A Dark Chest of Wonders

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Read a Thing

Put down the goddamned pen and read something; take advantage of the late, frosted evening and read something; stop letting the yellow pages laugh at you. Break spines and bruise some covers. Read something

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Exercise: Crampin’ your style, yo

Aside from my poor attempt at slang, we need to talk about writing. Again. As always. So, welcome back to the Kennedy Memorial Gym, this is another routine lead by instructor Kennedy. This time, I’m going to be talking to you about crampin’ your style (yo). Hacking your writing, breaking plates, burning bridges, everything, yo. Last year, I read Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King. I thought the book as absolutely awful, especially from such a respected author such as King, specifically for me, as King is my role model and writing rock star. He’s influenced my writing the most and  has taught me a lot of what I know how to do, especialy in the area of style. So when I read Mr. Mercedes, I had high expectations, but I ended up leaving the theater early and hopped over to something else a little bit more exciting, though I guess it wasn’t that good since I forgotw hat it is that I read after that. Mr. Mercedes was definitely a departure to unknown waters for King, as it came off as a half baked novel by a new writing instead of a writer with over 40 years under his belt, and that’s why I walked out. But in hindsight, I think that I can respect King’s effort in trying to hack his style, trying to break the old routine and bring something new to the table. Now, this of course doesn’t mean that I have to like what he tries to do.

Recently, I became a fan of Chuck Palahniuk. I’ve watched as much content on him as possible as I waited for a shipment of his books to arrive, albiet incredibly slowly due to UPS. I listened to him talk about the craft (and this guy knows his stuff, he really is on par with legends who have been doing it for years and are fumbling to hold the ball as they race towards the touchdown, a.k.a. the finish line) and 3 of his stories prior to actually getting to read one of his books. He was the kind of author who I’d been waiting to arrive at the airport for a very long time. He was tsunami that baptized my imagination and allowed me to be reborn as a follower of his. I wanted a writer who pushed boundaries, used unconventional methods to tell a story, and expand the genre that he was writing in, and after reading Pygmy, I definitely know that Chuck is the One. What Chuck does is what all writers should do: fall in love and stay in love by doing as many different things as possible on as many dates as possible while you can. You have to run after the bullets and try to watch them graze you and laugh as you realize you’ve escaped death again.

So what is is that Chuck does exactly? He does what the truly great authors like Faulkner and Hemingway did: he broke writing and made it something new all together, and redefined the genre and the way that we write. We all want to be as great as Hemingway and Faulkner, but we don’t get there by being like them: we get there by not being like them, doing something totally different with the same piece of marble as everyone else. This means, bending and breaking the rules, climbing trees and chopping them down, and digging where you’re not supposed to, driving faster than you’re allowed, and talking a bit louder too.

Homework: write a story like you don’t usually write a story. Do you usually start with action? Start with dialogue, create a long conversation or sequence of dialogue that would usually be action instead. Start with description? Par down your description, turn everything into a one liner. Establish voice first? Destroy this voice and imagine that someone is speaking to you through a loud thunder storm and you can only hear bits and fragments of what they’re saying,and it’s up to you to fill in the blanks. I want you to break all of your own rules as well as the rules you know, and break windows that people usually only look through: everyone always says it was a clear blue day, the sun was out, and I couldn’t be happier. Yeah, well, you know what? Shatter that shit, break it, and turn it into something startlingly terrifying and beautiful all at the same time: take the same thing that everyone always says, and hack it: beautifully ugly. Change punctuation and word choice: instead of writing periods, only write question marks, instead of writing things in perfect order, choose the alternative way to say it that is not grammatically correct. Break. Those. Plates.

And eat off of them too.

Exercise: The Ruh-re-remix

In our modern era, we’re very fond of remixes. It seems that every popular song in the history of ever has been remixed to death. Rap artists, pop artists, bad artists all remix their songs in a filthy cash grabbing effort to get their song to be broadcasted more on the radio. What’s funny is that, people often times flock to find more remixes or remix the song themselves, making it better, sometimes worse, in an effort to form this communal experience of being a part of this song’s lifeline, keeping it alive as long as they can in order to make sure that it stays fresh, and to create music that they really want to listen to. Also, there really is nothing better than digging your hands into something and getting dirty about it. But now, one wonders why it’s usually only in the music industry that things are remixed? Verses, lyrics, and sounds reordered and revamped in order to create a new song. One could argue that films have this with a directors cut, but this really isn’t what I’m talking about. A directors cut might add something that was taken out, but it dosen’t really change the movie, gives it a different look, for the most part; some director’s cuts do embellish and really make you reanalyze the movie, but those can often times be rare.

