Diary

My #FilmChallenge Roundup

Time to break the rules of #FilmChallenge and share the ten films I picked and why I picked ’em. You can’t tell me what to do, Zuckerberg!

Facebook’s algorithm (and my friends) put the FilmChallenge right in my face for the second time. And since I like to talk about myself AND movies I like (in that order), I’m gonna expand on them here.

Before we start: I did do the #FilmChallenge last year, but I picked a bunch of old and/or obvious movies. So I tried to either pick new movies that had impacted me, or movies I maybe don’t talk about so much.

Now, we begin our countdown, in no particular order but how I randomly posted them.

These aren’t necessarily my favorite movies, just a list of a few that got me.

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What Am I Up To?

So, what have I been up to lately? This:

What I’m Reading

Image result for dark tower

I just plowed through the entire Dark Tower series by Stephen King for the second time, and I have some shocking and terrible news for you: it’s still incredible. I first started reading the series when I was around 15 years old, and was forced to wait painfully for the last four books to come out. 

Being able to read them all back-to-back provided a slightly different experience. But, overall, yeah. I think it’s still my favorite book series of all time. It’s so epic and surreal and strange, with a truly unique world (well, worlds) that feel 100% real. Even the weirder meta elements in the last few books work really well for me. 

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Categories: Deadgirl, Diary, Movies, Review, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Another Monday, Post-Evisceration

Stomach is starting to heal from the hernia surgery. Turns out it’s painful for your guts to come out, and JUST AS PAINFUL to put them back in again. So, you know. Don’t do that.

Keep that shit on the inside, if you have the option.

Because I’ve been anchored to the couch for medicinal reasons, been watching a shitload of The Walking Dead, old episodes, and they just remind me how great season 1 and season 2 were. I know, everyone hates season 2, but on Netflix, in binge-form, it really works. It has some of the best character work in the series, and the Shane/Rick stuff is intense as hell. It’s funny because no matter how many tanks or evil baseball bats they give their new villains, none of them are as intimidating as Shane’s unhinged, slack-lipped murder stare. Jon Bernthal (Shane) was and is the absolute man. Probably the only actor on the show so far who could match Andrew Lincoln’s Rick in acting ability and gravitas.

Been trying to play Mass Effect: Andromeda too (with all my new couch time), and it just absolutely refuses to become good. Damn shame, considering how excellent the last trilogy was. Well, caveat – how good Mass Effect 2 and 3 were. Mass Effect 1 had a lot of the problems Mass Effect: Andromeda is having. The games work when they’re little episodes of Star Trek. The games fail when they try to present some wide-open boring landscape to putter around in in an under-powered space car.

Okay, those are all my thoughts for today.

Got some good writing in just now – Deadgirl 4 is finally starting to shape up into something I like. Easy realization that made it happen: Deadgirl 4 is not Star Wars. I kept trying to make it this big crazy epic story with all these characters and forgot that the series is about Lucy.

Now that I’m listening to her voice again it’s all rolling out.

Categories: Books, Deadgirl, Diary, Review, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

3 Movie Conspiracy Theories That Gotta Die

As movie fans, we love digging into the meat of a movie’s plot like a cyborg velociraptor with obesity issues. We even love constructing new narratives within existing narratives, like Russian nesting dolls shaped like cyborg velociraptors.

Unfortunately, just because a theory sounds cool, doesn’t mean it holds any weight, much like how the tiny hands of a cyborg velociraptor have difficulty holding weight. Here’s three AMAZING theories that are completely bullshit, ranked from least bullshit to most bullshit.

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The Wafflers Review of Star Trek: Beyond

STB1

So, I just caught up on the newest entry in the NuTrek saga, and boy was I surprised.

I REALLY took the piss out of this movie when that first, widely-maligned trailer debuted. It seemed like it had been concocted primarily to anger Star Trek fans: rock music, sweet dirt bike jumps, the Enterprise being destroyed IN THE TRAILER, and “from the Director of Fast and Furious.” For me, the only thing that’s fast and furious in Star Trek should be Worf at the helm of the Defiant.

See, it’s a fast ship and he’s angry, so that’s a joke. The joke I just said.

