Sunday, September 26, 2010


My friend from school made up the word poemisms, though I think it doesn't really mean anything different from poems.  But I'll use it anyway because I like it.   Anyway, just wrote some poetry, so here you go, an untitled brain spawn.

Oh darling I know how bad it hurts
Yes I know how bad it hurts
But i can accept this fate
I can accept this
I'll miss you worse than you miss me
I know what this fate means

Burning too, bursts into the air
Inescapable fact
Concrete ideas like walls and footfalls
Support me or make me turn away
There's only one place I can stay
And that place is not here
This place is not my fate
It's just on the way
Another step on the way

Oh darling I know how bad it hurts
I can tell you all about it
But it's still far away
I see it there waiting for me
But I can accept this fate
I can accept this
I already miss you more than I know how to say
But baby this is what fate means

Clean and pure
I remember it all for sure
Just like I remember you
Like I'll always remember you

Little eyes run away
Maybe you'll see it someday
Not this day, not this sunset
It's not for you
I don't know maybe it'll never be
I hope you can escape
What do I know but what I see?
I see a lot these days
I'm not afraid, I'm just numb and I smile
Maybe I'll dance with destiny for a while

Darling this is how bad it hurts
Especially since now I can see the end
I don't even look and there it is
But I can accept this fate
I can accept this fate
Because I love you and I'm not afraid
Darling I'll accept this fate.

Hey God, what do I do next?
I'm listening

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Music You've Probably Never Heard -- DJ Redlight

Hey y'all! It's time for another posting of music you've never probably never heard before. This week it's DJ Redlight, otherwise known as Ashley Carr, and I can almost guarantee that you've never heard of him before. That's because he's an unknown, mostly.  He's new to the scene, but he has the skill to become known some day.

The difference between last week and this is that DJ Redlight's work is not as rave as LA Style or as hardcore as the James Brown is Dead remixes. Redlight tends to stick to house, funk, and downbeat, with a bit of trance from time to time. He doesn't use a lot of lyrics. The song "Computer People" has a few computer generated lyrics describing the plight of little people that make your electronics work, and there is an emo parody song up, but other than that he works without words.

That is something I've always admired in an artist. Words tie down a song to a set meaning, and lyricless tunes take form and shape in the heads of those that listen, and it communicates ideas from the artist that cannot be expressed in any language. Some of the songs seem to even take on words themselves, particularly Dream of You. It sings a song in a most delightful voice without even expressing it in words. Inhibition is also the same way, a passionate song with a life of its own.  Real music is not about words, but the soul, and anyone who says it's less is wrong.

Most of his stuff is not pop sounding, and Ashley prefers to do emotive works rather than things that are good on the surface. So he's automatically better than all the pop artists that all sound the same and prefer to rap or sing about themselves or the high life. Songs are best when they are not focused on oneself, but when they are focused on others or common feeling and desires. Carr understands this better than "artists" of today, who make everything sound alike as they croon in generic and flat tones.

Carr seems to like the time period from 1970 to the nineties, and since he mostly does house music, it's completely understandible. Those were the golden years for house music, with disco, synthpop, and nineties electropop. Funkilicious, Retrospect, and Electrohouse are the three most reminiscent, and Electrohouse in particular is my favorite as the optimistic and adventurous kind of tune I remember from my childhood. Yours Sincerely is a marvelous tune, as is Shades of Grey. They are both soothing tones that sound like the end of a story, with everything ending not entirely happily, but contentedly. Or you can put your own meaning to them. They have such calm and peace that I can't help but love them. Most of his stuff is original, but he has done remixes on Doom, Dr. Who, and Dr. Mario.

My favorite tracks include:
- Stupid Melody. This track has a title that makes you underestimate it, but it's actually a lovely piece that fights its own first impression. I love the irony of it.
- Still Waiting (Waiting for Romero to Play Remix). This song is crazy and powerful, with perfect storytelling drama.
- Girl from Mars. This track is weird, urban, and very picturesque of a street theme.
- Hotwire. I love this song. It makes a strong impact, and it's a very hyperactive piece.

