Ruining my Childhood.

I’ve heard this phrase over and over. We saw it come to a height during the Ghostbusters debacle, but it’s been around since before and long after. Mostly, people who use this and similar phrases are mocked as being man-babies, among other less flattering things.

What does the phrase mean? Well basically when you say that something is ruining your childhood, they’re saying that something new, a new take, a new development, a new twist, etc. are tainting something that they loved during their childhood and possibly making them look back and reflect on what they liked about it in the first place. In theory, this could depress a person and make them think that perhaps they wasted some of their life being a fan of whatever it is that is being ruined.

Oh come on, that’s kind being a little oversensitive, isn’t it?

Well… yes, to a point. However that doesn’t mean that these people should be dismissed.

Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of melodrama involved here, but you will not catch me calling anyone out on it. Why? Because for all I know, there is a legitimate gripe behind their statement. Perhaps the subject matter is something they saw with someone they loved who is now gone. Perhaps, just perhaps a child’s fondest memory with a parent was when they watched a movie, read a book, etc. before they died.

I don’t know the case each time someone uses that statement, therefore I am not in a place to judge the validity of their accusation.

I hate to do this, but yet again, I’m taking a middle-of-the-road stance on this. If something is ruining your childhood, perhaps there is some soul searching that needs to be done. If there is a reason you feel that way, look nothing can ruin the original source material that you enjoyed. No matter what comes out, no matter what replaces it, no matter how badly a story is damaged by a sequel that comes along later by an incompitent writer/director/etc, the original is still there. It’s waiting for you, it’s okay. Go, take that old book off the shelf. Go watch that old movie you love some much. It wants your attention. I think you’ll find that when you do go back and look at it, it’s still there, and its still as good as it was… unless its  Star Wars… which is why I highly recommend the non-special edition versions that are available on DVD. 

Now, to film makers and their backers, you have a responsability to the fans of the established work. You may think that you can put shit on a stick and people will pay for it, but that’s not always the case. Look at the backlash Sony took for slamming fans of Ghostbusters who didn’t like the direction the franchise was taking. Like I said, they did what they did, without taking into account that destroying childhoods may in fact be a legitimate gripe. It’s this, amongst many other reasons that myself and many other movie-goers are completely disillusioned with Paul Feig’s, Melissa McCarthy’s, and Sony’s work all together and will not pay to see their movies anymore.

Don’t make their mistakes. You have a responsability to the paying audience and fans to put out something worthy of their time. Make it good!

To ALL my readers, if you feel that in some way things like what I mentioned above have negatively effected you, I have an open door policy with you. Email me, I’d love to talk to you. I am not a credentialed therapist, but I have studied psycology and spent part of my adult life working with children who have severe psycological issues. Please feel free to email me.




Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

The Nazis are Bad!

There seems to be a rather annoying trend… I won’t say recently because it’s been going on for years, which is why it’s getting annoying. This trend is something we see in all mediums and it follows the same basic formula:

Bad Guy + Nazi Imagery = Effective Villain.

That’s right… is your bad guy lacking in back story? Are they just not cutting it evil-wise? Well then, bring in some Nazi imagery! Once you do that, if your audience isn’t ‘crap their pants scared’ or made with rage, then you need a new audience.

I started noticing it a while ago, but we really get good examples of it in Harry Potter:
tumblr_inline_nq5oubdvkv1rq3374_500

… Does this look familiar?

1st.png

Similar color schemes, similar message, etc. etc. etc.

Another good example is Star Wars The Force Awakens:

Okay… as Epic as that Speech is… yeesh…

Needless to say… these examples and too many like them are beyond blatant.

Look I’m not here to say that the Nazis aren’t bad, nor am I going to say that they shouldn’t be smeared in commentary. My grandfather came home with horror stories about what he saw when his battalion liberated some of the camps. I have first-hand witness accounts from a family member… so no one is going to dispute Nazi villainy on my watch.

That said, this formula does tend to get blatantly overused. I see it all too often in cases where the bad guy isn’t ‘bad’ enough… but then I see it in stories like Star Wars where it’s just completely unnecessary. We know the first order, we know their backstory and we know why they’re evil. The Nazi symbolism and imagery is completely unnecessary. If your reasoning for doing it isn’t because your villains aren’t well-written enough, why are you doing it?

Because the Nazis were evil and this is social commentary against them.

