Not a Review of Wonder Woman

I’m not a movie reviewer, just a big fan of movies and super heroes, so I’m not going to review Wonder Woman. I’m just going to say that if you like one or both of those things, you should go see it.

It’s a film with a pure theme and a refreshingly honest story. Our hero is heroic. She does the right thing because it’s the right thing. Not because of some tortured backstory or daddy issues. She’s a good person who cares about people and frankly it’s nice to have a hero who exemplifies heroism again. Especially from DC, who’ve thus far managed to whiff it on Batman and Superman.

Wonder Woman isn’t a perfect film, and I could pick a few nits if I wanted, but it’s unwarranted when it does so much right. Despite the fantastical story, all the characters feel and act genuine. 

Oh, and Wonder Woman’s badass theme riff is on full blast in the action sequences, just like it ought to be.

You should see it. Go and do that.

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First Form Rejection!

Well, the title says it all.  I’m not in the least bit bummed about it – they are part of the game.  When you’ve been as plugged into writerly culture (if such a phrase is even the correct term for it) as I have been you understand that rejections are part and parcel of the whole deal.  If you’re not getting rejections you’re not sending out work. Gotta go through a lot of ‘No’s to get your ‘Yes’.  And so on, etc.

So the first thing I did was send out some more queries. To be honest I’ve no great expectations for this first novel. I don’t really think it’ll ever see the light of day (from a publisher anyway) but I wrote the thing so I’ll be damned if I’m not going to submit it to hell and back before trunking it.  I did the work, the least I can do is send it out into the world and see if anyone will give me money for it.

In other news (which is to say not really news at all) I’ve been slowly poking at my new WIP, seeing what pokes back and what fades away into the nether reaches of my brain.  Hopefully I will have an outline to work from ready in a month or two, and in the meantime I’m still waiting for feedback from some beta readers on Thief of Souls.

As an aside, if you’re a writer and not getting everything you can from the internet there are a few things I suggest.

-Listen to podcasts about writing. Two of my favorites are Writing Excuses and I Should be Writing.  You probably have a commute of some kind, or at the very least 20-30 minutes a week somewhere. It will do you good. Trust me.

-Check out Absolute Write.  The forums are a veritable treasure trove of information on everything from plotting to prose to agents and submitting. I’ve had nothing but good experiences there and the people have always been willing to help newbies.  That being said, as with any forum read the FAQ first.  Many things are covered and have handy links. It’s worth the time to peruse.

I can’t think of anything else pertinent to say so with that I will sign off!

Look, I can update this blog!

It’s been a good long time since my last blog update, not entirely because I’m lazy and spend too much time playing video games (though that certainly had something to do with it) but also because I’ve not had much to update. After finishing the first draft I passed it along to a few trusted readers and got back a few bits of insight then plunked down and did a full revision.

I looked at every page, every paragraph, every line and judged them with an iron fist.  Some of it got bounced around, some of it got cut, some new stuff got added. From what I understand this is normal. Bringing us to now…

This last week I finished my first full revision on Thief of Souls and sent it to a few people to beta read. I hope to get some solid opinions on what people do or don’t like about it, things that might instigate head scratching, etc.  I’m sure there are things I’ve missed, but I’m happy enough with it as it stands to start submitting it to agents. Let’s all cross our fingers, toes, eyes, and earlobes.

In the meantime I’ve begun writing the next thing, which I’m pretty excited about. I didn’t want to start straightaway on a sequel to Thief of Souls, given that the likelihood of it being picked up may not be stellar, so I’ve jumped onto another idea that’s been sitting around in my head for a few years. No, I’m not going to tell you what it is until it’s had its proper gestational period.

I don’t have any other proper news related to my writing, so with that I will bid you good day (or evening, or whatever – this is the internet after all.)

In Which I Riff About Xbox One and PS4

With E3 blowing up this week there has been a deluge of video games news.  The juiciest bits were undoubtedly the pricing and the new Xbox One and PS4 systems, followed very shortly by millions of nerds and fanboys like myself collectively scratching their heads over some of the policies being announced by Microsoft.

The biggest kerfluffle, and the one that still seems to be the sticking point after lots of PR backpedaling and clarifications, is the always online nature of the Xbox One. I personally don’t have a big problem with the 24 hour checks back to home base to determine you’re playing a game licensed to you because I rarely trade in games and I can count on one hand the number of times my internet has been out in the last ten years or so.

However, I realize I am not the only person in the world who buys video games. There are big chunks of the United States where broadband internet is not so prevalent as it is here in metropolitan mecca of the southwest, lovely Phoenix Arizona.

