Thursday Ten: editing checklist

After NaNo comes editing!

I am in no way a professional author or an expert in anything writing, but I write and that means I also have to edit. For NaNoWriMo this year, I wrote Dangerous Obsession, and although it’s not completely finished, I am going through the first draft and editing as I go along. I’ve compiled a small editing checklist.

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1. Strike needless words

This pretty much explains itself. Look for redundancies and get rid of them.

2. Quotation marks 

Add quotation marks where necessary, especially when your character is speaking.

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3. Similiar character names

This can be confusing for both the writer and reader sometimes, so make sure characters names are easy to recall individually.

4. CAPITALIZE!

Capitalize names, places, months, the beginning of a sentence, etc.

5. One voice or two voices?

Writers are told that is is better that they stick to one voice (POV), but if you’re working with two or more characters, make sure that you include whose POV they’re speaking from.

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6. Avoid using ‘literally’

Like literally!

7. Spelling

Does it look right?

8. Dialogue game

Make sure that the dialogue serves the story in every case.

9. Read aloud

Gotta make sure what you’ve written is making sense.

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10. Double check everything

A writer can never go wrong with this technique. After all, we want the reader to be satisfied with what they’re reading.

***GIFs via Google Search

Are there any editing tips that you’ll like to share?

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Thursday Ten: Books I did not finish

*sighs* I didn’t realize that I’ve neglected this top ten thing.

There are books that I’ve forced myself to finish because of the somewhat intriguing plot twist, books that I skimmed through to get to the end, and then there are the books that I just couldn’t finish. I know this is a top 10 list, but at current, I can only list 8 books. The thing with reading/exploring different genres is that you get a sense of what you really like, what you don’t, what you need to stay away from, and what to give a second chance to.

1. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

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I can’t believe that this book won a Pulitzer! This useless book with terrible writing style! This book does not even deserve a place on my bookshelf and I don’t think I’ll ever attempt to read another book from this author. 

2. Power Play by Catherine Coulter

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Catherine, what happened to you? You used to give me better stories than this drivel. I am sorry, but I have to put your books down.

3. Persuasion by Jane Austen

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I tried. *sighs* I really tried. Then I tried again…

4. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

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…and then I give up on this author as well. A woman can only try so many times! I am done with her for she keeps wasting my sweet reading time. I finally accept that she is not my cup of coffee because I find her books unbelievingly boring to the point where I want to strangle the book so I’ll let Mark Twain speak for me:

I often want to criticise Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop everytime I begin. Every time I read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.

– Letter to Joseph Twichell, 13 September 1898

Yes, even Twain knew how I feel. Wait, do I even like Twain’s books?

5. A Mercy by Toni Morrison

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This is literary garbage. The summary of the book is misleading, I feel as if I was dumbed down while attempting to read it, and the different characters narrating chapters with no initial knowledge of who’s speaking? Please, leave this to an expert like James Patterson. This stream of consciousness style was annoying. Incredibly boring and if this was my book, I would’ve set it on fire. Doesn’t deserve to see the light of day and I don’t care if it’s a bestseller. 

6. A Bit of a Difference by Sefi Atta

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Not my style and the writer was rambling as if talking to a friend and not addressing the reader. I couldn’t even make sense of the character.

7. Crazy Little Thing by Tracy Brogan

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Talk about mediocre writing at its best! We have a heroine who is divorced and decides that she wants nothing to do with men for a while. She goes to her aunt’s house to recuperate and immediately, she spots an attractive jogger (he happens to be a doctor) and well, she likes what she sees. This woman is the mother of two brats (I still don’t know what’s so funny in authors making brats out of every single kid out there) and no redeeming qualities about her. This doctor should’ve jogged the other way.

Books like this end up in my trash can because they’re not fit to even wipe my feet on.

8. One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

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Nice try, Jojo. Nice try. This story was predictable and unbelievable. I was thoroughly disappointed and before I burst into tears from being bored of the corny dialogue, I calmy put it down for the book did not belong to me. Had it been my property…

Are there any books that you’ve started and just couldn’t finish? Disagree with me? Feel free to share in the comments down below. 🙂

Thursday Ten: things to do with a blank book

It’s been a while since I’ve done a top 10 list!