Well… you know what? We’ve got literally thousands of books, movies, documentaries, etc. telling us that. We know they’re evil and anyone who doesn’t think so, isn’t going to be swayed by your movies.

My only point here is that it’s been overdone. I mean if you’re going to do social commentary in your medium about the evils mankind has committed, why not one that’s a little more glossed over:

The atrocities of the Soviet Union pre, during, and post-WW2 which were arguably on a scale much larger than anything Hitler had been able to accomplish.

The Chinese atrocities following WW2?

The Vietnam atrocities on both sides.

The ongoing ethnic and militaristic cleansing in Africa?

Or how about something more modern, say… What’s going on in the Middle East right now?

But people may not recognize those as easily…

Maybe that’s the problem? People keep saying that they want to show that the Nazis were evil so that things like what they did will never happen again.

Sadly, they are happening again. Maybe not on such a huge scale, but they are happening again right now, as I write this and as you read it. So maybe its time to use that imagery and bring attention to it.

So I just want to say one more time, I’m not opposed to Nazi imagery when creating villains, I just think it’s kind of overused.

What do you think? Should we continue to use it as heavily as possible to keep such wide-scale genocides from happening again or should we switch focus to more recent tragedies?
Let me know in the comments.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

LOGAN: Wolverine 3

 

Oh God… you know, I get the impression that I will not be leaving this theater with dry cheeks… On one hand, its because this is Hugh Jackman’s last appearance as Wolverine. That alone is enough to make a respectable fanboy cry. This is a rare form for an actor as he has faithfully portrayed the character and gave the role his all, literally for the better part of 2 decades (well… 16 years, but who’s counting?)

Secondly because I’m pretty sure either Logan or Picard… ahem, I mean Professor X, or BOTH are going to die at the end of this movie… 😦

Plus given the tone, the hints… ‘She is like you, Logan. Very much like you.”

untitled

(Gee… I wonder who she’s going to turn out to be…)
mvc3_x_23_render_by_triggerhappy039-d3aqb5a

Yeah… I think everyone picked up on that one pretty quickly.

Anyway… this movie looks amazing. It’ll be a tear-jerker, but amazing none the less.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Writing the Devil

So no one really asked me about this one, but it was a question that I thought I’d pose. Since most of my stories have a good vs. evil, religious, element to them (no they’re not preachy!), I thought I’d bring this up.

How does one write the devil? Is there a right way? Is there a wrong way? Well… honestly I don’t know. The devil comes in many forms; Lucifer, Satan, the Morningstar, Diablo, Dragon… the list goes on.

I’ve also seen him depicted in many ways as well:

– A revolutionary angel kicked out of Heaven for trying to take over. His wings are bloody and he has lost most of his angelic powers in favor of demonic ones.

– An antagonistic angel that is part of God’s ruling council, even though he really doesn’t get along with anyone and tends to challenge God on most things.

-An idealistic freedom fighter who lost his way while trying to free his brothers and sisters (angels being servants to God) from bondage.

-A hideous demon with red skin, horns, and a horribly long tongue.

-Tim Curry… that’s pretty much all I need to say. The man could’ve depicted the devil perfectly; a sly individual who always looks like he’s got something up his sleeve. (No disrespect intended, I am a huge fan!)

-A massive, multi-headed dragon that is almost incomprehensible.

-A demonic creature without form that can appear any way it pleases.

-A beautiful, seductive, woman looking to lure an unsuspecting sinner to his doom.

-A righteous angel that, while not evil, is given the task of judging and punishing those who commit evil.

-A bored man-child playboy who drives a sports car around, wreaking havoc on the city he lives in, making deals with people, and causing mischief where ever he goes.
(Yes, I do love the show Lucifer.)

Honestly, I could keep going, but those are the ones I see the most. So which would I use? Well… honestly I’ve done it a couple of ways, depending on the narrative that I’ve been going for. However, now I’m trying to build out a new story dealing with the devil and a new narrative.

So for the devil, I think the character would be pretty much whatever it wants. Is it evil? Yes and no. I have written in many of my stories that the devil was a revolutionary trying to free his people from eternal servitude. To him, the idea of serving humanity, a species that is in his eyes is inferior in every way to the angels, is the last straw in an eternity of indignities. The devil initially had the best intentions, but countless eons in Hell, being perverted and corrupted by evil would change him into something, knowingly or otherwise, that is wholly evil.

