The Millennial Obsession with Harry Potter

It’s a curious case – Millenials, particularly in the “literary” and “writing” (I use those terms as ironically as possible) community are constantly referencing Harry Potter, particularly when it comes to some of the basic parts of the moral play, such as Lord Voldemort, who represents whatever current-year evil they happen to be personally obsessed with (usually just orange man bad). Why? Why so much obsession with a children’s book series, to the point where people put their Hogwarts house in their twitter bio? Yes, you are so Gryffindor, Miss Keyboard Warrior! Here’s my basic explanation: Mythological vacuum Social reinforcement…

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The Dangers of Social Media in 2020 – what you NEED to know as a creator or a user

Following up on some recent videos and livestreams regarding social media, here is what you NEED to know as either a creator or as just a user (or both) regarding social media platforms in 2020: Terms of Service are a red herring. Each platform represents a technical monopoly with little or no competition The core functionality is severely damaged I’ll expand on these below, but here’s what this basically translates into: There is no behavior pattern that can keep you from getting banned The “alternative” platforms are not alternatives at all The service is set up to NOT give you…

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How Short Fiction Died (and how it can come back)

If you want the deep read, check it out on JD Cowan’s blog: https://wastelandandsky.blogspot.com/2020/07/what-are-friends-for.html The ultra-short summation is this: Science fiction short fiction didn’t lose popularity like wearing bellbottoms, it was destroyed through the actions of a small clique of contemptuous busy-bodies who took over the scifi magazines and shifted their subject matter away from what was popular towards what they wished to be popular. The result, of course, was a loss in popularity over time, but process repeated multiple times, until brands which were important in the 1930s are worn like skin suits by people who hate what was…

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3 Easy Ways to Keep Short Fiction Short

This was part of a response to a free audiobook of one of my short works (about 12k) words, which you can listen to for free below. The comment was concerning how to keep short fiction short. Writing short fiction is really a different beast than writing long fiction, and the skills are a different set. If you want to limit length, here are a few easy things: 1) Limit the scope. A few locations, or one, rather than many. A few characters, or even one, rather than many. 2) Keep it to one plot. “A” story only, no sub-plots.…

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The Book is Better

How many times have you seen a movie and though, “Man, the book was so much better,” or had a friend who read the book say the same to you? I can definitely say that the cases where the movie is better than the book are far outweighed by the reverse – probably in the range of 20:1. In fact, the only writer whose work seems to function better on screen than on paper is Stephen King, and even then there are plenty of books in his exceptionally large canon that are much better than their cinema counterpart (anyone remember…

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Twitter, the Land of Bad Bots

Before we start, here’s a meme for free: So, you’re an author, or perhaps consider yourself an “aspiring” author (don’t be an “aspiring” anything – read my latest book to find out why). You’ve been told social media is incredibly important, so you make a twitter account. Authors start following you. You follow them back! Some of these accounts have THOUSANDS of followers, maybe even HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS. This is how you build a social media following, right? WRONG. Let me give some of you new (not aspiring) authors and creators some critical advice: Success on social media is about…

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Apolitical™

Sorry, folks, the Apolitical™ brand is just that – a brand. I get it – you don’t like the politics being forced into your favorite franchises at the expense of story, gameplay, aesthetics, and the general effect of the medium itself. I get that female Thor is lame and super-buff She-Hulk is an eyesore. I know that it’s not fun to be lectured about global warming in the middle of a space-opera game, or to be forced to play a game as an uggo who’s bent on killing your favorite franchise characters – and will succeed. I know it’s annoying…

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Why forced diversity doesn’t work

There is a divide that the greater culture of the center/right has a hard time explaining, but an easy time recognizing: The difference between “forced diversity” and diversity which is incidental to a story. The surface definition should be pretty easy to work with: Forced diversity is the inclusion of characters in media that are members of social/ethnic/sexual groups for no discernible story reason. Obviously, a story about a transwoman struggling to fit in will include trans characters. “Forced diversity” is having a character that is trans for no reason related to the plot. It’s a character that is put…

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Maybe I don’t “get” writers

I’m a writer. I write. Seems pretty simple, but I don’t seem to do any of the things that other writers do. I barely use Facebook, but when I do I see posts from a half-dozen writers groups that I joined at some point that instantly make me scratch my head. Posts like, “What is your Main Character’s favorite past time?” “What kind of media do you think your villain likes?” “What kind of food did you put into your fantasy story?” “What would you think about a magic system that is based on the four foodgroups?” (I made that…

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The Greatness of the Hobbit

I’m not talking about the movie, which was so far from the greatness of the book it deserves its own dissertation, I’m talking by the original work by JRR Tolkien, originally published way back in 1937. This book was a landmark for fantasy in a whole host of ways, and many of those ways are not at all obvious to those of us who have inherited the literary landscape of Tolkien. None of those new and original things would have mattered, however, if it hadn’t been a great yarn. Let’s talk about a few big ideas: The main characters are…

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