Whether it’s your religion, politics or lifestyle choices, you are going to offend somebody … but you can avoid deliberately annoying them (or inciting hatred). Artists in the public eye tread a fine line, sometimes the less controversial you are the better you do, i.e Matt Damon, and sometimes controversy can boost you up, i.e. Oscar Wilde or Miley Cyrus. (I never thought I’d use those two in the same sentence).

I try to separate the artist and the art in my mind but sometimes it’s hard. What about you? Do you think they should be viewed separately? Have you heard something about an artist that made you boycott their work?

Two Frustrations Authors Face (That Mean GOOD Things Are Happening)

Had to share! Such a good positive article! Problems can be good too!

Creative Writing with the Crimson League

“I have the best idea!!! I have to tell…. Oh, WAIT a second….”

Writing fiction is delicate, difficult, and sometimes painful work. However, some of those difficulties are lighter than most, even if the frustration is real.

I feel like my last series of posts has been pretty heavy, exploring the connections between character, characterization, and emotions such as love and hate, and even how fear can be a paralytic or a motivator.

Because of that, I thought today it could be fun to start a conversation about the “good” problems and the wonderful “frustrations” of creative writing. You know: the troubles that are indicators of good things and are unavoidable byproducts of the creative process doing what it should.

1. I just had the best idea EVER for my story…. And I can’t tell anyone.

There is a time for collaboration and getting second opinions when it comes to…

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Authors I Own the Most Books From

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke & The Bookish. Each week they release a Top Ten Theme and invite everyone to join in and make their own Top Ten List.

My list was much harder to make than I thought. Turns out I go for books more the authors, but here are the authors I own the most books by:

1. Arthur Conan Doyle – I have the complete Sherlock Holmes (I haven’t read every single story yet but I will!)

2. Sophie Kinsella – All the Shopaholic books and Can you Keep a Secret. She’s the queen of chick lit and I’m very excited for the new Shopaholic.

3. J.K. Rowling – come on …

4. C.S. Lewis – All the Narnia delights – haven’t read them in eons

5. Anthony Horowitz – The Power of Five is amazing – I still need to read the last book.

6. Belinda Jones – From my chick lit teen days

7. Meg Cabot – (See above comment) – I loved her Missing series

8. Oscar Wilde – I’ve cheated with an anthology but there was a whole module on him

9.  Roald Dahl – I love his stories and I can still recite the Cinderella Revolting Rhyme off by heart

10. George R.R. Martin – My current book series! I’ve got one more left to read, come on George hurry up and get the next one!

What are your faves?