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    So when it comes to my latest novel, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that I’ve reached my 90,000-word goal. The bad news is I’m only barely past the halfway point. I’m always worried about having enough material to make a full-length novel. That’s my biggest fear as a writer. Naga Story turned out to be 90,000 on the dot. Fairy War was about 50,000 which was perfect for the target audience. I have a bad habit of writing short but the market wants long. So when I plan a novel, I try to add in more scenes than would be strictly necessary. They like Stephen…

  • wreck-it ralph

    Analyzing the Disney Villains: Ralph (Ralph Breaks the Internet)

    WRECK-IT RALPH Origin: Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018) So we have another antagonist-less Disney movie. Who is the villain of this piece? Is it the virus? Is it Shank? Is it… is it Ralph? I can’t see a way that it’s not. For one thing, they are fighting a bunch of Ralph clones at the end. For another, the antagonist is defined as the person standing in the protagonist’s way. Who is the protagonist? It’s not Ralph. Ralph doesn’t need to change. His life is perfect (he even says so). Therefore the protagonist is Vanellope–she wants to change. And Ralph doesn’t want to let her. Motivation: Vanellope wants a life…

  • bookshelf books

    The Books I Read: May – June 2023

    How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix So I’ve grown to love Grady Hendrix and his books. He just seems to have a knack for combining grody horror and nuttiness. Like Stephen King if he was fabulously gay. This book is like his other ones — My Best Friend’s Exorcism, The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires. It starts out tongue-in-cheek to help you bond with the characters, then migrates to horror, then terror. In How to Sell a Haunted House, there really isn’t much “selling”. But there is plenty of conflict between a brother and sister whose parents just died. The sister (main character) is smart,…

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    Keyword Searches That Bring People to My Blog

    So, for fun, let’s look at the keyword searches that brought people to this blog for the last year. There are five, count them, five variations on people searching for who the villain in Pinocchio is, leading them to my “Analyzing the Disney Villains” page about it. I don’t think they realize there really is no central antagonist, just a bunch of little ones. Why they need to know this, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s curiosity. Maybe they’re looking for information for an English paper. Next is “beetlejuice saturn”. Again, an unanswerable question. This time the lore is simply not able to provide. As a novelist, my job is to…

  • update


    So here’s some updates on what I’ve been working on. I’m finally done with my commissions, rewarded myself with a pizza, and have now gone back to working on my “supervillain make-a-wish” story. At this point, I have about 60,000 words and I’m not through the first part of Act II yet, so that’s looking good on word count at least. I’m always worried about ending up too short — “naga hide” and “fairy war” both ended up being a little shyer of 90,000 words than I would have liked. Which means either they were YA novels in disguise or I simply didn’t have enough material to make a full…

  • ant-man quantumania poster

    Diagnosing the Problem with Ant-Man: Quantumania

    “Explaining humor is a lot like dissecting a frog. You learn a lot in the process, but in the end you kill it.” Mark Twain In my never-ending quest to dissect stories to the point where they resemble so much fleshy bits on a slab (if this is Marvel, would this be Throg?), I just saw Ant-Man: Quantumania, the first of Marvel’s Phase Five, where we stop dealing with the consequences of Infinity War/Endgame and start getting real with the multiverse and Kang the Conqueror. Quantumania was universally panned for being “just another Marvel movie.” Another notch in the interminably average fare Disney/Marvel has been churning out since Avengers: Endgame.…

  • orville title ship

    The Orville Begs the Question: Moclans and Their Gender/Sexuality Conservatism

    The Orville was a dumb Star Trek: The Next Generation rip-off that felt like self-insert fanfic. I mean, they didn’t even do a good job filing off the serial numbers. They shamelessly refer to nothing but twentieth-century Earth pop culture like nothing in the past four hundred years made a difference. None of the characters act like they come from a military or a utopia. They’re more obsessed with petty gossip, bar tricks, and sex than exploring the galaxy. One of the episode’s inciting incidents comes from a character dry-humping a statue during a first-contact visit. This guy’s a senior officer. Seth MacFarlane is a blunt hammer of a writer.…

  • typewriter short and sweet

    Quotes About Writing

    You might have noticed the randomized quote on the website in the upper right corner. (It used to be at the top but the new look-and-feel seems to prevent me from doing that.) Over the years, I’ve collected quotations that seem particularly poignant or true. I like quotes. They’re like little succinct nuggets of knowledge. Here are some of my favorite quotes on writing. (You might also see them in the quote generator from time to time. Consider this a cultivated list.) “If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste,…

  • mario bros movie poster

    The Truth About the Mario Movie That We Need to Acknowledge

    Look, the truth is, I didn’t much care for the new Mario movie. Granted, it’s for a different audience than a forty-year-old cis white software developer. It’s for the kids who think Minions are the shizznit and that the cops are like Paw Patrol. It’ll be on in the background of daycares for years to come with its bright and colorful visuals and catchy sound. But its storytelling is thinner than Kate Moss standing next to Cara Delevingne. Bowser does nothing but sing “peaches” over and over again. The maguffin has less of a purpose than the briefcase in Pulp Fiction. Why do the Penguins have it? Why are there…