• wood books

    How I Pick the Books I’m Going to Read: 2022 in Review

    I thought it’d be interesting to see how I pick books to read, if there’s a pattern. So I looked back over 2022’s books I read and tried to remember how/why I added them to my “to be read” list. Swashbucklers – a Big Idea on John Scalzi’s site. The Big Idea is a type of featured post where authors of new works can talk about what inspired them to write the book. All These Worlds (Bobiverse #3) – The third book in a trilogy, and I liked the first two well enough. I don’t remember where I became aware of the original book. Nothing But Blackened Teeth – a…

  • cinemax chills hand reaching from grave

    My Kindertrauma: The Cinemax “CHILLS” Hand

    So when I was a kid we had cable and we got a few premium channels. One of them was HBO, which was a blessing of movies. Not only did it have Fraggle Rock (and woe to anyone who could not partake of this divine show), but it also had that legendary promo before its feature presentations. The other channels had similar sequences, one of which was Cinemax, which would come on a free preview weekend. My father taped Short Circuit, my favorite movie, during one of these instances before I was old enough to remember. Cinemax’s movie announcement wasn’t as epic as HBO’s, but it was more, shall we…

  • punisher

    Villains vs. Anti-heroes

    I recently read this editorial on Polygon talking about why every hero seems like a villain these days. It specifically points out Homelander in The Boys, Black Adam who was marketed as an anti-hero, and Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I think the problem is that people are mislabeling villains as anti-heroes. The line is blurry, but there is a line. And it’s very easy to cross. An anti-hero does the wrong thing for the right reason. The Punisher dismantles the mafia and corrupt cops by brutally murdering them. Batman stops crime by inflicting fear and suffering instead of gathering evidence or kidnapping a criminal who fled to Hong…

  • clip art ghost costume halloween

    What Would a Writer Costume Look Like?

    What does a writer costume look like? If it was Halloween and you were going as a writer, what would you dress up as? I’m not even sure myself–probably a cross between a professor (like one with the argyle sweater vests and a pipe) and a nerd (the glasses, high pants). It’s a pain in the ass to bring a typewriter to a party so I’d want to minimize the props. Let’s do some image searching and see what Google thinks. This is the first entry you get when you enter “writer costume” in the image search. I guess you could say this is a writer, but if you ask…

  • snoopy writing typewriter

    All My Writing Tips

    These are all the tips and advice about writing that I’ve collected over the years. They first started when I was outlining Stephen King’s On Writing and ballooned from there. They generally start simple, then expand to complex and detailed. Some of them are long. Some of them repeat. Some of them conflict. Some of them might be controversial. Mileage may vary.

  • man sitting with coffee writer

    What Writing Tips Have Not Worked For You?

    I keep a list of writing tips for myself that I look at every once in a while. It started as an outline of Stephen King’s On Writing, but expanded from there as I learned more and more about the craft. Write what you know Well, if we only wrote what we know, there’d be very few stories. And very boring stories. There’d be no science fiction or fantasy. No dwarves, no superheroes, no space aliens, no slasher killers. How dull. Not to mention if you only write what you know, you’re not writing for an audience. And that’s another piece of advice that’s terrible — “write for yourself”, “write…

  • bookshelf books

    The Books I Read: November – December 2022

    Fairy Tale by Stephen King Look, I don’t think I’m making any grand statement when I say that King can write. We all know that. He’s been writing since the 1970’s and I’ve statistically proven his books have never gone down in popularity or quality, even after getting sober, even after getting hit by a truck, even after being shoved out of a tree by his son Joe Hill. But we’ve all known that King is not sophisticated. He’s not Proust. He’s not “Where the Crawdads Sing” or “The Goldfinch”. Which is fine. King writes for the masses. And that’s fine. I want to write for the masses. I’m just…

  • sneetches beach

    Planet Money: Who Teaches the Sneetches Gets Torn to Pieces

    So I listen to a podcast called “Planet Money“. They do bite-sized explanations of concepts and current events in the world of economics. This week they did a special about economic concepts in children’s books (transcript), like Frog and Toad’s “Cookies” for credible commitment and “Put Me In the Zoo” for labor mismatch. And to do this, they visited a third-grade class in the Olentangy school district near Columbus, Ohio, and read some of these stories allowed. That’s where it went wrong. Because they had this Dolores Umbridge mother fucker named Amanda Beeman, a “communications person from the district“. She sat in with them and monitored the books they read.…

  • empty movie theater

    We Have Passed Peak Movie Theater

    With the underperformance of every Summer and Winter blockbuster this year (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Strange World, Avatar: The Way of Water), it’s clear the movie theater is dying. You will never see another blockbuster box-office banger like Avatar or Avengers: Endgame or Titanic or The Dark Knight, even though most of those are recent movies (which might just be because of inflation, giving you an idea of how big 1997’s Titanic was). And that’s because of two reasons. 1. People are crowd shy since the pandemic. It’s baked into us now — six feet, superspreader events, wash your hands. Any event with crowds comes with an implicit warning sticker…