Posts Tagged ‘movies’

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.


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.


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.


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.


   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.


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. 


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. 

Breaking the Bat

Posted: September 24, 2012 in Character Focus
Tags: , , , , ,

Nolan left his mark on the world in the last half decade by producing a reimagined Batman, one that held the dark roots that had become it’s staple but stripped it of it’s comic book elements and instead went for a more realistic world that previous Batman movies had avoided. What came about in the process was some of the best characters to ever grace the silver screen, and possibly more the entirety of batman continuity. So without further adieu, I present to you the man who broke the Bat.

Now is not the time for jokes, that comes later.

Introductions: show us the man

Those first few moments, the first bit of dialogue, those first five lines are often the make or break point of a character, and they can tell you exactly what level of writer you’er dealing with whether it’s a film, a game or a novel. Nolan introduces Bane as a man who competent, intelligent, physically powerful and incredibly charismatic. Within five minutes of being introduced, he verbally spares with a CIA agent, breaks free of handcuffs, crashes the plane he currently in with one of his own men willing to die in the wreckage. It was beautiful, It not only told us about what Bane could do, but it also painted him in light that made viewer want root for him, it left the audience for the next scene Bane would show up in.

For all the aspiring writers out there, take note of this, especially for the characters whoa aren’t going to be getting the same kind of face time as your antagonist, if it’s going to be twenty pages before the reader here’s or see about your villain, if this supporting character isn’t going to show up in the film for another thirty minutes then leave the audience with a strong impression on just who and what this character is and about. Find out what you character is, and then give them a brief moment to flex, this ins’t the time for subtly, that comes later.

The same joke twice? Your punishment must be more severe 

Competence: Give him something to do

One of the better qualities of Nolan’s villains is that they’re not sit in a chair and stroke a cat kind of guys. They get out there get out there and get things done. We like Bane partly because he can take care of business himself, Nolan wrote him to be competent and so when Bane shows up on screen things go his way, making everyone else including Batman look inept. But it’s not just that, it’s the fact that Bane plays a part in his schemes his he is not a hidden villain who sends out lackey’s or one to manipulates things from the shadows. Now that’s not to say your character has to walk across the screen and punch Batman to make him popular. Well loved characters from other franchises and mediums often show their badassery in their subtly, take Vary’s or Little Finger from the George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, both are characters who work primarily behind the scenes of the actual novels plying their trade. But when they show up on the page, They’re doing important or interesting things that give the sense that guys are competent, capable and action oriented.

The point for our writers to take home is that when you have your man on screen, he needs to be doing something, he needs to be proactive and he needs to be competent. Nobody want to read or watch a character sip tea and powder their face.

Sorry Vary’s you’ll have to do that before you show up

Originality: Be Different

A lot of things make Bane and interesting character, he’s smart, he’s capable, but I think what really set’s him apart was his voice, and the personality that came with it. He’s different from anything Nolan had created before, and most of that difference comes from his presentation, much like the Joker prior, people love Nolan’s because he’s unlike any Bane before him. He’s new, which in most media is hard to do, especially for character that had extensive use and large history before Nolan even thought about him. But Nolan was able to take and make him different. A great deal of this comes from both Hardy the actor who portrayed Bane and the writers who penned his lines as well as Nolan directing. But the truth of it is that they came together and made something old, new again. Thats a key component of writing, taking the things that you love and re-imagining them and writing them in your own style. So the next time your writing for your characters on page make sure they stand out from other characters in your story as as stand out among other characters period. So the next time you magnificent bastard shows up, as what makes him better or different then the ten thousand that have come before him, and if you can’t find a good reason then you may need to give him another once over.

When all of your characters are properly developed, then you have my permission to write

A good introduction, a good display of action and a great sense of originality are just a few of the things that make Bane an amazing character, but without them he would have been left inept and forgotten. So if your future efforts has a character reminiscent of Bane gracing the pages, make sure you know why he was such a success in the first place.

One of the things I’ve struggled with as novice writer is defining what makes my characters awesome, what makes them interesting what makes the reader say “I could read 1000 pages about this guy and his group of rebels.” When I started out I wrote high pace action scenes and fights scenes one after another thinking these were the things that made my lead interesting. It wasn’t until I let a friend of mine read over my manuscript and tell me my fight scenes sucked. More importantly  in my review I found they weren’t interesting, they didn’t add anything to the protagonist’s character outside of the fact that he could hit people, really, really hard.

The Hulk has more character depth

What I learned from the experience was that what I was writing not what made the character and the story interesting.  However my friend was able to help me point out what was interesting, a scene prior to a fight with the protagonist analyzing the area before the battle. Afterwords I went back through my manuscript cutting most  of the major fight scenes that had dotted the book and shuffled others off screen. It helped clean up the pacing, but more importantly it gave my lead some much needed characterization and gave me a chance write more interesting scenes.

Mat Nix covered much of the same sentiment in a interview for his hit TV show Burn Notice, whose lead character Micheal Weston stars as a “Burned”(read fired) spy trying to figure out why he was burned and get his job back. The show features high speed chases, fight scenes, explosions, gun battles and romance but what really makes the show interesting is Weston’s unique approach to creative problem solving. Over the course of several episodes Weston mails a pipe bomb to his old boss, uses power tools and turpentine to disable a car full of gangsters, and convinces several really nasty people to shoot several other really nasty people. Nix picked up on this and was able to write his characters in situations that allowed their creative problem solving to flourish.

so you’re telling me this is all because they stole your yogurt.

If your still trying to figure out where this means for you, It means that if you want your characters to be interesting, then you have to give them the opportunity to do interesting things and then write them doing them. For my lead it was planning out every move in a fight the night before the fight happened, for Weston it was cutting a hole in the ceiling of a office building to steal data from there computers. But these examples don’t just apply to novel and script witting. Games and movies require this kind of writing to keep the audience sticking around, to better show you what I mean I’ve added a couple of examples from different mediums in fiction.


let’s start with gaming, with it’s unique experience that other forms of media can’t deliver on. Gaming has evolved from the simple days of pong and text based adventure games into a variety of massive interactive experiences with as many genres and styles as any other form of art. But gaming stands on the same rule as any other form of fiction, it has to be interesting, games like the Elder Scrolls series draw people into a massive worlds full of history and details that can keep their audience entertained for days. When the games are good their quest lines immerse you in the story by giving you the hands on opportunity to be the hero that you normally only get to read in books and watch in movies. When the quests are done bad they have you trek half way across their massive world to pick up a sword only to bring it back to where you started. In gaming the audience plays the lead and it’s up to the game designer to give the players something interesting to do that compliments the leads skill set and character. If you’re planning on creating a game that offers the player the ability to spit fire and eat lighting don’t waste his time by making him bake a pie.

Even if that pie is made with Mammoth meat


Script writing for movies follows a lot of the same rules that you’d find for scripts in television, the notable difference is time constraint and cash concerns, however one thing that is often overlooked is the fact the a Movie get’s one shot at getting it right. One bad episode isn’t likely to sink a popular TV series, but movies only get one shot and a box office flop often kills plans for future installments. That’s why we see most major budget movies playing it safe sticking to the same story arcs and formulas that produce movies that people will go and see instead of searching for new and interesting scripts. So if you plan on having your script actually being shown on the big screen it can’t afford to waste time on things that aren’t what make it great.

The Movie that stands most recently for having interesting character doing interesting things is Marvel Studious Avengers, Marvel knew going into that movie that each character had been developed in there previous movies, they had all gone through their major character arcs and came out as better people. All they had to do in finale of their nearly decade long project was to shove everybody together and give them a chance do the things we loved watching them do again, Hulk smashed, Tony shot his mouth off, Capt threw his shield, Thor shot lighting, Natasha reverse interrogated a god  and Hawkey… what exactly was Hawk-eye doing again?

Staring at Scarlet Johansson apparently

The Avenger’s while not having had a complicated or stellar narrative, with only Banner having a decent character arc and Loki making for a modest villain compared to his role in Thor, was a resounding success that relied almost entirely on their interesting scenes. The most prominent ideas being “let’s have Hulk punch something big” and “let’s have hulk punch a god, no wait two gods.”


Comics have a weird combination of episodic structure and narrative perspective, all while being set in a kid’s picture book style. What that means is that comics can get that tightly contained narrative that short stories and TV shows thrive on. While producing the epic imagery that movies tend to require with the dialogue and perspective that good novels live or die by. Comics tend to be the jack of all trades and masters of none in the world of fiction, and the authors usually play this up, offering an inside view of characters’ thoughts and illustrating interesting scenes to draw the reader in. One of the best comics to display comics’ unique perspective on fiction is Alan Moore’s Watchmen, Moore was able to make the characters in his stories interesting by combining narrative perspective with impressive visuals to produce memorable scenes. Scenes like Rorschach fighting off cops with matches and hairspray or the antagonist’s scheme which I will not spoil for those who have yet to read the comic.

This is laid in contrast with the new Before Watchmen limited series which is set as a prequel to Moore’s series. While not all of the comics are wholly bad, none of them stand up to Moore’s writing. One notable comic however is bad enough to get mentioned as the example of how you can go wrong, the issue introduces the new Silk Specter who is being trained to replace her mother as  the current Specter. What could have been a classic comic that could have shown the difficulties of trying to balance the life of a superhero with the life of a teenage girl who’s trying to find her own way in the world. The writers however forgo this and instead decides to follow how the new Specter as she is picked on by the popular girls at her school and how she falls in love with the school’s top jock. With only a few interesting visual scenes drawn and even less interesting perspectives used the comic really just ends up being a more of a teenage soap opera as opposed to superhero origin story.

You can read this or you can read about a sixteen year old girl who complains about her mom.

Regardless of what medium you use for your fiction, whether it’s games or comics, fantasy or sci-fi, romance or thriller, you need to let your characters shine, cut back on the unnecessary and pile on the interesting. Whether that means your audience is going to be reading about how a master assassin hunts down and murders all of his girlfriend’s prior love interests or if they get to watch your costumed superhero  punch reality, find out what makes your characters shine and then polish them till they’re gold.  Just don’t make us read about how Batman and Robin comically try to cook scrambled eggs without Alfred’s help when we could be reading about how Batman foiled the Jokers latest scheme to turn the moon into cheese.