I (and the internet) heaped so much abuse upon the trailer’s back that the writer of the film (and co-star) Simon Pegg had to come out on social media and both A) apologize for the trailer and B) insist that it didn’t truly capture the Trekkian nature of the final film.

So, was Pegg right? Could the director of Fast and Furious make a good Star Trek film?

STB2

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Deadgirl Sequel Out Now, Author Pees in Excitement

Hey, good and gentle peoples who read this blog! I try not to spam you guys because you’re all so attractive and swell individuals, but it’s not every day the sequel to your first book comes out. Which it did. It does. For me. I mean.

My book is out today. Kindle / Ebook / Phone right now, but the paperback is coming soon. Anyway, I’d really appreciate it if you checked it out or at the very least sent the word along to someone you think might dig it. Anyway, here are the links to Amazon and then I’ll leave you alone I promise.

Here are the Amazon pages for Deadgirl: Ghostlight and the original Deadgirl if you missed it. They’re basically Buffy the Vampire Slayer-style adventure/thrillers narrated by a smartass.

ghostlight review sheet

 

Categories: Books, Deadgirl, Diary, publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Asshole’s Guide to Editing: #1

Assholes Guide Banner

For HashtagThrowbackThursday, I thought it might be fun to go through my first, unpublished, piece-of-shit fantasy novel one chunk at a time. I wrote it when I was 19, but that’s really no excuse. I’ve since improved, thank God, with published books like this one and this one. 

At first I just wanted to share my editing-snark with someone who isn’t me, but I realized that this ungodly manuscript might actually be of some use as a teaching tool. Better than sitting in a drawer, I suppose.

Let’s dive right in, folks. The red ink represents my current thoughts and feelings, and the black ink represents a bad novel.

If this is remotely interesting to you, I might make this a weekly feature. Let’s do dis.

EXCERPT

 

Fools and Lyres

Chapter 1

            Solin didn’t like dying. It was a foul way to wake up.

(Jesus, man. Starting your book with your main character waking up from a dream? Painful Cliché #1. Don’t do this. The only good thing about this is that Past-Bobby – Aged 19 – spared the reader from actually being exposed to a tedious dream that had no bearing on the plot.

Also, the writing is just bad. Your first line needs to be clever, memorable, brutal, or poetic. This one tries to be all of them and fails miserably. Also, you couldn’t keep passive language out of the first paragraph? Yuck).

His eyes, fuzzy with sleep, strained to decipher the dark, hulking shapes around him. (Not a terrible line. Maybe start the book here, if you must start it with a dream, which you absolutely should not do). He wasn’t on some distant, broken plain. He wasn’t an old, grizzled knight. (Old and grizzled paint the same feeling, delete one). And he wasn’t impaled, through and through, by black metal.

(Okay, well, kind of spared them from the dream. Don’t give Bobby-19 too much credit, this is like a 5th draft. I’m pretty sure I originally did force the whole dream on the reader. Luckily, even a young, beardless me discarded it as useless.

 Ooo, dream of dying as symbol for change? Painful Cliché #2). 

Solin was in his room. A small room, in a small house, in a small town.

(The hero of the fantasy story is from a small town? Holy shit! Bring me more fascinating originalities, you pile of wet hair. Painful Cliché #3. Also notice the passive language, “Solin was in his room.” There’s a lot more of this coming, coming right for our faces).

He sat up slowly, his back and neck protesting the movement. Keepsakes from a night spent thrashing and twisting. Seventeen isn’t really a popular age for chronic back fatigue, he thought.

(This is just confusing. I start by SHOWING the reader something, a good start: He’s got an achey back and neck. Okay, this is an old character, or one who’s seen a lot of miles . . . wait, he’s 17?

 I try to hang a lampshade on that bare bulb by actually mentioning his age, but it just ends up being two contradictory sentences that don’t illuminate anything. I would just delete that whole thing).

When he adjusted to the dim light in his room, he swung his legs out of bed. An old book, perched on his lap, sailed and cracked into the wall with the movement. He whispered a curse and untangled himself from his sheets to retrieve the thing. Sleep had claimed him like a ravenous predator the night before, and he forgotten the book he’d been reading.

(Problem: I keep describing him waking up. I’ve basically rephrased it like four times already, for some reason).

