You May Not Know…

Kylo Ren and Poe Dameron have met before… in the movie Inside Llewyn Davis, we see them along side Justin Timberlake singing a song that… ironically seems a little anti-space-travel. I haven’t seen this movie, so I don’t understand the context of the song though…

Also is it just me or does it look like Kylo Ren is the only one having any fun in this video? 🙂



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 Double Standard of Art

 

I recently got into a discussion with someone over the rules of writing and grammar. He suggested that the rules of grammar and writing were too rigid and should be subject to change based majorly on what is/is not politically correct at the time.

While I agree that the rules can be very rigid and should be subject to change. Slang changes, words change meaning, period pieces really should be written in the vernacular of the time, and there are as many writing methodologies as there are words in any give language.

My issue comes with how/when the rules need to be changed and how much they should really be followed. As a writer, I don’t always follow the rules of grammar because when writing characters and having them speak with slang terms is often a nightmare to try to sort out. Thus I usually rely on my own personal style to fill in the blanks of how that is supposed to go. Not only that, there is no rule about how to write in a foreign language and then translate it should you want to, no rule about writing thought vs. speech, etc.

Thus in many cases the rules are more like guidelines and really should be references more than followed to the letter.

Now here’s where I don’t think the rules should be changed… they should not be changed to follow the passions/prejudices/social political issues of a time. What I mean by that is that a writer shouldn’t feel constrained to write within what is considered socially acceptable at the time. If you want to write something that may trigger someone, go for it. If you’re worried that someone will get offended or upset, that’s they’re problem, not yours.

Don’t get wrong, I don’t like the idea of someone writing something for the express purpose of pissing people off. That’s unprofessional and bad form, but if you’re trying to write something provocative and want people to think, I have no problem with that. As long as its not incitement, slander, or written for the express purpose of causing harm, I don’t have an issue with it.

I call bull! You’re constantly calling people out for what you consider bigotry and bad writing.

That is true, but have you ever seen me demand that they take down what they wrote? I call out the logic, hypocrisy, or negative stigma that comes with what they write. I do NOT report them or demand that any of it be taken down. They have a right to say what they say and they have a right to be heard. I have a right to disagree with what they say, voice my concern, and have an equal right to be heard. If someone doesn’t like what I have to say, they can unfollow me, block me, or call me out on it. I have no issue with it nor do I hold it against them. I welcome a little discourse and discussion because that’s how you get things done. The ONLY time I shut someone down is when the discussion turns into childish name-calling and insults. That is personally attacking someone and it is uncalled for and unprofessional.

Anyway back on topic. Why do people feel that writing needs to be censored and needs to cater to the passions, prejudices, and hurt feelings? History books omit certain triggering issues in classrooms, writers are hiring sensitivity editors, and even pieces like Mark Twain’s writing is being censored!

Why is this allowed to happen, when in most cases these are the same people who think that works of art like this should not be censored despite how offense it can be to christians:

Piss_Christ_by_Serrano_Andres_(1987)

They’re the same people admire Carroll Dunham’s work… despite how visually displeasing others (myself included) find it… They’re the same people who say that nudity in any medium, including movies shouldn’t be censored.

So why then is it okay to say that writing should cater to political correctness with literally no other art form does?

 



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 Love/Hate with Relationship Writing

There seems to be a trend that is pretty well-established in Hollywood, but unfortunately has also inked its way into literature and other various art forms as well, and its one I do not like nor do I think its effects are positive.

What do I mean by that? Well let’s think about this for a moment; Name one TV show in recent memory where a relationship between two characters sprouted, and it actually survived the series. Same thing with movies… While I’m sure there are some out there, none immediately come to mind.

I started noticing it little by little over time, but then it really came to a head when it came to my wife’s turn to pick a movie for us to see… and she chose La La Land…

Okay my own issues with this movie aside, it ended on a real downer with the couple splitting up and going their separate ways, each getting the fame they wanted, but neither necessarily the better for it.

