Thursday, 29 March 2012

Top Five Things Downton Abbey Has Taught Me About Writing

I have recently joined the ranks of millions of viewers captivated with the personal lives of both the aristocrats and the staff at the majestic manor.

And why do we love it so? One word—conflict. Well, yes, and maybe the jewelry, and dresses, and how everyone talks fancy. But, as a writer, I wanted to examine how Julian Fellowes managed to create a huge cast of characters that we embraced so quickly. Psst, I'm only just starting Season spoilers please! 

Here are the top five things Downton Abbey has taught me about writing.

1. Every character should be either rich, good looking, or in a position of authority.

Mr. Carson, Head Butler
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2. The main love interests should despise each other at first, then secretly hide their affection. It also helps if they're never single at the same time.

Mathew and Mary
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3. Create a sympathetic character who continuously battles hardships and bad luck, then finally gets what he wants most—only to have that taken away by an unforeseeable complication.

Mr. Bates and Anna
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4. One character should be able to say whatever witty insult they please, without suffering any consequences.

Dowager Duchess aka the awesome Maggie Smith
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5. The villain should have a sidekick who is just as deceptive, yet has a concealed capacity for compassion and may not always go along with the plan—especially if they're feeling unappreciated by the villain.

Thomas and Miss O'Brien
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And here's the bonus...When in doubt, add a dinner scene.

Norman Rockwell...almost
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Who's your favorite character on Downton?

Monday, 26 March 2012

Once Upon A Time, Episode 17, Hat Trick...Or, Never Trust A Guy In Leather Pants

NOT a princess in disguise
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There's a giant mushroom in the blue forest. I'm also beginning to suspect there's some other kind of mushrooms in the writer's room at ABC.

At the Sheriff's office the door to an empty cell is wide open. Mary Margaret has escaped and is running through the woods. At night. And tripping and gasping for breath. This is how the horror movie starts.

Henry is sitting in the hallway of the Sheriff's office reading the storybook. Emma and Mr. Gold arrive, but Henry stays quiet until Mr. Gold leaves—he knows the drill and limps off. Henry gets excited and asks Emma if she's come up with an escape plan yet. Emma flicks back her super long hair and tries to explain how ridiculous that sounds.

You see, she's in a rush to check the murder suspect that's been kept in the jail without anyone else working in the building to guard her or protect her. They stop in their tracks when they find the empty jail cell.

Shocking. *said sarcastically while holding a martini and adjusting my monocle*

Henry warns Emma that if Mary Margaret tries to leave Storybrooke something horrible will happen to her. *cough* Heart in a box *cough* Emma gets in her yellow bug and races off into the night.

Why isn't she driving the Sheriff's car? Who else has the car? She's the only officer in town?!

She almost runs over some hot looking guy in a long coat. He has a slightly injured foot, but claims to be alright. He introduces himself as Jefferson, but he already knows that she's the Sheriff. This is obvious because she's NOT driving the Sheriff's car, and she's NOT wearing a uniform.

Jefferson feels completely safe with Emma's hair, and accepts a ride back to his house in her yellow bug.

The fairytale version of Jefferson is running through the woods. I wonder how many times the writer's put in, RUNS THOUGH WOODS, in the scripts?

He hides behind a tree, but is soon found by his sweet little girl, Grace. The game of hide n' seek is over and it's time to forage for mushrooms to sell at the market. With a basket full of fungus, they arrive at their cottage only to find the Evil Queen's black carriage is waiting. The father tells Grace to hide in the woods.

Yes, Grace, hide like a ninja.

photo credit, blobzapit2ya
The Evil Queen greets him by his Storybrooke name, Jefferson. Interesting, he's the only character so far that has the same name for both worlds, he's also wearing the same leather pants.
She holds a patchwork doll, and makes fun of his humble abode. Which is ironic since her Halloween Bustier makes her the cheapest thing in the room. *stops typing to laugh*

Apparently Jefferson has a special skill the Evil Queen needs. He refuses her request, stating that he's turned to a life of honesty because of his daughter. The Evil Queen is adamant and thrusts a magical map in his face, asking him to help her get somewhere to get something.

Dear ABC,

You're killing me with the specifics. Be careful not to write yourself into a corner with all these 'somes' going on.

Emma's yellow bug pulls up to an impressive home. She asks Jefferson if he has a huge family, but he says it's only him. He hobbles up the stairs and invites her in for a cup of coffee. Emma and her hair follow him inside. She takes in the swanky surroundings—this hunky guy is rich and lives alone in a mansion. Why does this sound familiar?

NOT Mr. Darcy
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He limps back in carrying a tray. Oh, it turns out he really meant coffee, and not a game of naked Twister. With his big ascot ties, puffy shirts, and tight leather pants, he also dresses like Mr. Darcy. Okay, I know Mr. Darcy didn't wear leather pants, but he could totally pull it off.

