Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Xander and the Case of the Awful NaNoWriMo Plot

I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that I finished NaNoWriMo 2011. The bad news is that it sucks. Really really really bad.

I know, everyone says this but this is the first time I haven't wanted to finish the story. I didn't have a plot I really liked so I threw five of them together to make a single plot line. Five plots that I didn't like. You know how they say two wrongs don't make a right? Five terrible plots don't make a passable novel.

There has not been a year, even my first year where I ran out of plot where I had as much trouble writing it. Part of me is under the opinion that I my mindset was wrong. It's hard to explain, but until the last week I wasn't writing how I usually do. Part of this is because I've been the Municipal Liaison this year and that takes more work  that you would think. Not just before and after a write in but during. You suddenly have to spend the entire write in as the 'Go To' person for all questions and answers. It's good that I consider any writing done at write ins to be extra words that I don't need otherwise I would never have gotten done. I didn't write at my first two write ins (Midnight Blast Off and Late Night at IHOP w/ Chris Baty).

I fell behind in week two, but I didn't think anything of it. Everyone hates week two. It's part of the pep talks and I can't read week two pep talks cause it's old to me now. I've done week two, I can handle week two.

But this year it wasn't week two. I was still behind and I realized that I hated my novel and for the first time I thought about quitting it. It was just too much trouble to finish. The only reason I did was that as a Forum Moderator I have to be on the website year round and I can't go on there and see my lack of winner status for another ten months. It just can't happen.

But as Chris Baty just sent us another email pointing out that even though his novel didn't work out how he planned it, he learned from the experience. Just like I learned that five terrible plots don't make a passable novel.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Yeah, that totally happened again.

Nearly another month has gone by since I last posted and I can't say much has happened. I am attempting to work as much as possible to get something to live off of. It's not working very well. My hours will be extremely truncated in the near future and will not pick up until next summer at the earliest.

Between looking for a new job I am still writing and considering working on drawing again. The trouble always is time. There just isn't enough of it.

Oh and in eight days I will be twenty four. I'm starting to feel old. Haven't ever had a girlfriend and I probably couldn't support going out with someone right now anyway.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

What happened?

The title of this post refers to the month of August. I have no idea where it went, all I know is that I have been too busy and the last few days will be filled with work so I won't have a chance to post something interesting.

Oh well. It's not like anyone reads this anyway.

Between working and getting a place to sleep I might not have much time to post something here, but it won't stop me from trying. I mean I remembered that I hadn't posted in over a month, right? That counts for something. Even if it doesn't I'm saying it does. Woot.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Review: The ENTIRE Harry Potter Movie Series

I just saw the last Harry Potter movie and I was thinking I should review it. Then I realized that any review of it would require me to mention Seven: Part I, and I wouldn't be able to mention that without mentioning the second movie and so forth. So everything at once.

Why am I doing the entire series instead of just the one that came out? Because the amount of money put into this should make watching the entire series back to back an amazing exhilarating experience. It should be as exciting as the book was at minimum.

Prologue: Novel Adaptions
Let's start by pointing out that it's hard to adapt a novel to film. For example Nanowrimo considers a novel to be fifty thousand words. That works out to about two hundred fifty pages in mass market paperback format. Most publishers won't publish that short of a book and most consumers look at it and immediately think that $7.99 is too much for so little. Most fantasy books are closer to three hundred and fifty pages.

A screenplay is between ninety and one hundred ten pages. Depending on who you ask will alter the answer on whether it should be closer to ninety or one ten. At least that is the size of a screenplay for a original screenplay from an unknown writer or about characters that haven't been tested.

Pages equal minutes. Ninety pages equals ninety minutes (or an hour and a half). So the average fantasy book is adapted you have to cut two hundred and fifty pages of content. The first step is removing all the description but most books don't have that much description. So next the writer needs to decide what they should cut and what they should leave in. Subplots tend to go on the chopping block, but a good writer has a reason for every subplot. As they say in scripts "What's the payoff?". You cut a scene and you need to explain how they learn that information in a different way. Which can cause problems when the final books are still being written and the author might want to bring back an old character for some purpose.

The first thing I will note is how much has been cut from every story and how that affected the movies. As you look at the lengths note that the are all very close to each other because as I mentioned production companies only want to have a movie that is two hours max, and that includes all the niffy special effects.

