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What the hell do you want now? Inspirational writing 3 of 10

Wanter’s Blog, desire date 130315:23

So we have all these people in your story. Do they all just sit and watch tv all day? Sit in a coffee shop and stare at their phones or laptops?

NO, all these people want something. Something big, a story worth writing about often involves someone’s life work or life goal. And chances are the story/ book/ movie is about what each of them want and what they’re willing to do about it, or the consequences of not doing something. Or likely you’ll show how people screw things up.

A well crafted story will combine steps 1 & 2. An introduction of a character will instantly start piling a list of things they want or have to do (by the end of the story). Certain action figure/ video game/ comic book driven stories often pile on all the good guys and bad guys in rapid succession, which I think is hack. You can tell they‘re trying to get as many action figures out of it as they can.

Each person should get more time to develop than a parade of 1) hey, I wanna get laid, 2) hey, I’m the tough guy who’s going to kick ass for our cause, 3) hey, I’m the sarcastic sidekick, 4) hey, I’m the girlfriend of the protagonist and mother of the group. Yeah, these are overused story elements, the better writer can turn these elements on their ass and make something no one has seen before. Yes, we know now the girlfriend kicks ass and the guys are shlubby wimps. You know people who defy movie/ tv stereotypes, use them!

This is the part of the story where the leading male/ female sings the ballad of how they have to save their country, but they also want crazy sex and if there were only someone out there that can help with both.

Sometimes it’s not all about the big goals. There was an episode of Community based on the group looking for a purple gel pen, and 1 person (Annie) basically holding everyone hostage til she gets her favorite thing back. But out of it came a lot of discussion and revelations from the group.

A good story can have people on the same “side” that want things that conflict with each other. A lot of times it comes in the form of a competition, or someone has to get the 1 promotion. Tickets are selling fast for a show and who can get a pair?

Sometimes the need is an accident that disturbs our character’s every day life. There’s an earthquake. A couple is having problems, the wife gets on a plane and then it’s hijacked.

And chances are a protagonist will even be content with the way things are (at a “low“ level). This thing that happens disturbs that and they have no choice but to act. Many characters have their caretakers actually killed or living area literally wiped out. They have nowhere else to go. They have no family left. The crew is enjoying their snacks when they get dispatched to an emergency call. You and all your friends get fired instead of laid off so the bought out company wouldn’t be responsible for your unemployment.

The real trick is to not broadcast the ending by the character’s need. We know the single guy starring with Drew Barrymore is going to wind up with her at the end. We know the poor guy will get a job and money. We know the team that can’t get a win will take the championship. The trick is to make the goal interesting enough to hang in there, but there may be an unexpected result. A whodunnit is only good when you can’t figure it out in the first 20 minutes.

Okay, so now what do we do, team leader?

 

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2013/03/15 Posted by | Writing course in 10 sessions | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What great tv series should have..

Flix Blog, DVD date 130308:06

I have a new favorite show and it’s all on DVD. Let me tell you how and why this show is amazing to me.

When people tell me about their favorite show(s), I eventually ask many questions they can’t answer. I don’t really get upset at them about them, but I really want to know there is a value and things to learn from a show.

Of the main cast, is there a wasted character? Do all of them shine somehow, at least by the end of the first season. Do they do something incredible, is there an incredible revelation or change? Better developed shows not only have a main awesome cast, but even their nemeses are cool. Even the ancillary characters around them get developed. Even the extras become developed into the “C” team. And it’s not the sickening hack tropes we’ve all seen too many times, no new twists. The creepy characters are even hilarious and may have redeeming episodes. It’s good to know what event(s) happened to make people assholes.

There are character arcs over each season. We live in the age of dvds now, so, to be honest, we can look at last episodes and determine a show’s overall value by it. We have all seen how a last episode can affect a series. Some shows were cancelled and we want to know the answers before cast members or their creators pass away. Shows have been ruined by their last episodes when they could instead be made for people to watch the series again. That’s the big solution? That’s who they wound up with? So they just move away and everyone splits up? At least Gilligan’s Island had people wondering if they ever got rescued for over a decade.

Some finales are awesome, but they answer TOO much, they button everything up which I don’t like. We want to know the characters have something to do after the series besides move, raise their new baby, have no more bad guy to defeat, etc.

This show I like does a lot of things and blows away expectations. When we’re sitting alone, we’re the biggest critics of tv. For some reason we laugh easier in an audience because we subconsciously want to fit in when others are laughing. And by my self, this series has me rooting, cheering and oh, shitting consistently above those insult on a couch sitcoms shot in docu format.

This show combines a lot of my favorite television tropes and knocks them on their asses. The super power the main character gets is like Quantum Leap and Greatest American Hero, it comes out at unexpected times. There are governments, international play. It has the main hero king of the geeks at work and starts off as inept among the professional players in the plots. He balances the worlds like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The show is even a bit like Moonlighting about work professionalism. Things that never would happen in a retail store happen and it’s buy-able as the series progresses.

Some series don’t finish things and leaves topics flat, but a good show like this mines the things in the back of your mind later and expands beyond what you’d think. Even a favorite show of mine like How I met your mother has dropped the ball calling some “sacred” things back and tying an unsatisfying bow on them.

Plus, the show has hot women (and men), plenty of fan service, geek service and horndog service. And retro. Great pop culture references and especially bring backs.

I have branched my writings into my own first fiction aside from my big Project. And not only does this series use a character name that I bashed from a couple of other sources, but this show also answered a question I’ve had in my mind since I was little. Why is there a missing Element from Earth, Wind and Fire?

This show has amazing guest stars that actually have action sequences. They’re well known and the show not only nods to their tropes, but often has them playing against them or parodying roles they’re known for. Scott Bakula’s Sam Beckett, Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor, Timothy Dalton’s James Bond.

They did crossover to appeal to the comic con crowd like a lot of shows do now, but they did have a fan uproar and rescue attempt online. There’s even famous product sponsors to help save the show, which has funny, odd and interesting interruptions in the episodes they appear in. It would be like Scooby having a brand name snack as a favorite.

If you haven’t guessed by now, and I’m running out of page, it’s Chuck that I’m watching now.

2013/03/08 Posted by | Single malts | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cheerleading 101

Writer’s blog: 66398.29

When you’re unemployed longer than you ever thought possible, you have to do a lot of mental self pep talks to keep going.

That last blog made me examine “sides” a lot. I had to see a list of every side I was on, think about why if they weren’t on “the winning” side. I see my favorite things either closing, becoming obsolete or on some documentary revealing the truths about things I was taught from (public) school.

I’ve read a lot of books about attitudes. I have worked on ranting less, which is odd. The people who have worked with me asked if I have been in commercials because of the energy I brought, customers included. I rant online in mostly anonymous profiles, largely so past/ potential employers can’t make the connection.

Even though I don’t have a job, I work on maintaining a schedule. I portion time to look for work, exercise (mostly by getting around), and try to find “free fun” in my community. I try to find redeeming things about this community I’ve left twice in my life as if it were any new city I’d move to if I could. I try to prioritize  things I can learn from or make money from. All things considered, I’ve been a far better boos to myself than some of the demanding yet stone managers I had to endure.

I have even applied for some of those jobs where they throw around the happy little work culture they brag about. I have spilled my heart out to a manager or 2 for a chance, when I haven’t stolen from a job- or anyone, I have a clean record, I am sharp and wittier (than frankly what I’ve seen there), etc.

At the grocery store, I buy healthier than I ever have, a lot of bulk things. Turns out, I eat a lot of old school/ kid’s snack things. I snack on raw vegetables or I steam them. I knocked $15 off groceries just buy buying a bag of potatoes. I snack on fruits, drink juices (and coffee/ mocha in the morning).

Every day is hard. I have goals that spin their wheels because I need a pay check to put most of them in motion. I have done some serious damage on my “if I had the time” lists of things to do.

It’s hard for me to visualize my goals. If I dream too high up, they’re unattainable. I don’t want to “settle for less,” it’s a big fear. I have lived the high life before. I listed most of the things I’ve wasted money on as well as people I wasted my time trying to impress when what I wanted was friends that would be with me thru these tough times.

