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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Well, I am a writer, and while I have not made any real money or recognition off the process…yet…something I am striving to do…I have written many stories, many perspectives, and many different types of story. So I feel, most certainly, that I know what I am talking about.

And over the years I have reached a conclusion about writing, well the conclusion for writing that I am about to lay out, of what is the most important things in a story. What you need to do to have a successful story and attract audiences and people and just be satisfied in your own endeavors.

So without further delay I present my hierarchy of writing needs.

1. Character:

Character is, I believe, what makes the world go around.

As I have stated before without characters a writer could not be grounded in any world he creates. All the worlds, and all the settings, and all the plots require characters to make them happen. Even if those characters are being mostly driven by events.

Furthermore they make an audience care about a story. No matter what the plot point is, how complex or simple, character is what drives us forward and makes us people looking on it from the outside care about a story, an event, or a circumstance.

2. Plot:

Plot is important.

While the characters ultimately drive the plot, or are the centers of the plot, without a plot there would be nothing interesting for the characters to do or work on. There would be no action to drive, motivate, control, and than maybe have the characters overcome without that plot.

The two forces ultimately work in conjunction with each other a complete the other.

3. Setting:

Setting is important but it is the least important of the three main important literary themes. At least in my opinion.

If you have good characters and a good plot structure your setting could just be ‘in a factory building in the middle of downtown Chicago’.

But setting can add flavor, and realism, and thematic importance to your story.

For instance the flavor of a setting, the dank dark depressing cluttered interior of a star ship, could indicate a state of decay. This could make the ship ancient, or damaged, or crowded, or indicate that the occupants of the ship are fleeing for their lives…from the Cylon tyranny!

Setting, in effect, can sometimes be a character all of its own, and add spice to your story.

4. Grammar and Spelling.

As with all elements to writing, this is immensely important to understanding and accepting fiction. If everything is misspelled or indecipherable, then no matter how awesome your characters or how deep your plot and themes, you cannot convey the message properly.

Mind you spelling and grammar differences can reinforce character, plot, and themes, but that is a discussion for another time and largely up to the individual author in charge.

But, why this is so important, is you can always work on it later. Establish your story, characters, theme, setting, and motivations and have those down, then you can work on proofing it and adding contextual later and stamping out any errors…then deciding if you want to keep those errors for whatever reason.

And then the importance of this is largely up to the tastes of the individual person reading it, as long as you can be understood, you should be fine.

5. Science and technical issues:

Again the importance of this is largely up to individual tastes. I tend to look at it as if your universe is logically consistent with its own rules and premises, then you should be fine. After all a lot of the most intense and hard-core science fiction, really is not too scientific.

But to a lot of people this is important.

And, much like setting, it could add flavor and character to your story. If you are trying to go for realistic and hard science fiction, then making sure to have scientific forms and real scientific facts could impress people.

Anyways this is my hierarchy of needs, I believe these are the things that are the most important in any story, and roughly the way you need to go about constructing your story. But only you can determine how you go about arranging these things…like for many reasons I find it easier to come up with a plot then characters, largely because I have to think up names.

Agree? Disagree? Comment!

Awhile back Leon Panetta, the defense secretary, announced the ban against women in combat will be lifted and women will…be able to serve in combat.

At last! Women can have the same rights and responsibilities as man and be able to shoulder the same weight concerns and be just as though and just as awesome as their male counterparts.

But this decision has touched off a large debate in the country over whether or not this is a good thing, or whether or not this is a thing that we should be doing in the first place. Or if Leon Panetta is doing this in the right way, just going straight into it without passing go, and without collecting his two hundred dollars.

Glenn Beck, a couple of weeks ago, featured this debate on the blaze. He is against it, and the reasons he is against it, is roughly that the military’s job is to make war and crush our enemies, not to be a PC firm. He went onto make several other claims for his argument, and acknowledged that women made good officers, sharp shooters, and some of them could even be tougher then he was.

This seems to indicate that he has no problem with women being in the military, just not on the so-called frontlines

Now just so no one is confused I do think there is nothing wrong with women serving in combat, ultimately, I wonder why the push exists for this and I wonder why this is so vital at this point in time, but if you want to pick up a rifle and defend your country, I have no problem with it.

But I think we are having the wrong debate. And what is interesting is that Glenn did touch off on the issue. That the primary mission of the military is to…well…engage in combat. And kill the enemy.

This is the one reason I do not want to join the military because I do not have the temperament for it.

Despite the reassurance that there are supply jobs, and armed forces radio, and military intelligence, and then maintenance of military technology, the primary purpose of the military is to engage in combat and kill the enemy. It is the job of every single United States Soldier to pick up the rifle and defend themselves in the event of an attack on their base or their mission or their country.

This is a fundamental fact of military life, because the mere fact you are in the United States military makes you a target of this nation’s enemies, most of whom do not give two whiffs if you are a ‘non combatant’…or a woman.