Philosopher's Stone
Paperback  Pages 320: Runtime 2 hours 33 minutes (approx. 153 pages)
The first was a very good start to the series. They kept most everything in and didn't do anything that altered the story in too severe a manner. One things to remember with the first book even was that Rowling wasn't sure were she was going with it. She has the Dursleys who are cartoon characters and normal people are called Muggles Which is a terrible term for anything. If someone called me a Muggle I'd punch them in the face. But I'm American and we have problems with derogatory (particularly racist) terms. The way some people are written it look like a children's story.

Major problem. Dan's eyes are not green and they talk about it all the time. It doesn't really matter, except that Lily was supposed to have all the signs of being a witch (red hair and green eyes) so changing her eye color to watch the actor's doesn't work on that level. What's worse is they decide to sometimes change it.

Second major problem is the ages of the adults. Might also fall under the catagory of she wasn't sure where she was going with it at the time. James and Lily die when they are both twenty-one years old. Petunia is supposed to be only a year or so older than her, so early thirties during the first movie and Vernon about the same (unless she married a really old guy). Their older ages ages everyone in the entire movie, since now James and Lily need to be older, as does Severus, Remus, Sirius, etc.

Chamber of Secrets
Paperback  Pages 352: Runtime 2 hours 41 minutes (approx. 161 pages)
Okay. More intense movie. This is actually a kind of scary book. People are nearly dying and everyone things that Harry is the one doing it. He even thinks he's the one doing it, to the point that he doesn't give Dumbledore important information. It ends with Dumbledore not telling Harry something important, which he later admits is a mistake.

Harry has neon green eyes on this one, since they were digitally added. They just realized that Dan's eyes were the wrong color. Oops.

This is the last movie where the opening is full length. They show him breaking out but after that they cut out the amount of time he spends at the Burrow, which is fine but it makes it harder to care when  they nuke it in a later movie when the audience hasn't been there.

They add a study hall that never existed in the books and is never seen again. In the book he's driven out of the Gryffindor common room because no one trusts him, which was a stronger place to have the scene.

Finally, we have the first of several overly cinematic scenes. The original was fine, but they wanted it to look cooler and less realistic. In the book he stabs the creature in the brain as it eats him. He doesn't have the chance to run away, he definitely does not get to fight it from the top of the statue head, for one the statue doesn't have any access and is supposed to be several stories high.

And the scene that makes everyone want to punch a writer in the face. Hagrid returns and everyone at the party is suddenly silent so everyone can hear what he and Harry are talking about. Forget that most of the people there don't care about him or even realized that he had been imprisoned.

Prisoner of Azkaban
Paperback  Pages 448: Runtime 2 hours 22 minutes (approx. 142 pages)
The first scary movie. The first book where death is a major subject. And as far as it goes this was my favorite of the movies.

Harry goes to Diagon Alley in a huff and we discover it's only a day or so until he's supposed to be at school. Good thing the Minister got his books for him (in the book he spends a month there). Once again we don't get to know this area so we don't know how much it gets ruined in the later books/movies.

There is some minor altering that doesn't make sense (Hagrid's line about the Monster Book of Monsters is given to Hermione) and a couple of alterations to the flow of events. Mostly though it stays true to the story and the characters come alive during it.

Goblet of Fire
Paperback Pages 752: Runtime 2 hours 38 minutes (approx. 158 pages)
We get to see some very cool characters show up during this movie. Sadly the World Cup isn't one of them. We get to see a very small part of it, none of the set up, none of the other characters and new characters. Ludo Bagman doesn't exist and neither does his gambling debts. We don't hear about Weasley Wizard Wheezes or the guilt trip the Twins throw at their mother. We don't see Moody until he shows up at Hogwarts.

Before we know it the carriages are there and the boat is there. We have the drawing of champions and Harry's name comes out. Ron is pissed at him because he's a dick. He refuses to talk to him until after the first task because after seeing it he decides that if someone sets you up to fight a dragon they want you dead. Except in the movie Ron already knew about the dragons before the task and was still being a dick to Harry.

They didn't want Dobby in the story, nor the House Elf Liberation Front, so instead they use the method for the second task that Crouch set up (asking Neville about it, not having Dobby stealing it).

Oh, and for some reason they completely change the time frame of Crouch escaping. I'm not sure why. Did they just want to give the actor more screen time?

A lot was cut from this movie. This is the first movie where they start running out of time to act. They have scenes where they should be doing something but they don't because that would take time and they didn't want to make it a longer movie.

