Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What's Next...

Ok, so, I've got Spires of Infinity done and mailed off to my agent. He hasn't finished marking up Exile for cuts yet, and that leaves me with two choices for what to write next. The Path, which is the continuation of Spires of Infinity, or Splitplane Saga, which i've gotten a small start on, but still needs a lot of work in planning for the latter end of the story.

The Path is already all planned out and outlined, and I could start writing it today and probably finish it relatively quickly like I did the first one, barring horrible work hours and writer's block. It's a fun little story about pirates, seeking adventure in space and time, and rebellion against a godlike king that takes a very dark turn near the end, bringing the story closer to the ultimate goal of the end of time. The problem with starting work on this story is that at the moment the most important thing to me is getting my figurative foot in the figurative door, and if my agent can't sell Spires of Infinity, any time I spend on a sequel to it is basically lost time.

The War of Echos, Splitplane Saga book 1 is incredibly original in my agent's words, and it is a very complex story that is also very long. Plus I'm having a little trouble getting the ending outlined. It's missing something and I've yet to figure out what. If I start writing it now, i run the risk of needing massive rewrites once I do figure the ending out. Also, it is the first book of a series and the first book is unmistakably the first in a long epic, unlike previous books I've written where I try to make them stand alone so I can sell them to a publisher easier. A publisher would have to have a whole lot of faith in me if I were to take this book to them and say, I dunno how long the series is gonna be, but, yeah, more than 5 books, but less than 10, and I'm completely unknown, so my name on the cover isn't going to have much recognition value for readers.

I want to write both of these stories, and I'm not sure if I want to write one more than the other. The problem is that neither of them is really suited to getting me published if Spires of Infinity goes bust. I don't really have anything else that I've planned out as of yet to work on, and I need SOMETHING to work on, becuase I really don't know what to do with my free time when i don't have something to write. I'll just have to pick one of the stories I have ready to write and cross my fingers that Spires is recieved well by publishers.

I've got a couple other ideas that I could start working on, but I haven't really done much in the way of planning or outlining on any of them yet. I suppose I could finish the story I started a couple weeks ago called I Am Nobody, but I was basically making that up as I went along and I really hate to do that, and at the moment I'm not really in the mood to do more planning and outlining on another story.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

My Top Ten Video Games of All Time

This is a list of my top ten favorite video games of all time

10.) Tales of Vesperia – In 1995 Tales of Phantasia began one of the best RPG video game series, the “Tales” series. There have been many different titles in the series on several different systems, including Tales of Symphonia for gamecube, probably the best known of the series, and if this was a top 11 instead of a top 10 that game would have made the cut. Tales of Vesperia, however, was a much deeper and more entertaining game that had epic graphics, yet didn’t rely on them in the stead of good, old-fashioned storytelling to make a great game. This game had everything, story, music, graphics, great characters, a good difficulty level, and it was just plain fun to play. Who couldn’t like a game with a main character who is a former royal guard turned Han Solo-esque mercenary, his trusty dog that fights with a knife and smokes a pipe, a princess who actually contributes more to the story than “ohnoes we have to save that worthless princess AGAIN!!!” and a preteen wizard who hates everyone, is mildly insane, and is prone to blowing up anything and anyone that annoys her. In an era where storytelling and character developement are often put on the back burner in favor of flashic graphics, effects, and new and often horrible innovations in gameplay, Tales of Vesperia shows that people haven't completely forgotten how to make a great, well rounded RPG.

9.)Super Metroid – In 1994, Nintendo had just released the SNES game console and was in the process of putting out games for all of their popular series for it. After the success of Metroid, and Metroid II: Return of Samus, this series was a prime candidate for a new installment and it definitely didn’t disappoint. This game added story elements to the series for the first time ever, and combined with vast areas to explore, puzzles to solve, and nasty aliens to blow the crap out of Super Metroid is probably the best game in the series to date.

