My Quick Review on Chuck Wendig’s, The Kick-Ass Writer.

Here is my brief review of +Chuck Wendig‘s The Kick Ass Writer: 1001 Ways to Write Great Fiction, Get Published, & Earn Your Audience.

It’s brief, because it’s written in such a way where it doesn’t need to be read from cover to cover. In between the covers there is something for everyone….that sounded way too sexy. What I meant to say was you could probably devour a chapter and be energized enough to make that post or write ten more pages of your manuscript.

I also kept it brief because I’m also in a hurry to dive into Neil Gaiman’s American Gods before it gets turned into a mini-series. Not that I have premium cable…but there’s always Netflix.

Enjoy.

The Kick-Ass Writer: 1001 Ways to Write Great Fiction, Get Published, and Earn Your AudienceThe Kick-Ass Writer: 1001 Ways to Write Great Fiction, Get Published, and Earn Your Audience by Chuck Wendig
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay, I’m keeping this book marked as “Currently-Reading” because I never officially finished it. However, this is a book that was never meant to be read to the final page. This book is the very essence of a book that “you can pick up and put down” and honestly not skip a beat.

For the record, I am a fan of Chuck Wendig. His writing is as fearless as his approach, and I love his ability to rally and wrangle novice writers and twitchy wallflowers to get out there and keep writing. I myself have participated in one of his many writing exercises he has published in his blog. He is an awesome force of nature; even if you don’t know what you’re doing when you pick up that pen, within minutes of encouragement from him, you will create something brilliant. He never takes writer’s block as an excuse, and he will not allow it in his students. He comes across as a bit of a high school football coach, but when it comes to matters of trying to get motivated to put words to paper, I would chose him any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

I can talk him up to the rafters, but it will do nothing to make me finish this book. Here’s the thing: I don’t have to. If advice were currency, then every page is just as rich as the last. Take the book, throw it up in the air, allow it to fall open to a random page, and you will be just as inspired by his advice on that page as you would on any other.

I have added this book to my arsenal of writing tools, and I highly recommend you do as well. If you’re a budding writer/novelist/blogger, I highly recommend checking out his blog. Read it cover to cover, flip open to a random page, or just beat yourself over the head with it (not recommended) let this book inspire you to get your writing out of the land of suck, an into the land of kick-ass awesomeness.

View all my reviews

I Totally Rule Teh Interwebs!

Editor’s Note: It’s taken me much, MUCH longer than three hours to complete this. Since my infant son needs my attention a lot these days, I would have posted sooner…if it weren’t for those meddling kids….

Anyway, this was in response to a re-post I saw on my feed this morning. The link to the website is here.

Enjoy…

I Stand In The Company of Dragonflies

Artwork by Jessica “Crystal-rex”Postle

Two steps in
With a million eyes upon me,
I know I’m in their house
                               their turf
                                      their kingdom
Stranger in a strange land.

Four steps in
They bring me forward
Not to destroy me, but to welcome me as their savoir
                                                                           their provider
                                                                                        their king
Unwitting accomplice.

Thirty steps in
And I drive their quarry in front of me
Nameless, faceless, they scatter to the embrace of trained, elegant hunters
                                                                                                    perfect killers
                                                                                                                 soulless devourers
Lambs to the slaughter.

One hundred steps in
I am no longer an innocent farmer
I am an assassin sent to do the dirty work of an ancient race
                                                                            but I’m no killer
                                                                                         I’m only doing my job
…I’m only doing my job.

They pat me on the back and wink as if to say,
“Well done, Captain.”
Smoke and dust coat my lungs,
As a reward.

Two hundred steps in
My job is finished
I stand with my back to the sun
                                catching my breath
                                             waiting to return home, but for now…
…I stand in the company of dragonflies.

©2014 Anthony Payson/The Writers’ Bloc

So, "Dracula Untold" is Coming…Why Am I Not Excited?