But they had to have the dragon chase Harry all over the grounds even though in the book it states the dragon won't get up because it's protecting it's eggs and come on, you wouldn't let your eggs out of your sight with that many predators around you.

The only other problem was they make the Maze too creepy. It's actually eating fallen champions.

One last thing about this movie. Screw Team Edward and Team Jacob. I support Cedric Diggory, the Real Hogwarts Champion.

Though honestly, is RPatz considered 'broad shouldered' according to British people?

Order of the Phoenix
Paperback Pages 870: Runtime 2 hours 19 minutes (approx. 139 pages)
The beginning of this book always pisses me off because I agreed with Harry. Stuck in the dark knowing nothing after a extremely traumatic experience. I don't get that feeling from the movie. I also don't think that Umbridge is short and fat enough. In the book I think of her as being so fat that you could push her down a hill and she'd roll and Imelda Staunton isn't that fat.

Most of the story of Cho Chang was dropped. Rita Skeeter isn't heard from and the article of Harry's point of view of the night Voldemort returns isn't written. One could argue that without that article the end of the final movie couldn't happen.

We don't have the trip to St Mungo's. We don't get to see Lockhart (whose mind is still missing) or meet the Longbottoms who were tortured into insanity. It's only barely mentioned in the movies and if you aren't up on the character names you might miss it. It explains why Neville lives with his grandmother and why he hates Voldemort and how he was very close to being in Harry's shoes.

They screw the mess that the Twins make. They try to make it better than the book but just make it silly. I would love to watch the professors pretending they don't know what end of their wands to hold while Dolores ran around. And they didn't have the swamp (which could have made an appearance in the final movie).

Most people say that the battle of Voldemort and Dumbledore is the only time they actually make it as good as it is in the book. I agree, but it would have been nicer if they had actually did it like the book.

I am annoyed that we don't get to see Harry wreak Dumbledore's office. The truth comes out now and Dumbledore admits his mistake but it doesn't have the same force as it does in the book.

Half-Blood Prince
Paperback  Pages 652: Runtime 2 hours 34 minutes (approx. 154 pages)
So much shit goes down that the acting left the building and we never see it again. There is one scene where Dan is just standing in Dumbledore's office. Doing nothing while Dumbledore talks. By that point Harry is very comfortable being in that office so it doesn't make any sense for him to be nervous there.

They try to push his relationship with Ginny. It doesn't move that fast. They bring her in on things that she doesn't need to be in on. They have her hide the Potions book, even though Harry is supposed to hide it himself, under Ravenclaw's Lost Diadem, aka the last horcrux.

They nuke the Burrow, even thought it's protected from that kind of thing, supposedly because they didn't have the money to do a proper battle in Hogwarts, which was supposed to be epic, yet instead it was fairly shitty.

When I watched this movie I felt like it was hanging on by strings. We had the bare outline of the movie, no room for acting or moments that connect the movie with the book. I won't go on with what I found wrong with this movie, I was just very happy they were spliting the next into two.

Deathly Hallows... Part I and II
Paperback Pages 784: Runtime Part I - 2 hours 26 minutes, Part II - 2 hours 10 minutes (combined approx. 276 pages)
Part I
What a wonderful strong start. The Dursleys are even more of a cartoon than they were in books. They don't argue with Harry about whether they need to leave and they don't take a wizard with them for protection.

The polyjuice potion is supposed to be golden colored, though it still tastes bad. I hate that they use the regular cast for all the voices. It makes it sound like a bad dub job. You can worry about kids not understanding, but this movie is not for kids. This book wasn't for kids at least.

So we're in the air. We have a battle in the air? No, we have a battle on the freeway. No instant brick walls for us. Does Harry get spotted because he uses non-lethal methods? No, he gets outed by his familiar.

That last part is a problem for me. It says a great deal about Harry's character. Even when he kills Voldemort he uses a Disarming Charm, just to prove he won't use the method used to kill his parents.

The Wedding. The Burrow has rebuilt itself somehow after getting nuked. They don't have people to set up the wedding they do it themselves. Harry attends... as himself. In the book he pretends to be a Weasley using polyjuice potion with the hair of some ginger kid from the village. After the party they go to the wrong street. This is the point where it would have helped if they had tried to keep closer to the right time period (book 7 happens in 1997).

They go to the house and find Kreacher. It doesn't take long for them to discover that he knows something. After he returns we almost immediately head off to the Ministry. We don't get to see him happy. Of course they wanted to cut him from Order of the Phoenix too and Rowling warned them not to.