8.) Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest – This game is considered the redheaded stepchild of the castlevania series. It is universally hated by all… except for me. Simon’s quest was one of the first NES games that I owned, and I loved it. It had great music for an NES game, a large world to explore, secrets to uncover, puzzles to solve, and bad guys to exterminate. It was one of the first adventure games that I ever played and I will always think fondly on it, if no one else will.

7.) The Legend of Zelda – in the beginning there was Mario, and he was good, because we didn’t know any better. And then came Zelda in 1986, one of the most epic NES games ever. This was the first game that I ever played that gave you a sword, pointed you at the world and said, go save the fricken princess! There are mazes to traverse, puzzles to solve, a princess to rescue, and a bad guy to punish, all in the name of saving Hyrule, and there was also the iconic theme song that if you hum a few bars of, most everyone in the entire USA will know where it came from.

6.) Super Mario Brothers 3 – Super Mario Brothers was my first experience with video gaming, and it brought me many hours of wasted time and enjoyment. Super Mario Brothers 2 got a little weird and wasn’t quite as enjoyable. Then in 1989 a movie called The Wizard came out, for the sole purpose of unveiling Super Mario Brothers 3. It was bigger, better, harder, and more expansive, creating many new things that have become a staple of video games since.

5.) The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past – With the SNES console out, it was time for Link to pick up his sword again and embark on the longest, and most memorable journey of his life. The overhead view format, missing from the second game, was brought back, as well as the iconic theme song, which was rearranged with the SNES’ new sound capabilities. This game brought a history, and a story along with the sword and shield, and felt like a bigger and better remake of the original game that we all knew and loved.

4.) Xenosaga Trilogy – The Xenosaga trilogy is three games, however, they are all parts of the same story, therefore I’m putting all 3 of them on the #4 slot. Using cinematic cutscenes to tell a story of civil war in space with the looming threat of annihilation by alien invaders, the Xenosaga trilogy was loved by many because of it, and hated by many more. I, or one, play video games for the story, and thus had little problem with the long stretches of no gameplay between story sequences. These games told a grand sci-fi epic, the likes of which can’t often be found anywhere, much less in a video game.

3.) Xenogears – Riding on the success of Final Fantasy VII Squaresoft began work on their next title, Xenogears, which was released the next year in 1998. After spending so much of their resources on Final Fantasy VII Xenogears, basically got the leftovers. The game’s creator Tetsuya Takahashi wanted to create a cinematic gaming experience, and he succeeded marvelously in the parts of the game that he was allowed to complete. Unfortunately Xenogears ran way over budget, and its release date had to be postponed several times due to the fact that creating those cinematic sequences took up quite a bit of time and effort, and Takahashi was given one month to finish the game or lose his job. The unfinished ending was tacked onto the completed portions of the game with text sequences between to catch the player up on the parts of the story that were skipped over. Despite this gigantic flaw, it is in my top three greatest games of all time.

2.) Final Fantasy VII – In 1997 the last truly good Final Fantasy game was released. It had everything: killer graphics for the time, a great and memorable soundtrack, characters that seemed more like real people than video game sprites, a story of love, honor, trust, betrayal, and self discovery. It marked the beginning of a whole new era of RPG video games with 3d graphics and full motion video cinematic cutscenes to help the story progress. Final Fantasy VII took our years to complete, costing more money to make than most movies, and used the talents of more CG programmers than a star wars prequel. It was the most ambitious video game of its time, has sold more copies than any other video game in history, and remains a fan favorite even after a decade and a half since its release.

1.) Final Fantasy VI (IIIUS) – in 1994 Squaresoft released the greatest video game of all time. Though its graphics are laughable by today’s standards, and it suffers from an extremely bad translation, it is still the greatest video game ever made. This game has a huge cast of characters, and most of them have real problems and motivations driving them, making them seem far more like real people than characters in a video game. This game has some of the most beautiful and memorable music in video game history, and a story the likes of which most video gamers never dreamed possible in a game. To me, this wasn’t just a game; it was a part of my life. The characters and the world in this game helped shape me into the person I am today, and I only hope that someday I might be able to tell a story as epic and memorable as this one.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Do you want to know what hell is like? I've been there. I can tell you. Hell is sitting for 7 hours in front of a computer screen running a spell check on 240 single spaced pages with a crapton of words, names, and abriviations that aren't actually words but are how people actually talk, that you invented for it. It is amazing to me the things that are NOT in the microsoft dictionary. For instance, "Flething". The word "Fletch" or "Fletching" or any other variation of the root word, is not in the microsoft word dictionary and therefore comes up as a mispelled word on spellcheck. (FYI a fletching is the feathers on an arrow)

