Saturday, March 31, 2012

Meet the procrastinator

(This was actually written yesterday.  Yes, I am a procrastinator. )

On this 30th day of March, in the year 2012, I, Maria Elisabeth ------ do hereby announce my resolve and intention to participate in Script Frenzy by writing a proper script for Rilla of Ingleside.  On this same day I, the aforementioned, announce my intention, etc. not to attempt a proper script for Mansfield Park – unless I change my mind before April.

On this same day I, the aforementioned, realize that April is only two days away.  Ouch.  And here I was going to be so ready and prepared!  *scurries about madly, wondering what she needs to prepare for.*

I’m signing up with the Young Writer’s Program and making my goal 84 pages because I’ve never written a script before, other than a ridiculous and horribly boring unfinished one of St. Bartholomew’s Eve.  You know, a script with useless dialog, a love story without any romance and a war adventure written by a girl who is reluctant to let it have any more than a G rating.

It’s not too late for you either!  It isn’t April yet; you still have enough time to sign up and decide what to write about.  Really, it’s a lot of fun.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I adore tags!

I've been tagged by Miss Dashwood (who has revealed that her first name is Amy, short for Amelia. At last I know a person with that name!  Many of my favorite names are sadly unused among my acquaintance.) and Elizabeth (whose name I also love, and fortunately is not quite as unused as Amy seems to be.  Anyways.)

This is a tag with very elevenish rules:
1. Post these rules
2. Post 11 random things about yourself (optional)
3. Answer the questions the tagger posted for you in their post.
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
5. Go to their blog and tell them that they have been tagged

Here are my eleven things.  I'm not posting 22 things because although I know I am amply capable of saying 22 things Very Dull Indeed I wouldn't want to bore you all and send you fleeing like a flock of sheep.

1: Bright, bright, bright blue doesn't suit me.  Of course I didn't find that out until after I bought a shirt exactly that color.  I was wondering why I didn't have much blue in my closet.  Now I know.

2: I call my two dogs (they're not actually mine but kindly do not attempt to cloud the issue with facts) Sir Andrew Ffoulkes and Lord Antony Dewhurst.  It fits them perfectly, after searching for more than a year for the perfect literary-character names.

3: I tend to laugh a lot.  As I read in Anne of the Island just this afternoon:

The first day I came I remarked to Miss Maria that it looked a little like rain—and Miss Maria laughed. I said the road from the station was very pretty—and Miss Maria laughed. I said there seemed to be a few mosquitoes left yet—and Miss Maria laughed. I said that Prospect Point was as beautiful as ever—and Miss Maria laughed. If I were to say to Miss Maria, 'My father has hanged himself, my mother has taken poison, my brother is in the penitentiary, and I am in the last stages of consumption,' Miss Maria would laugh.

4: I once failed a history test for not knowing the third law of thermodynamics - or was it the first? A history test!  I ask you, is that fairÉ

5: Somehow I can turn on the French/accent-y setting on the keyboard without knowing how.  And them all my question marks turn into capital Es with accent marks on them.

6: Earlier this year I cross-stitched an enormous cross-stitch flower design.  It took me about sixty million hours.

7: I know I exaggerate, but exaggeration is just a flight of poetic fancy.  Now, if you can find out what chapter in what book that is, you get a thousand bonus points because I can`t remember the chapter.

8: I play the recorder - better than could be expected, considering how much I practice.

9: I love chai tea with lots of milk.

10: I am most horribly displeased that Gandalf is beating Galadriel in the middle earth march madness tournament.

11: I dislike science in general, but have rather a fondness for advanced theorectical physics.

Miss Dashwood's eleven questions:
1. Describe your dream pair of shoes.
They would be pure, shiny white, with about two inch heels.  The toes would be closed and from there to the ankle there would be thin, criss-crossed straps, white with white and silver bead embroidery.  On the front of the shoe there would be a flower embroidered with the same white and silver beads.  Probably a five-petaled flower, because y'know, I have rather a thing for five-petaled flowers.