This is not the only example either… in Jurassic Park, Dr.s Grant and Satler split up between movies despite all the build up and character development that hinted towards the two of them having kids one day… essentially making the first movie’s character development pointless.

Indiana Jones wouldn’t see a recurrent love interest until the forgettable fourth film. National Treasure saw our lead kicked out of his own home by the love interest. In How I Met Your Mother, ONE a single relationship survives the series giving the series a .00001% success rate (blame Ted). In one of my wife’s favorites, Grey’s Anatomy, not even the marriage between the two main characters survived and a couple characters are struggling through their second marriages… the show is still ongoing so we’ll see how this goes…

In comic form, Cyclops leaves his loving wife and young son, and BOTH go through a character assassination for Jean Grey to return. She later gets killed off and Cyclops winds up with the White Queen. Colossus is now gay so… sorry Kitty!

Worst of all, perhaps the most entertaining relationship in Marvel; Mockingbird and Hawkeye didn’t survive.

Really the list just keeps on rolling. I see it in written form too…

But Jim, in this day and age, marriages don’t last. The odds are actually against it.

Actually the latest statistics are that between 40-50% of marriages end in divorce. That likely places the number at 45%. It also doesn’t take into account marriages of convenience, people who marry, remarry, and remarry again, nor does it take into account the behavior of the Hollywood cesspool.

Well Jim, wouldn’t you say that’s part of the problem? Look at the role models!

Not really… first of all, anyone who views the Hollywood elites as role models needs a dose of reality. That place is a cesspool of corruption, deviancy, and KNOWN child sex trafficking. Anyone who has children that look up to Hollywood celebs really need to re-examine their parenting.

Also, that statement doesn’t hold true anyway. Celebs that choose to keep their relationships out of the public eye… usually by moving out of LA, but also through other means which sometimes include reducing their career-load and/or exposure, survive just fine.

Christopher Lee, one of my all-time heroes was married for 54 years until his death.

Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr. have stepped back from the spotlight taking more… behind the scenes and voice acting roles and they’ve been married for 12 years.

Kurt Russel and Goldie Hawn, two big names from the 80s and early 90s have been together for 34 years. You don’t see them in much anymore, but they do pop up from time to time.

Matt Damon has gone to impressive lengths to keep his family out of the spotlight and he’s been married for 12 years.

I get that these are the exception, not the rule, but they do further my point.

Anyway, yes I get it, we’re in the middle of a family crisis which I think writers and artists in multiple mediums are taking WAY too lightly. In many of these cases, we see these relationships end, and both parties go their separate ways. They don’t take into account the emotional, financial, and even psychological damage that can take place. It’s sort of glossed over in many cases.

That’s not even taking into account the effect it has on children, whom statistics and most mental health professionals show that children do better in stable, two-parent households.


This is really not good people. In my opinion, this has had a negative effect on almost ALL storytelling mediums in a very drastic and sad way. How you might ask? Consider… you watch a show or a movie and two characters get together that you really like. The couple is… for lack of a better term ADORABLE together. They get married and everything is going great. Given what’s been going on lately, are you going to get invested in that couple? Are you going to savor it?

Unlikely.

Given that the chances of said relationship surviving, especially if its early in the movie/book/series/etc, getting emotionally involved will just lead to disappointment later. The result? The great character development and immersion is lost on people who subconsciously put up walls to prevent the disappointment. Most of the time they aren’t even cognoscente of the fact that they’re doing it.

A few of my friends who have read my stories have said that they’re a little romance-heavy… well those are also friends who all to often turn out to be shocked when a relationship actually survives a movie series, TV series, or Book series.

That’s right, a strong successful relationship has been reduced to a PLOT TWIST!

Look I understand that not every relationship is meant to last, and you can argue that most people go through an average of 5 or 6 relationships before they find ‘the one,’ and you’d be right… but not marriages, live-in partners, or long term (4+ years) relationships!

So I’m not saying don’t write in breakups, don’t kill off the love interest, don’t not write about infidelity or divorce… what I am saying is that it might be refreshing to have successful relationships become a little more common… or at the very least try to take the damage done by parting ways more seriously instead of just glossing over it!

