From My Writing Playlist

 

Okay okay, yes I know it’s ‘country.’ My wife is a big ‘country’ fan, so expect to see a few of these show up.

Firstly, I don’t consider this country. Johnny Cash is country. John Denver is country. This… is pop music. This is to country what Good Charlotte and Corporate Something were to punk. Think you know where I’m going with that.

When to listen: Okay now that I got my rant out of the way… Why did I put this on my list? Because I can’t resist a motivator song. You’ve seen me post them before. Songs that are pure positive energy. The music is upbeat, so are the lyrics. I especially love the guitar solos. Songs like this are a dime a dozen, but also one in a million… if that even makes sense. Songs that you could listen to while cruising, that make your blood pump, and are just there to make you feel good. Regardless of genre, I can’t fault a song for that.

So put aside personal preference and enjoy. Listen to motivators either during writer’s block or brainstorming, and definitely put it on your general playlist.

 



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.

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

Drakin: The Story of Raiya Update!

Just wanted to give a quick update…

The synopsis has been submitted and approved. We’re going ahead with that. The first draft is now in the hands of the editor. I’m waiting on the corrections from him before moving on to the next step.

The cover is progressing… surprisingly quickly and so far looks awesome. Can’t wait for you all to see it.

We still don’t have a release date, though I am shooting for some time in December. I don’t want to lock myself into that because there’s still considerable work that needs to be done and I want this to be as perfect as possible.

Be patient, be excited, and I’ll have a brand new adventure for you soon!



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.

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

 

From My Writing Playlist

This is a very melodic, very hollow song. Its beautiful and haunting at the same time, as you would expect from Epica.

 

When to listen: Hero reflection, either after the loss of a mentor or perhaps even a lover. You could also arguably use this if your main character sacrifices themselves for someone they care about.



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.

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

From My Writing Playlist

I recommend these guys quite often. Metal with an 80s twist. I love Battle Beast!

When to listen: General playlist… pretty much all of their music should be on any metal-lover’s general playlist!



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.

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

Those Who Are Right Are Just as Wrong

Multitudes

There is a reason the “good guy beats bad guy” stories are so prevalent. Authors are experts at tapping into human psychology to make their stories resonate. Good vs. evil speaks to our most basic instincts of how to make sense of the world and how to stay safe.

But as we grow older, we tend to realize that “good vs evil” is a simplistic, boiled down view of the world. People don’t nicely fit into these labels—there is nuance involved, and perspective, and cultures. There are our own biases and judgments. We realize that antagonists are not always evil incarnate, but often people who are also doing what they think is right.

Instincts are powerful, and in times of heightened emotions we draw heavily from them in order to see us safely and easily through a situation. If someone is attacking you with a knife, you don’t have the luxury of considering that person’s history or thought…

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Why You Shouldn’t Bother with TSCC

… perhaps that picture isn’t the best non-motivator.

Oh well.

If you’re a Terminator super fan like I am, chances are you’re not thrilled with where the series has gone.

Terminator 1 to me was a Jason-style slasher flick. Borderline horror movie. It was good as movies go, definitely ahead of its time. However one that could have wound up on the ‘forgettable’ list.

Terminator 2: In the 80s, James Cameron was a visionary… how far he’s fallen since then… However, this is a story for another post. Terminator 2 did for this series what Aliens did for the Alien series… set the bar WAY too high. It completely changed the medium of the series from an unstoppable back guy who kills anyone who gets in his way, to an emotional, heart-felt, action/adventure movie. You found yourself suddenly rooting for the guy you were fearing in the last movie… even though you knew he likely wouldn’t survive. The special effects were way ahead of their time and the story blew me away. I will argue that Sarah herself was a little TOO crazy in this movie… and hard to like, but I’ll give it a pass.

Terminator 3: … I think most people try to pretend this movie doesn’t exist. Outside of a fan service bad guy… this movie did nothing except give the studio excuses to make more movies and completely invalid everything that happened in T2. Suddenly Miles died for nothing and the second terminator was wrong. UGH! The Golden Age of Terminator was clearly over. I still watch this movie because… well as action movies go, it was passable!

Terminator Salvation: A movie that covers the resistance movement??? RIGHT ON!!! We’ve been waiting for this!! I’m not really a huge fan of Christian Bale or Sam Worthington, but they did a serviceable job in this movie. This clears up quite a bit about how Connor and Reese meet and how Connor becomes leader of the resistance. I will say that Connor is a little more deified than I would have liked, but I suppose that was unavoidable. All in all, it was a good movie, minus the absence of Arnold.

