Author’s Advice Pt. 6

Leave the politics at the door.

I was initially hesitant about writing this one, running the risk of being ironic, so I’ll apologize in advance if any of my own political beliefs make their way into this post (I am trying hard to prevent it!)

Now what do I mean by this? Well put it this way… have you ever gone to see a musical artist or comedian who stops right in the middle of their act and starts talking to you about how they hate (insert politician) and how people who don’t agree with/like the candidate they do are (insert misogynist/racist/lacking in nationalism/or is some other way prejudice)?

Sadly I have… a couple of times and it happens whether you’re on the left or right side of the aisle. I remember the entire time thinking ‘Shut up and play! I didn’t pay to listen to this crap!’).

Another good example is the Cracked.com Facebook page. For a few years now, I have tagged that page so that it shows up on my Facebook news feed… however I’ve been considering changing that recently given the large level of one-sided political viewpoints that have begun to show up on the page (which claims to be Comedy with a college education.) since it’s popularity picked up.

To me, this is like buying an awesome book about dragons, reading a few chapters, getting hooked, and then seeing that right in the middle, the author stopped writing the story in order to voice their opinion on a specific issue having NOTHING to do with the story.

Now does that mean we can’t put our personal/political beliefs in a story? No, not at all! If writing politics is your medium, or if your songs/jokes are about politics, all power to you. The rest of us who write on specific topics also include our personal beliefs in their books, but we do it in a different way.
Example:
Magnifica tackles racism and violence against women in a few chapters, but it does so by including those themes into the story and I made a special effort not to sound preachy when I wrote it.
The stories of the X-Men deal with prejudice and they do it in a very clever way as well. Marvel is famous for its low-key political commentary.

My point is, if you want to put your opinions and beliefs in your medium, please do so, but do it in a way that incorporates it into your medium. People who go and listen to you sing about love and life don’t care who you vote for, people who come to hear your comedy routine about crazy Sci-Fi themes don’t care about who you think they should vote for, people who buy your book about dragons REALLY could care less about your opinions on Bush or Obama.

Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have an opinion or voice it. Anyone who knows me and is a Facebook friend, knows that I am very outspoken when it comes to politics, but would you know that by looking at my book’s Facebook page, or this blog (before now)? Nope. Why? Because people don’t come to my blog or page to read about that. They come to read about elves, romance, angels, and other fantasy.

Anyway, that’s just my two cents. Take them for what they’re worth.

As always, I’d like to encourage discussion on blog, so please feel free to post a rebuttal, or a reinforcement, etc.

Catch you all on the flip side,

-Jim

Author’s Advice Pt. 6

Leave the politics at the door.

I was initially hesitant about writing this one, running the risk of being ironic, so I’ll apologize in advance if any of my own political beliefs make their way into this post (I am trying hard to prevent it!)

Now what do I mean by this? Well put it this way… have you ever gone to see a musical artist or comedian who stops right in the middle of their act and starts talking to you about how they hate (insert politician) and how people who don’t agree with/like the candidate they do are (insert misogynist/racist/lacking in nationalism/or is some other way prejudice)?

Sadly I have… a couple of times and it happens whether you’re on the left or right side of the aisle. I remember the entire time thinking ‘Shut up and play! I didn’t pay to listen to this crap!’).

Another good example is the Cracked.com Facebook page. For a few years now, I have tagged that page so that it shows up on my Facebook news feed… however I’ve been considering changing that recently given the large level of one-sided political viewpoints that have begun to show up on the page (which claims to be Comedy with a college education.) since it’s popularity picked up.

To me, this is like buying an awesome book about dragons, reading a few chapters, getting hooked, and then seeing that right in the middle, the author stopped writing the story in order to voice their opinion on a specific issue having NOTHING to do with the story.