Anyway, readers what do you think? Am I being melodramatic or have you noticed something similar?



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

Star Wars Trailer Released!!!

 

Liking what I’m seeing so far… was that Luke saying that it’s time for the Jedi to end?

… I wonder what he means by that. Love the new cruiser design, loved seeing an old A-Wing 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

Fantasy Movies?

I got a request a while ago to recommend a few good fantasy movies. I’m going to assume they meant besides Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. So… let’s get into them.

  1. Nausica of the Valley of the Wind.
    Pretty much any studio Ghibli movie would do, but this one is considered Miyazaki’s grand masterpiece… and its my favorite.
  2. Army of Darkness
    Yeah yeah… I know the evil dead series is supposed to be Horror/Suspense/Thriller, but this one is definitely way outside the norm for those movies. This is not the same thing.
  3. Sinbad the Sailor
    ANY Sinbad the Sailor movie. Even the lesser-known ones are spectacular in their own way. I literally have all of them on DVD and love them!
  4. Merlin (1998)
    This little-known made of TV movie starring Sam Neill (Jurassic Park, Even Horizon) is about as close to the source material as one can get while still making an enjoyable movie. It is sad and laced with tragedy all throughout and the effects haven’t aged well… but the ending really saves it. Watch it all the way through and it will become a memorable movie you’ll love for years to come.
  5. The Secret of Nimh
    Don Bluth movies hold a very special place in my heart, and this one is no exception. They often appear dark and drab, but the substance of the story is really incredible… just stay away from the sequel.
  6. Big Trouble in Little China
    Hahahahahaha… Just go… go watch it. Never in your life will you see another movie that makes you smile and applaud while asking the person next to you ‘What the hell did we just watch?’ like this one. It’s a total classic for all the wrong reasons.
  7. How to Train Your Dragon
    Yeah, didn’t think a Dreamworks movie would make it on here, did you? Well it did. This is about as close to Norse Mythology as most modern kids’ movies get.
  8. The Black Cauldron
    Sigh… I know a lot of people hated this movie, but it stars John Hurt, arguably one of the most underrated actors of all time and I honestly really enjoyed it.
  9. Stardust
    Loved the book, love the movie. This is a romance between a Fae (Star) and a human. It’s funny, suspenseful, and extremely light/warm-hearted. It’s a good watch.
  10. The NeverEnding Story
    The book is surprisingly better than the movie… I didn’t think it would be possible, but it is, and in comparing the two, I can see why Michael Ende wanted his name off of the movie.
  11. Maleficent
    Ehh… You could switch this out with the original Sleeping Beauty, but either works.
  12. Labyrinth
    Campy and really light-heart. I love this movie… just don’t look directly at the crotch. (Most ladies and some guys know what I’m talking about.)
  13. Clash of the Titans
    1981!!! I cannot stress this enough, go with the 1980 version. It is infinitely superior!
  14. The Last Unicorn.
    Beautifully animated, abbreviated retelling of the classic story. The only downside are the terrible musical numbers.
  15. Willow
    Sort of a retelling of Star Wars in a High Fantasy style story, but great none-the-less.
  16. Return to Oz
    This is the movie you punish your kids with and can get away with because it has a PG rating. (I know, I’m a bad man!) But even as an adult, it’s a freaky yet fascinating movie.
  17. Legend
    Tim Curry as Darkness… that’s… pretty much anyone can say about it.

Anything I missed? These aren’t the hugely known movies we all flock to, but are worth mentioning!

 



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

Unpopular Opinion: Bakshi did it better!

 

I hate to say this… but after watching Peter Jackson’s The Two Towers again and then comparing it to the not-so-well-aging Ralph Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings… I hate to say it, but the biggest, best part of the movie was done infinitely so much better in Bakshi’s version.

Let’s examine the two…

 

Okay yes… raining… suspense, tension and build up. Its all there. We’ve seen this before. Continuous marching and the pounding of feet, yeah it’s ominous, but its something we see in most, if not all medieval and fantasy style war movies. If anything, its kind of underplayed. I also take issue with the behavior of the orcs in this… its… almost comical for something that is supposed to be taken seriously.