2. What's your favorite children's picture book?
Make Way For Ducklings, by Robert McCloskey.  For drawing in grade seven I copied those gorgeous little ducklings in pencil.

3. What's your favorite fruit?
As a rule, I'd probably have to say strawberries.  Harriet, we must eat strawberries at your wedding.

4. How tall are you?
5 ft 8.  When I was younger I was scared silly that I'd get to be six feet, but it looks like that won't happen.

5. If money was no object, where would you like to go on your honeymoon?
All over Europe - particularly France and England. 

6. Who is your favorite singer?
You want me to be honest?  Well, alright.  I actually have three favorite singers: me, myself, and I. :P
In all seriousness, I don't normally listen to songs because of their singers.  I love Julie Andrew's voice, though.

7. What's the next book on your to-read list?
Ah, the 'to-read list'.  Containing all the books I think I should read but don't want to read enough to dive in like usual.  Anyways, it would probably be the Screwtape Letters.

8. What's your biggest language-related pet peeve? (i.e., what phrases or words bug you the most?)
Ask Marianne Dashwood.  She'll tell you.  :D
But what Marianne did not have to deal with was the constant use of the word 'like', like anywhere possible, like, where the sentence, like, can handle it, and overuse of texting abbreviations.  Those things annoy me.

9. Which movie lines do you quote the most? (share as many or as few as you like)

I knew it!  I just knew it!  I tried to tell you, but no, no, no, you wouldn'd listen.  Now look at what you've done.

This quote is from the Disney Robin Hood, probably the movie I quote most often because most of the people who I in real-life quote to have watched it.  If I quote from TSP or Little Dorrit they normally miss the joke.  Which is a monstrous pity.

10. If you could wear any outfit from a movie for a day, what would you choose?

 Marguerite's dress from TSP1934. Yes, from The Other One.

like this, but not in black and white
a back view

11. What's your favorite dessert?
Chocolate cheesecake garnished with dark chocolate and strawberries.

Elizabeth's questions:
1. Which to genre do you prefer: historical fiction, a regular novel, or fantasy?
Historical fiction, most definately.  That is my idea of a regular novel. :)

2. How do you feel about all these new E-readers? (nooks, kindles)
I've tried reading on my laptop and found it surprisingly pleasant.  I'd love an e-reader for those books I can't seem to get as anything but e-books but I prefer books, especially if they have gorgeous covers.

3. Do you play an instrument? If so what instrument?
Organ and recorder

4. Is there an instrument that you don't play, but wish you could?
The violin.  I actually could, if I wanted to, but I'm too lazy.

5. What are some of your favorite musicians?
Honestly, I would have to say my church organist, partly because he plays my favorite pieces and partly because he's an amazing person in his own right.  I also wish I could have met Clara Schumann.  She would have been an interesting person to know.

6. Do you prefer white chocolate or milk/dark chocolate?
Dark chocolate

7. What is your favorite month?
November is the month with my birthday, June is the month when school ends, March is a delightfully spring-y month.  I really don't know.

8. If you had the chance to go to 5 countries what countries would they be?
The United States (because most of you bloggy people happen to live there and it's rather silly to say I've seen the US, but not been there), the United Kingdom, France, Austria, Italy

9. Are you a country or a city person? Or a little of both?
A country person, unless the cities have museums, art galleries, grand old buildings, and historical archives.

10. Who is your favorite character from Narnia?
Eustace Clarence Scrubb, partly because of his name.   I also have an easier time identifying with the not-perfect people.  My favorite character in TLtWatW (that looks odd abbreviated) is Edmund, because he isn't perfect.  He actually has a reason to repent, for pity's sake.

11. What is your favorite kind of cookie?
Double chocolate chip, most of  the time.

My questions:
1: What is your favorite kind of tea?
2: What are your five absolutely-most favorite movies?
3: What are some fashion trends - from the present or the past - that you love and actually wear?
4: What are three inspirational/devotional books that you love?
5: What is your favorite artist or picture?
6: If you had to describe your own looks as a character in a novel, what would you write?  Or your own looks as you wish they were.  You can have an imagination, y'know.
7: What kind of music do you listen to most of the time?
8: What literary secondary character are you most like?
9: What literary secondary hero-like characters do you love? (I know you can think of a million main characters.  So can I.  So I'm making it harder.)
10: What are your opinions of the subject of poetry?
11: Which author's writing styles do you admire the most?

