So, I’ve not done one of these in a while. For more recent subscribers to the blog, I used to do a Potpourri blog post fairly often. Usually, I’d do them on the days when I didn’t have a set topic to work on or was too busy to do a full-on blog post (nowadays, I just usually miss a day when that happens–hey, not proud of the fact–just being honest–but these Potpourri posts used to cover several topics and would tide me over until the next day or the day after that, when I had something I felt was worth blogging about.
Potpourri (I’ll stop bolding it now) can mean a mixture of spices designed to act as an air freshener (more specifically), or more generally, as a mixture of things. This is how the TV show Jeopardy! uses it and this where I got both the term and the concept. Just a hodge-podge of various topics that I discuss that may or may not have any relationship to each other, but I don’t feel really warrant the time or energy to devote a full-on blog post to covering. While I’ll probably be doing more of these over the coming weeks/months as I prep for school, I will try to keep them to a minimum. Like anything else, it can lose its “specialness” when overused.
English Language Homophones
“Through” does not equal “throw.” To be honest, they aren’t even true homophones. And yet, that’s what I wrote in a previous blog post a day or two ago–and that’s not the only one I’ve caught this week. I do know the difference (I promise); I’m a English PhD Candidate, after all. However, I’ve noticed that quite a few of my posts recently have places where I’ve used the wrong word. So what’s going on?
Well, two things: 1) I’m writing these on my Chromebook now instead of Macbook Pro. Both Apple and Google have an auto-correct feature built into the OS. However, the last time I checked, the Apple auto-correct didn’t extend to the WordPress editor (or if it did, it wasn’t nearly as aggressive). Google’s auto-correct definitely does extend to the WordPress editor and it is very aggressive (except with obvious typos like teh–which it will underline and tell me it is spelled wrong, but it won’t actually correct those things) and 2) I’m writing these blog entries much faster than I ever used to in the past. I’ve said it multiple times, but most blog entries take anywhere from 45 mins (low side) to 90 mins (high side) to write. I (mostly) write them the day they are posted (although I’m trying to “bank” more of them to go up in the future). I usually have work (or something that needs to be done that day, so I can’t spend too much time on them. So after writing them (the most time), finding and image and sourcing it, going back to a previous blog to find my “Signature” and then putting the categories and tags in, I give the blog a final cursory glance, looking for any glaring errors, and then I publish it. However, homophones are not “glaring errors.” They stick out in context, when you read it, but when I do my scan, my mind just “skips” right over them. I try to fix them when I see them, but sometimes I see them when I’m reading over them later in the day if I see them, but sometimes I’m not in WordPresses’ “editor” mode and I forget to go back to them when I am writing the next post.
So, if you’re wondering how someone with pretty obvious mistakes can be a PhD Candidate in English, let me assure that I really do know the correct word in context. However, being the both writer and editor is really hard, and it’s even harder when you’re on a time limit.
As I mentioned a while back, I’m trying to spread out my weekly movie viewing throughout my various streaming services in order to maximize the value from them–I was finding that I was really only watching one or two services even though I’m paying for several (discounted because I’m a student, but still . . .). I’ve watched things from Tubi (free), Netfilix, and Amazon Prime Video recently, so I thought I’d give Akira on Hulu a watch.
I have to say . . . this is NOT looking promising. I’m familiar with Akira, but I’ve never actually seen the movie. I bought an issue of the manga when it was released here in the 1980s (I think for the futuristic bike on the cover), but as it was an issue that was well into the story, I had no clue who the characters were or what was going on, and so didn’t pick up any other issues. While everyone always raved about it in sci-fi magazines that I read at the time, I didn’t see the appeal and went back to other anime properties (Appleseed and the Japanese/American hybrid of Robotech).
However, Saturday night, I thought now might be a good time to take a look at the original, especially since there is a planned Hollywood live action movie (a la Ghost in the Shell) planned to be released in a couple of years (although Covid may have pushed that back).
