Archive | September, 2022

Final Week For The Mermaid and The Unicorn Round up and The Problem with Uber Powerful Characters (Finally)

23 Sep

 Enter to win the GC, not to mention the ebook is on sale this week. I’ll announce the winners next week.

Joanne Guidoccio

Sandra’s Book Club

Jazzy Book Reviews

Enchanting Reviews

Eye-Rolling Demigod’s Reviews

Superman needs kryptonite. Captain Marvel needs to be sent hitherto unknown so she’s not around to solve all the problems in End Game. When you’re fighting the boss, he’s a beast. When you unlock him as a playable character, it’s like you unlocked a different skin with weird stats but is not at all like the boss that took you forever to beat.

For me, making a super powerful character and not using them sparingly is like throwing time travel into my fiction. It can be done well, but I need limits. If I can travel back in time again and again, I can fix my mistakes. One of the things I had to learn when I played Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, was that if I ‘died’ I could hit the rewind button if I had enough sand. I could only go back so far, and sometimes you’re rewinding yourself just to watch yourself succumb to the same bad jump or injury.

I’m not saying it’s always hard; when I played FFIX Captain Beatrice was uber-powerful, and honestly you knew you were in for it when she was the boss, because even if you win the battle the cut scene is her knocking all surviving party members to 1 hp and in the story you lose. One of the best parts was when she joined Steiner and they toned her back, so that there was still a challenge in the game. She was treated like a bonus character, and we really only got to use her for like ten minutes out of a 20ish hour game. Sparingly, this worked.

When I watched Rings of Power, it’s like the showrunners forgot that Middle Earth was saved by the most unlikely of creatures, hobbits. There are powerful elves and heroes of men; wizards and dwarves. If you were to rate them physically, the mightiest of hobbits is probably up there with the weakest of men. A small detail in Return of the King is when Aragorn charges at the Black Gate, Merry and Pippin are the first to run after him, and are quickly overtaken by the other soldiers, and hey they’re little they got short legs what did we expect.

I think a big case being made is that the contemporary heroine’s journey is so much different then the hero’s, and it’s not always a good thing. You can read up on Joseph Campbell’s work, and you’ll see that it’s very familiar because it’s used in the original Star Wars and often used in Disney’s newer films.

You can watch videos discussing it, but in a nutshell, with the heroine’s journey, it’s not that the heroine needs to go on a journey. She’s already awesome and is being held back, usually by the dubious ‘patriarchy’ and needs to break free and show them who’s boss.

Thing is, this isn’t really a heroic arc so much as a tragic one. Don’t believe me? It’s the same with Anakin Skywalker.

Born a slave, he was rescued because of his miraculous abilities. From a young age, he was able to do more than anyone else. He was almost not trained because the council worried they couldn’t control him. He grew up fearful, angry and resentful, and was silently being groomed by the powers of darkness who saw his potential.

The duel of the fates in Episode 1 was a battle in which Maul was defeated and still won. Qui-Gon was the only one who could have raised Anakin properly, as a father he never had and he could have guided him and protected him. Obi-Wan did the best he could, and I’m not downplaying his skills or his character. He was Anakin’s brother, and brothers aren’t the same dynamic as a father/son one. I’m not saying brothers aren’t important, but without reading into any more lore or backstory, Qui-Gon was going to train Anakin whether or not he had permission. Obi-Wan is probably my favourite character in the series, and he was probably fine to train Anakin in the ways of the Jedi, but he wasn’t ready to take a hurting person and do what needed to be done.

Read what I said again two paragraphs ago. Anakin is only free because of his powers. He’s better than anyone else in terms of pod racing or flying or building, and he knows. The council accuses him, as a child, of being fearful. What child wouldn’t be nervous in his situation? The people who are kind to him are manipulating him. Obi-Wan is his brother to whom he aspires to be, not his protector who doesn’t care if they’re bestest buddies that day. Fathers discipline, brothers squabble.