Now we get to see them wander around in weird bodies and voices. There are some problems with it but they aren't that major and I love the decoy detonators (they aren't described very well in the books).

One hundred and one random vistas. This is the boring part but they make it more boring than it needs to be. They drag it out. Things move faster once they get to Godric Hollow but they don't mention the biography.

We end with Malfoy Manor. It's as good as it can be. Then we see Voldemort get the Elder Wand (though he is supposed to a bit rougher getting it out).

The movie ends in the middle of nowhere. Literally. It doesn't end in a good place. It just does.

Part II
Still in the middle of nowhere. Time to go to Gringgotts. This feels fast to me, particularly compared to part one. Ron's disguise was supposed to have a beard and they don't realize anything is wrong until they hand over the wand. They come in thinking that it will be a great form of identification. Bellatrix technically can't even get a new wand cause she doesn't have a wand maker.

After they get through that Harry has a vision. Voldemort knows what they are doing. Difference between the movie and the book? In the movie he feels each death. In the book he thought he would, but it's not until he starts to check on them that he realizes that he doesn't.

He keeps Nagini near him but not in a protective bubble. He lets people near her when she is in danger. For some reason his voice makes girls scream. He constantly reacts to the destruction of a horcrux. They do not mention that the Fiendfyre is what destroys the Diadem.

The entrance of Harry back into Hogwarts is trite. He calls Snape out in front of everyone. Why? He spends more time trying to convince the people in the Room of Requirement that they aren't about to have a war in the book.

The way the work the battle is terrible. The set a single set of charms around the place and they don their job. They don't prevent people from entering, they prevent people from blasting them from a distance, like the shields in Star Wars: Episode I. And why do we get to watch all the old sets get destroyed? Burn the Quidditch stadium? The bridge makes more sense, but they devote too much time to it.

And within five minutes of the battle beginning the entire castle is terribly damaged. If they had kept it up they could have just collapsed it on top of them, but it you're paying attention a lot of damage happens fast and then nothing for the rest of the battle.

Harry now discovers that he is a horcrux. He actually tells his friends and they don't tie him down and tell him he's crazy. He walks out without his Invisibility Cloak. He drops the Resurrection Stone before he gets to the clearing.

The battle at Hogwarts is much more drawn out. Harry chases Voldemort through out the castle while Nagini fights Ron and Hermione. Remember, Voldemort knows that he can't let Nagini die, yet he lets her out of his sight.

It's just, weird. They made the scene more exciting, but it doesn't have the same force as the book. Something as simply as Neville being at Voldemort's mercy with a burning Sorting hat on his head when Neville suddenly pulls out a sword and kills Nagini. It's sudden, it's shocking. It freaks Voldemort out.

And then it ends. No party. Realistic, but... no party? We have the flash forward but Harry doesn't mention to Albus that he was almost sorted into Slytherin, which was the point of that conversation.

Conclusion: Failures
We missed out on character development.
Some scenes are ruined by making them more cinematic.
You might not be able to understand the story from watching the movies.

The end was a let down. It wasn't what it should have been. It could have been a great deal more. Luckily, this is Hollywood. In ten years, there will be a remake.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Time to get to work

I nearly have a job. A job job. In my field. I've been trying to get away from these posts where I whine. No one wants to hear me whine. As it is I removed the Employment tag from my cloud on the sidebar because it was so big that I would never have another topic as large since almost every post was tagged that for awhile. I stopped with the employment and lack of money posts but kept on writing in here occasionally.

I attempted to write more interesting things rather than random mundane rants, problem quickly became that I didn't have time to say, see a movie and then review it, or another event. I have actually seen some movies and events, I just haven't had the time to write about them.

I would like to do that some more. I should take notes about what I should write about so I can put it on here. It would be a good way to maintain my ability to critique the arts.

Anyway, I will hopefully have the time and money to devote more time to writing stuff for this blog in the future. I miss it a little bit, but I always look at being unable to work on it as a good sign that I have better things to do than sit around blogging.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Long overdue GOALS post

So apparently I never recreated my GOALS post for 2011. I can see why, I've been busy living in a new state on the other side of the country that is beautiful and warm all year round and because I've been trying to steer this blog away from me just bitching. 'Cause no one wants to read that.

