There’s a New Girl in Town

Be Careful Amy

There’s a classic character in traditional adventure fiction: The Girl who’s the love interest for The Hero. She’s young, she’s beautiful, and she says, “Be careful, John,” a lot.* She may be the CEO of a major corporation at 23, but she still needs him to rescue her often. And sometimes she needs to die so he can feel incredible pain (aka “fridging”) and then go out and beat up the bad guys. I don’t know why there’s such a pervasive idea that the Hero’s Girlfriend has to be a helpless, boneless, gormless doorstop of a character, but it’s everywhere, especially on TV.

The Girl annoys the hell out of me. Continue reading

Shorter is Harder

I’ve been working on the Structure unit for over on the writing blog, and I’m finding it difficult to keep to my 500 word limit. I’m not a stickler about it; if I hit 550, that’s fine, but I’m getting close to a thousand words on some of those entries and that’s just too many for an intro. All of this has just reminded me that shorter is harder. Continue reading

The Writing/Romance Project

As many of you know, I’ve been thinking about doing a writing book for quite a while. Teaching the two McDaniel’s classes helped me organize all the ideas in my head, and I’m in the process right now of sorting out all the writing posts on Argh and the website thanks to the hack, and after that, I’ll go through my hard drive and see if I can pull together the mass of information there into a coherent form. I have STUFF here, and a lot more stuff I want to say, and now is the time to put it all together. Continue reading

Plotting Action

One thing that struck me about so many of the suggestions about what Cat could do to get the vagrants out of the crypt: a lot people wanted Cat to talk, that is, they wanted her to persuade people to do things. I think sometimes it’s a female thing; if we’re confronted by danger, we’re really smarter (most of the time) to try talking our way out. But from a story point of view, and I think sometimes from a real world point of view, action is better.

Sense8: Doing Romance Right

Kiss Somewhere around my third or fourth viewing of this series, while I was still trying to figure out what the hell went wrong with such great stuff, I realized that I was staying for the romances, both the romantic couplings (and tripling) and the romance of the ensemble. I stayed because I loved the characters and I wanted to see them come together (not a double entendre). So I looked closer at the four love stories in the series and at the building of the ensemble. Ensemble later; let’s talk about how amazingly good the love stories in this series are. I used the four basic steps of building a love story (a vast simplification of a vastly complex human emotional arc) as a rubric for this post. This is entirely arbitrary and should not be interpreted as The Only Way To Structure A Love Story. It is, however, a pretty good approach for arcing a relationship. Continue reading

Sense8: Revising “Limbic Whatsit”

Warning: HUGE SPOILERS IN THIS POST. Sense8-Characters_2 I went back and looked at the pilot in light of what I knew about the whole series. I think the problems are much more complex than just the first episode, and because I don’t completely understand what they’re trying to do here, it’s iffy to say “This is how that first episode should have gone.” But based on the idea that a beginning should introduce the protagonists while establishing setting, mood, tone, and conflict, which is pretty basic storytelling, here’s how I’d revise that pilot. Continue reading

The Sense8 Pilot: “Limbic Resonance” WTF?

Warning: TL,DR: I saw a TV pilot that made me crazy so I watched it twice more to see how I’d fix it. I still don’t know, but I wrote three thousand words about why I couldn’t figure it out. Also the show is really good, so plow through the pilot and then settle in for the remaining eleven episodes. It’s worth it. Oh, and it’s definitely R rated, so don’t watch it with the kids or if graphic sex and violence and full frontal nudity appall you. Also HUGE SPOILERS IN THIS POST. ssd Last week, I decided to wind down before bed by trying out a new-to-me TV show, Sense8 the latest effort from Andy and Lana Wachowski, who brought us The Matrix and bullet time, and their co-creator and co-writer Michael J. Straczynski. An hour later, I was frowning at the TV; a good reaction to a pilot is not “I don’t understand most of that.” But I was really comfortable and I liked some of the characters, so I clicked on the second episode, and four hours later I was finishing up episode five, completely hooked. I finished the twelve-episode series in two more days, and then tried to process what I’d just seen. Continue reading