Don't just listen to me. Go to and download it for yourself. What tracks do you like? It's all free and legal because the author does it himself.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Reviews -- Blind Run, The Dark Tower

I have been on a quest of late to find books that are both modern and good. As you might imagine from reading that, it is indeed a quest: most of the things I have found thus far in the library have been inane, terribly written, or simply unfinishable by the grounds that the protagonist sounded like a self-centered jerk - and not the kind that's fun to read about. In my youth I had to finish a story because I wanted to know what happened. Fortunately I have learned to save myself from that notion.

One of the miserable books I have read recently, which had a very pretentious title I know longer care to remember, told the story of a man who was rich and known by millions, having a very popular variety show in a futuristic world. However, due to some interaction with a weird alien critter he suddenly wakes up in a nasty hotel and nobody remembers who he is, even the people he's known a long time.

Doesn't this sound like a good set up? However, the book failed by two different ways. First of all, you expect to read about how the guy tries to reclaim his life all while going on an adventure the likes of which we would have trouble imagining. Yet this is not the case. Several of the earlier chapters are bogged down by him interacting with an insane woman who is faking his identification, and she wants him to sleep with her or else she'll turn him into the police. The main character has several boring conversations with her, and they go on an inane outing to a restaurant of no plot-importance. Getting past that, the man finally leaves the first town he encounters as a stranger, only to go to a married woman, sleep with her, and then proceed to have a stupid and irrelevant conversation with her on the nature of love. Very little of the narrative doesn't have to do with sex, and every initial observation of the main character on a woman was based on her sexiness, not on her character. I don't care how "realistic" that is -- it's downright boring, sexist, and irrelevant. Thing is, there is nothing about sex that can't be discovered by anyone. It's normal. The plotline of losing your identity is not normal, and that is what the plot gains interest from. By ignoring this part of the plot for sex you're shooting your own story in the foot.

Secondly, at no point does the author do any worldbuilding. At least not in the first ten or so chapters that I read (I wasn't going to finish this trash). Worldbuilding is the creation of a place in which the story happens, and it comes with certain rules and a level of technological ability. I will go into this topic more later, but suffice it to say that every story has a setting. This story was set in the future, with futuristic television, vehicles, and a weird sub-plot where people were trapped in some sort of "universities" and the main character was something called a "six". Again, this could have been a point of interest, where the author could describe to us what sort of future this is and why there is an inferior subset of people in the world that must be contained. He never does so. While holding back certain points of this world for intruigue would be fine, the author never tells us much about this future at all at the beginning. We must merely assume that it is futuristic while the main character does stupid things that don't matter. In fact, the future nature of the place serves to hamper the story, as identification is more important in that world than in this. In America, you can go a great distance without ID. You cannot do so in this world, and it only serves to limit the freedom, and thus the capability of adventure, for the main character.

But this blog should not linger so long on that story. It sucked, quite frankly, and I am confident in knowing that none of you will ever read that book. It is by no means popular. The library is increasingly pretentious these days, and if I lived closer to the downtown library then I think I would have access to better reading materials. What I want to discuss in this blog is two different stories. One is Blind Run by Patricia Lewin, and The Dark Tower by C.S. Lewis.
I should make no secret of it that I love older books, which you have likely already gathered. My parents in this respect are dinosaurs, having themselves loved and cherished old books themselves. I don't blame them. There is a depth and power in Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, and the like that modernity has no comparison to. Stephanie Meyers? Pssshht. I really shouldn't despise her because she writes to a different audience than people like Lewis, but at the same time I feel no obligation to read anything she's written, my dislike of vampires aside.

On to the books! The first I read, Blind Run, is a successful book in one sense: it is the first book from the library I actually managed to finish without throwing it down in disgust. Other than that, it's simply okay. I found the narrative a bit pretentious, but that didn't hamper the book too much. The story follows the life of Ethan Decker, a man who worked for a secret government agency that made for anti-terrorism. At the outset, he had left the agency for three years because of the death of his son, and he wanted to stay away from his wife so that no one would go after her on his account. The story begins with him alone in the desert with no prospects. He lives there only because he feels he deserves it for not protecting his son. Shortly thereafter, another former agent shows up, leaving two strange children on his doorstep before driving off.

