Pop culture has provided us with many snarky heroes, insults, and comebacks. On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with a good threat or warning. When I watch Arnold Schwarzenegger threaten a much smaller guy, I start laughing at the ridiculous ways directors and screenwriters have to find to physically harm Arnold. When Liam Neeson threatens to kill his daughter’s kidnapper, his icy exterior and later bloodbath make it terrifying.
Senioritis hit me hard for the Fall 2016 semester but I still made it out of my four classes alright. In three of them I earned a B. The fourth was a C+ (with .5 of a point away from a B). Papers, papers, and more papers. It is draining on the psyche to write so many of them. When I was finally done at the end of the day I don’t want to write. I’m so exhausted I need to let go of my laptop for a while. And I do not want to sit at my desk with a notebook. All I wanted to do was make dinner and watch a movie or TV show. Writing is not compatible with a tired me. It started affecting the pacing of my stories.
Personally, I don’t mind gore in visual media. It can be hilarious; most notably in Tucker and Dale vs. Evil. Or, it can be frightening- a most recent example (that I have personally seen) would be many scenes in Late Phases. In literature, if you see me reading something gross, you’ll see it on my face. Even though I am a gorehound, I still have the reaction the filmmaker/author/artist is expecting. Unless I’m online, I don’t see too much gore in art.
I’m editing pieces of Ruby Caves and some of it is even too much for me. I’ll give some prime examples below. On my documents I highlighted the offending sentences, and when I’m done writing them in the blog, they will be erased.
Ever since I finished Red’s War and presented it to you guys I’ve had burn out with my stories. However, the recent posts about Ruby Caves are related to my work on it. I’ve finally found my voice with that story. Mutant Cowboy Space Pirate and Radiation Road are the same way. I believe I released Red’s War back in… what was it, late December or January? That’s a long time to be writing something. Another problem: my short stories are at least ten pages up now. They used to be shorter. With the exception of Ruby Caves, everything before Mickey in my STORIES menu is less than ten pages. Now that I’m trapped myself in a visual, in depth style and intricate plot lines the stories are a little longer.
You notice a pattern in my stories after Mickey? All of them deal with the supernatural. This is my burnout. My longer novels and novellas are going to take a while regardless. I’m not too worried about them. I’ve stopped making promises to you about when they are going to be released.
I think my problem with shorter supernatural, paranormal stories is world building. Some creatures don’t need explaining. Zombies, ghosts, vampires, and werewolves are so ingrained in popular culture I don’t need to worry about explaining their origins. I do have to explain where they came from within the reference of the story.
Red’s War was a story I had to write for class… Well, the original, far less bloody version anyway. That story was quick out of necessity but the story is still realistic within its own world. There have been rumors of a monster roaming around the French highlands. Jackie, a local hunter, is sent in to eradicate the creature and dispel the fear that it is a werewolf. The hints throughout the story leading up to the conclusion clearly state that something is wrong. I got through most of the world building quickly because the initial story was already written. The wolf attack on his car is an example of something added in after I presented it to class. It took me ten days to complete the story with all the added background information.
The direct reason for my moving away from the paranormal is also the most simple. I have been working in the genre for a long time and it is finally hitting me that I’ve run out of ideas. I’m human. I don’t know what it’s like to face off against a supernatural being. I do know what it’s like to have fears, desires; and what it feels like to reach out to others on a daily basis, stranger, friend, and roommate alike. Shout-out to Marcus, Roshad, and Sully- the three awesome roommates who have to put up with me for two more weeks.
Manny is a story of the human condition. A security guard on the graveyard shift at a cheap mall must make it through his first night. And then the power is knocked out by a storm. The setting alone is a perfect place for the supernatural to happen. However, Manny is a lone man against a quartet of criminals. Nothing supernatural. I’ll have a brief introduction to his situation and immediately move on to the major part of the story. It works on his fear and the natural urge to stay alive. I can relate to Manny. The first paragraph can be found in this post: see what he does? He’s watching a zombie movie. If I’ve seen a particularly horrific movie I stay up most of the night. That doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it can have an adverse effect on me.
