Least Favorite story ever…

An old review, but one I thought I’d repost as a trip down memory lane… ENJOY!!!

There is really no way around it. I kind of knew that this was unavoidable. There are a couple of stories that really irk me, but this one, in movie form takes the cake. This story, to me, was so bad that it actually inspired me to start a movie blog a few years ago… the blog didn’t do so well so I abandoned it. So I’ll basically take what I wrote there and try to add a little as I go. Bear with me, I can already feel my blood boiling.

The Vow (2012)

Now I know what everyone is thinking;
“Of course he’s going to bring up a girl’s movie. He’s a guy who’s into fantasy and action.”
No! I’m okay with romantic movies. I still enjoy 50 First Dates and Valentine’s Day was a cute movie in it’s own right. I actually bought my wife a copy of Just Like Heaven… and City of Angels is a guilty pleasure. I give stories a fair chance and don’t judge just because it’s from a specific genre. This one however, drove me crazy to the point where I was pretty much yelling by the end of it. Thank God I didn’t pay money to go see it or I might have had a coronary!

My wife turned it on one day because she wanted to see it. Being a good loving husband, I decided to give it a chance. Within minutes, I was regretting that decision.

So by now you’re probably asking yourself why does he find this movie offensive to the senses? It’s a cute love story, what’s your issue? Well… let’s take a look…

SPOILERS AHEAD!

So the movie starts off with this young couple enjoying a night out on the town. They are getting ready to drive home when their car get’s hit. The husband, played by present heart-throb Channing Tatum… (Soon to be Gambit in X-Men Apolcalypse… kay…), is unharmed while his wife, Rachel McAdams, suffers a traumatic brain injury and loses her memory.

She is brought into the hospital where it’s revealed that she’s lost a large chunk of her memory, but not all of it and actually mistakes her husband for a doctor. It’s not long before her family gets wind of what’s going on and comes to her aid. At this point, you find out that her and her family have a troubled history, which is why she moved into the city. The worst part about this set up is that the last thing she remembers is being engaged to another man.

This results in the ex showing up again… most likely contacted by her parents, and the girl throwing herself at her ex behind her husband’s back. All the while, she is treating her husband horribly while he tries to help her recover.

I’m going to stop there for a moment. This is a major problem for me. Let me explain, despite her losing her memory and being indifferent to the guy she learns she’s married to, her husband does everything (and I mean everything) to help her heal and make her comfortable. He also shows some class and doesn’t tell her why she left her family, which is revealed later that her father, played by Sam Neil, had an affair with one of her friends, and her mother is living in a delusional world where her family is more important than the individual feelings of herself, or her children. The mother basically seems to be in a hypnotic state of denial!

So, back on track, Rachel’s character treats her husband like crap, and eventually leaves him to go back and be with her family. Yes, it’s Tatum who finalizes the divorce, but it’s her pushing away and her family’s constant pressure that prompts him to make that decision. So now, pretty much the last few years of his now-ex wife’s life is being undone. Tragic, I’ll admit. I’d probably have gone insane at this point if I were in Tatum’s shoes.

So eventually she discovers that she’s been manipulated by her family and their misdeeds are brought out into the light… Her father’s actions and her own desire for freedom are why she left home in the first place and moved to the city. So now that we have that realization, does she go back to her husband apologetically with tears in her eyes and beg his forgiveness? Nope. That’s what a person with a heart does. That’s what someone with feelings and emotions does… does she even tell her family off? Nope…

So what does she do then?

SHE ALLOWS THE DIVORCE TO GO THROUGH AND LET’S HER FAMILY CONTINUE TO MANIPULATE HER!! She gives up her art and goes back to school because… that’s what daddy told her to do, and pretty much goes back to the way things were, completely forgetting that her father had sex with one of her friends… wonderful. Channing man, I’m starting to think you were better off without this… woman. She’s officially hit the rewind button on life and years of progress have been LOST!

So eventually events, probably similar to ones that happened before she lost her memory, happen again and she realizes, once again, that school isn’t for her, and she moves back to the city, once again, to continue working on her art. She tells her father that she’s not leaving because of him, it’s just something she has to do… and God bless your heart if you believe a word of that.

