My Short Middle Finger

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Once Upon A Time there was a good showWarning! There are going to be some spoilers.
So I gave myself a day to mull over what I had watched before I began to put fingers to keys.
Once Upon A Time premiered for its 4th season last night with its venture into the land and story of Frozen. If you recall, just the mention that the writers/producers had opted to go with a Frozen or Snow Queen story line at the end of season 3 worried me.  Well all of my worries were fully justified last night. And I am just so very disappointed now.
The following is a bulleted list (in random, stream-of-consciousness order) as to my issues with the show, its writers, and the new plot:
They didn’t even try. This was a money grab. Whoever gave the directive, whether it be the writers, producers, or studio execs, going with the Frozen story-line was simply push to ride the coattails of arguably one of Disney’s single most successful movies ever. How can I still assert this? They didn’t change a thing. Even Marshmallow made an appearance looking precisely how it did in the movie. And the troll looked exactly as they did in the movie.
  Marshmallow (image links to source)
The only thing missing was Olaf… (I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if he shows up.)
They didn’t try to make it any different. While every other fairy tale has been altered creatively to fit the story, Frozen was not at all. The entire plot that involves Elsa and Anna is the “this happened after the movie” manner as Anna ventured out to find out where their parents were really going on that ill-fated voyage.
SURPRISE! IT WAS THE ENCHANTED FOREST!
Why? To find a cure for Elsa. Oh, and then Anna vanishes! Dubious… Undoubtedly this will mean that Rumpelstiltskin had something to do with it. It just was not creative in any way.
Time Travel SUCKS! I hate the time travel premise when it is introduced to free-standing sagas like this. There are only a few times that I see it as having worked. Twice was on Star Trek… of the many many times it was done. Another was the Back to the Future trilogy, as it pretty much introduced the whole ‘WHOOPS, I just caused a paradox and have to fix it!’ plot premise. A few more hit the mark, but otherwise I just hate it hate it hate it hate it. Oh, did I mention that I hate the time travel plot premise? This isn’t Dr Who, people! Once that episode happened, I got extremely worried. And rightfully so. What, couldn’t think of a way for Emma to realize that she didn’t want to leave? MAKE HER LEAVE AND WORK ON IT FROM THERE! Why introduce a time paradox in order to make it happen?!
It’s Heroes all over again. Just like the with that show (which still ranks number 1 on greatest disappointment off of a great premise) where each season they had to save the world from it’s ultimate destruction, Once will find everyone yet again trapped in Storybrook. Blah blah blah. Repeated plot mechanisms… Prison Break meats Snow White.
The most powerful player fizzles. Emma was built up to be so much more powerful than any magic user in that world as she was wrought out of true love, the most powerful magic. And they’ve done nothing with her in that arena. She continues to be hindered magically despite the growth she exhibits everywhere else. In this episode she gets smacked effortlessly by Marshmallow while Regina barely lifts a finger.
No other villains… so lets keep rehashing the old ones. Well guess who is going bad again. Are there not enough villains available in fairytale land to come up with a viable threat? The fragile nature of how ‘good’ Regina is almost laughable. Now while having an arch nemesis is a viable plot point, it is poor character development to have an inherently good character go down a black path to then be brought back to the light only to be so easily pushed back to darkness then to treat them as though they are the arch nemesis of the saga.
Even Rumpel is flip-flopping. They’re stories as to their journey into darkness and then back again were well done, but now it is only becoming strange how they are behaving in the show. How I see it is that Rumpel, Regina, and now Elsa are villainous in their behaviors, though each are inherently good-natured and good at heart. In lacking a real antagonist to fight against though, just make one or all villainous again, and problem solved! Blech!
What about the Horned King from The Black Cauldron? Now that would have been badass!
  by DiscordantPrincess on deviantart (links to image)

There are a few more that I have, but they start to get nit-picky. Overall I am now quaking with fear that another great show will venture into a place where I will have to jump ship. I just don’t want to have to see another show with great promise get just far enough that the writers almost spaz out unable to figure out what to do with it.
I am going to stay on board this sinking ship hoping that they plug the leaks while I hold fast to my life preserver. I hope they can plug these leaks.
At least I have Blacklist if this all goes south.