But, books usually never do this, and the only book that comes to mind is of course Chuck Palahniuk’s Invisible Monsters Remix, which has remix in the flipping title. Technically, it’s Palahniuk’s original version of the book, rather than the one that was published before, it’s now written and stylized the way that Palahnkuk always imagined. It’s an interesting thing and I can’t wait to finally read the book after I finish Survivor. Now, I wonder: why don’t more authors do this? Why don’t they tear apart their work, give it a different look, a different sound, embellish a little bit more or totally rework the whole thing, using all the same parts, just in different places. Instead of having the novel open with, “The summer of 1980 was a scorcher,” why don’t they break this apart and bring in the different description of that summer and place it in between, “The summer of 1980 was a scorcher,” or add repetition and more figurative language: play with this novel so that it becomes something different, the message changes this time around. Arguably the reason is because, many novels need that linear format, and for the most part, it would seem like the author was simply trying to add stuff that wasn’t there before, or make more money on this novel by “remixing” it. What I’ve described is probably more akin to a literary director’s cut, but it’s not.

Homework: write a story or take an old story of yours, and then remix it. Take the first line of the story and put it at the end, rewrite a description using all the same words, add a part that wasn’t there before at all, a totally made up part; change the formatting of the story, embellish on something that’s already been embellished to death, restructure the actual syntax of the story and make the page look a little bit morel like eye candy. Add color to color words, find the fonts for logos of signs and brands and insert it into the work itself: immerse yourself in the story and ask how would this sound if I did this or, what would be the connotation if I put this word here instead of there? Remix a story either of your own, or maybe take one of your favorite passages and remix it. This will make you an exploratory writer, a writer who does more with what they have, make an art out of their work, and you will benefit from finding new ways to say old things.

And a dare: I dare you to remix your remix! Take the remix and throw it in the blender again, or cut up the pages and rearrange all the lines, take away the punctuation, add more repetition of this phrase, replace something essential like “the” with “dog”, “it” with “fat”, something abstract that actually has a lot to do with the theme of your story. Add a background vocal too, something that’s “in between” the lines of the original that you might not have caught if it weren’t for this remix.

Double dare: Unmix the remix of the dare, don’t simply revert the changes, simply unpack the story so that it’s coherent again, but still a new thing, yet closer to the original work.

Triple Dog Dare? No, just kidding, I think your story might murder you if you abused it any further.

If you want to share, upload it to your blog and link to it in the comments, have fun!

Santa has never been so deadly… (Santa with a New Gun, a Kindle Series)

Episode 1

 Jonnah Z. Kennedy’s Santa with a New Gun
in glorious 12pt Times New Roman

You better watch out, you better not cry, and I’m telling you why: Santa Claus is coming to town…

So goes the classic Christmas anthem, but of course, I could not help but take it to new levels. I’ve recently released the first episode of my new project “Santa has a New Gun”, a high octane Western that takes place in 1849 and is a tale of vengeance and redemption. A Tarantinoesque thriller with plenty of vulgar dialogue and blood to balance it out, the first episode (“The Man Called Santa”) will leave you breathless by the end.

I would very much appreciate it if you all, my readers, would at least take a look at this project, as it’s my first big project that will take me into the year 2015, the year of Will and not Want, and I would really like it to be successful. I promise that if you do decide to buy it (it’s only 0.99, and not even for a limited time!), you won’t regret your decision, in fact, you’ll be head over heels waiting for the next episode, and the episode after that, and so on.

You can buy it on Kindle today, the second episode will be out next week and is currently available for pre-order!