So she moves back to the city, ‘coincidentally enough’ not too far from where her now-ex-husband lives, but doesn’t go to see him. Which, for once, is the right thing to do! Seriously, you wring a human being through the blender, stomp on his heart, and spit on the remaining pieces, at least have the decency to let the guy live his life! So maybe she has a redeeming quality…

Until…

Six months go by and she continues to work on her ‘art.’ One night outside a shop the couple used to frequent, Channing runs into his ex-wife who tells him she’s moved back to the city. She tells him everything that’s happened… and like a total sucker, he takes her back! Are you freaken serious!? Her family doesn’t like you, she all but cheated on you, she treated you like crap and left you high and dry and your taking her back? Seriously any person, any REAL person, would have scoffed and walked away.

Okay, if it’s not painfully obvious to why by now why I really hate this story, then let me lay it out for you:
1. Ladies and Gents, you can’t abuse your loved one, cheat on them, treat them like crap and expect that they’ll just take you back when all is said and done. I don’t care what the excuse is. If the person has any self respect at all, they’ll laugh at you for even trying.

2. Decisions people, you make them, you have to live with them! There is a saying “You can’t go Home again.” It’s truth.

3. If someone manipulates you, it’s probably not the best move in the world to put your trust in those people!

There is no character development here at all. What we see is a character revert to a previous time and then regrow to where they were when the movie started. That’s not development. Not a single person apologizes for the wrong they’ve done. I get not holding something over someone’s head for the rest of their lives. Forgive and move on, but when you’ve NEVER apologized for it in the first place, and then make no effort to come clean with the skeletons when someone has put their trust in you… that’s reprehensible! The father doesn’t apologize for being an adulterer, the friend doesn’t apologize for being a slut, the mother doesn’t apologize for being dillusional and allowing her father to manipulate her, knowing full well what’s going on. The ex doesn’t apologize for being a douche, and the wife doesn’t apologize for being a cheating abusive witch, to the one somewhat respectable human being in this movie who actually deserved one!

God… the entire time I was watching this movie, I kept thinking back to an episode I saw  (Of Law and Order I think), where a young woman walks in on her family who has been brutally murdered. After an intense investigation, it turns out that her family manipulated her out of her life and marriage after she suffered amnesia in almost identical fashion to this movie. The difference: The daughter got her memory back a few years later, saw that her husband had married another woman, realized what her family had done to her AND MURDERED THEM! This would have been a better and probably more realistic outcome, and one I was waiting for the entire time! But it never freaken happens!

This fantasy of a movie gives off the impression that there is no consequences for your actions and you can treat people like shit and they will still come running back to you. The entire time it’s trying to paint Rachel’s character as blameless… this is something a neo-feminist would write!

Yes I understand that she had amnesia, she was confused and alone, etc. But see that’s the thing, she knew she was still married when she threw herself at her ex, she knew her husband was struggling to care for her. Did she care? Hell no!

The worst part? This movie was based on a true story. I looked it up, I did the research, yes the woman in that stories put her through hell, but at least there it was explained that it was from her head injury and not because she was stressed out by what was going on around them. As it turns out, they didn’t like this re-telling of their story because it left out a major key element in what kept them together; faith.

That’s right, all reference to religion was completely abandoned. Want another shocking fact? All of the family turmoil that went on in the book and the movie dealing with her father’s unscrupulous behavior and interference in her life and marriage… was pure fiction! That’s right, none of it really happened! They had the support of their families and were able to hold together through everything.

The lead woman in fictitious story is a total witch for no explained reason and there is nothing redeemable about her character. It would appear she showed her true colors of what caliber of person she was when she lost her memory.

Seriously, I’ve seen some bad romance stories in my time but this… this is mind numbingly bad, it’s reprehensible and it’s intolerable. It’s not what would really happen unless the guy was a pathetic fool, and it really pissed me off! It’s not charming, it’s not romantic, I hope it burns in hell as no doubt her fictitious adulterous father will.

I’m going to stop now before I actually give myself a coronary. Feel free to disagree… but to me, this story will be hard to top!

Escapism Exists For a Reason!

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know how I feel about things like preaching in your story, out of context political diatribe, breaking the 4th well, inappropriately clashing reality with fantasy, and so on.

Well… today I wanted to touch on a subject that I think is getting constantly overlooked and deals with pretty much all of the above. It’s a little-known term called escapism.

First, let’s look at the definition:

es·cap·ism
əˈskāpˌizəm/
noun
  1. the tendency to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant realities, especially by seeking entertainment or engaging in fantasy.
    synonyms: fantasy, fantasizing, daydreaming, daydreams, reverie;

    imagination, flight(s) of fancy, pipe dreams, wishful thinking, woolgathering;
    informalpie in the sky
    “romance novels offer a form of escapism that many people thoroughly enjoy”

So over the long weekend, I went to see a movie with my wife. Because she asked me not to, I’m not going to bring up what movie, but it was one with some singing and dancing, a lot of it seemed very dated and the whole thing was kind of giving the feel of a very fantastical world.

Honestly, though not my type of movie, I was getting into it. The actors were great, you could really feel the chemistry from the main cast, and really… though the singing musical numbers sucked, the soundtrack as a whole was pretty good.

Then for some reason, the writers had to smack us across the face with a dose of reality. After all the boosting the main hero did, after everything he did, and how wonderful things went… In the end, he’s not with the leading lady. They split up and went their separate ways, despite all of the build-up and development of the two characters.

Of course I understand that there is such a thing as a tragic romance and stories that surround tragic events, but there is a right way and a wrong way to go about doing that.

When you set the stage that this is going to be a certain type of story, a certain type of light-hearted fantasy story, then bashing your audience over the head with a sudden dose of reality is both unwelcome and inappropriate.

And the excuse is always the same thing…

Per one of the creators of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ a show that is credited by many as having the worst finale in TV history:

Ugh… no matter how many times I hear a writer justify that choice, it never ceases to piss me off. ‘Well I wrote it that way because that’s how it is in real life, and real life isn’t always the cookie-cutter Happy Ending.’

Yes, we know that. We LIVE in the real world. We’re quite familiar with how harsh the real world is. We do not need a reminder of that.

I’ve always been a big proponent of people writing things the way they want. As a writer myself, I’ve always told people to write what makes you happy and your readers will pick up on that. As always, that’s fine. My issue comes in when a writer feels the need to either insert a ‘shock’ element because they think that this will stir up controversy and bring in more ratings, or feel like their story is getting too far away from reality due to some unwritten rule and thus smack their readers with a dose of it right at the end.

RED FLAG.

This is why I have such an issue with dropping soapbox politics, unsolicited opinions on political topics that a character should in no way, shape or form, have any concern or even knowledge of, and why characters shouldn’t be coming out of character and breaking the 4th wall for no reason.

This is especially crucial in this day and age with the political climate being extremely hostile to anyone with an opinion on anything. Regardless of what that opinion is. As human beings with a measurable tolerance for every day stresses, we need an escape from politics, an escape from the real world, an escape from harsh reality and that’s what fantasy is supposed to provide. It’s a coping mechanism.

Think about it. When my kids get home from school their tired, they’ve worked hard at school all day, came home and did their homework, and then they want to hear Daddy tell them a story. So every night, it’s on me to come up with something good. Could you imagine what would happen if I ended one of my stories with ‘And the princess had to miss the ball because she had WAY too much homework to do. Her fairy Godmother told her that unless she finished her multiplication tables, she wouldn’t be going out all weekend.’

Mommy would be replacing Daddy as the go to storyteller.

It’s a crude example, but a valid one, none the less. Why do some of us, as writers, feel the need to do this to our readers? Are we really so worried that their heads will go so high into the clouds as to not be able to come back down?

So Jim, what would be your opinion of an appropriate dose of reality?

Well… though I despise this movie for its gross historical inaccuracies… Titanic.

Yeah I know, the portrayal of Ismay was way off. Captain Smith and Mr. Murdoch was way off, but the overall story is one that I think was done correctly. Think about it… a rich girl has a fling with a poor guy on the Titanic who helped her realize that there was more to life then what she knew and more out there than what she had seen. He was the needle she so needed to burst the bubble that she was unable to fight her way out of.

However we’re on the Titanic, so we all knew what was going to happen. The ship was going to sink and most of the people onboard were going to die. Thus what happened to Jack wasn’t outside the realm of possibility in this fantasy retelling. This teetered right on the edge of realism to the point of it credibility.

 

Would their romance have survived had they gotten off the ship together? Even in that world, I’d say it would have been unlikely. Even in the context of their universe, just by looking at their personalities and character archetypes.

Honestly, this video came out a while back detailing what likely would have happened:

I know that this kinds of seems like the same type of dose of reality, but its not. The Titanic story has no supernatural elements, no reality-freezing dance numbers, nothing other than a few poor character portrayals.

Honestly for that reason, I think a ‘What if’ story would be pretty good… even if it did wind up damaging people’s view of the original source material.

Anyway, in the end, I understand if you want to keep people’s feet on the ground in your story. Honestly, there are ways of doing this… a piece here and a piece there will keep your audience engaged. A major plot-bomb at the end of the story will turn readers and viewers off.

