Yves Brown McClain: Literary Fierceness

Posts Tagged ‘Lolita Files’

This book would make a great movie…

Posted by Dahlia on August 5, 2011

Taking a popular book and turning it into a movie or tv show happens all the time, sometimes with great success, sometimes not. I can mention the obvious Twilight and Harry Potter series. Then there’s I Am Number Four, The Nanny Diaries, Rizolli & Isles, Lipstick Jungle, Sex & The City (a good example of book to TV show to Movie ) – It even happens to books written by African-Americans and/or featuring predominantly African-American characters. Precious, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Waiting to Exhale made it to the big screen. Disappearing Acts was on HBO. Zane’s The Sex Chronicles got a series on Cinemax. Steve Harvey’s book Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man is filming as we speak. Helena Andrews, who penned Bitch is The New Black just got a movie deal for her book optioned by none other than the super-fab Shonda Rhimes. And yes, the screenplay will be written by Helena.
I don’t know of a writer who doesn’t play Fantasy Casting Director with their books, wondering if their novel, memoir, or self-help book has what it takes to grace either the silver or small screen. We’ve imagined who would play who in the movie version of our book. What can I say, writers dream big. I’d like to suggest a few books, both fiction and non-fiction that would make good movies or TV series.
Flyy Girl — Talk about 80s nostalgia! It’s hard to come by a black woman who didn’t love Omar Tyree’s coming of age novel about a girl in the hip-hop era. Even he knows it should be a movie; the follow up to Flyy Girl, For the Love of Money is about Flyy Girl becoming a movie.
The Strawberry Letter: Real Talk, Real Advice, Because Bitterness Isn’t Sexy — I envision Shirley Strawberry’s compilation of letters from people seeking relationship advice that have become very popular on The Steve Harvey Morning Show becoming somewhat of an ensemble movie, like Valentine’s Day or He’s Just Not That Into You (also started as a book) where the characters don’t all interact with each other, but they’re all connected. I can only imagine the drama, comedy, and hijinks a well-written screenplay played awesome actors could create.
Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm at Night: The Very Smart Brothas Guide to Dating, Mating, and Fighting Crime — Written by Damon Young and Panama Jackson, the title alone to this dating and relationship book has me envisioning movie trailers and promo posters. Again, another ensemble cast is in order.
Scenes From a Sistah, Getting to The Good Part, Tastes Like Chicken — this series of books by Lolita Files featuring best friends Misty Fine and Reesy Snowden can easily be the replacement to the void left behind by Girlfriends.(see Gotta Have Girlfriends). However, this show would need to make its home on either HBO or Showtime. Network TV and basic cable won’t do this show justice.
Casting The First Stone — Love, Honor, and Betray — Kimberla Lawson Roby’s eight-book (to date) series of stories centered around Rev. Curtis Black could be the perfect hour-long drama series. Lies, greed, sex, scandals, cheating, gossip, power struggles, scheming, money, love, and church. Whoo! I’d tune in every week. Hey, Brothers and Sisters just got cancelled…10pm every Sunday is appropriate AND perfect.
Those are just my thoughts, and I know there are more out there that I haven’t thought of. So, now it’s your turn. What book do you see making an excellent movie or tv show? If you think a book is better suited for television, what station would you put it on and why?

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Gotta have Girlfriends

Posted by Dahlia on August 1, 2011

I’ve got a ton of associates, just as many colleagues, and people I know that I think are generally good folks. Friends, specifically female ones, I can count on one hand. I’m talking about those real, true girlfriends that always has your back and will ride with you no matter what. Some you’ve been friends with since diapers. Some you met somewhere along the course of growing up, either in the sandbox, first day of school, sitting next to you in homeroom. Others you met in college. You sat behind her during freshman orientation. Perhaps she was the roommate that didn’t set your suite on fire (yes, this happened to me). Maybe you met her during that dreadful summer internship at XYZ Corporation the summer before junior year. Still, there are some you don’t connect with until your adult years, be it at work, church, the beauty salon, a networking event, et cetera.
I believe that the “girlfriend” relationship – that close bond with another female is a very significant one. A key relationship in life. True, some women don’t want to be bothered with female friends. Why? Because some women can get overly emotional, sometimes petty, and in some instances just flat out nasty. Just watch any reality show with a predominantly female cast. And in order to avoid the foolishness and dramatics, it can be easier just to have platonic male friends. But, still for most of us, we need girlfriends. That relationship is as important as the romantic one or the family one.
Think of the TV shows that celebrate and embrace the Girlfriend relationship: Girlfriends, Sex & The City, Single Ladies, Desperate Housewives, Laverne & Shirley, Kate & Allie (yeah, I went in the Way Back Machine for those last two). Or the books with strong female friendships, such as Misty & Reesy from Lolita Files’s Scenes From a Sistah, Getting to The Good Part, and Tastes Like Chicken. Or Savannah, Bernadine, Gloria, and Robin — the women from Terry McMillan’s Waiting To Exhale & Getting to Happy. Those are just a few examples of fictional girlfriends. And for the most part, those relationships are pretty solid, just like real-life friendships.