Not a bad premise, huh? Well, the book itself was fairly meh. It had characters with no particular depth, unoriginal plotlines, and the feel of a generic action movie. I will now spoil the book. The first chapter speaks of a man who works in a secret lab on an island and children are not supposed to escape. Bam! Immediately it springs into the reader's head that this island does experiments on children. While this is obvious to any reader over fifteen, the book treats it as if this is some sort of mystery plot, never revealing a deeper revelation about the importance of the children on the island. It does go on to say that later on the children were meant to be immune to all diseases, and at one page late in the story it mentions in passing that the children were meant to be an invincible army that would spread germs without getting sick as well. However, the fact that this is only mentioned on one page, and that nothing else in the story haunts the reader that this could possibly become reality, this idea becomes ho-hum. At no time are we actually afraid of the bad guys or think that they're going to do something lasting to the main character. Come on, can't the children be used for something original? Like discovering aliens or building sophisticated robots, or being supremely intelligent beings that overthrow the scientists that created them and take over the world and force everyone to listen to techno? Something I can't guess after reading only one chapter of the book?

So, throughout the course of the story, Ethan has to go and rescue his ex-wife Sydney, and once they meet up the plot is consumed with reminding the reader of their relationship, pretty much saying that they are going to get back together by the end of the book. And of course Sydney's erstwhile boyfriend turns out to be a baddie. Ho-hum. What irks me about it is that the couple talks amongst themselves, ignoring the two children they have with them just as the author does. We learn little about these childrens' nature or motivations. They are things not unlike characters, but they have otherwise little personality. Instead of demonstrating the grace of the younger one, a little girl, they merely say that she has a joyful nature and leave it at that. The older child, Danny, is allowed to show his intellegence, mostly in the form of rebelling, but otherwise he too has little depth.

The only character who we possibly could be frightened of is Marco Ramirez, the man that is believed through most of the book to be the one behind the death of Ethan's son. However, he is shown to lose his cleverness and get caught by Ethan, only to help him rescue the experimented on children and turn out to not be the killer. The true bad guys of the story are given little opportunity to gain the haunting fright that Marco's character sort of had in the beginning.
This story did a few things to annoy me. The first of which was the Anna Kelsley, the former agent who dumped the kids on Ethan in the first place. What authors do with tough women characters far too often is to just go on and on about how tough or smart they are, leaving any other aspects of their personality completely unexplored. I hate that. Also, it had Marco randomly saying things in spanish. You'll notice this in badly written stories, where a character says random foreign things for no reason, only serving to delay any real dialogue and make the person sound like a stereotype. Not unlike cartoons. There are other ways to make a person act ethnic, ones that make this person seem more real.

The thing that was the worst of all was when the ex-wife and children would continually rebel against Ethan's knowledge of how to evade or attack dangerous people. It's absolutely despicable when a military expert says for his wife or girlfriend to stay in a safe place while he goes into danger, and then the girlfriend acts stupid and says it's more important for her to be with him and completely disregard that a non-military person is more likely to get people killed than help. Even worse is when they make it so that the soldier or expert is helped by his rebellious girlfriend or annoying child because they refused to listen.

Listen. If you are in a place where someone has worked for a secret agency for six years, and they tell you to stay out of danger and not follow them, do what they say. You'll only put yourself and others in danger if you disobey. Also, Steve Harvey once mentioned in his book Think Like a Man, Act Like a Lady, that men will freak out if their loved one is in danger. Harvey was on a boating trip with his wife, and he decided that he was going to remain on board while she went scuba diving. In a moment of paranoia, Harvey had a panic attack and was afraid his wife wasn't going to make it back on the ship. He swore that if something happened to her then nobody was getting back to shore. Thing is, danger to loved ones makes men freak out and lose their rationality. If you as a girlfriend stay out of unnecessary danger (particularly if you know people could potentially shoot at you), it will be easier for the man to do what he needs to do in complex situations. It's a man thing.

