Cool-ish Actors, Annoying Characters

Frodo Skyler Anakin Julie Deadpool Regina

Some actors suck. That’s just a fact. However, there are times where actors, through no real fault of their own, get a bit of flack because of the roles they play. Here are six actors who I’d say are at least pretty good at their craft, but are somewhat marred by the personalities and actions of their characters.

Anna Gunn as Skyler White

Skyler White Breaking Bad Anna GunnSkyler White is a fairly intelligent and strong woman who happens to be married to a teacher-turned-meth dealer. She loves her children, supports her husband more often than not, and generally tries to do the right thing. Yet, because of the few times she doesn’t stand by her meth-cooking husband, many Breaking Bad fans grew to hate her. Some weirdos who didn’t seem to appreciate the fact that Anna Gunn was simply playing a role in a fictional television show actually redirected their hatred toward the actor. Ms. Gunn wrote about this unfortunate phenomenon as the show was wrapping up in 2013.

Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker

Anakin Skywalker Hayden Christensen Star Wars Revenge of the SithI believe the most annoying things about Anakin Skywalker was written into the character. It wasn’t so much Hayden Christensen’s fault as it was the intent of the writers to make Anakin a whiny teenager. While it’s true that Christensen hasn’t really shown us super great talent outside of the Star Wars movies, I don’t think his acting is as bad as people make it out to be.

I liked Christensen in Takers and Vanishing on 7th Street. Yeah, neither movie is great—the former lacked in character development, and the latter had an ending I didn’t care for—but, they’re okay, and it’s not Christensen who brought them down. If anything, he helped make those movies better than they would have been without him.

Aimee Teegarden as Julie Taylor

Aimee TeegardenFor whatever reason, after the first season of Friday Night Lights, the character of Julie Taylor becomes incredibly annoying: she becomes selfish, unreasonable, and never seems to learn from her mistakes. Well, I suppose she does learn one thing: she’ll never do better than the awesome Matt Saracen.

Before her final good decision at the end of the show, Julie Taylor pulls some pretty obnoxious stunts. She has an affair with a married teaching assistant her first semester at college. Then, to avoid going back to school, she intentionally runs her car into a mailbox and lies to her parents about it.

Yeah, I haven’t seen Aimee Teegarden in anything aside from Friday Night Lights, but from FNL alone I get the feeling Teegarden’s pretty good with the acting thing and probably no where as near as annoying as Julie Taylor (also, she’s adorable, so she’s got that going for her).

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Major Influences #7: Hobbits, Nightwalkers, War Wizards, and a Circle of Magic

Lord of the Rings Game of Thrones Sword of Truth Circle of Magic

By now, my three readers might be thinking, “Why aren’t any of these ‘major influences’ books? Isn’t A.D. Martin is supposed to be some kind of novelist? This is dumb. I’m un-following that bastard.”

Don’t do it! My influences also includes books and stuff, not the least of which are the fantasy series presented infra (use of this term proves that I’m a lawyer).
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And, so it begins – Agent Query Time

The path to publication: write, write, write, research, research, research, edit, edit, edit, query, query, query, and then you cry.

Peter Parker Crying Meme Sends Agent Query Misspells Agent's NameWell, I’m currently on that first “query,” so I have some time yet before I’m scheduled to shed my special writer tears. Against the advice of one “Mr. Lardo,” I went ahead and sent out a batch of queries at the end of the week as opposed to early Monday morning. I expect I’ll be sending out many more queries, so a few poorly timed ones can’t hurt too much, can it? CAN IT?!

Wish me luck, jerks (and non-jerks).

-A.D. Martin

Rules of Writing Fiction – Dual Protagonists, Prologues and Whatnot

Not Quite Verboten

Basic fiction writing advice warns against prologues, dream sequences, flashbacks, adverbs, and dual/multiple protagonists. Over time, these conventions have come to be treated by many as absolute rules, or at least spoken of as if they were absolute rules.

This past weekend at the Southern California Writers’ Conference, some of these “mistakes” made appearances in the writing of attendees. After a bit of discourse, many of us came to the same conclusion: these devices are warned against because of the difficulty in handling them, but with the right amount of talent and hard work, a writer can defy these conventions without shooting herself in the foot.

A quick Google search would lead you to very similar conclusions, which makes it even more peculiar how often people seem to forget these rules aren’t set in stone.

More so than any other writer or SCWC attendee, Oz Monroe acted as a voice of reason in regards to these “rules,” reminding us (on several occasions) that you can break just about any writing convention so long as you do it well (quite a caveat, but still).

