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The Movie Zone / Re: Marvel Comics Movies
« Last post by Chuck Rich on Tue Jan 27 2015, 19:27 »
After seeing this trailer my feelings are... exactly what they were before: unconvinced but open.
The Movie Zone / Re: Marvel Comics Movies
« Last post by Kyle MacDonald on Tue Jan 27 2015, 19:22 »
Agreed, this looks great.  I really like what they've done with the Thing.
The Movie Zone / Re: Marvel Comics Movies
« Last post by Matt_O_Steele on Tue Jan 27 2015, 19:07 »
Ooh yes. Me likey.

Almost irrelevant of whether it's any good, I want that to be a massive hit just to shut up all the whinging fanboys who've already decried it before seeing any footage.

The Movie Zone / Re: Marvel Comics Movies
« Last post by Adam on Tue Jan 27 2015, 18:52 »
Ooh yes. Me likey.

Almost irrelevant of whether it's any good, I want that to be a massive hit just to shut up all the whinging fanboys who've already decried it before seeing any footage.
The Movie Zone / Re: Marvel Comics Movies
« Last post by Matt_O_Steele on Tue Jan 27 2015, 15:16 »
decent trailer. has my interest on it now.
The Movie Zone / Re: Marvel Comics Movies
« Last post by J.B. Gibson on Tue Jan 27 2015, 14:27 »
Not technically a "Marvel" movie, but this trailer was just released.

This will be interesting. Killgrave is frackin' creepy in the graphic novels, so I can't wait to see how Tennant does this...
So, here I am. Not a particularly interesting statement, isn't it? Unless you were wondering about me not being really here, and you thought that these words magically typed themselves.

If you're a little bit like me, the last sentence probably gave an idea for a cool story about magic typewriters or a literal ghost writer or sentient words, and you frantically open pages upon pages trying to jot down the details of this amazing new tale that really deserves to be told...

...but you're probably never going to write it. D'oh! [insert more colorful expressions of utter disappointment here]

So, confession time. I'm one of those persons who probably have far too many ideas for their own good. Because let's face it, even if writing were my day job (and it isn't) I wouldn't have enough time to develop even half of the ideas that pop up in my mind, and probably 90% of them wouldn't be good enough to be the foundation of a good story.

The harsh truth is that ideas are cheap, if you have an active imagination (and chances are that you do, since you're reading this screed on a board for aspiring writers). Anything in your life can be a source of inspiration: a rock that looks like a swan, a chatty person on the bus that shares way too much information about their personal life, even a harmless statement like "here I am".

So if you want to be a writer, either a professional or even an amateur, your biggest problem probably isn't that you don't have enough ideas. The problem might as well be that you have far too many of them, and you need to pick your battles and devise a clever strategy if you want to win the war, soldier. [puts on a helmet and walks before a US flag in a lousy attempt to imitate the speech from Patton]

But wait! I see you shaking your heads in disbelief.  "What about the horrible W.B.?" you ask me "What about those two words that every wannabe scribe fears more than a spider riding a cobra armed with a bazooka? Doesn't the existence of the dreaded W.B. prove that there are times when your muse goes on a strike or has fled to a faraway tropical island, never to return?"

The first thing that springs to my mind when I hear these question is "What has poor William Butler Yeats, the great W.B., done to you?" Then I realize you meant the WB, the now defunct American TV network, and I feel like a prick.

...you didn't? Well, what did you mean, then? Writer's Block...AAAAAARGH!

[cricket chirps]

[more chirps]

[even more chirps]

I'm back. I'm calm. Don't ever mention those words again. Running around the block was good exercise, but I might not survive another shock. And you want, me to finish this piece, don't you?

So, about the Issue-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. I think that its existence doesn't mean that you can "run out of ideas". There are so many ideas, good and bad, around you that this is completely impossible. So why do you find yourself sitting before a blank page, staring at the screen while you feel either crushing despair or seething rage? I'm no expert writer or psychologist, so all the answers you'll find in the next paragraphs are from my limited personal experience.

That said, my personal experience probably has something in common with the ones of other people who dream to be writers. So I guess that someone can find those little snippets of simple acquired wisdom.
And here you have them.

The top 5 reasons why you suffer from the W.B. disease (according to Dr. Corvero):

1) You don't write outlines

This is a big one. There's nothing bad with writing without outlines, IF you can do it. Sometimes you just need to do it, because outlines are hard work and you want to feel free to write whatever the hell you want. And some people can write without outlines and never stop until they reach the magic words "The End". Lucky bastards.