And I'm tagging the authors of all the blogs I regularly read (oh my, there are a lot), with the exception of the people who I don't think 'do' tags.  So if I haven't tagged you it means either that I don't know about your blog (in which case you should tell me) or I didn't think you'd like to do the tag (in which case you should prove me wrong.)  And if you've already been tagged you can ignore this and I won't be very offended.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Beautiful People: Henri La Riviere

Another little muddle while writing A Woman in Shadow.  I'm introducing four main characters in the next few chapters and I know almost nothing about them.  And I mean nothing.  Madeleine's fiance is the one I'm have to deal with soonest, and before I started this I didn't know even know his last name.   
1. If your character could be played by an actor, who would it be? 
I know very little about Henri, so it's pretty much up for grabs.  Patrick Wilson would do a good job, I think.

2. Does your character have a specific theme song? "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" from Les Miserables makes me think of him every time.  (And I listen to it a lot.  I can't seem to keep myself away from "Do You Hear the People Sing" and I always listen to this one after that to keep me from starting a revolution then and there.  Yup.  I sort of get emotionally involved in songs.)

3. What's their worst childhood memory? His father, a Huguenot, wrongfully accused of... something, leading to his imprisonment and the confiscation of their property, is the worst thing that happened to him as a child.  But that is by no means the worst thing that happened to him.  What begins as a dream may end as a nightmare.  Henri has a lot of dreams, so, lots of nightmares.

4. If your character had a superpower, what would it be? The ability to always forgive people and to NEVER give up hope.  He's rather an idealist, but when one has an ideal...

5. If your character crashed on an island with a bunch of other people, how could your character help the group survive? He'd first inspire them all with courage and perseverance, then he'd get to whatever work needed to be done.  He might get to it before he found the proper tools, but then little things like that don't bother him.

6. Are they married? If not, do they someday wish to be?
No to married, yes to wish to be.  He had sort of a childhood romance with Madeleine - very sweet.

7. What is a cause they would die for?
Well, at least I know the answer to this one.  Let me tell you a secret.  *lowers voice*  You see, he is dead already. 
*starts crying uncontrollably*
I don't even get to have a scene with him in it at all.  It's sort of odd, paying so much attention to a dead character, but he's behind everything Madeleine says and does and embodies the book's theme.  And he's in the way of the ending.  I'll have to put him aside somehow.  Gently, of course.

But you wanted to know what he would die for?  I said he had the ability to forgive people; he carries that to an amazing extent. 

8. Would they rather die fighting valiantly, or quietly at home?

He would prefer to die at home after a long and useful life, but that doesn't make him any more careful with it.  So he doesn't.

9. If a stranger walked up to them and told them they were the child of the prophesy, would they believe them?

Child of what prophesy, may I ask?  While Henri isn't that guillible, he does think he's been put in this life for a purpose.  I think he'd be more likely to pay some attention to it then most people.

10. Do they prefer the country, or the city?
The country as a rule, but generally there are more opportunities for heroism and changing the world in the city.  So it depends.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Anne of Green Gables Week: Tag Questions

Yet Another Period Drama Blog

It's Anne of Green Gables Week!!! Hosted by the lovely, talented, witty, and altogether I-defy-you-not-to-laugh Miss Dashwood.

Just a little disclaimer before I start. Because they say everything you should have said in the main post but can't find a spot for.  I LOVE disclaimers, but maybe you knew that already.

First of all, I have mixed feelings about Lucy Maud Montgomery.  I like her, and I don't.  Second of all, I have mixed feelings about Anne herself.  Yes, you heard me.  Don't gasp too loudly, please.  I love her, but sometimes she seems a little over-the-top and I can't fully relate to her.  Now that I've said that, we can go on to the fun part.  (Where you might find that I do love Anne a great deal after all.  I am rather confuddled.)