While cleaning out recently, I came across some blank notebooks that I once had intentions of using, but I somehow forgot about them. I love notebooks, but lately, I prefer to use my laptop because of arthritis. However, the blank notebooks gave me an idea or two or three or ten…

1. Writing journal

Writing every day can spark new ideas for stories and help you practice your writing at the same time. It can also be therapeutic, ignite your creativity, and help you achieve goals. 

2. Daily journal

Chronicling your daily life can be a task at first, but it can help you connect with your heart. In the long run, the entries can also be used in a non-fiction story. I used to journal when I was younger, but I haven’t done so in years. 

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Image via Besottment by Paper Relics

3. Bucket List journal

I had a bucket list journal when I was younger! Putting pen to paper and writing the things that I’ve always dreamed of was a blast! 

4. Quotes book

I collect quotes so I’ll definitely be turning one of the blank notebooks into an inspirational book.

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Image via reasontoskipthehousework.com

5. Fitness journal

Set health and fitness goals. 

6. Spiritual journal

Write down prayers, hymns, and give thanks to the Most High for life. 

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Image via Bible Journaling Digitally

7. Art journal 

I don’t really draw anymore, but whenever I feel the urge to draw, I can practice my drawing in the book.

8. Dream journal

Track the significance of your dreams!

9. Handwriting practice

I had a better and fancier handwriting before arthritis kicked in so this sounds like a good idea.

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Image via The Postman’s Knock

10. New words 

I love coming across new words especially long ones! I also love trying to use them in a sentence. 

What about you? Any suggestions that you’ll like to add to the list? Do you keep a journal of any kind?

Thursday Ten: sports movies!

With the football pre-season upon us, I thought I’d feature my top 10 sports films today. 🙂

1. Jerry Maguire (American football/sports agent)

THE MOTHER OF ALL SPORTS AGENT MOVIES!! Up to this day, I haven’t been motivated to watch American football, but Tom Cruise as Jerry Maguire was…

2. Chak De! India (Hockey)

One of my top inspiring movies of all time. In reality, I don’t care for hockey, but watching this film made me understand the sport better. Shah Rukh Khan was just wonderful as Kabir Khan! He pulled off the coaching role with flair. I cheered him and the girls on throughout the film. 

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3. Patiala House (Cricket)

Another sport I don’t care for, although I found myself watching a match recently. It is not as exciting as my beloved football, but Akshay Kumar pulled off his cricketer role very well. This movie is not only about the love of a sport. It is about following your dreams regardless what your parents may want for you, but be respectful when you choose to thread the path.

4. Bend It Like Beckham (Football)

I like football, but I am not a fan of David Beckham. I also dislike British movies, but this one was okay because Parminder Nagra was AWESOME! Kiera Knightley is a boring actress. It’s like watching paint dry.

5. Coach Carter (Basketball)

At the time I watched this film, I thought it was very inspiring and Samuel L. Jackson murdered his coaching role. SLJ now is very unwatchable.

6. The Karate Kid (Martial Arts)

The first time I saw Jaden Smith light up the screen alongside Jackie Chan, I thought the kid had a good future as an actor. Now, I ain’t so sure, but this film is a guilty pleasure of mine. I tend to watch it whenever I come across it on the TV. Smith did a fantastic job and this movie is more than martial arts. It’s also about cultural clashes and I think the message was delivered well.

7. The Blind Side (American Football)

I ADORE THIS MOVIE! Yes, Sandra Bullock did a pretty darn good job in her role, but Quinton Aaron was the standout actor for me. He was the one who brought all the emotions alive inside me.

8. Space Jam (Basketball)

This film was a favorite of mine during my childhood. I’m all grown up now and I may not care about Bugs Bunny any longer and I might have gotten over basketball when Michael Jordon retired (I loved Chicago Bulls & I even had a backpack at one point!), but if this movie is on, I’ll sit in front of the TV and watch it. The sex appeal for Lola Bunny was inappropriately amped up though.

9. Days of Thunder (Auto Racing)

There is no need to talk about Tom Cruise’s acting chops. I watched this movie and liked it. 