In 1995, I would find an excuse…any excuse to go to the movies. Specifically, to see Braveheart. It was  practically an affliction, since I never made it a habit to go to the movies on a regular basis. I needed to see it. I needed to have my heart ripped out of my chest. I needed to witness a Peckinpah inspired splatter fest. I needed to be swept up in the romance, and the soundtrack, and the story. It was a perfect movie. It’s a movie that was genetically engineered, meticulously built from the ground up to be an instant classic. Of course, this was made before Mel Gibson lost his mind, but more importantly, as I found out later, the movie is notorious for being riddled with historical inaccuracies. But, that’s okay. Hollywood has always taken liberties with adaptations of original work and history as it actually happened. So, who could complain when the film practically swept the Academy Awards, spawned years of parody, and resurrected a style of cinema long thought extinct?

Still though, if a story is engaging enough, are all the embellishments and tropes really necessary to tell a good story? Do you need to distort time, leave out certain details, add a mediocre soundtrack and get MichaelfrickinBay to direct, if the story is worth telling?

A movie about an unsung hero that helped Robert the Bruce liberate Scotland in the Medieval Era, might have been good enough for a film, but why not throw in a love story, and epic battle scenes to give it that extra zazz? Whaddya mean kilts weren’t invented yet? Timeline be damned.

A movie about 19th Century New York, and how its people shaped America for the next hundred years might have been epic enough, if you ignore the notion that the movie was based on flimsy source material and many conflicting stories. Who cares? Daniel Day Lewis is a god. If you aren’t a physical and mental wreck by the time the end credits roll, then you aren’t human.

“Back away from my milkshake, bub!”

A movie about the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor would have been intriguing enough…then you had to get Ben Affleck…then…well…you see where I’m going with this…MICHAELBAYSPLOSION!!!

No, it’s not the glut of vampire related “literature” polluting the bookstores in recent years that is repelling me from Dracula Untold. I mean, I would go based on the title itself; Dracula Untold. It sounds like every sparkly, pouty, insolent knock off of a blood sucker got their rent raised and forced to move to the sticks. Dracula Untold…sounds like someone peed in Edward’s Corn Flakes. It’s a strong title. It practically bullies me to go see it. So, why aren’t I?

A loyal son and brother who followed in his father’s footsteps and fought his entire life against foreign empires bent on taking over his land, a man who faced treachery from the ever changing political landscape as well as from his own brother, and whose brutal tactics made him legend through most of Europe and made him a national hero in his own country, that should be enough for a decent film. I mean, it worked for Mel Gibson, right?

No? Not enough?

We need to throw in the Bram Stoker myth? Yeah? We need to break out the fangs and mythical beasts? We really need to use the same effects they used in the first Mummy movie? You do realize that movie is over fifteen years old, right? Right? We need to recruit some actors from Game of Thrones to attract that market share audience? Yeah? We need to do all this because the formula says it would be certified blockbuster if you went this way? You say you don’t trust your audience? History is boring and myth is sexy? Throw historical accuracy under the bus again?

Figures.

I don’t know, maybe I’m not justified in my underwhelmed reaction to this movie. I’m sure it will pull in a substantial amount of cash and develop of fickle following of fanboys and maybe a contingency from Team Edward. It’ll probably do well, given the release date, and it will probably be forgotten about by Christmas. But, if my research on the subject is correct, Dracula is not the same person as Vlad Țepeș. I don’t have a problem with a movie that makes a backstory for the world’s most famous Monster. To be sure, if it were true to the myth while having fun doing it, I’d watch the hell out of that movie. The same goes for a Vlad biopic. Cast it right, write it well and don’t insult my intelligence while doing so, then I’m right on board. Bottom line, and I know it might sound snobby, I’d stand in line to see Only Lovers Left Alive than wait for Dracula 2000 to do a rotation on Spike TV.

Why I won’t see this is that I feel it does no service to its audience when a movie starts out with the intention to be based on historical events, and winds up being a cool-dude-walking-away-from-a-Michael-Baysplosion cliché. Do one or the other. They would both be fun/credible on their own merits. But, don’t mash them together and think you’re doing anyone a favor. This is the type of movie that kids watch, think it actually happened, unwittingly vandalize a Wikipedia entry, and flunk 7th Grade History.

Let me know what you think: Harmless escapism, or another in a long line of mindless, Hollywood drivel?