*looks out window lost in daydream about Mr. Darcy*

Jefferson hands Emma a ginormous mug and shows her a map of Storybrooke that he made, which of course is all he knows, since no one ever gets to leave. Emma is intrigued and thinks this will help her find Mary Margaret. She sips her drink and studies the map. Soon she starts to feel a little dizzy. Jefferson lies her down on the sofa. She notices his limp is gone, and he smiles as she go unconscious.

Holy frickin' 50 Shades of Grey. If Emma wakes up with her hands bound in grey neckties, I'm losing it.

Grace and Jefferson shop at the local market. She wants a stuffed rabbit from a creepy looking gypsy. Run away! Never buy a stuffed bunny from a creepy gypsy, everybody knows that! Jefferson is ashamed and saddened that he doesn't have enough money. However, Grace is super understanding, like every kid who has ever been told they can't have a toy. I think I saw her in Wal-mart NOT having a temper tantrum the other day.

Emma wakes up bound and gagged. But thankfully, she's been reading Nancy Drew, and she manages to untie herself. She discovers a telescope set up by the window, is pointed right at the Sheriff's office.

At least somebody's been watching the place. *adjusts monocle in a sarcastic manner*

Jefferson makes another patchwork doll for Grace. She's delighted and sets up a tea party for all the dolls, and asks her father to play. He tells her he's leaving to do some work and that she must stay with neighbors until he gets back.

Grace is worried it's about the Evil Queen and begs him not to go. He ignores her good advice because it makes sense. Jefferson promises he will come back for their tea party. He sends her off to the neighbors, and then takes an oval shaped box out of hiding.

Emma tiptoes down the hallway as Jefferson sharpens a pair of scissors. She slips into a room and finds Mary Margaret bound to a chair. She quickly unties her as Mary Margaret whispers about her abduction in the woods.

Try staying out of the woods at night, lady. *sips martini and rolls eyes*

Mary Margaret confesses there was a key under her cot. Before they can solve the case of the 'convenient key' Emma has bigger problems. Like how her super hair has gone flat in the rain and no longer awesome.

Without her big hair powers, Emma relies on smarts and sneaks down the hallway, using Mary Margaret as a shield from any scissors that might come flying at them. They don't get very far. Jefferson has a gun and makes Emma tie Mary Margaret back up since she's such a bad ass who could go all karate kid on him.

Guilt stricken he couldn't buy his daughter a rabbit, Jefferson decides to give the Evil Queen what she wants in return for a life of luxury for Grace. This makes complete sense to me. All good parents know that food, shelter, and love are not enough, material things are essential for a child's happiness as well.

With the Evil Queen clasping her hands with excitement, Jefferson opens the oval shaped box and takes out a top hat. It spins on the floor, creating a purple vortex. She insists he come with her, so together they jump into the tornado in search of what that 'something' the Evil Queen says is 'somewhere'.

Jefferson takes Emma to a room with shelves displaying identical top hats. He says he was saving Mary Margaret safe by keeping her in Storybrooke. He's been stuck in the house for the past twenty-eight years, until the night she showed up in town, and made the clock start to tick. She brought magic to Storybrooke.

She tells him he's insane because he's talking about magic.

*Gasp* Stupefy!

I think he crossed the crazy line way before, like when he drugged her, but hey, that's just me.

Jefferson is determined, and tells her to open her eyes, wake up and look around. Then he asks her to get it to work. Those last two sentences sound like everyone's morning before they get out of bed. What does he want Emma to work on? A magic wand? A time machine?

Nope. A hat. A magic hat.

The Evil Queen and Jefferson are surrounded by a room lined with different looking doors. They stand in front of a tall mirror and go over the rules for themselves, and for us, too. Here's the super important rule—everyone who goes in, has to come back.

Joseph slips through and she follows. In a scene from Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, they walk into a world full of giant mushrooms and tall grass. I hope a lawn mover doesn't come along. A huge caterpillar with a smoking problem greets them. Jefferson is not amused and says he hates Wonderland.

Here! Here! My good man. *adjusts monocle* I feel the same way about Mondays.

Emma stares at the work table covered in arts and crafts supplies trying to figure out how to make a hat. Macaroni and tinfoil necklace? Yes. But a magic top hat? Yikes.

Emma figures out that Jefferson thinks he's the Mad Hatter. He doesn't like her tone of voice. He asks what she thinks books are based on. Imagination? Where did that imagination come from?

That's easy silly, the Island Of Misfit Toys, of course.