10. Hawaa Hawaai (Skating)

When Bollywood gets it right, the movie never features a big name star like say, Shah Rukh Khan or erm, Aamir Khan. Nevertheless, this cast was superb and they pulled their roles off flawlessly. Inspiring film and it’s family-oriented. I’ve always admired skaters (ice skaters included) and I thoroughly enjoyed this film.

THURSDAY TEN: Favorite Bollywood Actors

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A kaleidoscope of color and entertainment, Bollywood just keeps on giving. I fell in love with Bollywood when I was a child and Shah Rukh Khan was the main reason after I saw him in “Baazigar”. Over the years, I’ve come to enjoy many B-Wood movies, but lately, I’ve been falling out of love with their movies. I’ll still watch a few of their movies from time to time especially if these actors are involved:

1. Akshay Kumar

Unfairly underrated! This man can act himself out of a paper bag, yet he does not get the credit he deserves. My dream pairing for him was alongside Tom Cruise, but this is highly unlikely to happen. He is quite funny, but when it’s time to get serious, best believe he is serious!

Faves: Housefull franchise, Desi Boyz, Patiala House, Welcome

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2. Shah Rukh Khan

We’re not going to discuss the man who made me come to love Bollywood. However, watching him back then in “Darr” and now in “Raees”, I can safely say that he has grown movie to movie. He used to be called the Tom Cruise of Bollywood, but I disagree. There is only one TC just as there is only one SRK. Both actors won me over by giving their all to their characters even when the film is mediocre. Besides, if it boils down to TC and SRK, it’s a no-brainer who I am going to choose. 🙂

Faves: Too many to name! Happy New Year, Dilwale, RaOne, My Name Is Khan, Chalte Chalte (my overall fave SRK movie).

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3. Riteish Deshmukh

Riteish is so darn cute! He mostly provides the comic relief in his films and while he is no Jim Carrey, he can certainly hold his own. I’ll like to see him take better roles because he has somehow limited himself to a stereotypical role. Plus, the man can sing!

Faves: Housefull franchise, Aladin, Heyy Babyy

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4. Deepika Padukone

This is Bae right here! She is my favorite B-Wood actress and she uses her eyes to communicate in such a way that one cannot help but take note. I first saw DP in Om Shanti Om and it was love at first sight. Although she was acting alongside a seasoned actor as SRK, she held her own quite well.

Faves: Om Shanti Om, Chennai Express, Baijairo Mastani, Piku

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5. Alia Bhatt

Girl can teach you a thing or two about acting, but she needs to start taking better roles because I tend to find her annoying most of the time during dialogue delivery. “Kapoor & Sons” is a case in point. I also disliked the movie. It was too long, too drawn out, and boring. However, I think Alia has shown that she has what it takes to shine on the big screen.

Faves: Dear Zindagi, Student of the Year

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6. Anushka Sharma

She’s a darling. When I first saw her in “Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi” (her debut film), I was blown away by her acting. This was the first time that Shah Rukh Khan had to work hard for me to keep my attention on him. She was back with SRK in “Jab Tak Hai Jaan”, but she was not the love interest this time. Yet, she still commanded attention and stole the show from the lead woman, Katrina Kaif. She and SRK gets on like a house on fire, that I am not surprised that they’re doing another movie together.

Faves: Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, PK, Patiala House

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7. Saif Ali Khan

Although he often gets fluke for it, his accent is everything. I can listen to him talk all day long. *sighs* Where do I get one of him? Saif did a wicked job in “Ta Ra Rum Pum”, but when I saw him with Deepika in “Love Aaj Kal”, my shipping dream was complete! Two sexy accents for the price of one? Yes, Ma’am! ❤ Saif is nicknamed the Tom Cruise of Bollywood, not for his acting, but for his sense of style… [okay, maybe he does remind me of TC to a certain degree too and Saif is incredibly fashionable.] After I watch Tom Cruise’s film catalog, I’m going to watch Saif’s.

Faves: Happy Ending, Ta Ra Rum Pum, Love Aaj Kal, Race 2, Agent Vinod

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8. Johnny Lever

Lever is Bollywood’s best and lovable comedian. He leaves you in splits. I mostly see him alongside Shah Rukh and that’s enough for me.

