Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Never Give Up, Never Surrender

This movie has always resonated with me. Sure it's funny and entertaining, but there are serious plot elements and real world writing applications to take away from the film as well.

Plot Elements of Galaxy Quest:

  • The reluctant hero archetype. If you haven't read Joseph Campbell's The Hero With a Thousand Faces, I suggest you do. His work is also foundational for Christopher Vogler's The Writer's Journey. The reluctant hero is an ordinary man in extraordinary circumstances who initially "refuses the call" but eventually follows his destiny. Tim Allen who plays fictional Commander Peter Quincy Taggart in the film, also plays actor Jason Nesmith our reluctant hero.

  • The Fish Out of Water Theme. The producer, Mark Johnson admits to adding this element for a unique twist. The entire crew of the spaceship, the NSEA Protector, are actors playing a part. They are thrown into the water as the aliens from Thermian expect"the crew" to help in a genocidal war against Sarris, the reptilian warlord.

  • The Transformation Plot. On a bigger scale Galaxy Quest is a transformation tale for the main protagonist, Jason Nesmith (Tim Allen). Ronald B. Tobias, in his book, 20 Master Plots: And How to Build Them, explains the transformation plot as a process plot, a constant cycle of action, reaction; cause effect. The plot will also rely heavily on character self-examination. Jason Nesmith transforms from a down and out actor who drinks too much and is embarrassed that his career has digressed to computer store openings to a man who leads his "crew" to save a civilization and believes in himself again.

  • The Hero’s Journey. The Call to Adventure begins when the crew prepares to bail as they realize the Thermanian ship is real. Commander Nesmith stops them with a challenge to partake in the adventure of a lifetime. They hesitantly follow, becoming fully committed and reaching the Point of No Return when they see Sarris’ cruel attack on the Thermanian people. The death of Quellek brings the crew to The Black Moment and finally the Climax (resurrection, death and rebirth) as they activate the Omega 13. The Return of the Elixir occurs when the ship crash lands on earth, and onto the stage at the Galaxy Quest convention and Sarris is disintegrated.

Things I Learned From Galaxy Quest:

  • The road to publication is tough, but anything worth having is worth fighting pig lizards and rock monsters for.

  • “By Grabthar’s hammer, by the suns of Warvan, you shall be avenged!” says Lazarus. Don’t let the bad contest judges, the inconsiderate publishing professionals, the mean reviewers get you down. Raise yourself up and prove them wrong.

  • Never underestimate the loyalty and smarts of your fans. They’ll be there for you when you need someone to walk you through shutting down a neutron reactor. Or maybe they’ll just be the members of the book group who stand in line for your new release's book signing, even if the Wal-Mart manager puts you at the back of the store next to the men’s room.

  • Together we have more strength than alone. Remember the Mak’tar chant of strength: Larak tarath. Larak tarath.

  • Activate the Omega-13 in your life. The Omega 13 is speculated to be either a matter collapser, a bomb capable of destroying the universe OR a matter re-arranger enabling a 13 second time jump back in time—the time to redeem a single mistake. It’s all about taking a chance. Because if you always do what you always do, you’ll always get what you always get.

  • Don’t make things harder than they really are. Sometimes all you have to do is push the blue button.

  • And finally my fellow, Questarians, remember: You have to make your own happy endings. Never give up, never surrender.


Ruth Logan Herne said...

What a great, wonderful, marvelous analogy for pubs and unpubs, Tina-meister!

I've never seen that movie. Can't imagine why when my boys loved some of the weirdest movies of all time, but I'm getting it to try just for the fun of it.

You correlated the inner workings of both the dynamics and the methods beautifully. I've got to get a dictionary and look a few words up (Mary, I'll let you borrow mine when I'm done, 'kay???), but once I derive their meaning, we'll be good!


Tina is a quiet, dynamic, never give up, never fail, change what needs to be changed Seeker and she's worked hard to jumpstart the remaining unpubbed Seekers to stretch beyond the norm.

And bossy. I forgot bossy.

Awesome job, Dude.

Hey, since you're citing the movie, why didn't you ask Tim Allen to play baristo today? He'd have been a hoot. I don't have his personal number, or else I'd call him, he's not all that busy these days.

But I do have a breakfast casserole loaded with tender potato, egg, onion, cheese and ham...

With New England French Toast (NOT an oxymoron) casserole right next door. Nothing like real maple syrup, gals. Oh, my stars, what an amazing taste.

Grab a plate, I'm setting out new coffee as we speak, and belly up to the table while Tina plies us with Italian bits of wisdom.


Tina M. Russo said...

One of the funniest, on the ground laughing scenes in this movie, is when Laredo is driving the space ship out of the docking bay. He's an actor not a pilot.

Reminds me of own depth perception issues. And it also reminds me that you don't know what you can do in life unless you try.

Your lotto ticket comment Ruth.

Great movie. But then again I write Beta heros and I am a sucker for the underdog.

Janet Dean said...

Tina, thanks for the delightful post! And for upping the ante to hang in. Great job!

Ruthy, breakfast was delicious. With a full belly I'm off to the golf. A sure opportunity to humiliate myself. Talk about a fish out of water. That's me with a club in my hand. Still we're to have a beautiful day. Great for voting too.

Later, Janet

Ann said...

Great column! I get the giggles just thinking of Tim Allen.

I love breakfast casserole but I'm too full of pop-tarts, nacho chips and salsa con queso from breakfasting with the kiddoes. reakfast of champions, you know. My breakfast theory is eat something! Anything! So you don't go to school and faint!

I'll have to get that movie. As for transformations, turning into a hero is the guy version of Cinderella, right?

I'm with Janet, voting today. Our Indiana primary hasn't been worth beans for ages until this wacky year!

Gina Welborn said...

I love that movie. So do my kids.

Awesome job, Tina, of taking a weird movie and using it to inspire! Guess I should have blogged about something besides the Sports Illustrated cover jink.

On a side note, when I was at RWA nationals last year, a gal spoke to the PRO group about websites and the whatnot. She said, "Post a picture of Alan Rickman on your site and you'll get tons of hits."

Katherine Harms said...

Who knew that a lunatic movie I had previously ignored as escapism for guys only had so much meat for a writer? Revelation comes in packages both weird and wonderful. Now I must see this movie. Thanks for adding yet another challenge to a schedule I thought was under control.
I'm going to need breakfast casserole to get through this day. I'll trade you a cup of great coffee for a few bites.

Tina M. Russo said...

And speaking of coffee. Don't forget if you post on my other site this week, you win a chance for a pound of Bald Lady coffee whose proceeds benefit treatment for cancer patients.


Tina M. Russo said...

The reluctant hero is totally my favorite archtype. The Bruce Willis Die Hard guy or Star Wars, Hans Solo, or Neo in The Matrix.

For more information on this you can Google, Campbell and the Hero Archtype if you don't have time to pick up the book.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Katherine, no trade necessary! Plenty of food for all.

And I just brought in a dish of warm, home-made rice pudding, Ruthy style.

That dusting of nutmeg on the top is a wondrous accompaniment, don't you think?

I just had a brain storm about my Thursday post. Oh my goodness, gracious, sakes to Betsy, it came to me like a flash of smartness.

A rarity around these here parts, ladies!

Help yourself to some pudding, it's a great transitional food.


Gina Welborn said...

Tina, I almost posted on my blog an article I'd written about Bad Boys and Good Guys.

Ruthy, thanks for the food, but I'll have to pass. Nothing should share my stomach with the Chick-fil-A sandwich I just had. Mmmmmm.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Gina, I've never had Chick-Fil-A...

They don't have them where I'm at or where I've been. One of these days....

