R.I.P. Gore Vidal

R.I.P. Gore Vidal

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Bronies, Writing and You

Bronies, Writing and You

Today’s topic is the magic of friendship. Alright, maybe not, but as many corners of the internet can attest there has been a rising resurgence of ponies. In fact, fans of both genders worldwide have gone diligently to work reproducing and remixing pony art, pony sites and pony videos. This massive herd has everypony *ahem* I mean, everybody doing something that is both wonderful and ‘illegal,’ However, Lauren Faust, the creator of the most recent generation of ‘My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic’ embraces the borrowing and retooling of her work. The result has been a creative outburst of epic proportions. Collaboration. Respect. Creativity. Imagination. In today’s artistic world there has been a heated debate over who owns the content that many of us are generating by the billions each day. Few are able to articulate this better than Harvard professor Larry Lessig: [youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Q25-S7jzgs] Teamwork is a beautiful thing and can have extraordinary, far-reaching results. Be respectful of artists of all kinds; always point back to the source once you’ve gained permission to use something. Perhaps most importantly, don’t forget to make original work of your own that others can mishmash to their hearts’ content.   Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Villains: The Psychopath or Sociopath

Villains: The Psychopath or Sociopath

By: Nicole Galloway-Miller No matter the genre, every story needs an antagonist, a character who works against the hero or heroine and thwarts his or her every move. When writing a villain, it is easy to turn to the tried and true clichés of evil in-laws, serial killers, and stalkers. These types of characters make excellent villains. When creating a realistic antagonist, an author must consider the character’s primary motivation. What separate mediocre villains from memorable ones is the reason the antagonist desires power, prestige or revenge. Oftentimes these goals are the result of mental illness. Psychology is a great resource for exploring the motivations of criminals. As a writer, being familiar with some common personality disorders and how they manifest is extremely beneficial. This information can be a big help during the characterization process. One of the most common diagnoses is Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD), the psychopaths and sociopaths of the world. Symptoms of this mental illness include irritability, impulsivity, deception and a blatant disregard for social norms. Often people with this diagnosis are aggressive and do not feel remorseful or guilty. They have above-average intelligence and a wide variety of talents. When creating a villain with this disorder, it is important to remember that they exhibit these symptoms from an early age. In fact, many were juvenile delinquents. Psychologists disagree about the number of types of ASPD. Since the symptoms manifest themselves in many different ways, there is plenty of fodder for inspiration. Most sociopaths exhibit Jekyll and Hyde characteristics. On the surface, they are charming and pleasant. Underneath this façade lurks their true nature, aggressive and violent. Driven by a lust for control, attention, power and money, they are expert manipulators and can often get large groups of people to do what they want. Their ultimate weakness is that eventually these psychopaths can no longer maintain the act and turn violent and abusive. Sometimes the focus of their destructive tendencies is companionship. Aware that most people are tortured by doubt, guilt and inhibitions, sociopathic individuals create a relaxing, pleasant and safe environment. They tell them their partners, want those people want to hear and appear interested in their likes and dislikes. After some time, their true nature emerges. The psychopath becomes violent and abusive, lashes out at their significant others and shatters the peaceful environment. In other sociopaths, they are social and friendly in public and at home. Once at home, these individuals turn into monsters, abuse their families, and close friends. Since most people with ASPD are suspicious and paranoid, psychopaths may bully and antagonize coworkers they see as threats. Even when on their best behavior, sociopaths are unreliable, impulsive and moody. They often nurse...

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Heron’s Path arriving April 1st

Heron’s Path arriving April 1st

Alethea Eason’s newest book, The Heron’s Path, has all the grace of the river that flows through its pages. One steps lithely into the world of Katy and her delicate sister Celeste. It is a world where the old and the new mingle, the Old Ones hold a knowing but genteel sway and the country man perhaps shouldn’t be so trusting of his dulled senses. Will Celeste come to know the purpose of her wanderings and dreams? Will Katy and aged Olena be able to keep her from the clutches of the evil we-nei-la? Follow them “north to the true wilderness, dark with ancient trees, where the Nanchuti struggle to keep their sacred songs from vanishing.” Like the current of the river Talum that witnesses all within these pages, you too will be swept along in the adventure, sometimes in reflective pools, sometimes drawn inexorably to the falls… to find the Heron’s Path.   Check out Amazon or Barnes and Noble to find your copy of Heron’s Path. Read a short sample of Heron’s Path right here. To learn more about Alethea visit her website:  Heron’s Path Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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A Game of Tropes