Also I’d say our heroes tempt fate one too many times to be taken seriously. Its almost like they know that they are the main cast and thus immune from death. This really takes you out of the battle.

My last issue… the elves. Yeah okay… we see what one elf, Legolas can do… and we’re to believe that an army of Orcs completely took them out? This fight should have been over in minutes when the Orcs stormed the keep. The other takeaway here is that it was completely unnecessary, as an avid fan of the species, I don’t get the elven abuse. They didn’t even show up to Helm’s deep in the book. They were busy defending their own lands as I recall. So why did they have them show up? The situation was supposed to look desperate… having an elven army show up sort of takes the edge off.

Okay… now lets look at Bakshi…

Here, the red backdrop is infinitely more menacing. You see them slowly climb over a ridge and start to get an idea just how large the army is. What’s more? They don’t just march or slam their weapons on the ground to freak their enemy out. They’re chanting as they march. If you get an army coming at you, chanting in perfect harmony, you have my permission to soil yourself. I won’t judge.

Their chanting continues through most of the battle and actually gets louder and more bombastic as they beat back Rohan. Not to mention the desperation of the battle is really there. It’s so potent, you can really feel it. Yes the animation is sub par, the defenders just stand there as they’re hit with arrows, and the orcs look like an army of Tuskan Raiders (wow… they really did come back in greater numbers.), but they got the feel of the battle down much better.
When someone dies, you really feel it. There’s concern, there’s emotion, everything is there unlike in the Jackson version where the characters are so stoic, it’s to the point of suicidal.

Anyway, let me know what you think 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

Is Skimpy Armor At All Practical?

As an avid gamer and realist who tries his best to find the medium, I’ve always wondered what the best outfits are for my characters/companions. I honestly try to find the best fit between the practical:

ranger_elite_druid_armor_m_gray_front

And the not so…

230560496.jpg

Ahhh… okay, that has been burned into my retinas… For everyone scarred by that, I apologize.

Yeah, for aesthetic reasons, I’m going to to use my Skyrim companion for all further examples. Yes, she’s female… I know I know, ‘typical male gamer, blah blah blah!’

Look, my blog is about MY OPINION on different geek and writing topic. Opinion, not appeasement. If it’s appeasement you’re looking for, I’m sure there’s a liberal arts community college nearby that’ll be happy to cater to you.

Ahem.

Honestly, my overall opinion on the different armor is that everyone has their own imaginations, vices, views of beauty… fetishes… etc. It all fall under fantasy:

fan·ta·sy
ˈfan(t)əsē/
noun
  1. 1.
    the faculty or activity of imagining things, especially things that are impossible or improbable.
    “his research had moved into the realm of fantasy”

In other words, there is no right or wrong when it comes to fantasy. Everyone has their own imagination, everyone is entitled to do as they want in these games, despite what Anita Sarkeesian and her cult following say.

But Jim, don’t you think these skimpy outfits objectify women? I mean that kind of objectification promotes a rape culture and gives women an unrealistic body image.

As opposed to the male armor where the arms are all exposed with muscles that couldn’t possibly be supported by the upper torso? Or what about showing pictures of Chris Hemsworth without his shirt on to a crowd of women on a show typically aimed at the feminist culture?

That’s not the same thing…

Yes it is, and this hypocrisy is why I have ZERO tolerance for 3rd wave feminism. Thus I will not be dealing with those arguments any further in this post. Moving on…

And here I am, pretty much off topic on a tangent. Time to refocus. Skimpy armor… can it be practical? The answer is… it really depends.

One could make the argument that a character that is supposed to be a spy, assassin, or scout should be light on their feet and thus not have a need for heavy armor, which is a fair assessment. However, where is the line?