Microsoft word doesn't know how to use a semi-colon. It wouldn't know proper grammar if it came up and bit it on the naughty bits. And it's not too great with commas either. Which meant that every time it saw punctuation that was perfectly gramatically sound that it didn't recognize as being so, it popped up and I had to read the sentance and make sure it was correct before clicking skip. FU microsoft word!!!

...At least it's not wordperfect. I've used that in the past and it's even worse. It sucks that word is the lesser of two evils, but whatever.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Spires of Infinity is done. I love the feeling of accomplishment that I get when I finish writing a book. It's beyond awesome. Now, let's hope that this one is good enough to catch the eye of a publisher. I think it just might be.

What happens now is that I send it off to my agent. He will read through it and see if he can find anything that needs to be changed. If he does he'll have me make quick changes and then start pimping it out to the publishing companies that he has contacts with. He had very high hopes for being able to sell this one, as "it's generally well written and thought out, with entertaining and sympathetic characters, and is a very original idea for a story."


The first draft finished at 166,888 words.
The second draft finished at 134,835 words.
The final draft finished at 136,134 words.

Very few changes were made in the final draft. Basically the 1300 added words were just small clarifications, and rewording of things were were worded awkwardly in my efort to cut the word count down. There were some very small continuity issues addressed, and a whole host of grammatical and punctuational errors were fixed.

The first draft took 3 months and two weeks to write.
The second draft took five weeks to write.
The final draft took one week to write.

All in all it only took me five months of actively working on this story to complete it, which, for me, is pretty amazing. I usually take a very long time to develop and write out my ideas, with at least 3 or 4 more drafts than this to get everything worked out. This story came to me very quickly, and needed very little changing from it's first incarnation to be completed, it must have been meant to be.

Anyway, I'm busy doing other things today, so I'll post the final draft maybe tomorrow on my website.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mini Pizzas

So, my parents, being in their fifties and no longer as active as they used to be are getting a little chubby, and so they decided taht they're going to cut out all of the eating out, and all of the instant food from their diets. They got a whole bunch of these little cook books called "This intead of That" which gives easy to prepare, cheap, and relatively good for you recipes. Last night my dad made mini pizzas for dinner and they were awesome, i definitely recomend trying them out.


2 English Muffins
The book suggests whole grain or wheat muffins as they're better for you
3 boneless skinless Chicken tenderloins
1/2 red bell pepper
aparently the red ones are better for you than the green *shrug*
Spagetti sauce
grated cheese
1 tablesppon butter
2 teaspoons honey

it's easy to double/tripple/etc for more people.

So, first of all you chop up your chicken into the smallest pieces that you can, and chop up your pepper into short strips, the thinner you cut them the less time it will take to cook.

Melt your butter in a skillit, mix in the honey, and sautee the chicken and red peppers until all of the butter/honey mix boils off, add as much or as little salt/pepper/whatever other seasonings as you want. My dad added a dash of radioactive hot sauce he picked up in the bahamas and it was awesome.

Separate your english muffins into halves, spread a large spoonful of spagetti sauce onto each, cram as much peppers and chicken onto them as you can, and sprinkle the grated cheese on top.

Bake in the oven on 350 for 10 mins or until the cheese is melted.

the book claims that 2 of these mini pizzas are only 495 calories, and of course, to finish the meal add something like salad and/or some sort of fruit or vegetable. Takes about 20 mins total to prepare.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Quote of the Day.