Jefferson tells Emma she has to open her mind to other worlds. Some have magic, and some don't...blah, blah. *Yawn* Then he points the gun at her and says she and Mary Margaret aren't leaving until she makes him a hat that can send him home.

The Evil Queen and Jefferson stand in front of a hedge maze decorated with the Queen of Hearts emblem, which shockingly enough is a red heart. The Evil Queen burns a straight path through the maze—I don't think she gets the whole idea of a maze. She finds a vault and takes a box. Hmm...someone's heart perchance?

They easily escape the guards and race back to the tall mirror. The Evil Queen rips off a small piece of mushroom and puts it into the box. Purple smoke escapes and her father, Henry Senior, appears fully dressed and looking perfectly healthy.

Quick, grab one for Schmexy!

Let's recap. The 'something' the Evil Queen was looking for was her father. He'll also be the 'something' she'll kill later on, to carry out her curse.

The Evil Queen explains that the Queen of Hearts stole her father as a way to punish her. Jefferson realizes he's now stuck in Wonderland since Henry is taking his ticket through the mirror. Remember the rule? If two go in, two must come out.

He pleads that his daughter is waiting for him back home. The Evil Queen tells him it's his fault, he should never have abandoned his family.

Or trust the Evil Queen.
Or get uptight about material things.
Or assume that he knows what makes his daughter happier than she does.

The guards arrive and drag Jefferson to see the Queen of Hearts. She has a voice like gravel, hides behind a red veil, has huge ears, and uses something that looks like a trunk to speak to her interpretor. Elephant?! She also hates the Evil Queen and calls her Regina.

Shot in the dark, I'm guessing these two are sisters.

Anyway, back to the story, The Queen of Hearts growls, 'off with his head.' Jefferson remains alive, as a head suspended in the air. He tells the Queen of Hearts about the magic hat that brought him to her world. Apparently this is something she finds intriguing. For eternity it is his task to make another.

The next morning Emma hands Jefferson a finished hat, which is pretty impressive workmanship, I think. But it's useless because it isn't magic. Jefferson then walks Emma over to the telescope. His daughter, Grace, lives with another family, not realizing he's her real father.

Dear ABC,

I thought when people remembered bad things happened.

Poor, Schmexy, there is no justice.

Jefferson is cursed to remember his life in fairytale land. He's trapped by the conflicting realities in his head, and it drives him mad. All he wants is a magic hat to help him kidnap, sorry, I mean take Grace back to his world.

Emma sympathizes with the separated-from-your-child thing. She starts to have her own break down and believes what he's saying.

Huh? This crazy stranger who drugged her, pointed a gun at her, and forced her to labor all night, is the only one to make her believe?!

He turns to get the hat and Emma knocks him out with the telescope.

Yay! Go, Nancy Drew!

She runs down the hall and unties Mary Margaret. Jefferson arrives wearing the top hat and wrestles with Emma. His ascot gets pulled off, revealing a scar all the way around his neck. He smashes through the window and falls from the second story. When Emma leans out the window and looks down, all that remains is the top hat.

That's how the movie Halloween ended, too.

Mary Margaret and Emma sneak out of the house and retrieve the hat. Emma gives her the keys to the yellow bug, saying it's her decision to run away.

Light bulb moment! That's why she couldn't drive the Sheriff's car.

Emma begins a speech about NOT running away, and trusting the people who take care of you. She tells Mary Margaret she's the only one who has ever really been there for her. There's also that stand-up-to-the-Mayor thing, too.

Speaking of...the Mayor arrives and sees Mary Margaret in her jail cell, innocently reading a newspaper article about her guilt. She meets with Mr. Gold in the hallway, which is totally deserted and perfect for making sinister plans because no one works there but Emma. Apparently Mr. Gold and the Mayor made a deal to get Mary Margaret convicted of murder.

Why do these two even trust each other? All they do is lie to each other!!

Henry is at school, sitting on a bench. Emma arrives and let's him know Mary Margaret is safe and sound in jail. Grace walks by and waves at Henry, except Henry knows her as Paige. Emma recognizes her as the girl Jefferson is convinced is his daughter. She looks at the pictures in the storybook, unnerved by the unmistakable resemblance to Jefferson and his daughter.

In a castle dungeon, the Mad Hatter sews hundreds of hats, slowly going crazy.

Emma asks Henry if she can keep the book for a few days, and he's hands it over, more than excited. What?! You mean she's never looked at it before?!

*finishes martini and stomps off*

What do you think the Queen of Hearts is hiding behind the veil?


Thursday, 22 March 2012

If The Hunger Games Movie Was Cast With Literary Characters

Okay, so unless you've been living in a cave the last month, The Hunger Games movie comes out this weekend. And if you're a HGJ (Hunger Games Junkie), you've read the book more than a few times and know the characters pretty well. If you're not sure if you're a HGJ, click here to take the test.