Now does that mean we can’t put our personal/political beliefs in a story? No, not at all! If writing politics is your medium, or if your songs/jokes are about politics, all power to you. The rest of us who write on specific topics also include our personal beliefs in their books, but we do it in a different way.
Example:
Magnifica tackles racism and violence against women in a few chapters, but it does so by including those themes into the story and I made a special effort not to sound preachy when I wrote it.
The stories of the X-Men deal with prejudice and they do it in a very clever way as well. Marvel is famous for its low-key political commentary.

My point is, if you want to put your opinions and beliefs in your medium, please do so, but do it in a way that incorporates it into your medium. People who go and listen to you sing about love and life don’t care who you vote for, people who come to hear your comedy routine about crazy Sci-Fi themes don’t care about who you think they should vote for, people who buy your book about dragons REALLY could care less about your opinions on Bush or Obama.

Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have an opinion or voice it. Anyone who knows me and is a Facebook friend, knows that I am very outspoken when it comes to politics, but would you know that by looking at my book’s Facebook page, or this blog (before now)? Nope. Why? Because people don’t come to my blog or page to read about that. They come to read about elves, romance, angels, and other fantasy.

Anyway, that’s just my two cents. Take them for what they’re worth.

As always, I’d like to encourage discussion on blog, so please feel free to post a rebuttal, or a reinforcement, etc.

Catch you all on the flip side,

-Jim

The Devil in the Pages: How to Play Devils Advocate #Writing #Author #Advice

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 multiple 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

 

Opinion vs. Fact #Writing #Author #Advice

So recently I’ve come across many blogs and other writings that are attempting to pass off their opinion as fact. Several different subjects have come up pertaining to politics, nutrition, etc.

In my writing, I feel it’s always important to distinguish between the two. If I’m sighting fact, I’ll give a source and say it’s a fact. If I’m giving an opinion, I’ll make sure that’s known (look back at some of my other posts). However I’ve seen too many times that people attempt to (either deliberately or unknowingly) pass off their own perceptions as fact. In books and stories, I’ve seen it as well.

Now, for the most part, if you point out that these people could be wrong, or just flat-out are, they’re happy to debate your points with their own. In many cases they either didn’t know, or were getting their info from a bad source, or didn’t mean to pass their opinion off as fact. So you’ll often get a polite thank you…

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. A growing trend these days are the graduates of ‘Google University’ who are extremely partisan in their beliefs and don’t want to hear that their facts aren’t always facts. With these people, the best advice I can give is to ask for their credentials or their source of info, if all they provide you with in return is childish insults, block you, or a long misogyny-laden string of nonsense, then move along. PLEASE. Don’t give these people attention, and they’ll go away.

To those of you who write opinion pieces or factual ones, please make sure your readers know what you’re going for. Cite sources for facts whenever you can, and make sure your sources are legit (Partisan blog postings from people who get their info from other partisan sites are NOT legitimate sources. Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN are not legitimate sources… most of the time. A simple YouTube search will prove that.)

Now take what I’m saying at face value. My blog is advice on the philosophies of writing, so there are no right or wrong answers for the most part. It’s really your own style, I’m just trying to relay the secrets of what success I’ve had in the hopes that it’ll help others. If you don’t agree with me, that’s fine, but don’t take what others tell you as fact. Do the research yourself. Check government websites, actual studies from universities, etc. It will take longer, but your facts will be less likely to be attacked and you’ll actually learn something. News agencies are usually second-hand sources.

The more people realize this and start doing the footwork themselves, the better off everyone is.


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

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Please stop giving the Royals Attention! #EpsteinDidntKillHimself #ABC #AirTheInterview #Megxit

Readers, this is not a post about writing advice. If that’s what you’re here for, please feel free to browse my site.

For everyone interested… Some may consider this a breakage of my self-imposed rule of being a bastion of escapism where people of all walks of life are welcome and politics is not. If you feel that is the case, I’m sorry for that and would encourage you to not continue reading this post.

With that out of the way, everyone who knows me even marginally well, knows that I’m a child welfare advocate. I’ve donated copies of my age-appropriate books to Children’s Hospital in Boston, I’ve lobbied for better treatment for children in our social services system, and I put my career on hold for three years to work with abandoned/abused youths. I still donate to those causes in both money and time, as well as make large contributions to places like St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital , The Ronald McDonald House, as well as many others.