The Interview has been Cancelled

(Excuse my French sirs and madams, but…) Fuck Sony and the Sony Hackers, and of course, Kim Dong-un and his Merry Band of Murderers. It had recently been announced that Sony has cancelled the theatrical release of the Rogen-Franco comedy “The Interview” which has attracted much negative attention lately, and furthermore has been the inspiration for completely EMPTY threats against Sony if they release the film. Well, America, good job. You rolled over and got your belly rubbed, are you fucking happy now? Can you die peacefully? Can you rest easy tonight? We were not even a week from release, so we don’t know if anything would have happened our not, and I guess we never will; as I said in my Yahoo! comment, this rolling over and taking the shit is absolutely reprehensible, and I’m both heartbroken and completely enraged by it all: when did we allow cyber-terrorists to control our media, what makes us happy, laugh, and cry? No country held up The Hunger Games from being released, even though it’s political and social agendas are more than obvious to the half acute person, yet The Interview get’s shit because it just happens to be a little bit more direct in its meaning. I’ll be the first one, though, to download it off the internet as soon as someone manages to break into Sony and steal it, just because I still believe in entertainment. Here’s my most recent comment on the subject for all those interested:

This is absolutely reprehensible and awe-some (in both senses), not because of this movie, but because of the fact that a movie can stir such international terror. On one level, this gives me some hope that entertainment will be taken seriously again, on another level this makes me fear for its future: a couple of empty threats about bombing theaters sounds like little more than the fantasies of teenagers who want to be Eric and Dylan, but without the gall to go through with it. When did fiction become reality? In the modern era, when satire has replaced allegory, I don’t understand what’s the problem with this movie: all it is an extended episode of South Park, a reboot of Team America, and other crude (and hilarious!) shows/movies. If North Korea was an actual threat, then this movie wouldn’t be a problem for them: in fact, America wouldn’t be a problem for them, because they wouldn’t keep letting us step on their toes like we have been, how we’ve been taunting and teasing them, and what, when will they snap? Next year, five years, fifty? If the North Korean government (because, it’s wrong of me to say ‘North Korea’, as that implies I’m speaking of the people as well, and they have nothing to do with the affairs of their Orwellian government, nor do they deserve to be grouped with such terrible people, when they themselves had no say in the matter from birth) was truly offended, some coastline would have been hit by this point, wouldn’t it? the Government of the People’s Republic are little more than a group of teenagers with Fourth of July poppers who keep telling people that they’re going to set off the big ones NEXT YEAR, and the year after that, and the year after that still, but never do we see the sky awash with fiery light, and for this matter, I do not fear them; what I do fear is that America is about to be squashed like some overturned beetle, because let’s be honest: in the wake of this movie being CANCELLED, we’ve got our stomach exposed and our tear ducts on high. Were I Rogen or Franco, I would be furious about this, were I anyone (a writer for example, since that’s what I am) who worked on something for a period of time, had it scheduled to be released, only to have it called off because someone was just a little bit too offended of my overuse of a certain word (think Tarantino in this regard), I’d never rest till it got released, and I’d write some crappy sequel just to amp up the offense! I don’t mean to come off so hostile, but, to say the least, this pisses me off that we’ve allowed this to happen: America=strong, brave, and free? I think I might have made a mistake in my calculations…I don’t see the difference in this and hundreds of other, far more offensive things online that have become just as widespread; the only thing that this movie has over all those things is that, people take this with an ounce of seriousness and because of this, everyone busts a nut. I hope the movie is pirated online and becomes a cult classic of the era of some kind, or I hope Direct-To-DVD sales make up for not only all the money lost, but all the time that went into the film; I do hope to see more satires in the future though, and not the YA pulp that’s being put out, but actual satire that aims to revive Orwell, Golding, Huxley, Burgesses, and others since there’s little room left in the world to be direct anymore.

Want to Will

2014 is coming towards a close, the curtains are drawing, the last standing actors are being killed like pigs in a slaughterhouse, and the audience is awash with emotions as chatter begins about the whole, once in a lifetime performance: because there will never be another 2014. For this matter, thoughts about what the Bard (and no I’m not talking about the Flying Spaghetti Monster, nor am I talking about Shakespeare) will bring us in his next sequel 2015, part of the stunning Millennium Saga; and to say the least, I could not keep my own theories from stirring in my head. But I would like less to call them theories and things that I want. We, humans, always talk about what we want about how we want to lose a pound, about how we want to get home earlier, how we want to be smarter, be better, stronger–all these things, but few people will every actually find themselves getting what they want. For this matter, I think it’s time for a change in phrase, a change in attitude overall: we live in the 21st century where everything that we want is right at the click of a mouse, tap of screen, press of key, and for this matter, we should no longer want. We should HAVE. 2015 will be the year of having and not wanting, it will be the year of doing, not planning, it will be the year of playing, and not practicing. The key word of those phrases of course being will. No longer want, but ‘will’: I will publish a collection of short stories, I will write another novel, I will win a contest, I will lose weight, I will read more, I will write more, I will learn German, I will write a screenplay, I will find love–and don’t allow yourself to allow these wills to simply be wishful thinking, but make them realities. Life begins and ends with what you can and can’t do, so do everything that you can: because you can do everything. Adios 2014,

