Tag Archives: review

Thoughts on Writing – Analyzing the “Jessica Jones” TV Show

(Warning: I’ve only watched the first three episodes, and I have tried to avoid major spoilers, but read at your own risk).

Recently, my husband and I started watching Jessica Jones on Netflix. I was introduced to the show while browsing through a CNN article that mentioned that David Tennant (Doctor Who’s tenth doctor) was playing Killgrave, a Marvel villain with mind control powers, and that the main character, Jessica Jones, has a few super powers of her own. Despite the article mentioning that this particular show is considerably darker than the other Marvel shows (and ooo-boy, it is), the super powers sounded interesting, so I tentatively (Or Tennant-ively, if you like puns), decided to give this show a try.

And yes, it is dark.

The main villain of this story is actually evil. Downright despicable, cruel, manipulative, and abusive.

And you know what? As a writer, I’m impressed. I haven’t seen very many shows lately where the villain was actually a pure bad guy. Now, I’ve only seen the first three episodes of Jessica Jones as of writing this post, so maybe Killgrave has a soft side–maybe. And granted, my weekly go-to show has been My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. The bad guys there don’t tend to last long before being converted by the powers of friendship.

Anyway, I generally lean toward villains who have logic behind their actions, who are at least a tad bit sympathetic. They tend to be more interesting, and you want to root for them at least a little… even if the hero is likely to win. (Janice Hardy has a great article on sympathetic villains).

In the first season of Heroes, Claire’s father is all set up to be the big bad guy. But he has good reasons for his actions… even if he doesn’t always make the best choices.

In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Zuko is out to capture Aang… but he’s trying to prove himself as having honor by his father’s standards, and he slowly comes to the realization that honor isn’t what he thinks.

In the Thor movies, Loki steals the show. He’s not a good guy, obviously, but he’s probably the most entertaining of the characters, and I found myself rooting for him more than any of the other characters. (Granted, I’m not much of a Thor fan. I like Captain America, and I’m super-excited to see the upcoming Civil War movie.)

Really, these are all very different shows from Jessica Jones. I’ve never read the comic (this show is the first I’ve heard of her character), but this Youtube video does  a pretty good job at summarizing how the comic is vastly different from many of the other comics in the Marvel universe. Quite simply, Jessica Jones was meant for an adult audience, with the freedom to explore heavier topics that are typically shunned in mainstream comics and TV shows.

Regardless, the first episode of Jessica Jones blew me away. I loved analyzing the show.

Sure, it’s darker than I normally prefer, but the creators set that tone right from the get-go, so the darkness doesn’t come as a surprise. Take a look at the opening line of the show (as paraphrased from my memory):

“New York City may be the city that never sleeps, but it sure does sleep around.”

This line is not only memorable (because it delivers a twist on an old saying), but it sets the tone for the rest of the episode.

Jessica Jones is a private investigator who makes her money by helping disgruntled spouses find proof if their husband/wife is cheating on them. And the show doesn’t mind showing exactly what those couples are doing. Right from the beginning, we know that there’s going to be on-screen sex.

Setting the tone at the beginning helps audience members who aren’t interested know whether or not they want to keep watching.

Having the gritty setting at the beginning also allows the show to naturally segue, piece-by-piece, into revealing that Jones has been psychologically (and sexually) abused by her former captor, Killgrave.

The first time we hear him, his dialogue is a bit ambiguous. We don’t know if he’s really there of if she’s having a flashback, but we do know that dark blue lights are going to be a symbol of his influence. (As a side note, I loved some of the artistic options of this show. Some of the scenes can seem to be a bit slow… but the tension is mounting, the hotel hall is lengthening, and you wonder who, or what, lies just behind that door…)

The artistic choices also helped address one of my initial concerns about the show: Would David Tennant be able to portray the villain without reminding the audience of the Doctor? Granted, we’ve seen the tenth doctor have a few rather dark-sided moments, but nothing like this.

