Book Talk Tuesday: TALKING AS FAST AS I CAN

Talking As Fast As I Can popped up as a Kindle deal recently so I bought it. I read and enjoyed Lauren Graham’s novel, Someday, Someday, Maybe. Talking As Fast As I Can is non-fiction, but I figured I’d like it and it would be a pretty quick read. I was right on both counts.

GrahamGraham is better known as an actress than a writer. She’s appeared in several of my favorite shows (Gilmore Girls, Parenthood), and some good movies, too.

Talking As Fast As I Can is part memoir, part behind-the-scenes glimpses of life on the set of both iterations of Gilmore Girls. Graham’s “voice” is conversational and fun, and reading her book is like sitting with a girlfriend and chatting over coffee or a glass of Chardonnay.

I enjoy Graham’s shows and her characters and I know it’s highly likely an actor or actress is nothing like the characters they play. But Graham’s love for her Lorelai Gilmore and Sarah Braverman characters, as well as her cast and crew mates, shines through the pages.

I liked the tone and pace and funny asides Graham inserts. I recommend it for anyone who loves Gilmore Girls, Parenthood, or is a Lauren Graham fan.

What I’m reading this week:

I’m lucky enough to be on Susan Mallery’s release team, so I’m deep into her next book coming out in July, When We Found Home. It’s sooo good.

On my Kindle, I’m reading Sarah Andre’s Tall, Dark, and Damaged. Also really good! I’m at the part where I think something really scary and bad and thrilling is about to happen, so I forced myself to put it down at 11:00 last night, because otherwise I knew I’d be up all night to finish it and I have to much to do today!

For non-fiction, I’m reading The Gift of Years by Joan Chittister. It was a gift from a friend and I just got to it this week, and I’m loving it! It’s about growing older and the gifts we receive from aging and the gifts we can still give others.

Watch for reviews of these in the coming weeks!

Question for you: Is there an actress or actor you think should write a book? Who? What do you want to hear about?

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Media Monday: Gilmore Girls

I’m sure I’ve blogged about them before, Lorelai and Rory Gilmore. Lane Kim. Luke. Miss Patty. Babette. Dean. Jess. Zack. Logan. Richard and Emily. Gypsy. Kirk.
ggI could keep going. Lulu. Michel. Sookie and Jackson. Taylor. Christopher. April. Paris.

Okay, I’m done.

Mrs. Kim. Andrew. Marty.

Guess I wasn’t done.

I’ve been rewatching the series from the beginning to prepare for the new Netflix mini-series in November. Every time I watch this I’m in awe of the writing, the characters, the dialogue, the stories.

I love how the characters are almost archetypes, but then … they’re not.

Mrs. Kim, stereotypical Korean Tiger mother, is a staunch Seventh-Day Adventist.

Gil, the long blond-haired rocker is a rock and roll dude who’s crazy about his wife and kids and runs a sandwich shop to pay the bills.

Logan, the trust fund kid who … well, he’s a trust fund kid but he grows up during the last three seasons and we get to watch.

No other show makes me pause it at least once per episode to google an obscure reference that either went by too fast for me to get or I just didn’t get.

Last weekend I learned about the “Mountain Girl trial,” and all about Carolyn Adams Garcia, Ken Kesey, and Jerry Garcia. Illuminating.

Stud Muffin just shakes his head as he walks through. I used to try to ignore him while I watched, but now I pause it until he’s done. He usually gets the hint and stops talking so I can return to the show. Because that witty banter requires every once of concentration I can give it.

 

 

Media Monday: The Gilmore Girls

I Red heart The Gilmore Girls. GG

I’ve been re-watching the series from the beginning in syndication and ended up buying the first two seasons to watch at my leisure. It occurred to me that the structure and story make a great primer on how to plot and create novels.

For instance, writing secondary characters:

Write a stereotype and then give it one twist. And don’t clutter the story with characters who don’t serve the story.

Mrs KimMrs. Kim: Stereotypical Korean woman. Hard working. Tiger mother. Ethnocentric. But—not a Buddhist or Shintoist or Muist. Mrs. Kim is a devout Christian, a Seventh Day Adventist who insists Lane attend church camp every summer and date only other Korean Seventh Day Adventists.

Mr. Kim: Non-existent on screen. He’s referred to in early episodes. Lane mentions “… my parents,” and Mrs. Kim says, “Lane’s father and I …” But he’s never seen. By the later seasons, he’s not mentioned any more.

Backstory: Dribble it in. We don’t know for the first couple of episodes why Lorelai is estranged from her parents. But it’s clearly shown when Lorelai visits their home in September and the first thing both her parents say (but at separate times) is, “Is it Christmas already?” Brilliant. We know right away that they are accustomed to only seeing their daughter once a year. Give or take.

In another episode, Rory asks Lorelai if her father Christopher is going to attend a function. Lorelai says, “He said he’d be there, he 100% guaranteed he’d be there.” Rory responds, “So … 50% likelihood he’ll make it?”  The viewer immediately gets that Christopher is full of promises and good intentions, but not quite so good at follow-through.

Setting: The setting has to be an integral part of the story, its own character. Would Gilmore Girls work anywhere except Stars Hollow, Connecticut? I don’t think so. Stars Hollow’s cast of quirky characters and festivals and town dynamics make it a real secondary character, as real as Mrs. Kim. Where else but Stars Hollow would you find a Knit-a-Thon to raise money to save a bridge. Not every element has to make sense. If every person in town is knitting, who’s left to pledge and give the money? But it works.

Trust the reader/viewer to get it: Gilmore Girls is notorious for fast-paced dialogue sprinkled with multi-pop culture references. Maybe once a season does a character question a bon mot and an explanation is offered. Otherwise, the audience is expected to get it or let it go.

Do you have a movie or television show that you look to for examples or lessons of storytelling? Please, share them with me! I’ll be doing a future post on what I’ve learned from Veronica Mars.