Terminator Salvation Animated: … I own it, but haven’t watched it all the way through. It’s okay… but I can’t really speak to the story. Moving on…

Terminator Genisys: When I heard about the premise for this movie… yeah I wasn’t enthusiastic. How could anyone do better than Linda Hamilton? I admit I didn’t hear/see anything more until I showed up at the movie. Then I saw her… “Wait… that’s Daenerys Targaryen… YOU CAST DAENERYS TARGARYEN AS SARAH CONNOR!?!?!?”
Keep in mind, this was back when she was still being stripped naked and bent over by her Dothraki king. Then I see her actually go to work in the movie and… I was pleasantly surprised. Daenerys (yes I know her name is Emilia Clarke, but lets face it, you all know her as Daenerys), actually pulls off a good Sarah Connor. I wasn’t a fan of their stand in for Kyle Reese, and Arnold… I’ll admit I liked how they explained the Terminator’s age. I honestly thought it was a good movie. I know I’m in the minority when it comes to Genisys, and what happens to John isn’t really well fleshed out, but I actually enjoyed that movie. Bring on the torches and pitchforks!

So where does the Terminator Sarah Connor Chronicles fit in? Honestly… it doesn’t. I’m not going to pretend that the timeline makes ANY sense whatsoever!!! BECAUSE IT DOESN’T!!! People have written books trying to explain this away. Near as I can figure out… TSCC happens as a result of John Connor’s survival of Terminator 3, at which point he sends Cameron back to invalidate that stupid movie. (Thank God)
And then the John Connor from TSCC somehow sends another Terminator back to just wipe the entire drawing board clear and start ‘fresh.’
Confused? You should be, but this is the best I’ve got. Let some other quantum theorist figure the rest out. I subscribe to the divergent timelines theory and that doesn’t hold up here.

Anyway, The Sarah Connor Chronicles stars Lena Headey as Sarah Connor and… OH MY GOD, YES!!!! I’m sorry, unpopular opinion, Cersei blows Linda Hamilton and Daenerys out of the water. I know, I know, most people love Linda Hamilton’s performance and she’s the iconic version… but honestly, I don’t see her portrayal being sustainable in a TV series. She was just too belligerent and insane to make an effective character for long. Lena’s Sarah Connor has that emotional instability, but tempers it with far more motherly instinct.
Thomas Dekker as John definitely reminds me more of T2 John than T3. I’m happy with his performance.
Cameron… what can I say about her? She’s portrayed by Summer Glau… and her previous smash role in Firefly should have been foreshadowing as to what would happen… She portrays a TOK715 from the 900 series of Terminator. Near as I can figure out, she’s a recon Terminator… perhaps even an infiltration unit as she is far better at passing for a human than the T800 series. Though her programming seems more advanced, she definitely seems less advanced than the T1000 series.

The series focuses in several different themes. Sarah is haunted not only by the future and what could happen to John, but also the prospect that she may not be around much longer due to cancer.
John’s story is more of a coming of age tale where he has to deal with the prospect of being humanity’s savior, and also being a normal kid.
Cameron… is the Commander Data of this story. She’s seemingly emotionless, though I’m not convinced of this, but she strives to better understand humans while at the same time protecting John and Sarah. She’s also quite possibly self-aware.

The third and final theme, and perhaps the most interesting one, is the connection between Cameron and John. A potential romance between a human and a terminator is something that was never explored before. I know it turned off a lot of people, but I actually kind of liked that idea.

So with everything positive I said about the show… why on Earth am I saying not to bother with it? Because its just not fleshed out. Unfortunately, the show only got two seasons, was plagued by poor reviews, and was ultimately cancelled. I watched the show religiously and enjoyed every minute of it.

Cancellation means that they didn’t answer WAY too many questions and the Season 2 finale was a cliffhanger that really hurt. All of the plot lines from seasons 1 and 2 were left wide open and literally nothing is accomplished.

Because of this, the series is little more than a fragment of what would have been an amazing series. If you really want to experience it, I’d recommend the first season ALONE! The second season essentially opens way to many plot threads that, thanks to its cancellation, go nowhere.



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.

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

Talking to Myself and Writing It

Hi James,

I’m having trouble writing a character with a dual personality. Do you have any advice on writing a character that talks to themselves? I can’t seem to figure out a way to do it that won’t be confusing.