I needn’t have worried. The first few times we see Killgrave, his face is in shadow. The lights change to a dark blue-violet, and we mostly just hear a few lines of dialogue. This is an excellent choice to build up Killgrave’s character before we actually see his face. Then, in the second episode, when we finally see Killgrave, if only for a moment, we’re not exactly picturing the good-hearted Doctor.

That’s another thing this show has been doing well. Instead of showing the villain outright, we first see shadowy glimpses of him. We hear his voice. There’s a moment in the third episode where he delivers a long line of dialogue that is amazing, in part because it’s a threat we know he’ll actually follow through, but he’s entirely off-camera.

We have two major things going for this villain: the show teases us, only showing his face on occasion. We’re never quite sure if he’s going to be standing around the next corner. This is great for building tension. Second, he’s perfectly capable of doing his evil deeds. We see the results of his actions, and we know he will do terrible things. The show hints at it first, then shows us bits and pieces. The only question is who he will target next. As such, the writers have proven that he is a threat for the hero.

The villain, terrifying as he is, makes the hero so much stronger (and not because she has super strength. Killgrave is capable, he’s dangerous, and Jessica has stakes. The whole first episode is about drawing her into this conflict. She has a traumatic history with the guy, and every reason to run.

The show has to prove why she doesn’t.

It does. It does by pushing the villain’s already evil deeds to a whole new level (Seriously… Killgrave is evil. Just watch the first episode).

Jessica can either run, or she can confront him.

Better yet? The show makes it possible for either to make sense for her character. Either she’ll run, and we expect Killgrave to follow, or she’ll fight, and we’re biting our nails hoping she doesn’t dig herself in too deep.

Regarding digging itself too deep… Jessica Jones continued to impress me by not restricting itself to being super-depressing or overly dramatic.

My problem with the first season of Agents of SHIELD was how over-dramatic it was, and with the second season, how it would linger too long in the depressing stage. Jessica Jones, on the other hand, resorts to situational and dry humor to help lighten the mood when necessary, and some of the moments are quite amusing. They’re placed at key moments to relax tension or bring you back from “eeps!” moments, without seeming contrived.

Plus, there are references to the rest of the Marvel universe (especially in the third episode) that helps tie everything together.

Overall, I’m really enjoying the show. I was hesitant at first, knowing that it would be darker than the other Marvel shows,but I’m glad I gave it a shot. If Jessica Jones continues as it has thus far, I think I’ll enjoy it… and I’ll be happily rooting for Killgrave’s downfall… a character I suspect that I’ll “love to hate.”

I hope you enjoyed this post. Have you watched any episodes from Jessica Jones? 🙂


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Interview with Rebekkah Ford – Dark Spirits

Hello, everybody. Today we have an interview with Rebekkah Ford, the author of Beyond the Eyes, and most recently, Dark Spirits.  For today’s interview, we’ll look at both Dark Spirits and the self-publishing process. So, without further ado, please welcome Rebekkah Ford to the blog! 😀

SBibb - Dark Spirits Cover


What was the inspiration for Dark Spirits?

Well, the whole series was created from an idea I came up with from the beginning. The movie that scares me the most—The Exorcist, my love for history, my experience with the paranormal world, and the out-of-box ideas I have about it.

Was it easier or more challenging to write Dark Spirits than Beyond the Eyes?

I think it was harder because I had to recount some of the things I wrote in Beyond the Eyes to keep the continuity of it all and to remind readers of events that happened in that first book. It’s more time consuming I think.

Who is your favorite character to write?

Nathan. He’s fun to write, and I enjoy writing in the male POV.

Anything we should look forward to in book three, The Devil’s Third?

Yes, the reader will finally get to discover what Paige is, there will be magic, and shocking revelations.

Why did you decide to write the Beyond the Eyes trilogy?

Because I grew up in a family that dealt with the paranormal and the unknown fascinates me.

What was your process for writing Dark Spirits?

I wrote every chance I got. I have a f/t day job, so I would get up extra early in the morning just so I could write before I had to go to work, and then in the evening I would write as well. I also spent most of my whole weekend writing. I still keep to that routine.

What made you decide to self-publish?