Faves: Dilwale, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Karan Arjun

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9. Hrithik Roshan

I came across Roshan in a movie with SRK, but I took notice of him in the Krrish movies and he can bust a move like no other.

Faves: Krrish, Dhoom 2, Kites

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10. Ranveer Singh

The future of Bollywood is here. Whether he is dancing or delivering dialogue, he commands attention and he gets it. And he’s highly energetic! I am trying to watch “Befikre” at the moment and his character is so much as Tom Cruise’s in Magnolia… well, of what I’ve seen so far.

Faves: Baijairo Mastani

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Honorable mention

Tiger Shroff

Tiger. I am slowly falling for this man’s acting because he reminds me of Tom Cruise in terms of doing his own stunts. He gets ribbed for his obvious good looks, but this Pretty Boy does not care. I happen to think that he is the best dancer in Bollywood at the moment.

Faves: A Flying Jatt

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*** GIFs via Google Search

Thursday Ten: Aladdin things

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Since I’m in an Aladdin  mood why not? Here are 10 fun things about the movie:

1. Aladdin changed the animation game forever

The magic carpet is a hybrid of hand-drawn and computer animation. When you think of this, it’s pretty cool! 

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2. Robin Williams changed the genre of voice acting

The Genie was written with Robin Williams in mind. Back then, top-billed actors didn’t do voice-over roles. Williams changed all of that when he took on the role of the Genie.

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3. Aladdin’s mother was the first draft of the movie.

Hard to believe, but Al’s mother had screen time! They cut her out in favor of Jasmine. I don’t see why they couldn’t write her in. But then again, it’s Disney and young teens are always parentless. 

4. Aladdin is modeled after Tom Cruise

When I first met Aladdin, the first thing I noticed was his smile and I thought he smiled just like my favorite actor! Only to find out (much later) that Aladdin was in fact modeled after TC and I loved Aladdin even more.

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It’s in the nose too, LoL!

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Aladdin was first based on Michael J. Fox, but Jeffrey Katzenberg wanted the design changed because he thought that Aladdin wouldn’t be a suitable leading man for the ravishing Jasmine. So they watched a bunch of Tom Cruise movies (to nail Al’s sexy confidence) and viola! They had their model! They went for the Cruise confidence aka sexy cockiness to make Aladdin more believable for Jasmine, took his shirt off and made him older (he was supposed to be 13, but they made him 18). At that time, Cruise was dominating the Box Office with hits such as Days of Thunder and A Few Good Men.

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The animation on the movie had already started when they went back to the drawing board so you can see traces of the old design during ‘Friend Like Me’.

5. Aladdin is probably Disney’s coolest prince

The lead animator for the Aladdin character Glen Keane thought that Snow White and Sleeping Beauty fell for bland princes. This was the first time that a prince was made to be bold, cunning, funny, and lovable. In a sense, Aladdin was meant to do what for Disney princes what Ariel and Belle had done for the princesses. I’ll say job done.

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6. Disney cameos

Sebastian (The Little Mermaid), Beast (Beauty & the Beast), a Goofy hat and the directors themselves made appearances. Genie also dressed in Pocahontas drag while jumping off a plane.

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7. Aladdin’s pants were inspired by MC Hammer

Yep, you can’t touch this!

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8. Big grosser

Aladdin was the highest-grossing movie of 1992. It was also the first animated movie to gross more than $200 million. When it was first released on VHS, it sold 25 million copies.

9. Princess Jasmine

Jasmine is the first non-Caucasian Disney princess. 

10. Shout-out to Pinocchio?

Whenever Prince Ali (Aladdin) lies, the feather on his hat falls forward. Well, you guys already know the story of Pinocchio’s nose. 🙂

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*** GIFs and images via Google Search

Thursday Ten: Top 10 Tom Cruise fearless stunts

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“I look at cities and architecture and I’m always thinking, I want to jump off that building,”

Tom Cruise

And I look at you and I’m always thinking, How are you not dead yet? You’re almost 55 and you still want to be the best stuntman in Hollywood. You’re going to die during a stunt!

