Movie reviews by novelist Dwight Okita: FOXCATCHER and THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING

I saw the movie FOXCATCHER tonight. It was filled with good performances and was a tense movie to watch.  A movie about wrestlers and conflicts of interest.  Though not the feel good movie for the holidays, to be sure, I was surprised how many were in the audience. Steve Carrell channeled something in his performance. There was a stillness at the center of his character that was chilling. As if he were encased in glass and the words he spoke and the words he heard took light years to reach him. What the movie lacks in humor, it makes up for in tension. I'd give it a B.

I also previously saw THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING.  Isn't the movie poster above stunning? I enjoyed this film. At the center, it was a love story, and also a story of transcending one's disabilities/ limitations. The movie was charming and touching and fueled by the scientific quest for knowledge and personal quest for romance. By the way, both movies in this post are based on real people who are still alive. I…


HERE ARE SOME NOTES FROM ONE CHILDHOOD MEMORY.  IF YOU ALSO WOULD LIKE TO SHARE YOURS, PLEASE DO.  And considering I have written two soft, science fiction novels -- this would be a stretch for me to ground a book in the all-too-real world. I think I will try to develop the "memoir" and sci fi book at the same time.

Some notes  by Dwight Okita

I remember when I was little my father carrying me to bed. After I had fallen asleep in front of the TV. After it was late, too late for a boy like me to be awake. He carried me gently in his arms, climbing up the stairs toward my room, carefully laying me down in my small bed so as not to wake me, pulling the covers over me, tucking me in. 

I loved that. 

The whole ceremony of it. It was a ceremony that whispered to me: "This is my father and he will always take care of me. I am loved and I am safe. And also that I should go to sleep and not wake up in the middle of the night and start exploring the whole darned house." 

What my …

Browse 2 Speculative Novels on One Page!

Read the first 50 pages of Dwight Okita's speculative novels THE HOPE STORE and THE PROSPECT OF MY ARRIVAL -- side by side -- for the first time thanks to Scribd. Get a taste of this unique, quirky voice. Click on the Enlarge button on the bottom right of the page for easy viewing. "When the first store in the world which sells hope over the counter opens its doors, the believers appear but so do the haters and doubters." Take a peek at Okita's Debut Novel which was a finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. The novel continues to attract movie interest from companies like FilmNation, Affirmative Entertainment and Disney. "A human embryo is allowed to preview the world before deciding whether to be born. He is given a young man's body and three short weeks to experience all the world has to offer." . .

Nothing enriches my life more than a good friend.

Tonight I had a last dinner with my new friend L. In a matter of months, we've become very close friends to each other. In a few days, she'll move back to a small town in Illinois. But she hopes to return to Chicago as soon as she lands a job. At Taste of Heaven over dinner, we talked about what we liked about each other. I told her I felt very connected to her even though we've only known each other a few months. That I would miss her a lot. I joked: "I probably like you more than you like me." 

She later texted me this great note: "Oh, I forgot to tell you this, but another reason I like you, is that you are very inspiring. Every time I hang out with you i go home happy and stay that way for a couple of days." 

And this is why friends are one of the most important things to me. Because when you can't find the big love, when your family is going away -- friends are your family and the object of your affection. At least that is the case with me!

THE HOPE STORE makes the first cut of the 2014 Amazon novel contest

I'm pleased to announce my second novel is among the 2,000 novels moving forward out of 10,000 novels submitted worldwide to the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards contest.  
My advancement was based on a 300 word pitch I wrote for The Hope Store. Visit to follow all the highs and lows of this exciting contest.  The next cut will be April 14th and based on our 20 page excerpts.​

My excerpt has alternating narrators -- store inventor Luke Nagano and hope-challenged customer Jada Upshaw. For the longest time I was sure that Jada's voice would open the novel as readers tended to take a shine to her. But ultimately Luke's voice comes first because I wanted to bring in the science aspect of the book right away. This would orient the reader right upfront to the speculative world of the book where unusual things can happen. We get a glimpse of wide-eyed Luke wandering in LiveWell Laboratories where various clinical trials are in progress.
"I first strolled in…

What novelists can learn from movies about plotting. Is your hero's goal so clear and compelling that your audience knows when it's time to go home?

NOTE:  This is excerpted from a recent Facebook discussion with other FB folk about the holiday movies.  It occurred to me that some of this is worth sharing for movie lovers and emerging novelists.  In this post, my friend Teddi was wondering if she should skip the new movie "Inside Llewyn Davis" based on lukewarm responses from her peers.

I'd say Llewyn Davis is worth seeing. The Coen Bros get so many things right in the film: the 60s period styling, the folk music era, the music. The central character is played by a handsome actor who isn't given a whole lot to do, so there's not a lot to root for. I was rooting more for the lost cat than him. Justin Timberlake's character had more juice than the protagonist.  Even the cameos of the mixed race couples hinted at stories with more hook than Llewyn's.

But then my expectations are very high with Coen Bros films. They set a high bar. So many of the artsy and anticipated holiday films seemed to have plot…

Slumber Party for Grown-ups

Last night had my first official SLUMBER PARTY FOR GROWN-UPS. 10/19/13. There were three of us friends together. We started with dinner at the restaurant downstairs. One of my pals and I did get into a nasty disagreement during the meal, and words were exchanged. But after we devoured some gelato up at my place, all was forgiven. I did think for a moment, the slumber party was going to self-destruct but it didn't. I chanted for a peaceful resolution and got one.Then we watched "The Social Network" film and some of Saturday Night Live. L. brought 3 flavors of gelato -- chocolate mint, vanilla bean and something else. Mango? Yum. G. brought soda and snacks. I thought about playing a game, but I couldn't find any games at my place. Do I have any? I used to have playing cards. Note to self: next time, plan the games better. As G. and L. were getting sleepy, we took turns reading bed time stories to each other. That was fun. I tucked everyone in for the night.  G. on the …

DWIGHT'S STRATEGIC LOVE LIFE PLAN (aka "The Magical Saturday Overnite Guest Program")

Dwight Okita My new strategic plan for my love life. It's so simple I don't know why I didn't think of it before! My plan is to have an overnight guest every Saturday night from now on. It doesn't have to be the same guest each Saturday, but it can be. It can lead to something more lasting, or it can be just be friendship and frivolity. Let's call it a "micro slumber party." We can order food in and watch CNN and Saturday Night Live. So that's my plan. I'll let you know how it works out. Like ·  ·  · Promote · 12 minutes ago · Edited · 

Why do we post on Facebook? What is cool and what is not cool FB manners?

Hello my quiet blog followers.  I have a juicy topic for your consideration.  I love Facebook more than Twitter.  Sometimes what I write on FB is a cross between a diary entry to myself and and letter to the world.  But sometimes I'll bring up a controversial topic that I feel passionately about.  I do so with trepidation knowing that it can provoke.  Topics like:  Gun control.  Racial discrimination.  Gay rights.  Trayvon Martin.  Psychopharmacology.  Etc.
I recently posted about a new study that suggests that the more gun owners in the world, the more crime that occurs.  Some agreed with the study; some responded with hostility saying that study was biased and gun bashing. They challenged me, Dwight, as obviously being anti-gun.
So I had to ask myself, when I post on FB, is it just to preach to the choir?  There's value in that too. Or is it to persuade and change minds?  That's hard to do in an online post.  I do know that when I post, I don't intend to necessarily…

10 Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing

Well, Sofia Samatar was good enough to send me a batch of questions to answer in regard to my new WIP (work in progress).  I was too busy working on the WIP to respond, but it's now a year later and I'm ready for my close-up!  And the WIP is done, so that's groovy.  Here goes.

I'm going to answer the questions for THE HOPE STORE. The cover above is just a prototype for now.

1. What is the title of your book?
The Hope Store.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
My first novel The Prospect of My Arrival was trippy and speculative and poetic.  I called it soft sci-fi or literary fiction.  I wanted my follow up book to be in a similar spirit. By the way, the 2013 version of Prospect contains the opening three chapters of The Hope Store as a bonus!  You can order it now.
The genesis for the book?  I remember hearing a politician on the radio misspeak.  He said, "He have to install hope in young people"  I know he meant to say "instill" but his versi…