Overall, the story spends too much time explaining the past without creating a deep and interesting present. The conclusion of the book is meh, with them all running away because the government is obviously too corrupt to listen to. I'm so bored of government conspiracy books! This one in particular doesn't even go into how the government is corrupt, it just merely says that it is and moves on. So this book isn't the worst thing I've ever read, but it lacks depth and originality. I could have written it in my sleep. You could have written it in your sleep. It's like a generic action movie, except that it can't really be because it has too much violence toward children.

The second book, The Dark Tower, is actually a few notes done by C.S. Lewis that he never published. There are a few reasons for this. One of them had to have been a passing interest in the nature of memory, and since this had apparently waned in Lewis over time, the story was never finished. It was meant to be a sequel to Out of the Silent Planet, the first of his space trilogy. The Dark Tower, while in and of itself interesting, is not a fitting sequel to this book, which Lewis must have realized at some point because he went on to write Perelandra as the sequel instead.

The Dark Tower starts out as a meeting between several professors at the college Lewis worked at. He himself is a character in this story, just as he played a minor role in the space trilogy. The other characters are Ransom (the protagonist of the space trilogy), MacPhee (who went on to have a significant role in the last of the space trilogy, That Hideous Strength), Scudamour, and Orfieu. Orfieu invited them to his study because of his studies in time travel. He has a very weird notion of why you can't travel in time, namely because years in the future your atoms would have become other things - you would have rotted into the soil to be nutrients for plants and things of that sort. He doesn't believe that you can simply take your present body with you because you cannot add matter to the universe or take it away. So you can't take the mass of your body from the present into the future.

Think of that what you will, because it's not too relevant to the story. Orfieu reveals to the others his "chronoscope" which allows one to see into the future or past. Since this is a new science, none of them know exactly where into it they are seeing. I'll go ahead and spoil the plot for you, since this book has no end. So they look into it, discussing their theories about what they see, when it turns out that the tower they are seeing is the tower of the college in their world. Also, there is a strange character in the strange realm they see that is basically a double of Scudamour -- only he has something like a bee's stinger on his forehead, which he uses to sting certain people in the spine and render them as happy dolls that obey his orders without question.

Things get even worse when one of the people sent in to get stung is a double of Scudamour's fiancee, and then the personalities of both Scudamours get switched, leaving a college professor as the dark leader of a bizarre race that must defend itself from the "white riders", whose true nature is never explained. The story is cut off when Professor Scudamour is in the library of stingerman Scudamour, trying to figure out what's going on.

I like this story very much. It's a bit tough to comprehend (or so it is while my foggy head is trying to recover from its sickness, at least) because of its deep thought and complex pseudo-science that it has to explain. But I love it. I want to read it and figure it out, enjoying every mystery I come across. Fake science has always intruiged me, as long as it deep and interesting, resulting in my former like of Star Trek and Dr. Who (I grow in dislike for the directions they both have taken of late, bad acting aside). Also, going to an alternate dimension that is as bizarre and evil as this one is ridiculously intruiguing. You really have to read it yourself.

Sadly, the lack of ending to this story depresses me, because it's very good and I want to know what happens. Also, it renders it pretty much uncomparable to Blind Run, as who knows what would have become of this book in the end? However, I do like it because you can't automatically guess what's going to happen from the first chapter. Also, it goes to show that the older realm of fiction has a greater tendency to expand the things it writes about. I have particularly disliked romances (not romance in a story, but genre romances) because they ignore everything else in the world besides romance, and if they wax philosophical, that philosophy is only relevant in the story itself, not in reality. It seems like everything these days is focused on romance or mindless action, neither of which appeals to my thirsty brain.

For example, The Dark Towers describes the alternate race as having an ignorance about things like outer space, and they think that the planet is flat. However, this race has a very advanced view of time. Time doesn't merely move forward and backwards, it moves "eckwards and andwards" -- more specifically, across. Imagine something that is woven or plaid. Actually plaid works best here. Okay, so look at the lines of the plaid that go left and right. Imagine this as time, past and present. Each line is a world with different science, different people, and the like. Then look at the vertical lines. These also are different worlds with different people, except that they cross into the worlds that are horizontal, leading in similarities. Like the two Scudamours for example. Lewis also describes in the book that the people in the alternate world have these myths called smoke horses, yet are revealed with more observation to be trains.