Hallo 2015.

Different Wavelengths

I’m currently planning what will likely be my next true novel (it’s been over a year since I’ve written one, so I think it’s due time I start, since it’s usually this time of the year that I’m about halfway through or starting a novel), and the struggle is that I’ve already set up my work site, and I’ve found many artifacts of it in the dirt: the bricks, the picture, the dried pool, the old television set; all of it, I know this site well, the problem, though, is that I’m trying to rebuild a house, unsink the Titanic, and understand these bones that I’m looking at. In short, it’s going to be a very large project, and I haven’t undertaken a project with so many characters in about 2 years, and the last time I did, I didn’t finish it so I’m quite worried to actually start such a project again. These may only be the worries of the beginning stage of any novel–how will I do it? Where will it go? Is it actually worth writing? Third or first person?–but I still find it quite discomforting to know that I have many of the pieces, just not enough to get anything really moving, especially since I’m out in the woods alone here. But, as I take a break from trying to dig up these bones, I decided to turn on the radio: and I’m getting 2 different wavelengths. One is for the story, another is a voice from the same era, or maybe even further, and I can’t place it: does it belong to the first wavelength, or is it a standalone? As I pondered this, I began to realize something: writers are little more than broken radios, truly. We pick up signals randomly and start playing that tune we’re picking up, but whether or not it’s perfect quality, no one can really tell in the beginning stages: you just have to wait for us to tune it, which is to say, wait for us to finish writing it. What is more though, even when a writer manages one wavelength, undoubtedly they will begin to get other wavelengths that interfere with the current one, but this may not be a bad thing. A writer, any man really, cannot expect to work on one project at a time, especially when there are so many frequencies to pick up. One of the things that will keep you going, writing that is, is if you allow yourself to pick up on some of these other frequencies instead of pushing them back like they’re nothing: if you hear something then you listen to that something, because it could be the song you’ve been hearing all along and could never quite place it until now.

Transcend

Today is my last day being fourteen. Tomorrow, I’ll be 15 after a year of waiting, and as I reflect on this fact, I begin to wonder what will the next year of my life bring me: where will I go, how far will I come, and will I be able to look back and see that I have crossed another mountain? The most incredible thing that I did as a 14 year old was that I won 2nd place in a statewide contest, won $100, and have my name in an unofficial record book of award winning authors that I keep in my head. To me, that’s huge. But, now as I walk into the next age of my literary career, I’m starting wonder just where will I go? I’m currently writing a science fiction story, a western, a transgressive screenplay, and working on the plot for a transgressive story about incest. How can this be so? Last year, I was very sure of the direction I wanted to take my writing in: I would be an minimalist writer who wrote dystopians about subjects that have little coverage, such as my novel The Art of Slaughter (which hasn’t been published, but I’m working on it…) which deals with how animal cruelty evolves, but not only this, how our society puts the pieces of themselves back together when they have lost themselves midway upon the journey of our lives. Anyhow, as I look around my room, I see a hodgepodge of genres: on my nightstand sits Virkam Seth next to Henry Grey next to Edgar Allan Poe next to Lovecraft next to Dante, next to Doyle, next to Proust! Under my TV I have nearly every work of Stephen King in hardcover; sitting on the printer next to my desk are Remarque, London, and Steinbeck; behind me, next to my couch, on two shelves are too many authors to be listed, but among them are George R.R. Martin in paperback, a couple of YA books that I only keep because they’re just a little bit above the usual tripe, Shakespeare in Paperback, a worn out copy of To Kill A Mockingbird, Cormac McCarthy and Ayn Rand; in my closet, taking up the shelves above my clothes I have everything ranging from science fiction to Biology and Chemistry textbooks along side the works of Stephen Hawking and an Encyclopedia about Ancient Rome. What a collection. But, of all these books, there are a select few that have guided me along this path thus far: Rick Riordan allowed me to take my first steps down this road, and Suzanne Collins carried me to dystopia, and Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe led me to horror, and now I’m in a place between Quentin Tarantino, a handful of comedians, and other theatrics as I wonder: where will I go.

