Spock explains to Fake Spock why the universe sucks, now.
Recently, my sister told me that J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek films are reboots, not revivals. You know the ones: where Christopher Pine replaces William Shatner, the planet Vulcan blows up and Spock logically responds by making out with Uhura? Right. Those films. My sister, who was a Trek fan even before I was, says that she can enjoy them as completely separate stories from the originals. That would make them a reboot: a story with the same origins and premise, but without being tied to existing continuity.
But those films aren’t reboots. They’re the worst kind of continuation; the kind that erases the original continuity. Continue reading
He was a great author, but Bram Stoker didn’t have the voice we want to read now.
Every writer who’s submitted anything has had so sit through a stern lecture about Voice. “The Voice isn’t quite right.” “Publishers are super-attuned to voice.” Or, my personal favorite: “Your narrative has no voice.”
No voice? None? With thousands of words filling hundreds of pages it would have to at least sound like me. When I speak, people hear my voice, so surely it’s the same when I write.
Agents may have been sparing my feelings when they gave me these actual points of feedback. They couldn’t have meant the narrative was silent, so maybe they just didn’t like the writing. I think there’s more, though. I think part of it might be that they want something in #ownvoices. Continue reading
Which of these heroes would you trust?
You hear it all the time. People utter the phrase because they mean it, because they think it’s true, or just because it’s what we expect. It’s a phrase that lovers of literature revel and lovers of film revile: “The book is better than the movie.”
So what about the comic book? Continue reading
Authors have a choice between Fate and Suspense
Into his or her arms she or he runs. Their love has overcome every obstacle—every racist or homophobe or job offer in Houston—to bring them back to each other, where we all know they should be. Fate is victorious again.
And that’s exactly the problem.
Alyssa Milano stops her wedding to be with her perfect love—her imaginary friend—in James Patterson’s Sundays at Tiffany’s
There are so many familiar tropes in romance fiction: the race to the airport, or the interrupted wedding. The last-minute defiance of a controlling parent to be with a lover who means so much more. All of these are fun, but even variations of them are predictable, because the characters acting them out are running their race over a generic green-screen called Fate.
And relying on Fate is a sure way to remove a key element of a story’s conflict: suspense. Continue reading
Get thee to a library…
Reading the classics can be as shocking as it is enlightening. Words that seemed perfectly innocent to the pantalooned authors of centuries past can, to our contemporary jeans, be insulting to us or to those whom we respect. Of course, this could—and often does—dissuade the average reader from these works. Take it from me: a teenager who doesn’t want to read Hamlet feels perfectly justified in citing Shakespeare’s choices to send girlfriends to nunneries and even Queens to the beds of their in-laws. Ew.
Of course, that average reader is being denied the joys of these stories, and that teenager… well, he’s just avoiding his homework. Continue reading