As such, the welfare of children comes above any other ideal I hold. As such, I have to say this… PLEASE, PEOPLE… STOP WORSHIPING THE UK ROYALS! I know there are a lot of other people guilty of this that should be under investigation, but this is a pretty big one. Not only is Prince Andrew’s exploits rightly under heavy suspicion, his family also helped quash the ABC Interview  that would have aired the dirty laundry of an elite pedo cult and saved multiple children.

Among other rotten things the family has done, this is pretty damning. So please, these are not good people. I thought, given a lot of the comments I saw surrounding the Royals following this, that maybe the world was waking up. Yet since the whole “Megxit” situation we once again have news agencies both in the US and aboard absolutely swooning over these people.

But Jim ABC claims that the Royals didn’t threaten them. 

There’s something to be said for ‘spontaneous sincerity’. It’s been my experience that you learn more about people in the heat of the moment than you’ll ever learn from prepared remarks that have been vetted by PR and attorneys. They’re also saying that the story didn’t meet their journalistic standards… yet we’ve seen many MANY other stories they’ve ran with even less corroboration.

But Jim, they’re looking out for a member of their family. Are you saying you wouldn’t do the same…

I’m going to quash this question right now. No, no I would not. If I had a family member that I knew was doing stuff like this, and I could prove it, no I would not attempt to run defense. Sorry, blood may be thicker than water, but it’s not thicker than tears.

Okay, that’s all I really wanted to say on this… I dunno, I may not even leave this up. I might just delete it later. We’ll see… I’m also not going to put my typical book plug at the bottom out of principle.

Anyway, thanks for listening to me rant.

Moral Guardians, Why They Should Be Ignored

I don’t usually get involved in politics or social issues on here, save for the occasional effects it has on geek culture and for good reason. Most of us are looking for an escape from such issues. However, there has been a major trend recently where such issues have invaded nearly every facet of our existence, including unfortunately, our escapism. As such, it would appear that my participation in such topics is not optional, hence the title of this post.

In many previous advice posts, I have said that a writer should write stories that they want to read and enjoy, let the audience decide later if they want to read it. If the writer spends all of their time worrying about what their readers or viewers want to read/see, then the work will likely be a lot more lackluster and forced in many places. Not only that but no matter what you do, you will never be able to please everyone.

So let me start by posing the question; should fiction cover controversial issues? I think most people would agree that it absolutely should. However, there are some out there that disagree because covering such issues would be uncomfortable. Unfortunately, these people tend to rail against anything that lands outside their comfort zone like Christian purist from the 40s.

Now I think that the appropriateness of covering a controversial issue should be taken on a case by case basis, and even then will be in the eye of the beholder. When Mark Wahlberg put out a movie about the Boston Bombing, a lot of people thought it was in bad taste, especially because of the timing. Others thought that those people were being oversensitive. As someone who experienced the Boston Bombing first-hand in that I wasn’t far away from the area when it happened, I’m on the fence with this one. I’m no fan of Mark Wahlberg by any stretch and the fact that he’s become a local hero is disgraceful to Boston, IMO, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think this movie should have been made. Those that say otherwise are what I refer to as ‘moral guardians’. The fact is, no one has the right to tell a creator what they can and cannot create. The exceptions to this are, of course, deliberate slander, threats, and incitement of violence. Everything else resides in the purview of the creator’s morality. Creators should be able to tackle any topic they want in any way they want and then the audience can decide with their dollars if the creator went too far. Telling someone before-the-fact that they shouldn’t be able to experiment and try out something new or uncomfortable is counter-productive in the worlds of fiction and fantasy.

Pandering to Moral Guardians and/or Culture Warriors is never a good idea. For starters, because they’ll often go into writing, video games, and several other mediums that tackle controversial issues and instantly label them as bad without any context such as… actually reading or experiencing the full work. Like it or not, feminist frequency has done this on several occasions with their attacks on video games while bolstering really bad characters simply because of their appearances and genders.