At Microsoft, Don Mattrick has said that if you need an offline console experience, you’ve got an Xbox 360 to take care of you.

As a consumer this says to me “I don’t care about your dollars if you don’t have a consistent internet connection.” Is there a more blatant way of telling a certain number of people not to send their money that direction?  Is there anything less consumer friendly?  It basically means that you can’t play new games on new hardware if you can’t fit into the square hole of the demographic they’ve designed their system for.

When Mr. Mattrick says go play a 360 if you need to be offline he is discounting his competition.  A PS4, architecturally similar to an XB One, will play many of the same 3rd party games and not require you to be online to do it.  Microsoft has essentially ceded a certain demographic to their competition with this policy, and it’s a stupid move.

I prefer to play my 360 over my PS3 when I’m gaming, but if all things are equal -excluding the fact that I can play my games with a PS4 if/when my ISP is having a bad day – I think a lot of consumers will go that way.  The internet hubbub certainly seems to point that direction.

But launch for these two systems is still a few months off, and Microsoft theoretically has time to change their tune before they drive a big wedge between themselves and a large segment of the video game playing audience.

And Now, for Something Completely Different…

Today I’m going to go into a little bit of a story that is quite telling about parts of myself.  A little look behind the curtain at what happens in my brain.

In 1997 I was a common breed of video game nerd.  I was 17 years old, and heavily into console gaming after having bought myself a Nintendo 64 and a Playstation the previous year.  I was also building my then burgeoning collection of CD’s (long since dwindled, physical media? pfft).  The first CD’s I had bought were from The Beatles, but I was big into classic rock at the time so I was soon adding things like Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Steve Miller Band to my set.  And so a unique situation arises wherein I’m listening to a lot of old music and playing (what were then) top of the line brand new video games.

I was a huge fan of Final Fantasy as a kid (not necessarily so much anymore, but that’s another topic entirely) and was eagerly awaiting number 7.  Eventually it came out and I played it for hundreds of hours, interspersed periodically with bouts of Lynyrd Skynyrd (a greatest hits double CD that was in heavy rotation on my player, don’t judge I was 17).

So now, as a 33 year old (theoretically grown) man I have strange associations in my brain.  Every time that I hear this:

my brain starts thinking of this:

I’ve found no good way of disassociating the two, nor am I sure I even want to, as it brings me a strange sense of bizarre glee that somewhere in the folds of my brain matter two unlikely neurons are inextricably linked.  In my head, southern rock means mako reactors, materia, pointy hair and nigh incomprehensible storytelling and I’m not sure I’d have it any other way.

50k.

Yep, skipped right over any possible Warhammer jokes and went to 50,000 words. I don’t have much to say about it really, beyond that I felt very little as the wordcount tipped over last night.  I got a very tiny jolt of “Oh, that happened.  I guess that’s a thing that I did.” and then it was gone.

Granted, that particular number was never the intended finish line, and only serves as the loosest basis of the idea of a halfway point.  There’s still a lot of mountain to climb, after all.

So, looking onward from this point what have I got left to do?  I’ve moved all of my players onto trajectories that will lead to THE END in one way or another, and that is actually kind of exciting.  I’m still skeptical about reaching 100,000 words with this draft though.  Not that missing that target would be the end of the world, I could end up with a tighter and more concise 90,000 word novel and I suppose I’d be just fine with that.

Alas, I think my brain is starting to get ahead of me.  Reality check, I’m still only halfway through a first draft.  I’ve still thousands of words to go, and revisions and rewrites on top of that.  Back to it, I reckon.

 

7 Days, 7k

Well I’m seven days into my rush to the end and I’m seven thousand words closer to it.  It’s forced me to think a bit outside of my outline and start making some decisions I’ve been putting off.

The biggest problem with my outline is that while the first 3rd of the book is pretty detailed, it gets progressively less so the deeper I get.  The second act is largely hashed out, but things are popping up that I hadn’t considered early on and I’ve been finding myself scrambling to address them in the best way possible.

Due to this issue I’m finding myself about 60% through my outline and only sitting at about 47000 words.  Which doesn’t exactly work out if you’re planning a 100,000 word novel.  So, I’m getting creative (as creative types are wont to do) and finding things I can expand upon, plotlines I can further develop, characters I can play with a bit more, to fill out what I’ve been shooting for.

After all, plot is about characters overcoming interesting problems in interesting ways.   So when all else fails give the character more problems to deal with.