Bren’s writing and movies blog

Because I have an opinion about creativity and know how to use it

Archive for the ‘Opinions’ Category

Too much ranting

Posted by brenatevi on March 27, 2009

wc: 27,194

I will have more written by tonight, but I had something to get off my chest on my evil blog, and now I’m just tired.


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Laundromat and bluetooth blues

Posted by brenatevi on March 23, 2009

wc 25,719

Getting ever closer to the end of Act 1, and then I have to figure out what I’m going to do next: edit Act 1, or rewrite act 2. I think I’m going to head into Act 2, because I might have to do more rewrites in Act 1, depending on how it goes (although I feel that I won’t have to change much; I feel that it’s rough but still good stuff.)

Oh, and no one bothered me while I was doing laundry. But I got distracted when my bluetooth headphones started giving me problems, so I could have gotten more writing done if I had just ignored the headphones.

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To curse or not to curse, that is the question

Posted by brenatevi on March 22, 2009

wc 25,169
For me, cussing is a natural thing, but sometimes I’m not sure if I should write like that, especially in my novel. Since I seriously doubt I’ll ever try traditional publishing, I guess I shouldn’t care. Huh, never mind…

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Ben Folds time

Posted by brenatevi on February 25, 2009

WC: 21,053

Did well today. 300 words this morning before I left work, and more this evening (obviously.) It’s always nice to find my groove. 24,000 words by this weekend is looking good. Probably more. I’m finding Purgatory comfortable, and I think Hell should be interesting. Maybe Dante? It’s time to research! To the Wikimobile!

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Stephen King is just compelling

Posted by brenatevi on August 30, 2008

N is Here

I don’t know how he does it. I think he’s something from the depths of Hell, and I mean that as a complement. I partake of horror stories very, very rarely. I just don’t like the hopeless tension of “Who’s going to die next?” unless there are big guns and explosions, which is why I was fine after the shooting started in Aliens, but still can’t watch Alien.

Yet, there is some of King’s works that I find absolutely fantastic, despite it being borderline horror, like The Stand, most of his short story collections, Dark Tower, and now he has dished up this very interesting story with N. I don’t want to say too much, except it’s about a man with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and his psychologist. I will say that the implications at the end of the story are potentially far-reaching and scary. I got goosebumps after thinking about the horrific possibilities.

Mr. King, I bow to you. I could only wish I was as half a good story-teller as you.

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A website to kill time with

Posted by brenatevi on August 28, 2008

TV Tropes. As a writer, I find everything about creating interesting, and that website is about all of the little things writers do in writing… That made no sense at all. Well, any ways, enjoy the Tropes, and I hope you don’t waste too much time on that site.

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Not sure who I’m rooting for…

Posted by brenatevi on August 23, 2008

… and I think it’s awesome.

I like stories where I’m not sure who’s good and who’s bad, mainly because both of those terms are misleading and simplistic. Arrogant “good guys” or sympathetic “bad guys,” and Erfworld has both in spades. I’m still not sure who’s who in that story, which makes me keep going back see what happens next.

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And the words flowed freely

Posted by brenatevi on August 18, 2008

Over 2000 words tonight between my newest short story, my MMO article for Station K7, and my evil blog, and maybe some more work on my novel. All in all a good night. Also bought the newest Shinedown album mp3s from (no DRM kiv. :P) I’ve listened to it several times, and I’m still trying to get a handle on it. Considering it’s been 3 years since they released a new album, it’s dificult to rewire my brain to the new tunes (I listen to the first two albums in the original play order quite frequently.) I’m thinking I like it, 6th or 7th listen so far, so it’s obvious I don’t hate it. 😛 There’s a couple weak songs that don’t quite grab me, but I just tune them out. 😛

So a new album to listen to, and some decent writing tonight. I’m happy.

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Notes from my desk

Posted by brenatevi on August 15, 2008

I’ve put the King’s Name script rewrite on hold, mainly because I just haven’t found it entertaining enough, and no one has been knocking down my door based on my treatment… granted, they probably have no idea where the treatment is. This place is organized like my desk, which is poorly.

Speaking of my desk, I had been rummaging around it and I found a fragment of the screenplay (one of the very few fragments, I’m certain.) And it’s done using the actors’ initials, because I keep seeing their faces when I work on this:

Ray: Your power is now mine.
LL pulls out a sword
R: A sword? How about three?
JRD: I concur.
JRD steps in, produces three swords. JRD and R fight over and around LL, who is too weak to party. Eventually, JRD gets stabbed (as in the movie,) but is able to blow R away (Ray does the melty skeleton thingy.

The “melty skeleton thingy” made me laugh and decide to share this. It sounds like something from a Taco Bell commercial.