It felt like the right thing for me to do. Beforehand, I did a lot of research on it and the pros outweighed  the cons. I did have some agents interested in Beyond the Eyes, but unfortunately it didn’t work out. So I decided to take the plunge and self-publish.

Have you been satisfied with the experience?

Pretty much. It’s hard, hard, work though. I don’t care for the marketing aspect, but then again, even if I were to have taken the traditional route, I’d still have to market my books. So there’s really no way around it at this point in my life. I honestly would much rather write than try to sell my work.

How did you go about choosing an editor?

I was on Absolute Write, which is a wonderful writing forum. I saw an ad an editor posted for his services, so I emailed him, and the rest is history.

What kind of editing did you have done to your novel, and how was the process?

My editor and I have a process—I send him a chapter at a time. He line edits, checks for errors, and leaves comments. Once I receive my chapter back, I make the corrections, maybe do some rewrites, and send it back to him. He double checks it and sends it back to me. Afterwards, I send him the next chapter.

Did you do your own formatting, or hire someone to format the book for you?

No. I’m horrible when it comes to technology. I wish I knew how to format my book, but I don’t. I hired somebody else to do it for me. Tugboat Designs formatted Dark Spirits for me and did a wonderful job.

How have you gone about promoting your book?

I did a launch party on Facebook and next month I’m doing a couple blog tours. I’ve been using social media like Twitter and Facebook. I’ve been doing giveaways as well and getting reviews from readers who are already a fan of this series which is wonderful.

You mentioned enjoying writing Nathan’s POV. I personally enjoyed reading it. What was the best part about writing his POV, and what was the most challenging?

Thanks! The best part was stepping inside Nathan’s head, discovering what thoughts he had, and getting to know him on a much personal level. The most challenging was restraining myself from writing erotic thoughts about Paige. Nathan had them, but since this is a young adult series, I had to refrain from writing such naughty things. 🙂

Any idea when we can look forward to reading The Devil’s Third?

I’m not sure yet. I’m hoping before the end of this year.

You introduced the concept of parallel dimensions in Dark Spirits. Will we be seeing more of that?

Oh, yeah! 😀

What’s your favorite part of the magic system in the Beyond the Eyes trilogy?

I like that Paige is slowly discovering what she can do and Carrie has dabbled in elementary magic. It’s not like their characters woke up one day and BAM, they have all these powers. I like to keep it realistic, so my favorite part about the magic system is it’s not ostentatious.

Do you have any favorite books that helped inspire you to write the trilogy?

Believe it or not, Anne Rice’s vampire books. There are no vampires in my trilogy, but one of the many things I love about Anne Rice’s stories is how she spins realism into a fictional tale that’s dark, but yet alluring. If that makes sense? The cool thing about my Beyond the Eyes trilogy is, after The Devil’s Third, I still have the option to continue writing this trilogy if I wanted too. There are still endless avenues to explore without it being tiresome.

Anything you’d like to add (either about the books or self-publishing) before the interview concludes?

I just want to thank the fans of this series and future readers. Your support means the world to me. I could have went the traditional way and published this series through a publishing house. However, I had to find out if I could do this on my own. I also wanted complete creative control and to know that my books would never get pulled from the shelves. So I carved out my own path, and although it’s a lot of hard work, I have no regrets. I did this and nobody can ever take it away from me. That’s a feeling that money can’t buy, along with bringing enjoyment to the readers who fall in love with this trilogy and them telling me about it. So if you’re an author reading this, do what makes you happy and follow your heart. If you do those things, there will be no regrets. 😀


Great, thanks for the interview! You can find Dark Spirits at the links below. As a side note, Beyond the Eyes is currently available for 99 cents on Amazon, so get it while you can. 🙂

Beyond the Eyes: http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-the-Eyes-ebook/dp/B0088JF7HQ/

Rebekkah’s Blog: http://themusingwriter.blogspot.com

Rebekkah’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RebekkahFord2012

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Spirits-Beyond-Eyes-ebook/dp/B00BEKJ9VG/

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-spirits-rebekkah-ford/1114506937?ean=2940016397214

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/286383

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