But let's not forget in the beginning, it was a book. So, in a nod to all the other awesome books out there, just for kicks, here is my list if The Hunger Games was cast with literary characters.

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Cato—Bill Sikes from Oliver Twist.

Bent into a cruel killing machine by ways of their environment. Enough said.

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Jane Bennet
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Primrose—Jane Bennet from Pride And Prejudice.

A quiet beauty with a need to help everyone. Constantly supported by her gusty and more outspoken sister.

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Fairy Godmother
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Cinna—The Fairy Godmother from Cinderella. Even the spelling is close!

Who else could pull off a fashion miracle of turning the dirty tomboy into a gorgeous champion for the people.

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Rue—Simon from The Lord Of The Flies. Both represent reason and the potential for goodness in humanity, however both met violent deaths.
Seriously, you knew they we're going to last long, even with the protagonists help.

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Mad Hatter
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Haymitch—The Mad Hatter from Alice In Wonderland.
Both like to drink and talk in riddles. However, approach with caution, silly as they may seem, underneath is an unstable man.

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Gale—Dally from The Outsiders.
A rebel, but handsome enough to make him less threatening and likable. He takes care of those who rely on him and is a natural leader.
He enjoys being outspoken, but keeps his feelings for Katniss low key and platonic. Only when her life is in danger, does her realize all his anger and good looks can do nothing to help her.

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Peeta—Pip from Great Expectations. Impoverished and unappreciated by his own family, he falls in love with a girl who, at first, is only pretending to share his sentiments.

His gentle and kind nature stand out in contrast to Dally's (Gale's) confidence and strength.

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Katniss—Laura Ingalls. Okay she was an actual person, but is still a literary character...sort of.

Besides, who else would be prepared to survive in the wilderness and battle the elements than a spunky pioneer girl.

Not only can she sew a plaid shirt, skip rocks the most times across the creek, and know where the best blueberries are, she also stood up that meany Nellie Olsen.

And let's not forget about the braids, people. The hair should count for something.
Who else would you cast?

Next Monday I'll be blogging the latest episode of Once Upon A Time.


Monday, 19 March 2012

Once Upon A Time, Episode 16, Heart of Darkness or Isn't That Convenient

Red and Prince Charming are huddled around a fire in the snow. Suddenly, King George's guards charge from the woods. Red tells Prince Charming to take off with the horse. He pleads for her to go with him, but she turns away and tells him to get a head start.

If only there was a convenient way to escape.
Cue the full moon. Isn't that convenient?!

The red cloak comes off and it's wolf time.

Emma takes mug shots of Mary Margaret while telling her she had no choice but to arrest her.

Yesterday it was David, now its Mary Margaret. Make up your mind, woman!

Emma explains the Mayor will say it's favortism, and then she'll get fired. Oh dear, Emma, yes that would be the worst thing that could happen from all of this—unemployment.

Snow White coaxes a songbird into the dwarf's cottage then proceeds to chase it with a broom, trying to smack it flat. Grumpy arrives and almost gets the broom as well.

She's being grumpy to Grumpy.

He tells her to put down the weapon, sorry I mean broom, and join the others for supper. But it's not supper, it's an intervention, complete with Jiminy Cricket. All the dwarfs take turns telling her the potion that made her forget Prince Charming has changed her from a lovable yet sad girl, into a crazy cleaning woman with permanent PMS.

She rants about her life of luxury at the palace, her father being murdered, and then having to escape being killed by that sexy Huntsman (okay the sexy part was my idea). She decides she's entitled to a little revenge and plans to kill the Evil Queen. Jiminy Cricket tries to reason with her, but she grabs a pick axe and stomps out of there like the creepy killer dude from My Bloody Valentine.

Emma is giving Mary Margaret a lie detector test. Of course the Mayor is there. *rolls eyes*

Emma puts the wooden box down and asks Mary Margaret if it looks familiar. Mary Margaret says it's her jewelry box. Emma is shocked—that's the box the heart was found in!!!

The Mayor pipes up and says, “a woman with a broken heart can do unspeakable things.”

Like dress and decorate your home in only three colors? Personally I thought it was in bad taste to use the word 'heart' know considering the evidence.

Snow White unsaddles one of the Evil Queen's guards and threatens him with the pick axe, demanding the whereabouts of the Evil Queen. He informs her she's taking a trip to the summer palace. Snow White knocks him unconscious and steals his armor. Grumpy shows up and pleads with her to go back to Rumpelstiltskin to fix her black heart. Snow White agrees only because he may be able help her with the assassination.