It’s a tragedy of the highest order, and I think a lot of villains who stay with us have motivations that stay with us because we can relate to them. A character who thinks they are being held back, not given either the acknowledgement or the love that they think they deserve, and feels that they’re always in the right?  

But Leia, the Jedi Council was corrupt. And what if someone does want to write about their corrupt society?

I’m going to classify myself as a Casual-Plus Star Wars fan. I don’t watch Clone Wars but I have played Lego Star Wars that involves the characters, usually as a third or when I was watching kids. I buy graphic novels and other stuff for kids who like it come Christmas or Birthdays. I haven’t read any of the EU which got nuked when Disney bought the franchise, but I’ve seen bits and pieces of it. More over though, I listen to people talk about popular culture and trends because that helps me as a writer.

I’m not saying you can’t write about a corrupt society, but most people who hate their evil king or whatever still tend to love their land, their people, etc. You can love your country and criticize your government at the same time.

This is getting long enough. I’m not saying you can’t have powerful characters. I’m saying that if you decide to deck out your characters in cool attributes and not really think about the story or the theme, it’s probably going to suffer. If your character can easily defeat a dragon, the dragon is no longer a threat. You’ll need to magic up something they can’t handle, and in my experience, it’s a lot easier to give someone limits in the first place than to have a convoluted reason as to why Earth’s Greatest Champion is unavailable to use the thing they used during last week’s episode.


Week 3 and Respect the Lore

18 Sep

 Third Week Round Up – This week is the last week to enter the draw to win a GC. Thank you so much to everyone who’s hosted, reviewed, and did a girl a solid sharing.


Westveil Publishing

Read your Writes Book Reviews

The Pen and Muse Book Reviews

Long and Short Reviews

This week was a lot of fun because I got to pick my own topics quite a bit.

About that Lore Thing

I’m listening to a lot of people go on and on about Galadriel in the RoP show, and there’s a substantial deviation about what people are griping about and what people are pretending they’re griping about.

My nephew was telling me on Saturday, among other hilarious things (it was a really, really fun conversation on our way to the bookstore), that people don’t like RoP because of racism, so I’m letting him watch and decide for himself if he likes the show and I told him elves can have short hair or be black or whatever, but people should like or not like something and be okay with it for better reasons than that, but also to respect that other people will or will not like things he feels the opposite way about, and that’s okay too. (Also coming up was that I needed to write books that don’t suck so much – he’s not really a fan of Mermaids or Unicorns, give ‘im a few years and he’ll be ready for my other books). When we got to the bookstore the conversation turned to Lego, which both my nephew and older niece have grown out of, but his younger sister, is still quite excited for.

There’s always going to be people complaining that Waif-Fu is a thing. I’m not here to argue; the more removed your movie is from reality, the less I care. I’m more than cool with tiny little Yoda being the most badass character on one ‘Verse and pointing out Hobbits are kind of adorable little mascots in another who also saved Middle-Earth and helped take down the Witch King.

The real problem is that fantasy is treated by outsiders where anything can happen and so they completely forget what the established rules of the universe they’re entering are. People have compared Oz to Wonderland, and while there are similarities, I was telling my niece that my problem with “Heartless” by Marissa Mayer is that the plot would have worked better in a world like Oz; so Heartless as its own book is fine but Heartless as part of Wonderland, just isn’t wacky or odd for me. Now, I’m not saying authors can’t look at a work and change things (Wide Sargassio Sea), the real problem is saying, “It’s fantasy we can do whatever we want HAHAHAHAHA why does everyone hate these creative choices?”

Lore is whatever you did to establish what the rules of your world are. Is it basically our world with one or two things off? How would these things fundamentally change the world from our own? For instance, let’s pretend some people have abilities other’s don’t, like X-Men or Avatar: The Last Airbender. How do the non-powered people deal with people who can easily overpower them? How might our culture and change if human beings became immortal? Science fiction and fantasy is not just a setting, it asks questions such as these and runs with them.