His fingers closed over the rough fabric of its cover. He plopped back on the bed and turned it in his hands. (Ah Christ, we’re back in the bed again. You paid for the whole seat, Dear Reader, BUT YOU ONLY NEED THE EDGE). The book was dark green with white lettering that said ‘Sir Vayrun Trak and the Birth of a Nation.” As a boy he’d memorized it. (So the main character is super boring, okay, got it). But that was a long time ago. (Not if you’re 17, dipstick). He was told that he was too old for such things. Heroes and tales of magic were childish things. (Same sentence, twice in a row).

He smiled with nostalgic glee as he opened it and rifled through to try to find and mark where he’d left off. (Awful run-on sentence that is terrible and bad. Also, he “smiled with…glee”? As opposed to, what, smiling with rage?). It didn’t take him long; he knew the book backwards and forwards. (You said this already, but kudos on trying to use a semi-colon. I guess that’s something).

After Sir Vayrun was knighted, but before he rode off to bailiff the Kings Council. He vaguely remembered, before he’d drifted off, reading the part where Vayrun saves Princess Alair from the pack of wild marauders.

(God, even the story-in-the-story is cliché and dumb).

“’Turn back,’” Solin quoted, “’Flee or I will release you from this mortal burden.’”

A fist thumped his wall from the other side.

“Sorry mom,” he said.

The wall thumped again, a softer, forget-about-it sound.

(Probably the first time this book woke the hell up. You can see I was trying to create an amusing juxtaposition, contrasting his self-serious and nerdy dramatic reading with the “sorry, mom.” It almost works).

Time to go, Solin decided. She had a lot of work to do with Fair Day tomorrow, (the small town is having a festival? I bet something unexpected and violent won’t happen to kick the story off! Painful Cliché #4) he knew, and she didn’t need him rooting around the house and ruining her last moments of sleep. Solin found his place, shut the book, and slid it back under his bed. It ended its brief journey and nestled against ten more books just like it.

(Eh? Get it? Do you GET IT?! HE READS A LOT DO YOU GET IT?!!!)

Solin threw on his clothes. They were of fine quality, if simple. His mother, a seamstress, made all of his clothes. And most of the rest of the town’s, too, now that he thought about it. It came from being the only professional seamstress within a hundred miles. (You basically communicated “she’s a seamstress” four different times in three sentences. Cut it.)

He remembered the awful week he’d tried to help her around her shop. Needless to say, she hadn’t passed her gift onto her son. Solin had actually sewn his hand into a pair of pants once. It shouldn’t have been possible, according to his mother.

(Almost funny, but it’s like, move the fuck on already. Solin has now spent like ten minutes of precious reader time sitting in bed thinking about his life. If you really want to communicate that Solin is a screw up, do it in dialogue with his mother. Maybe she brings this anecdote up in response to something. Don’t just dump it out of a sack like it’s a rat you caught for supper).

Solin finished his dressing and left the house (Jesus, finally) as quietly as he could, which entailed knocking out both a lamp and a serving tray.

His house was near the middle of town. His mother was well-off, being the only seamstress in Bowen’s Rest, and their house reflected it. (WE GET IT SHE’S A SUCCESSFUL SEAMSTRESS FUCKING SHIT) It had two bedrooms, quality but humble (!!!), and was the only home Solin had ever known. It was his mother’s and father’s before he came into the world, and Solin wondered if his children might someday live here too. Not that Solin wanted children anytime soon. Or a wife. A girl might be nice though.

(This inner monologue is about as enticing as following the comptroller of Fort Wayne, Indiana on twitter).

His eyes wandered the streets as he went. Already a number of the town dwellers were awake; Bowen’s Rest had no shortage of good, strong workers. (Sumbitch, keep up those semi-colons, good on you). Nathan Jayne, the blacksmith, was already stoking his forge as Solin passed by, though his hammer strokes would not ring through the town for another hour.

(Hold on. Hold the fuck on. I have to break this sentence down, because it is the perfect example of terrible writing.