Emma inspects the front door and the windows at Mary Margaret's apartment, hoping for evidence that someone broke in and stole the jewelry box. Henry arrives and tries to help Emma since there's no need for school with his teacher in jail and everything.

Yup, that makes perfect sense to me.

Suddenly—because there's never any foreshadowing in this series—they hear a noise from under the vent. Emma takes off the iron cover and finds a hunting knife wrapped in bloody cloth.

Cool! A singing knife. I don't remember that in any fairytales.

The writer, I mean August, finds Henry at the diner/pub/laundromat. He's a bit bummed out by the discovery of the murder weapon in his teacher's bedroom.

Ew. I foresee an appointment with Dr. Hopper.

August is hopeful and encourages Henry to find answers in his storybook. Henry senses a new member for Operation Cobra. August confides that he believes the stories are true. He tells Henry he has faith and wants others to see the light too.

August is beginning to sound a little too messiah like. *squirms uncomfortably*

August reminds Henry that Emma is someone who requires proof—and lots of conditioner.

Shampoo commercial, take two.
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Have you seen how big her hair is getting? Forget being the daughter of Snow White, I think Emma is Rapunzel.

Prince Charming follows tracks in the snow and finds the naked guard who tells him Snow White was the crazy chick who robbed him.

David interrupts the Mayor's apple snack time and tries to convince her that Mary Margaret is good not evil. The Mayor tells him evil isn't born, its made—just like boy bands!

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Emma stares at Mary Margaret through the bars and tells her about the singing knife that was hidden under her floor. She's worried because the evidence is piling up.

So is something else, and it's really stinky. *plugs nose*

Mr. Gold arrives and offers his service of legal counsel to defend Mary Margaret in court. Although she can't pay him, Mr. Gold takes her case saying he's invested in her future.

Rumpelstiltskin tells Grumpy the potion took away a big piece of Snow White's heart since she lurved Prince Charming sooo much. He looks at a shelf full of glass bottles, but one space is empty. Mr. Gold says love is the most powerful magic of all, and if you can bottle that power, you can rule the world.

I believe someone said that about Baileys when it was first invented.

Snow White could care less about love. She tells Rumpelstiltskin her plans to kill the Evil Queen. He skips with glee and gives her an arrow, plus a map showing the best vantage point from where to shoot. In return, Rumpelstiltskin takes no payment, saying that he's invested in her future.

Weird deja vu moment.

David goes to Dr. Hopper's office and asks for help with his blackouts.

Can you say hypnosis?

Prince Charming barges into Rumpelstiltskin's castle and demands some answers. When Rumpelstiltskin says there's nothing her can do, Prince Charming proclaims all curses can be broken by true love's kiss.

Except all those other times it didn't work.

Rumpelstiltskin makes David trade his cloak for information on Snow White. He gives him the map and says the arrow will make her just as evil as the person it kills.

What if she kills someone really nice? Would that work too?

Prince Charming finds Snow White and lays a big one, right on the smacker. Then she knocks him out.


Henry shows Emma the ring of weird looking keys he found hidden in the Mayor's office. He says that's proof she got into the apartment and planted the singing knife. Emma is unconvinced, but hey, what do you know, the last one he tries fits.

Isn't that convenient?!

Whoa, Emma is shocked. She's not used to weird stuff happening.

Prince Charming wakes up tied to a tree. Snow White demands his name. He tries to convince her they're in love. She tells him obviously not, since his kiss did nothing. He is helpless to stop her from carrying out her plans to kill the Queen. She says 'just watch me' and walks away.

How can he watch her if she walks away?

David is in a trance, lying on the couch in Dr. Hopper's office. While under, David says he spoke to Katherine the night she left and they had made amends. He starts to have flashbacks of Mary Margaret as Snow White on her way to kill the Evil Queen. When David wakes up, he runs out of the office keeping his secret.

Finally, he does something smart.

Jiminy Cricket unties Prince Charming. He suggests in order to help Snow White, he has to help her remember who she used to be.

The Evil Queen and her entourage travel down the road on horseback as Snow White tracks them from above. She readies the 'arrow of revenge' and lets it fly, but Prince Charming lunges in the way. With an arrow stuck in his shoulder, he tells her he would rather die than let her live with a heart of darkness.

Snow White's expression softens, and she kisses him. And that did the trick. They make out as he continues to bleed from the arrow sticking out of his body.

Suddenly—because these guys are all about the surprise attack—King George's guards drag Prince Charming away. Snow White promises to find him...she will always find him.

Hey, that's his line.

David visits Mary Margaret in jail and tells her about his flashback. She's dumbstruck that he would even think she was guilty of killing Katherine. When the evidence pointed to him, she never doubted his innocence and stood by ready to defend him against the town.

Too bad she didn't hit him this time too.