And where is everybody????


Food doesn't usually grow better as it ages, ladies. Come on, come on, stop on in, set a spell.

Tina, you recently finaled in the Golden Acorn in the Single Title category. That's a tough category. I've judged it often, and the competition is fierce.

What did your judges have to say? What worked for them? What are they looking for?

I know when I judge that category, I want a strong opening that doesn't info-dump because a single title should weave insidiously from the get-go. 90,000 words PLUS gives an author a little leeway.

Spill it, girl.

What made yours stand out according to those judges?


Ruth Logan Herne said...

And Tina, btw, if you forgot to pay people to visit today (or neglected to follow through and pay them LAST time), I've got a few bucks on me.

Count me in.


Pam Hillman said...

Tina, what a great analogy. I haven't seen the movie, but you gave enough of the background and plot for me to totally understand the "crew's" growth.

About 4 in the morning... yesterday, I think...I woke up and thought instantly, "I'm quitting. No more. This writing gig is taking way too much of my time and energy."

Now THAT is just weird...to wake out up and think a normal thought like that. I went back to sleep and when I woke up again, I was back to abnormal. Sheesh!

Oh...oh... this is even funnier... my WV for today is...



Delirium? Surely everybody can see that?

Gina Welborn said...

Pam, I see it!!!

My last word verification was calm flannel. Phonetically, of course.

This time it's nothing.

Tina M. Russo said...

Golden Acorn...I dunno. I try not to stay neutral about contests. They are after all so subjective. I got two perfect scores and the other one a 107 was strange because the judges comments indicated she so gets me. Some judges just don't do perfect scores.

I remain "cautiously optimistic." Contemporary novels are not doing as well as fantasy, historical, erotica and inspies.

I don't know. It may be time to re evaluate it al.

Tina M. Russo said...

oops shd read I try TO stay neutral about contests.

Yeah they are great for the ego. But they are after all CONTESTS.

Tina M. Russo said...

Slow day in blogger world.

I am rather tired myself so frankly I don't care. When I write a post I learn and grow from them so if someone else does it is a plus. I don't worry about it.

I started this one with the realization I love the Never Give Up, Never Surrender line of the movie. So I decided to analyze why.

BTW I also play The Tide is High from Lizzie McGuire Soundtrack CD, by the Atomic Kittens over and over. So what does that tell you? I am a total OPTIMIST!!

I love to hear that phrase, Never Give Up. Never Give Up


Ann said...

Ruth, the rice pudding is almost as good as my mom's, and the perfect calmer-downer after salsa at 6:30 a.m.

Isn't there a line in "The Tide is High ..." about "I'm not the kind of girl who gives up just like that ..." I'm thinking 80s version and can't think who sang it.

Rraqmcocn (an extra from that movie?)

Tina M. Russo said...

It was a Blondie song.

But now it is my GETTING PUBLISHED MANTRA. I can't believe I just told my deep dark secret.

"The Tide Is High"

The tide is high but I'm holding on
I'm gonna be your number one
I'm not the kind of girl who gives up just like that
Oh, no

It's not the things you do that tease and wound me bad
But it's the way you do the things you do to me

I'm not the kind of girl who gives up just like that
Oh, no

The tide is high but I'm holding on
I'm gonna be your number one
Number one, number one

Every girl wants you to be her man
But I'll wait my dear 'til it's my turn

I'm not the kind of girl who gives up just like that
Oh, no

The tide is high but I'm holding on
I'm gonna be your number one
Number one, number one

Every girl wants you to be her man
But I'll wait my dear 'til it's my turn

I'm not the kind of girl who gives up just like that
Oh, no

The tide is high but I'm holding on
I'm gonna be your number one
[Repeat and ad lib until fade]

Patricia W. said...

Love the analogy, Tina. I blew this movie off a million times although my boys love it. I finally sat down and watched it. It is a hoot!