Before I may have written about my goal plan. I have a dry erase board I write my weekly/ monthly and yearly goals. I try to keep them at an “easy 3,” since with top 10 lists, everything doesn’t get done. I don’t count the usual errands/ chores on my weekly (which I do have a printed list for), I mean something I do to go above that.

One of the problems I’m having is finding something “fun” to do to entertain me when I get down that is also productive or educational. I don’t want to play any video games. I try to limit my watching tv unless it meets a dozen criteria. As far as reception tv, I watch PBS the most. Then I watch my netflix of all the things that have stood the test of time as classics not just to critics, but from work of mouth of people who’s opinions I trust.

There’s a part of me that is very reluctant to accept this period of my life. I try hard to accept it as a learning time. I have very restless days where I want to work my ass off and sweat and walk with a handful of tips. I have had to think about what kids and seniors do with their financial/ mobile limitations.

I try to look at the positives of using public transportation, buying responsibly from smaller companies. I have a moral code I live by, even though my suffering makes me question it at times. A criteria I use is “when I had money, I…” and am happy when I did what I thought was right then as well.

Why has the past 2 years been about a perforated little piece of paper for me to put in the bank? I want to wake up and not feel stuck in life. Being happy is fighting a tide of employed/ corporate types.

Why can’t I get a break

2012/04/25 Posted by | Single malts | , , , , | Leave a comment

What side are we on?

Writer’s blog, bardate 66270.66

When it comes down to it, I think I have 2 choices when I blog, positive or negative. I have, online before isolated people when I rant because it’s usually in the form of “us vs. them.” I get bombarded by things society pushes on me all day that I put up with, but then I go online and perpetuate it by bombarding you. And I do realize that you may have had nothing to do with the things that get pushed on me all week and that my frustration may come out of nowhere to you, even setting you off when our beliefs differ.

I am confused and troubled on how to get out of “the situation I‘m in.” But I find that this is a constant, even when I was employed, even when I had things I don’t now. So I look to all kinds of things I hadn’t considered before, try to look at things from another point of view. Try to find out how to enjoy where I am in life without comparing now to when things were better or what others have “more of“ than I do, an impossibly can’t win standard.

Realistically, a lot of other points of view I checked out have just proven themselves to be exactly as stupid and narrow-minded as I imagined them to be. Then there’s a middle category, where I can understand where they’re coming from, even though my belief is still different.

Each issue has sides to it. I was going to write a blog a few weeks ago on how we’re conditioned to think everyone is an asshole. And I’m not even getting into a discussion about politics, religion or sports, which I put in the order I thought had the most effects to society. See, you may already be thinking different here.

TV or not TV: I may be about 5 years too late for this, but since I started writing in this blog regularly for a few months I suppose I can chalk it up to “back story.” I didn’t have cable tv since I spent a week horrified of 9/11 reports. I allowed myself to be sucked into the fear, and yet I still wasn’t frightened into voting for Bush (either time). I haven’t had broadband for a while til this January, since I scored it for cheap, less than $20/ mo (netzero.net), a couple bucks more than they offered for their dial-up that I put up w/ a few years.

I don’t watch a lot of tv, what I rent on Netflix are movies and tv shows that I factor from the “best of” what I’ve missed in the past decade I was partying in Vegas.

Before that, I believed in a “future’s future.” That meant I liked all the Star Trek Shows. And I’m not talking about the freaky aliens, I’m talking about how races of Earth were together, going out discovering & helping other cultures w/ their problems. There was a hierarchy for organizations you could believe in. Trek may have had corrupt people in systems, but whether you were Federation or Klingon, or whatever, you didn’t think the organization itself was in shambles as the organizations that basically run our society.