The previous post I made was Dec 31, 2009 for the year 2010 and here is what I wrote
But this is a traditional time to make GOALS so here it goes.
-Reach my goal weight of 175 lbs. I should be able to do this by the end of March at the earliest, by the end of the year at the latest.
-Get a job in theatre. Obvious. Perhaps I'll be less picky.
-Participate in Script Frenzy [2010]. 100 script pages in the 30 days of April. Like NaNo but with more dialogue.
-Get a home. Directly attached to the job part. Hopeful, very hopeful.
 I should also add this other one I picked up as I  passed the year.
I need to get a life.
 So that is five things on the list.

I haven't lost much weight, but at the moment I am living in my car and eating only two meals a day. If this doesn't cause me to lose weight nothing will.

I currently have a very low paying job in theatre. It's something but at this point I just want work so that I can stop worrying about money.

I did participate and win Script Frenzy in 2010. I also became an ML (local event coordinator) for 2011. I completed Nano 2010 as well. Doing this I discovered that I like writing a lot. I got terrible grades in English when I was in school which discouraged me from telling stories and I am extremely thankful to Nanowrimo for helping me get over years of pessimistic teachers. Overall I have discovered that I enjoy screenwriting better than noveling. I'm probably just more familiar with the format with my college education in theatre.

As posted above, I'm living in my car right now with all my worldly possessions. I would really like a place that I can get comfortable and stay for awhile. Sadly, you need money for that. I'm definitely working hard towards this goal.

For other GOALS I am creating, I want to write another screenplay so that I might be able to get representation. One that doesn't have a metric shit ton of required special effects, because I won't get a shit ton of effects for my first sold script.
  • Get a life
    • Get a job
    • Get a home
  • Become physically fit
    • Exercise
    • Lose weight
  • Write more
    • Write a novel in November
    • Write a low budget screenplay
That makes a very pretty list doesn't it?

Building ideas

Some people would say that it's a crazy idea to brainstorm ideas on the Internets where anyone can steal your idea. As I'm going to describe this idea I think you're going to realize why I'm not that worried.

I didn't feel like working on any of my works in progress yesterday so I did a bit of free writing. I was basically doing torture porn (god, why am I putting that word in a post?) because I'm doing light board operation for a torture themed play.

So it starts out as a bunch of gang members being tortured to death by a rival gang. There is death, blood, sacrifice. Then the cops show up and stop it before they are done. It ends with a kind of happy ending with two of the five gang members getting out with only bullet wounds and several psychological wounds.

Suddenly I have an idea for a story. These remaining men decide that their going to form a gang that kills the most violent of gang offenders. They train with high powered sniper rifles and eventually quell gang violence. They still want more though so they start going after other violent offenders. First murderers, then manslaughter, then assaults, until they start killing people for having loud arguments and talking in the theatre.

Now how to use it? Have a story about a cop trying to apprehend them? Or I could have the story told from the point of view of one of the members, ending with him getting caught and killing someone in prison. I could also have it as a side story to something else. Maybe a guy gets accused of murdering someone but is being framed and the White Falcons (that's the name of the gang) decide that they need to go after him for evading justice. Or maybe it's a contract killer that is being tailed by the Falcons. Or maybe they just show up at the end, shoot the villain and leave - and never explain it.

But that would be mean wouldn't it? But that is what is going around in my head today. Amazing stuff isn't it?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Season of Cliffhangers

I hate cliffhangers. In all forms of media.

I deal with sort term cliffhangers. In books it doesn't really matter. I read really fast, so I can get to the next chapter easily. It was pretty annoying when I was listening to an audiobook of one the Dresden Files that my father had bought. I kept wanting it to go faster and I wasn't about to do other things while I listened. I would have missed something.

Cliffhangers in books are one thing. Most of the time they aren't that important. Television they start to piss me off. They usually come out during a bout of character derailment or just when they have made everything about the show suck as it is. Now the characters are all imprisoned, or about to be killed, or are killed. And we end the season.

It would be one thing if they ever dared to do any of those things but they won't. Within three minutes of the season opener they escape or dodge the bullet or discover that was only their body double. If someone does die, we know that before next season because we hear about whether they have a new contract.

All it turns into is writers or producers torturing characters we like. There was a book I read that pissed me off because every character you started to like got killed very quickly. Another book I read started out good, but devolved into how can we torture the main character. A lot of foreshadowing and a cliffhanger in that book.

When it comes to television I like how Bones handles cliffhangers. They do them with an extra episode in the season so we don't have a month to stew over nothing. If they kill off a character (or make them insane) they do it right in front of you. It also lets them discuss the emotions the characters are going through immediately instead of ignoring them as most shows do.

It might be something to do with new media and the internet but most people would now skip the last episode until they are closer to the new season so the torture isn't so strong. Of course, I have been known to stop watching a show if they start setting up for a large scale cliffhanger, often the cliffhanger is what makes me leave.

Cliffhangers in movies. Should not exist. It assumes that there will be multiple movies, which is not something anyone can assume and it's just bad formatting. The movie ends when the story is over, not after we add something extra so that you watch the next movie. I'm not talking about the Marvel movies with the teaser after the credits, I mean Matrix II and III. Pirates had the same problem too, but I can at least state that the story for that movie ended. A TV show gives us a cliffhanger and they are only being so optimistic that they will last until next season, if a movie does it either they know that they have another movie or they are just being a dick to you.

You may have noticed that several shows have decided to have cliffhanger endings this season. Now you know why I might not be watching them next season.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Wherein I rant about things that don't seem related

I'm bored so I'm going to go on a rant.

For starters: I watched half of the first season of New Amsterdam on Hulu last night. Actually a little more than half of it. It's actually a decent show and I never realized it. The preview that Hulu gave me while I was watching last week's episode of Bones was much better than the ones that I remember when the show was on the air. In other words they created a show and then didn't advertise it properly.

Of course this shouldn't come to a surprise to anyone that Fox failed in the background work of a television show (also see Firefly)

I wonder what the secret is...
The other thing I have been doing a lot of is rereading things. I have been working on Codex Alera, which is an awesome series and you should read it. It could also be an awesome movie, but they would screw it up. If you have read it you know that they have a huge secret show up in book three and be completely revealed in book four. It's actually really obvious, to the point that the main character does a facepalm when he learns about it, because the entire point is that he's really smart and that he somehow didn't catch this is just amazing. A dozen other people figure it out before he does (including the you, because it gets to be really obvious).

Anyway, the point of rereading it is to try to catch the foreshadowing. There is a lot there, but it's very subtle. Most of it is in off-hand comments that people make, such as how his caretaker refers to her role in his life. A lot of people can read emotions in the book so if she was to outright lie, or even bend the truth, people would know that something was up, but in the context of the story it makes perfect sense.

What am I getting to? Well, I want to see this type of preparation to take place in television and movies. I like to write by the seat of my pants. I like to create as I write, not transcribe what I created earlier, but what we end up having is stories that loop around and bite itself. Stories without an end. Literally, that is how Seinfeld ends. They return to the first conversation from the first episode. We only have foreshadowing for a couple episodes at a time, maybe to the end of the current story arc. Later seasons of Buffy did have some foreshadowing in them. Dawn is foreshadowed an entire season before she shows up.

Most shows though, don't foreshadow because they don't know if they will have another season. They don't attempt to build up to something. Another problem is that they keep doing a minute by minute accounting of what the characters are doing. House, M.D. would do a time skip whenever there was a break in production, the exception was when he was in rehab (which occurred in 'real time'). Going back to books, The Dresden Files usually have a year in between. Dresden even tells us that the interior of his car is eaten out but a mold demon, because he does stuff outside of the three days of the year that he saves the world.

What we need to see in television is for the writers to stop worrying about whether they will have another season and worry about what they will be writing the next season. Showrunners need to end shows when they have run there course. They should be making milestones for what they want to accomplish.

We can totally take it on.
Most of these people played Dungeons and Dragons at one point in their life, don't they know how they build up the action? Start small and then at some point the characters find themselves fighting the big bad. Don't have them fighting the big bad once a year with us knowing that they never get to live happily ever after. Even Codex Alera ends with the the characters pretty sure they have a couple decades of peace before they need to go back to war.

I'm also totally for time jumps. Add an extra five years in between seasons. Have the characters change a bit, particularly the supporting characters. They should be changing as much as the main characters, but the main characters might go meet them and discover that they aren't nearly as big of dicks as they remember and maybe they don't mind working with them that much anymore.

And once you have that done you can save money by a dozen episodes. Use that money to make the episodes you have that much better. We don't need filler episodes, even need good television.


New AmsterdamFirefly - The Complete Series

Thursday, April 21, 2011

How to make Pokemon better

So I was just thinking about how the Pokemon games could be better. They won't ever change because as is they make a shit ton of money, but we've all thought about how they could be better.