So, in celebration of the BFF, below is my little list of reasons why you need at least one Girlfriend in your life:
1. She’ll tell you those shoes are kick-ass and you need to buy them. Like now. Raht now. Same goes for that Coach bag.
2. She’ll cheer you on when that idea/dream/aspiration you’ve been pursuing makes you want to not just throw in the towel, but throw the damn thing out.
3. She’ll help you escape when dude with the ecru-hued teeth and breath from the pits of Hell gets all up in your personal space.
4. She understands that your manager is Satan’s mistress.
5. She’ll let you cry, vent, whine, whatever. You don’t have to “suck it up” with her.
6. She shows up at your house with the vodka, martini mix, and shaker when that date/day at work/ relationship has gone totally and completely wrong.
7. She holds your hair when you’ve overdone it on the vodka and martini mix.
8. So, Beaches, Steel Magnolias, AND A League of Their Own are on TV? Not only is she game, she’s bringing the cheesecake.
9. She thinks it is completely normal to eat an entire half-sheet of birthday cake by yourself. Matter of fact, she’ll grab a fork and take half.
10. Despite what that family member said about your lack of direction/husband/children/career, she always thinks you rock.

These are just a few reasons. I know there are more. What are your reasons that girlfriends are important? Why is the girlfriend in your life so important? What is it about her that makes you say that she’s more than a friend, she’s your sister?

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Relax, Relate, Release…

Posted by Dahlia on July 27, 2011

I completed my novella’s draft about a few weeks ago (I’ve got an excerpt available here). I was a little tapped out creatively to jump right in and start revisions on it, so I decided to return to my other WIP that I’d placed on hold to write the novella.

However, I wasn’t able to flip out of one story into the other for a few days. My novella had taken on a more dramatic tone, whereas my novel is a bit more lighthearted. Two things helped me transition: One was an enlightening conversation about fear and vulnerability with a fellow writer friend. (I won’t name names 🙂 ). This conversation helped me see that I must see my novel through to the end, despite the internal and external obstacles. Second, I read the work of one of my favorite authors, Lolita Files. And I laughed. A lot. I won’t get into too many details, but I’ll never see a thunderstorm the same way again.

Then I went back to my WIP. I began to have an experience similar to Beyonce’s after she wrapped up Dreamgirls and started work on her second album, B-Day. She said in an interview that she’d been confined to her Dena character for so long that when she got into the studio, she was able to release and all this creativity just came out. I
had taken about a month to craft this novella that’s a bit out of the box for me because of the drama involved in it. I tend to like my writing lighthearted and fun. But, I needed to do something different because I was getting stagnant with the WIP. (When you’ve been working on it as long as I have, it can get that way sometimes). So, I took the challenge of being a drama writer and immersed myself in it completely. So, it was safe to say that when I finally got back to my WIP, I needed to release. And I did. Suddenly, I had all these ideas and ways to fill in the blanks of the chapters I needed to add and make adjustments to existing chapters. And for me, I found them to be not only lighthearted and fun, but funny. (I’ll find out soon if others agree with me on the funny stuff) I’d been through too much pretend drama in the past month. I
needed a good laugh.

So, you may not need to go as far as I did and write a completely different story to get a break from your current project. It just so happened that I had the idea and decided to run with it. Fortunately, it helped me return to my WIP with a fresh set of eyes and a bunch of ideas while at the same time, I was able to stretch out of my chick-lit comfort zone and dabble in drama for a bit. So, what do you do to release when you find that your WIP is getting a little stagnant?

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