Once Upon A Time there was a good show

warning-bannerWarning! There are going to be some spoilers.

So I gave myself a day to mull over what I had watched before I began to put fingers to keys.

Once Upon A Time premiered for its 4th season last night with its venture into the land and story of Frozen. If you recall, just the mention that the writers/producers had opted to go with a Frozen or Snow Queen story line at the end of season 3 worried me.  Well all of my worries were fully justified last night. And I am just so very disappointed now.

The following is a bulleted list (in random, stream-of-consciousness order) as to my issues with the show, its writers, and the new plot:

  • They didn’t even try. This was a money grab. Whoever gave the directive, whether it be the writers, producers, or studio execs, going with the Frozen story-line was simply push to ride the coattails of arguably one of Disney’s single most successful movies ever. How can I still assert this? They didn’t change a thing. Even Marshmallow made an appearance looking precisely how it did in the movie. And the troll looked exactly as they did in the movie.

    Marshmallow (image links to source) Marshmallow (image links to source)

    The only thing missing was Olaf… (I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if he shows up.)
    They didn’t try to make it any different. While every other fairy tale has been altered creatively to fit the story, Frozen was not at all. The entire plot that involves Elsa and Anna is the “this happened after the movie” manner as Anna ventured out to find out where their parents were really going on that ill-fated voyage.
    SURPRISE! IT WAS THE ENCHANTED FOREST!
    Why? To find a cure for Elsa. Oh, and then Anna vanishes! Dubious… Undoubtedly this will mean that Rumpelstiltskin had something to do with it. It just was not creative in any way.

  • Time Travel SUCKS! I hate the time travel premise when it is introduced to free-standing sagas like this. There are only a few times that I see it as having worked. Twice was on Star Trek… of the many many times it was done. Another was the Back to the Future trilogy, as it pretty much introduced the whole ‘WHOOPS, I just caused a paradox and have to fix it!’ plot premise. A few more hit the mark, but otherwise I just hate it hate it hate it hate it. Oh, did I mention that I hate the time travel plot premise? This isn’t Dr Who, people! Once that episode happened, I got extremely worried. And rightfully so. What, couldn’t think of a way for Emma to realize that she didn’t want to leave? MAKE HER LEAVE AND WORK ON IT FROM THERE! Why introduce a time paradox in order to make it happen?!
  • It’s Heroes all over again. Just like the with that show (which still ranks number 1 on greatest disappointment off of a great premise) where each season they had to save the world from it’s ultimate destruction, Once will find everyone yet again trapped in Storybrook. Blah blah blah. Repeated plot mechanisms… Prison Break meats Snow White.
  • The most powerful player fizzles. Emma was built up to be so much more powerful than any magic user in that world as she was wrought out of true love, the most powerful magic. And they’ve done nothing with her in that arena. She continues to be hindered magically despite the growth she exhibits everywhere else. In this episode she gets smacked effortlessly by Marshmallow while Regina barely lifts a finger.
  • No other villains… so lets keep rehashing the old ones. Well guess who is going bad again. Are there not enough villains available in fairytale land to come up with a viable threat? The fragile nature of how ‘good’ Regina is almost laughable. Now while having an arch nemesis is a viable plot point, it is poor character development to have an inherently good character go down a black path to then be brought back to the light only to be so easily pushed back to darkness then to treat them as though they are the arch nemesis of the saga.
    Even Rumpel is flip-flopping. They’re stories as to their journey into darkness and then back again were well done, but now it is only becoming strange how they are behaving in the show. How I see it is that Rumpel, Regina, and now Elsa are villainous in their behaviors, though each are inherently good-natured and good at heart. In lacking a real antagonist to fight against though, just make one or all villainous again, and problem solved! Blech!
    What about the Horned King from The Black Cauldron? Now that would have been badass!

    by DiscordantPrincess on deviantart (links to image) by DiscordantPrincess on deviantart (links to image)

There are a few more that I have, but they start to get nit-picky. Overall I am now quaking with fear that another great show will venture into a place where I will have to jump ship. I just don’t want to have to see another show with great promise get just far enough that the writers almost spaz out unable to figure out what to do with it.