The first thing they need to drop is encouraging to catch them all. Only a few crazies do that and it just creates a lot of aggravation for the rest of us. It doesn't help that there are now ten billion different pokemon, or that about three dozen a game are duplicates of pokemon from previous games. Every game has a new rodent pokemon and a new bird pokemon and a new pair of completely useless bug pokemon. We don't need new pokemon like that. Make new cool pokemon, but once again, not epic pokemon. We don't need the new Zapdos.

While we are on this topic lets add that you can't capture unique or mythological pokemon. No capturing Mew, MewTwo, Zapdos, Moltres, etc. How do you prevent this? Don't have them show up. People talk about them but you never see them. For one I expect that people would murder you if you tried to used ones of those pokemon in battle since they are considered to be gods in the pokemon world. Secondly, they wouldn't be trainable. Normal pokemon are the same intelligence as humans, Myth pokemon are smarter and nothing you say to them is going to get them to battle for you.

Next I want to change moves. I want more then four of them. I think we can all agree on this. Also in wild pokemon battles I want to be able to use as many pokemon at a time as I want. I also want to be attacked by herds/flocks of pokemon at once. I can't imagine that pikachus are going to just attack you one at a time, if they do they deserve to be used as biological batteries. And aren't there also Plusun and Minum (Yes I know I misspelled it) who are pokemon that have moves that only work with the other one nearby? Why would they ever attack without their friend?

Now to some story stuff. Age up the characters to fifteen. I keep thinking that their supposed to get their pokemon license at age ten and not leave their homes on their own until they are older. This is a Japanese thing that you see a lot of in their literature, little kids doing things that adults would fail at.  Don't make the Gyms the main point of the story. Give the option of joining team rocket. Create training methods that are effected by type and personaty. Give us the option of beating our pokemon when they misbehave. I'd also like to order my pokemon to attack trainers. Officer Jenny finds out you get in trouble and you can't in Gym battles but so what?

Okay, maybe we are asking for more then a gameboy can handle. We have no choice but to move to a full console device. The Wii, I guess, since Nintendo makes Pokemon games. Of course it would make an interesting MMORPG, with all my adjustments which would require a real computer and might make Nintendo cry.

Of course this is only a handful of things they could do to make it better. I could go into detail but I'm bored with this now, so I won't.
Pokemon - White VersionPokemon - Black Version

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Thinking bigger

I'm reading an article about someone starting a comic book shop after they created a convention in Florida. Yeah, it makes total sense and is not at all confusing.

The article is saying how the number of comic book shops has dropped in recent years comparing it to Borders closing. I have several problems with this.

Start with Borders. I never cared for their selection. Most people that like bookstores don't like major chains and if they go to a chain they want it to have the book they are looking for. I prefer Barnes & Noble, they just feel nicer. It might help that most BNs have a coffee shop built in and some of the ones near me have a permanent speaker/book signing area. They come off as more of a community gathering area then Borders did. Borders is just a large store that sold books.

Another thing with Borders. I went to our local Borders yesterday to get some clearance books. Everything was 30% off, except for Romance, which was 40% off. They were so overstocked with Romance it wasn't even funny. They had extra sections of Romance set up and had it spilling into other sections. That is why they are going out of business, they don't have books people want to read. I also looked over at the Young Adult section to see what they had left. It was three ten foot long shelves. Harry Potter books go in that section and I think they didn't have room for them. Young Adult is not a small area of book sales, it's very popular. For one I see a lot of people writing it for Nanowrimo.

Don't worry about faux Twilight novels though, they were safely in the Romance section.

Now the comic books shops. I didn't grow up with them. Any of them. The closest was forty-five minutes away in a direction I rarely went (or an hour and a half the other direction). Yes, traditional book stores are now carrying some comic books, but they didn't when I was little, and the chance that they had something that would interest me was incredibly rare. No one I knew in high school was particularly interested in comic books because of this, which is a shame.

What do comic book shops need to do? They need to be more then just a specialized book store. They need to be a community center. When I finally did get out to the one forty-five minutes away I was astounded by the place. For one it was huge, the size of a big box bookstore, but half of it was tables. To place games on. Dungeons and Dragons, Magic the Gathering, Apples to Apples, Solitaire, Chess, GURPS. This are things that require people to come to you, it makes it a community meeting place. Added benefit that they will probably purchase extra cards or dice or expansion packs while they are in the store, which means more money. And when I say they had table I mean twenty tables that could sit eight. They knew they were the only thing for miles and they were prepared for it.

And it works in a bad economy too! They might not buy as much but they will still be there to see the merchandise. They might buy less expensive things but at least you have them in the store.