I gotta’ say, for all the accolades, I’m not really all that impressed by what I’ve seen so far. I’m only 35 minutes in (it is a 2 hour and 5 minute movie), but even trying to look at it through my 1980s/1990s lens, I still have yet to see what all the fuss was about. Yes, it is one of the first cyberpunk movies (and an anime at that), but the ideas and the execution are, so far, subpar. Mad Max (and all of its future sequels) got the aesthetic down far better for a post-apocalyptic and we won’t even talk about how Bladerunner (so far) is superior in every way, even though it came out years earlier–in terms of Neo-futurism of the cityscape. So far, there’s a anarchy that is implying that the system has broken down and yet the system is still in place with the schools, the malls, the army, and the police. While I won’t judge it until after I finish it, the 35 minutes that I watched felt like it was an hour (not a good thing) and the last time that happened lead to me being mightily unimpressed by a little movie called The Dark Knight. And with me, that’s not a good trajectory to be on.
Not the Same Old Story, But A New Story
Okay, so while I’ve had success as a writer by getting published and by receiving payment, I’ve not had much success in getting my work “reprinted.” I’ve had zero success in having any of my stories reprinted. However, I was talking to a friend at the Writing Center and was indicating that I felt that just by the fact the stories were published, indicated that they had potential and something special that I felt I did right and I wanted to use those to write longer projects.
However, over the Covid break, I’ve learned that I simply can’t tell the same story over again in a different format. This is what I tried to do with Ship of Shadows Graphic Novel. I wrote half of the short story over again in issue 1 and issue 2 was supposed be the 2nd half, issue 3 & 4 would be new material, expanding out the story. While it was a good try, what I learned is after I’ve written the story, I don’t have any interest to revisit it again. The story has been told to my satisfaction, so I need to find a different story to tell–maybe at a different point in the lives of the characters or a different story with the characters coming back to interact in some way (cameos or the like).
Thinking back to some of my favorite movies and their sequels–I really love movies like Alien & Aliens and Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, & Return of the Jedi because it takes the story forward and advances the plot forward. The sequels that I hate are Karate Kid II, Jurassic Park The Lost World, and Home Alone 2, where take the same characters and situations and just transports them to a new setting. So, they’re essentially telling the same story–just in a different place. I think that’s why Alien 3 is one of my most hated movies–they wipe away all that Aliens worked to achieve, just so they could go back to the formula of the original Alien movie, but this time set on prison planet instead of a ship. Same basic story, different setting.
I’ve learned that I can’t do this. I have to advance the story or tell a new story with new characters or old characters returning in new roles. That’s what I’m working on now–instead of reprints–trying to make and market longer works based on new stories and ideas from my older published works.
This has a precedence that isn’t seen much in the publishing world anymore. Writers of sci-fi and fantasy novels, mostly sci-fi though, often cut their teeth on shorter works and developed them into their blockbuster series–Anne McCaffrey and her Dragonriders of Pern series was created this way, as was 2001 from Arthur C. Clarke, which came from a short tory (called “The Sentinel,” if I remember correctly). Now, however, this is considered “old fashioned” and most everyone, including those who probably shouldn’t, go straight to novels, graphic novels, and screenplays because we can’t have building the craft anymore–nope, thanks to Game of Thrones and Harry Potter, everyone wants the “big score.” Everyone wants the immediate “mega-success” and overnight stardom that the authors of those two series enjoyed–although, it should be noted that Martin was publishing mid tier books that weren’t “hits” in the 80s and 90s (Fevre Dream, anyone?). For me, the enjoyable part of the writing process is over once I’ve published my story–trying to duplicate it, just in a different form just doesn’t have an appeal for me apparently.
I’ll talk more about this later, but for now, work first, talk later. Have a great day!
Please consider supporting these fine small press publishers where my work has appeared:
- Purchase HawkeMoon on Amazon.com (Paperback) or eBook
- Purchase Dragonhawk on Amazon.com (Paperback) or Kindle
- Purchase WarLight on Amazon.com (Paperback) or Kindle
- Purchase Ship of Shadows on Amazon.com (Paperback) or Kindle
- Purchase Faerie Knight on Amazon.com (Paperback) or Kindle
Currently Working On (7/2020):
- “Project Wall” (Science Fiction Story)
Drafting: First Draft
- Unhallowed (Weird Western Story)
Drafting: 2nd Draft (Working Draft)
- Childe Roland Graphic Novel
Up Next: Rough Draft (Story)
- I, Mage (Urban Fantasy Story)
Drafting: 1st Revision