Just watched Dennis Leary's Douchebags and Doughnuts comedy hour with this lovely gem sitting inside it:

"If you're over fifty and have a big gold hoop earring... You BETTER be a pirate!"

Friday, April 15, 2011

Spires of Infinity Draft 3

So, I started the third and final draft of Spires of Infinity on monday, and as I finish for the day on friday (I'd do more today but I'm having trouble concentrating on what I'm doing) I've completed 35 out of 47 chapters. In those 35 chapters I've added just under 900 words to the manuscript. Most of these words were added to fix grammatical errors, or awkward wordind that I used in order to cut the word count down in the previous draft but didn't like the sound of this time around. I have also added a few little things here and there to flesh out the story just a bit with some finishing touches.

I expect that I will be done with the final draft on either monday or tuesday.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Crisis Core

I, like many people, was both blessed and cursed in my formative years to find a beautiful video game for the NES called Final Fantasy. Let's face it, even through various remake that have improved graphics and sound, adding new cinematic aspects to the game, it's crap even by the standards of 15 years ago. But it opened a whole new door for me in video gaming. It didn't always have to be about jumping on turtles and flying with a racoon tail, or dodging sadistically placed enemies and lines of fire in your ship that is destroyed if you even think of touching anything on the screen that's not you. There could be fantasy adventures with swords and magic and dragons too. Since that time I was cursed with the need to buy each and every game in the series.

As the series progressed the graphics, music and storytelling got better and better, and then the series hit its height and started going steeply downhill, focusing more on making pretty graphics rather than memorable characters and epic stories. When I say Locke, many guys my age will either think of Final Fantasy VI (III US) or Lost. When I say Balthier, they'll scrath their heads and ask "huh?"

In 1997 The last truly good Final Fantasy game was released. It had everything: killer graphics for the time, a great and memorable soundtrack, characters that seemed more like real people than video game sprites, a story of love, honor, trust, betrayal, and self discovery. It marked the beginning of a whole new era of RPG video games with full motion video cinematic cutscenes to help the story progress. Final Fantasy VII cost more money to make than most movies, and used the talents of more CG programmers than a star wars prequel. It was the most ambitious video game of its time, has sold more copies than any other video game in history, and remains a fan favorite even after a decade and a half since its release. Grown men will admit to having wept when they saw Aeris die halfway through. When this game came out, my friend Chris and I stayed up all night long playing it, completely mesmerized by the ridiculously awesome graphics, story and music. Even now, after all these years, it is in my top three video games of all time, between Final Fantasy VI and Xenogears for the number 2 slot.

So, when everyone finished playing Final Fantasy VII, they were somewhat let down. The world was saved. The villain was destroyed. The protagonist found himself, and his strenght to fight for what he believes in. But there was one question on everyone's mind. What happened next?

Eight years later, Squaresoft, now Square-Enix, decided to tell us in an effort to fill in the gaps of falling revinue from their array of lackluster games that followed FFVII. They announced a whole line of Final Fantasy VII sequels, prequels and spinoffs.

First came the much awaited Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, the feature length CG movie that was a direct sequel to FInal Fantasy VII. Despite some of the best CG graphics seen anywhere to date, this sequel fell well short of the expectations of fans, and the story was noticably cut down to make the release deadline. Rather than focusing on the characters we all came to love, and a story that could have been as epic as the one in the game, the movie basically only showed all of our favorite characters fighting and being cool without much in the way of any explanation why, or and coherrant storyline. It was a vast disappointment to many, though Square-Enix has gone through and finished the movie as it was intended with a director's cut that added more than 40 minutes of story elements that make it make more sense and suck less. While not the sequel everyone was hoping for, the director's cut is much more enjoyable than the theatrical release, and has won back many of the people who felt as though Square had gyped them out of their money on a cheap gimmick.