Please note that I’m speaking on my opinion of realistic practicality in a fantasy universe, if your opinion differs from mine, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments… even if you are completely wrong. 😉

So let’s take a look at my usual companion in Skyrim:

2014-11-11_00002

My character, Lia’na, is a takeoff and slight modification (stats, race, textures, etc.) on the character Aranya, by StephieRawx from Nexusmods. So when you first download Aranya, this is the armor she comes in:

35665-1-1390293873.jpg

It’s… actually not bad for a rogue class warrior. It’s light, kind of gothic in design… yes her legs are fairly bare, but if you’re looking to sneak, that’s probably the best way to do it. So all in all, it seemed like a fairly decent outfit… until you got a closer look at the lower half…

35665-1-1390293873

Upon accidentally swimming underneath her during a battle in Dawnstar, I made a rather… unexpected discovery. Apparently someone forgot to… or now that I think about it, intentionally did not create underarmor for this getup, because she’s 100% commando. Yes, a fully detailed and textured elf-gina, light pubic hair and all, for all to see.

No I will NOT be posting a screenshot!

Now obviously this might not be an issue for some, but in the wintry, Scandinavian-like climates of Skyrim… yeah I don’t know if there’s a female equivalent for shrinkage, but I can’t imagine frozen lady-bits being that much fun.

So again, I wanted an outfit that was appropriate for a rogue and would have been a little more… realistic in terms of the environment. Factoring in that elves tend to have a slightly higher tolerance for cold weather than humans or orcs.

My first outfit replacement choice came to this:

35665-1-1390293873

Loose leather pants, an almost pirate esque top and a jacket… Light, but not a lot of protection. Still she’d fit in with the ruffians at each location a little better if she needed to blend in and the outfit definitely screamed rogue. Appropriate or realistic? Eh… maybe in a different climate or pirate adventure. I didn’t stick with it.

Next one up was this one… she dressed in this during the Dawnguard campaign.

2015-07-09_00003

Though looking back… it might have been smart to put her in something that protected her neck a little more. Still, this one was definitely pretty good, offering some upper body protection, but not enough to be inhibiting.

Sadly, though I liked that one a lot… It had to change. This is where I currently am:

Decent upper and lower body protection, chain mesh across the chest, gloves, leather padding on the pants… still has a midriff, but it’s passable. Again, not perfect, but not bad either.

So the costume is slightly skimpy around the midsection, but that’s it… To be fair though, I don’t think that this is what people consider all that skimpy or feminist-level objectification… so let’s take a look at a few of the other outfits I’ve seen floating around Nexus…

35665-1-1369151575

… … yeah nothing about that screams defensible. The pants look like they could pass, but the top? Some archer would have her heart in seconds.

35665-2-1403869354

I see this style over and over in outfits… yeah you’re a warrior trying to be taken seriously, and you’re wearing a thong out in public.

Unless you’re trying to distract your enemy from… something… pretty much anything… what point was I trying to make again?

Ahem!

Yeah I don’t think so.

35665-1-1368271164

Um… hmmm… this one isn’t that bad. Though this would more be for a magic wielder than a rogue, and there is STILL the issue of a good archer taking out her heart!

35665-1-1368271164.jpg

So this one actually isn’t bad, it’s feminine, but not objectifying and it protects everywhere it needs to. My only issue with this is that… SHE’S A ROGUE! This won’t work. I could see her wielding a greatsword, maybe, but two daggers? No!

Anything else?

35665-1-1368271164.jpg

No, and I’m not even going to bother downloading any of those. Christ, now you’re not even trying!!!

So it looks like the search for cool-looking yet class-appropriate realistically feasible armor is still on. I’m working on my own, but I’ve gotten nowhere with it.

In conclusion, is there a place in the game for skimpy armor? Sure, when it comes to stealth missions, missions where you’re going to get wet, or perhaps a mission where your character is undercover at some kind of brothel or something where they need to attract attention. Otherwise it’s pretty much just fan service.

Now, is there anything wrong with that? No. Again, it’s FANTASY! If you can justify it, or just find it aesthetically pleasing, don’t follow my rules and don’t follow anyone else’s. Go ahead and enjoy it. That’s what fantasy is here for.



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