The aforementioned western that I’m writing is a mixture between Tarantino and my own inner child thinking, “This is what a western should look like.” What is more, it’s experimental in it’s design, using techniques of screenwriting and play writing with a narrative structure that is more like that of a film rather than a novel, including scenes and breaks to cut to this scene and that. And it feels right. I’m realizing, as I grow older that I don’t want to do just one thing. A couple of months ago, I would have told you that there is literally nothing else that I would want to do but write all day long. Now, I want to make films, I want to teach, I want to be a painter, and I want to do standup and take photographs as I take a tour of the country. I’m realizing that, I want to transcend.

I’ve come across a bout of indispensable knowledge over the past few years as I write, and I like to think that I’m a better person for every bit of information that I learn. One of the most recent lessons that I learned is that I’m still just getting starting, and that I will always be a beginner. But this is not a bad thing. There are certain puzzles that toddlers can understand how to solve that adults can’t figure out with their fancy Engineering Degree from Stanford, and that’s something to be admired and to be kind of afraid of: as we grow older, our minds begin to hone in on something that seems important to us, and everything else is clouded it. There is one thing that I’ve learned from watching comedians talk about children and having kids: they have no idea what they’re doing, but they don’t care and to an extent, they know they don’t know what theyr’e doing, but they’re going to do it anyways because they have nothing to be afraid of. They’re six and seven years old, and they don’t know that someday, they’re going to die, that they’ll simply cease to be. They say that we teenage think we’re immortal, but at least we can acknowledge the fact that some of us are going to die eventually, earlier than other for various reasons or another. Toddlers have no concept of death, they barely have a concept of time, confusing a second with a minute, and an hour with a second; they’re like dogs, just a lot less obedient. For this matter, they’re not afraid to get the answer wrong: so they’ll work until they finally find an answer that satisfies them not anyone else, because at some point they’re going to get fed up, say “Bump this,” and make up a whole new rule that gets the answer right for them. That’s what we need to learn to do, I think, is to be selfish: satisfy yourself, no one else, because it’s not until you’re happy that anyone else will be able to be at least kind of entertained by something that you do. We do not serve each other, we serve ourselves, even when we think that we’re serving others. When you do something nice, it’s not really for the other person: it’s mostly for you, so that you can get that feel good feeling for giving a little extra on the tip, for giving someone a ride, for buying lunch for a friend, or paying for their gas. It’s for your own gratification and satisfaction, but that’s fine, because by being selfish basterds, we all inadvertently help each other.

The same goes for writing: if we write to please someone, or to make a critic nod to us, then no one is ever going to get very much out of your work, not even you, because at the end of the day you have to sit down and look at your diamond incrusted piece and ask, “Is this really me?” I recently wrote a story that I thought I was going to enter into a contest, but there was something wrong with it. I still can’t pinpoint what exactly is wrong with it , but there’s something about it that I don’t like, something vital missing from the story, but I do one thing about it: it’s not me at all. It was loud, pretentious, and totally convoluted–it was Ernest Hemingway trying to sound like Ernest Hemingway, Stephen King trying to imitate himself. It was me trying to be something that I wasn’t, it was me trying to make a finished product out of a first draft, and it was me feeling like I had to always do something totally brilliant, having to do something that, “People would read and read over and over again, praising me for my incredible talent,” when the truth is that I have no talent at all, I just knew how to string words together in a pretty way without making those words matter. You have to serve yourself when you’re writing. Writing is masturbation, it’s self pleasure, self indulgence: you don’t don’t do it with someone else (not even if you’re co-writing) you do it because it feels fucking amazing, and because you enjoy doing it. And don’t lie and tell me that there’s no satisfaction in finally achieving orgasm, sure there’s a certain amount of guilt to it, there’s a certain amount of dirt on your hands now, but it fuckin’ feels GREAT. That’s why you write, because you want to feel a little guilty after you write this horrible explicit scene about how your character gets fucked up on drugs, because want to feel the dirt under your finger nails afterwards: you want to achieve orgasm only for yourself. Writing isn’t sex.