The interesting thing about the King’s Name treatment is that it gave me a tool that I never thought about before: note pads that are 2.5″ wide and 8.5″ long. I’ve been writing my novel notes on these things, and I have come to appreciate them because it really forces me to keep my thoughts concise, although admittedly almost to the point of being incomprehensible. Which is fine, my notes are meant as a way to outline where I’m going, so unless I die, the notes are going to be a footnote, and nothing more. And if I die, well… I’m going to be beyond caring if my novel gets finished or not. With my handwriting, it would have been hard to decipher even if I went long form (especially since I’ve been jotting before I go to bed; the more tired I get, the sloppier my handwriting.)

So even if I’ve been regurgitating an old story here, I have been working on new stuff, just in handwritten form.

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A more nuanced critique of “In the King’s Name”

Posted by brenatevi on July 31, 2008

So I watched “In the King’s Name” with my friend Josh, and presented a scathing and hilarious (or so I’ve been told) review of that movie. Yet, as Josh said, “The great thing about very bad movies is that it shows you what NOT to do.” So here’s a more serious, and much less profane, look at King’s Name (Don’t even hover the mouse cursor over this link, because I call it my evil blog for a very good reason.)

Things I learned not to do from King’s Name.

1) Don’t use Semi-important Characters. It isn’t the first thing I’ve learned, but I think it’s the most tragic. Leelee Sobieski is a fine actress, yet in this movie, I really have no idea what the point of her character. She seems like a strange combination of Eve, Gandalf, and a damsel in distress (the first scene is her and Ray Liotta in bed, with some very odd things happening with Ray’s face.) The character was everywhere in terms of development, and it was very hard to sympathize with her at all because I had no idea where they taking the character next. What I was hoping for was Leelee to stomp into the chambers and kick Ray’s butt from here to eternity. (I don’t even remember the character’s name… actually, I can’t remember any of the charaters’ names, except for Farmer.) Instead, she stopped two spells, in the course of thirty seconds… Not exactly the show stopping display of wizarding I was hoping for.

2) Don’t try too much with a script. I’m writing by the seat of my pants, at 7am, so it’s quasi-excusable (I could wait, but it’s here and now, and I probably won’t sleep…) but for a movie, figure out where you are going, and try to tie your characters in better. There were four characters in the room at the end, and there wasn’t enough to do with them all at that point. As I type this out, I realized what they should have done: the old magus was kept around waaaaaay too long. He should have been Obi Waned earlier in the movie, so that Leelee’s character was the one that faced Ray’s character in the duel, or alternatively, made Ray’s character crazy powerful, so that he was sword fighting Farmer at the same time he was wizard dueling Leelee… It would have fixed a problem with the fight between Farmer and Ray, where Ray wasn’t using his powers at all, leading to “Playing with your prey” syndrome, something a insane wizard might do, but to an intelligent viewer it is as annoying as hell. On the other hand, my solution might have had the exact opposite effect, “Way too much happening.”

3) Ye gods, watch the edits. There was a scene where Farmer and friends were making their way through a forest, and the scene cut to black three or four times. We were like, “What the hell?” I know what they were trying to pull, using the cuts to simulate passing of time. There are smarter ways of doing it, and the first time everyone watched the cuts they should have said, “Whoa, that didn’t work.” And they did funky cuts in both big battles, which made an unwatchable mess even worse, and several other times (only once did it work, and that was when Ray was messing with Claire’s head, but that scene was supposed to be jarring.) I think this might be the problem with the entire movie. I remember from reading about Lucas’s attempts to edit Empire Strikes Back closer to his vision in the Secret History of Star Wars. Everyone, including Lucas, agreed that his edits were unworkable. I wonder if what was originally shot might have been much better than what ended up in the theaters. I also wonder if the actors ever watched the movie and said, “Uh, that isn’t the movie I acted in.” Or they knew it was crap, they were under contract, and they made the best of a bad situation.

4) Try to make the battles make some sense. Choreography is very, very, VERY important in movies with battles. This looked like people were just swinging swords at each other (although I did get a laugh out of the so-called “looting” scene, where an old lady was beating at a orc… err, trog? with a broom. Made as much sense as everything else.) And there were too many parts that made no sense in the grand scheme of a battle. In real life, while on the battlefield everything is chaotic, there is at least a very basic organization, “This unit is here, that unit is there, this is this army’s objective, that is that army’s objective.” Here… it was like a mosh pit with swords, and that’s insulting mosh pits. I could go on and on and on about the battles (what in the bleeding hell was the point of the leaders fight by themselves? And not to mention Farmer’s acrobatics when he was pulling turnips in the beginning…)

And there’s more if I wanted to waste the time, but it’s pointless. I think if they had done better with just those four points, the movie would have been much more engaging. I feel sorry more for the actors, all of whom I know could have turned in a much better performance with a better director, and a tighter script. Hell, I could have done better, and I’m a neophyte hack (although I’m working on improving that.)

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