Themed Thursday: Our Favorite Childhood Books

Because all of us here at the Tuesdays are huge readers (kind of prerequisite if you want to be a novelist), we decided that our debut Themed Thursday topic should focus on the books that made the most impact on us growing up… And in case you haven’t noticed, we love talking about books, so drop us a note in the comments section below and tell us about your most cherished childhood books.

Cathy Castelli

   Cathy Castelli

In third grade, Mrs. Carson used to read to us every day after lunch. I LOVED it. She read us Fantastic Mr. Fox and James and the Giant Peach. I was mesmerized. james-peachI didn’t want her to stop. Interestingly, when I taught middle school, I read to my students, too. Before Holes  by Louis Sacher was made into a movie, I used to read that book every year. Before the warden was revealed, I would ask the students what they thought the warden was like. They NEVER guessed a red-headed female. I used to paint my nails red, too, like the warden using her rattlesnake venom nail polish. Mrs. Carson instilled in me a love of books I hope I passed on to those middle graders.

 

Jonathan Rosen

Jonathan Rosen

 

I was always a voracious reader. Finished one book and then right on to the next. But, there are two that stand out for me. The first is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I’d read many books before, but when I read that, I asked my parents to go out and get the rest in the series right away and I devoured them in no time. hitchhikersguideBut, the book that really wowed me was Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I laughed straight through the book. Right at the beginning, you had an alien race coming to destroy earth so they could build a bypass. Once the book made the destruction of the earth funny, I was hooked. Oh, and always remember, the answer is 42.

 

 

 

Faran Fagen

Faran Fagen

My mom used to take me to the library once a week and we would pick out two books. After “graduating” from Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein, Mom said it was my turn to pick. I found these little white soft books with neat covers like Loch Ness Monster and Dragons. They were called Choose Your own Adventure books and there were rows of them. chooseadventureThe best thing was that each chapter let you choose a different ending by selecting different pages. You could choose to drink a potion, or turn the key in the door. I liked being in control of my own destiny. I had so much fun with these stories that I memorized a lot of the endings of my favorite books. Whenever I’d go to the library with Mom, I’d try and find a book of the series I’d never read for a new journey. Wanna know more? You can choose to click on any of the other Tuesdays’ posts for your own adventure.

 

 

Maysonet-headshot

Melody Maysonet

This is what the Trixie Belden covers looked like when I was a kid.

One of my favorite childhood memories is getting to buy a new Trixie Belden book. Unfortunately my local K-Mart had a limited selection so I’d end up reading the same books over and over. I remember lying in bed for hours at a time reading about Trixie and her best friend Honey and wishing my life was more like theirs. Is it any surprise that the first book I wrote (at age 10, called Stacy and the Mystery of the Mansion) was a rip-off of Trixie Belden? Stacy book coverI even drew my own cover. And yes, there’s a reason I didn’t become an artist.

 

 

 

Stacie Ramey

Stacie Ramey

I was going to write about my usual first books I loved piece, but then I found out it was Pooh Bear’s birthday and I was like, how did I forget about my favorite stuffed-with-fluff and honey bear? So I will say, as I always do, that Where the Wild Things Are was my first favorite book. I clearly remember picking it up in the library, turning the pages, and being blown away by the amazing feelings and beauty that Max and his Wild Things evoked. Where_The_Wild_Things_Are_(book)_coverMaurice Sendak was my hero. True story. But after that first book, it was a highway of amazing discoveries. Pooh Bear. Little Bear. Lassie Come Home.  Judy Blume’s books. All of them. C.S. Lewis’ amazing series. How can you choose? So I guess if I have to pick just a few, it started with Wild Things and Pooh Bear but moved quickly to John Steinbeck’s  Of Mice and Men and East of Eden, which opened up the world to me, and then to horror, specifically Stephen King and Peter Straub’s The Talisman. And lest I forget, Go Ask Alice.

Joanne Butcher

Joanne Butcher

The first book I loved as a child was The Little Engine That Could.  It ingrained in me the concept that I could do anything with enough determination.  enginethatcouldThe Trixie Belden series held the books that ignited my love of reading though.  I would read and reread them until I had enough allowance money to buy a new one. I loved the character of Trixie. I was a tomboy, I got scraped up, I got in trouble. My Mum was into gardening like hers.  I thought her glamorous sidekick, Honey was amazing and their friend, Jim so dreamy. Now that I think about it, the picture I had in my head of Jim at that tender age actually looks a lot like my husband.

