Posts tagged ‘castle’

September 19th, 2011

Anticipating Anything?

by Madeleine Rex


Castle is my healthy obsession. It makes me so happy that I’ve occasionally cried for joy while giggling and clapping my hands. And I like to think that I benefit from it, too (see My 2D and Paper & Ink Families).

But that’s not the point. Well, there’s not really much of a point for this post (blame hours of homework for every lame attempt of mine at blogging), but I want to ask: Is there anything you’re eagerly anticipating? School? A book (whether it’s one you’re waiting for or your own)? A movie? A friend’s visit?

Anticipation is so exciting, isn’t it? Sometimes, it’s so great it’s better than the actual event/occasion itself. Ideally, while we’re reading, the anticipation pays off. The term “page turner” is applied only to books that make the reader feel such a potent feeling of anticipation that they’re almost tearing pages out of the book in their haste to turn them. As a writer, it’s crucial that we can induce anticipation in a reader, no matter what the genre. Can none of us say that we hugely anticipated events in Looking for Alaska just as we did those in The Hunger Games?

No matter what the genre, no matter what the story, that thrilling sense of anticipation is crucial. And then comes doing good on your promise. Being disappointed after anticipating something for weeks/100 pages is like reaching the peak of a roller coaster and then realizing it levels out from there instead of giving you that gut-tingling surge to the ground. Create anticipation, allow the reader to cash in on it, and you’re on your way to being a rip-roaring success.

How do you make a reader feel anticipation? Have you ever been let down after anticipating a major event for a long time? What are you looking forward to now?

July 18th, 2010

My 2D and Paper & Ink Families

by Madeleine Rex

Please don’t tease me for using Castle examples again. You’re wasting your time. You should be recording re-runs, becoming obsessed, renting season one, watching season two online, and waiting eagerly for season three (because that’s really making good use of your time).

I’m back! Wondering where I was? I had to link that “Castle” up there, wound up on their site, and became engrossed in the Ask Castle videos (there’s some good writing advice in there!). Back to the post…

People make me happier in life than almost anything else. They make living a joy, because loving them makes the entire world seem better. This applies mostly to real people, but characters have nearly the same affect on me. My 2D and paper & ink families add laughter, smiles, and occasionally tears to my life, making it glisten brighter. People, fictional or not, are an integral part of the human experience. We have the ability to love so strongly. It’s an astounding gift, because, when you get right down to it, love is what makes life worth living.

I’m using Castle and Alexis as examples because I frequently tell my dad that they were misplaced. In my ideal reality, they would have been my uncle and cousin. Watching them makes me ache for their friendship. I can’t stop thinking of all the way we’re similar (and, best of all, Castle’s a writer!). They would both fit so well in my family that I feel like they’re missing. Their father-daughter relationship reminds me of the one I have with my dad; the ways I relate to them are never-ending.

I’m a crier. Really. I cry from happiness, excitement, frustration, sadness, etcetera. Oftentimes, I cry when I read or watch a TV show. I become so invested in the characters, so in love with them (not in the romantic way), that watching them go through hard times or happy ones resonates incredibly with me.

As readers, we hone our skills as people-lovers. Have you ever realized that the more a character has at risk, or the more likable they are, the faster we read? The more torn we feel when we’re done? Happy that we experienced what we did while reading but simultaneously wishing we hadn’t read it at all because we miss it so much? Even when the plot isn’t quite thrilling, the characters can hold a story on their own. Reading helps us to appreciate the little things, hold back presumptions and wait to see what people are really like. From reading, we learn that people can change, we witness it happen. We give more people the benefit of the doubt. If we’re not doing these things, we need to. We don’t have an excuse because every book we read teaches us that value of people. Every person is valuable to the story, every person is valuable in our lives, whether to teach us a lesson, to help us strengthen our patience, or to give us more reason to love.

As writers, we have the opportunity to create friends. To add more people to the world. We’re giving readers the opportunity to love more. We’re teaching ourselves about the ins and outs of human nature and giving ourselves the opportunity to appreciate what people are, to appreciate their weaknesses, because we learn that even their weaknesses contribute to their character. Most importantly, we are creating people that will resonate with a reader, give them goosebumps, make them cry, make them laugh, make them love life a little bit more.

These 2D and paper & ink families are crucial. Imagine all the people out there. Tucked within book covers or scripts. People who might just be our meant-to-be cousins. Or our role models. Or mentors, crushes, our bosom friends.

Open a book, read. Turn on the television, watch. Open a Word document, write.

Create people. Meet people. Love them or hate them, but let them contribute something to your life.

June 25th, 2010

Chemistry Dr. Frankenstein Would Be Proud Of

by Madeleine Rex

Great characters. Great chemistry.

That’s the concoction. You mix up the order, and then you’ve got a bread that doesn’t rise. If you’re not a baker, think of it this way: Even if you’re planning on writing a trilogy, it’s integral for the first novel, at least, to stand alone if necessary. The first novel creates interest, grabs the reader. The second complements the first and cultivates further reader interest. (If you’re not a writer or a baker, you’re out of luck.) When it comes to characters and chemistry, the same is true. Characters have to be well-developed, three-dimensional, and intriguing. If I’m not interested in them, if I’m not rooting for them, than chemistry is moot. Actually, the chemistry is unlikely to be that… chemistry-y.

Take for example, Richard Castle and Kate Beckett (above). I’m hooked on the TV show Castle (by the way: Castle’s an author!), and a majority of the credit goes to the characters. They are fantastic. Standing alone, I would watch the show. However, their chemistry complements each of them. They are at their best when bickering with each other. Those characters can hold their own. If the episode isn’t all great, the mystery lacking in a few areas (which usually doesn’t happen), I will remain glued to the television screen solely to watch their banter.

The point of those two paragraphs (and this one, actually)? – Great characters are the priority. Chemistry complements them. And great characters tend to breed grade-A chemistry.

Some characters hit it off right away. From page one or the pilot episode, you’re certain that the show/book will be amazing, if only for the characters. Examples:

  • Castle and Beckett, as mentioned earlier. From minute one, you either love or are interested in  both of them. They’re multi-faceted to the extreme, yet there’s something predictable about their movements because, as a viewer, I feel I know them. Because they’re well rounded and incredibly real, their chemistry feels more natural. It rolls off of them effortlessly, and it’s a joy to watch. Side Note: I firmly believe that Castle should by my uncle on my Rex side and that Beckett should be my aunt on my mom’s. I’m absolutely certain.
  • Hermione and Ron. Even as friends, did you realize how perfect they were? Immediately, they “clicked.” They could be irritated with each other or laughing together (and, you have to admit, they were usually irritated with each other), but it always worked. However, when they were alone with Harry, they could hold their own. They were entertaining and lovable individually, but together they were magic. (Forgive the pun.)

I can’t remember when I mentioned this before, but at some point, I said that love interests have to be as interesting as the main character, and vice versa. If one or the other is lacking, I feel the interesting one was swindled and I was cheated as a reader. On the other hand, it’s unbelievable if someone intriguing and clever falls in love and is content with a dimwitted person. How would they ever carry on a conversation? Where’s the satisfaction?

It’s the great characters that makes the complementary great chemistry believable, or possible for that matter. There is nothing fun about watching one character talk down to their counterpart. They can’t banter cleverly if they aren’t on equal ground.

I love it when I read or see something that gets everything right. The characters are fantastic and stand under the pressure of my skepticism, the writing is superb, and the chemistry between one character and the other enhances the entire experience.

P.S. Wow. This post sounds so dry. It’s the thought that counts! I took a two week break, too, so I’m kind of rusty.