Monday, March 25, 2013

Angels of Mercy & Death

Hello, gentle readers.
A while back I wrote an obligatory zombie story.  When you write genre fiction, I think it is inevitable that you will write a story involving the undead.  That may mean vampires or zombies or ghosts, but you'll eventually wind up writing about one of them or all of them.
My story, The Finishers, is set in a world where the zombie apocalypse has come and gone. Humanity survived, but society has changed.
This morning, I've been working on a story set in that same world, although involving different characters. 
It hasn't gone well.
I think my concept is sound.  In a world where you know the dead will rise, how would people prepare for their inevitable, natural death? What sort of organizations and social mechanisms would develop to deal with that situation?
I've been trying to explore that in this short story, tentatively titled Angels of Mercy & Death. The protagonist in the story has slowly taken shape over the course of the morning, but the story itself remains vague and undefined.  Its ending is elusive.  I'm not happy with it.  Not happy at all.
Still, I persevere, because what else am I going to do?
Give up?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Resuming Normal Service

Hello, gentle readers. Happy Monday! Hopefully, everyone has recovered from their Saint Patrick's Day celebrations.  If not? Congratulations!

As many of you will have noticed the last few weeks my posts here have consisted of a webcomic.  Friends Like These has sort of mirrored my own experiences as a writer, so it's been sort of cathartic. Like Grey I've been struggling with writer's block for a little while now, and, like him, I've gotten a lot of well-meaning advice.  Unlike Grey, however, I have not ventured into the world of funny animal erotica. Well, not yet anyway. Who knows what the future holds?
Producing the webcomic has been interesting.  It's let me be creative without the pressure of producing 1000 words a day.  Actually, I think it's taught me a lot about pacing and concise communication.  Fitting dialogue into those word balloons so it looks halfway decent is NOT easy.
Nevertheless, I think it's time to take a little break from Friends Like These and get back to the usual posts.

I feel a bit recharged now and ready to write.

That said, though, we haven't seen the last of Friends Like These.  I have three other strips already done and waiting to be released at some future date.

Heaven help us.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Review of Oz, The Great & Powerful

I have a complicated relationship with the Land of Oz.

As a child, I remember reading Baum’s books and liking them. They didn’t blow me away like Madeleine L’Engle’s Wrinkle in Time, but they were okay.

As an adult, I read Gregory Maguire’s Wicked quartet with relish. He reinvented Oz and its residents, making them much more three-dimension, much more interesting.

After reading Maguire’s work, I was curious to see how the Oz books would hold up, so I started rereading them. Very quickly, I came to regret that decision. The characters were priggish, the narrative was spotty and there were continuity gaffs. I suspect if I were ever to meet Dorothy Gail I would be extremely tempted to give her a smack and tell her to quit being such a little madame!

So, I didn’t have high hopes when I went to see Oz the Great and Powerful at the movies. Alas, I knew within the first fifteen minutes of watching the movie that I had made a horrible, horrible mistake.

Most of the actors are hands-down godawful. James Franco’s performance in this movie has managed to eclipse Hayden Christensen’s awful performance as Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars prequels. That’s not an easy thing to do, in my humble opinion. Mister Franco has lowered the bar for actors everywhere.

The other performances are simply serviceable and easily forgotten. Which will probably be a mercy for most of their careers.

The less said about the dialogue and script the better.

It seemed to me that most of the money on this movie was sunk into the CGI and special FX. The Land of Oz looks suitably impressive, colorful and vibrant. It’s a great pity, then, that it’s inhabited by a bunch of dull, flat characters who are about as charming as case of influenza.

On the Media Scale of Movie Love, I have to give Oz the Great and Powerful 2 out of 10. Don’t waste your money going to see this clunker at the theater. Don’t rent it, don’t stream it. If you must watch it, wait for it to come out on basic cable and make sure you have a lot of booze on hand to blunt its raw awfulness.