Wheel of Time’s  world is all about if human beings got to use magic, split between the biological sexes, and suddenly only one gender can use it safely. Not every culture embraces the use of magic, in many cultures it became taboo but, in just about every culture, gender lines became more rigid because this was a fundamentally important no matter if you embraced or feared the use of the One Power.

One problem is when you establish something and then you go out of your way to pretend that never happened. I complained about FFVII last week, so here I am whining about Tinkerbelle this week

Tinkerbelle’s Origin. Then they decided like three movies later to give her a twin sister

Leia, what do you care about Tinkerbelle?

I don’t get summoned to the basement to defeat the boss during holidays much anymore, but I have zero qualms watching a movie with the kids, and so I’m asking those of you who make content for children nicely Don’t treat kids like they’re stupid, my nieces noticed dagnabbit. I don’t expect a lot of depth, but this sort of stuff makes the franchise look sloppy.

What if it improves the lore?

This is a Your Mileage may vary thing.

I was getting my butt beat in chess by the same medic a few years ago so I was looking up chess openings and I learned a move called En Passant. It came up in conversation, but I didn’t like the rule because that’s not how my grandpa taught me. The other medic went home and looked it up because, he didn’t learn that move growing up either. We agreed it was legit but neither of us ever played it because that’s maybe a thing in France, but not our neck of the woods.

That’s what it’s like going into an established universe and changing stuff. When you enter a house of cards, you need to find out what the house rules are, and can’t claim half way through the night, hey I’m playing by another set of rules for this round. If you want to play a variant, you establish it ahead of time. That’s why it’s okay that dragons in this movie are mindless monsters and in this other one it’s voiced by Sean Connery and quite pleasant. And I don’t mind that my family technically cheats all the time in Scrabble, it’s in house and we let anyone entering from outside read the dictionary to their heart’s content but, if I were invited to play Scrabble at your house I’m going to play by the same rules as everyone else.

The real problem here isn’t that Galadriel is too powerful. Glorfindel (Sir Not Appearing in The Film) killed a Balrog so there are very, very powerful characters.

Galadriel shouldn’t be acting like a human teenager reamed out by Elendil. “We need to have these forges done by spring” makes no sense for immortal beings. Having a festival singing, “Everyone sticks together, and nobody’s left behind” and immediately having an event that’s almost for surely condemning a family with an injured family member being left behind?

Be consistent, yo.

The minute anything can happen, because it’s fantasy and elves aren’t real LOL the stakes are no longer there and your audience can’t engage the same way. The story becomes inconsistent and can quickly become nonsense. The odd rule break here or there, depending on how it’s handled might be okay, but to me that’s like me wanting to break a fundamental rule of grammar before I understand what I’m doing. A really, really good author might be able to pull it off but, me, more specifically me when I was just starting to write? I’m going to annoy readers and, unless I prove that I know what I’m doing, they’re probably not going to tolerate what looks like a fundamental misunderstanding of the source material.

Blog Tour Week Round Up and The Problem with Entering Science-Fiction and Fantasy Fandoms

9 Sep

Our Town Book Reviews

The Faerie Review

Jerry’s Circumlocution

Two Ends of a Pen

BIbliomanaic Aza

Hope. Dreams. Life… Love

Just a quick update: Ankle is not fractured. Sore, and my mummy took away my car.

This was supposed to be about “Uberpowerful Characters” but let’s just talk about science fiction and fantasy fans and, why you do not mess with the lore.

I played final fantasy video games on the PS1 when I was in junior high and high school. I whined when FFVIII came out and the characters were hyper-realistic, not manga-style inspired. Then FFIX came out, and I whined that they were cutesy and chibi, not realistic.

There’s no winning here.

Fast forward, and I’m in University, and the Compilation of FFVII starts milking us for all we’re worth and, I belonged to this I’m going to say, sassy pants group of CloudxTifa supporters who were really bonded by a love of sarcasm. I never played it, but Crisis Core came out, and we were all whining. Not because we hated Zack or that he had a bigger role to play than the original story let on.

