Liz Watkins

Liz Watkins

Composition instructor, avid reader, Doctor Who fanatic, and owner (or maybe captive) of a 25 pound British Bombay cat

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    Latest Articles

    Latest Topics

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    Stereotypical Characters in the Zombie Apocolypse

    What are common types of characters that reoccur in zombie media? What might drive these characters actions? Which are most likely to survive and why? An example might be the driven father figure such as in The Walking Dead and World War Z.

    • I think that creating interesting and "new" character action/motivation is challenging in this genre as survivalism is the main motive and focus and the interest comes in how the writer can comes up with inventive ways for characters to survive and kill zombies. Perhaps a way to combat stereotype in central characters is to create a more complex conflict with zombies than just kill or be killed. What else does the central character want, and how do the zombies become a new kind of conflict in preventing the character from getting what he/or she wants? Perhaps in a way that causes the main character multiple conflicts: inner and outer. – RJWolfe 3 years ago
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    • I recently finished a novel (publishing in May) that uses a failure of computer chips in human brains to create a zombie apocalypse. If someone wants to write an article on this that cites my book (good or bad), I'll send you a free copy. You can find me at www.orenhammerquist.com – orenhammerquist 3 years ago
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    • With this the line between good/evil characters gets blurred because of what each character has to do to survive. You could look at this as an interesting factor that almost always appears in zombie media. – Tyler McPherson 3 years ago
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    Disney and Fairy Tales

    Disney has turned some of the most well-known fairy tales into films. What are some lesser known tales that might make successful films? How might some of the more "grim" of the tales be adapted for young audiences?

    • I'd like to see Disney work with more Greek Myths. Specifically Psyche and Cupid. The "hero" i female, which is rare to Greek Mythology, and obviously a female Hero would find appeal to the Disney Princess brigade. – RJWolfe 3 years ago
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    • Maybe you could analyse how Studio Ghibli managed to deal with "grim" themes, for example Princess Kaguya, and suggest what Disney could learn from this. – Ryan Errington 3 years ago
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    • Personally I would like to see Disney do something edgy and avant-garde like Fantasia, but that can only happen if the corporate aspect of Disney is dismantled. – Travis Kane 3 years ago
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    literature
    Write this topic

    Future Classics

    Which books written in the last 50 years will hold up as classics for generations to come? We have those authors and books that we mark with each decade, so which authors and novel will mark our generation? Stephen King and J. K. Rowling are two that jump to mind.

    • I don't know that Stephen King can be considered a "future" classic, considering many of his early short stories are already widely anthologized. However, I suspect there are a number of authors available to consider, and would recommend perusing graphical novels, such as "Fun Home" by Allison Bechdel. They haven't been prolific in past days, but are receiving a fair bit of respect from relevant critics and deserve a little more public attention. – Christopher Vance 3 years ago
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    • Look to Pulitzer Prize winners. I recommend "The Pecan Man" and I am certain that "The Alchemist" will make that list as well. – orenhammerquist 3 years ago
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    • Maybe some of the works of Neil Gaiman? – Arlinka Larissa 3 years ago
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    • Ursula K. Le Guin is an author that should be remembered in my view. – Travis Kane 3 years ago
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    Underrated Actors to Appreciate

    Who are some of the most underrated actors in film? These are actors who do not get a lot of publicity or many accolades but are great actors. This is a subjective topic, but who are a few that have really stood out in certain films that viewers should know by name? Stanley Tucci, Sam Rockwell, Gary Oldman, Laura Linney, Catherine Keener, Emily Mortimer, to name a few.

    • As you have said, this is a subjective topic. So you would have to explain why these actors are unjustly underrated in terms of the type of characters they play, etc. – Ryan Errington 3 years ago
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    • I doubt that Gary Oldman is underrated. I've seen way too many online comments of how great he is. I agree with Sam Rockwell though. Dude needs more recognition! – Arlinka Larissa 3 years ago
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    Food and Film

    What are some of the best films that center around food? Ratatouille, Julie and Julia, Chocolat, and Fried Green Tomatoes to name a few. How does the cooking/food influence the themes of the film and the actions of the characters?

    • This is an interesting topic. Maybe think about the symbolism of food and its different appreciation throughout the films and in different countries. What is the significance of food? Does it relate or generate any socio-cultural debates? Gender issues? This would make the article richer instead of treating food just as a theme or in relation to characters. – Rachel Elfassy Bitoun 3 years ago
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    • A wonderful film involving food is Babette's Feast. It is Swedish, I believe, in subtitles, but it addresses the issues of food as being the basis of human bonding, the correlation of food and spiritual nurturing, community building, food as transcendence. – RJWolfe 3 years ago
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    literature
    Write this topic

    Religious Books for Every Reader

    What are some religious books that would appeal to readers in general? For example, lots of people read stories and proverbs of the Bible, Pilgram’s Progress, etc. in school to look at the historical or analytical context. What are religious writings that would appeal to someone not wanting to become part of the faith, but just read for context.