Is Social Media Your Friend? (Everyone’s watching!) aka Wrap-it-Up-Wednesday Stacie style

Have you ever made a writing plan? Laid out a trail of mini M&M’s to follow to your path to publication? Ok, so maybe that was just me?

Well, the Tuesday Writers crafted a simple (chocolate free) plan years ago. Meet every Tuesday. Read out loud. Get critique. Give critique. Go home feeling like real writers. Rinse. Repeat.

But recently  we got a better plan. Do all of that, and include you, the blog reader, in the process. Give you an inside look at all that we at TuesdayWriters do.

confetti(this is confetti from the concert I attended this weekend btw)

You’re welcome.

But then last week, we Tuesdays (who are given to listen to critique and make revisions), sort of shook up some of our programming on this blog. Still, some things were going to stay the same. Yay! (I secretly hate change)

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So it was for Wrap-it-Up Wednesday. It was going to be one of our mainstays. Our bread and butter, if you were. You’d get the NEW live Tweet Tuesdays where you could be part of the critique group AS IT WAS HAPPENING and then someone would do a wrap up about it on Wednesday. Kind of like watching a football game, knowing your team won, then watching the replay the next day. (Go Gators)

Boy was I excited(about Wrap it up Wed), because for some reason I haven’t done this feature yet. And I was going to do the BEST WRAP-IT-UP WED ever.

 

 

And then this happened: meeting cancelled. cancel

First one out? Faran had to get his kids’ school schedule worked out so he wrote that he wouldn’t be able to make group this week. Then Cathy’s  rock star husband had gigs. You don’t mess with rock stars or gigs. The next domino to fall was me, Stacie, with a bout of nausea so intense I had to leave my day job mid-day to crash on the couch. A lot less sexy than gigs. For reals, but soon it seemed no one could make it today.  So what’s a critique group to do when we don’t actually critique?

Well, Jonathan swore that he worked all day on his writing but I have it on good faith that he was also working on other projects. Ahem.

tuesdaysjonathan

 

As for Melody? Was she going to slave away on her WIP? Or maybe work on that other project she mentioned on our blog a few weeks ago. The emotional one that made her dig super deep and made all of us cry as she read. Even me. Even Jonathan. (No matter what he says). Well, based on this post, Melody was planning a whole lot of partying this week. (By the way, Happy Bday, Melody!)

tuesdaymelody

Cathy assured all of us she was working steadily. Let’s take a look.

 

tuesdaycathy

So I’m guessing that she’s either going to go on a state wide tour of restaurants, enter an all you can eat contest, or she’s a food critic in disguise (except I just outed her. Sorry, Cath).

I’d show you what Faran was up to, but he’s not exactly big on social media yet (but we are going to SHAME him into it.) I couldn’t post a picture of his FB timeline because he doesn’t have one yet. Booooo!!!! But I think this pic sums it up nicely.

4

 

Joanne was the ONLY Tuesday who was on point today. She actually showed up for critique despite the rest of us Tuesdays dropping like flies. And I bet she didn’t use silly cliches in today’s planned read like I just did. Sigh. Sadly, the rest of the Tuesday slackers will never know.

joanne star (this is how we salute the people who get it right at The Tuesdays!)

I will ready admit that I didn’t do much on the writing front to wrap it up about. I did still write some words today despite being all sickly. Are they good enough? Only time will tell. A week’s time actually. Which is how long I’ll have to wait to get feedback from my fave critique group, The Tuesdays.

And also next week I will be following through on that promise of posting an embarrassing picture of one of The Tuesdays. Only it won’t be Joanne because she’s won immunity.   Obviously.

 

 

Media Monday – When an Editor becomes an Author

I’m super excited to have as our guest today Marcy Beller Paul, author of UNDERNEATH EVERYTHING. Marcy is a Harvard grad who worked in publishing for several years. I asked about how this helped her when she switched from editor hat to author hat. What I love about this interview is not only the insider info on publishing but Marcy’s passion and understanding of what it means to write for teens.

when an author becomes an editor

UNDERNEATH EVERYTHING is a contemporary YA about friendship and the manipulation that comes with toxic ones. Marcy talks about her book in her answers, so let’s get to it!