Sometime last week, I posted that Tom Cruise has been working on a single stunt for a year for MI6. And I was like…

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Yet, I wonder what could that stunt be (and how are they going to keep it under wrap once they start shooting?) seeing that Tom has already done it all. Director at the helm, Christopher McQuarrie is touting it as TC’s biggest stunt ever. *rolls eyes* Excuse me, sequence. Yes, the director called it a sequence and not a stunt…

And I’m over here, like…

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Anyway, over the years, I’ve seen Tom shake his fists and defiantly stare death in the face. I’ve seen him hang off an airplane, involve in a high-speed motorcycle chase, jump from an exploding fish tank, sword fight, bare-knuckle box, and dangle from the tallest building in the world (is it still the tallest building in the world because if it isn’t, Cruise is going to find it and climb it). He’s the most fearless actor out there and although he enjoys doing stunts for the entertainment value, I think I have to agree with McQ: it’s a hobby for Cruise.

In real life, Cruise is every inch the hero that he is on screen. I’ve read some heartwarming stories which involved him saving a family from a burning boat and paying a woman’s medical bills. But that can be saved for another time. I think TC is the last dying breed of genuine movie stars and I do appreciate what he brings to the screen, but sometimes, he leaves my heart in pieces.

Today, I bring you my top ten favorite TC stunts. I hope it’s possible to choose 10 because I had to leave out the one where he lay under an out of control truck in the 3rd Mission: Impossible.

STUNTING

1. Dangling off the Burj Khalifa Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol/ Jeremy Renner & Tom Cruise:

I’m not afraid of heights. I’m not afraid of heights. I’m not afraid…

Really, I am not afraid of dizzying heights, but watching TC perform this stunt gave me vertigo especially when he calmly sat on top of the building and posed for photos as if it’s part of his everyday meditation ritual. 

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Ghost Protocol remains my favorite in the MI franchise to date.

2. Hanging off the A400M Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

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This stunt stole my action packed heart! Tom was protected by a small safety harness during this scene which he shot 8 times until it was perfect. This is his most impressive stunt to date.

3. Holding his breath underwater for six minutes Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

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The 5th installment of Mission Impossible was wickedly death-defying for Cruise, but he went about it as another normal day at the office. Holding your breath underwater for six minutes is no easy feat.

4. Motorcycle high-speed chase Knight and Day

One of my absolute favorite stunt! I remember thinking that Cruise must be cut from Evel Knievel’s DNA! I love the part where he flips Cameron Diaz around on the bike so she can shoot at their pursuers. It was brilliant! 

5. The exploding fish tank Mission: Impossible

I simply love the camera angle they used from below during this scene and Tom looked cool performing this stunt. I mean, the stick of gum, the explosions, shattered glass and 16 tons of water! The exploding restaurant fish tank was Tom’s idea.

“Kittridge, you’ve never seen me very upset.”

6. Knife to the eye Mission: Impossible II

The first time I watched this scene, I was distracted by the sexy hair. The knife was real, but by this time I was already accustomed to Tom’s craziness. Yet, this could’ve been his last movie had the knife touch his eyeball. Make that a quarter of an inch to his eyeball.

7. Rock climbing scene Mission: Impossible II

In the opening sequence of this film, Ethan Hunt is free-scaling cliffs over Utah’s jagged Dead Horse Point with bare hands. Were he to fall, there was no safety net underneath him to catch him. Tom ended up tearing his shoulder while jumping between rocks. John Woo, the director, did not have the stomach to watch this scene because there were no wires involve.

8. Shootout Collateral

It’s not too often we see TC step into the shoes of a mean killing machine villain and this movie shows what he is capable of as an actor. Michael Mann and TC had rehearsed the club sequence for weeks, but it was TC’s floor-bound barrel roll which left me the most impressed.

This movie features the greatest club scene of all time.

9. Hoverpack chase scene Minority Report

Cruise was dangled from an 80 foot with 1.3 miles of cable during this stunt.

10. Breaking into Langley Mission: Impossible

This iconic scene needs no introduction. Cruise is an acrobat in this.