Next was Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus. This game featured Vincent Valentine as it's main protagonist, but all of the FFVII favorites came back for at least a cameo appearance. This game sheds light on one of the more enigmatic Final Fantasy VII characters, and fleshes out a lot of ambiguous details left by the original game and the movie, however, it is far from a fan favorite. Rather than being an RPG like the original, it is a third person shooter, with awful controls and camera movement, and generally lacked anything resembling enjoyment for all but a few fans of the original game. It wasn't horrible, but it just wasn't the sort of game that most people considered a worthy sequel to one of the greatest games of all time, and the fact that it was a shooter game rather than an RPG angered quite a few people.

After that, the prequel Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core was announced, a game that would tell the true story behind Cloud, Zack, and Sephiroth’s ambiguous past. After the two bombs that came before it, hope was not high for Crisis Core, and to make matters worse, it was going to be released on PSP, a handheld system that few people owned. It seemed tht Square-Enix was just never going to come close to the greatness that they once had. And it’s not just them. With flashier graphics and the addition of voice acting, pretty much every company out there has begun producing games that rely heavily on those two things but have forgotten their roots in telling a good story, and lost a lot of playability by trying to add pointless innovations.

I bought Crisis Core on general principle, of course. As I mentioned before, I am cursed to forever buy every Final Fantasy game that is released, hoping for even a glimmer of the former glory that the series once possessed. After Advent Children and Dirge of Cerberus, my hopes were not high, but I was plesantly surprised. This game did a spectacular job of blending the new with the old, taking elements that made the first game so good, and adding new ones to make it it’s own game. There’s just enough remixed original music in it to bring back a bit of nostalgia while visiting places that you visited before, and enough nods and references to the story of the first game for it to easily fit into the storyline as a solid prequel telling the untold story of one of the coolest characters that was barely in the original game. It’s not the most original idea for a game, and it does suffer from some serious repetition, but it far exceeded my expectations after Advent Children and Dirge of Cerberus. At last there was a game that, while not as broad and epic as Final Fantasy VII, came close to the greatness of earlier Final Fantasies, and brought back the world and characters of FFVII in a great way. The game is fast paced, bringing in elements of RPG and action games, has great music, and though it does have some very spectacular cinematic sequences, it does not rely too heavily upon them to tell the story. It is, without a doubt, the best thing that Square has produced in a very, very long time.

Why am I talking about a game that came out 4 years ago? Because the shuffle on my iPod brought up the soundtrack of Crisis Core today while I was working, and it made me want to play it again. When I got home I turned it on, and found that it was just as good as I remembered it being. It’s great to see the story of the guy who is only seen in flashbacks and yet had such a huge impact on the hero of Final Fantasy VII. It was released as a “Greatest Hits” title and can be found for very cheap, so if you haven’t played it, own a PSP, and liked Final Fantasy VII and want more of it, I would definitely recommend Crisis Core.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Quote of the Day.

I just saw the most awesome thing ever on the discovery channel. There was a show about black holes, and as stuff out in space has always interested me, I decided to watch. They were interviewing Michio Kaku, who, if you're not steeped in the ways of nerdliness, is one of the foremost astrophysicists of our time. He has uttered such great lines as these "I believe that in our future, travel backward in time is indeed possible. In fact, I believe that most of the people in the audiences of talk shows are time travelers." and "If I had a time machine, the first thing I would do is travel back to last thursday and steal my keys before I had a chance to lose them. Wait... maybe that's what happened to them. Sweet, I'm going to be the world's first time traveler!!!"

He was talking about black holes in this program and he said the best quote I've heard from him yet. "It's my deepest desire to be the one to find the first black hole visible from earth. That way I can name it after my ex wife."

weird dreams

Well, my not quite route has grown to 32 evaluated hours a week, and guess what that means? I get a day off every other week, WOOHOO!!! So today's my first day off that wasn't a sunday since i almost died BWAAHAAHAA. I feel very strange, and kinda lazy sleeping in on a weekday all the way to 9 am. Who would have thought that sleeping only to 9 would make me feel like I was wasting part of the day. I must be getting old or something. weird.

