Kay: Fine Lines

from self.com

#MeToo is an awesome thing, the zeitgeist of our times. It’s put everyone on notice: the old ways/jokes/behaviors/assumptions are over! Including how you approach fiction, especially (maybe) romantic comedy, which is more or less what I usually write.

Two days ago the Washington Post published an article that revisited some old rom-coms, analyzing how male rom-com behaviors that 10 or 20 years ago seemed cute and fun now look stalker-ish in light of #MeToo. And yesterday Jenny Crusie wrote a blog about that article and how her books appear in the glare of 20/20 #MeToo hindsight. (Spoiler alert: She thinks mostly her books hold up okay, in part because her heroes aren’t alpha males out to conquer. There’s a lot more to the discussion, so check it out.) Continue reading

Elizabeth: New TV Show Squee!

Okay, The Good Place is in season two so it’s not technically a new show, but I just started watching, so it’s new to me.  My TV viewing is generally limited to political news and sports these days (when I’m not writing, of course), but when The Good Place was recommended to me recently, I gave it a try.

An excellent decision.

The show starts out when Eleanor Shellstrop (played by Kristen Bell) finds herself in the afterlife.  Though not surprised to be dead, she is a little surprised to find out that she’s ended up in the Good Place since she’s pretty sure she wasn’t a very good person in life.   It’s not long before she realizes that there’s been some kind of bureaucratic mistake, but since she has no interest in spending the hereafter being eternally tortured in the Bad Place, she does her best to hide in plain sight from the Good Place’s architect Michael (played by Ted Danson) as well as the other obviously-in-the-right-place residents. Continue reading

Nancy: Who Did It Better? Books Turned Into TV Phenomena

Have you ever seen the columns in entertainment magazines where they show two celebrities caught at different events wearing (gasp!) the same outfit? The column writer typically opines about who wore it better and why. A quick google search showed that these columns do, in fact, exist in the digital world, opening up the floor for everyone with a keyboard and an opinion to weigh in on the matter.

We humans love our comparisons. Remember compare and contrast writing exercises in elementary school? Comparative Literature?  Ever been given the advice to pitch your book by comparing it others already out in the marketplace?

Recently, I recalled a high school lit project that required us to pick a topic from a list of maybe 10, develop a thesis around it, and use the books we’d read by that point in the course to support it. I chose to write about whether classic books or movies made from classic books were better. (Spoiler alert: It was a literature class. This one came with a built-in answer, especially if you liked getting A’s as much as I did.) So, yes, using two classics, A Tale of Two Cities and Wuthering Heights – both books I loved in high school, by the way – I came to the astonishing conclusion that the books did a better job of presenting themes, metaphors, and character studies. Continue reading