Thursday, February 28, 2013

Biff and Mary: Chapter Fourteen

Welcome back for more Biff and Mary! Today’s episode will be filled with the vapid thought processes, extreme run-on sentences, excessive amount of detail and ridiculous shallowness that epitomize our Perfectly Perfect Pair! When we last left our lovebirds at Mary’s home in Loversville, they had just been attempting to unpack boxes and were finishing their lunch while Mary’s pampered Pomeranian, Poopsie, languished in the back yard. Buff, blemished Biff was about to reveal his deep, dark, secret… ;) Hope you enjoy!

** If you'd like to read previous chapters of Biff and Mary, my exercise in How Not to Write, just click on the "Biff and Mary" tab above, or click here. **

Chapter 14: Wherein Biff’s Secret is Revealed and True Love is Tested Once More…

Biff cleared his throat, flipped his well-styled sun-kissed blond hair with the 23 darker streaks mixed in (which she had still yet to determine were natural or the result of an expert colorist, but as she now knew that her love knew no bounds she had decided she didn’t mind which), and determinedly looked Mary in the eye as he prepared to divulge the secret of his moniker misfortune.

“Well, Mary…it is important that we always be honest with each other…even about the most, er….challenging things, right?” He looked at her hopefully.

Mary nodded and swallowed and tried to ignore the way her heartbeat had sped up because the way it was beating made her think back to watching cartoons on her grandmother’s old RCA  television, which had it’s own dark wood grain cabinet and metal rabbit ears on top which worked sometimes but didn’t work others, and once in a while they had to crumple up tin foil and wrap it on the ends of the antennas to make it work well enough for her to watch her Saturday morning Looney Tunes when she was visiting. Anyhoo, she thought about watching the cartoons and the way Pepe LePew’s heart would beat so hard that it would practically poke right out of his chest every time he saw his lady love, much like Mary’s heart was beating right now. She risked a quick glance down at her own chest, swathed in the once-lovely-but-now-hopelessly-wrinkled white cotton blouse with the delicate little cap sleeves, which had so nicely set off both her lightly tanned and toned arms as well as her plum-colored pedal-pusher pants, not to mention her amethyst accessories, and was relieved to find that her own frantic heartbeat wasn’t nearly so obvious as Pepe’s .


“Er…yes. Yes, Biff, of course. Please go on.”

Biff cleared his throat again. “Well…my parents told me that they thought a man of my social stature really needed to have more than one middle name, and since they wanted to be sure to honor both of my late grandfathers when I was born, they gave me both of their names. So…my middle names are... Ulysses and Reginald.”
He glanced at Mary expectantly, braced for her reaction. When she continued to stare at him vacantly, he took a deep breath and went on.
“So…my full name is... Bickford Ulysses Reginald Parker.”
Mary’s vacant look remained for a moment more, then her eyes widened and her mouth dropped open slightly in shock and dismay. “But Biff…if…if that’s the case, then that means that your initials are…”

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Books to Movies: Will it work for the Outlander books?

Apologies for such a long, unplanned hiatus from the blog.
For those of you who are still interested in their misadventures, Biff and Mary have been clamoring for attention and will likely make an appearance again in the very near future, so stay tuned!

There has been quite a lot of interesting stuff going on in the writing/reading world these days, but the one that caught my attention recently is an announcement about Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books being picked up by Starz for development as a drama series.

Am I the only Outlander fan who views this with at least a little bit of wariness?

Oh, I understand the author’s willingness to make the deal – really, if it were you, and you stood to make the kind of money such a movie/series could bring in, would you ever turn it down?  Of course not. You'd sign on and hope they did a good job.

But as a devoted reader of the series…
Please... just, no.

If there is any one novel I’ve read that I do *not* want to see on film, Outlander is it.

Is there any actress who could truly portray someone as complex as Claire? Any actor who could convincingly become Jamie? 
Just the thought of it gives me horrific visions of Keira Knightly wildly emoting while Tom Cruise flips back a mop of artificial red hair. Yikes.

And when it comes to the whole books-to-movies-or-television thing, I would venture to say that history supports my skepticism.

Consider all of the books you’ve truly enjoyed. Have any been turned into a movie?
Or a television mini-series?
 Can you think of any that have come even close to living up to the book(s) they are based on?

Take Stephen King, for example. He has a way of tapping into that little spark of fear or strangeness in humanity that might otherwise go unnoticed, and brilliantly twisting it into a nightmarish thing. Genius, really, and back in the day, I loved reading Carrie, The Shining, and many others. And while the movies based on those novels were entertaining, they certainly didn’t compare to the books themselves. How could that kind of singular nuance of human nature and evil that King captures so perfectly ever be sufficiently expressed by character actors (even good ones like Jack Nicholson and Sissy Spacek)? 

I haven’t read any of the Twilight books, and I don’t really think I ever will, but from what I understand many of the book's fans were very unhappy about the movie casting, and felt that the action in the book didn’t translate credibly to the big screen.
If a major movie studio can’t do something like the Twilight series justice on the movie screen, can we really have much faith in Starz being able to do a superior book series like Outlander justice?

Maybe I’m a “book snob” or maybe I’m a cynic, but I can’t find it in me to be excited by that announcement. I love Jamie and Claire as they exist on the pages, and in my mind, and I don’t want to see the Hollywood version of them. I really don't.

How do the rest of you Outlander fans feel about it?
Do you think there is any possibility that Starz can do something worthwhile with the book?
I'd welcome your opinions in the comments.

{* One more thing!  For those die-hard fans like me, I highly recommend Karen Henry’s Outlandish Observations site. There’s a lot of great info about the books and the history, such as the Friday Fun Facts, and lots of other fun and informative Outlander stuff. If you haven’t been there, it’s definitely worth a visit!}