I am going to stay on board this sinking ship hoping that they plug the leaks while I hold fast to my life preserver. I hope they can plug these leaks.

At least I have Blacklist if this all goes south.

Filed under Black Cauldron Blacklist blog blog post Frozen Once Upon A Time OUAT writing

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<p><strong>Too Funny</strong></p><p><p>I stole this from <a title=”A Squid, a Pebble, or a policeman” href=”http://www.hughhowey.com/a-squid-a-pebble-or-a-policeman/” target=”_blank”>Hugh Howey</a>.  Great skit:</p> <p><iframe src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/_LC0JjvAJt8” width=”560” height=”315” frameborder=”0” allowfullscreen=”allowfullscreen”></iframe></p> </p></blockquote>

Too Funny

I stole this from Hugh Howey.  Great skit:

Filed under blog blog post humor sketch That Mitchell and Webb Look

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Gone ExclusiveI wrote an update last week on my Facebook page that I am going to be going exclusive to Amazon’s Kindle for my publishing endeavors.
The goal here isn’t to exclude those readers of the Nook or other e-readers (as I am one myself) but rather to employ the benefits of being in the KDP Select program for all of my non-free titles. I cannot join KDP Select if a title (ebook) is available for sale (knowingly) at any other outlet. There are quite a few benefits to the program, which I will not list for brevity’s sake.
I have no intention to alienate readers, but Amazon has better track records as well as more integrated programs for independent writers not quite developed elsewhere.
So that’s what I am doing. If you need me, I’ll be over at Amazon.

Gone Exclusive

I wrote an update last week on my Facebook page that I am going to be going exclusive to Amazon’s Kindle for my publishing endeavors.

The goal here isn’t to exclude those readers of the Nook or other e-readers (as I am one myself) but rather to employ the benefits of being in the KDP Select program for all of my non-free titles. I cannot join KDP Select if a title (ebook) is available for sale (knowingly) at any other outlet. There are quite a few benefits to the program, which I will not list for brevity’s sake.

I have no intention to alienate readers, but Amazon has better track records as well as more integrated programs for independent writers not quite developed elsewhere.

So that’s what I am doing. If you need me, I’ll be over at Amazon.

Filed under Amazon.com blog blog post ebook independent writing marketing writing

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<p><strong>By My Estimation…</strong></p><p><p>So I spent a few minutes yesterday working out the numbers on my big plan mentioned in an <a title=”14 Titles” href=”http://www.jeremyckester.com/blog/14-titles/”>earlier post</a>. I must admit that it doesn’t look promising to me.</p> <p>Originally I said January would be a wild estimate.  I chose today to instead make my goal a late March 2015 release (not a firm date, just a goal to shoot for) and calculate the math.  This decision was to relax me some from my crazy self-inflicted, unattainable goals. Running the numbers: I can firmly say that even March is a wild estimation.</p> <p>Setting all redrafting, editing, and design work aside, I have to write at a brisk pace of 727 words per day to accomplish this feat. Not even close to impossible. Even with my busy schedule I can manage in excess of 2K per day if I put my mind to it.</p> <p>I just don’t put my mind to it or the effort to maintain that speed.</p> <p>I fizzle out. I get distracted. Etc. Etc. Etc.</p> <p>Working it out even further, I decided to eliminate Saturdays and Sundays as writing days. More often than not I just simply do not write on those days. Such an assumption pushed my necessary daily writing count to just over 1K. Again, not impossible, just even more improbable.</p> <p>I have proven a sustained writing velocity of 350 words per day (again not including redrafting, editing, design work and so on). A slow pace of 350/day just won’t cut it.</p> <p>What does this all mean? Not sure yet other than I have to get writing. If I want this bad enough, sitting around and bemoaning about how difficult this is won’t cut it. For now, I still say that March 2015 will be my aim. I don’t know how I am going to do it, but I am going to push to figure out a way.</p> </p></blockquote>

By My Estimation…

So I spent a few minutes yesterday working out the numbers on my big plan mentioned in an earlier post. I must admit that it doesn’t look promising to me.