When an editor becomes an author

  1. Since you worked in publishing before writing Underneath Everything, I imagine people assume it would be easier for you to write and then get published, but I suspect that’s not the full story. How did your publishing past affect your work?

 

Oh, absolutely. People think I learned how to get my own book published by working in publishing, or that I used my connections. But here are the real things I learned while working in publishing: there are limitless pages of beautiful prose and fantastic stories that never get published. There are hundreds of books that do get published and nobody knows about. There are books that editors absolutely love that don’t get bought for any number of reasons. I could go on. I wrote my entire life, with one exception—the time I worked in publishing. After a year or two I couldn’t stomach adding more words to the slush pile. I wondered how I could ever get published if so many things I loved got passed over. I wondered how any books ever made it when so many were published. I was overwhelmed. Then again, I didn’t know the basics of fiction writing then either. It wasn’t until my children were 1 and 3—until I’d gotten some distance from the industry and needed something for myself—that I took a YA novel writing course through MediaBistro and got back into writing. When I started taking my writing seriously, I did it in spite of my publishing past, not because of it. And because I knew how fickle the industry was, I harbored no hopes of publishing my first book. I just wanted to finish the manuscript, which was something I’d never done.

My time in publishing didn’t help my agent search either. I did my research just like everyone else, and submitted just like everyone else—though after I’d signed with him, my agent and I did realize that early in our careers we had talked on the phone about publishing contracts!

The one place my publishing experience really helped was when I was on submission. This is not to say it actually helped me get an offer, it’s just to say I was familiar with the publishing process. Since I’d sat in acquisition meetings, created P&Ls (profit and loss statements), and seen a managing editor’s schedule before, I didn’t have anxiety about what was happening behind the closed doors of the publishing house. Don’t get me wrong, I still had anxiety about whether or not I’d actually get an offer—but at least the process that led to whether or not I got that offer wasn’t a mystery.

when an editor becomes an author

2. We’re a critique group, so how have they impacted your writing?

Since I met you in class, I’ll start there! The YA Novel Writing course I took online through MediaBistro was the first formal teaching I’d ever had in fiction writing. I learned the basics in terms of structure and character and plot. But more importantly, I developed a writing habit, and I found my critique group, and all of those things gave me permission to think about my own writing critically and seriously for the first time.

After the class ended, we still traded work each week, which kept me accountable until I finished my first draft—something I’d never done. The further I got into the writing and editing process, the more important my critique partners became. Not just for my writing, but for me. Writing is such a solitary process. Publishing can often make you feel invisible or helpless. But my writing community—and especially my critique partners—got me through the massive highs and lows of the publishing process, and gave me advice that changed my life. I wouldn’t have my agent, and probably wouldn’t have been as true to myself if I didn’t have you guys.

3.  What drew you to writing YA?

when an editor becomes an author

I had an internship in the Arrow and Teen Age Book Club division at Scholastic the summer after my junior year in college. That’s when I discovered YA. Part of my job was to read books for content and note any bad words and behavior. I tore through all of Ellen Hopkins’ and Laurie Halse Anderson’s books, and a bunch of others. I couldn’t believe books like that were being written. I couldn’t believe how well they were selling. That also happened to be the summer the first Harry Potter book came out (in paperback), so every day in the elevator you’d see some new article about how adults were buying children’s books, and how Harry Potter had hit the NYT adult bestseller list (there was no children’s list back then). It was pretty cool.

Though I did work in adult publishing for a few years after college, I was always drawn to YA, which is how I ended up back at Scholastic.

when an editor becomes an author

But why was I drawn to it? I think it has a lot to do with firsts. First loves. First friendships. First best friendships. First breakups. First independence. When you do something for the first time you have no template, no experience. You’re not sure what’s right or wrong. And to make things even more complicated, as a teenager you’re doing things for the first time while also trying to define yourself.

I mean, how are you supposed to know how much to give when you don’t know how much you’ve got to begin with? How are you supposed to know how vulnerable is too vulnerable? How much compromise crosses the line? When love is healthy and when it isn’t? Why so many songs and books and movies make love out to be this amazing thing when the reality feels like such a sucker punch? What that means about who you are?