She tells him to leave. Poor Mary Margaret. Seriously, when Mr. Gold is the only one interested in helping you, things aren't good.

Only one thing can fix this mess. Release the UNICORN! There that ought to shake things up.

Mary Margaret returns to the dwarf's cottage to apologize. Grumpy and the others can see she has changed and they tackle her in a group hug. Snow White tells them Prince Charming is in trouble. Apparently this was exactly what they wanted to hear. The dwarfs get all pick axe crazy, ready to take on the castle.

While Mary Margaret fusses with the blanket on her cot, another inanimate object sings out, getting her attention. Under the bed, hidden in plain site *rolls eyes* is the key that opens her jail cell.

Isn't that convenient?!

Emma arrives with lunch and Mary Margaret quickly shuts the door, hiding the key in her hand. She tells her the DNA was a match for Katherine. And then to further explain, she tells us Katherine must be dead.

Ya' think?

Dear ABC,

Why hasn't anyone thought to question the gym teacher? He was the first one to find her car, and is her true love from fairytale land. No? *sigh* Never mind.

Emma tells Mary Margaret that she plans to expose the Mayor for planting evidence. Emma finally admits she has faith in Mary Margaret and asks for the same.

Easy for her to say, since she isn't the facing a death sentence or life in prison.

Emma finds Mr. Gold in the back of his shop and asks for his help to defeat the Mayor. He knows Emma feels desperate. He tells her she's more powerful then she knows—especially with that hair betting bigger each episode.

Rumpelstiltskin is investigating Prince Charming's cloak and removes a hair.

What is going to do with it? Hmm...I don't know. Maybe make a love potion so he can rule the world? Of course he is! Besides, that empty spot on the shelf would drive me crazy too.

What do you think Rumpelstiltskin is planning?

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Successful Hook Ups

Me making supper, not exactly as shown.

I'm a cover girl. No, not the kind on the magazine (obviously). I'm talking book cover. I confess, it's the image that grabs my attention and makes me pick it off the shelf—isn't that why they spend money and time working with the artist?

However, it's the first paragraph or even the first line that determines if I'll tuck it under my arm or slip it back into place.

Ah, the first line, the tagline if you will, that sets the story in motion.

Sometimes you have no choice but to keep reading, and turning the pages. Then, before you know it, you've burned supper.

These are from some of my favorite books. Do they look familiar to you?

1. Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderley again.

2. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

3. I still remember the day my father took me to the Cemetery of Forgotten Book for the first time.

4. The night before he went to London, Richard Mayhew was not enjoying himself.

5. Look, I didn't want to be a half-blood.

6. All children, except one, grow up.

7. My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name Susie.

8. I first saw Hundreds Hall when I was ten years old.

9. I became what I am today at the age of twelve on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975.

10. It was a pleasure to burn.

Wouldn't you want to read more? Now take a look at your own manuscript. Are you hooked by the first line?

What are your favorite first lines? How many on my list can you guess the title and author?

Next Monday I'll be blogging the latest episode of Once Upon A Time.


Monday, 12 March 2012

The Teenage Heartthrob Blogfest!

Sarah Ahiers, Vic Caswell, and Emily White are hosting Teenage Heartthrob Blogfest!

1. List up to 7 people that you crushed on as a teen. I chose 5.
2. Then go view other blogs to see who they chose.

I had to go way back to the 80's for my teen crushes. Let the embarassment begin. In no particular order.
                                             Simon Le Bon, Lead singer of Duran Duran.

                                             Rob Lowe. Really, the picture says it all.

                        James Spader. He was so bad in Pretty in Pink, but he looked so good.

Hank from Dungeons & Dragons. Yes, he's a cartoon. Maybe it was his leadership qualities or that blond hair always falling perfectly, or maybe even the uber cool voice of Willie Aames

                           Luke Skywalker. Come on! He's a fighter pilot and a Jedi Knight.

                             Who were your heartthrobs when you were a teenager?

Once Upon A Time, Episode 15, Red Handed or Ruby Finally Wears Pants!

Original cast of The Hunger Games
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Emma drills David mercilessly about Katherine. Just kidding. She begs him for answers but he only shrugs in that goofy way of his, and says he didn't call Katherine the night she disappeared.

Emma frowns at the phone records trying to decide what to believe; the cheating husband or the computer print out. She flicks her golden tresses off her shoulder then tells him to get a lawyer and become a better liar.

Schmexy must be rolling in his grave.
Aw, Schmexy. At least there was a glimpse of him during the flashbacks at the beginning of the show.

August, the writer guy, talks with Ruby at the pub/diner/laundromat. She's enamoured by his stories of the outside world. And he's enamoured with the view of her mid-drift. Granny pulls a lemon face and calls her over to the counter.

