story craft #4 Flashbang

MJG Stories, Story Craft 7 Comments

I’ve been told I sometimes write in a flashbang style. This has manifested itself in several kinds of feedback- – I can’t read for more than 10 minutes at a time. It’s exhausting. – Some of the sequences left me really feeling the pain the main character felt. – Stop hurting him and give him some happy times. So what is flashbang? I can think of two corollaries. One- Michael Bay. *shudders*. Two- an overexcited American teenage girl delivering just a little content with a lot of verby enthusiasm- ‘so like, there was us two guys, and oh my gosh, it was amazing, like, you guys, it was sooo freakin awesome, you know, and like…’ I write like that?

Ruin of the White Root Mine

MJG Gunma, Haikyo, Mines / Factories 5 Comments

The White Root mine is old, so old that only the faintest outlines of its bones remain. Squint hard and you might see fragments of its ribcage scattered over the hillside, parts of a cracked skull just visible through the topsoil. Once it must have been huge, swathing up and down the valley and pumping out smoke, now there’s just a single slurry run and a few walls left. I went there ages ago, on the same road trip that took me to the Gunma Ski Lift, Hume Cement Factory, and back to the Asama Volcano Museum. Some kind of storage vat, I wager.

The Lonely Dead by Michael Marshall Smith

MJG Book / Movie Reviews 5 Comments

I really wanted to like this book. Ever since Michael Marshall Smith wrote his sci-fi trilogy of One of Us, Spares, and Only Forwards, I thought he`d be one of my favorite authors. My first novel (as yet unpublished 🙁 ) was influenced by his breezy first person narrative style. His books were packed with cool ideas, tidbits of nifty philosophy, and it was easy to overlook the parts that didn`t make sense, felt like filler, or were just too damn smug. Well, it`s not so easy any more. The Lonely Dead is all of the bad in that list, with almost none of the good.

story craft #3 Bad Guy Motives

MJG Stories, Story Craft Leave a Comment

Last week I talked about character motivation– filling in the gaps between what characters want and why. It`s a fundamental part of story architecture- that the good guy wants something and will fight to get it. But probably more important than what the good guy wants is what the bad guy wants. That`s what I was thinking about when I started this latest round of Dawn redrafts *. What do bad guys want? It`s the keystone of story architecture, because the bad guy- – drives the story – creates the conflict – causes the wrongs the good guy has to right. If we don`t believe in them, the whole endeavour is damaged. Sherlock Holmes without Moriarty is still a great …