A Note For Joe

A story of coworkers and courtesy, and a librarian in a pickle.

This story is my first round entry in the NYC Midnight 2016 Flash Fiction Challenge. You get prompts for genre (Fairy Tale), location (library) and object (coffee pot) and have 48 hours to turn it into a 1,000 word max story. I had a major block until 4 hours before deadline but it snapped together just in time. This is as submitted with only rough editing.

Hope you enjoy!

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Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon – Sword of Destiny (movie review with spoilers)

To set expectations I should let you know that Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon is one of my favorite movies of all time. It was the movie that re-introduced me to the martial arts genre after a decade plus of absence and showed me what could be done with that genre with today’s technology. More importantly it showed definitively that a modern epic with detailed storytelling could fit quite comfortably inside a gloriously over-realized martial arts eyefeast.

What I’m saying is Netflix had it’s work cut out for it with making a sequel, at least as far as how I would appreciate it. How did they do? Well, let me tell ya.

The Good:

  • Breathtaking scenery all over the place. Gorgeous sets. Excellent costuming. Perfect make-up.
  • Technical production and editing is superb. I didn’t notice any glaring continuity errors, even in the fast-cut fight sequences.
  • The frozen lake battle was incredible.
  • The CGI effects (with one notable exception) are very well done and generally unobtrusive.
  • Michelle Yeoh speaking Mandarin. Unf.
The Bad:
  • It was a mashup of the original movie plot plus the oft imitated Seven Samurai. This made many things very predictable, right down to who dies and when.
  • With the exception of Turtle Ma and Flying Blade the secondary heroes were flat and lifeless.
  • Only 1 extended uncut fight scene. Everything else was the super-fast cuts of individual moves spliced together that is ubiquitous in modern martial arts movies.
  • They made Donnie Yen look so much like Lou Diamond Phillips it was distracting.
  • Michelle Yeoh and Donnie Yen do not have chemistry, especially when compared to the almost palpable bond Yeoh had with Chow Yun Fat in CTHD. The love story here is flat and lifeless.
  • Tremendous narrative failure in the epilogue. Letting Snow Vase live scrapped the little emotional investment the movie generated.
The Ugly:
  • Retcon Jen Yu’s sacrifice from the conclusion of CTHD? Bastards, you are on my list!
  • Major CGI fail on the climactic final tower roof battle between Silent Wolf and Hades Dai. It was bad enough to break immersion and spoil the epic final battle.
  • If this was stand-alone it would have been a fairly solid modern martial arts movie. That’s really what it appears to be – a treatment of Seven Samurai with enough elements of CTHD necessary to make it work in that story-line.
  • It is a technical success but is hampered by a predictable story and undeveloped heroes. It lacks the epic gravitas that made its progenitor an instant classic and as a successor to CTHD it falls as flat as its secondary characters.
  • Worth a watch it for itself but not as a successor to CTHD.


So a funny thing happened during second edit…

I had amazing feedback from my Early Readers and was eager to dig into the second edits for Weavers. Basically I had three things I needed to incorporate in my edit:

  • Things I had already decided to change after my own re-readings.
  • Common items in the feedback. If something was mentioned a few times it needed a critical look.
  • New ideas spurred by questions from the Early Readers.

So I started planning how to incorporate all of that. Much of it was as simple as a nip here and a tuck there. Some of it would need to be bigger. Perhaps much bigger. I have missing scenes and quite a few missed opportunities. The “magic” system needs better explanation.

And that got me to thinking about the magic system and how to explain it better, and how to introduce those explanations into the story. And how to tie the differences together over three different ages.

Which got me thinking about the physics behind the system. This is possibly unreasonably important to me. I can totally immerse in a story when the magic (whether it’s fantasy/sci-fi/horror/other) makes sense once you figure it out. If I can’t figure it out it absorbs me and defeats the storyline.

This was a problem. I had a logical hole. I had defined two basic systems but they didn’t actually cover everything I wanted to do in the full story. The first draft of the story had unintentionally deus-ex’d over a third system that needed to be there.

So that’s why I haven’t been very active lately here. I’m rolling new thoughts through the entirety of the series, and figuring out how I need to express them in the first book. Plus things that needed to be there to show continuity between the ages. And so many missed opportunities to tie the different ages together.

I found myself with 4.75 drafted novels that were pretty good. Readable, enjoyable, nice stuff, quite entertaining thank you.

Or I had 4.75 pre-drafts for something fucking amazing.

I’m going for fucking amazing.

TL;DR: I love my Early Readers!! Much rewrite happening!

So obs my current planned schedule is completely voided. I’m back rewriting Weavers  now and will be reworking the rest of the Ages schedule with the remaining reworks in mind.

A Generic College Paper (McSweeney’s Internet Tendency)

This is golden. I read this paper several times a year from different students, and each one is uniquely similar.

Since the beginning of time, bullshit, flowery overgeneralization with at least one thesaurus’d vocabulary word. In addition, irrelevant and misleading personal anecdote. However, oversimplification of first Googled author (citation: p. 37). Thesis statement which doesn’t follow whatsoever from the previous.

Utterly contrived topic sentence revealing pretty much every flaw of structured essay writing. Therefore, supporting sentence invoking source that exists only in the bibliographies of other cited material (pp. arbitrary to arbitrary + 5). Contemplative question? Definitive refutation paraphrased from a blog found at 2AM:


Source: McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: A Generic College Paper.

Ninja at Law – The mighty pitch

Reposting this as there are only 3 days left to enter. Go get you a book cover, yo!

Ninja at Law (Ages of the Seed, vol. 2)

Life at the tail end of the 24th cee is fairly righteous. The advent of Stringtech mere centuries ago revolutionized the world. Hunger and disease are concepts of the past. Free energy is here for the taking of it and mankind enjoys an unprecedented period of largess, peace and growth.

Tobe Sparkles is about to fuck all that up.

All you NaNoWriMo’ers out there, wouldn’t it be awesome to have a sweet cover for that new novel?

Ana Spoke, who made this awesomeness for her own book…


…is going to do a custom cover for one lucky person.

All you need to do is work up a blurb/pitch for your book, like I did up top there, and let her know by posting a link to it in the comments over here.

She’s taking submissions through the end of the year, then readers will vote to determine the winner. How cool is that?


Resource – Goodriter.com

Goodriter.com came highly recommended to me by an editor friend of mine. It’s free and includes a slew of writer-topical ebooks and a bunch of applicable courses. As I’m currently educating myself about a slew of publishing topics it’s going to get some heavy use. I’ll review the tools as I use them.

Sign-up here (only cost is an email address)

Current Resources:

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