You’ve got to go through it and come out the other side. You’ve got to try things and take risks and follow your heart and give up too much and take it back again. That’s how you figure out who you are and where your line is. That’s what Mattie, the main character in UNDERNEATH EVERYTHING does. That is how she eventually finds and defines herself.

The process is excruciating and scintillating. The emotions are strong. The experience changes you. My question is: how could you NOT be drawn to YA?

4.  What is the best piece of fan mail/fan art/ fan stalking you’ve ever received?

My first school visit was in Pennsylvania at William Tennent High School. I met with different students over four periods with lunch in between. At the end of one of them a student gave me a pen drawing of the cover of Underneath Everything. It’s fantastic. I keep it on my desk.

5.  In Underneath Everything Mattie collects maps. How did you come up with the idea?

I’m a pack rat. I still have all the notes I passed in high school and the letters I got from friends while I was at summer camp. So although I’m not officially collecting anything, I definitely don’t like to get rid of things. But the inspiration for Mattie’s love for maps really came from my brother Bryan. Part of our family lore is that Bryan directed my parents out of the Watchung Reservation (which is prominently featured in Underneath Everything!) when he was three years old. He had a thing for maps. He still does.

when an editor becomes an author

6.  What did you learn about yourself by writing Underneath Everything?

I had a very difficult friendship in middle school and high school, and just like Mattie, one day I walked away. Unlike Mattie, I never looked back.

 

In my first draft, Jolene was not a main character. I think I wanted to tell Mattie and Jolene’s story, but I wasn’t quite ready. Part of me still wanted to bury it. But during the revision process Jolene took center stage, as those kinds of girls often do. I could no longer look away. Mattie’s story isn’t mine, but it helped me face what I’d gone through—what I had escaped. It helped me figured out why my friend may have treated me the way she did, and why I let her.

 

Since Underneath Everything was also my first book, I learned that I could finish a draft, finish a revision, and survive copy edits. I learned that I could get a book on the shelves, at least once ☺

 

Exciting Changes!

Hello Tuesdays!

Hope all of you are doing great!

Normally, today would be Friday Favorites, but instead I’m going to go over some changes we’re going to implement here at The Tuesdays. You see, we started this endeavor roughly two months ago and have really enjoyed doing it. As I stated in our very first post, the purpose was for everyone to get a peek inside a critique group. The different personalities, the different writing styles and the different ways we each went about our process.

once upon

Those differences in each of us are really what makes our particular group work. After all, if we all had the same views and perspectives on things, we wouldn’t get much out of this. I can look at someone’s work and see it one way, while the others in The Tuesdays might see it another. I like to know if what I’m writing is being received the way that I intended it to mean, by different people and that’s why I enjoy group so much.

 

So now that we’re two months in and figure that people have at least a basic idea of what we’re like and got to know each of us a little, we decided that now would be a good time to change things up a little. Starting next week, our format is going to be slightly different. On Mondays, we’re going to have Media Mondays. We’d like to go over books or people that we’d like to spotlight. Perhaps some author interviews or just things that we’re excited about in the world of writing. If anyone has a book coming out or wants to talk about their writing process or just things in the field, we’d love to hear from you. But don’t be surprised if you hear from us first!

spotlight

On Tuesdays, the day of our critique group meeting, we’re still going to talk about our writing, perhaps some tips we’ve come up with, and also what our process is. Also on Tuesday, we’re going to do something fun, which Stacie started last week. We’re going to Live-Tweet our meetings. Look at our page or under the hashtag #TheTuesdays and follow along and feel free to join in!

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#TheTuesdays

Wednesdays, we’re still going to do our Wrap-It-Up day, where we discuss what we learned during our group.

Thursdays, we’re going to do Themes, where all of The Tuesdays chime in on a particular topic.

And finally, on Fridays, it’s going to be a fun day, where we get to discuss anything we want.

Before I go, I want to say thanks to all of you who have been with us from the beginning and wish a big welcome to the people who have just joined us recently.

If you think anyone else might enjoy our site, please feel free to send them over to our pages on Facebook or Twitter. And if you haven’t liked our pages yet, what are you waiting for?

Again, thank you and hopefully, you’ll all enjoy what we do for a long time to come!

Wrap-It-Up-Wednesday, Back from Vacation

I was on vacation last week wedding planning with my daughter and her fiance in Atlanta and visiting friends in the north Georgia mountains. It was great to cool down from the hot Florida getting up on slalomsummer. We often talk about breakthroughs in writing, well I had a breakthrough in water skiing!