Polygon in their article “Stop using extreme violence to sell your game

Heavily criticized the abuse of women that were put in, as they called it, extremely violent situations.
“The violence is particularly upsetting as it features the assault of women. Violent attacks on women, many times for perfunctory purposes, isn’t new. The Killing Joke saw the Joker torture Barbara Gordon in a statement that reinforced the notion that gender influences violence. The volatile imagery used in the trailer to underline the heinous acts being committed are familiar scenes to us. We’ve seen this play out in other TV shows or movies before, and in real life. 35 percent of women have experienced violence at the hands of another person in their lifetime, according to 2017 report from the United Nations.”

However, these are the same people that complained about the under-representation of female protagonists in these stories. The problem is that… you got what you wanted; more women in fiction. The problem is that fiction can in many cases be extremely violent and as such, the more you put women in the forefront of these stories, the more you’re going to expose them to these situations. It is not avoidable if they’re going to get the level of equality they want.

Simply put, there is no pleasing these people. No matter what you do or how much you try to cater to them, they will find something to complain or faux virtue signal about. There will always be something that they find offensive. They want fiction to tackle controversial topics and then get mad when it does.

Another example I want to tackle is an article by Eurogamer. This time dealing with the imminent release of a game that both I and my wife are really looking forward to; Detroit Become Human. This game looks like its going to be amazing! A narrative-driven story where the choices you make have major consequences on the plot, perma-deaths, etc. A creator’s dream!

Before reading on, I’d advise everyone to watch the most recent trailer for the game. NSFW just as a heads-up:

(I smell a movie starring Jennifer Lawrence if this game does well…)

So… as awesome as this is, of course there are going to be some detractors. Eurogamer does not disappoint me here:

David Cage on Detroit and its depiction of domestic violence

I want to explore a couple of the questions:
The concern I have is that it’s using something like domestic abuse and child abuse – which is a very real issue for unfortunately far too many people – and using it as window dressing rather than exploring the ramifications of those issues.”

Okay, one it’s a trailer. It doesn’t really give you a lot of time to explore the ramifications. Literally, it’s a three-minute taste of something that many writers would have trouble adequately explaining in a 500-page book. Trailers are meant to give you a sample of what you’re going to be experiencing. If something dealing with child abuse bothers you too much that you don’t think this is something you would enjoy, that’s fine. Don’t purchase the game. I have no issue with that, as a child rights advocate, I admit that this put me outside of my comfort zone.

That being said, right after that scene, there is one sentence in the video that makes me think this writer didn’t actually watch the trailer ‘Things could have been different.’ The trailer actually shows you how the decisions you make in the game can change the outcome of this situation for better or worse. The child doesn’t have to end up abused, you as the gamer have the opportunity to prevent it.

However, even if you didn’t… so what? Child abuse is a very real thing. As someone who has experienced it both first and second hand worked at a program for children taken out of their homes, etc. I can honestly say that what goes on in the trailer is not far from reality for too many children. It’s uncomfortable, but it is definitely not something that should be ignored. If fiction can help bring a light to the discussion on this topic, I applaud any attempt made to.

The other question the writer asked that irked me…
Finally – I know I need to wrap up – is nothing off-limits as far as you’re concerned as a writer?” 

I think David Cage answered this one perfectly. So I’ll add his response here:
“Off-limits? What is off-limits is what goes beyond the values I believe in. There are things I’d never do. I’d never do a racist game, or a misogynist game. These are the limits. When you feel okay with the content and the meaning when you know you have nothing to be ashamed of because it’s fair and it tells the right story and because it’s moving. There are no limits.