In my opinion, keeping people’s feet firmly planted on the ground when they’re looking for an escape isn’t going to gain you many fans, at least not in my opinion.

Let me know what you think below.



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 #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

 

From My Writing Playlist #Writing #Author #Advice

 

Got a request to recommend a good ‘rock opera’ song. Really it doesn’t get any better than Avantasia and in particular this song! The Great Mystery has everything; chorus, amazing instrumentals, guest performance by metal legend Bob Catley from Magnum… oh yeah! This has to be on my list!

When to listen:  I’ll give you a hint, skip to 9:19. Then picture your favorite Disney animated classic. Yeah, this is an ending song. When you’re ready to close up your story, THE INTENSE ENERGY at the end of this song is what you want!



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

Levying Criticism #Writing #Author #Advice

So I’ve gotten this question a lot ever since I posted my piece of how to handle criticism. From people wondering how to write criticism without insulting the creator or their work.

The best I can offer in the way of advice is to just be respectful, be constructive, and avoid hyperbole.

For example:

“This book sucks!” <This is not constructive.

“I didn’t care for this book.” <More polite, but still not constructive.

“I didn’t like this book. I felt it was far too drawn out. The story would have been good, but the writer spent too much time on physical descriptions and alteration that it took me right out of the story.” < DING DING DING DING!!! This is exactly what you want.

“I liked the story, but was really turned off when the writer took his main character out of the story to go on a political tirade. It just really didn’t seem like it was part of the story or had any relevance. Had he left this out, it would have been a decent story.” < (Looking at you Marvel) This is also constructive.

So that’s pretty much how to do it. Be courteous, be constructive. Say what you didn’t like, why you didn’t like it, and what you might suggest for future writing .

Jim, I followed your advice and got a very harshly worded response from the creator. 

Ugh, yes this will happen from time to time. Not everyone is going to agree with you or appreciate your opinion. Basically they just want positive comments, they want yes men and nothing else. Honestly, don’t worry about these people. They are the ones with the problem, not you.

Hope this helps. Readers, please let me know below if you think there’s more we can do or if my advice is missing something.



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

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

Death’s Work-Around #Writing #Author #Advice

Hello Writers,

Did you recently kill off a character? Do you regret it? Do you want to get that character back but are too good to simply resurrect the character?

Well we’ve got a lesser known, yet equally cheap gimmick for you; take the character from another reality! At the low cost of your writing credibility, you can have you character back without any consequences, retconning, or necromancy what so ever!


Ugh… okay… Like I said above, it’s a lesser known work-around for death, but still a pretty bad one. I think I first saw it in the mid-late 90s early TV show: Hercules. At one point late in the series, we see Iolaus, the lovable sidekick get killed off… and almost instantly brought back as a meager character with a different personality. I’m not sure where they went with this, because I lost interest in the show, but I can’t imagine the gimmick stuck.

As I’ve stated before, we’ve seen this type of thing for a very long time. When a character dies in Marvel or DC comics, mass eye-rolling ensues. Why? Because its seen as a gimmick now. It has no heart, no impact, nothing. Everyone knows that more than likely that character won’t be dead for more than a year or two, AT MOST.

This lackluster story-writing is probably one of the main reasons that comic sales are dropping, second only to the complete over-saturation of identity politics in Marvel and DC comics. (Arguably more so Marvel, but when the Green Arrow calls himself a Social Justice Warrior… ugh!)

Anyway, I’ve started seeing this in traditional writing, specifically in the fantasy realm. Fellow writers, if you take nothing else away from my blog, let it be this piece of advice;

Don’t cater to your writers, but please respect them!

Write what you want to write. Make sure that what you right is something that YOU enjoy first and foremost. If you don’t like what you’re writing, it will reflect in your writing, and your readers are going to pick up on it. At the same time however, if you kill off a character, PLEASE don’t find a way to bring them back just because it was a likable character. If your writing is strong enough, a story can survive a beloved main character dying off (Star Wars anyone?).

We’re not fragile little snowflakes. We don’t need to be treated as such. Will we be upset when a character dies? Did I shed a tear when Asajj Ventress was killed off in Dark Disciple? SHUT UP!

But we get over it and often see it as a bold choice that only served to enhance the story as time went on.

Anyway, that’s just my thoughts on the subject. Let a character stay dead, this cop out isn’t a cop out at all. It’s bad… really bad!