Originally I said January would be a wild estimate.  I chose today to instead make my goal a late March 2015 release (not a firm date, just a goal to shoot for) and calculate the math.  This decision was to relax me some from my crazy self-inflicted, unattainable goals. Running the numbers: I can firmly say that even March is a wild estimation.

Setting all redrafting, editing, and design work aside, I have to write at a brisk pace of 727 words per day to accomplish this feat. Not even close to impossible. Even with my busy schedule I can manage in excess of 2K per day if I put my mind to it.

I just don’t put my mind to it or the effort to maintain that speed.

I fizzle out. I get distracted. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Working it out even further, I decided to eliminate Saturdays and Sundays as writing days. More often than not I just simply do not write on those days. Such an assumption pushed my necessary daily writing count to just over 1K. Again, not impossible, just even more improbable.

I have proven a sustained writing velocity of 350 words per day (again not including redrafting, editing, design work and so on). A slow pace of 350/day just won’t cut it.

What does this all mean? Not sure yet other than I have to get writing. If I want this bad enough, sitting around and bemoaning about how difficult this is won’t cut it. For now, I still say that March 2015 will be my aim. I don’t know how I am going to do it, but I am going to push to figure out a way.

Filed under blog blog post goals independent writing writing

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<p><strong>A New Mantra</strong></p><p><p>Listening to <a title=”that episode” href=”http://www.nerdist.com/pepisode/nerdist-writers-panel-154-legend-of-korraavatar-the-last-airbender/” target=”_blank”>&#8220;Writer&#8217;s Panel,&#8221; a nerdist podcast, the writer&#8217;s of Avatar: The Last Air Bender and Avatar: The Legend of Korra</a> said something that finally hit me:</p> <p>There are still things in Avatar that they&#8217;d wish they could have changed.  They still see tons of flaws.</p> <p>What it meant to me was that seeing something like Avatar, which I easily rank as one of the best shows to have ever been on television/one of the best cartoons ever, a piece of perfection, to have it criticized as not good enough by its own creator struck a chord.</p> <p>It finally hit me.</p> <p>I will never be good enough. No matter how good, popular, successful, or whatever other positive moniker one could give my writing career, I will never feel as though I am good enough for it.  Each piece I put out will stare back at me with gaping wide flaws.  And I just have to accept that.</p> <p>Thus, I&#8217;ve put a new saying on my notebook and will be using this as one of my mantras:</p> <blockquote><p>It&#8217;ll never be good enough; so let it be good enough.</p></blockquote> </p></blockquote>

A New Mantra

Listening to “Writer’s Panel,” a nerdist podcast, the writer’s of Avatar: The Last Air Bender and Avatar: The Legend of Korra said something that finally hit me:

There are still things in Avatar that they’d wish they could have changed.  They still see tons of flaws.

What it meant to me was that seeing something like Avatar, which I easily rank as one of the best shows to have ever been on television/one of the best cartoons ever, a piece of perfection, to have it criticized as not good enough by its own creator struck a chord.

It finally hit me.

I will never be good enough. No matter how good, popular, successful, or whatever other positive moniker one could give my writing career, I will never feel as though I am good enough for it.  Each piece I put out will stare back at me with gaping wide flaws.  And I just have to accept that.

Thus, I’ve put a new saying on my notebook and will be using this as one of my mantras:

It’ll never be good enough; so let it be good enough.