And I'm not the only one with the community center idea. Libraries are trying to switch from a loan books business plan to a help people with simple tasks.

I suck at closing arguments.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Stuff, stuff, and more stuff

Huh, what happened to the last month? That was officially the first month I did not post a single blog for. Scary, though I'm not sure it's scary because I didn't post or because it's been nearly two, no three years? Of course I haven't written very much this year so far. I just checked and realized that I'll be posting a  200% increase today versus the rest of the year also known as January.

So what am I doing?

I am still unemployed. I am staying with a friend for a while. I'm planning on writing two scripts this month before I write my Screnzy script in April. Oh, by the way I'm a Municipal Liaison for Screnzy now. Basically I'm a local volunteer that tries to make the madness of Screnzy a little less so for the rest of the participants.

I've been doing 750words.com which is probably the time I would be writing for this blog. I am sick of it because the timing that is kind of interesting for the purpose of discovering how fast you write begins to get annoying as you get into the seventy day streak. Yesterday I used Ispum Lorem so that I could use the time to work on my scripts. A big difficulty with the site that some of us have noticed is that there is another step to writing call revision and editing. I might not be writing something new but I don't need to be if I am still working on a writing project. Because of that I'm probably going to quit the site before the end of the month, once I have reached one hundred days and have the phoenix badge. Cause phoenixes are cool.

Well that is about all that has been happening to me recently. Hopefully I will post again soon.

Film Review: Twilight

Yeah. I watched Twilight.

I'm going to start off by saying that Twilight was not the worse film I have ever seen. If ranked against all the movies I have watched it would be solidly in the middle and it definitely could have been a better movie. Some of the flaws are similar to ones you see in the Harry Potter movies, not enough happening as action.

There are some very good parts in the movie, the problem is that they are surrounded by terrible parts. The beginning is slow and boring, the dialogue is maddening and there is just something seriously wrong with Bella. I think she's clinically depressive. The only time we see her have any personality is when she interacts with Edward and she has no reason to want to be dead, at least no reason I could see from watching the movie. It's not like she's dying from cancer or something, she's just a whiny bitch.

I actually kept thinking about the article from Cracked I read recently that revealed the original screenplay written for Paramount for Twilight. Two words, Vampire Commandos. Take everything about the Twilight vampires and make them commandos. They would be pretty cool, particularly if you change 'sparkles in sunlight' to 'blinds those foolish enough to look directly at them'. We can all dream about what could have been.

What I think was the worst part of the Twilight movie was actually the story is good. How it is told not so much, but the basic story is good. I suppose the one thing we can learn from Twilight is that all a book really needs is a good plot and then people will read it.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

That's kind of embaressing

And by 'that' I mean when you look at your blog and realize that you haven't updated it in a month. Nearly a month. Close enough to a month.

In this past month I have been doing 750words.com and am on a 44 day streak. That's a lot of days. I can't believe I've done it, that I was able to think of things to write or that they made sense. As it is I haven't written today and after that one terrifying attempt to blog via that site I am not trying again. Of course today I could write that much without difficulty because it's been so long since my last post.

I started to edit my Nanowrimo 2010. It's hard work and I am often bored of it. Instead I showed my Script Frenzy 2010 to my writing group and got feedback on it. They like it. They say it's marketable. It's so close to salable that I can taste it. I should be working on it more, but as usual I am distracted.

On a similar note Screnzy is rolling around again in April and I am going to be writing the sequel to my first. I always hate the people that talk about writing a sequel before they finish the first, or sell the first, or have actually contemplated the first. They do that on the forums. It's almost as annoying as complaining about not having an idea two months before the event. Now I am one of those people.

I still don't have a job. I am staying with a friend for free, which is nice but I do want to be able to at least assist with some bills after a while. I don't like taking charity. Honestly I am surprised that I am able to be her comfortably as I am.

The only thing I really need to do still is I have to lose some weight. I want to fit back into my clothes and I want to look better, but as happens when I get busy I don't pay attention to Calorie-count. Putting that website on my radar always seems to make me feel like I have too much time that could be spent elsewhere.

Anyway. I just read two books at a rapid pace and am playing a video game I shouldn't have bought and barely runs on my laptop.

In the next day or so I will be updating my GOALS because I realize I haven't. I messed with the numbers the other day but they need a post to go with them.
First Lord's Fury (Codex Alera)Coraline [Mass Market Paperback]Water for Elephants: A NovelAssassin's Creed 2