The only comparable thing I have read in a modern book is in Dean Koontz's Seize the Night, a book that explores not going backwards and forwards, but up or down in time. The difference between this and the dark tower is that the protagonist does not find an alternate world, but Hell itself. The Dark Tower talks of perpendicular lines (two more or less equal worlds that cross each other), while Seize the Night talks of paralell lines (two worlds that run alongside each other and are related to each other). My problem with Koontz's work is that his books seem all alike, in the sense that they all involve people that are demented in some way and the guy gets the girl in the end. Seize the Night is my favorite work of his because it is the most intruiging, and it revolves more or less around real people, not those that are insane. Real people that are demented to some extent will try to go up or down in time if they can (if such science existed in reality) to see what they can see, so I don't think the scientists involved crossed any bounds in that manner.

So, Blind Run? I'll rate it "very meh, but read it if you're bored". The Dark Tower I'll rate "Wonderful and will rescue you from memory loss as you age". Yeah, exercising your brain does keep you from losing your memory. All factors aside, the human brain could last up to three million years, if exercised, so don't let anyone tell you you're dumb because you're old.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Music You Probably Never Heard -- L.A. Style

Hey y'all! I'm here again with the first of my music reviews, bringing you music you have probably never heard.

For my first presentation, I will bring you L.A. Style's first album, self-titled. It is a classic cd that came out, oh, 1991 or 92. It's a great album that really personifies early nineties rave: happy, funky, but not without it's dark side. This album, and indeed this group, is best known for its most popular song, James Brown is Dead. I'll get more into this song later, but for now I'll get the others done first. I'll post a youtube link to those that have them, but not all of them will. I bought this cd on ebay, so possibly you'll be able to find more of them there.

Okay, so the second track is called Balloony, and it's a short, fun track. It's quirky, but odd. It's not as fun as the other tracks on the album, but for the common techno raver it's a solid piece.

Third up is my favorite piece of the album, Jesus on Channel Four. I'm really sad that this doesn't have a link on youtube, because this is a really great song. It has a couple verses of rap, which are okay, but the real delight to this piece is the gospel background singers, which accompany the background music perfectly. It's very hypnotic, and the funnest track of the bunch.

Track four is I'm Raving, the second most popular song on the album. And it does have a link on youtube []. This song has some silly lyrics about raving (this is indeed a nineties album), and it's a lot of fun. This is the quintessential party techno song.

Five is It's Your Life, Baby, and despite the generic title, it's actually a very hyperactive and fun track. It pulses with energy, but here, listen for yourself: It's my second favorite on the album.

L. A. Style Theme, the sixth track, is a lyricless piece that drives like a train. It borrows a bit of the background techniques from James Brown is Dead, but not as a rip off, more like taking a sort of similar theme. It's harsh, hardcore, and lots of fun.

Twilight Zone blaringly declares "This is a trip to the Twilight Zone!", with some crazy reworking of the TV show's theme song and some organ stuff going on. Very nineties, but completely fun and perfect to work out to.

Number eight is Toys (Use It), and this is honestly the song I really don't like on this album. It has a really cheesy background, but for me it was the lyrics that threw me off. It's bubble gum pop with inane lyrics, and it would have been better as just an instrumental. Still cheesy, but better.

Next is Everybody Dance, a fairly generic "hey guys lets all come out onto the dance floor" track. You know the ones. They're fun, but not that original. I still like this track, but it's not as fun as the other songs on this album.

The last track, lucky number ten, is the moderately creepy American Dream. This track completely contradicts the rest on this album. It's not a party track, but a calm, solemn piece with a former president (it sounds like Richard Nixon to me) saying "the American dream does not come to those that fall asleep". I love it for being so dang weird. It's like L.A. Style was having a party and suddenly decided that they were going to get serious.

I'm pretty sad that I don't have links to all the songs on this album, but I managed to find a mix of several tracks, including bits of Twilight Zone, Toys (Use It), and others. Here you go: Sadly, this does not include Jesus on Channel Four.

