Tag Archives: television

So They Ruined It

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The recent release of Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi has left fans across generations dazed. Taking to social media, anyone can find a range of conflicting opinions, but there seem to be two dominate camps — the “this is groundbreaking” faction and the “they ruined everything” faction. This post goes out to all those fangirls and boys who have ever left their heart bleeding at the feet of their favorite storytellers, disappointed. (Disclaimer: The title of this post does not reflect my personal opinion of The Last Jedi. No spoilers will be listed in this post.)

A Moment of Validation

You’re right, they ruined it. Those evil writers have ruined your favorite book series, TV show, play, or movie franchise. In a culture of reboots and infinite sequels, it was bound to happen eventually. I am truly, deeply sorry. They had no right. No right at all. If your anger is directed toward the death of a particular character, please seek some therapy from my earlier post, the 7 Stages of (Fictional) Grief.

We Have T-Shirts

On the bright side, you’re not alone in your despair. There’s hundreds, maybe thousands of other members of Club Disappointed. I earned my punch card when I reached the end of the Hunger Games trilogy, furious at the sudden and uncharacteristic turn of events dropped at the end of the third book. Each of us has experienced that surreal moment of realization that what was understood to be true about a certain fictional world has been shattered. If you haven’t, prepare yourself. Your day is coming.

Where We Go From Here

We have a few options. There’s my father’s approach, which is to be initially vocal and then go on to quietly stew over the death of a fictional reality until, just when everyone thinks you’ve finally come to terms with it, burst open another floodgate of outrage. If you are this person, I hope you have someone as patient as my mother to listen…over…and over…and over. There’s my approach, which is to pretend large chunks of the story never happened and write over those grey areas with a false memory. Or, you can grieve, accept that nothing gold can stay, and try to rekindle the fiery fan inside of you.

So go forth, fellow fans. Tell the story of your pain, but do so in moderation, and maybe not to a random guy sitting next to you on the bus. He probably doesn’t care.

Happy Ranting!

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Don’t Tell Mom: On Writing Siblings

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Having recently read S.E. Hinton’s classic novel The Outsiders, I decided to dedicate a post to writing about sibling love. The sibling bond is something strange, and I’m not sure there’s any other relationship like it. (Shout-out to my brother for permitting me use the banner images. Just so you know, bro, I probably would have done it anyway. Love you!)

Sometimes We Get Along…

There are many stories that feature siblings as a joint force to be reckoned with. We see it in classics like the Curtis brothers in The Outsiders or the March sisters in Little Women, but also in more recent pop culture such as The Avenger’s: Age of Ultron superhuman duo, Wanda and Pietro Maximoff, or the Elric brothers of Full Metal Alchemist. 

The key to these relationships is they aren’t perfect. Even in their most loving moments, siblings may be looking for ways to make their family the butt of a joke. In other words, don’t over-romanticize the closeness of siblings, not even the ones who generally get along. I’d recommend avoiding grandiose speeches of brotherly love sometimes found in emotional or climatic moments of stories unless you’ve built a relationship with your readers so that they expect and respect dramatic effect. If not, keep it short, to the point, and in character. That is where the more powerful impact of sibling love lies–in subtle and sometimes imperfect gestures of support.

…Sometimes We Don’t

Of course, rivalry and personal differences can sometimes break the family bond and leave an emotional fissure. As readers, we often hope or expect these wounds will be mended, but we don’t always get our happy resolution. Siblings know each other’s weaknesses, even if they’re as small as pet peeves. Ill-willed siblings will often use these to their advantage. Hateful siblings definitely will. When reading about a protagonist and antagonist that are siblings, I usually find the villainous activity turned up to eleven. I live for that fictional drama. But again, don’t undersell the importance of the subtler emotional jabs that only someone with the insider knowledge of a brother or sister possesses.

I’d also like to mention that not all siblings fall in the “I love you” or “I hate you” camps. Sometimes siblings simply co-exist in independent neutrality. No two sibling relationships are alike, but I hope these tips will help to get you thinking.

