Family, Nonfiction, Personal blog, Random and Fandom

Dear class of 2020, you are immortal…

empty classroomDear class of 2020,

I am a West Marion High School graduate Class of 1996. That year probably doesn’t mean anything to you, but if you do some quick math you’ll figure out I’m somewhere in the neighborhood of being as old as your parents.

Interestingly enough, in January of ’96, the United States experienced one of the worst blizzards on record, forcing the schools in New York to close for the first time in eighteen years. So those guys at least have a little something in common with you. Also in ‘96, Braveheart won the Oscar for best picture, the biggest newsmaker was the Menendez trial, a Michael Jordan led Chicago Bulls won yet another NBA championship, and we all eagerly awaited the Summer Olympics in Atlanta. I had to Google most of that (something I couldn’t have done in 1996) because honestly it just wasn’t that memorable. Except for the Olympics. Continue reading “Dear class of 2020, you are immortal…”

Guests, Random and Fandom, Tips and Hacks, Writing Tips

GUEST – Reneé Le Vine – Research Your Fanfiction

Today, I’m glad to have author Reneé Le Vine to share her thoughts on why it’s important to do research when writing fanfiction!

From Reneé:

Research Your Fanfiction

Research and fanfiction are two words that sound like they shouldn’t go together. Fanfiction is just for fun, right? Research sounds like something that you would save for more serious writing, like school essays or that unfinished original novel that’s staring you in the face.

And while fanfiction is definitely more of something you would do for fun, doing research is still a good idea! Unless you’re writing one of those fics where the canon and/or plot doesn’t matter, I think your readers will probably appreciate you taking the time to at least have some idea what you’re doing.

Continue reading “GUEST – Reneé Le Vine – Research Your Fanfiction”

Guests, My writing journey, Random and Fandom, Writing Tips

GUEST – Abigail Falanga – Glorious Boundries

Today, I’m glad to have author Abigail Falanga to share her insights on how the boundries of fanfiction can help you become a more creative writer!

Abagail falangaFrom Abigail:

Confession:

I don’t read fan fiction.

I don’t even write much fanfic any more.

Anyone still reading?

Good. Because, whatever my failings in the fanfic regard, what I have written has taught me so much – about writing and even about the world.

Continue reading “GUEST – Abigail Falanga – Glorious Boundries”

Guests, My writing journey, Random and Fandom, Writing Tips

GUEST – Brianna Tibbetts – Fan Fiction and Your Creative Drive

Today, I’m glad to have author Brianna Tibbetts to share her insights on how writing fanfiction keeps her productive in her own writing!

From Brianna Tibbets:

Brianna TibbettsWhen I discovered fan fiction was a thing in 2011, I didn’t think I’d ever want to write it. I read it on occasion, mostly to fill in holes in character development left behind by existing franchises I loved, but I couldn’t have imagined writing it myself. Then, in December of 2012, the BBC show Merlin ended. I loved the finale, but felt distinctly unsatisfied. There was so much I wished had happened, but none of it would ever be addressed, because the show was over. So, I wrote my first fan fiction to get it all out of my system. Less than two hours later, I had five thousand words about two of my favorite characters on my laptop screen. Writing fan fiction was much easier than I’d expected.

Continue reading “GUEST – Brianna Tibbetts – Fan Fiction and Your Creative Drive”

Guests, Random and Fandom, Writing Tips

GUEST – Author H.A. Titus – What Fan-fiction Taught Me

HA Titus - headshotContinuing my series on the benefits of writing fan-fiction, today I have my first guest. H.A. Titus is the author of Forged Steel, a short story contributor in such anthologies as Avenir Eclectia, Different Dragons II, and Quickfic Anthology 2. She’s also a contributor to the New Authors Fellowship and an online friend I’ve known for a long time. Today, she shares with us some of the lessons she’s learned while writing fan-fiction.

Continue reading “GUEST – Author H.A. Titus – What Fan-fiction Taught Me”

Fiction, My writing journey, Personal blog, Publications, Random and Fandom

My fanfiction journey

fanfiction3Today I’m kicking off a series of blog posts about the benefit of writing fanfiction. I have some amazing guest bloggers coming over the next month to share their experiences and thoughts on the matter. But before they do, I wanted to share with you my fanfiction journey.

I’ve been a published author for nearly ten years. My first novel was published in 2011, kicking off a four book series that I would complete in 2017. When the final book dropped in December of that year, I didn’t realize how much of an emotional drain it would be on me. Those books, that world…that character…had been a part of my life for more than just the eight years it took to publish the books, but an additional three years before that as I wrote and polished that first one. If you invest in anything for over a decade, you will invest in it emotionally.

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Personal blog, Random and Fandom, Uncategorized

Is Santa from the wizarding world?

I’m sure I’m not the only one to ponder this question, and I’m certain other blog posts have been written on the subject. To be fair, I haven’t seen any of them. I wanted to flesh this idea out on my own.

I saw a meme the other day. Something about Santa using Floo Powder as an explanation on how he goes down the chimney. That started me on a line of thinking about Santa being a wizard from the wizarding world of the Harry Potter universe. So now I present my evidence.

