Technical writers or non fiction writers scribble to pay the bills and for the love of the analytical or the exercise of truth or deception.

Fiction authors write to illuminate their world or escape it.

Whichever kind of writer, it's all about staying alive and helping or entertaining others.

The Writing Life

Like most writers, I have a love of reading and the power of words. When I was younger, I read everything I could get my hands on, but I don’t consider myself well read. I consumed books like a starved person, so quickly I hardly knew what I had read. By some strange process of osmosis, I learned from everything I read, but I cannot give you an erudite discussion of characters, plots, or authors. I can only tell you it’s lodged some where in the core of my being and informs my writing.

In addition to reading, I’ve spent a life time writing---from that first elementary school composition to my college days when I studied French literature and wrote explications de texte. Along the way, I fell into technical writing--to put food on the table and pay bills. In the 90s, I had the good fortune to take a dialog class with Sol Stein, former owner of Stein & Day publishers in New York and a prolific author. That led to his California-based writers’ group, Chapter One. It was a rigorous, ego-bruising experience, but I was intent on learning everything I could about fiction writing. A few years ago, I also had the good fortune to study with another writer, Louella Nelson, an experienced romance writer and teacher of fiction writing. She provided a different perspective and balance to my writing.

My novel, DREAMING OF LAUGHING HAWK, a mainstream, Sixties era novel, is available on Amazon in print and ebook (also available in Canada, Europe, Japan, and Brazil). Download a free sample. If you like it, I hope you'll download the book and post a review on Amazon.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Movie Review: The Ottoman Lieutenant

Sometimes you just need a melodramatic fix, a romance novel or movie. You overlook the worn plot elements and clichéd dialog and fall right into the story. Such is the case with The Ottoman Lieutenant. You can enjoy it for the melodrama it is and appreciate the backdrop of World War I, but there are some quirky things that might throw you off.

First a brief synopsis. This is the story of an idealistic, strong-willed young woman and love torn apart by World War I. Lillie is a nurse from Philadelphia who leaves behind her conventional, comfortable life after being inspired by a lecture by a Dr. Jude who runs a medical mission in Anatolia. She decides to donate a truck and medical supplies to the mission and deliver them in person just as the world is on the brink of war.

When she steps off the ship she encounters a dashing Turkish officer who invites her to view the beautiful mosque after warning that war is to come soon. The dialog is a bit awkward, not quite believable, but you go along with it. The scenery is beautiful and mysterious and you’re being introduced to a part of history most of us are not familiar with.

I dragged my husband along to this movie, but very soon he is paying attention because this is where his ancestors were murdered. He understands the occasional Armenian and Turkish words that flit threw the dialog. This all strikes a chord with him, a genetic remembrance. I am struck by the fact, after hearing the Armenian version of genocide so frequently, that this movie presents a Turkish point of view.

The idealistic young woman does not fall for the idealistic young doctor who is in love with her, but rather the Turkish officer who she first encounters when she gets off the ship and who becomes her escort to the mission. It’s an unlikely Christian-Moslem romance, but nevertheless you buy into it because here and there are moments of history that come to life and there is adventure.

I would recommend this movie but that you take it with a grain of salt. The characters could have been handed better dialog. The actors could have demonstrated a little more chemistry. The treatment of the Armenian genocide could have been more fully developed. It’s a good story that wants for more but you come away with a glimmer of understanding of the eastern front of World War I. And you get your melodramatic fix.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review. We'll watch for it...probably have to wait for NetFlix. I do feel the need for a melodramatic fix fairly often.