No, the original character Genesis was rumored to be Sephiroth’s equal. Several members of my faction were mostly laughing that he was based on a musician, but in general we weren’t having any of it. Mostly, because that threw too many holes in the original story. Sephiroth was head and shoulders better than anyone else, there was no indication of any near-rival in universe. I never played Crisis Core or Before Crisis or really anything besides watching Advent Children and Last Order, the best I got is I’ve seen some clips online.

So when you’re dealing with people complaining about changing the lore – we fans complain about it. Like, a lot. Ad nauseum. I chatted with several of my friends from those days who played the FFVII remake, and they’re pretty blunt and honest about what game mechanics they liked, what stylistic choices they didn’t.

And I know it’s not easy to want to defend a property/show. When they put out trailers for Kingdom Hearts II, the Aerith fans were a little panicky, because the voice actress they picked for Aerith was… not the best, and this is around the time that Advent Children was coming out. Same actress.

Saying this character had weak voice acting or that costume or set was inferior to something else we saw is normal. It’s what we do. It doesn’t mean we hate something or it’s stupid, it’s that we talk and gripe a little.

So when I enter an established fandom, I kind of expect someone there who will complain and talk about the brilliance of what was done before, or talk about the original adaptation from back before I was born.

Straw-manning your opponents and pretending we don’t like something because it’s different… yeah. We’re going to grumble no matter what you do. I grew up on a diet of Mad Magazines and the Naked Gun Films, which basically made fun of the stuff I enjoyed, so us poking fun and making memes, that’s just part and parcel of the fandom. It’s not everyone – some people are purists, and I have been corrected by two panelists at at a convention for daring call Endor a planet (It’s a MOON!) but most of us will turn our brains off so long as the lore is mostly consistent.

Then there’s these fans.

Week One Round Up / More on Adaptation

6 Sep

Sorry for the delay – yesterday after my pre-work nap, my ankle decided to swell up and I can barely put any weight on it.

Literary Gold

Andi’s Middle Grade and Chapter Books

All the Ups and Downs

Fabulous and Brunette

The Avid Reader

Give some love to The Avid Reader, because no matter what I try I can’t share her link on Facebook. I talked to Marianne about it, she said it’s an ongoing issue Facebook will not resolve.

Also, I need to learn to stop sending pictures with my articles, no one ever uses them.

Here’s that picture of the kelpie referenced in today’s blog about ten fearsome water creatures:

And above is the size difference between humans, great whites and Megalodons. Artist rendering but you get the idea.

So I know on Facebook I said I would not watch Rings of Power until I saw my dad, but he’s not coming in this week and I go laid up with the ankle so I watched the first two episodes, he doesn’t seem particularly keen. I’m going to give my opinion after I see all the entire first season, all i wanted to say is yeah, there’s problems but most people are distracted by how beautiful everything is. Try not to stress out about it; I was chatting with someone I knew from Highschool and I used the analogy of Wicked! The musical as it relates to the original books of Oz. Now, I was a reader and I watched this anime cartoon as a kid. I’m not calling myself an Oz Purist, but I can enjoy Wicked! for what it is (I have never seen it, no, but I read the books) but I don’t understand why people get all antsy about discussing movies, saying you’re a phobe or an ist when it comes out, then like a year later we can all agree the writing on the New Star Wars movies was not its strong point.

As a kid Return to Oz scared me; this one was almost as bad when we got to the gnomes but, I don’t think anything is going to scare me as much as that Princess stealing heads.

Anyway, I will reserve judgement on RoP but will point out that there wasn’t enough that they did have to expand on the lore… but really they changed around a lot of the lore anyway, so it felt very picky-choosy what they wanted to follow. Now, it’s more likely than not we’re not going to get a big reveal – adaptations, especially movies always seemed dumbed down from source material, I think a big part of that is audience expectation. I do find it a little frustrating when people look at the film version as the canonical one, but that’s a rant for another day.