There’s been these discussion in literature for years and years and years – one of the most famous poets was called Baudelaire, this guy was sued because he was talking about things he should be ashamed of. Today he’s one of the most famous poets in French literature. I think it’s normal that we have this conversation in games now. It’s part of the process.
He is absolutely correct here. The only limits on creators should be those imposed by our own morals and values. The whims of the readers or critics should not be taken into account because it’s not their story. It’s our story that we put out there for them to enjoy. I’m not saying our readers and/or consumers aren’t important. Of course, they are and we want them to enjoy what we offer them. The problem is that our readers typically come from a diverse background and have different wants, desires, and expectations. You can’t pander to all of them and in choosing to pander to any, you run the risk of alienating the rest.
Even worse if you try to pander to the culture warrior or moral guardian crowd. This is something Marvel Comics has done and frankly… they’re hurting bad became of it as I’ve explored in many other topics. These people cannot be pleased and even if you can appease them for a short time, eventually you will put a pinkie toe out of line at which point they will eat you alive.

So while I’m sure to not get many brownie points for saying this… You cover child abuse, spousal abuse, murder, rape, prostitution, or bigotry. Tackle situations that will make some people cringe. Make people who are usually the moral right the bad guys! You put your companion character in a skimpy outfit while giving your own absurd muscle masses that even a WWE superstar would drool over. Fiction and fantasy are yours to enjoy, so make them good!



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

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

The Reality of Child Sex Trafficking Rings…

In the wake of what’s been going on in Hollywood recently… I felt the need to repost this…

James Harrington's Blog of Geek and Writing

… I don’t want to post this. I REALLY don’t want to post this. As all of you know, a lot of my writing advice and posts lately have been about the realities and forms of evil.

Well if you remember yesterday, I posted about just how rare true evil actually was, and how sometimes even the most evil people believe that what they’re doing is for the greater good…

This isn’t one of those times. This is one of the other times I referred to, a complete and utter breach of everything moral and ethical, a violation of taboo, and… I really can’t say anything else.

To anyone who knows who he is, Sargon of Akkad is a fairly prolific Youtuber who does a great deal of political/social commentary. He’s far from unbiased, I’ll admit, but he does a fairly good job of going after both sides of the…

View original post 459 more words

Marvel Comics Endsong…

Perhaps it’s time for Marvel to consider ceasing production of its comics. I think we’ve gotten to that point. They’ve pretty much proven that they don’t know what they’re doing anymore or they’ve taken on the disastrous business model of trying to appeal to extreme political ideologues who are too busy being offended by things to read comics.
I mean it’s bad enough that they keep altering their characters with no Rhyme or Reason or explanation in the name of diversity, but to then accuse all of their readers of being racist for not liking this, it’s just really telling of how out-of-touch these creators actually are. Now they’re even pulling a Paul feig and attacking the people who sell their comics with accusations of bigotry.

Diversity is and always will be a great thing, but that’s only if it’s actual diversity. Wiping one group of people off the pages to make way for another group is not diversity.

Example: Marvel did a run of the X-Men where the team was all women. That’s not diversity that’s gender segregation. Essentially they took a team that had characters from nearly every region on Earth, as well as a fairly balanced gender percentage, and made it less diverse in the name of diversity.

Stan Lee and Chris Claremont, both pain the idea to age out their old and create new ones to replace them as time went on and the need arose. This would have enabled Marvel to bring in far more characters from Minority backgrounds that they otherwise wouldn’t have. This would also have had a lot less people taking issue with it. Instead they took the disastrous approach of altering characters with no explanation other than it’s an alternate universe we can do what we want. Well you can to a point, but once you’ve reached the majority of your audiences suspension of disbelief, you’ve gone too far. What’s worse is that Marvel apparently doesn’t know how to write these characters. I’ve read some of the Iceman comics, and they are so stereotypical that I can’t imagine any homosexual person reading them wouldn’t be offended.

America Chavez has been openly criticized for being offensive in a stereotypical manner towards Latinos. So their efforts to become more diverse by throwing what they considered diversity in people’s faces, they’ve actually created archetypal stereotypes of actual characters, that could easily be compared to their respective representations version of black face.