This was demonstrated by the Jessica Lynch story during the Iraq War, and others.

Women in combat is now a fact of life, especially considering the front lines are largely a thing of the past.

So the issue is, should women be in combat, or should they even be in the military? If we are going to have a serious argument about the former then we need to consider the latter.

For if women are to serve in the military, then they will be in combat, Leon Pannetta seems to be acknowledging this fact.

This is one of the most fundamental, and one of the most recent, lessons I have learned about creating and crafting a fictional universe. You don’t have to write every story, tell every adventure, and show every scene in your writing.

This is perhaps an important lesson when it comes to one thing, prequels. And especially with me, who has a tendency to write every single story plot that pops into my head. Or at least the desire to.

But you do not need to tell the story, you do not need to tell the story of how Shepard became the way she was, or how Kirk rose to Captain the Enterprise.

It’s not leaving these things to the imagination its the simple acknowledgement that an audience does not need to know everything about a character or universe’s back story in order to get that character or that universe.

They do not need to know the history and every single event fleshed out as its own separate idea to know that there is an interstellar alliance that tries to protect the people.

You do not need to tell the story of how a space jacking led a man to become an officer in a Star Navy.

So what than becomes of these story ideas?

Well just because you don’t have to write them, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write them. You can if you want to, as long as you approach it with the idea, is this a story worth telling? Does this story contribute something crucial to my universe or my character to where it needs to be told?

After you answer that question, along with, well do I want to just tell the story because I want to, then do whatever you want.

Other then that this becomes part of an inventory you can always use later. Or even if you don’t use the inventory in the actual story, you know it, you can add it to your list of attributes that make a character, a universe, a Government, a race, an organization.

This inventory, even if not told in a story and thus not known to an audience, it helps you dictate the actions of these people. You don’t have to tell the story, the audience does not have to know the story, for that story to effect them.

And you can always bring it up later and maybe use it for a more proper plot line?

Bottom line, be careful in the stories you want to tell. If you want to be a professional writer, if you want to set up a new universe or a new long-lasting franchise, you have to be choosy about who

This past week, (yey I am actually writing something that is current and do not have to wait for it and blah blah blah), immigration has been in the news, both legal and illegal immigration. The President was all set to unveil his plan to address this issue and deal with the current immigration problems facing this nation, mainly illegal immigration, so the Senate one upped him. A so-called ‘gang of eight’, eight senators, four democratic, and four Republican, came together to propose their own solution to the problems, to be voted in the full senate.

This group includes Marco Rubio, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Chuck Schumer. Some of the politicians who are the most reviled, and most hostile to the liberties and values of our Republic.

Now there is one big problem with this and one thing I fear, which is perhaps a lesson to all of us.

And that is, in short, do not judge a bill by the people who make it, or by a certain series of buzz words. Just because I, and many other Conservatives and Libertarians, have disagreed with these politicians numerous times in the past, does not mean they cannot do something good.

And just because it has the words ‘pathway to citizenship’ means it is the wrong pathway to citizenship. That such a program may not even be blanket amnesty, something all Conservatives do not like.

This bill, from what I have heard, sounds reasonable. Worker visas for agricultural work, work verification for people to ensure they hire American citizens, penalties for people who knowingly hire illegals, a pathway to citizenship that includes illegal immigrants heading to the back of the line. And last but not least a provision where the border will be secured in order for these to take effect.

So it sounds like a reasonable proposal and people should not poo poo it just because we do not like the people making the proposal in the first place. That is at least partially bigoted and a little pig-headed.

On the other hand we do not need to blindly trust either.

After all these politicians have…at the best…a very political track record. They get things done for convenience and to advance a particular agenda, at least that is what their track record shows, not what is best for the country or for the constitution.

And, as Glenn Beck pointed out on his radio show, people have promised to secure the border. Promised that they would secure the border and we just have to deal with the people whoa are here now and everything will be hunky dorie.

This is a familiar pattern with politicians.

Everything from the Patriot Act and the NDAA, oh no it is just here to protect you, to keep you safe, from the big horrible spikey monsters under your bed…politicians swearing up and down that the things that are in those acts are not actually in them when they are.

To the most recent ‘Patient Affordable Care Act’. Or how about the…well you get the picture.

And after all we have seen one bill after another after another start out with the best of intentions, only to be weighed down with amendments, and pork, and so much legalese as to turn the final product, into something we will have to pass to find out what is in it…to paraphrase Nancy Pelosi.

So in the end trust but verify. We cannot distrust something simply because it’s from John McCain and Chuck Schumer…but we cannot trust it because it is from a Republican, or a Democrat…or from the Government..they are only here to help!

Will this be a solution? I don’t know, but if we don’t take things on their own merits then we are all doomed to repeat the mistakes of our past.