So in earthly form, as it will be appearing to humanity, I think it would be female. She’d be beautiful, mischievous, seductive, but also friendly, outgoing, and incredibly likable. I think I would a really then throw everyone for a loop when she turns out to be the bad guy.

Anyway, let me know what you all think? How would you write the Devil?



 

Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Writing Fantasy

I loved the Skyrim picture in the bottom… My request is: can you give me some advices about how to write a good fantasy story?. I`ve been writing since… forever, but I want to do things in a better way now. I apreciate the help. Thanks!

Emaleth



Hi Emaleth,

Phew, that’s a loaded question. How to write a good fantasy… Well honestly what’s good and what isn’t is a very subjective term, but let’s see what I can do.

So honestly fantasy is really used in many cases to deliver messages about various topics; history, politics, feelings and emotions, and current events. Now this isn’t what its used for 100% of the time, but it is an effective means of delivering these messages in an entertaining way. No one likes being preached to, so this is a very good way of going about it.

Let me provide a few examples…

Lord of the Rings: Tolkien wrote his story about World War 1. He wrote about the climate at the time and made several metaphorical comparisons to the effects of the war.

Skyrim: This is perhaps one of the more obvious ones. Go back and take a look at the history, cultural, and religious effects that took place in Europe as the result of the Roman Empire being forced to withdraw from Nordic, Gothic, and Celtic lands. Skyrim tackles the effects of the Roman occupation and the struggle for independence. The story tends to veer off depending on what side you choose, and arguably paints the history side as a negative (Nords win), but that’s why it seems so similar.

Divinity: My book tackles religious dogma, corruptions, and hypocrisy, while trying to tell an adventure. I wanted to make it clear about how some church leaders would be more interested in their own political standings than finding religious truth.

The NeverEnding Story: Well, depending on whether you read the book or watch the movie, we see a world being destroyed because of people losing hope, not reading, and really not using their imagination. It was a cautionary tale of what has happened.

So really I think fantasy is used best to speak on different issues. I would take an issue you’re passionate about switch a few things around say switch races with fantasy races, switch political bodies with different kingdoms, political leaders with characters that you created yourself. That is how you do it.

That said, this isn’t a rule. If you want to write an adventure dealing with elves, dwarves, or any creature or theme of your choosing, go for it. It’s called fantasy. There are no rules.

In the end, my advice is, write what you love. If you want to write about sociopolitical issues, great, write them, and then make the changes and add fantasy elements.

Anyway, hope this helps! Thanks for the message!!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Goals in Writing

Hi Jim,

I was just wondering as a fellow writer what your goals are? Like what are you hoping people get out of your writing or what do you hope to accomplish by releasing your writing to the public?

Thanks,
Also Jim!



Hi Also Jim,

I want my book to get noticed by a big movie production company, buy the rights for a few million dollars, and then live off of the royalty checks so I’ll never have to work again in my life.

… … … … okay, all kidding aside.

Honestly, I could live without any of my stories changing mediums, either on the big screen or the small one. After seeing what happens when a director gets a hold of another person’s work, pretty much cuts the creator out, and projects their own vision on the established story. It RARELY ends well, and leaves the original creator extremely bitter. (See Mary Poppins, The Never Ending Story, the Jaws Sequels, and the Exorcist 2. Just to name a few…)

Okay… honestly it really depends on which book you’re talking about. Let’s run down the list…

The Magnifica Series – So this was a sort of fun fantasy that I wrote for my own enjoyment. Yes I do have racism… in context, species-ism in the story, but it’s heavily downplayed. I really just wanted this to be a fun story for anyone who really wished that mythological creatures existed. Really I didn’t even think I’d get it published, but there was some demand from a few friends who read it. So really if you get something about how damaging racism can be, wonderful. If you’re just really enjoying it because it’s a fun story, that’s all I really wanted.

Divinity – So Divinity was the first major work I ever did. It was a book I wrote during a time when I was going through a crisis of faith. In context, I follow the Catholic faith, however I don’t typically go to church, nor do I follow all of the tenants to a T. I also take exception when a priest or other church official giving definitive answers to questions they have absolutely no business answering that way. Divinity was essentially the answer to that. I wanted to comment on why people of faith need to be careful about blindly following what the leaders of ANY given church say.
So basically I took my readers back to a time when church corruption was at its worst and, based on what humanity typically did to people who claimed to be prophets, placed a wounded angel at the mercy of these people. I thought it was appropriate because… well…

History people, here’s a theoretical question for you; If an angel appeared in 15th Century Europe, knowing what the church was like and how primitive people were, what would happen if they saw said angel bloodied, blind, and unable to fly?
(You all already know my answer, so go ahead and let me know in the comments. I’m pretty certain we’re all thinking something similar.)