1. How many of the Anne books have you read, and how many of the films have you seen?
I've read all the books except Rainbow Valley.  It just seemed like an odd sort of book with odd sort of children and I was really eager to get to Rilla of Ingleside, so I skipped that one.  As to the movies, I saw the first one when I was what? *Mentally calculates*  I watched it at my aunt's, but was it before she got married or when she got her first baby?  Let me see... My aunt got married just before my little sister was born, that was about ten years ago.  Was I perhaps five then?  Or did I watch it on one of my later visits, which would probably make me six or seven.  Oh my, this is getting confusing. Suffice it to say, it was the first period drama I ever watched and all I remember from it is that Anne added an 'e' to her name on the blackboard and my brother, hating all things Anne, went to bed ridiculously early so that he would be as far away from it as possible.

2. If someone yanked your hair and called you carrots, what would you do to him?
Ouch.  Well, first of all, I am rather vain of my hair.  I would be almost flattered that someone noticed it at all, although to be accurate he'd have to call me 'onion peels' or something like that.   But if he did...  If it was done by a random stranger I'd probably be very embarassed and frantically search my mind for something to say, all the while vaguely wondering when he'd apologize.  But if it's someone I know, then... *mentally makes a list of guy-acquaintances*  I actually can think of a couple guys - very nice and brotherly, actually - who might even do something like this.  I'd just laugh and if I was feeling particularly brilliant I'd come up with a retort that would put the joke on him.  But I rarely feel brilliant, so I'd probably just be embarrased.  No slate-breaking for me, please.  I hardly ever lose my temper.  But I don't know if it's because I never have a chance or because I just don't.

3. What would you do if Josie Pye dared you to walk the ridgepole of a roof?
Change the subject as. quickly. as. possible.

4. If you had the opportunity to play any AGG (I'm abbreviating from now on because I am a lazy typist) character in an AGG play, which role would you choose?
Personally, I think I'd be spot-on for Diana (although I would have to dye my hair. But black, not green, please.:P) I think I could also make a pretty convincing Jane Andrews.

5. If you were marooned on a desert island, which AGG character would you want to have as a companion? (Anne, Gilbert and Diana are not options. Let's keep this thing interesting. Not that they're not interesting.... oh, yay, now the disclaimer to this question is longer than the question itself. Lovely lovely lovely.)
I'd probably pick Jane Andrews.  She's sensible and efficient but can still be pleasant company.

6. If there was going to be a new adaptation of the Anne books and you could have any part in making the movie, what would you choose to do? (screenwriting, acting, casting, costume-making are a few possibilities)
Screenwriting, of courseActually, I'm considering adapting Rilla of Ingleside for Script Frenzy, just for fun. But I couldn't survive without taking just one eentsy-weentsy part.  Jane Andrews, if it was Anne of Green Gables or one of the sequels.  Or Faith Meredith if it was Rilla.  Or even Mary Vance.  It would be a lot of fun doing the whole sarcasm thing.

7. What are, in your opinion, the funniest AGG book/movie scenes? (choose one from the books and one from the movies)
Trying to think of something.....  Anne doesn't seem to have much of a sense of humor, perhaps that's why I can't completely relate to her.  But from the books, it would probably have to be something with Davy Keith in it.  He's always funny.

8. What are, in your opinion, the saddest AGG book/movie scenes? (choose one of each again)
Ruby's death in - oh wait, which book was it in? *frantically searches wikipedia* - okay, Ruby's death in Anne of the Island.  Other deaths are sad, but this was more than sad.  Poor, poor Ruby.
And, of course, just about every scene in Rilla with Walter in it.  If you're not breaking your heart or swooning half the time Walter's there you just might not be my friend.  (Or you just might.  There's almost nothing I like better than arguing, ahem, debating, with my friends.  Other than, of course, agreeing with them.  But then its not so interesting.:))

9. Which AGG character would you most like to spend an afternoon with? (again, Anne and Gilbert and Diana are not options for this one--think secondary characters)
Miss Lavender would be a lot of fun. 
10. What is your definition of a kindred spirit?
First of all, you have to share a common faith in Jesus Christ.  Otherwise, you're looking at the world very differently and can't expect to understand each other.  Then a kindred spirit is someone you admire, someone whom you're comfortable with, someone you can laugh with and change to deep thoughts at a moment's notice, someone you can share ideas with, someone you can argue with and still like each other more than ever.  And, of course, someone who you love.  (But if someone has all the characteristics above, I think it would be very hard not to love that person.)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I have a most unaccountable partiality for...