 “Nathan Jayne, the blacksmith, was already stoking his forge as Solin passed by – “

 Okay. If Nathan Jayne is STOKING HIS FORGE, I think we can guess he’s the blacksmith. There’s not a lot of forge-stoking in, say, needlepoint. Cut that piece of ham-handed exposition and move on. Trust the reader a little.

 Nathan was after all a smart man who knew that waking the town so early was possibly very dangerous. (You can see another problem with this book – the voice and tone is all over the damn place. Hell even the perspective is in question.

“Nathan was after all a smart man – “

Did we switch to an omniscient, old-man type narrator? Is this story supposed to be cheeky? A children’s book? What’s happening?

“ – who knew that waking the town so early was possibly very dangerous.”

Okay, ignoring the back-to-back adverbs and passive language – actually, no, fuck that. Let’s not ignore that.

First off, don’t use fucking “very.” Ever. Don’t ever use the word “very” because it’s very, very fucking lazy. You might be thinking of an exception in your head right now, but it’s wrong. Don’t use “very.”

Let’s move to “possibly.” Adverb, so it’s already bad. Why are adverbs bad? Because they’re evidence that you’re not confident, and that you’re hedging your bets.

For instance, the sentence above is saying “Waking the town so early was possibly very dangerous.” Okay, we’re engaged in hyperbole that is trying to be funny. It isn’t, but that’s not really the problem. The problem is that it doesn’t commit. Saying that “waking someone up is a dangerous proposition” is amusing because it’s hyperbole. The person likes sleeping, it doesn’t mean they’ll actually cut your Achilles tendon if you wake them up. Saying “it’s possibly dangerous” to wake someone up is a nothing-sentence. “Possibly dangerous?” You can’t even commit to your own joke? Just say it’s dangerous. Go big. And give us examples, like the Achilles tendon thing above.

The big sin here is the phrase “possibly very.” Whuff, what a stinker. Those two words placed next to each other is a greater crime than the Trail of Tears.

What you’re seeing is unconfident writing at its finest/shittiest.)

Not everyone in town was so productive so early, and like anyone who works hard, enjoyed sleep above most worldly things. Solin waved to Nathan, who raised a burly hand in greeting before sliding his leather apron on.

(There are some subject-verb agreement problems here, but I don’t want to get into grammar stuff too much. This paragraph is bad because it’s more nonsense filler written by someone who didn’t know how to write.

Every thought that popped in my brain went on the page, which is a common mistake for beginners.

Not every thought is gold. Not every book is good. Especially not this one.)

/EXCERPT

Come back next week and we’ll keep trying to slog through this shitheap together! If God is good, it’ll at least be educational.

Next Article: “The Asshole’s Guide to Editing: Part #2”

 

 

Categories: Diary, The Asshole's Guide to Editing, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Distress Call: Help Needed

AIWATS Signal Coverttention! I am trying to win a contest to get a new book published and supported by Nerdist. The top five people who get the most pre-orders will get published, and the winner gets Nerdist support. If the book doesn’t make it, you won’t be charged the pre-order amount. So it’ll only cost you if the book actually wins, and then hey, you get a book out of it.

Pretty please click here to check the book out, check out the premise, cover, and first chapter, and if it sounds like something you wanna read (or you just like my furry face), please give it a pre-order.

In advance, you rock, and your whole face is aesthetically pleasing.

Also I’ll try to spam less and deliver actual blogposts. Thanks again!

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Dear Robin Williams

I’m going to tell you something right now, and it’s going to seem heartless: I don’t get emotionally affected by celebrity deaths. At best my body processes a kind of distant mournful shock, the chemistry of which that, if studied, would probably equate to hearing the news that a show I kind of liked has been cancelled.

When Philip Seymour Hoffman passed, I thought, “Oh that sucks. He’s so talented,” but the fact is, I didn’t know him. I’d never met him, and odds are that I would never have shook hands with him. I’m 29-years-old, and all of my life has left me bewildered when I see someone genuinely torn to pieces when a celebrity they never met dies. Don’t get me wrong – it sucks that they died, and I definitely feel an intellectual empathy, but it never quite reaches my guts.

Just fifteen minutes ago, on the way home from a terrible day of work after my truck had broken down for the third time this month, I heard the news over the radio (that in itself being a surreal and quaint idea) – Robin Williams is dead.

They say it might be a suicide, relating to asphyxiation, but I didn’t hear the rest of it because my guts churned like someone had stuck a broom handle in there and started fucking stirring. I blinked away tears that had appeared so quickly it was as if my eyes had gotten the news before my ears had.

Robin Williams doesn’t die. Robin Williams is the totem of comedy, a manic energizing force of nature with a boyish face and hair like six grizzly bears sewn together. Robin Williams is a genie. Robin Williams is Peter Pan. Peter Pan can’t die. What the fuck is that? Why would that happen? Who would allow that to happen?

As a kind-of-funny little boy who dreamed of being a gut-bustingly funny little boy (still working on that), my two idols were Jim Carrey and Robin Williams. They had more juice than a nuclear power plant operating during a lightning storm on the surface of the sun. They were goofy, funny, witty, and both could throw down and be serious when they needed. To call them my comedy role-models would be underselling it – they were my comedy paragons, my comedy Achilleses, my comedy rock gods with six arms and flaming eyes.

I’ve never felt this way before, but I can’t stop crying. It took me three tries to get out of my car when I got home a few minutes ago. As I was changing out of my work clothes I leaned, shirtless, against my dresser and sunk my face in my elbow and shook. I sobbed the big sobs that make your lungs hurt and plug your nose with snot.

I wanted to write this because I’m a funny guy (who will never be an eighth as funny as Robin Williams), and I’m a guy who’s had some down times that I’m not proud of (though, again, nowhere near the down times Robin is reported as having). But I just wanted to say that just because the darkness finally got you doesn’t mean a damn thing.

You’re my fucking hero, Robin. You always will be. You’ve made me smile and laugh my entire life, and you’ve done that a billion times over to billions more people. Most of the silly human beings on this silly rock in the vast void of space have laughed because of you, and there is no achievement greater, no goal higher, no laudable act that deserves more fucking lauds.

Thank you, Robin. We can never repay what you gave us, but we’ll try to pass a few laughs on in your honor. Cheers, brother.

Heaven just got a whole lot fucking funnier.

Categories: Diary, News | Tags: , | 6 Comments

Copywriter Blues

Fiction writing is great. Sometimes it’s hard work, and sometimes the internet shoots its destract-y tentacles right into your eyegaps, and sometimes a bad review slides down the Google chute and into your testicles, but overall it’s a wonderful experience. Novels, short stories, the occasional screenplay or hilarious sex-related haiku.

Copywriting is . . . less great. It’s essentially lies and flim-flam wearing an evening gown. But they give you money for it, and you can use that money to purchase foodstuffs and roofs and the like.

The following excerpt is every piece of copywriting I’ve ever done, boiled down to one digestible scrap of text. It comes from a place of genuine pain, which is always funny. Enjoy.

SeaLife Cameras

“SeaLife Cameras are cameras that function well around sea life. They take pictures of underwater things with their ability to take pictures of underwater things. The cases are made of sturdy case-making materials, including high end plastics, probably some metals, maybe wood, fuck I don’t know. Anyway, they use lenses to bend light, and some kind of film or diaphragm to take that focused light and make pictures. Those pictures can be seen by any functioning human eye! Wow! That human eye transmits signals to the human brain, which realizes that the picture probably isn’t real. This owes to the eye’s ability to notice details like whether or not an image has a third dimension, or if the person is drowning or if they’re just looking at a picture of a coral reef. These pictures create an emotional response in the person, such as sadness, happiness, thrift, etc.

You can trade currency to obtain a SeaLife camera at any appropriate commerce outlet. They will take your currency (which represents value, whether backed by gold or unbacked, depending on the nature of your nation or island republic’s economy) and give you the product you desired. In this case, a SeaLife camera. This camera runs on electricity, obtained through the three grouped-together holes located in most walls. Unless you’re in Europe or Scandinavia or something, then the holes are all fucked up and non-standard. Still, electons are zipping around there like crazy, and you can just stick some metal in there to get some!

Remember to use the buttons on the camera to activate various desired functions. These buttons are comfortably button-shaped, and may produce effects upon pushing.

WARNING: Eating a SeaLife camera may damage internal organs, but will film the whole thing in high definition, so its not all bad.”

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