Monday, March 29, 2010


Going to take a little break from the creative writing posts to tell you about this ass kicking book that I got for Christmas last year. Hands down, Badass by Ben Thompson is the best freaking history book I've ever read. I nearly choked to death laughing at least seventeen times when reading this book, it's that f****** funny, seriously...

Thompson mixes well researched history with pop culture...and proceeds to make me jealous I didn't think of doing this. Thompson writes about people we all know (and some of us love) like Vlad the Impaler, Harald Hardrada & Genghis Khan along with lesser known people from history, including kickass and enigmatic historical figures like Wolf the Quarrelsome and Bass Reeves.

This book should be required reading in school. it...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Fantastic Without Action?

A lot of science-fiction and fantasy films, television shows and other creative mediums are hinged heavily upon action, a lot of these are very good but a lot are very bad. The above picture is obviously from the classic kick ass science fiction action movie Predator, which can easily fall into the category of a simple action flick. However, I've always thought the movie had some deeper themes, it's a film with fatalistic themes and calls into questions mans place not only in his own world, but existence in general.

On the opposite end of the spectrum you have science fiction and fantasy works (mostly sci-fi from my experience) that effectively tell there story with a minimal amount of action, works like 2001 and Solaris.

To what degree can stories in fantastic settings be effective with a minimal amount of action, or none at all? What is the perfect balance? These are questions I've asked myself when considering my own work. My work would fall into the sci-fi/fantasy category though I try not to limit myself, I just throw in whatever I think works. My work needs to have action, but I hate writing it...not because I find it outright boring but because I find it difficult to do without being cliche or utterly ridiculous. I suppose I want the action in my work to be meaningful, so I try to use it sparingly. Though to be honest I've found myself at times throwing in unnecessary action...mostly because I'm thinking about how to satisfy readers as opposed to myself. So, I suppose, what I'm trying to say is that I need to write for myself first and foremost...hopefully things will fall into place after that!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


When movies, comics, books or other media is consumed by society at large one of the first elements that's examined is its "originality". For example, when Avatar was released it was instantly criticized because, in the opinions of some, it resembled other popular stories. My response to this is...who cares? If you like something, who cares. If you want to tell a story that has be inspired by something it!

What's important in art is that you make your creation your own. I'm not talking about blatantly ripping something off, that's a whole other thing. I've struggled with originality in my own work. In the past I've been too critical of my process of inspiration. I'd punished myself (by not writing) if I felt that part of my story, a character, or whatever closely resembled something in popular media that I liked. I realized that if you want to be "original" you have to have passion for what you're creating, you have to own it, you have to look through its eyes. If you do this, you've created something original...who cares what anyone else says.

I'm writing about this because I was thinking about fooling around with a side project apart from my ongoing story work, just for fun. In my previous post I talked about Lost and how I have a huge nerd boner for the show. I wanted to do something similar, with the science-fiction elements more that it will takes place in space. It would be more of a writing exercise for me...maybe I'll do it.

Monday, March 22, 2010


What makes a good story? It's a question that people have debated for as long as we told stories and as long we shall continue to do so. It's a subjective question, though there are some agreed upon standards.

When it comes to contemporary storytelling there a lot of options and a variety of mediums. I'm going to talk about television storytelling. In say...I don't know, the last ten years reality television has dominated programming. It's cheap to make and it's easy to find subjects that titillate viewers. Also, there is no shortage of people that are willing to debase themselves for the opportunity to make a little bit of cheese. I don't think people that watch reality television are stupid, I don't like to make sweeping judgmental statements like that. I do think that reality television has damaged our modern understanding of storytelling. Of course, there are many contributing factors to the longing for instant gratification, not simply the popularity of reality television. Anyways, I should get to my point I suppose.

Lost is without question my favorite television show ever and in the top five of my top favorite stories, written, filmed or otherwise. I understand a lot of the criticisms of the show, some of the most rudimentary being that the show simply doesn't have a rational plot and that the writers seem to be making it up as they go. After watching hundreds of recap videos and reading a lot about the show, I'm very confident that this is not the case. Being a television show that requires actors, there are bound to be snags, major snags, that the writers will face. An actor wants to leave, an actor is fired, some actors even grow too much! Still, I think the mythological framework of the story was very much in place throughout the tenure of show. I know when it's all said and done there'll be unanswered questions, the writers/producers have said this outright. Just because something is left unanswered that doesn't mean it's crap, life if filled with things that simply have no explanation...stories shouldn't necessarily be held to the same standards.

What I love about Lost is the mystery and the constant and fluid development of the characters, even minor ones. The shows many characters react to events in the story, interpersonal relations and their own pasts. Lost in my opinion is one of rare stories that is both plot driven and character driven, a perfect balance has been struck. I love the large themes of the show, not only human themes but mythological themes. It's been a true pleasure to watch these years and while I look forward to the end I can't help to also feel a little sad. When Return of the Jedi ends I couldn't stop from feeling a bit sad. Sure, they defeated the Empire and light prevailed, but still, there's just something about an ending. I suppose however that's an essential element in a good story. If it triggers something deep, perhaps even something we don't have words for then I believe the storyteller has tapped into something remarkable, something worthy of eternal remembrance.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Welcome to my new blog. I'm not really sure what I want to do this time around, we'll have to see as it develops. Funny thing, lately I've been encountering situations that I thought would be really great to blog about...but I can't really think of any of those things right now.

There's always the new health care bill, though I think that's going to be pretty well covered by legions of angry/elated bloggers across the vastness of the interwebs. So I guess I'll leave that alone. Anyone that knows me well enough already knows my stance on such things as is.

Well, hopefully I'll have some interesting things to talk about in the coming days. Maybe I'll talk about my writing a bit, that's a dimension of my life that I keep pretty private...mostly because I think people would be pretty bored by it. Still, why not give it a try? We'll see...

Anyways, if anyone reads this...thanks! Hopefully you'll continue to do so!

Sunday Test

Test test test test

Saturday, March 20, 2010