Anyway, I had a really weird dream just before I woke. It was weird for several reasons, first of all because I remember it at all. I typically do not sleep deeply enough to have dreams, and when I do they usually only leave vague impressions in my mind upon waking rather than actual memories of them. Secondly, It was weird because I was dreaming about working at my first movie theater, the one that is now a 24 hour fitness off of I-215. Why is that strange, you ask? It's hard to explain exactly why. You'd have to have worked there to know everything that was wrong with it.

So there I was, a manager in the theater I loved to hate working at, and for some reason I was selling tickets in the box office even though there were several concession people just standing around. All of the people I used to work with came through and bought tickets from me, usually saying something like "Oh yeah, I forgot you were a manager here." or "Wow, you're still working here after all these years?" one of them even asked "Didn't they tear this place down?"

Matt, Conner, Justin, Stephanie, Josh and his sister, I forget her name, manager Josh, Toni and Erik, which is strange because they got divorced like 8 years ago, Alan, Pepe, which is also strange because his army reserve unit got reactivated when the Iraq war started and he was killed when they were taking Bahgdad. None of the people I'm still in contact with came in. I suppose it's my subconscious telling me that I miss these people *shrug*.

Some other people came in, and thought I was being rude to them and started lecturing me. Sadly, this sort of thing happens to me quite often. I am not a people person. I am usually very reserved and guarded around people I don't know, and I tend to say things in as few words as possible to them, with my face completely blank. It's not exactly being shy, it's different. I also have a very hard time reading the facial expressions of people that I don't know for some reason. It takes me a while to figure out what expression means what emotion when i meet someone new. As you can imagine, this makes dating rather hard, and probably one of the larger reasons I'm still single.

There is a difference between rudeness and reserved brevity, but no one ever seems to understand that fact. I don't know why I am that way, I just am, and no one else in the entire world seems to understand or care. This is probably the reason that I currently have a job that does not require me to talk to people, and the few that I DO have to talk to get referred to a phone number as quickly as i can whip it out.

So anyway, they were arguing with me because they thought I was being rude. I never understood why anyone would want to be a complete douchebag and start an argument because the small, quiet guy didn't smile. so what? is that worth the effort of yelling at him over? what makes people think that they are being any less rude by throwing a tantrum? Why pick on someone who isn't doing anything to hurt you in any way? It doesn't make sense. This is one of the reasons that I really hate people in general. I always have, because I do not relate well to them and they don't understand me in teh slightest bit.

So, I was arguing with them, because I do get rather angry when people accuse me of being rude when I'm not being rude, and I woke up to sunlight pouring through my bedroom window. That dream just kept getting weirder and weirder. Why would I dream of that place at all, and why would I be doing that particular job there, when I clearly had another job to be doing? why wouldn't I dream of my favorite job in a theater rather than my least favorite one? Why would I dream of someone coming in and starting an argument with me because my personality doesn't quite fit into the mold of what people consider to be normal human behavior, which is something I absolutely hate? I'm sure a therapist could tell me volumes, but the times I've gone to therapy--required by the church after I came home from my mission half dead and 40 lbs lighter than I'd been a month earlier, and when the grief councilor wanted her very own sociopath to poke and prod at work--didn't turn out too well. I don't typically volunteer information about myself to strangers, especially if I resent having to be there in the first place.

That dream was just plain weird, and it got me to wondering where all of those people I dreamt about are now, except for the obvious dead one, I don't really wonder about him.

Anyway, I'm back to work on Spires of Infinity, and flying through it quickly. I'll be done with it by the end of the month, probably a lot sooner. The only thing I'm doing is fixing any grammar and punctuational errors that I catch while reading through, and making sure that continuity still holds with all of the changes that I made in the second draft, and fixing patches that are worded strangly or confusingly. It feels great to be on the final stretch. I'm really proud of this story. It turned out far better than I ever expected it to for something that I basically threw together in less than a week before I started outlining and writing it. It was awesome how this thing just fell into place so perfectly in so short a time. I normally have to spend a lot more time in planning and revisions. This one practically wrote itself.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Attack of the disaster movies!!!