Red's boyfriend, Peter
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A strapping young fellow with bow and arrow walks through the snow to a cabin in the woods. Red answers the door and warns him they don't have much time. He tries to convince her to run away with him. Granny bellows from the other room, startling Red. She gives him one last kiss, promising to think about his offer. He runs off happily. His name is Peter, you know as in Peter and the Wolf. And now this song is running through my head.

Red joins Granny at the front door of the cottage—it must be a fancy one with several entrances—a group of menfolk with torches arrive and explain they're not an angry mob but a hunting club looking for a green ogre named Shrek. Also, there's something eating the sheep.

Granny tells them they're no match for the wolf she knows is responsible for the missing livestock and sends them away. She locks up the cabin tighter than Fort Knox, and orders Red into the back room where it's safest.

Granny and Ruby have a fight at the pub/diner/laundromat. Granny says that since business is booming Ruby should learn how to do the books and take more responsibility.'s the only business in town. Hasn't it always been booming?

Red wakes the next morning and Granny scolds her for not wearing her red cloak. The color red repels the wolf and therefore protects her.

Huh, in the movie, The Village, the color red attracted the monster. I hope Granny didn't get her legends mixed up.

Red rolls her eyes but still puts on the cloak and ventures to the chicken coup to gather eggs for breakfast. She finds Snow White hidden in the corner. She's cold and nearly starving, but with her eye make-up is perfect. They immediately bond over their misfortune situations. Red tells Snow White about the wolf, but Snow White isn't convinced until they find the hunting mob, sorry I mean hunting club for men, in pieces.

Emma and Mary Margaret walk down the street and pass under a sign advertising Storybrooke's Free Local Library.

Great! The free libraries as so much better than the kind that charge you. I call those libraries, book stores.

Emma tells Mary Margaret about David's phone call to Katherine and pleads for an alibi. I guess Emma hates arresting people. But their conversation is cut short when they see Ruby being propositioned by the creepy doctor. You remember him right? He's the town's only doctor, other than Dr. Hopper, the psychiatrist, and whatever Doc from the dwarfs is doing these days.

When Ruby tells them she quit the diner and is trying to leave town, Mary Margaret offers her apartment as a place to stay for the night.

Mary Margaret specializes in taking in strays.

The villagers have gathered for another hunting club meeting, the group is a little smaller since the last few members were well...dismembered. Tempers rise and plans are made for bloody vengeance.

Granny tells them they're fools if they think they take on this wolf-monster. She shows them a scar on her arm from when she survived the attack that killed her whole family. The wolf spared her but she warns the people that the only way to survive is to hide like a ninja.

Red confides to Snow White that Granny's compulsive need to keep her locked up has made it impossible to have a normal life. The only way she can have a future with Peter is if they run away. Snow White worries that Granny is using the danger of the wolf to keep Red from her true love.

And we all know what true love's kiss can do, right? Well, sometimes.

But Red has a better idea then kissing Peter and waiting for the magic, she's going to kill the wolf herself! She'd be free to see Peter and finally wear the green cloak that goes so much better with her skin tone than the red one.

Mary Margaret arrives at the scene of Katherine's car accident and walks into the forest. Instead of Mr. Gold limping from behind a tree, she stumbles upon a spaced out David. Mary Margaret assures him that even though evidence is mounting, she will stand by him. David ignores her and wanders off.

Things that make you go, hmm.

Snow White follows Red through the woods as they look for animal tracks. You know who would be helpful...yes the Huntsman.

Dear ABC,

More Schmexy flashbacks please!

Huge prints suggest the wolf is one big fella. Snow White wants to turn back but Red is determined and she plods forward.

Ruby and Henry are at the Sheriff's office looking up jobs on-line. Of course, where else would he be? School? *snorts*

Emma walks in and sees that Ruby would be a perfect receptionist or filing clerk or lunch order delivery girl. Mary Margaret breaks up the happy scene, and hurriedly explains that David is acting all freaky in the woods.

Red and Snow White discover the tracks change and that the beast is a minotaur! No, actually it's a boot wearing werewolf. They deduce the wolf changes (mid-stride mind you) from a huge beast into a fully clothed man.

If Grumpy can hatch from an egg in pyjamas with a beard and speaking English, I guess anything is possible.

They follow the tracks to the Granny's cottage. Red realizes she kissed Peter at that very window. Instead of getting the hunting club for men, Snow White suggests the only route of action is to tell Peter the truth. This apparently is the only way to stop him and save the village.

Okay. *sighs heavily*

Ruby goes into the pub/diner/laundromat as a customer since she is the receptionist/file clerk/ and lunch order delivery girl. She stands tall and tells Granny that she has a new job. Granny says she hopes she finds what she's looking for.

