Ramblings from the Desert

The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either. ~Benjamin Franklin

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Location: New Mexico

Author of the urban fantasy novel, The Music of Chaos, and the paranormal romance, The Canvas Thief.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Effing Wind, Spoiled Rich Kids, and Buffy

Saw the first fly of Spring.
Killed the first fly of Spring.
(You know you're a horse person when the first sign of Spring isn't a robin, but instead a fly.)

The weather is windy and neurotic. One second it's hailing, the next the sun is shiny(<=funny typo-shiny sun). The fucking wind, however, is a constant. (New Mexico is like New Zealand, only without the scenery and with ten times the amount of violent crime.)

Whiny Rich Kids...
According to this article, students at Harvard are a miserable lot. That's a hell of a lot of money to pay to be miserable. Two ways to look at it though. First, professors aren't there to make students happy. (Although some seem to think the students, particularly female coeds, are there to make them happy.) On the other hand, that's a hell of a lotta moola to be paying for unapproachable professors. For a fraction of the price, us "state" school graduates actually got to speak to our profs. And probably got as good as, or better, an education. (Excess of typos in this blog, not withstanding.)

Never much understood the frantic need to get into an Ivy League school. Where I'm from the options were simple: go to the local state university; join the military; or spend an eternity schlepping Slurpies at Seven Eleven. The only way to pay for Ivy League was via drug dealing. And drug dealing usually cuts back on the amount of time allocated to school, so Harvard is out anyway.

(Rich kids, like our esteemed President, can afford to only do drugs.)

For Writers...
Found this article--Learning from the Dead: The Buffy Lessons--over at Will Shetterly's web site. He looks at lessons--good and bad--learned from watching Buffy.

Of interest was the "Remember the Destiny" section. I for one, write the Improbable Child series with a certain "destiny" in mind. Assuming I ever get any of the books published, I can't imagine dragging it out for more than a half-dozen books. Why? Because nearly every author who has fallen into the never-ending series trap has seen a corresponding lack of clarity and quality in later novels.

I also like "Don't Marry off Main Characters." When the main characters start to marry, the show's pretty much over. "Friends" started to lose steam when Monica and Chandler got married. To that I'd add "Don't add in a cute kid." Think "Mad About You," "Married with Children," even, again "Friends." The episodes with Rachel, Ross and offspring were uninspired. (Earlier episodes with Ross and his young son did work, in part because they were in tune with "who Ross was"--the struggling new dad whose wife had left him for a lesbian lover.) Any of the recent episodes of "Malcolm in the Middle" where the new younger brother is present, are crap-tastic.

"Let your villains love" is another bit of sage advice. I'm too much of a cynic to buy that anyone can be all good and too optomistic to buy the idea of pure evil, either.

Of course, as he notes in the article, Will Shetterly and I have a different view of what constitutes a hero:

"And, okay, I always identified more with Captain America than Batman; I like people who do the right thing because it's the right thing, and not because they feel really, really guilty."

Not me. Give me the conflicted, tortured hero anyday. Captain America and Superman are too milk-toast perfect for me. Batman, Wolverine, and Spawn. Even Darth Vader* to some extent. Those are guys who have tasted the possibilities, the power in evil, and despite that choose to do the right thing. (In the end, Darth* turns against the emperor and saves his son.)

Anyway, fun food for thought.

Writing...
Already got in about 700 words on Pinocchio. Hoping to get in over a thousand. Starting work on a chapter featuring the antagonist, who I'm finally starting to understand. I think I have the beginning's of his plan, i.e., evil plan. I'm not a fan of the destroying-the-world kind of bad guy. "A," it's cliche. And "B," it's simplistic and frankly, stupid. Anyway, I think I have a way to raise the stakes for the heroine and tie her magical powers (this is a fantasy romance, not contemporary) to the antagonist's plan.

Need to read the rest of Kristin's WIP. Looks pretty cute so far, although I can't really comment on someone else's work online. It's just not...right.

Still need to write up a critique for Critters. Read the story a few days ago, but I'm kind of stumped on what to say. One of those tricky stories.

Cheers,

P.K.

 

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