• The Best Stephen King Covers

    I talk about Stephen King a fair amount on this blog, and that’s natural. A hundred years from now we’re only going to remember two authors — Stephen King and J.K. Rowling. But one’s had a ton more books, so I thought it would be fun to go through the various covers (at least the ones I read) and find my favorites. For factors, I thought about marketing and being true to the actual content and themes of the book. There are two important things to communicate about Carrie — that this is the story about a girl with telekinesis and its thematically about violent revenge. A lot of covers…

  • Analyzing the Marvel Cinematic Universe Villains: Magento (X-Men)

    MAGNETO X-Men (2000) I’m starting with this movie because this is the real inception point for the MCU. If not for this movie and its compatriot Spider-Man (coming up next!) there would be no Tony Stark or Avengers. So I think it’s important to examine the precursors and their staying power with audiences. I don’t think it was a great movie — the problem with the X-Men is that it’s character soup — but after the chintzy animated series, it was a gourmet meal. Characteristics and Powers: Can bend and shape metal to his will. This includes stopping bullets in midair and some electromagnetism. And since just about everything in…

  • Short Fiction Banes

    I just started writing these short stories and they’re already kicking my ass. The blank page has never been scarier. I feel like I’m not a real writer when I write these and when I do fulfill it, it feels like crap. Well, not crap per se, but unpublishable stuff. Who’s going to read a dwarf detective story? Every day I come to the blank page and do everything I can to avoid writing. And now I’ve got to come to the blank page once a week. I realize I’ve got no plot for any of these concepts. No story. Nothing that’s going to get published anywhere. I don’t know…

  • Analyzing the Marvel Cinematic Universe Villains

    Time for a new feature on my blog. You’ve read my Analyzing the Disney Villains series. Now get ready for the Marvel Cinematic Universe villains. I think villain analysis is important because one of the keys to a really resounding story is the obstacles that the hero has to go through. The harder the obstacles, the harder the hero has to work, and the more glorious their triumph is. We wouldn’t remember Luke Skywalker as anything but another sandy-haired all-loving hero if not for Darth Vader. We wouldn’t remember wide-eyed innocent Dorothy if not for the cackling Wicked Witch of the West. We wouldn’t remember Batman’s noble pursuit of justice…

  • fiction typewriter

    2024: The Year of Short Stories

    I can’t remember who said it, but a writer once said “Try writing a short story a week for a year. You can’t write 52 short stories and have them all be bad.” I think I can prove them wrong. After nine novels and no bites (by “bite” I mean requests for a partial manuscript) I need to re-evaluate what I’m doing. I’m not sure what’s going wrong. (See previous entry about unhelpful rejection letters). But they say only a fool keeps doing the same thing expecting different results. So I need to do something different. I need to get back to basics. Figure out the fundamentals. So this year…

  • bookshelf books

    The Books I Read: November – December 2023

    It by Stephen King(re-read) I can’t remember what inspired me, but one day I just thought “I should re-read It“. It’s a defining book of both an author and a genre. Two two-part movies have been made about it. It’s an intrinsic part of the cultural zeitgeist. It was Halloween time. A good reader re-reads the classics every once in a while. It’s been about twenty years since my first reading, back when I was just starting as a writer (lowercase w). This time I was able to read it with a more critical eye. The eye of an author, knowing what I know about good writing and about Stephen…

  • stopping person from going forward rejection

    Unhelpful Rejection Letters: A Rant

    As I put Replaneted to bed and put into the bin of other failures, I gotta rant about the rejection process. In “On Writing”, King says you keep writing, keep submitting to agents, and expect to get form letters. The signal you’re getting good will be when you start getting personalized rejection letters. Something that says “we didn’t like this, but try again”. Of course, King was doing this back in the 1970s and 1980s. Those were the days, weren’t they? Back when you sent in physical copies of your manuscript and had to pay for stamps. Nowadays you’re lucky to get a response at all, let alone a form…

  • things I've learned

    Three Things I Learned This Year (2023)

    1. One-on-one time with an agent is useless. You pay money to pitch your book only for them to reject you later when they don’t have to do it to your face. They can’t tell you why your book keeps getting rejected because they haven’t read the book, only the query letter. Either agents are taking on less new clients or they are relying more on form responses or no responses. As if that’s becoming the new norm. Which makes sense from a business standpoint–don’t give the crazy person who thinks they were ordained by God to write a novel any leeway to keep submitting. Doesn’t mean I’m happy about…

  • All My Animated GIFs

    In my list of posts for this year, I wrote down “all my animated gifs”. I don’t know why, but heck, here you go. I appear to have a lot of Disney ones, especially Ariel. A testament to Sherri Stoner’s mocap. And then I’ve got a few “monster girl” ones.