Thanks,
AJ


Hi AJ,

If the character has a dual personality, then we’re not necessarily talking about the character talking to himself. At least not as far as the character is concerned.

I actually tackle this one in Damnation with Xaphine.

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In this story, we’re dealing with a fallen angel that has been corrupted by the powers of Hell. In order to keep her safe, the devil places her on Earth in the form of a human. He also completely wipes her mind. She doesn’t even completely remember her own name and chooses the name Xaphine for herself.
This is a bit of a spoiler alert, but I’ll do my best not to give away too much;

Because of extenuating circumstances, the angel, General Xaphan (now Xaphine) spends about a decade among humans, more time than anyone intended. She marries, has friends, and a life that she cherishes. When the devil finally comes for her, she puts up a fight. He eventually restores her memory but because he’s lost much of his power, he’s unable to remove… as he calls it, the human taint.
Because of this, the clash of her human memories with those of her angelic ones completely destroys her psyche. To compensate, her mind quickly separates both sets of memories and forms two symbiotic personalities, one is a confused mesh of her human traits, as well as her angelic persona, while the other is the darker persona combined with her angelic traits.

So how do I make that work when they need to confront one another? Well… I guess you could say that I make her hallucinate. Time freezes and she goes to an undisclosed location where her other personality exists when its not in control. They argue about what to do in certain circumstances.

So that’s pretty much how I handle dual personalities. I also name them differently. One is Xaphan, the other is Xaphine.

Otherwise, you’re pretty much just going back and forth saying ‘he said to himself’ and ‘he thought to himself.’

I hope this helps!

Readers, how do you handle this type of thing? Let AJ 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.

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

 

From My Writing Playlist

Ugh… the one brief moment where 90s music didn’t suck… I liked these guys for a little while in Middle School when they were the rave. This was before my introduction into the world of metal in High School. Since then… yeah a lots changed. However this song still sneaks onto my playlist. THIS version, not exile’s as this is the superior version.

Hersey!!!!

Whatever, the singing’s better as is the tune with more of a Latin vibe.

And yes, as everyone who’s ever heard or enjoyed this song will admit, I’ve randomly yelled out ‘TILL THE NIGHT CLOSES IN!!!’ on occasion.

When to listen: Post climax, right at the ending when your characters are sailing off into the sunset.

 



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.

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 Devil in the Pages: How to Play Devils Advocate

Hi Jim,

I saw that you give out writing advice and was hoping you could help me. See I’m taking my first shot at writing a political satire story, but am finding it increasingly difficult to write from the perspective of someone I don’t agree with. It’s getting very hard to write without sounding superficial or condescending. Do you have any suggestions?

Best-
Maria


Hi Maria,

That’s a good question and one that isn’t always easy to answer. As human beings, we all have preferences, beliefs, biases, and worldviews that are specific to us. Many of our core values and beliefs are deeply integrated into our personalities and often very difficult, if not impossible to change.

So with that in mind, how do we work through them. How do we betray our own senses and beliefs and become the devil’s advocate?
The way I see it, there are a few ways…
1. Get involved in debates. On my private facebook profile, I’ll often post a political question or issue based either on current events or something I’m writing about. My friends list is full of people from both sides of the isle… some more mature than others. Most of the time, I’ll get a couple of troll posts, as well as childish name-calling going back ad forth. However, then one or two people who are looking to have a ‘drop the mic’ moment come in with an intellectually sound, cited argument. Reading through these arguments can often give you the answer you’re looking for whether you agree with them or not.

2. Have someone else write it. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with collaborating on a work with another person if you’re completely stumped. Just make sure that this other person has the maturity to post their views without going into attack mode.

3. Do a little soul-searching. This is something I typically do when I debate points. I come up with my argument and then carefully examine it to see where someone could poke a hole in it or use a piece of their own logic to refute it. In that way, you start thinking as they do and very quickly, you can form a cohesive argument.

Remember though, just because you’re writing it, doesn’t mean you agree with it. There is such a thing as playing devil advocate and its a perfectly reasonable thing to do in order to get a point across.

I remember back in college, trying to write a short story from a German soldier’s perspective during WW2. My goal was to have the soldier condemn what Hitler did, but defend WHY Germany let him come to power in the first place. This soldier wasn’t supposed to be the moral or ethical right, but I at least wanted people to know that perspective in order to gain a bigger understanding of the context behind World War 2. In the end, the soldier would be executed following the Nuremberg trials.