What does that mean? She's looking for lunch!

Red confesses her discovery to Peter but puts a positive spin on the situation by declaring they can now go away together. All they have to do is tie him up when he starts to turn into the wolf-man. But he has a better idea and opens his bag, showing her the chains he happens to be carrying.

Isn't that convenient?! What the heck did he have planned for their date tonight anyway? Time to run away, Red.

They ignore my comments and decide to try chaining him up that night.

Great plan. *more sighs and rolling of eyes*

Henry shows Emma (and us) where he keeps the storybook locked in the Sheriff's office far away from the Mayor's prying eyes. Ruby returns with sandwiches and Emma makes another awesome decision. She takes Ruby with her to look for the spaced out David. This seems stupid until Ruby takes off into the forest, saying she's just following her instinct.

He's lying on the ground with a fresh head wound. He has no memory of getting into the forest or anything since the night before.

The creepy doctor declares that this is a side effect of his coma. In fact, this nicely explains how David could have called Katherine and then kidnapped her without realizing it.

Isn't that convenient?!

The Mayor shows up, and comes to the aid of 'Helpless David'. She demands he get a lawyer since she's still his legal guardian or something.

Emma panics at this bizarre turn of events because it's so rare for weird stuff to happens to her. She calls Ruby and insists she search the (Troll) Toll Bridge since David wanders there...a lot.

Ruby, not exactly as shown
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Ruby hones in on her natural tracking skills from fairytale land.
She starts probing random parts of the beach with a stick. She unearths a jewelry box and opens the lid. Her screams are heard all over British Columbia.

Go Canada!

Granny enters Red's room and finds Snow White under the red cloak, pretending to be her. Snow White tells Granny that Red sneaked out and is going to help Peter deal with his wild side. Granny practically has a stroke, then storms out of the cottage.

Peter is chained to a tree trying to break the iron links as a huge wolf approaches. He pleads with Red to snap out of it. SHE IS THE WOLF.

Finally! A strong female protagonist.

Back at the Sheriff's office, Emma looks inside the jewelry box. She talks about being impressed while Ruby cries over the discovery. What is it? A hand? A heart? An eyeball?

Snow White wears Red's cloak as she follows Granny through the woods. Red suffers a family curse started from the early attack when Granny was only a young girl. They find Red and what's left of Peter. Granny has a silver tipped arrow and shoots her down.

I have a feeling Granny would have kicked serious butt in The Hunger Games.

When Snow White lays the red cloak over the beast it turns back into Red. The hunting club for men are shouting in the distance as vengeful clubs often do. As they close in, Granny tells a disoriented Red the truth and that she must flee the village. Red realizes she's too afraid to leave, but Granny pushes her toward the woods, saying it's the only way. Snow White takes her and the both disappear into the trees.

Ruby decides to wear pants and visits Granny at the pub/diner/laundromat and asks for her job back. She explains the book keeping and extra responsibility scared her.

Yeah, math has that affect on me too.

She says working at the pub/diner/laundromat makes her happy. Granny confides the business will be Ruby's when she retires.

David and Mary Margaret meet at the animal shelter. Of course. Wait. Why are they at the animal shelter. Emma arrives and tells them about the jewelry box. It contained a human heart.

Holy smokes. Schmexy!!!!

The DNA will take a few days, but the fingerprints inside the box matched someone in the town...wait for it. Mary Margaret. I have a feeling this is connected to the REAL reason the evil queen wants Snow White's life to be hell.

Whose heart is in the box? I know. The evil queen's true love, that's who.

But who is the evil queen's true love? And who is the creepy doctor in fairytale land? And why is the writer not doing anything? And where is my Tylenol?

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Liebster Blog Award

photo credit,
Whoo-hoo! *Pops open champagne* 

Ah, the Liebster Blog Award. It reminds me of lobster and Justin Bieber.

I'd like to thank Jackie for giving me the Liebster Blog Award! It's given to bloggers who have less than 200 followers and to help more bloggers find their blog.

Okay, it sounds like a pity award—but hey, who doesn't need a little pity these days?

Be sure to check out Jackie's blog here.

The rules for accepting the award are as follows:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them.
2. Nominate up to 5 others for the Liebster Award.
3. Let said bloggers know via comment on their blog.
4. Post the award on your blog.
5. Consider signing up for the A - Z Challenge. It's a great way to find new and interesting blogs.

My choices to receive the Liebster Blog Award...*drum roll*

Heather Marie

Anne Marie

Kathryn Rose

Rain L

Jenny K

Let the good times roll, my friends. And be sure to check out the above winners of the Liebster Blog Award. *throws confetti* 

Next Monday I'll be blogging the latest episode of Once Upon A Time.

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