For this matter, there is a quote that goes, “There is only one thing that you need to know: writing is freedom.” This is one of the truest things that a writer will ever need to hear in their lifetime, in their career. Writing is freedom, writing is your voice in the air, and writing is your break from North Korea or Auschwitz: above all, it’s the escape from yourself, from those things that you fear, or the very thing that you use to face those fears. When you have a bad day, if nothing else makes you happy, it should be your characters or the story that you have created when you go home at night: even writing one more sentence about how John battled the viper should bring you immense joy, becuase you return to the place where no has been before, you return to that secret cupboard where only you go at night–it’s a private place, a place just for you and only you, and when you’re done with it, gone from it, if someone happens to come across it, then hopefully they like what you wrote. In addition to this, writing is a journey that you take through the woods with nothing but a backpack full of a couple of things, and once you get deep enough, you can no longer distinguish the edge of the woods from the place in front of you. Within these woods, there are only 3 things of great importance that you must consider: finding stories, studying the trees, and leaving marks for all who enter here, so that when they pass by, they know that you have been here and will smile or cry at what you have left behind for them.

With this in mind, I think it is important for me to go into my next year of writing by transcending into my next year: I’ll take a little bit from screenwriting, experiment with it in narrative form, and I’ll bring a little bit of narrative into my screenwriting. I’m going to shake it up a bit: what does cheese taste like on donuts? What does the devil look like in a new dress? What happens when I mix this with this? But most importantly, I will transcend and delete the idea that I am restricted by anything, which includes genre. I am only restricted by my ideas, not the frame that I place those ideas in, because ideas should not be contained: they should be spread, they are contagious, and they should rain about the world like a spring storm and blossom a thousand flowers which themselves are pollinated by ideas. And so the world turns.

How will you transcend your writing to the next level, what will be your mark, your ode to the world as you write? How hard will you knock off that hard-one, and when will you admit to yourself that you don’t do anything except for yourself? Be proud, be selfish, write and fly high, leave nothing up to chance but take plenty of gambles; study the trees and ride all the pretty horses.

A Snippet on Two Part Films: A Deadline Comment

The problem is that, Mockingjay has no reason to be a two part film: it just doesn’t have enough material to sustain as two parts. What is more, the reason that Part I is so underwhelming is because, as mentioned time and time again, it felt too much like half a movie. I believe that if you’re going to make a two part film that makes on cohesive story, every part has to have its own arc that would allow it to sit as one film, possibly without having to wait for the next part. There are small subplots throughout this film, but overall it simply felt like a tiring odyssey that led to nowhere. For instance, the two parts of Kill Bill are a good example of how a two part movie should be made and considered. While Kill Bill Vol. I dos feel slightly incomplete, when I finished watching it, I felt satisfied because it was it’s own film that could stand alone without much fuss. Vol. I was concerned with getting back at O-Ren Ishii which led to the films final battle: full circle, with a small hint that, “wait, there’s more to come,”. It’s also kind of like a TV show: it should be fine if you don’t watch maybe the first two episodes, you should still be able to feel immersed into the third episode because the third episode, while expanding on the things that happened in the first two, has it’s own goal that it needs to achieve by it’s finale.

In the case of other movies that have been split into 2 parts, there are very few that I would legitimately say deserved to have two parts, and one of those is Harry Potter. The Deathly Hallows had too much material for one film to cover in an exceptional way, and if they had made it one very long 3 hour film, they might have to have made several cuts that would weaken the plot. In the case of Breaking Dawn, there was no reason to, and that one I can fairly attest was a total cash grab. In the case of the Hobbit, I could have understood 2 films: while the book is quite small, there are just a lot of things that happen and take up a great deal of space in the book and I could understand them wanting to keep all of those things in the film, especially since the book revolves around 2 major plots: battling Smaug and the Battle of the Five Armies. Those should have been the two parts of the film. In the case of Allegiant (the final part of the Divergent Trilogy/Series), I can’t wait to see how they try and drag that into two parts, and how they throw Four (the bonus novel that Veronica Roth wrote as a cash grab to get the final scoop out of the Divergent series; awfully written novellas that I can’t wait to sell away to my local Half Price Books) into the mix as well. They’ll have to make extensive changes to the book in order to make it well worth 2 movies, but I still highly doubt anything good will come out of it; and after watching the Insurgent teaser trailer, I don’t know how much worse these films can get! Finally, in the possible case of Stephen King’s the Stand, I unfortunately can’t see why they would want to make 4 different films. Yes the book is gargantuan, Stephen King’s one true epic (outside of the Dark Tower), but just because a book is big, long, and grandiose dosen’t mean it’s adaptation needs to be the exact same way. The first film wouldn’t even be concerned with any real action since a great deal of the first quarter of the novel is just building up to the plague. The best that would come out of four films would be more like a very, very long drawn out episode of the Walking Dead (which I don’t like), since a great deal of the novel is characterization and character analysis.