Of course, I missed all that good writer stuff but that's why I come to Seekerville.

Staying away from the food, ladies. Sorry! Even cyberfood puts lbs on this body. (Or makes me want to eat some real stuff that just might!) Although that homemade rice pudding is really tempting...

Mary Connealy said...

What a DAY!

I can't believe I'm just now checking in at Seekerville.

Crazy busy, which is good, but still..........

Nice post, Tina.

Mary Connealy said...

I don't usually plug my own blog because frankly.....it's like DEAD AIR on the internet.

(Dead Air is a radio term...yes, I know radio terms, don't start, accept that I'm a woman with a past)

But I found this picture oh, so great. Good looking guy but so much more going on, to me.

It's on the cover of Nebraska Life magazine. I attended the Nebraska Press Women's annual conference (Yes, I'm a press woman, accept that I'm a woman with a past)
And this guy, Chris Amundson, gave such a great talk about how much he loves Nebraska and how he pours that love into his magazine, which is beautiful.

But behind him is the POSTER sized picture of one of his magazine covers and I could barely look at Chris.

I listened you understand. Just didn't look. :)

If you want to go look...
Mud Soaked Cowboy

Then get right back here and only pay attention to TINA!!!!!!!!!!

Tina M. Russo said...

It's a simplistic yet very funny movie. The Tony Shalhoub character of Fred, is really the best. He's laid back, eating cheese and crackers as the ship is practically crashing on another planet.

Tina M. Russo said...


Glad to see you. I ate everything. There are no leftovers. I am self medicating today.

I also beat you at Scrabble.

Pondering STATE love. I can't say I have ever experienced that emotion. I have lived in NY, Massachusets, Oklahoma and Colorado.

So apparently I am the only person who analyzes movies. Surely someone has analyzed the themes behind The Big Chill. Right??

So now I know why I love Michael Hague and you do not.

I love sitting thru a movie and watching for the first few minutes of the regular world then waiting for the inciting moment, and analyzing all the scene plot points.

I also go to movies alone.

Hmmm...analyze that.

Julie Lessman said...

TEEENNNAAA!!!!! Remarkable post, as usual. Love Tim Allen and love, LOVE the line "Never give up, never surrender," especially for writers!!

My favorite line? "Sometimes all you have to do is push the blue button."

Oh, I sooo needed that. I tend to swim in the sea of overwhelm at times, when all I really have to do is take it one stroke at a time -- as simple as pushing a little blue button. Thanks for helping me to put these awful revisions in focus.


Debby Giusti said...

Tina, I'm a Michael Hauge groupie too! He's fantastic! Plus, there's so much to learn from movies, as you've shown in your wonderful blog post today!

I love Joseph Campbell! The Hero's Journey! Wrote my second manuscript based on it. The story didn't sell -- although I rewrote it probably at least six times! :) But I did learn so much!!!

Okay, now I'm huntin' up some Omega-13 and trying to find the blue button to push!

Pam Hillman said...

WHICH blue button? There's like a gazillion of them!!!

Pam, frantically pushing blue buttons hoping I hit the right one before I crash land!

Pam Hillman said...

If you want to go look...
Mud Soaked Cowboy

Mary...I'm not sure I'm supposed to do that at work.

Pam Hillman said...

Whew! The pic wasn't nearly as risque as you made it sound, Mary.

Nice pic though. Hey, my 15 yo boys (almost men) looked liked that yesterday. They decided to break our 4 yo 1/2 Palomino stud, Little Bit. Uh...Little Bit decided they warn't gonna.

But they're going to keep working on him. They DID get him to lunge and got the saddle on him, which totally amazed me. Little Bit is an orphan who's never been messed with. I was surprised he didn't kick their brains out.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hey, Tina, you encouraging woman, you!

Don't give up. Yeah, that seems to be the appropriate advice to me these days.

I guess my hubby and I will have to watch that movie. It sounds funny.