The Cinnabon food-trucks are having a sale.
P.S.- while looking for the first mall image I came across a cool website that chronicles all the abandoned malls in the US. Check it out here!
I’m not sure how the copyrights for Men in Black work. This is about naming my agents the first letter of their last names. Agent R, Agent S, Agent Z, and Agent J. I have a way around this by knowing their real names. Although I haven’t received any angry emails or phone calls from representatives- if, if, it does become an issue I’ll be perfectly willing to change the names. I also have no problems giving you full disclosure.
This would make since. Most of the agents are human and know each other. The Kansas field office of the Outer-Planet Defense Agency (OPDA) is relatively small, with thirty personnel in total. Before I get to the agents, a few characters do go by their names in the story.
First there is General Phillip Mako. Before getting involved in intergalactic politics Mako was a four star general in the United States Army. Anyone can Google his name and gather information on his policies and accomplishments. Naturally some of this information will be classified.
A second character is John Rosefield, a satellite operator in the control room. Another agent who isn’t on the field is the public relations officer Reuben. I haven’t thought of his first name yet. Both of them are small time characters that will make large impacts on the story. I don’t like to believe in useless characters. Everyone except for a simple goon has a purpose in one way or another.
Captain Sasha Morris leads the task force for heavy operations. He comes in around the middle of the story and stays to the end. To avoid boredom he and his men also act as security guards around the base. The base is one of a few hubs that have entered a refugee program for other aliens. There are occasional incursions on the base. I was watching 2012 when thinking up character names and I’m a fan of Sasha the Russian pilot, so it came up.
As for the final character I’ll talk about for now, this will be the top field agent and doctor- Agent Z. He’s a somber character from the planet Nautionary, a general on his own planet. Why he’s here on earth was hinted at in the lost episode of Nutmeg. At any rate, his real name is Zachariah. I thought it was fitting.
I signed into my university late and ended up taking a class called The Art of Storytelling. On top of actually coming up with our own pieces, it was more about public speaking and how to compose yourself in front of others. Some of the lessons from that class was an assignment where I look at a picture of stick figures and write a story about it.
In my recent go at writing Ruby Caves I made a connection to Mutant Cowboy Space Pirate without realizing it. Mackenzie the antagonist is exceedingly nice to the officers who are looking for the kidnapped boy. And then he bites one of them. The antagonist from Ruby Caves, Daniel, creates a life altering drug. And then he does some really, really, nasty things to people.
See the comparison? My villains are good guys on the side (sometimes) because a truly evil villain wouldn’t be as fun to watch. The Joker is funny in his manic episodes. Hans Gruber is a gentleman. Gus Fring… Well, he had his good side.
Now, this isn’t like the jealousy I spoke about in The New Wolf. These are recurring themes throughout my stories. Another theme is what I’ll call Public Interest (for lack of a better term). This is how my characters interact to people in public. Something might go wrong- in Dave’s case in the first chapter, or the Nutmegs in general. Other times it’ll be a background event to set the scene.
A couple of more themes will be some kind of reality twist, like talking animals. The Ostrich is an instance of this. However, these will only take place in some of my goofier stories. Werewolves may talk, but they only say a few words at a time and it comes off as creepy, not funny. A werewolf will used be for comedic uses in one of the sequels to Mutant Cowboy Space Pirate, but until then, they’re scary.
Now, a narrow theme in anything with Dave in it will be his reluctance to work with cops. Unless he absolutely needs to, he will avoid the cops like the plague. This will be the exact opposite of Reacher constantly using the cops in his stories.
To end this real quick, I’ll go off topic and tell everyone to go see 22 Jump Street. It is a really, really funny movie. Hill, Tatum, Stromare, and Cube kill it.