Storytime!

For those of you wondering why my brother and I look like prom dates in the lefthand banner photo, it’s because we kind of were. My junior year of high school we became friends with another brother-sister set, and our moms thought it’d be fun for us to all go to prom together. Thus I came to understand the age old sentiment that no one knows awkward family situations like siblings.

Happy writing!

Question of the week: Who are your favorite fictional siblings?

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What to Read: Ahsoka

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Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston


Summary

Forced into hiding in the aftermath of Order 66, Ahsoka Tano has so far managed to escape the hands of the Empire. She lives a life of necessity until circumstances send her on the run again, leading her to a place where giving up her nomadic and lonely life may just be possible. Of course, nothing is ever so simple. With her new home under threat, Ahsoka must decide how far she is willing to go to protect what little she has left.

Overall Impressions

As a life-long Star Wars fan, I was over the moon (…space humor? No? Fair enough…) when I found this book. After the release of Rogue One, I was dying to get my hands on additional Star Wars stories. This book felt like the literary version of an afternoon snack. While I wouldn’t say it stands alone outside the context of the Clone Wars and Rebels TV series, I did enjoy having Ahsoka back in my life. More classic characters also crop up throughout the book for a satisfying bit of nostalgia. The brisk writing made for a comfortable weekend read, and the plot held to the classic intertwining style of many other Star Wars adventures. I recommend this book for YA sci-fi fans.

Happy Reading!

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This Isn’t the End: Killing Characters with Purpose

RIP (1)Every reader has a fictional death they will never get over, from books to movies to television shows. If you have ever mourned a character who was close to your heart, whether it was because of his/her personality, skills, or hotness, I feel your pain. Let us have a moment of silence for our fallen.

And…moment is over, because, if current writing trends have proven anything, it’s that he/she probably isn’t so dead after all. Look at shows like Supernatural, Doctor Who, or Arrow. Characters are continuously killed off and then resurrected by popular demand. Because of this, fictional death has lost its punch.Why worry if the writer has a history of reviving his characters? (I’m looking at you Joss Whedon, you beautiful devil.) Why care about the character’s life if it isn’t finite?

I think the mainstream writing community, television or otherwise, needs to put weight back into the concept of death. If the audience knows there is a good chance a character might come back then, more likely than not, they won’t care if the character dies. After the initial two second shock the emotional tether is broken. Strange as it may seem, I would rather be heartbroken over a character’s death than apathetic about his existence.

So how can we as writers make death more meaningful?

The Wow Factor

It can be fun to kill off characters for the sheer purpose of shocking readers. But just because you can doesn’t mean you should. A character’s death should have purpose, whether it’s to advance the plot or motivate another’s actions. That’s what makes it meaningful. If a writer kills off a character simply for the “wow” factor, or because the character no longer has a purpose, it’s probably a good time to reflect–does that character belong in that story?

Don’t Hesitate

As many a warrior has said, “Kill, or be killed.” Reluctance to kill off a character because they are likable can create a significant stumbling block. If a writer knows his character is going to die, he should think it through, but shouldn’t hesitate because of personal preference. If the character is really that loved and still relevant to the story then it makes sense to keep him on. If not, a writer’s gotta do what a writer’s gotta do. Be strong, my friend.

We’re almost There

So your character is dead, and you know you’ve made the right decision for the good of the story. Now all that’s left is to fight the temptation to bring that sucker back to the land of the fictional living. The more a writer loves her character the more tempting it is to resurrect him, especially in genres like fantasy and sci-fi, which make it easier to do so. To be clear, reviving characters is NOT a bad thing. Becoming predictable is. It’s important for writers to think carefully before bringing a character back to life.

Well, here we are at the end of another post. I hope you find it helpful. Thank you for reading, and as always…

Happy Writing!

Question of the Week: Whose fictional death will YOU never get over? Comments welcome!

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