Every year there's a new set of disaster movies, and they always seem to have the same theme, remember the year of volcano movies? How about the year of asteroids headed toward earth. There's always a good high budget one, and a not so good lower budget one, and maybe a couple more tossed in for spice.

This year, we've made a full circle from whatever year Independance day came out in, back to alien invasion movies. This year we've got Skyline and Battlefield Los Angelos.

I liked one, and I hated the other.

First was Skyline, using a line by Stephen Hawking as the central sell point of the entire movie. Now, in the preview they showed news people talking about this statement by Hawking, but it did not appear anywhere in the actual movie, nor was there any part of the movie where it could have fit in. Which means that they used the conveniant quote at the time it was uttered as a means to sell their crappy movie after they'd already finished filming and editing it. To me, this screams douchebaggery.

This movie was beyond awful. less than a minute into it I already hated all off the characters except Turk from Scrubs, and was praying that they would die horribly. Luckily, most of them did. There were gigantic plot holes such as this bunch of retardedness: The alien technology is powered by human brains. So... how did they develop this technology when they'd never been to earth before? How did they power their ships to come here? Where did the burnt out brains they were discarding come from if they only just arrived and began harvesting brains? This doesn't even begin to make sense!

One of the characters, the one that annoyed me the most, was a dickhead that was the "suspicious guy" from the horror movie genre, you know, the one guy in the group that starts accusing everyone else of being the killer? Ok... so... seriously? You're putting one of THOSE guys in an alien invasion movie? How does that make sense? How could any of the other characters be the "killer" when all you have to do is look outside and SEE that it's invading aliens? F U movie! You suck and you don't make sense at all, and half your characters are acting like they're in another movie entirely and didn't get the memo that they'd changed to an alien movie instead of a psycho killer movie.


The other alien invasion movie this year was Battlefield LA. And I really enjoyed this one. Despite the fact that this movie is a little generic, they did a lot of things right to make it enjoyable.

First of all they got Aaron Eckhart to be the lead. I've always liked him, except in The Core, but then again, neither did anyone else, INCLUDING Aaron Eckheart. Second is that they didn't rely heavily on CG effects. You might think that such a thing is impossible in a movie like this, but they did it in a really smart way, by showing as little of the actual aliens as possible. Now, that may seem boring and retarded to you, but it adds a suspense factor that you jsut don't get when you've got the camera on the aliens through the entire movie. Most of the shots of the aliens are either of shadows, broken up news recording, or quick flashes. There are a few parts where they do show them for extended periods of time near the end, but up until then they did a lot of making you wonder, and they did a really good job of it. And the best thing that they did right is that they didn't take themselves too sreiously. They knew they were making a cheesy, cliche movie and they had fun with it. They crammed in so many cliche military characters that they couldn't kill them all off. The token black guy actually managed to survive, because they had so many other cliches to kill off before they got to him that his number didn't quite come up. Guessing at which ones were going to die was part of the fun of watching it.

This movie had a message, unlike Skyline, and they did a great job of getting it across, helped along by Aaron Eckheart's awesomeness. There was great music, the special effects were really good without a heavy reliance on CG, they had a great cast, and the acting was a lot better than you might expect in an alien invasion movie. They also managed to remember, unlike most military movies, that the marines are part of the navy. It was just fun to watch, despite being cheesy and cliche.

So, in short, avoid Skyline like the plague, and definitely see Battlefield Los Angelos, and if it doesn't grab you at first, give it a chance, it'll get better.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I Am Nobody

So, a few things have happened this week. First of all, my former girlfriend and current friend Kari has returned from active duty in Afganistan safe and sound. Although, being a nurse, she was usually far away from almost everything dangerous. She spent a day over at my apartment getting her mariokart fix, something she was etremely addicted to while we were dating, but hasn't been able to touch ever since shipping out.

I've also spent so long working 5-10 hours a day on Spires of Infinity over the last month or so that I'm having a hard time figuring out what to do with all my free time during my week off.