I think this splitting fad needs to die out already, because where film-makers should have been looking at it as an opportunity to explore these worlds on a deeper level, as well as to test expand the landscape of film-making, they’ve turned it into a dirty game of “How much money can we soak out of this tired Sham-Wow towel before people start to notice that we dried out a long time ago?”. The idea of a part one and part two used to portray an idea that a movie had become so ambitious and so great that they just had to split it so that the EXPERIENCE of the film had a proper satisfying taste to it, by the time its second part came to a close, but now it’s become repulsive.

Exercise for Writers

You gotta work off all that fat so you can write that beach novel! And don’t skip on leg day, either!

Often times, writers will fall into the rut of an idea that they can only write one thing and one thing only: if you write prose, then you can only write prose; if you write poetry, then you only write poetry; if you write screenplays, then you only write screenplays. But the thing of it all is that you cannot hope to become a better write if you focus your time around a single kind of writing; the good writer knows hows to write for all audiences, of all kinds, across the spectrum. This means that a novelist should know how to write a screenplay, a screenplay writer a novel, and a poet how to write a novel and so forth. Restricting yourself can only hurt your writing. There is a great deal of things that a novelist could learn from writing screenplays, for instance, brevity. Often times, we get carried away with our description or dialogue, and we just want to go on and on, and on, so that we make sure we fill our reader in on every detail from the angle of the corner to how much dirt had collected on the rug; but when you write screenplays, the general rule is 3 lines of description per section, meaning you don’t have a lot of space to elaborate, so you must learn how to say everything that you want to say in eloquent tercets more akin to The Inferno, than a movie. For this matter, a screenplay writer could learn a lot from writing poetry, as a lot of times screenplay writers will want to simply explain what is going on onscreen, but the truth of the matter is that if you ever wish to win any contest for a screenplay or to produce a good looking movie, you also have to have a good looking and sounding script. If you want to show a spanning mountain-scape in the old west, then you need to know how to eloquently say this within the few lines that you have without sounding overly simplistic or flowery in your language, which must also be easily translatable for the screen.

So how do you work out all these things so that you  have big strong writing muscles? Well you simply write, and read. Read screenplays, plays, poems, and simple literature, understand the distinctive features of each of them, and learn how to harness the powers of all of them so that you can easily shift between the formats, and soon merge them: how can you make a screenplay a narrative that can be as easily read as a novel as it is recognizable as a screenplay? Can you create poetic prose that reads smooth, quickly like a screenplay? Is your story too fat: do you have to cut out a good deal of description in order to get to the good stuff in the screenplay? Can your screenplay be easily turned into a novel? These questions alone will help guide you when you are writing, as you will begin to figure out to become more descriptive whilst becoming more concise, precise, and eloquent in your language.

One of the ways that I exercise each of these muscle groups is by working on one or another every day as part of my word count, what is more, I transcribe movie scripts for the site Genius.com, which have to be in a certain format to go upon the site: this a chance not only to learn how to format actual scripts, but read good movies and understand them on a deeper level as I begin to see them on a deeper level than that which will get seen in the final product. Find a way to work each of the different muscle groups into your daily writing habits, even if it’s simply looking at the world from a different point of view: how would you describe such and such in a narrative, in contrast to how you would describe it in a screenplay, or even more difficult still, a poem. A writer has to exercise, and exercise a lot if they ever hope to become Stronger; versitility is also the key to stability and immortality.