I had been waiting for this movie since the time I saw the eerie teaser trailer with Oppenheimer’s “Vishnu” speech. She takes three forms in this movie, and Earth will regret it. It starts off by introducing us to the Brody family after old-timey clips from the 1950s. Godzilla’s history is only briefly explained here before a M.U.T.O. destroys the nuclear plant Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) runs. Afterwards we meet Dr. Ichiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and (Sally Hawkins) as they search for monsters in the Philippines.
This is when the movie takes a small break to introduce the principle character Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). His father pulls him back to Japan and there, things really heat up. There is a perfectly even pace between the military planning, suspenseful build ups with the people on the ground, and awe-inspiring monster attacks. If you’re wondering when Godzilla comes in, it isn’t long after the M.U.T.O leaves Japan, about a third into the movie.
Oh boy, when Godzilla caused a massive tsunami just by stepping out of the water in Honolulu, Hawaii… I was grinning like the fan-boy I am. I’m talking about the design. Godzilla looks like real monster, a huge 350 foot tall monster that can and does destroy everything in his path. He has the look and feel of the original designs, but this time with smooth movements. CGI is a beautiful future and is embraced fully here. However, the exploding cars and trains and trucks were real props, so not everything hinges on the computer.
It’s not just Godzilla; the M.U.T.O are bug-like, have glowing red limbs, and look astounding. The cinematography was beautiful for a kaiju film. Some of the earlier fights between Godzilla and the M.U.T.O are seen over television screens and still kick ass. The destruction is devastating and cinematographer Seamus McGarvey doesn’t hold back from showing what happens when Mother Nature is done with us.
At first the dialog will seem cliché but as the movie goes on and the plot changes to affect the public; the dialog takes a real interesting turn. The actors handle their lines well. Watanabe is always fun to see. I also give props to ATJ and David Strathairn (who portrays Admiral William Stenz), a reasonable authority figure. His role isn’t the typical domineering asshole that plagues monster movies. He actually has a brain.
The ending fight scene is a pop-corn addict’s field day. Godzilla’s roar is astounding and heart-thumping. As are the M.U.T.O, they have a clicking thing going on, like a cockroach and cricket.
***** out of *****: Fun, frightening, realistic, and beautiful; this is the monster movie of the century. Bow down to the King. Pray he doesn't stomp.
I’ve finally got the official plotline for Ruby Caves down. My biggest problem with getting it done was coming up with Jabari’s character. Revenge is an excellent motive. It fuels Mel Gibson’s badass filmography. However, if revenge is the only thing building a character they can become cartoonish. I did not want that.
Above, true events.
The more I wrote of Ruby Caves, the less important Jabari became to the central plot. I was focused too much on Dave, whom I’ve also changed. Jabari is one of the main plot points in the book, he has to be in there enough to establish a character, and I realized that wasn’t happening because I didn’t know who he is at the time.
I knew who the Case Family, Dave, Neil (formerly Mark), and Erika were. I even knew who Daniel (the Feral from chapter four and five) was. The major theme of Ruby Caves is acceptance of the consequences of one’s actions and redemption. If Jabari just wants revenge it doesn’t give him either of these things.
Dave, on the other hand, is going to be dropped to a third person character. Having a contrast from third person to first person for a guy doesn’t show up to most of the events doesn’t make sense anymore. He’s also not going to be former military. Most modern heroes had some dark past in the military. Something goes wrong and they wrack themselves with guilt for over a hundred pages. I can’t see Dave like that anymore.
I understand why authors do that, it gives their characters a reason for being able to beat ten men into submission. For the new Dave, he was using underground fighting to fund his college tuition. Nemian is one of the three sisters forming the Morrigan, and the Irish war goddess, as I stress too many times to be healthy.
She is drawn to men of violence of war; but as a goddess she can’t interfere without coming to anyone in dreams or long rituals. Dave has an intrinsic ability to see the supernatural for what they are. This gives her… a friend, and him, a very powerful ally. But more importantly, as she watches him fight, she sees the potential for even greater violence. That potential is what bonds her to him, like moths to light.
I am an author. I am a fan of horror, thrillers, and comedy.