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

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

A Better Blogger #Writing #Author #Advice

Can you give some advices about how to get traffic towards your blog? How do you get so many followers on this app?
By the way, your posts are really good😊!
Simmone


Hi Simmone,

Great question. The best way to think about WordPress, or any other blogging page is to think about it as a community. The more you put in, the more you’ll get out of it. So the best advice I’d give is to explore the other blog posts, especially others that tag and categorize their posts the same way you do. Read, like, comment, reblog, and offer advice when and where possible. I’ll be honest, my blog only had about 500 readers before I started offering writing tips and advice.

Secondly, I’d network as much as you can. Got a Facebook page? No?? MAKE ONE. Got a twitter page? No??? MAKE ONE!!! Got a Pinterest account? NO??? Oh man! Make accounts on these pages and link them to your blog. You don’t even have to use most of them. WordPress will post all of this for you. This will gain you greater exposure.

Really though that’s all there is to it. If you build it and expose it, people will come to it. If they like what you have to say they will come and visit your blog. YOU need to give them a reason to.

Anyway, hope this helps. Readers, do you have any advice for Simmone? How do you get more readers?



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

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

From One Universe To Another… #Writing #Author #Advice

 

Hi Jim,

I’ve been writing for a very long time, but I need some advice. I’ve mostly worked on children’s books, but recently have started writing adult fiction. I want to use one of my characters from my children’s books in an adult setting, but I’m worried about how my audience will react to it. Some of my readers have grown up with my books or read them to their kids.
What do you think I should do?

Thanks,
Cheryl.


 

Hi Cheryl,

Good question and a tough one to answer. The best thing I can do is give you the same answer I give to everyone who has concerns with how their audience will react; Do what YOU want to do. If you want to bring this character over, if its one you like to write about, then go for it. In the end, don’t worry about what your audience might think. Love them, entertain them, be there for them, but don’t try to interpret what they’d like. They obviously like what you do, so you’re doing something right.

That said, I do understand your concern. Honestly, when I write, I try to avoid such pitfalls because there’s a certain trauma when you see a childhood hero fall.

Let me give you an example. When I was young, one of my favorite movies was Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. I used to watch it with my grandmother, and always enjoyed the loveable Ned Land as portrayed by Kirk Douglas

(Jesus… how is that man still alive.)

I still sing that song to my boys sometimes. It always puts a smile on their faces.

However, as time went on, I started getting into other classic films. Finally, I came across an absolutely incredible World War 2 film: In Harm’s Way. With the knock out cast of John Wayne, Burgess Meredith, Slim Pickens, Kirk Douglas, and Henry Fonda in the film, I was practically guaranteed a good time. I was also looking forward to seeing Douglas in something other than 20,000 Leagues as that’s all I really knew him from at that point, and honestly, he was recognizable right away. The characters were similar to the point that I started referring to him as Ned instead of Captain Eddington.

But… then as the movie progressed and I started getting into it, we see some of the true demons that Eddington contended with. After losing his unfaithful wife, an event which tortured him to the core, he got involved in a flirtateous relationship with another young lady… one that happened to be engaged to his best friend’s son (though he didn’t know that). They became romantic, but before it went too far, she warned him that she was engaged. At this point, Eddington became enraged. It was as though anger that she was acting like his late wife, and that he’d been played with, making him no better than the man who messed with his wife. He proceeded to rape her on the beach.

Following that, she suspected that she was pregnant, and when she went to Eddington, he refused to believe her. Having no way out, she comitted suicide. When Eddington found out what had happened, he stole a plane and went on a suicide mission instead of face the consequences.

I admit, part of me was crushed. It was a long time before I could watch the movie again. I grew up watching an extremely similar character in all ways and thoroughly enjoying it. To see this, hurt quite a bit.

I suppose I should have seen that coming at some point, but that’s on me.

With that being said, I still recommend you write how YOU want. There may be rude shocks, and hurt childhoods, but part of what makes our writing good is how much emotion we can drum to the surface. It’s not just happiness and satasfaction. Anger, fear, sadness, and the negative emotions are just as powerful and can draw a reader in just as easily.

So if you want to use this character, go for it.

Readers, what do you think? Is this the right move for Cheryl or should she excercise more caution with her audience’s emotions? 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 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

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

Writing Fantasy #Writing #Author #Advice

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

Emaleth



Hi Emaleth,

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

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

Let me provide a few examples…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 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

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

Character Development #Writing #Author #Advice

Hi Jim,

I’m trying to come up with characters for my book. I was hoping you could maybe provide a little insight into how you came up with yours. I specifically liked Xaphine, could you use her as an example?