Filed under blog blog post goals independent writing lessons mantra Nerdist writer writer's panel podcast writing

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<p><strong>More Than I Can Handle</strong></p><p><p>I can see myself doing it again. On the heels of jumping off social media (which was supposed to free me up) I have begun to load more on me than I can handle.</p> <p>In one of my latest posts, I revealed that I have 14 titles in WIP at this time.</p> <p>14 is too many titles to be in WIP.</p> <p>Now granted, they are not all being actively worked on. 2 are in revision status, and 5 are not truly started beyond planning and a few paragraphs or a chapter here and there. That leaves 7 remaining titles.</p> <p>Of those 7, 4 are short stories. They are what I would call ‘quick wins’ as their completion is much easier to accomplish due to their lower word counts.  Only one of those 4 will be a longer short story of nearly 8K in total word count.  The others will run between 2K and 5K.</p> <p>That leaves 3 titles to manage on a day-to-day basis. And it still feels like it is getting to be too much.</p> <p>What it boils down to for me (and this has been concurred by both my boss and my wife) is that I have a tendency to get a bit lofty with my aspirations.  What I mean by that: I will plan much more than what I am capable of actually doing. I need to stop doing that to myself.</p> <p>Overloading myself only ends up backfiring. I promise, I can’t deliver, I disappoint, I fail. Everything fails and then I end up half-assing a portion of what I initially intended.</p> <p>Part of this new plan that I adopted (I certainly was not smart enough to think of it on my own) was so that I took the necessary time to ensure that multiple works were complete so that I wasn’t scrambling to finish things to meet some arbitrary deadline. The plan is to have all I need to release 8 total titles over a 3 month time span. I want all of them complete on day zero.</p> <p>When is day zero? MAYBE January. That is a long shot though, and it will take a lot of effort on my part as I am not sure that I am 100% up to it. Even having an arbitrarily estimated date in place is causing enough stress to concern me.</p> <p>The point is that I am doing better now than I have done in quite a long time, if not ever. I have to be weary that I am not going to sabotage myself by loading too much on and then letting all of the balls drop in one gloriously terrible juggling disaster.</p> <p>Frankly, I am a terrible juggler.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </p></blockquote>

More Than I Can Handle

I can see myself doing it again. On the heels of jumping off social media (which was supposed to free me up) I have begun to load more on me than I can handle.

In one of my latest posts, I revealed that I have 14 titles in WIP at this time.

14 is too many titles to be in WIP.

Now granted, they are not all being actively worked on. 2 are in revision status, and 5 are not truly started beyond planning and a few paragraphs or a chapter here and there. That leaves 7 remaining titles.

Of those 7, 4 are short stories. They are what I would call ‘quick wins’ as their completion is much easier to accomplish due to their lower word counts.  Only one of those 4 will be a longer short story of nearly 8K in total word count.  The others will run between 2K and 5K.

That leaves 3 titles to manage on a day-to-day basis. And it still feels like it is getting to be too much.

What it boils down to for me (and this has been concurred by both my boss and my wife) is that I have a tendency to get a bit lofty with my aspirations.  What I mean by that: I will plan much more than what I am capable of actually doing. I need to stop doing that to myself.

Overloading myself only ends up backfiring. I promise, I can’t deliver, I disappoint, I fail. Everything fails and then I end up half-assing a portion of what I initially intended.

Part of this new plan that I adopted (I certainly was not smart enough to think of it on my own) was so that I took the necessary time to ensure that multiple works were complete so that I wasn’t scrambling to finish things to meet some arbitrary deadline. The plan is to have all I need to release 8 total titles over a 3 month time span. I want all of them complete on day zero.

When is day zero? MAYBE January. That is a long shot though, and it will take a lot of effort on my part as I am not sure that I am 100% up to it. Even having an arbitrarily estimated date in place is causing enough stress to concern me.

The point is that I am doing better now than I have done in quite a long time, if not ever. I have to be weary that I am not going to sabotage myself by loading too much on and then letting all of the balls drop in one gloriously terrible juggling disaster.

Frankly, I am a terrible juggler.