Missy Tippens said...

oh, man. I only had a second to check the blog. I'll be back later to read well!! Looks great, Tina.

We're going to a city council meeting where my daughter is getting an award for winning a poetry contest!

Proud mama Missy

Ausjenny said...

I made it this morning. Im a litte over tired so if i ramble thats why.

I did like this movie it was funny and i like seeing the analogies also.

oh no on top of feeling really tired i have the Tide is high in my head!!!!!!!!!!! (and the blonde version too)

Missy I can see you have every right to be a proud mama

Ok back to train and bus timetables.
I got asked to be in a wedding for the first time ever small catch its no july next year its oct4 In Toronto Canada!!!!!!!!!
oh i know i cant train or bus it but i plan to catch up with a few cyber friends in Seattle and detroit. (I want to sleep tonight)

Tina M. Russo said...

What fun, Aus Jenny. I love Toronto. Being from Buffalo, NY I got there often.

Yes, Missy congrats to you for your stellar child.

Camy Tang said...


Camy Tang said...

On a side note, I use the Heroine's Journey for my women's fiction/chick lit novels (for my straight romances I use the Hero's Journey). It's WAY cool. I haven't yet read the "original" book by Maureen Murdock (although I have it), but I have ben using 45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, which has a chapter on the Heroine's Journey and explains it quite nicely. Slightly different from the Hero's Journey, which I like.

Mary Connealy said...

I didn't make it sound risque! I made it sound COOL!!!!!!!

exCUSE ME, Pam if you confused the two.

Mary Connealy said...

And what do you MEAN lose at Scrabble. I won the last game!

Didn't I?

Ausjenny said...

Thanks Tina, I am so excited i haven't meet the bride to be but i know i will love her. and i am going to detroit also for a few days.
its so exciting.

oh now i have a sci fi need to watch sci fi stuff.

Missy Tippens said...

Tina, that was such a great post!! I haven't seen the movie, but now I'm dying to! :) What great points. And I love your "what I learned" section. Great stuff.

Ruthy, I'm cracking up about needing the dictionary. Add me to that group. :)


Missy Tippens said...

Ann said: My breakfast theory is eat something! Anything! So you don't go to school and faint!

And I'm rolling in the floor laughing!! :)

Nachos?? Yep. I would do that. :)


Missy Tippens said...

Ruthy, you've got to hop on a plane and come eat a Chick-fil-a!! You've never had a chicken sandwich until you've had this one. (of course, I live 30 minutes from the neareast Cfa. :) But if you'll fly down, I'll give you a ride.

Oh, and you've got to have one of their milkshakes, too!

And a brownie.

And the fresh-squeezed lemonade.

(No, I don't get a commission.)

Missy :)

Tina M. Russo said...

Thanks, Camy.

It's nice to have my humor appreciated.

Some day romantic comedy will swing back around and be popular and boy do I have a drawer full.

Missy Tippens said...

Oh, man. One of my posts got lost.

Tina, you and I need to get together for a movie marathon. I love to study them. And I love to watch the director's comments on the DVD extras. Very helpful! Plus the cut scenes. I like to figure out why they cut them.

You're so right about Die Hard! I studied it for an online class and, despite what you'd expect for a shoot-em-up action film, it's a great story!

Another you need to analyze (I didn't it for another online class) is L.A. Confidential. Great character studies.

Jenny, sounds like quite a trip for a wedding! :) But fun.

And thanks Jenny and Tina for congrats for my daughter. They actually gave her a check for $100! We had no idea there would be a money prize. She's bouncing off the walls excited! LOL My husband told her that's 20 weeks of allowance--which totally awed her. :)


Ausjenny said...

Oh wow your daughter must be so proud.

yes i was doing this trip in 2010 so its a little soon but it will be worth it a few days in bc, seattle, detroit and aweek in toronto. so it will be a nice break and im prepared for jetlag!!!!!