It’s interesting to look back to see what the future was supposed to be. When Star Trek was on, the future didn’t have anything to do with “reality tvkim kardashian, jersey shore type shows. It wasn’t led by socialites in trouble with the law, the paris hilton, or lindsey lohan, or the celebrities battling with their weight and botched cosmetic surgeries. It’ didn’t have anything to do with drugs, food and water supplies that we couldn’t trust. Nor did it involve power, electric or the gas that runs our vehicles to get more expensive, resources that was not only running lower, but polluting our planet. It didn’t have anything to do with all our electronics being networked on a new system, this internet, that is far more unstable that governments themselves have been hacked repeatedly on it. We’re all supposed to be logical scientists with tricorders working on “higher” levels of problems.

I have my interests that are often in the minority I admit. When “everyone” likes something, I find a reason to pick into it’s popularity, aside from being middle of the road, bland, sold out, the corporation that sponsored it, made in China, etc.

But, I’m trying. I look back and at every job, I’ve gone along with the others, I picked my battles. I put up with a lot of shit, but then find myself in a position that when I finally need something people don’t rally behind me to help me out, as I’ve done time and time again for them. I read psych books that say, if people bother you so much, stop hanging around them. This isolates me. I’m supposed to go out there into new environments to “network,” and find new opportunities, that I reluctantly do every week.

And by the way, are the unemployed sitting at home any less anti-social than going out with your friends every night to have your head stuck in an igadget?

I could write a supplemental list of sides of issues that I think about every day.

Next week, I’m considering writing about my cat. I think she deserves some blog time. And hopefully it’ll be a happier topic, for my head.

Any other topic suggestions?

2012/04/08 Posted by | Single malts | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Good Ol’ Ramblin Blog

Writer’s blog, bardate 66259.45

I don’t feel like organizing a blog this week, so you’ll get the rock skipping around topics this week, as long as it’s too long to tweet.

I’m addicted to the Adam Carolla pod casts. He does complain a lot, but in the most entertaining way. He’s good at drawing some obscure or forgotten thing we all get to parallel his points. I love the out of context sound bites, or “pulls.” I love the talk shit about the news items. Since I can’t get Howard stern in a decade, I miss that. Sick of and a little furied by the newscaster drones that smile about the bullshit they report about.

There’s some disciplining I need to do. Unemployed and even people who work at home are guilty of this. We get so used to everything being on our own time, so used to changing what we’re doing on our every whim that we get sidetracked with a lot of loose things on our desk at the end of the day.

I spend a lot of time making lists, writing, condensing a lot of things. Maybe in my efforts to curb my physical hoarding, I may switch to written thought hoarding. I can’t help it. I have discovered that my whole family hoards a lot, they each have a half-dozen collections of something. In one case, so large, they were interviewed on the news (record albums).

Regarding my bardates, that was something I came up with at the opening of the Star Trek Experience. I worked for now defunct Paramount Parks at the time and I was present at the opening. I discovered I can’t find a lot of digicam pics I took for years because my camera back then randomly reset it’s “master” number count. Maybe it was when batteries were removed for x amount of time? So, numbers were reset and windows 98 appeared to fuck my shit up. Oh-

I had to have gone thru my drive one day to pull pictures and got the prompt if I wanted to replace a file with the same number or not. That version didn’t offer to tack on a (1), (2), etc after. So I lost dozens if not hundreds of pics that were saved over other batches. It’s why I carry disposable cameras for pictures of people “with me” and “hot chicks” while I use the digicam for “scenic” pictures and people I don‘t know. And now, photo developers are starting to phase out their film developing machines! Damn, Kodak. They’re struggling, so instead of saving the dying format for us with film, they sell it off for it to dissolve. Digi has always been shittier quality.

Even movies at the theaters are all going digital. When our country’s “best directors” go with this and not fight to at least keep the rep theaters with film, we’re all fucking doomed. In a decade film will be black market shit and this kills me with all the other American industries doomed by computers.

I’ve been trying to focus on good things, although I just ranted. I’m focusing on spending less time that annoy me. I watch as little TV as possible for the best, classic things I need to see on PBS and my netflix cue. I have to watch the best things I can because I read Netflix CEO is interested in streaming and cable channel and wants to give minimal effort into the only DVD home delivery service I like, until it will die out.