Having snow skied for years, water skiing on two skis was an easy transition. Every time I tried to slalom ski, I would be able go a short way but always wiped out.This time slalom skiing, I was able to stay up. I gained better balance with a different ski.

Slalom on Lake Burton

Reading for The Tuesdays today I found I was struggling with cause and effect.  When I wrote this draft, I included things that could happen to my main character that would create action, not propel the story forward. Stacie suggested I look at a little bit of the entire arc of the story in each chapter while I solve the issue set forth and propel the story forward.

Melody mentioned that I had a bit of  an information dump. Not regarding a character, but something I’d looked up and wanted to include. I like to write suspense with magical realism. I’m still figuring out how to seamlessly integrate the information I find. I am admittedly a research junkie. When I do my research, I want to share it with everyone. When we talked about the information I felt I needed to include, it was suggested I err on the side of not enough and if the group doesn’t understand the concept I’m trying to portray fill in the blanks.

I’m hoping that looking at my story from a different vantage point give me the same success as using a new ski. The elation of making it work after so many attempts is awesome.

Melody–Make-It-Up Monday

Diary of a Frustrated Writer (Or what to do when writing is too damn hard and you want to quit)

 

Fbanging head against wallriday

Ugh! I’m in the middle of the worst writer’s block I’ve ever had! I’ve literally spent the last two hours forcing words out, only to scrap them a few sentences later. The scene I’m trying to write is the low point in the middle where all seems lost, and I don’t know why I can’t write it. Maybe I’m starting in the wrong place? Maybe it’s NOT supposed to happen the way I’m envisioning it? This is my second day of trying to write this scene, and my frustration is mounting. Seriously, I’ve never had writer’s block like this, and right now I’m seriously questioning why I want to write.

Saturday

Took my son to a playground arcade and tried to write the problem scene again. The good news? I polished the opening paragraphs and I think they’re pretty good. The bad news? I’m still paralyzed when it comes to starting the action.

Sunday

Day off from writing, but I did take notes while listening to a thunderstorm outside. What does it sound like? Feel like? How many different words are there for the sound of thunder? (Answer: not many.)

Monday

My thunderstorm note-taking must have jarred something loose because I was able to get the action started in my problem scene after it’s triggered by the sound of thunder. I don’t know if what I’ve written is any good, but at least I’m getting words on the page.

boominyourface

Tuesday—Critique Group Day—The Best Day of the Week

By lunch, I was able to finish the first draft of my problem scene (cautious yay!)—but I’m not doing cartwheels yet. I could very well read the scene tomorrow and realize how much it sucks. (This has happened to me many times.)

jumpingboySitting down with the Tuesdays, I shared about my writer’s block, explained how I’ve been filled with doubt and how I’ve been almost paralyzed because I’ve been trying to remember all the things I’ve learned and apply them at the same time and plus (as Cathy recently shared on Facebook) I don’t like when bad things happen in real life so it’s hard to make them happen to my characters. Plus (as someone else pointed out) maybe I was having so much trouble writing this low point scene because it hits too close to home.

Anyway, expressing my fears and doubts to my writing tribe helped. It always does. I then read aloud the scene that comes before the scene where everything goes horribly wrong (and sets all the pieces in motion). The Tuesdays’ verdict? Let’s just say, my confidence has been restored (or at least partially).

Wednesday

Before I sat down to write, I read the draft of my low point scene with fresh eyes, and (Hooray!) it doesn’t suck! I spent a few hours fixing some things and polishing it up and then I read it again…

Can I just say? It’s been a long time since I wrote something that made me cry. Today was one of those days, and for that, I’m grateful.

Today’s going to be a good day!

writer celebrating

So here’s what I learned in the past week: When writing is too damn hard and you want to quit… Persevere. Talk to your writing peeps. Make yourself write, even when you know you’re producing crap. Make yourself write until the words start flowing. In my experience, they always do.

 

Friday Favorite – Want to Know if You’re a Writer?

There are lots of ways for you to know if you’re a writer? Do you correct your friends texts and send them back corrected? Yep. Do you check and re-check, and then triple check one more time before hitting the post button on any and all social media? For sure! Of course, that might mean you’re just a closet editor!