Thanks,
Rich.



Hi Rich,

General Xaphine seems to be a recurrent theme in character discussions… perhaps I should write her into another story.

You may be disappointed on this one, given that her development wasn’t a natural flow like you hear about people taking the personality of someone they met, or someone they like/admire, and create a character around that. General Xaphine didn’t start out that way.

Let me go back in time a little ways to when I was in college. Back then, I was writing stories for my buddies who were playing RPG games, including a Star Wars game. It was at this point that I came up with an awesome nemesis; Darth Malys.
test.png

I forget the name of whom I modeled her after, but that’s unimportant at the moment. This character was a fairly young Dark Jedi, born of the force, influenced by the dark side, and possessing powers that are as out of her control as her own emotions. Despite that, she’s a capable warrior and effective leader. She nearly brought the galaxy to its knees by bringing together the imperial remnant and reactivating the old droid factories. Her one weakness was that she was unable to kill the boy she grew up with. No matter how far down the dark path she went, something inside of her refused to allow her to do it.

I was encouraged to write an actual story around her by my friends and that’s where the fan fiction: Star Wars: The Face of Evil.
(And in case you’re wondering, no I don’t have a copy I can post. My last copy was lost years ago.)

Though badly flawed and put further and further away from canon as new books… and now the new movie came out.
Obviously, my story was never going to get published. I held no illusions about that. So I let the story fall to the back burner and moved onto Divinity and Magnifica. As I was working on getting Divinity published, I was asked about writing a sequel to the book. It was at this point that I started formulating a new story. I created new characters, but didn’t really have a good premise. At this point, I went back to The Face of Evil and rewrote it, replacing the Republic with the Republic of Florence, the Imperial Remnant with the Holy Roman Empire, Jedi with angels, and Sith with demons. 

Okay… so now I had essentially transformed The Face of Evil into Damnation… however Darth Malys didn’t fit the bill as the chief antagonist. My main villain in this case was going to be a fallen angel who worked as Lucifer’s general during the Celestial Wars. Her seizing power, being a newcomer to a scene that had existed for eons didn’t make sense.

So I took the parts of the character that did work; her viciousness, her fighting abilities, her attitude, and her tactical brilliance, and started working on a new character. I really wanted this character to be a demon that people would recognize, given how important she was going to be. So I looked for demons with feminine or androgynous names that were well-known. That’s when I came across ‘Xaphan’ from the Dictionnaire Infernal. Xaphan, a male per that story, was an inventive demon who orchestrated setting fire to Heaven. Perfect!

So I took Xaphan’s back story and name and tweaked them. Instead of setting fire to all of Heaven, Xaphan simply set fire to the Celestial Temple where the Choirs of Angels congregated. It was more of a symbolic gesture in the declaration of revolution by Lucifer and his legions of angels. Against Lucifer’s wishes, she warned the inhabitants of the attack, giving them just enough time to get out. She viewed the spilling of angel blood as an unforgivable waste.

After her success, she was to take command of Lucifer’s forces and lead them in a war that would stalemate for an uncountable amount of time. So now I had a name, a back story, and MOST of her personality. I then added a very strict code of honor to her as a warrior as well. Now I had my character!
test.png

So that’s where the ground work of this character came up. She was essentially a combination of another character I created, as well as some legend and folklore. The result was General Xaphan/Xaphine Lorenzi. Granted her appearance changes over time:
test.png

Then later, I met a very talented model who matched the look I was going for,
10930029_10153139974100972_336858882189135656_n
and she became the model and template for the character;
DSC06376

So that’s how I came up with General Xaphan, and she remains my favorite character to this very day:
Featured Image -- 679

So sometimes it comes right down to combining various ideas and previously created characters to create the final product. The best advice I could give you is simple. Create your character. Build them up from the ground, then expose them to different situations in your writing. Bend them, mold them… heck, torture them. Yes, I’m advocating torturing your character, especially if you’re going to expose them to tense situations later on. Get a feel for them and see how they’ll hold up, if they’ll hold up, and if they’re the right character to take on a lead. If not, then keep that character for later or relegate them to a back roll and its back to the drawing board, if so, then keep up with the development.

Anyway, I hope this helps.
Readers, how do you create characters, what draws you to a character vs. another? What attributes do you feel make a strong character? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks!

 



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

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