But many other times if you just dive in without planning your journey you're going to be eaten by the big "What now?" shark. Whenever I have a story in mind the beginning and the end are easy. They're already there, ready to be put into words.

It's those pesky bits in between that get tricky. The dragon which was following the prince and the princess has stopped, tired of the chase. What now?

The intrepid detective has found the clue that reveals that the suicide was actually a carefully planned murder. What now?

The serial killer who was lurking behind the window has made his first victim. What now?

When I find myself asking this question I know I screwed up somewhere in the process.  And nine times out of ten the point where I screwed up is when I started writing whatever the hell I wanted to write until I found myself in a corner.

Corners aren't really fun places to be. You want to go on, to get from A to B to C, but you find yourself heading towards D while E looms on the horizon and there's a distinct possibility that F may pop up any time soon.

How do you avoid this frustrating situation? For me the answer is simple. Outlines, outlines, and more outlines. In a first outline literally anything goes. Logic and consistency aren't a big concern. Everything happens with no rhyme and reason except the ones that make sense in that moment.

Of course the first outline is just a way to get an idea out of my system. Many times when I look back at the outlines I find myself thinking about what I was smoking that day and I tear the outlines to shreds, ready to rewrite it as something a little bit more logical.

But while the first outline was being more or less vomited on the screen, the W.B. monster has been tamed. I have written something, even if it doesn't make much sense. I can build up on that, take the parts that seem to work and ditch the rest, but at least I have some material to work on.

When you want to write terrible, illogical writing is still better than no writing at all.

2) Believe it or not, you are a perfectionist.

This was a huge surprise for me. I always thought that since I always saw writing as a hobby, and I have no delusions about success, I would be free from the demons of striving for perfection, right?

WRONG. If you are a writer who loves his writing you ARE going to be a perfectionist, even if your writing is terrible. And the less experienced you are the more your perfectionism is going to be a fierce enemy instead of a good friend.

Nobody wants to think they're writing crap. Even people who routinely write crap don't believe they're writing crap. This might be because they have a huge ego, or they're just too eager for their own good. But they still think that what they're writing HAS to be good.

(Except con artists like Uwe Boll. Fuck that guy.)

So no matter how good or bad you are you're going to be plagued by doubts and anxiety about your writing at times. What if this scene doesn't work? What if my character isn't as witty and clever as I want them to be? What if my dialogue sounds more corny than a bag of cornflakes?

The answer to all these doubts is just to stop panicking, because all first drafts are going to suck. There's a famous saying about most writing being rewriting. I find it extremely helpful.

You can't get rid of perfectionism, so you might as well use it for good. The trick here, as with many things, is timing. The right time to question your own writing, to ask yourself about how you can improve your craft, is AFTER you write, not BEFORE.

If you keep asking yourself question about the quality of your writing but you never write a SINGLE word of your story you're never going to get any answers.

So don't fight perfectionism. Give it its space. Just tell him to wait a little until the screen is covered with words.

3) You're suffering from a nasty version of the Centipede Dilemma

The story goes like this. A nice centipede is going on his business, without a care in the world. His annoying friend the dung beetle says "Wow, you really have a hundred legs. How can you walk? It must be really hard to remember which foot you have to raise and when"

The centipede, who has never thought about this question before, ends up falling flat on his stomach while he tries to understand the exact process that allows him to walk.

The moral of the story is that dung beetles talk shit because they're full of shit.

Seriously, though, if you stop thinking about what's good writing and what isn't, how do you get good ideas, you're not writing.

It's all fine and dandy to want to become better (see the paragraph above about perfectionism). But no
matter how many articles and books on writing you're going to read you'll never become better unless you, well, write.

Just like you shouldn't worry about the quality of your writing before you write anything you also
shouldn't worry too much on how writing works while you write.

Sometimes we don't really know what made us write a good scene or a bad one. We can have helpful pointers, we can listen to the lessons of some more experienced and better writers, but at the end of the day there's no magic word that is going to turn you into a better writer.

There's only lots and lots of horrendous crap that you must slowly move around and turn into something a little bit better. But the good news is that while some people are more naturally gifted we all start from the crap. So go on and shovel more crap onto your screen. Who knows, maybe you can strike gold on your first try. Or maybe you need years of practice before you can put a coherent story together.

In both cases if all you do is reading what other people have said on the process of writing you'll only end up flat on your ass, with a blank space before you.

4) You're getting distract-Hey, a cute cat!