How do you know you're a writer?

So here’s how I know that I’m a writer.

 

I find writing advice in EVERYTHING!

My husband Jim Dix is a musician. Very creative. However, I can count on one hand the number of movies we’ve actually gone to the theater to see because my guy loves a good documentary.  So he’s watching a Stephen Colbert interview of Neil deGrasse Tyson where Tyson is talking about a long-term disagreement he’s had with James Cameron the director of Titanic.

How do you know you're a writer?

Great movie, but I didn’t feel the need to watch it over and over like so many people. *Spoiler Alert* It’s history, folks. Once the ship starts sinking I know what’s going to happen, and it isn’t going to be pretty.

James Cameron paid to have subs go down to view inside the wreck so that he could have every detail as exact as possible. He wanted authenticity.  

How do you know you're a writer?

Isn’t that what we want in our writing?

Now as Neil deGrasse Tyson points out, Cameron worked hard on these aspects – aspects we could not check out ourselves as authentic. That was fine with Tyson. His beef? After the ship sinks, Rose is adrift on a piece of wood looking up at the night sky.

IT WAS THE WRONG SKY!

Want to know if you're a writer?

As Neil explains. We know the exact date. We know the exact location of the ship as it sank, so we know what the sky looked like.  (We – meaning it wouldn’t be too hard to find out.) So why is Rose looking at the wrong sky? In fact, the sky was a mirror image of itself, so it wasn’t even a complete sky.

James Cameron spent cash money to find out the hard details but didn’t spend the time to find out the easy ones.

How many times do I do that with my writing? I love the research part. I wrote about research here: http://www.tuesdaywriters.com/?p=277 But am I going deep enough? I have a middle grade mystery with a character who wants to be an Olympic archer.  I took archery lessons one summer. It put my back out every time, but it was very cool to have more than my old memories of archery in high school.  

Want to know if you're a writer?

I never got as good as Katniss.

Want to Know if You’re a Writer?

…and no, this is not how I threw my back out.

Plus, this time, I could ask my instructor questions that were useful to my story.

The next time you read the acknowledgments in a book, see who else they thanked besides their mother, critique group, editor, and agent.

Just because I love research doesn’t mean I’m doing the right research. Doesn’t mean I’m going as far as I need to. Doesn’t mean I’m translating that into my writing so readers won’t get bogged down in the details and get thrown out of my story.

 

Neil deGrasse Tyson let James Cameron know about his feelings three times, and each time he felt like Cameron was blowing him off. One day Tyson got a call from one of James’ assistants. Seems they were doing a special release of Titanic for the tenth anniversary, and they wanted to fix the sky.

You can watch the entire interview here.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXh9RQCvxmg

I’m going to end this post, since I’ve got some of my own sky to work on.
What’s the research you still need to do?

What Time Is It?

Hi Tuesdays!

Hope you’re all doing well this week! It’s time once again for Top Three Thursday!

For today’s post, I have a fun, but tough post for me. You see, I’ve always been fascinated by time-travel stories and lately, I’ve been doing a lot of research on the subject. Wait! That doesn’t mean I’ve actually been doing it…as far as you know. And by the way, my apologies if I’ve accidentally messed up anyone’s timelines. But anyway, because of all this research, I’ve been all immersed in reading time-travel stories and watching time-travel movies. So, that made my choice for Top Three Thursday pretty easy. If you guessed Top Three Latin conquistadors, you’re wrong! (Although, Pizarro is a good choice). But, my topic is time-travel! Specifically movies. I was going to put my top three time-travel books, but I decided to save that for another time and focus on time-travel movies instead!

clock

I’m going to be honest, this WASN’T easy! With this topic, I’m practically a slam-dunk audience member. You have to work awfully hard to make a time-travel movie that I don’t like. Even in some of the dumber ones I’ve seen, I’ve found some redeeming aspects, which made me enjoy them. Either comedy or something that made me think or maybe even a plot point which I hadn’t considered before. And one of the really fun aspects of it is, everybody feels free to implement their own rules, while staying close to the main ones, which all of the movies tend to use. That means they can bend them a little for the sake of what they need for their plots to advance and each will bring something different to consider.

time travel rules

For this list, I didn’t include movies like Groundhog Day, which a lot of time-travel movie lists do. I place it in its own category. Time-repetition instead of time-travel. A slight difference, but to me, a difference nonetheless. So, that eliminated movies like Source Code and Edge of Tomorrow, which I also really loved, but I place them under the Groundhog Day category.

groundhog day

Also, I’m going to remove Back to the Future from the equation. You know why? It’s automatically number one. Nothing beats it. Seriously, nothing. If it’s not number one on your list, then you have no business even discussing time-travel movies. It should be number one on everybody’s list. It quite simply is the best time-travel movie ever! It’s got drama, humor and Huey Lewis! What could be better? (Also, it allows me to cheat a little, by putting four movies up instead of three. My list, my rules.)

back to the future 2

Anyway, let’s get right to it. Here are my top three favorite time-travel movies in no particular order, and not counting Back to the Future.

So, here we go!

Somewhere in Time:

This movie ranks at the top of the list of almost every woman I’ve ever talked to, but I love it too. It’s a great movie. I loved it as a kid for the time-travel story and I think I might love it even more now for the emotional aspect. In it, Christopher Reeve is a playwright who travels back in time because he has a crush on a photograph of a woman from 1912, played by Jane Seymour. And really, who could blame him for that? And do you want to know how he gets there? No time machine. No wormhole. No DeLorean. Nope, he just wills himself to do it. That’s it. I never realized time-travel could be so simple. He removes any current day paraphernalia, locks himself into a room and concentrates to transport himself back to 1912. I watched this movie recently, and it held up very well. And that ending! I’m not going to lie, I’ve closed my eyes and tried to will myself back to 1912 also, but I can’t seem to get past 1974 and that stuck me in the middle of the whole Nixon and Watergate scandal, and really, who wants to be in a time where you can’t trust our politicians, so I decided it wasn’t even worth it. Anyway, if you haven’t seen Somewhere in Time, what the heck is wrong with you? Definitely make plans to do so!

somewhere in time

Next on my list is another movie I loved as a kid and coincidentally, came out the same year as Somewhere in Time. This one is The Final Countdown. I couldn’t get enough of this movie as a kid. I need to watch it again soon, to see how well or how poorly it’s held up, but the memories I have of it are good ones. In it, the aircraft carrier, USS Nimitz, accidentally gets transported through time through a vortex on the ocean. It lands in December of 1941, before the attack on Pearl Harbor. This movie is a take on the famous time-travelling question, if you go back in time and have a chance to kill Hitler, do you do it? My answer is yes, but I know it creates other problems. In the movie, the crew has to confront that decision head-on and decide whether or not they intervene and use their modern weapons to take on the Japanese forces, and prevent them from bombing Pearl Harbor. It’s a fascinating story and they get into all the ethical discussions of right and wrong.

final countdown

The last of my top three minus Back to the Future, is 12 Monkeys. In this one, Bruce Willis is a prisoner who is chosen to go back in time to gather information on this strange virus which has killed many people. Willis is plagued by recurring nightmares and starts to question his own sanity and whether or not he actually time-traveled, before he realizes he really did and is able to find the source of the virus. Watched this one again last year and it still packed a punch.

12 monkeys

So, there you have it! My top three, kind of. And even after finishing this list, I am regretting not putting others instead, because my list will probably change from time to time to time to time… Because after all, to me, it’s exactly as I said. To me, there is no bad time-travel movie, since I enjoyed even the ones including Hot Tubs.

hot tub time machine

What are your favorites?

Grateful for rainy return

On Tuesday afternoon, as the thunder rattled outside, we read our stories and critiqued each other’s work.
This is what I missed about Tuesday.
As Melody’s tale of family strife reach a fervent climax, the thunder rolled. Lightning struck as we laughed at Jonathan’s quip about a young boy who hadn’t opened his textbook since the first day of school. And Cathy strung together vivid details that ended in a crinkled dollar bill that told volumes.
This is what I missed about Tuesday.
Today I returned to the Tuesday’s critique group for the first time this summer due to a stressful move, and read for the first time since May.
I missed the critique. The honest feedback, the constructive criticism and the harsh truth. But most of all I missed my friends who I’ve known for years.
I even miss the nitpicking at my writing (Jonathan caught my main character nodding his head again). The sentence has already been fixed to say “I nodded”. Did it as soon as I got home, happily soaked from the rain.