Villains.  Just when I think I've gotten up a heathy dislike for them, something comes up, ruins everything, and I like the villain more than ever.  I tell myself I shouldn't like them, "Look what they did to the hero!" et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, but while I might abhor them in theory, I like them a little too much in practice.

You know that everyone says you should look for the good in people?  That is one of the few virtues I seem to have cultivated to an amazing extent. :P  Villains seem to have some bits of good in them to make them believable, but for me it makes them..... loveable.

[A little disclaimer: (especially for those of my friends who watched The Phantom of the Opera with me) this does NOT apply to The Phantom.  He is not a villain or a hero.  He acts like a two year old with a temper tantrum.  I have no great liking for two year olds with temper tantrums.  Besides, I am and always have been on Team Raoul.  Hurray for Raoul!!! (It's a pity some of my friends don't read this blog.  I can only imagine what their indignant comments would be like. *evil chuckle*)]

Oh, villains.  The really loveable (or hate-able, have it the way you like) bad guys are the ones who are their own worst enemies.

Did I just say their own worst enemies?  Now I'm slamming my head against the computer desk and screaming "Willoughby!  Willoughby and Steerforth!" at the top of my lungs. Not out loud, I hope you understand, because that would make my family think I have gone crazy.  (And they'd be right.  But shhhhh, it's supposed to be a secret. ;-D)

Steerforth really should have been the hero of David Copperfield.  There was really no one but himself in the way.  For pity's sake get a head, Steerforth.  Get a heart.  Do you really realized what you're doing?  And really, why did you have to go and die?

Which brings me to another random and ridiculous opinion. I like the villains, and I like the heroes, but I don't like unrequited lovers. That is, not unless the unrequited lover is the hero. (Do you think I hastily stuck in that last sentence so that Sydney Carton would fit with the characters I like? You should not suspect me of such a ridiculous idea.) Which makes it naturally follow that, in the drowning scene, I groan "Steerforth, Steerforth," over and over and completely ignore poor Ham.  And really, if you are named Ham I might respect you, I might admire your character, but I feel that I could never give you my undivided attention.

Since I sort of need to go to bed I'll stop this random post.  It probably doesn't make much sense, but then again, it probably was written when I wasn't entirely sane and certainly when I had just finished Sir Percy Hits Back (review on The Day Dream coming soon.)  I purposely didn't mention Chauvelin in this post, but if I started, I would give indefinate amounts of spoilers and never stop.  Just remember, tigers do have hearts.

And I do apologise for the lack of sense in this post.  I will post something sensible soon.  I promise. :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Snippets of story and a question

Here are a few bits and pieces of what I’ve been writing lately, joining up with Katie at Whisperings of the Pen.
But, strange to say, he did not want to go back to England. His bachelor existence seemed narrow and uninteresting after – what? He had been perfectly content with it before. 
Where was Mademoiselle de Marle this lonely night? He caught himself short. What had made him think of her? It was no concern of his. In all probability, her hurried departure from Lady Ffoulkes’ was only for the sake of some sick relative or other; nothing whatsoever important to him.
The spring night was cold and clear, and Hastings pulled his riding-cloak a little closer as he walked along the narrow, squalid street. 
- A Woman in Shadow

Hastings gazed back at them for a moment. “Yes, it shows a high degree of sense to be so thoughtful,” he murmured under his breath. “It is most patriotic to give your victims a chance to flee before denouncing them, thereby saving for the agents of the Committee of Public Safety much time otherwise occupied in arrests, don’t you think?”
He laughed, but it was not altogether a pleasant laugh, and the look he threw back at the inn-keeper and his wife was hardly as affable as Marthe might have imagined.
- A Woman in Shadow