Well… I live in the United States. All of the known Nazis have long since been deported. Any that could still be left are likely either dead or in hiding. However… their children and grandchildren remained. Most didn’t want to talk about it, but a few were able to give me some insight into the how and why that we aren’t really taught in school.

So I was able to find some information that helped me make a decent argument.

Anyway, I hope this helps.
Readers, what do you think? Do you have any advice for Maria? Let her 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.

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

 

Prequelitis

I think I can speak for everyone here when I say that we’re all pretty tired of prequels am I right?

Earlier in the week I heard through the grapevine that Game of Thrones was going to have a couple of spinoff series dealing with events that happened before the events we all know and love.

The response I’ve heard; A collective groan.

Of course, we’re all excited to see a new series coming out in the same universe… but did it have to be a prequel?

Star Trek Discovery is set to be a prequel and all I hear on their facebook page is how upset the fans are. Per Midnight’s Edge  Netflix is actually furious because they paid for Discovery, thinking they were getting a cutting edge, new series, and what they got was an unwanted prequel.

So why are we, the viewing audience as a whole, suffering from prequelitis, and why isn’t Hollywood and many literary writers picking up on that? Well that’s a loaded question. Let’s go through the subjects one at a time.

Fans are tired of prequels, why? Well there are several reasons… First, there are no real surprises. We all know what’s going to happen. I remember seeing The Phantom Menace when it was in theaters and just sat there looking at the main cast like, “Let’s see main cast… that guy’s dead by A New Hope, that guy dies in A New Hope, dead by A New Hope, Dead by A New Hope, he’s the emperor, he’s Darth Vader…”

I mean when you’re doing a prequel, unless you’re going to take a radical departure from the established story, you’re really limited by what you can offer. The few times people have taken a radical departure from the established story, the backlash from fans is relentless, again Star Trek Discovery being the current example.

Well can’t you just say its an alternate universe???

Shut… the hell… up!!!

A second problem with prequels is that they have a tendency to poison the original story. If there is a piece that doesn’t make sense, it really turns the fans off when the studio has to retcon the inconsistency off-screen. In addition, something may happen in the prequel that will then sour fans to the sequel in other ways. Consider Anakin Skywalker’s fall. After watching Episode III, I couldn’t help but shake my head when Obi Wan gave Luke his father’s lightsaber… you know, the saber that slaughtered innocent children… on more than one occasion!?

But I digress…

So with that in mind, why do writers and movie makers keep doing this, knowing how prequels are quickly becoming box office poison? Well I think the phenomenon is now slowing going away in favor of another Hollywood travesty; the reboot/remake… which is arguably worse. However to answer the question as to why this still happens… it’s because it is safe. These days, new stories and original scripts are really seen as box office poison in their own right. Prequels showing the titles of a beloved work is sure to attract the original crowds thus making money, even if the movie is royally bad.

So why don’t they just make sequels? You know, continue the stories!

They did… sequelitis was a thing once too, don’t forget. The result was the market being awash in disposable dollar-bin movies that didn’t respect… or went so far as to ruin the original stories. (Blues Brothers 2000 or Love Never Dies, much?)

Okay, then what is your answer? 

Well… I mean there isn’t really one. Prequels, sequels, and remakes are always going to draw a crowd, even if people in general don’t like them. So like it or not, they’re still getting made. I’ve got news for all of you, the Back to the Future remake is coming. It may not be today or tomorrow, but it will happen. It is an inevitability.

However I actually already did answer this question once when I myself was confronted with the ‘no sequel, no publishing’ problem; write a concurrent story. Yes set your new story in the same universe with all new characters and send those characters on an adventure that was sparked by the events of the first one. Allow characters from the first story to make brief appearances and cameos, but make them side characters with one or two scenes, tops. There is so much potential, so many options, and so many ways to expand your current world. Sadly, I don’t think anyone in Hollywood reads my blog so…

So what, stop going to movies? Avoid the box office and just watch the movies we know and love?

I’m dubious to say no, but that’s more because Hollywood is home to one of the biggest child sex trafficking rings on the planet and they deserve jail cells, not the mansions they get.
However… no. Do not do that. As I said in a previous post, Hollywood isn’t out of new ideas. There are movies with original scripts coming out all the time. You know the movies that are at the box office, but you’ve never heard of them? There’s no advertising and only a few screenings? Those are your original scripts. They don’t get much in the way of ads nor do they get a ton of funding, but they are out there. I’d encourage everyone to vote with their wallets. Go see those movies or read the non-prequel/sequel books. There are plenty out there.


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.

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