Continue reading “Is Santa from the wizarding world?”

Random and Fandom

Finding Secret Locations In Breath of the Wild From Previous Games

Episode 1 – Reconciling the Maps

It has been my opinion that the creators of Breath of the Wild didn’t just throw in certain Easter Eggs to other games on the map, but that they actually tried to reconcile all the previous world building into one comprehensive map. It only makes sense, now that the game developers have said Breath of the Wild is the inevitable outcome of all three timelines. Allowing for ruins is a great way to do this and there are some obvious locations for us to find: such as Lon Lon Ranch and Arbiter’s Grounds.

But I think there’s more.

Before I go further, we need to fix a problem. This first post on this series is simply to reconcile the maps. As we do this we’ll need to exercise some creative freedom, as I’m sure the developers did the same. Nothing will be perfect, but there’s enough evidence to show that the developers made an effort, if imperfect. For now, we’re just going to stick with the major console games: specifically Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword, Wind Waker, and Breath of the Wild. Later, I’ll bring in some of the 2D maps later.

Continue reading “Finding Secret Locations In Breath of the Wild From Previous Games”

Random and Fandom, Review

Did Guardians of the Galaxy 2 jump the shark?

GOTG2**A MOSTLY SPOILER FREE REVIEW**

I sat at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, watching the credits scroll by and waiting for the bonus scenes. I glanced at my friend and he had the same puzzled expression that I did. He asked, “What did you think?” I replied, “I’m going to have to process this.”

And process it I have. My friend and I discussed our mixed feelings about the movie all the way to our homes. I realized that something was really bothering me about the movie and I made two crucial thoughts on that ride.

First, I had the distinct impression that the producers/writers/director had surveyed all of the most popular Marvel movies to date, cataloged all the most successful scenes, and developed a formula for what they thought would be the perfect Marvel movie. Then they proceeded to make GotGv2 using that formula.

Second, with the issue of escalation an all too real problem in Hollywood, especially with on-going franchises, I had a sneaking suspicion that I just watched Marvel “jump the shark.”

If you’re not familiar with that term, let me explain. It comes from a 1977 episode of Happy Days, where Fonzie proves his bravery by water skiing and ramps over a shark…all while wearing his trademark leather jacket. The term has come to refer to an instance in any TV show or recurring franchise when the show presents something utterly absurd for the sake of novelty and ratings. It’s what ultimately happens through escalation, where there’s constant pressure to “raise the stakes” in story telling. And the writers are beginning to run out of ideas.

Speaking of pressure to raise the stakes, that’s also typical of any sequel. Producers feel pressured to top the first one, bring back all of the audience’s favorite gags, but also try to force in a better sense of artistry than they did before. Often sequels crash and burn because of it. This movie could have just been a typical sequel.

So did Guardians of the Galaxy 2 jump the shark? Let me give you some of my observations:

  1. Too many layers. Every character has some kind of emotional conflict/back story and subtext that they are trying to resolve. EVERY. CHARACTER. It was just too much to keep up with. Which leads into the next point…
  2. None of those layers were executed well. Sure, if they’d stuck to one or two there would have been screen time enough for proper development. But this movie has seven or eight. Let that sink in a moment. The audience is expected to emotionally connect on the subtext of seven or eight character journeys.
  3. The formula. Remember I mentioned it felt formulaic? That’s because it did. Go cherry pick the best bits of your favorite Marvel movies and there’s probably an equivalent somewhere in this one.
  4. While we’re at it, let me repeat my other previously mentioned thoughts: pressure to raise the stakes and typical sequel problems.
  5. Weak overall plot. The whole adventure felt very forced. From the absurd opening antagonists that wouldn’t go away for the whole movie, to the primary antagonist that felt like he just showed up and said, “Hey! Let me be the bad guy!” All the different character layers, escalated stakes, forced antagonists, and horrid excuse for an inciting incident, made the plot disjointed and confusing.
  6. babygrootBaby Groot. I think the producers knew about everything I’ve already said. They knew the script had major problems. So they tried to disguise it with Baby Groot. Because who could hate a movie with Baby Groot? Don’t fall for it. It’s a sleight-of-hand gag.
  7. But Baby Groot wasn’t the only funny thing. Everything was funny. It was almost like watching a Saturday Night Live sketch. Every shtick and cliche they could find to play for a laugh, they did. Thirty seconds of screen time could hardly pass without some attempt at a joke.

But the moment that made me think they “jumped the shark” can be summed up in one word. Pacman. If you’ve seen the movie, you know what I’m talking about. That moment was just one absurdity too much.

Bottom line, this movie felt like a money-making scam. Throw some special effects and a cute Baby Groot at the audience, play up every possible joke you can, and they’ll pay to come by the score…so why waste money on good writing?

I really wanted to like this movie. Instead, I feel like I just witnessed the beginning of the end for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I say that, because I have a horrible feeling that Thor: Ragnarok is going to be exactly the same as this.

I’m still hoping that SpidermanHomecoming will redeem Marvel for me this summer. Fingers-crossed…

-odk

(Now you may commence bashing me.)