Just go with the times, you say. I have no problem doing this if the “change” is an actual improvement. All this new crap is either 1) rehashed old stuff, 2) “technology” that is basically, buy this new thing to move all our old stuff (pictures, movies, computer files and games) to. And it’s in 3-D that makes your eyes hurt. And you have to buy all the accessories and monthly subscriptions.

I don’t want to buy an I-anything that you know will be an obsolete “patch” for next years model. You used to be able to buy something that lasted over a decade that stood on it’s own, not networked to something. I want my future “things” to maintain that standard, alright? And I don’t see a lot right now that can get past my “around in 10 years” standard.

The lottery I wanted to write more about, but I want to limit my second-parters. I’ll turn it on it’s ear into something else sometime.

2012/04/03 Posted by | random trains of thought- choo choo | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Community is the best show on NBC

Writer’s blog, bar date 66199.51

I just deleted 2 blog topics when I realized what week- nay what day it is.

One of the top 3 reasons you can get me to turn on the TV (that’s not to watch a DVD) is Community. I don’t even know where to begin.

I knew nothing about this show a year ago. It’s in it’s 3rd season. But on a random lark, seasons 1 was available at the library, so I checked it out. Luckily, they also had season 2 thereafter.

The creativeness really blew me away. The premise sounds incredibly boring, a study group at a community college. And it blasts the meaning of understated that each of these people in the group go thru amazing transformations, transcend beyond their perceived expectations and travel in so many worlds, it picks up the baton from the void left after Star Trek Next Generation & Voyager left off. This is all in a half hour show.

Since cable will never be an option and before I got cheap DSL at home, it was worth it to me last fall to watch each season 3 show by going to the library each week & watch it online.

Ratings suffered and twitter rumor suggested it was circling the drain. This came to a head when this spring schedule came out from the networks with the show missing entirely. There was a minor outrage on twitter from fans like me. Comparisons were made to all the other shows cut before their prime like Arrested Development (coming back), Firefly (came out w/ a movie). What’s your fave show cut early?

And I don’t just complain about my little tv show. I’ve protested w/ 99% against the banks and wall st. (you may have noticed I don’t capitalize things I don’t respect for the most part) I watch PBS news when most are watching TV personality gossip shows (I never refer to them as stars or celebrities). I volunteered at the food bank and Thanksgiving kitchen. So I am active in my own… Community.

As a tv show, it also does a lot of cool things that I liked about other shows. They highlight their B-team characters. They don’t just sit at the study group table and whine. Again, like Star Trek, it’s like a bridge they meet at to plan things when they go out on Away Team missions. Each new class they have is an interesting sub culture with more radical characters of instructors.

This has to be the most interesting community college in the country. I like shows where the main property has all kinds of different departments affecting the run of the whole. It’s a campus, but they don’t go overboard with 5,000 characters. I don’t think Lost fans could really keep up with all those characters for “an island.”

It’s like Twilight zone. It explores each of the character’s wants, but gives them incredible temptations and personal jackpot kinda tastes of an extreme. There are a lot of shows that plunge into genres. And true to each, the study group plugs into genre stereotypical characters in each environment from westerns, to politics, to even time traveling parallel universe stories.

And I could go into each character, but something that hit me was that I could relate to all but a couple of the characters in some major way (sans Dean and Shirley). And even Shirley is starting to reveal there are things in her past that she devotes her life to making up for. Each character seemed pretty stereotypical from the beginning of the series. To me that lasted about 4 shows and things really snowballed in unpredictable directions.

That was something I loved most of all. Most tv shows, you tune in and the same characters are sitting in the same living room snarking each other and it gets tired if they don’t have adventures out in all kinds of new places “out there,” not just a second “work set.”

Cop shows get old with the premise, but at least they get to go to new criminal environments. Star Treks had a new “planet hell” down the line. I could see why the network wouldn’t back an expensive location changing show, but I’m so damn sick of shaky docucam awkward pause humor. It’s tired.

There are so many comedians I love and can’t stand on the shows that don’t show how funny they are: Craig Robinson, Whitney Cummings, I could go on.