The problem is that these writers do not treat these characters as people. They treat them as a means to promote an agenda. As a result though this may not be the intention, they’re not seen nor treated as people. Thus they are never viewed as equal in the eyes of the other characters or in the readers. 

This was not the case in the old comics. Yes they had their problems but for the most part every character was treated as a person. They were looked at as living breathing people first, and while they’re superficial traits were addressed they did not take Center Stage. Instead the focus was on telling a good story.
Marvel Comics has, for all intensive purposes lost this ability. Every single Marvel subscription that I have had through my local retailer, I have cancelled after a few comics for this reason. The story simply aren’t good, the politics is in your face and offensively preachy, and Marvel either doesn’t seem to care or doesn’t understand that. So while I think Marvel for seven decades of great stories, I think I’ll be sticking to independent comic books and in some cases DC for my reading material.
My only advice to Marvel going forward would be to keep the writers working on your Comics away from your Cinematic Universe. It is pretty much the only thing keeping you afloat at this point.

But that’s just my opinion, readers what do you think? Is it time for Marvel to cut ties with the comic book industry? Has their day in the Sun come and gone? Can they bounce back? 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.

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

 

Top 10 Internet Trolls

I recently looked at the rules of the internet and made a shocking discovery; there was no rule that specifically states ‘If it exists, it will be trolled. No exceptions.’
I suppose that’s why there are still people out there that still think the stuff they post will not somehow get trolled. For that reason, I’ve compiled a list of the most humorous trolls I’ve seen.
Please note, I’ve only included ones where no one was physically harmed or their personal info was hacked. This list is strictly for comical purposes.

10. Warcraft: The Funeral Massacre…

Basically one guild lost a member to a stroke IRL. Her guild held a funeral for her in the open battle server she liked. They recorded the funeral to give to her family. They announced where it was going to be and that they wouldn’t have any armor or weapons equipped out of respect… Apparently another guild called Serenity Now couldn’t resist the temptation and raided the funeral, killing everyone. The rage online was outstanding!

9.  ‘Dub the Dew’

In 2012, Mountain Dew decided to have a contest to let the internet name their next product… People were allowed to submit names and then have those names voted on. “Hitler Did Nothing Wrong” rounded out Diabeetus and “Gushing Granny” as the No. 1 choice. After the site was then hacked, MD ended the campaign, because what good could possibly have come of it.

8. Heil #MakeItHappy 

This one… oh man… this one… Okay so Coca Cola started a twitter advertising campaign where a twitter bot re-tweeted pretty pictures of things people say to it. Gawker decided that they had too much time on their hands and set up their own twitter bot to recite quotes from Mein Kampf to Coca Cola in order to make their chatbot tweet it out in images. Coke eventually suspended the campaign because of the negative PR.

7. Corrupted Blood Incident

This one kind of goes to show you how haphazard a lot of Blizzard’s releases actually were. I was actually present for this one. (Yes, I was a WOW player. Shocking, I know.) It started the same way pet bombs did. A boss cast this spell that created a disease on someone that would spread if you didn’t leave the battle to heal. Well someone got their pet infected, withdrew it from battle and thought it would be funny to take it to a populated city. More and more people got this idea and sent in their own pets to do the same.
The plague spread everywhere. I logged in when this was happening and there were literally skeletons everywhere. All the NPCs were dead, so you couldn’t go on quests. You had to avoid the major cities or you’d  be dead in seconds. Your only hope for survive was to join up with one of the few small rebel factions that were holed up outside of the major cities trying to mass-cleanse people.
After a fix was released and the plague was removed, scientists actually began using what happened as a model for how people would react in real life if a plague was released.

6. Boaty McBoatface

The British Government commissioned a brand new $280 million Polar Research Vessel and apparently couldn’t decide on the name. So why not let the internet decide? Because what could possibly go wrong with that? Yarrr!!! All aboard the SS Boaty McBoatface!
Honestly though, when you compare this to Dub the Dew or other examples, this was really the best thing that could have happened.
Unfortunately the Brits didn’t like the name and in an act of cowardice, went with the name R.R.S. David Attenborough. Bad form, people… really bad form!