Dual (Multiple) Protagonists

June and Day of Legend

Marie Lu’s Legend is considered by many to feature dual protagonists, though for certain reasons Day can easily be construed as an antagonist (e.g., for ease of pitching the novel).

Baseline convention: stick to one primary protagonist. Other major characters must be limited to the role of an antagonist or supporting character. Why can’t we have two (or more) primary protagonists? As I see it, there are two big reasons: (1) the difficulty in fleshing out all protagonists fully while maintaining a compelling narration; and (2) the difficulty in pitching a story with multiple protagonists.

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Be Insulted by a French Robot via Google Translate

This robot thinks you're a jerk.

This robot thinks you’re a jerk.

I copied and pasted some text from a WIP novel into Google Translate to see how the text-to-speech would sound.

It sounded exactly as expected in English: a robotic female voice, with some robot pronunciation quirks. Midway through the reading, I accidentally switched to another language (causing Google to use a different language’s robot-voice to read the English text). Then, I heard an approximation of English being spoken in a foreign accent.

Maybe I’m just sleep-deprived and bored, but I thought it was pretty funny.

Give it a try. Go to Google Translate, select French on the left side, type “you are a jerk” and click on the speaker button to hear a female Parisian robot insult you in English (or just click this, the text input box, and the speaker button). See if you don’t at least laugh in your head.

Ah, what a tremendous waste of time.

9 Maybe-Important Quotes of Fictional Characters

“[S]ometimes dogs or people hate you for no reason.” – Homer J. Simpson

Captured by this guy.

Captured by this guy.

In the episode of The Simpsons, “The Latest Gun in the West,” Homer gives Bart some rather sagely advice: at times, a person (or dog) will hate you with no logical explanation.

The implied point (assuming Homer can imply things), is that where someone’s dislike of you is entirely unreasonable, you should probably just get over it and move on. Or, as it is in Bart’s case, you can get a movie star to smooth things over for you.

Secret option #3 is to follow the wisdom of a masked vigilante known as V: “Violence can be used for good” (this doesn’t count as one of my nine quotes, because I said so).

I’d go with the movie star route myself.

“All that is gold does not glitter,/ Not all those who wander are lost, . . .” – Bilbo Baggins

Bilbo BagginsPenned by J.R.R. Tolkien in the real world, and stolen by Bilbo Baggins who pretends he wrote it in The Fellowship of the Ring. The first two lines of this poem are supposed to be in regards to Aragorn, son of Arathorn, who lives most of his life as a wandering ranger doing awesome things for the denizens of Middle Earth (so long as they’re not from some foreign land in the east and south which he seems to know nothing about).

Both these lines are oft-quoted, with people using the first to say something is more awesome than it first appears. The second line is overused by literature-reading backpackers who like to pretend their drinking, off-the-beaten-path travels to the middle of nowhere, and attempts at hostel promiscuity makes them as cool as Aragorn. I mean, they might be cool, but those three things alone aren’t going to cut it.

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One Lovely Blog Award: Chain Letter, Part 2

One Lovely Blog Award Tree and Heart Logos

Friends, Romans, country folk—I have received my second blogging award from Lydia and Anastasia who share the Cupcakes and Popcorn blog (thanks, ladies). Though I still think the chain letter-like setup is a bit odd, I figure I could use the extra traffic and followers that might result from playing along (follow me!).

The rules of the One Lovely Blog Award: 

  • You must thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog (this totally ruins my plan of not linking to their blog and, instead, just saying bad things about them behind their backs).
  • You must list the rules and display the award (there are two apparent logos/images for the award, which I found unnecessarily confusing, so I put them together as one .jpeg file).
  • You must add 7 facts about yourself (I will consider being truthful).
  • You must nominate 15 other bloggers and comment on one of their posts to let them know they’ve been nominated (yes, more victims—15 seems like a bit much, though).
  • You must display the award logo and follow the blogger who nominated you (how long do I have to follow them for?).

Seven supposed facts about A.D. Martin:

1. I am awesome.
2. If you take away my veil of awesomeness, you will only find more awesomeness underneath.
3. The bit above was inspired by Barney Stinson of How I Met Your Mother, but also inspired by my innate awesomeness.
4. I am about to start watching Once Upon a Time because another blogger (Ursula) suggested that I give it a try.
5. I think the Guardians of the Galaxy film is great and that it does very well bouncing back and forth between pathos and humor.
Six. I just spelled the number six phonetically to be annoying and to have an excuse not to provide any real information about myself.
7. I may or may not continue to participate in these types of awards in the future. Eh, I probably will. Continue reading