Okay, now back to track one, James Brown is Dead. In my opinion, this is the greatest rave song of all time. Nothing really stands up to it. It was written back in 1991 when James Brown got into a plane wreck and people thought he was dead. I read Brown's memoirs, and was disappointed to find out that he barely mentioned the accident that resulted in this song. In any case, the rap version of this song pretty much tells the story, including the part where Brown is actually alive.
Original song:
Original instrumental:

And yet despite the fact that the lyrics clearly say "don't be misled 'cause the newsman said James Brown is dead", this spawned remixes galore. One of the immediate responses was James Brown is Still Alive by Holy Noise. There is a rap version to this song, but it's not great. The instrumental is really good enough for me. It's not as catchy as JBID, but it's not bad at all:

Like I said, there are forty bajillion remixes of this song. You can go all over youtube and find them. The reason I mention it as something you've probably never heard is because nobody now seems to know about it. But there are all sorts of mixes, most of them meh but a few that actually rock. The "deadly mix" is just a lame rearrangement, and there are many mixes that are just irritating. I'll post links to the better remixes so that you can check them out.

First is Void's mix. It has the most epic opening bit ever, but after that it gets all goa psy trance, really letting down the hardcore intro. Still, it's an enjoyable track, and one of the best remixes there are:

There are two mixes of James Brown is Dead or Alive that I found on youtube, and both are a lot of fun. The rave mix is definitely the more crazy of the two [] and features aspects of both JBID and JBISA. The original mix is the more "horror" version, and a more settled mix for easier listening: Er, slightly easier.

Believe it or not, there's actually a soothing remix of it, or rather a re-remix, so it calls itself []. It's actually pretty interesting. It's wonky, but not all that bad.

Sadly, the best versions of this song are only on iTunes. N.Y. Style (what a gimmicky name) made two mixes, both of which are fun and not as irritating as others (stay away from Tigran Oganezov). One version is a horror remix going for a scare, and the second is the dub version, which calls to mind images of a dj performing for a massive crowd of people. It's more about fun than horror.

But the absolute best remix of all came out in 2007, and I imagine it was made for James Brown's actual death, which was Christmas 2006. This is Rave Style and DJ Generic's James Brown is Dead (2007 La Techno Classique Edit). This is the best version because it doesn't rip off any direct sounds from the original, but creates its own different sound and feel without acting like it's a different song. It's easily the most enjoyable, especially after spending a long period of time listening to the other remixes. This one has skill.

The final response I'll post to this song is the song done by James Brown is Not Dead. Unlike the others, it's not a remix, or even techno at all. It's samples of James Brown himself singing to a funk house beat. It's a great tribute, and a perfect denoument to the story of the remixes.

Okay, so one last L.A. Style song. Got to Move is a fun, cheesy song that's great for exercise. Here ya go:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Write Club --- Writing Online

You are probably thinking, after reading this title, that nothing is more worthless than writing on the internet.  You never make any money off of it (internet companies aside, and I'm reluctant to trust those), and it's rather like writing a blog - it's your own thoughts and few people read it and even less take it seriously or give you any feedback.

I'm not going to restate the needs for a community that will encourage and criticize your work per need.  The reasons for joining such a group should be obvious.  Admittedly, finding such a place on the internet may be difficult, which is why there are three websites you should know about.  They are fairly popular, so you may know of them already.

The first may seem ridiculous, a bit, because it's  And if you are a person who expects to make money, you may wonder why it's worth your time to bother with writing something that will at best only get several positive reviews by people who tend to be very undiscriminating, or else very pretentious.  And you may be considered highly nerdy for fanfiction.

Though viewed as pathetic, for the vast majority of people who will write, I feel that it is highly necessary, mainly because of one truth: when you start writing, you are a horrible writer.  It doesn't matter how many books you have read; while reading a lot is very influencial on your style and mentality, it doesn't make you good.  It doesn't matter if you're a good poet; there is a huge style difference between writing a novel and writing a rhythmical emotional encapsulation.  Besides that, coming from a poetic background tends to make the writer pretentious.   It doesn't matter if you have a message to say; you're still a terrible writer if you don't know how to say it in a way that conveys exactly how you feel.  There's only one way to become good at writing: to write.