“You!” she said.
“Yes, me. My leave is not over yet. Can I see Miss Randall?” he said hurriedly.
“See Miss Randall!” Anna did not know what to think. This man was here at the door and he just asked calmly if he could see Bertha. While all the while she was upstairs in a delirious fever and with who knew how many broken bones! “See Miss Randall!” she repeated with a bitter laugh. “No, you can’t see her. You ask to just come for a little visit while all the time she’s dying upstairs!” and she shut the door in his face.
But his firm hand wrenched it open and he stood again in the doorway, still holding his horses bridle. “Is that true?” he said breathlessly. “You must be lying to me. Tell me it isn’t true!”
“It is true,” said Anna, surprised at her own calmness. “She went walking in a thunderstorm and was hit by a tree. She is in a delirious fever.” And she tried to shut the door, but he held it open. “Is there anything I can do?” he asked. “Go for the doctor – anything?”
“The doctor is here and you can leave me alone,” said Anna and shut the door. Then she buried her face in one of the kitchen chairs and cried. 
- Love and Laughter (my nano novel, working title)

They heard the door open and Meredith started. “You were supposed to go walking with them,” she said at last.
“Well, I didn’t,” he said blithely, “but I can take you for a walk.”
“Let’s go out the back door,” Meredith said as she smiled and gave him her arm.
- Love and Laughter

“What do you recommend I do?” he pressed.
I recommend you do?” said Anna, who felt an intoxicating urge to tease him, “I did not think that young men consulted their young ladies’ friends as to every single detail of their courtship.”
“Well,” said Edward Wynne impatiently, “That would be all very well if Bertha – I mean Miss Randall – knew I was courting her, but she doesn’t.
- Love and Laughter

“A prisoner, chief,” said MacPherson.
“Another prisoner! This is a night of wonders,” remarked Robert of Killikonck. “My men used to be better at hiding themselves, so that they had no need to capture those who happen to see them.”
“Chief,” said MacDougal humbly. “We sort of couldn’t help it. The lady almost fell down from the sky.
- The Killikonicks

“It is hardly needed, I think, Madame, for me to tell you that offering bribes and selling state secrets is a dangerous occupation.”
“Selling state secrets, girl!” interrupted the lady with hauteur. “I do not sell. I give, and that for the good of my country.”
“That may be,” answered the girl coolly, “But if you continue here your country will have to do without you. Trust me and I will bring you to a place of safety.”
The lady slowly put her hand on the desk. “But how do I know that I can trust you?” she asked at last.
“That’s just it, Madame. You don’t,” the girl rejoined simply. 
- A Woman in Shadow

Now, to all of you who managed to read this far (a gold star for you!) I have a great big question.

In the middle of writing A Woman in Shadow, I have an enormous problem that’s keeping me from continuing. I am desperate for information – any information – about the Huguenots (French Protestants) in France during the reign of Louis XV. I am also hunting madly the names and texts official proclamations, decisions, and debates from the Committee of General Security or the Convention (but not the Committee of Public Safety, because if I let that in Chauvelin would sneak in with it and I am adamant that he will not be allowed into my novel) for the months of April, May, and June 1794. I am especially looking for the full word-for-word text (but preferably translated into English, my French is mauvais, to say the least) for the Law of the 22nd Prairial, along with who advocated it, who didn’t like it, what they said about it, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

If you do have information, or know of any books or websites with that do, I will be oh-so-grateful and spontaneously send you dozens of virtual hugs over the internet.

One more thing, for any of you that are still reading (you are still here, aren’t you?) I have one more question to ask. What do you honestly think of my writing? What do you think are my good points? What needs to be improved? (Actually, that was three questions, but just don’t notice, please.)

Have a lovely day!

Oh, and by the way, the Sydney Carton post seems to have been my 100th, but unfortunately I didn't notice at the time.