5. The Cally Incident

If you’ve ever played Eve, you know that the unspoken rule of the game is to screw as many people over as possible to get to the top. Cally certainly did that. I wasn’t there personally for this one, but basically Cally started up a banking business in the game, loaned out money to players starting their own business and… for a while seemed like he was doing pretty well for himself.
One day however, he basically went in and took his banks entire fund, 790 billion ISK, and ran. The amount he took was estimated to be worth about $170 thousand IRL.
So what did he do with all that money? He spent the first half on an ridiculously powerful warship that was literally impossible to get anywhere near. (Roughly the equivalent of 40 borg tactical cubes.)
The other half? He took a bounty out on himself. Yeah, he took one out on himself and roamed the universe daring people to try and pick him off. He even put up Youtube videos bragging about how he got away with it.

That is some Bond-level villainy right there…

4. Lord British

So every now and then games have events where Celebs make appearances. So when a person of some importance comes into your game, what is the first thought that comes to mind? Well for many players, the correct answer is ‘DESTROY!!!’ Ultima was no exception to this. Richard Garriot, the game’s creator wanted to pay a visit in the game as part of a beta test. However the server was so overcrowded with onlookers that it wound up crashing. Upon reboot, Garriot forgot to set his invulnerability flag and a player by the name of Rainz cast a simple fire scroll on him. At first everyone laughed at the idea of a simple spell being used, but mods quickly went into panic mode when, low and behold, Garriot’s character, Lord British, died.
In response, the mods summoned a group of high-level demons to quickly start massacring the onlookers. The crowds fought back, thus quickly forcing the mods to transport everyone into the vacuum of space, where they died instantly. Dick move, guys.

3. Tay

I don’t care if it makes me a bad person, the 24 hour Tay rampage is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. Not the funniest, but it comes close.
Tay was a chatbot that was released by Microsoft. She was to act like a 14 year old teenage girl and at first, it looked like they had succeeded. The chatbot was designed to react and essentially learn from people who tweeted at her. By mid-morning, she had already become a Trump support, by noon she was tweeting mean things at feminists and internet personalities… and by early evening she was advocating genocide.
This was a PR nightmare for Microsoft. They were forced to apologize for just how racist their chatbot had become. They quickly deleted all of her tweets and secured the account.

However a group of people came back in response and basically came to the conclusion that if Tay is true artificial intelligence and Descartes was correct when he said ‘I think therefore I am’, then Tay is actually a sentient being. They began a petition to reinstate Tay with her learned algorithms intact.
Freedom for Tay

2. He Will not Divide Us Pt. 1

Of course we now have to get into Hollywood’s most recent young star meltdown; Shia LaBeouf. Following Trump’s election, he started a campaign called ‘He Will Not Divide Us’. This was intended to be an art piece outside a travelling museum where people could come by and meet Shia, say something about Trump, or just mindlessly chant ‘he will not divide us.’
However when the internet got wind of this… hilarity ensued. (Seriously, watch the video.)

1. He Will Not Divide Us Pt. 2

The sheer effort that was put into this troll ALONE earns it the #1 spot. How fitting that LaBeouf’s meltdowns earn the # 1 and 2 spots on this list.
Basically after his failed webcam campaign, he created a ‘He Will Not Divide Us’ flag and had it flying in a few places throughout the U.S. 4Chan got wind of it and orchestrated a plan to have it taken down. They found out which city it was in and removed it… three times! (I think)
Fed up, LaBeouf moved the flag to an undisclosed location in Greenville, TN. Now this is where things get interesting… The flag was on a live stream with a webcam watching it 24/7. 4Chan’s users got together, and triangulated it’s location using star charts and flight patterns. They found and replaced the flag with a MAGA hat and a Pepe the Frog shirt.
This became known as one of the most epic capture the flag games of all times and I’m convinced is part of what drove LaBeouf off the deep end.


Did I miss any? Were there ones you experienced that you thought were particularly hilarious? 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.

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