Big Bang is on 5 nights a week, why don’t you watch Community on NBC Thursday at 8:00PM pacific? They have new catchphrases every week, John Hughes level character development, it’s just damn funny. #sixseasonsandamovie #greendale7

2012/03/13 Posted by | Single malts | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Advanced Wikia Sociology

I know, I flaked on you guys last Monday, so I’m writing this now and will start writing the next blog right after to hopefully have it up by Friday. 2 blog corpses for you to feast on this week.

What “ha’ happent” was like a mad scientist trapped in my project, I got caught up in writing about writing. It just exploded to a bunch of chapters I’m writing for my 2012 projects. I didn’t want to interrupt that flow. The original outline I still want to do after this, but this is about the cultures, tv cultures I got caught up in. It triggered a lot of personal memories and situations I couldn’t stop listing and typing about.

You guys have a lot of favorite tv series, like I do. There are some on tv I don’t understand and I focused on tv series, favorites and otherwise, that go well beyond the magical 4th/ 5th season that gets the 100 episodes required for syndication.

I think it started out as me asking myself what the differences are between Simpsons, South Park and Family Guy. I think I watched Simpsons w/ the original writers the first few seasons before I stopped, I got rid of cable after 9/11. I never got into South Park when the topics were more random. Now I actually like how focused their episodes are on a satire/ parody topic. I never got into Family guy, it seemed too random cutaway joke tangents to me?

All of those have wikia sites, I also looked a lot at Memory Alpha (every trek series wikia), How I met your Mother and I’m sure I can think of others. (Don’t get me started on this seasons HIMYM, it’s circling the drain.) I am obsessed with how detailed the timeline scrutiny holds up with those shows. And in studying all the recurring things in people’s lives, I got flooded with plugging in my own experiences I’m writing about.

I don’t think I had much writers block before, but it was tougher for me to discipline my self to produce a x amount of words every “”work” day.

But all those wikia sites have a lot of cool things I raped ideas from with people I know. Everyone has family members, a job, they live somewhere, they have vehicles. Most went to or are in school, they have jobs, financial and social statuses. They all like teams or participate in competitions.

Non fiction writing has interesting liberties I’m allowed to take. I can change a few identifying facts and names about people to protect them, like listing oh, where they eat as an example. I’m allowed to mish mash some facts as long as I have a point and a direction I’m going.

There are a lot of cool things tv series have that keep people coming back to, like lists of things. What are all the things on Earl’s karma list? How many ways can you say Legendary? What are the other Ferengi Rules of Acquisition? How many hundreds of shuttles Voyager wrecked? What are the other conditions of the rental agreement in Big Bang theory? How many ways can you kill off Kenny? How many chicks has Charlie Harper (and Sheen) banged? Oh, I have Vegas lists, certainly nothing like in any guidebook I’ve ever seen before, of any vacation spot.

TV shows have an artery of exploration. In M*A*S*H, you’ll have tons of patients that come in. Most shows have date of the week, cop shows have criminals and suspects, Cheers has customers to get drunk, Star Trek has aliens, ships and planets. It’s why I started watching Voyager & Twilight Zone on netflix, I missed mind challenging TV.

With all the one camera shows on now, the handheld, moving camera shows, with people sitting in the same living room or office every week- I can’t stand those shows. What’s sad is I love some of the actors and I can’t get thru a whole episode. thankfully, I don’t have cable to rot my brain with anything Kim Kardashian, Jersey Shore, or housewives. I sacrificed History channel and animal Planet to save, though.

Vegas has so many worlds in it, they all barreled in my mind in flashes when I can relate each place or event as a television episode. It’s why I reviewed on yelp. I also read books on writing short stories on how to condense stories, get the most out of each character, keep things going, involve all senses, take advantage of even the most minute conflicts. It’s all been real inspiring to me the past couple of months.

And I have my favorite writers and directors giving me DVD commentary “seminars” on the writing and production process. Don’t get me started on you tube, there are people putting out some impressively consistent things on a weekly basis.

Part of being unemployed is dealing with feeling like you’re not producing anything. This way, I can produce the best of what I want, my favorite things. Hopefully this year, I can start get paid from my writings.

2012/02/19 Posted by | Single malts | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment