Archive for April, 2009

Why We Love Stories About Sparta

April 30, 2009

With key Greek city-states in submission, Philip of Macedon turned his attention to Sparta and sent a message: “If I win this war, you will be slaves forever.”

In another version, Philip proclaims: “You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city.”

The Spartan ephors sent back a one word reply: “If.”

(from here)


Why Lazy Writing Screws Women Over

April 28, 2009

Hollywood at work:

Kevin and I started with a concept: What if we did the entire thing in one shot? We follow a girl from her bathroom mirror, to a car ride, to a convenience store, to a seedy party where she finally shoots and murders someone. All in one shot. Problem then, became exposition. Was this just to be a conceptual idea? Or were we going to explain why she kills this motherfucker? And who exactly was this dude anyway? The words “seedy party” though, definitely got us excited. We began to see a pimp. Picture Roy Scheider from Klute or Gary Oldman from True Romance, mixed in with a little Alfred Molina from Boogie Nights and Willem DaFoe from Wild At Heart. And who was the girl? Just some scorned chick? Nah, how about something more interesting. Like a beautiful young woman hellbent on killing the pimp that murdered her sister. No! How about her identical twin sister. And how about, these weren’t your normal twins. But two girls who shared a strange, abnormal bond. And how about this guy is a real class act. He’s a suburban brat who thinks he’s smarter than he is. Oh, and he’s utterly psychotic.

You see how they start out all right:

We’ll have this great female protagonist, yes… and we’ll follow her… and she kills someone because… because…

And that’s where it all seems to break down. After all, what reason could a woman possibly have to kill someone?

Wait, I know!

She’ll get raped! OK, but she should be a super assassin, so we’ll have her twin sister get raped, but she can feel the things her twin sister feels, so she’ll actually be getting raped!


This is the same kind of lazy writing Joss Whedon is doing with Dollhouse.

“Not sure what to do next? Have somebody get raped!”

Sweet God, people. You do know that women have lots of traumatic, story-worthy things happen to them that don’t involve rape, right?

Because opening your story with your protagonist getting raped? It’s just not interesting. Your story is full of cheesy caricatures, but not in a Kill Bill way, in a stupidly LAZY way.

What drives me bonkers is that these are supposedly experienced script writers. I realize they’re writing under deadline, for fun, but sweet fuck, you guys, it’s not hard to write a good script with awesome characters who don’t suck. It’s really not.

But hey, let’s try something else on for size, for fun. We have to write a script that follows the same constraints these guys did. Low-low budget, that can be shot in a week, preferably in one shot (but can take or leave that). So instead of:

We follow a girl from her bathroom mirror, to a car ride, to a convenience store, to a seedy party where she finally shoots and murders someone. All in one shot.

How about:

We follow a girl as she suits up for “work.” Black stockings, black boots, black leather jacket, duel pistol holsters, knife strapped to her ankle, extra bullets and brass knuckles in her bag. She gets on a motorcycle and heads off to a seedy pool party. She pulls a shotgun from her side bag, shoots in the door, kicks her way in, and aims at the Big Bad and says, coldly, “This is for my brother.” She shoots him. He goes over. She leans in close to blow his whole head off and we hear him say, “Your brother’s not dead.” She says, “I know,” and kills him. Then she opens up a can of whoop-ass on the whole pool party with all her sweet-ass weaponry and kills everybody there. Then we see her start to torch the place. She gets back on her motorcycle and stops at a bench in what appears to be a park. A man is sitting on the bench. She sits next to him. “Didn’t think you were coming,” he says. “I don’t think they’ll be a problem getting that cancer drug approved,” she says. “The big wigs are out of the picture. Just watch who you piss off next time. I can’t clean up all your messes. We’re not kids anymore. The stakes are a lot higher.” She checks her cell phone, stands. “I may be out of touch for awhile. Say hi to dad for me.” She walks away, we pull back, and we see that they’re at a cemetary. On the headstone is their father’s name and a eulogy indicating that he died of cancer.

Blah blah.

Slightly syrupy? Sure, but I wrote that in all of ten minutes. I’m uncertain as to why Hollywood can’t come up with something more original than, “Chick gets raped, let’s make a movie about it,” in an hour, ten days, ten months or ten goddamn years.

Come, guys. Lazy writing is boring, and I’m sick of your boring-ass, victimized, brutalized female characters. Think outside the fucking constraints of your fucking institutionalized sexism.

Lazy, lazy, lazy.

"How many real adult times have you been in love?"

April 27, 2009

Inquiring minds want to know.

Why am I Deadlifting 125 lbs?

April 27, 2009

Well, I did tell our trainers I wanted to work on strength training.



April 27, 2009

That was… that was… that was a special, special film.

Oh, and they’re doing a remake.


There are few films that are totally iconic of their times. This is one of them. You can’t remake this movie. Outside of the context of the late 60s, early 70s, it makes no sense.

I mean, it made no sense anyway, but that was the point. It was just like the 60s.

No results found… Because most authors’ webpages suck…?

April 26, 2009

Under Construction

April 26, 2009

Story of my life.

Jane Austin & Zombies Has Arrived

April 22, 2009

I bought a copy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies for J., secretly knowing that I could steal it from him when he wasn’t looking. Then Steph called dibs on it when we all went out to dinner, and now I’m 3rd in line. Still, I’ve been sneaking peeks, and I can say this much:

Reader, it’s awesome.

These are the stories – and heroines! – I wanted to read about 20 years ago.

Why Other Cool People Like "The 300"

April 22, 2009


I’m always delighted when I find women who thought fan-“boy” movies like The 300 and Fight Club were full of awesome.

Because they were.

"I’ve never met a writer…" The Writing Life

April 13, 2009

Me, Steph, J. and The Old Man went out to dinner last night to celebrate The Old Man winning a shiny Fellowship that will make it possible for him and Steph to eat come January.

Talk inevitably turned to Jim Butcher’s new book. J. and The Old Man are big fans of Butcher.

“Are you coming with us Wednesday?” J. asked The Old Man. “You know Jim Butcher’s going to be at The Greene.”

“I don’t know… probably not. I have a big test Thursday.”

“You don’t want to see Jim Butcher?” I said, incredulous. The Old Man bought Butcher’s latest book the day it came out and finished it four hours later.

“Oh, I don’t know…” the Old Man said. “I’ve never really met a writer before.”

J. and Steph just kind of looked at him for a minute. I snickered.

Then we all burst out laughing.

“To be fair, you weren’t a writer when I first met you (ten years ago),” the Old Man protested, turning to me. “You were just a wanna-be.”