A Game of Tropes

A literary trope is a figurative or symbolic metaphor in its most complicated sense. In its more homogenized definition, a trope is a technique or stereotype that uses commonly established archetypes to help convey meaning.  In all stories, we know that the Hero is special. He’s the Chosen One, who will affect change in his world; this one of the most common tropes in genre fiction. Another example would be the “evil galactic empire” reminiscent of Nazis, Romans, Fascists. They sport gray uniforms, and appear in Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly, Chronicles of Riddick, and a dozen others. In these pieces the “good guys” are always diverse and colorful—this is a metaphor or trope for an idealized way of life slathered in diversity and personal freedoms. Consider: In Star Wars rebel pilots wear bright orange—their enemy counterparts look like SS soldiers. In Lord of the Rings, the heroes armies gather with brightly colored banners of silver and gold, blue and green. The orcs mass under a variants of a black flag. An interesting use of this trope is Robert Heinlein’s StarShip Troopers. The narrator is, in fact, one of those gray-uniform wearing space-nazis. Though we are sympathetic to this character, there can be no doubt that he is from a less than democratic society—this causes a gut reaction in most Americans. Everyone around me is gearing up for the next season of Game of Thrones. While watching/reading, I see elements from many other very successful authors in variety of genres. One cannot help but wonder is George R. R. Martin a singular fantasy genius or simply a well read nerd? Neither is really a bad thing, but I want to point some of the methods he’s using to bring standard fantasy tropes to life in new ways. I may go so far as to say that nothing in the Game of Thrones series is new or the sole creation of George’s imagination. That’s okay. I once had a writing professor offer the quotation, “Young writers invent, published writers steal.” He was not of course encouraging plagiarism, nor am I suggesting George R.R. Martin is guilty of this most heinous of crimes. I am saying the George R.R. Martin has brilliantly woven in commonly loved cultural elements from a myriad of fiction sources, made them his own and taken us on a great ride. First let’s address some of the standard tropes within the genre of fantasy literature. The one that always gets my goat is the chosen one. How many Chosen One’s can there be? It is important that we understand the necessity of this element, but also that it is as old as the concept of the story...

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Active Voice

Active Voice

  When we write we must consciously decide between active voice and passive voice. The difference between active and passive is roughly the difference between quick and to the point and a meandering missive. e.g. – The dog bites. active – People have been bitten by the dog. passive Which one serves as a better warning to people unfamiliar with the naughty biting dog? A writer with confidence and a clear mind for their craft shudders after falling into the pitfalls of passive voice. Passive voice is a tool to remove authority or responsibility, and it creates a palpable barrier between the writer and the story as well as the story and the reader. In most cases a story in passive voice is two to three times longer than the equivalent active story. It then feels like a story ten times as long for the reader. It’s like a poorly edited movie: only 90 minutes in length but you feel like you wasted your whole evening watching the movie. As a general rule I advise writers to avoid passive voice as much as possible, but often this causes confusion since very few people are familiar with active voice. Active writing is clear and often concise—not to say it can’t be frilly and make literary types swoon. Active voice is when the subject is performing the action. Basically the subject/noun is doing the action/verb. In some ways active voice is—to borrow a page from dime-store psychology—the type-A personality. Say what really happened. e.g. – James drew his gun and shot Randy in the face. active -Randy was shot in the face after James drew his gun to shoot Randy. passive Passive voice is more like the wish-washy type-B personality. Well, this thing it kinda-sorta happened and you get my meaning but you kinda have to put it back together for yourself because I don’t want to be too direct. Passive voice wears readers out—after awhile it feels like hanging out with that annoying friend who always wants to do something but never has any suggestions. The classic, “Oh, I don’t know whatever you’d like.” One of the easiest ways to notice if you’re writing in the passive voice is to look for the tell-tale words: has, was, and were before the verb. Think of it as chaff getting between your noun and your verb. Keeping your subject verb agreement (staying in active voice) in order helps to move even the dullest of material forward. A positive attitude helps you through the worst of weeks; writing in active voice helps getting through the dullest of assignments, like a short article about active voice. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in...

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