So, anyway, Kari and I were talking, and we got onto the subject of what sorts of books we liked when we were growing up. We're both fantasy and sci-fi fans, and she was complaining about how there are very few books in those genres with strong female characters. She loved the stories themselves, but while she was growing up and going through awkward teenage years, all the books she read were about boys or men going off on quests to rescue the weak and worthless girls taht do nothing but sit around waiting to be saved. It made her really mad that there weren't many books where the hero of teh story was a girl, someone she could relate to and had some of the same problems in life that she had to deal with herself. In short, it was a bit of a hit to her self-esteem.

So I have this story I've been thinking about, about a teenaged part time Grim Reaper who is the child of Death that has to fight off a supernatural Hunter that hunts down Reapers. I had originally thought to make the protagonist a guy, because, you know, that's easy for me to do since I happen to be a guy myself and I know what it was like to be a guy in high school. But the more I thought about it, the more I thoght that the story would work even better if the protagonist was a girl, which is going to be a hell of a lot harder for me to write believeably, but I think it's going to turn out well. Kari's complaints are what solidified my desire to make the character a girl, because she's right. There's not many stories in the genre's that the two of us like with strong female leads in them.

It's called "I Am Nobody" and it's a really short story, probably under 70k words, and geared more toward teens than my other writing. I also thought that I'd give writing in first person a try, which makes things even harder, because let's face it, I have never, and probably never will think like a teenaged girl, but we'll see what happens. I always enjoy a challenge, and I think that testing myself with a style of writing that i am unfamilliar with, as well as a main charcter that I don't have much in common with will help me to improve my skills as a writer. I got a really good first line for it. The first line of a story is usually very important. It's like the first impression a reader gets of you. This one fits the character and the story so perfectly that I've been patting myself on the back for it all week.

"They say girls are made of suger and spice and everyhing nice, but not me, I'm made of death and despair and things to beware."

I've written about five chapters of it since monday, and it's coming along nicely so far, but then, that's my opinion. I'll see what Kari says about how well I've written the character before I start posting bits of it on my website. I'm really only writing it right now to fill up the hours of the day I can't quite seem to remember what I used to do in before I started the second draft of Spires.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Spires of Infinity Second Draft Completed BWAAHAAHAA!!!

I've finished the second draft of Spires of Infinity and the last 7 chapters, as well as the entire manuscript in a single file can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

I have to say that finishing a second draft in 5 weeks is a new record for me, but it shouldn't be so much of a surprise, seeing as how it only took me 3 months to write the first draft.

The second draft is basically the completed final draft of this book. The only further changes I'm going to make are grammatical and punctuational. It should only take me a week or two to finish that draft, and I plan to begin a week from monday, as I REALLY need some time off to let my brain recuperate from being put to so much use over the last month.

As with earlier parts of Kari's storyline I've changed her climax to reflect her new internal struggle, and I have to say that it's a lot better this way. And I changed the climax of Gabriel and the Apostle as well, bringing in teh truth of what happened to Gabriel's father, as well as Gabriel coming to the realization of why he, of all people, was chosen by the Northern Sage. I've also cut out a lot of continuity errors, mostly having to do with the time travel. Time travel can be a confusing thing if you don't have it completely planned out perfectly, and I aparently didn't have it planned out quite so well as I thought I did. That's all been cleared up and fixed now.

The first draft of Spires of Infinity was 166,888 words long
The Second draft finished at 134,835 words.
That's a difference of 32,053 words.

My goal was to finish below 135,000 words and I barely made it ^^V.


FU INSOMNIAAAAAAAAAA!!! I have to get up for work in 4 hours ; ;

Since I don't twitter or facebook, I'll blog about how I'm completely awake at 2 AM. If I did, my facebook status would be set to "Awake at 2 AM" and my twitter feed would be a long string of grumbling complaints under 144 characters... but I don't. oh well. To make things worse, I haven't slept well this whole week, so I'm going to be mega tired tomorrow.

My brain needs an off switch, because whenever I go to bed it's still running at a hundred miles an hour.