Remember, remember the Fifth of November
Gunpowder treason and plot.
I know of no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
A growing tradition in recent years has been for many who worry about tyranny to watch V For Vendetta on November Fifth. It’s something of a fad, but many have taken it as a time to look into their rights. I’ve had an annual viewing for a few years, but this year, I’ve held off.
A hero is only as good as their villain. That’s a line I use when I look at a story that leans on an action hero, especially in science fiction and fantasy. Dune has the Harkonnens, distinct greedy psychopaths all looking for to satisfy their personal desires. Star Wars has Darth Vader, with all his heavy breathing and cold menace.
After seeing Guardians of the Galaxy, I found another villain who embraces the unrepentant nature of the true villain. Ronan the Accuser.
In the past few years, calls for feminism in media has brought a lot of attention to The Bechdel Test. It’s a nice idea having at least two named female characters in a story who talk to each other about something other than a man.
As an X-Men fan, I’m fine with this idea. I just don’t know if it’s a representative as it could be. About a year ago, I found an alternative that works just as well, the Mako Mori Test.
Musicals have never been my thing. I doubt they ever will. When these characters pointlessly burst into song, I want to slap them, not cheer for them.
Yet, I saw Frozen and my biggest complaint was, big surprise, there’s too much singing. I wouldn’t purge all of it, because there’s one piece that must stay.
A year ago, The Avengers came out. In the weeks leading up to that release, I was subjected to one commercial for the movie roughly 280 times a week. My post at work was about twenty feet away from a screen that played the ad every eight minutes. By the time the movie came out, I was sick of it. This wasn’t the case with Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, or the first two Iron Man films.
Now, with the success of The Avengers, which was a decent movie, we have the next big Marvel release, Iron Man 3.
I haven’t done movie reviews for a while, since I wanted to focus more on the core elements of writing, like characters, narrative, and storytelling. Having seen Oblivion over the weekend, I felt I could say a few things about the movie that would speak to what I like in a story, be it a movie or a book.
I’ve heard this one a few times. A friend gets to a shocking scene, a tense moment, something that makes a splash in a book. Then–WOOSH!–the book flies across the room.
A lot of times, this isn’t actually a bad thing, it’s just a shock, a big shock. Sometimes, it’s something much worse. Continue reading
An important element of any story is the consistent, cohesive voice carried by each of the characters. Just as we can hear characters when they say things against their established natures, it always sets the reader against the story.
The most offensive case in recent years comes in the form of Darth Vader. Star Wars fans shudder in frustration just to think of the end of Revenge of the Sith where Vader rises in his armor for the first time. Continue reading
A few nights ago, business was slow and I ended up having a lengthy discussion with my store manager about villains. Not simple bad guys or characters who are shades of gray–villains. He and I discussed movies, but, being a writer, I thought it would be much more interesting to turn that question toward books.
So, I ask, Who are your top five villains from books? Continue reading
Here is my standard approach to storytelling, no punches pulled, no holding back. Start Normal, Get Crazy. Sounds odd, I’m sure, but it’s more common than you might think–and I can prove it with one picture: