Tag Archives: story

#disappearingbears

28 Jan

TFAGODB

*POOF*

You know what really grinds my gears? Bowling piranhas. People seem to be so obsessed with it nowadays. It’s disappointing, a great embarrassment, to say the least. Okay, okay, I’ll stop. Hey guys. I’m going to take a lesson from a good friend of mine and proceed as though I didn’t vanish for an extended period of time.

Now, you’re probably wondering why this piece has received such an infuriatingly relatable/unrelatable title. The reason for this is simple: the Nostalgia Critic has done a review of Wicker Man, and I laughed pretty hard when I watched it.

Click links, for they are your only friends. That’s right, we aren’t friends. WE’RE BROTHERS! And sisters, I guess, if any sisters are reading this.

Paragraphs are fun. So are segues. Bet you didn’t know how “segue” was spelled, did you? You probably thought it was spelled “Segway,” but that’s a company brand name and completely unrelated, just like the title of this post and the content within.

Okay, so for those who’ve made it this far, if you’re expecting some thesis one how the film/writing/gaming/news/political/military/corporate/slash/industry industry works in its entirety, you’re out of luck. You’re also out of your mind, because I would never write something so needlessly complex, so ridiculously comprehensive, and so ripe for tangential diversions that it would make Tristram Shandy look like Medal of Honor: Warfighter. Boy, two Bobby the Tongue references in one post and we still haven’t arrived at the point of this piece? Man, we are on a ROLL today!

Okay, so for those who’ve made it this far, if you’re expecting me not to repeat things for the sake of giving off powerful heat rays of extremely dry, unfunny humor, then prepare for the great reveal of all: “unfunny” is actually in Google’s dictionary. To blatantly steal the joke of another: “We did it, guys. We finally killed English.” By the way, I hate Reddit, and I love it, and I hate it again. I won’t explain why, that’ll be something for later.

Okay, so for those who’ve predicted that I’d start the next paragraph with the same phrase verbatim, HAH! Gotchya!

Okay, so for those who’ve made it this far, I think I can start talking about things that matter. Firstly, we aren’t alone. Oh, big concept, huh? Well, we aren’t. I’m sorry, but if you’re still debating the chances of whether or not there is life beyond our solar system just as intelligent as us, stop. I don’t mean to enforce this viewpoint on you. You may reject it, and that’s fine, but know this: when we finally make contact, I’m going to spray you with silly string for five to twenty minutes straight while repeatedly yelling, “I told you so,” and it will be sweet justice, oh yes, sweet, crispy, bacony justice.

And yes, our worst fears have been realized: “balcony” is in the dictionary as well. I wonder who fell for that and actually clicked it without taking note of the fact that I used the word “balcony” the second time, not “bacony.” An interesting test in psychological behavior, indeed.

Ah, but you want to know what proof I have that we are not alone in the universe. Well, why don’t you come on down to Florida and we’ll have a discussion about that.

Okay, so for those who think that was the point of this piece, you’re still wrong. I just did that to weed out anyone who isn’t into aliens. Why? Because aliens are freakin’ awesome. Now, if you’d like to know what the point of this piece and, and you think there is none, you’re still wrong. Why? Because you are, and you are also correct, and you are also a woman of science. What’s that? You aren’t a zebra? What’s that? You’re sick of me beating around the bush?

Well then,

let’s

get

down

to

monster trucks.

I’ve never been to a rally, not one. I’m actually not into that stuff. Well, maybe I’d be into it if I’d seen one. But I haven’t, so I’m not. Just a bunch of big, giant, wheels, hot wheels. Remember Hot Wheels? I remember seeing the loops the cars were able to drive through in the commercials and thinking, “Golly, gosh, can mine do that, too?” Nope. You cars suck Dylan. That’s why you have to buy these ones. GET THEM NOW! I bought them. They couldn’t loop either. Damn snake oil salesmen, always ruining my day.

Okay, so for those who haven’t heard, movies have been shit lately. Pardon my French, but The Legend of Hercules was shit, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones was shit, American Hustle was overrated, Man of Steel was terrigood, Star Trek Into Darkness had an AWFUL ending, and I only saw two of those films. Can you guess which ones? Has my credibility been entirely destroyed yet? If your answer was no,

ROT.

Rotting flesh, burning, peeling away from their bodies after the bombs fell. Why did we do it to them? Are we really so cold, so cruel? One could say we prevented the deaths of many in doing what we did, was it worth the price? We opened Pandora’s Box, unleashed a monster that can never be shut away again. Why did we do that? Is the old saying really true? Will our curiosity be our undoing? Will our thirst to understand all, including Death itself, be our final end, our eternal Armageddon?

What will become of this material world twenty years from now?

Eh, enough of that stuff. Let’s talk about how everything begins where it ends instead. You see, the truth is that everything in the material world will rot away at some point, even movies. They may suck now, but they’ll be gone one day, so GET THEM NOW! Yes, even the ones recorded one VHS. What’s that? They have commercials in them? Don’t fast forward. Watch them. Yes, even the Hot Wheels ones. You’ll thank me later, when you and your friend Gary have something to reminisce about as you watch monsters trucks do flips over whole rows of bushes and zebras. What’s that, woman of science? You’d like to know what the point of this piece and, and yet you also think there is none? You’re still wrong, just as you are about aliens, and Florida, and whether or not we’re alone in the universe. Go stand on your bacony and look up at the stars. You’ll see them, and then sweet, crispy balcony justice will be delivered in the form of me spraying you with silly string for five to twenty minutes straight while repeatedly yelling, “Gotchya!” HAH! I can’t wait!

Okay, so for those who’ve predicted that I’d start the next paragraph at some point, you’re right. What’s that? The last one should’ve ended a while ago? Where the fuck are you from, Reddit? I hate Reddit, and I love it, and I hate it again. And if Reddit is pissed off at me for killing English, Reddit can go look up “unfunny” in the dictionary and discover for itself why breaking that whole thing into multiple paragraphs would’ve given off far too many heat rays of extremely dry, unfunny humor.

Man, we are on a ROLL today! Bobby the Tongue would be proud at the way I’m making Tristram Shandy look like Medal of Honor: Warfighter.  I mean, with this many needlessly complex, ridiculously comprehensive tangential diversions, you must be going out of your mind right about now. What’s that? You’re telling me the title of this post and the content herein are still unrelated? Well, if you’re still expecting some thesis one how the film/writing/gaming/news/political/military/corporate/slash/industry industry works in its entirety at the end of all this, you might as well hop on a Segway and head on over to California. Segues are fun.

So are paragraphs. And sisters, I guess, if any sisters are reading this, WE’RE BROTHERS! That’s right, we aren’t friends. Click links, for they are your only friends.

Your reaction to all of this is priceless. I’m laughing pretty hard while I watch it, the way I did when I saw the Nostalgia Critic’s Wicker Man review. At this point, you’re probably desperate to know why this piece has received such an infuriatingly relatable/unrelatable title. Well, in response to that, I’m going to take a lesson from a good friend of mine and proceed as though you and I never met today.

Hey guys. Okay, okay, I’ll stop. Honestly, this is all probably really disappointing for you, and, in that regard, a great embarrassment for me, to say the least. Ugh, you’ll all likely obsess over this failure of mine for weeks, they way you did over bowling piranhas. Speaking of which…

…you know what really grinds my gears? When people don’t just get to the fucking—.

*POOF*

TFAGODB

~D.

Guys, Guys, Guys…

24 Dec

Holy

Guys, guys, guys, it’s Christmas Eve.

Go donate to a Kickstarter campaign or something, like Tell Me A Story…, that one looks promising. Or maybe, if you’re feeling holy, try the Philippine Typhoon relief projects on GoFundMe. Go help, trust me, it’ll make you feel better.

Merry Christmas Eve!

~D.

The Other Path

29 Nov

Man

 

Tor.com is holding a fun little six word story contest that I decided to submit to. This is my entry:

Fire engulfs Man. From ashes, monsters.

You can view more entries, or submit your own, here.

~D.

Building a Better Story: Names

26 Aug

You and I, together.

Sometimes I advise, sometimes I don’t. This was one of the times I did.

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Question: How important is the name of a character?

Answer: It doesn’t matter and it DOES matter.

It doesn’t matter because, frankly, there are plenty of stories where names that mean complete gibberish are used for lead characters, and they work fine. I’m sure you can think of many examples, especially in the fantasy department.

On the other hand, it DOES matter because if you have 100,000 people read your book, and only 50 to 100 notice, “Oh my God, his name means _______! HOLY CHRIST-MUFFINS! THIS GUY’S A GENIUS! Brah, brah, brha…” then it was worth it. Especially if you run into one of those “elite” fans later on in your career and they’re like, “Hey, hey….I noticed it.” You guys will high-five the $#!* out of each other’s hands at that point.

So, I guess it depends on whether you want your hands to be hurting a lot.

—————————————————————————————————————————

 

~D.

Building a Better Story: Characters

21 Aug

Poison and cheer!

Building a character and building a person are, relatively speaking, the same thing. Just go ahead and start designing the character, and then, at intervals throughout their creation, ask yourself, “Is this what a real person under these circumstances would do? Is this how they’d act? Would Iact this way in the same situation? Would anyone I know act this way? Is this the kind of character who would even have a ‘human’ reaction to these events?”

Doing the above gives us a sense of reality in relation to the character, regardless of whether they’re a man, a machine, an alien, or whatever. When we can observe the character realistically, no matter how strange they might be, they’ve been designed properly.

AN IMPORTANT NOTE: designing a character purely for interest is not interesting. We’re not interested characters because they’re interesting. We’re interested in characters because they themselves are interested in the world around them, thereby becoming “interesting.” We are interested in the interested.

Realistically Designed Characters: Han Solo, Andrew Detmer, Commissioner Gordon (BEFORE The Dark Knight Rises), Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, President Josiah Edward “Jed” Bartlet.

Characters Designed for Interest Alone: Jar Jar Binks, Mudflap and Skidds (from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen), the Catalyst, Gurgi (until the later books that is).

In short, make people, not characters. And don’t force them to be interesting, because that’s not interesting.

~D.

The Word of the Day

19 Aug

Logs, just logs.

Complexity and nuances aren’t what make great stories, that’s depth’s job. And, as I’ve mentioned previously, depth can be simple, and it can also be natural.

Let’s examine these points individually in reverse, starting with that word “natural.” What does that mean? Well, in terms of stories and their telling, I’d say it means “anything originating without being engineered or contrived.” The natural parts of a story are the parts that come about as though they were entirely consequent of earlier events. Natural events appear real to the reader, and to the reader, the person, any person, things that are real tend to have depth, whether it’s made apparent right away or not. When things are natural, they’re real, and when they’re real they have depth, which is what readers love; not merely complexity, but depth, layers, levels.

Now, we also have this fascination writers have developed lately with creating “nuances” and “uniqueness” in their stories. This is becoming the new cliché, as such forced uniqueness and nuances lead to overly complex tales that nobody can keep up with. It’s fine for things to be original, and even unique, but these things again come from depth, which comes from how real the story is, which comes from how natural the story is. It all comes back to being natural, originating without being engineered or contrived.

And now we come up to complexity, which should never, in my opinion, be the goal of the writer. Intentionally making things complicated will always lead to contrivance. All of these things are connected and they, again, go back to how natural the story is.

So yeah, just keep everything natural and you’ll be fine. Have I used that word enough times for it to sink in?

 

~D.

Unique Characters: A Necessity?

11 Aug

Depth

I gave a fellow on Reddit some advice:

————————————————————————————————————————

Question: How unique do characters actually need to be?

Answer: There is no degree to which a character MUST be “unique.” Uniqueness isn’t necessarily the problem one faces when creating and developing a character, rather depth. See, when a character has multiple levels, it gives us, the reader, a little game to play: Dig to the Bottom of the Character (or DBC, as most people call it). We want a mystery to solve, a puzzle to reconfigure, a game to win. We want to be involved with who we’re reading about.

Now, that doesn’t mean we should make every character as confusing as possible. Levels can be SIMPLE. Luke Skywalker isn’t just the farm boy who became an intergalactic hero. He’s also a son who’s been lied to by his mentor, betrayed before birth by his father, kept in the dark about his sister, and torn between light and dark paths his whole life. Honestly, Luke has more depth than people give him credit for, but he isn’t COMPLICATED. See the difference?

Uniqueness isn’t something that can be forced. It naturally arises from a character’s depth.

————————————————————————————————————————

So yeah, try that out some time.

 

~D.