    • This is a fine topic, but it'd require a lot of broad reading, perhaps more than the average writer would want. For example, I'd say that it'd be just as vital to read religious analytical works that are written by prominent theologians (e.g. C.S. Lewis for Christianity and Rabbi Harold Kushner for Judaism) as well as fictional works that deal with religion as a facet of the story's characters (e.g. Milton Steinberg's As a Driven Leaf or Chaim Potok's The Chosen). Then there'd be the option of expanding the religions that are being addressed. Were I to write this article, I'd probably concentrate on Judeo-Christian novels since that is what I'm most versed in, but supposing someone wants to talk about Buddhism, or Hinduism, or Islam? No matter what, it'd be necessary to find works that praise religions excellence, not its superiority, to other world views, or in other words, books that aren't preachy (and I hope I did a good job of supplying works that aren't). This is certainly a worthy topic to write about, but the person who accepts the responsibility should know full well that they're going to have a lot of research ahead of them. – August Merz 3 years ago
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    • Jan Karon's Mitford series is considered Christian but achieved crossover status with mainstream lit, as did Neta Jackson's Yada Yada Prayer Group series. I enjoyed both and would recommend exploring them (or reading them if you want to research). – Stephanie M. 11 months ago
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    Best Foreign Films 2000 to 2015

    What are some of the best, not to be missed, foreign films of the last fifteen years? It would be best to see a variety of countries and not just the usual Britain, France, Mexico, etc.

    • This is an interesting theme but very broad. I would suggest limiting it to a country or a continent or a genre. There are so many films released each day across the globe, it is hard to contain them in one single article, especially in the scale of fifteen years. – Rachel Elfassy Bitoun 3 years ago
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    • I would like to see someone write about maybe one must see film for some of the big film making countries. Films that would introduce an audience to what that country has to offer in film making and draw in reluctant foreign film viewers. – Liz Watkins 3 years ago
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    The Walking Dead and PTSD

    Explore the parallels between the characters in The Walking Dead and those suffering from PTSD. Especially Season 5 has explored this with integrating its wandering characters back into a structured society within a gated community.

    • I think you could cover all seasons. For example, Herhsel's denial of the true extent of why people turn to walkers in Season 2 would be beneficial to mention. – Ryan Errington 3 years ago
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    • It could make the topic a bit broad, but referencing certain bits of the graphic novel might help bulk it out too? – Hannah Spencer 3 years ago
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    • Definitely worth looking at Sasha and Abraham. – ProtoCanon 1 year ago
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    Latest Comments

    Liz Watkins

    This is one of my favorite topics to teach. It is nicely outlined here. Archetypes of any kind are, surprisingly, usually a new subject for college freshman.

    Exploring The Hero's Journey: A Writer's Guide
    Liz Watkins

    I always felt the threat of zombies was the sudden take over. Like with ‘World War Z’ – A family starts their typically day, drives to work and school, and, boom, zombie outbreak with no warning. People panic and chaos ensues. I do agree, though, that once the threat was accessed, we would have the resources to easily do away with them.

    Zombies: The Undying Genre
    Liz Watkins

    I finally finished reading all three novels. The linking trait I also saw with the female leads are that they are women that you don’t particular like, and never want to be like. They are such different characters from other novels where we want to see good and bad and still like them. I strongly disliked all of Flynn’s protagonists from the first few chapters, but the uniqueness of this and her storytelling kept me reading all night.

    Women in Gillian Flynn's Mystery Novels: Villains and Victims
    Liz Watkins

    I like watching Doctor Who mostly because it suspends reality, and I do not even care. It somehow submerges you into this ridiculous world where reality is not longer important. It I ever stop to examine it or even try to explain the show to someone, it sounds outrageous. Just watch it and enjoy.

    Doctor Who? Why the Question is More Important than the Answer
    Liz Watkins

    Nice to see! There are always Christmas moments in non-Christmas films, so it’s great to see there are some Halloween ones as well.

    5 Must-Watch Halloween Sequences in Cinema
    Liz Watkins

    Yes, I have played through them all. Tomb Raider (2003) is definitely the best. It more realistic and raw than previous titles, and Lara is young and inexperienced. She also looks more “real” than previous versions.

    Is Chrono Trigger a Feminist Game?
    Liz Watkins

    That would be a great topic to write about! The cheesy appeal of bad sci-fi films.

    The New Classics in Horror Film Formulas
    Liz Watkins

    Interesting article. It is not often that we analyze video games and their underlying themes. With so many well written games today, this should be done more often. I have not played Chrono Trigger, but, growing up, I identified with any games that had female leads, since they were few and far between in the 80s and 90s. Lara Croft still stands as my favorite, even though she is often over-sexualized.

    Is Chrono Trigger a Feminist Game?