Filed under blog blog post fear goals independent writing writer writing

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RemindersReminders: they’re everywhere. Even Monday, as I entered yet another new workout regimen, I was reminded again that I am not as strong as I thought. But that is a good thing.
It means that I haven’t plateaued. I means that I can still continue to challenge myself in new and interesting ways.
If you aren’t one to grab a gym membership, if you are one not to go workout, you should. I knew this before, but I am reminded as to just how much working out can do for you. It’s not easy by any stretch, but the effort will pay off.  Were it not for my gym time (coupled with my dropping social networks) I would not be getting the output from my writing that I have been getting of late. It just wouldn’t be happening.
There is always room to improve. There’s always more that you can push yourself. This has helped me see that.

Reminders

Reminders: they’re everywhere. Even Monday, as I entered yet another new workout regimen, I was reminded again that I am not as strong as I thought. But that is a good thing.

It means that I haven’t plateaued. I means that I can still continue to challenge myself in new and interesting ways.

If you aren’t one to grab a gym membership, if you are one not to go workout, you should. I knew this before, but I am reminded as to just how much working out can do for you. It’s not easy by any stretch, but the effort will pay off.  Were it not for my gym time (coupled with my dropping social networks) I would not be getting the output from my writing that I have been getting of late. It just wouldn’t be happening.

There is always room to improve. There’s always more that you can push yourself. This has helped me see that.

Filed under blog challenge exercise goals workout

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14 Titles14 Titles.
That is how many stories that I currently have in process in some stage. That is in addition to my webserials that will be released near the same time as the first wave.
I didn’t realize that I had so many stories that were in close stages for release. Four will be short stories. 3 are connected to my Gravity saga. The remainder are novels and novellas in various stages. I can maybe even say that I have a half-dozen more titles waiting in the wings, but I am already starting to feel stressed with what I have.
I have an ETA of January for the first wave of titles. That will put 5 out at once. The date is pending and not even close to official. After that, single releases will follow a monthly pattern, with a good chance that half of the remaining titles being already in-the-hole (meaning complete and ready).
My banishing social media has helped a good deal, but I still have demons to flush out before I am 100% confident in my follow-through. It is an exciting time either way.

14 Titles

14 Titles.

That is how many stories that I currently have in process in some stage. That is in addition to my webserials that will be released near the same time as the first wave.

I didn’t realize that I had so many stories that were in close stages for release. Four will be short stories. 3 are connected to my Gravity saga. The remainder are novels and novellas in various stages. I can maybe even say that I have a half-dozen more titles waiting in the wings, but I am already starting to feel stressed with what I have.

I have an ETA of January for the first wave of titles. That will put 5 out at once. The date is pending and not even close to official. After that, single releases will follow a monthly pattern, with a good chance that half of the remaining titles being already in-the-hole (meaning complete and ready).

My banishing social media has helped a good deal, but I still have demons to flush out before I am 100% confident in my follow-through. It is an exciting time either way.

Filed under blog book goals independent writing novel short story writing

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<p><strong>Do I write for money?</strong></p><p><p>There is an ideal that we all strive for. My own is being a full time writer. So what is to say other than I am really in it for the money.</p> <p>But then again I am not.</p> <p>I’ve been writing (sporadically) for over 20 years now. And regardless of whether or not I make it as a professional, I will continue writing until the day I am taken from this world. It is just too much fun for me not to.</p> <p>One day I do hope that I will be able to walk into my job with a resignation letter on the heels of a novel or few stories that I’ve put out to the world. But never achieving that dream will not ever prevent me from continuing to write.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </p></blockquote>

Do I write for money?

There is an ideal that we all strive for. My own is being a full time writer. So what is to say other than I am really in it for the money.

But then again I am not.

I’ve been writing (sporadically) for over 20 years now. And regardless of whether or not I make it as a professional, I will continue writing until the day I am taken from this world. It is just too much fun for me not to.

One day I do hope that I will be able to walk into my job with a resignation letter on the heels of a novel or few stories that I’ve put out to the world. But never achieving that dream will not ever prevent me from continuing to write.

Filed under blog independent writing writing