So yeah, the book was meant to be a cautionary tale against blind faith.

Damnation – So Damnation had similar themes at it dealt with the geopolitical strife during the War of the League of Cognac. However it’s more a story of redemption. A dark character that has gone as bad as you could go, comes back to the light. My story here is supposed to be more one of hope. I still wanted to draw out the hypocrisy of blind faith in religion, but I more wanted people to take away that no matter how bad things get, there are paths back.

Soul Siphon – … okay you got me. This one was pure enjoyment. Seriously, I’d always wanted to write a super hero story and that’s what I came up with. There is no real hidden meaning behind it, it’s pure enjoyment, nothing more.

So Jim, I hope this answers your question. Overall, I really just hope that people enjoy my writing and it opens them up to the new worlds that I created. Honestly I first wrote my books because I wanted something interesting to read and really wasn’t finding anything on the market. I worked on getting them published because people wanted to read them. That’s all really.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Custom Action Figures

I want to talk a little bit about action figures once more as I’m an avid collector of them. They’re fun to display, fun to collect, and certainly fun to play with your kids with… unless they’re the $30+ ones with fragile parts… then yeah, just the first two!

But what about characters that don’t have action figures, either because they’re just not popular enough or they’re just starting out… or they’re from a medium that generally doesn’t produce action figures? Or how about the problem I had with the Spider Gwen action figure that I felt was cheaply made?
_58(Yes, I’m still mad about that.)

Well for those of you who really want something like that… your options are fairly limited. Take me for example…

I have a character that I downloaded for Skyrim, then did a lot of extra modifying to. This character was tough, badass, and someone who literally never left my party. In fact, she was in part, the inspiration of a lot of really fun fan fictions dealing with Skyrim and other universes:
2014-07-26_00002

She followed my character on many adventures… and even stole kills from me on a regular basis. She was definitely the most bad ass out of any of the companions I used.

2014-08-20_00002

Anyway, I know that Skyrim has action figures, but what are the chances that they’d create a non-canon figure based on a mod? More importantly, this specific mod… the answer is, of course, NONE!

However, I really wanted one of her as she was hands-down one of my favorite characters in any medium. So I started looking into the possibilities of making her. I ruined a few Arwen and Tauriel action figures in the attempt… I’m sorry to say.

At that point, I’d given up. There was no way that this was ever going to happen. It was at this point that I came across an interview  with a toy customizer named John Harmon. I went through his page, checking out the other impressive work he’d done… and come to find out that there is actually a huge community of people that do this kind of work. Like actual message boards, contact pages, etc.

SWEET!!! So with excited fingers, I fired off a message to John as his were the most impressive I’d seen in my search about doing this figure. He replied to me pretty quick saying that he’d be happy to work with me, and asked for images of the character in question. Thankfully, I’d just finished about 10 hours of modding (no, not consecutive, I HAVE A LIFE!!! 😉 ), and so I sent him off some more high definition images:

(Yes, this is what Skyrim CAN look like with the right attention to detail, patience, and the right system)

At that point, we got down to the basics;
What size action figure?
Any weapons?
What the base figure would be?

So basically, he takes an existing action figure, uses as much of it as he can… though usually not very much, and creates a brand new one. He does this using parts of other action figures that look similar or when there isn’t any, he makes the parts custom.

So perfect, now we have a way of getting action figures we otherwise wouldn’t get, right? Eh… two things I need to mention here…

  1. This isn’t cheap. Most of the time, if you want a decent action figure, you need a high-quality base action figure. Those can run from $30-$100+ so factor that into the price, plus labor and other parts. Thankfully mine was… somewhat affordable? I have no regrets, being a geek doesn’t usually come cheap when you get down to collectibles.
  2. It takes time. A lot of these customizers, John included, do this as a career and usually have a lot of requests. Be prepared to wait 6+ months for your figure. I submitted my request on December 1st, I received my figure in late June, I believe?

Was it worth it? You be the judge:

And again:

So if you have a character you really want to see made into a figure and your geek cache is plentiful, I’d definitely look into it.

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim