Archive for November, 2017

So I don’t know about you guys but, I spend entirely to much time on the internet and unfortunately a not insignificant amount of that time is spent on writing stuff. where else would I steal ideas for blog posts from, unfortunately people need step up their game, cause I couldn’t find anything interesting to plagiarize comment on this week. Instead I want to go over some of the questions that seem to crop up on every writing forum on the internet and cobble together a post about how all your writing is garbage, and how that’s ok.

suicide squad

I mean, look at how many people went to see suicide Squad.

 

Is my idea good enough?

This is the first one, every day I refresh the page of my favorite writing websites every fifteen to twenty time and the same one or two posts are up at the top asking if their ideas are good enough to write a book about. The answer is of course not, your ideas are unoriginal hacked together thoughts based on the other bits of media you enjoy that other writers did better then you.

The reality is that no ideas are good enough, not Space vikings gladiators, not wizard detectives, not even animated mice are good enough.

mouse.png

This joke has been removed at the request of The Walt Disney Company

   But do you want to know the best part about not being good enough? When you accept that the Ideas don’t matter, your free to write what ever you want. Whether your aiming to produce the next, To Kill a Mockingbird or Fifty Shades of Gray fan fiction.

 

fifty shades.png

Now here’s a franchise I’m comfortable mocking.

How do I deal with writers block?

This is the number 2 question, almost as common as number one and if I had the answer I’d be a published author and not some hack blogger on the internet. What I do know is that writing is hard, that writing when the muse strikes doesn’t work for most people and that if you only write when writing is fun then you probably not going to finish what ever project your working on. So maybe that means you write shit for a  while, stuff that your not entirely happy with.

Hell as I’m writing this it’s 3am and I’m barley pushing through it and I still don’t know what I’m going to have as my third point. And that’s ok.

Pie

I seriously have no idea what i’m doing

Can I edit as I go or should I wait till I’m finished?

There comes a time in every writer’s life where they look at their work and say, “I’ve smelled dumpster fires at sewage plant better then this shit.” This is where our last question comes from, should I edit now or wait. I’m a big proponent of not editing a manuscript until it’s been finished, the best advice I’ve ever received on this topic was this, “If you want to be good at writing a first page, them rewrite your first page, but if you want to be good at finishing a novel then you need to finish a novel.”

   But the reality is that every writer has their own approach, Steven King has commented that his books only need minor revisions, Neil Gaiman puts his books through multiple revisions and I’m pretty sure Twilight wasn’t edited at all.

what the shit steph

Seriously, how does the romantic pairing of a wolf man thing and a smallish girl child survive any form or editorial oversight.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what the editing process is, so long as you finish your book in a way that’s satisfying to you. So feel free use the stuff on this blog, but take it all with a grain of salt, after all my writing is garbage.

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So I originally planned to do a craft focused post on some of the things I learned about novel writing after finishing the second draft on my current project. Then I found a baby sitter, so me and my wife went out to dinner and saw Thor: Ragnarok instead. Seeing as Thors and Ragnaroks are all the rage today I figured I’d do a quick review instead and save/procrastinate the more complicated post for later.

hulk     Also hulks, People like Hulks.

Synopsis

   Thor: Ragnarok is the third movie in the Thor Marvel movies and like it’s name implies, focuses mainly on Ragnarok, the destruction of Asgard, Thor’s home. It also features the return of Hella, the main antagonist, goddess of death and being of nearly unlimited power who casts Thor and Loki out of Asgard.

Thor is flung to a far off alien planet where he is forced to fight as a gladiator for his freedom, build a team return to Asgard and help defeat his sister . A Valkyrie shows up, hulk pitches a fit and Loki is hanging around too.

Thor review

Space Gladiator Vikings! the musical.

Style

I’ve always found the Thor movies to be particularly pretty movies in the MCU, and I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this movie might actually be the prettiest movie in the MCU. Just about everything about this movie is beautiful, the fight scenes are fantastically choreographed and do a fantastic job giving the audience a good idea of exactly how powerful Thor is. Thor get’s a short haired, trimmed down and colored up redesign. The Music is cranked up to eleven and then the knob is broken off.

The planet in which Thor finds himself stranded on is in the literal ass end of the universe, complete with devils anus. It’s brightly colored and feels like something pulled out of Guardians of the Galaxy, even if it feels like something of standard trash planet that we’ve seen in several Sci-Fi books and movies in the past.

I think there are some really interesting evolution between the trilogy of Thor’s movies, well two movies, I found Thor dark world so boring that I hardly remember what happened, something about elves or what ever. But what I wanted to point out is the different directors, Thor (2011) was directed by Kenneth Branagh, who among other things has a claim to fame for bringing Shakespeare to the silver screen. Where Thor Ragnarok is directed by Taika Waititi, a man who is famous for a bunch of things I’ve never heard of, that are mostly comedies.

Thor (2011) is beautifully designed, gives an epic scope and takes itself seriously while being punctuated with jokes, but moves at a slower pace. where as Thor Ragnarok is action packed, rushing through it scenes and whimsically bouncing between perspectives. the movie only slows down to make it’s jokes. Speaking of jokes…

rock guyLearn to love this asshole, because he’s going be hanging around. 

Tone

What the shit movie, seriously. Every review I read about this movie just gushes praise, that this is the movie that saved the Thor series and reinvigorated the MCU, What The Shit Reviewers.

Thor Ragnarok’s tone is just so completely different from the previous movies in the series and it was very hit and miss with me, leaning closer to missing more often then not. I mentioned earlier that the movie is fast paced and that it’s not bad thing. But the problem is that the movie is damn near incapable of slowing down for anything other then a joke.

There are so many examples of this happening in the movie that I’d spoil entirely to much of it to include them into review, but a glaring example is in the opening of the movie where Thor is having a bit of dialogue with a major villain while hanging bound from a chain. Thor spins around three times, stopping the conversation every time he spins away from the villain and the apologizing when he’s finally back in view.

Peter Griphin.jpg

This god damned Joke, in a Marvel Movie.

   After this joke out plays out Thor tries to end the conversation with a badass one liner and the that moment is stolen by another joke. This happens again and again at every significant emotional moment of the movie. Thor Ragnarok, despite what it’s labeled as or what anybody tells you, is a comedy punctuated by action. The movie feels like it was aiming to be in same vein as guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel’s other space action comedy.

There is no rest, no time for serious reflection on what brought the characters involved into their situations and how they should change to get out of it, none of the pacing that helped make GotG a sucess. Instead there are jokes that hand wave character development, Jokes that rush through emotional trauma, jokes that belittle the central themes of the series. Which is massively problematic for a movie that’s supposed to be a capstone to the trilogy that the series have been building up to from all of the movies Thor has been involved in.

Bottom Line?

   I like this movie, I know it doesn’t sound like it, but I do. Pound for pound it is some of the best Thor we’ve ever gotten, just not the most well executed. But still, go see, decide for yourself, I highly recommend it. Besides what else are you going to see?

justice league

Heh, now there’s a joke. 

So I’ve recently been digging into Fox’s “Gotham” TV series,  It’s what I’d call a mixed bag with some really good performances from some of it’s actors, even though it requires me to mentally prepare myself that this show has very few shits to give about it’s continuity with the rest of DC’s Batman comics. It’s a dark and gritty Noir detective story featuring James Gordon early in his Career at the GCPD as he hunts down the progressively stranger criminals of Gotham. And they don’t come any weirder then Jerome Valeska.

Jerome_valeska

Look at that smile, doesn’t it just scream well adjusted adult.

   Also and Just in case.

Spoilers Ahead

 

 

Presentation: Steal the Show

Gotham is packed full of crazy super villains, Poison Ivy, Mr. Fries, Firefly. It’s underworld is often ruled by intelligent and charismatic mobsters. The criminal element makes some beautiful scenery in Gotham giving you a simultaneous feeling of being in a comic book and in the godfather, it’s packed with larger the life characters.

Jerome is what happens when you take charismatic and crazy and turn it up to eleven. Whether it’s his initial reveal after discovering he murdered his mother, that time he sat a school bus on fire or that night he was wandering around without his face. Whenever Jerome is on stage all eyes are on him, which is an impressive talent when half the criminal underworld has superpowers and the only thing you’ve accomplished in life so far is to murder your mother.

stewie

Sixteen seasons in and I’m starting to think this asshole forgot about it. 

   Whether it’s spelling out you names with bodies dropped from a tall building, setting a bus full of cheerleaders on fire or just running around town without your face, when your villain makes his way onto your pages he should demand to be the star of the show. And who would tell him otherwise?

 

 

Plot: Taking refuge in absurdity

Part of Gotham’s Charm is that it takes all of it’s weirdest elements and plays them straight. It’s cops to doing cop stuff in a city that just happens to have people who can control others with there mind, or have blood that turns anybody it touches into a psychopath. It’s always played straight and it’s always taken seriously.

An in-spite of this it’s an anything but ordinary psychopath who pushes plausibility to it’s limits. Jerome killed his mother for being a nag, fought with a man with a katana using a chainsaw, then played Russian roulette for the the sword, pulling the trigger on himself three times in a row in revolver that only held five rounds.

The most beautiful thing Jerome has blessed the show with his appearance is a spark of insanity that says “While I’m on screen anything goes.”

russian-roulette-2.png

Who’s the boss

 

Legacy: Achieving your promises

I think ultimately what makes Jerome an intensely fun to watch is his laughter, from the first moment he laughs in his debut episode the show makes a promise to it’s viewers. This character is a legend, one of the most Iconic villains if not the most Iconic villain of our modern era, and here’s how he got his start. When your working with a character that has almost 80 years of story behind him when you start to write, it puts a burden on the character and in this case the actor who portrays him.

Jerome is mostly wonderful mix of Mark Hamill’s and Heath Ledger’s interpretations of the character. He has all the manic energy and stage presence of the joker from the animated series and all the calculating malice that Ledger brought to the silver screen in “The Dark Knight.”  The writers and the actor portraying Jerome have a fine tuned understanding of the character they wanted to put on TV and they followed through with it.

What does that mean for all of us not working on characters who have been in print longer then many of us have been alive. It’s simple, when you set up a character, the moment that you bring him on to the page or put him on a screen, you’re making a promise to your audience. You promise to make this character the best version of who ever he or she is and when you come through on these promises your audience will love you for it.

So go out there and make Monsters.