Friday, September 17, 2010

Tailered to Fit

The genesis of this post was a friend's status that said
"I don't need this! I didn't ask to fall in love with a vampire!" ~(name) "First Bite"
While I am a die-hard Twilight hater, I thought it sounded like a good enough line for a fanfic, so I asked the friend about it. Even though it seemed to be a self-insert story, I (against my better judgement) asked for more information.
To my surprise, she directed me to the site My first reaction was shock mingled with morbid fascination. The site is full of completely written novels, with blank spaces for character names and physical traits. Type in a few names, and you have a personalized novel. Or the height of self-insert Sueness.
Granted, lots of people read novels solely to fill their hunger for romance or wealth...but this takes it to new levels.
If people can get 'mind candy' that easily, would they bother with real literature?
Just something to think about.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Masters and Slayers Contest

Bryan Davis has a new contest going on. Go to


This is my 100th post. So...what is the significance of that?
I can't think of anything special to do, so I'll post a drabble I wrote:

First Flight: Skye and Kestrel
Sprinkles of light dot the distance ceiling and one great round light stares down at me. “Kestrel?” My words don’t bounce back at me, and I wonder how big this room is. Kestrel tilted her head to one side, as if listening to something—or someone—I could not hear. ”We need to be higher.” She walked along the side till piles of smelly stuff came into view. “Climb up,” I scrambled after her till we stood on the edge of something. “Now,” she whispered and jumped.
I stopped a scream. “Kestrel?”
But my vision had adjusted. I saw her sweep across the air. “What?”
“Flying,” The word rang out. “Flying, Skye.”
I swallowed and jumped. For a moment I fell, like in night-pictures. But then my wings moved me up! Up, not down. The ground was gone, and the ceiling was not seen. Kestrel? The picture-link came on, showing the careful motions I’d seen her practice. She knew this.
Flight. I wondered what the Masks would have to say.
Don’t! The word screamed in my mind. We’re not going back. This is the world, and that, she winced. That is wrong. That was not our homes

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect:
By Andy Andrews
This book shows how just one act can change the world--even the tiniest one. While it is difficult to explain what the book describes without giving anything away, I wil say that this is an amazing inspirational book. It even brough in historical events that are well-worth knowing about. The book itself is a beautiful work, almost like a scrapbook with page backgrounds.

Doctor Who

"What if you were really old, and really kind and alone? Your whole race dead, no future. What couldn't you do then? If you were that old, and that kind, and the very last of your kind.... you couldn't just stand there and watch children cry."

For the past several years, my list of favorite TV shows--meaning ones I cared about watching--had exactly one item: Extreme Makeover:Home Edition. Now I have another show to add to the list: Doctor Who, a BBC sci-fi drama. The show features the mysterious Doctor, Last of the Time Lords, journeying though time and space in his TARDIS (which, from the outside, is merely a police box.)
Several of my online friends are huge fans of this show, so when I found myself with nothing to do last night, I found some online episodes and began watching. Wow! The Doctor is extremely mysterious, but with a humourous side too. The episodes were well-plotted and suspensefully directed. One episode, "Time of the Angels," had the Doctor and his friends in search of a Weeping Angel. AS long as someone looked at it, it was merely a statue. But the moment you looked away, it could move and most likely kill you. To make matters worse, the Angel is hiding in a neocropolis full of angel statues.
I have never read or seen anything more suspenseful than this episode. It uses the old bogeyman fear of 'something moving in the dark' and masterfully embodies it. I have no plans to write horror, but this episode could teach writers lots about suspense.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

No Word Had Reached My Mortal Ears

Many fans of Tolkien's works are familiar with the twelve volume History of Middle-Earth series, which traces the development of Tolkien's works--including The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion-- from the very earliest scribblings during World War I to the full-bodied tale of the Ring and beyond.
I had already read volumes I through V, with the exception of volume IV, The Shaping of Middle-Earth, and therefore was eager to pick up volume VI, The Return of the Shadow. While the earlier volumes trace the legands that became The Silmarillion, volume VI discusses early drafts of The Lord of the Rings.
The title of this post comes from a letter in which Tolkien was discussing the development of the Lord of the Rings.
So the essential Quest started at once. But I met a lot of things along the way that astonished me. Tom Bombadil I knew already; but I had never been to Bree. Strider sitting in the corner of the inn was a shock, and I had no more idea who he was than Frodo did. The Mines of Moria had been a mere name; and of Lothlorien no word had reached my mortal ears till I came there
In modern terms, Tolkien was a 'seat-of-the-pants" writer. He didn't start with an outline or ages of planning (although much deliberation sunk the Silmarillion in various accounts.) As an example, he began the first chapter, "A Long-Expected Party," with Bilbo Baggins hoasting his 71st birthday and simply vanishing--with no connection to Gandalf, Frodo, or the Ring. Later in the work, when the hobbits (then named Bingo, Merry, Ondo, and Frodo--with Bingo as the Ringbearer) reach Bree, they are met not by Strider, but by a hobbit named Trotter who wears wooden shoes!
Those who care more about the result than the process wouldn't find much of interest in these books. But curious readers--especiallly those who are also writers--will certianly enjoy tracing the threads of Tolkien's mind through many devolopments.