Sometimes life is just too much for our little brains to handle. There are so many wonderful things and idea in the world that you can't follow them all (especially at the same time).

So you browse the net, listen to a new song, prepare a snack, pet the cat, play a new game, etc. All great and fun things to do, and you need to give them their own time.

But when you've told yourself that you want to write you need to make some little sacrifices.

Use Freedom to turn off the big, honking, flashy thing that is the Internet and its thousands attractions. Give up song-listening, snack-making, cat-petting and game-playing for a little while. Sit on your ass and write.

Usually it isn't extremely hard to deal with the garden-variety type of distractions. The worst ones are the ones that look useful even when they aren't. Like research. This was, and still is, a huge problem for me and the Smile of the White Lady. Since the Smile is inspired at least partly by real life events I had to do some research to make sure I don't write pure bullshit, and some of that research has inspired me to write some scenes.

But too much research can be a distraction in itself. I'm writing fiction, not a documentary, and I can leave out characters who existed in reality but only take up valuable space in my script. I can twist the events to fit my story. I can turn a villain into a hero and a hero into a villain. But to do all of this I have to write. Research isn't going to write my scripts.

So if you want to be a writer you need to write a schedule and try to stick to it, because otherwise- wow, did Cracked just publish a page on "The Top 17 ways your cat is going to mess up your life?" I have to read this!

[two hours later]

Now, where was I?

5) Your brain is telling you to give up what is a lost cause (for now)

Sometimes it's OK to give up. The popular view is that you need to strive until we reach success, and this is by no means a bad thing, if your problem is that you don't believe in yourself (see points 2 and 3).
But as a wise man once said "You've gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run". And the fact that he was talking about GAMBLING, not writing, doesn't make his words less wise.

If you are paralyzed by doubts, questions and thoughts it's a good thing to move on. But if writing becomes a chore and you'd rather watch another season of the gripping reality show "Growing Grass" rather than finish your next scene you ask yourself ONE question (and only THIS question):

"Do I really want to write what I'm writing right now?"

Usually you already know the answer to this question, and usually when you're stuck in a cycle of
annoyance the answer is NO. There are some times when an idea just doesn't work and you need to give up and move on. At least for now.

Because here's a funny thing about ideas: they're like sea monkeys. Do you remember sea monkeys? No, they weren't monkeys on a boat (Note to self: Pirate Monkeys of the Caribbean!...Naah, this one doesn't work).

They were little shrimps which went into suspended animation when they were dry. But if you put them into water with a mix of the right nutrient they'll come back to life.

The adverts talked about "instant life", but the truth was that you had to add the "nutrient", wait for a few hours, then pour a packet of "eggs". It turns out that the "nutrient" were the eggs, while the "eggs" were simply a nontoxic dye that allowed you to see the sea monkeys that had already come to life a few hours before. Very sneaky!

So what do I mean by this labored analogy? Ideas never die. When the environment isn't right they go into suspended animation, and there's nothing you can do about it until they'll pop up again, seemingly out of nowhere.

Your brain will be unconsciously working on them even when you think you're not. But until the time is right they'll look dead as a doornail. (Note to self: Zombie Doornails of Doom!...nope)

So do not despair if even after you've left your doubts behind your amazing idea looks more like an albatross around your neck (Note to self: you know what, the Vampire Albatross is and is always going to be a terrible idea).You never know when you might find the right time and place for it.

Recommended treatment:

Write write write. Write outlines, parts of scenes, snippets of dialogue. Write everything that comes to your mind. Don't worry too much about the quality of your writing for now. That's best left for revision time. or the first draft, or even a second draft.

Try to finish what you started, even if it's just a scene. Because wondering if something is good BEFORE you write it has never helped anyone to write anything.

Unless you're no longer enjoying writing what you're writing and it feels like a horrible chore. Then move on.

See you next week, and remember that it's also important to avoid distra-oooh, another video about tap-dancing cats!
There was also Christopher Eccleston pretty much unrecognizable as Malekith in Thor: The Dark World.

I keep on forgetting about him (he really is unrecognizable in Thor).
On a relating note: April can't come fast enough for Daredevil.
The Pitch Arena / Re: RAGNAROK: An MZPtv Buffyverse Mini-Series
« Last post by Robrat93 on Mon Jan 26 2015, 21:49 »
Yes yes yes !!!!! Can't wait to read this and see how it all ends and possibly what it sets up? A new phase of the Buffyverse hopefully :) eeeeeek words can not describe my excitement.
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