That's the advantage of working with fanfiction at first.  Nobody expects you to be great.  You can write more and more, but even if you aren't the best, this surprises no one.  And if someone gives you a bad review you can just think to yourself that they are just as new as you, and they have no right to criticize.  They may very well be right, but this will help overly sensitive people who need to learn to get over rejection.  There is a lot of literature out there in the novel writing world, so you'll have to learn to stand out if you want to get published.  And there will be rejection.  Why not get your noobishness over with in front of those who don't know you?

Also, once you become an established writer and start putting out pieces that people like, you can mention a professional publication on your profile to direct people to your novel.

Another advantage, the most important one in my opinion, is that you work with pre-established characters, and if you dare take a character in a lame or incorrect direction, there are plenty of rabid fans to let you know that you are breaking character.   Every character you write about has a pre-established nature.  In given situations, they will do certain things, even if it means they won't do what you want them to do.

Perhaps you could do an alternate universe where a good character is bad, but the thing is, that character is still that person.  If you want to write a story where, say, Ben Franklin is somehow evil, then do so.  Be aware, though, that good authors will remember that even if Ben is evil, he's still Ben Franklin.  He will be evil in his own, unique way.  You can change certain things about characters, but you can't change their base nature without giving them a life-changing situation to go through.  You can't make Ben Franklin hate inventing things, even if he's evil.  He'll simply create evil things.  However, it is acceptable to create a story where a scarring incident where someone is hurt by an invention of his makes Ben want to give it up.  Part of being an author is knowing what about a character you can and can't change.

You might ask, what does this have to do with creating original characters from your own imagination?  You see, the thing is, once you create a character and establish them well, you can't change their characterization. They have their own personality. Even though you are the one most familiar with their personality, and you know the hidden aspects of that character, that character must be consistent if you are to be a good writer.  Only bad writers change their creations' personalities, attitudes and opinions without giving them a good reason for changing.  You can't suddenly change them on a whim.  It's one of the first signs of a bad writer.

Take for example the writer of the Drizzt series.  He changes the nature of characters at his own whims, making them fall for someone and then twist that love unexpected so that the character love someone else...worse still, he injects weird quips where Drizzt is philosophizing, and this comes across as extremely pretentious.  But that's another topic.

So basically, if you can keep someone else's characters consistent, you can keep your own consistent.  It's good practice.  But if you choose to write on, make sure that you review other people's works. Other people are trying to write well also, or their just having fun writing stories that they think lead the characters interesting ways.  Either way, they like reviews.

Okay, I have to make a disclaimer here.  It's going to sound very weird, but unfortunately it's the truth of (and fanfiction in general).  In most of the Japanese originating sections (like Sailor Moon, Mega Man, Azumanga Daioh), you'll find that most people are far more interested in pairings than good writing.  I've come across a few good writers in the Mega Man section, but for the most part people in these sections will write romances.  The trouble is, most of them are not good at it, and when you write pairings too much, your readers will ignore bad plot or bad grammar and so on for the simple sake of the pairing.  Thus, your reviewers in these sections will not be critical when they need to be to help you learn to write better.

Also, the trouble with pairings is that most people like to pair characters that would never actually date according to the canon of the story they come from.  For example, in the Azumanga Daioh universe, people commonly pair up Chiyo-chan and Osaka.  Chiyo is the cute girl who has skipped grades and is in high school very young, and Osaka is the ditzy, lost-in-space girl who has trouble focusing on anything.  The trouble is, these characters don't have the nature to date each other.  Chiyo is far too innocent for even straight relationships and she isn't the type to be gay.  Osaka doesn't really seem to regard dating often at all, and is in fact the only one completely immune to the childlike cuteness that Chiyo has.   Everyone else thought that Chiyo was adorable in her penguin costume, but Osaka is oblivious to this, regarding Chiyo as just a friend.  She's too much in her own world to really notice too much about others.

So you can see that overactive pairings completely ignore the true nature of characters, thus eroding any true skill that the author has.  Characterization is the number one key of any story, because by it people are endeared to your story.  Your plot can be about anything in the world, but if your readers hate your lead character, well, that's the end of that.

Sadly, this phenomenon of pairing seems to be very common in Japanese sections, but it by no means only happens there.  The Dr. Who section is getting a lot of pairing nonsense these days.  That doesn't mean you won't have good writers and reviewers in those sections, but you'll be better off sticking to a universe without pairings.  Try to avoid ones with too many female characters.  I hate saying that (I am a girl) but the tendency of most fictitious works with lots of women is to be about sex or relationships in general, ignoring every single other thing that makes a book, movie, or comic good.  I'll go into that more on another day, but for now I recommend sections like Starcraft -- dark pieces with lots of male characters and an intruiging plotline.  Try to develop characters that are interesting by themselves, not just interesting because of relationships.

A quick note on pairings.  You can write them if you want, but this blog is generally aimed at those who want to get published or become a better writer.  Well, doing pairings won't help you there.  You might get better at romances, but at the end of the day, randomly coupling your favorite book/movie/game characters will not bring you much success.  It's juvenile at best.

If you're not really interested in writing fanfiction, you can always try, which is their sister site for writing original work.   The only trouble with this is that interest in finding stories is harder to come by.  You see, people will want to read fanfictions based on their favorite story universes: Starcraft, Lord of the Rings, Sailor Moon, etc.  But let's say you're writing a romance story on fictionpress.  There are a lot of romance stories out there, and you will have to work harder to make your story appealing to others, especially when it comes to story descriptions: you need to make a better first impression.

But naturally if you get to know people and take an interest in what they write, then they will of course want to read you.  So this would be good as an exercise in the thing that isn't always thought of by amateur writers, but is also important: salesmanship.  You have to make people think that you write well, so that they will be interested enough to continue to read your work.  You have to make people like your writing and want more of it.

So in the end, either one of these, or both, if you feel like you can write that much, will help you out a lot.  Another good website is, which is National Novel Writing Month's website.  Every November people around the world attempt to write 50,000 words in one month.  Even though there are no prizes for winning, for some reason it's a good way to get people to write.  It's a good motivation, simply to see if you can do it.  Not unlike a dare.

The best part of this website is that you don't actually have to write anything superb, you just have to write.  Sitting down and writing is the hardest part of writing (unless you're a shy person that has a hard time with salesmanship).  You can always go back and write more later, so the temptation is to continue to put it off.  You have to set standards for yourself on writing and follow them.  Like, write for ten minutes a day, or an hour a day, or write five pages a day, or maybe just one page.  Just get writing!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Introduction - Hey Y'all

Hello.  Nice to meet you.  Well, since you clicked on this blog you obviously want to know who is talking to ya, so here you are.

I'm from Fayettenam, I'm in my twenties, and obviously I must be a chick if I won't tell you my specific age.  My hobbies include writing, walking, watching youtube, and determining people's personalities from their favorite Starcraft characters -- though this is on hold for now, because I haven't yet played Starcraft 2.

This blog right here is for my literary side, and I'm hoping to get into the habit of updating it regularly.  But since I'm also hoping to write a novel and I have a job, I'm not sure how it's going to work out.  Let's see how it does!

Okay, there's going to be three types of entries.  The most regular one will be "Music You Might Not Have Heard" and it will be going up on Saturdays.  Notedly, this was something I tried to get started on another blog, but unfortunately google isn't letting me access my account.  It thinks that I'm not me.   Grr.  Anyway, these posts will be about the music I listen to that nobody else seems to.  Ever heard of Ofra Haza?  MC Mong?  L.A. Style?  Tricky Disco? No?  No surprise here.  I will educate you on the ways of the demi-underground, lol.

My next entries will be about the books I read, a webcomic I recommend, or movies I want to review.  I like to talk, so yeah.  No set day for these, though I'll try to work something out later.  I go to the library often and I work in a bookstore, so expect more books than anything else.

The entries closest to my heart will be the "Write Club" series, where I shall tell you what I have learned about not sucking at writing fiction.  These may or may not involve the book reviews, but unless a book sucks so bad or rocks so good and I want to tell you exactly what makes them good or bad, I likely won't put that in this section.

Okay, so that's me, and any personal questions that don't pertain to any other post can be put here for answering.