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            A shiny wooden nickel to anyone that can guess where that title comes from.  Yes, you can shine up wood if it’s been lacquered or varnished.  So, nyah!  I ask you, what makes a good hero?  To paraphrase Brody Bruce: “Keen detective skills?  The ability to banter well with others?”  No.  A true hero, a good hero, is only as good as their strongest adversary.  I’m trying to lean away from the word villain.  Your adversary is what makes your hero strong.  It’s like asking what makes steel so strong?  Its strength comes from being tested to its breaking point.  Seeing just how much it can endure before it gives.  So, to that end I ask: What makes a good adversary?  Charisma.  You have to like the bad guy just as much, if not more than the hero.  You have to secretly want them to win, all the while knowing why they can’t.  Tell me you didn’t have a little smirked when Darth Vader killed Obi Wan.  It was horrible, and you liked Obi Wan, but when Vader struck him down you were like: He’s a bad ass.  Example #2.  The most current and obvious, Heath Ledger’s Joker.  He’s straight evil and diabolical, but from his first appearance on the screen you want more of him.  You have to see what he’s going to do next, and in the back of your mind you say: If I went completely koo koo for Cocoa Puffs, I’d want to be just like that.  What else?  Here’s the shocker, they sometimes have to be right.  More to the point, they need conviction.  A true driving force that directs their actions.  They have to believe that the outcome is worth it.  And, they have to have a plan.  Example: Hans Gruber from Die Hard.  He was smooth, charming, witty, intelligent, but most of all he was determined.  Now, his overall goal wasn’t lofty, but he believed that what he was doing was worth it.  It wasn’t just a robbery.  It was a grand, full blown, balls out, heist with a perfect getaway plan.  Here’s another example, Magneto.  Now, he could be easily dismissed as being maniacal and power mad, but he represents the other half of the coin.  He is who the majority of us would be if we had the ability to do so.  He has conviction and believes that he is right, with history and human nature to back him up.  But, his plan goes to the extreme.  He is right, to a degree, and because of that you can relate to him.  You know where he’s coming from, and you can’t completely disagree.  Now, I could go on with this, and I will when I do the villains (yes I will refer to them as villains in that blog.), but for now you get the idea.  So, where do the heroes fit into all this?  They are the opposite of what the adversaries represent.  They have restraint and a moral code to uphold.  This applies even to anti-heroes like the Punisher and Leon from The Professional.  Most importantly they stand up to the villain and push back each and every time, and always with the belief that there’s a better way.  Now, your hero has to be the underdog.  They need to fight, and scrape, and claw to win.  The adversary is stronger, and this makes the hero look better.  Why is Superman boring?  Cause he’s too powerful.  His opponent has to be even stronger than him, and that breaks your suspension of disbelief.  Going back to Die Hard.  John McClane is always outmanned, outgunned, and pushed to the breaking point, but he continues on.  We respect him for it.  We may love the villain (I know, I’ve said it like 4 times now) but the hero is who we came to see and can’t get enough of.  The relationship is symbiotic, and the hero is the parasite.  They feed off their adversary, and become bigger and better because of it. 

 

Jerale C

Mindseyechronicles@comcast.net

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            Okay, so I’ve been saying for the past 4 months or so, probably more like 6, that I’m going to finish Prey Predator.  The beginning and end have been written, but I’m still working on the middle.  Honestly.  Look I’ll give you the last line right now.  “The end.”  See?  Yeah, I’m a jerk, I know.  Anyhow- The problem is, I don’t know exactly how I want to say what I want to say.  I know the entire story.  I’ve written the majority of it, but this last little bit just hasn’t gone full Technicolor yet.  It’s still kinda monochrome, or more of like a color by colorization.  Not to mention everything else that has been going on trying to get ready for the Con.  It’s hard to keep everything in focus.  Then I got this idea for a bi-weekly story that I’m hoping to post here regularly.  Don’t worry, I plan to have at least two chapters ready before I post the first one.  So, just in case I fall behind it won’t break the flow.  Plus, I’m planning every two weeks cause I know every week isn’t an option. 

            My ongoing story is called Unwanted Heroes, with the first chapter tentatively titled: Sometimes Things Aren’t Okay.   And, no, everything with me is not tentative.  I’m trying to finalize my characters now, but the list keeps on growing.  The other problem is, I know what I want to say, but I don’t know what I want to say.  It’s coming along as the puzzle pieces shift into place.  First things first, I need to clean up Murphy’s Run.  Yeah, I know, promises promises. 

            The question is, “What’s taking so long?”  Well, simply put, a serious lack of time.  Oh yeah, and sleep.  I need to get my Toynbee Convector working.  Look it up, it’s worth it.  And while we’re on the subject…

            Ray Bradbury.  One of my all time favorite writers.  Most describe his style as “Soft Science Fiction” because his future worlds and writing style is simple in nature.  His stories, which can be quite harsh at times, are honest and genuine.  My first experience was with the story There Will Come Soft Rains.  A sad, but beautiful story about an automated house after a nuclear war.  I’m keeping vague cause you need to read it for yourself.  Then came the books, The Illustrated Man, Martian Chronicles, R is For Rocket, and S is For Space.  His characters and settings are so real and alive that you are drawn in without even realizing it.  One of his most ambiguously known stories being A Sound of Thunder, a story based on the Butterfly Effect.  Trust me, if you haven’t read it, you know of it. 

            I love Bradbury’s style and the way he presents the future as a technologically advanced today.  A version of the future that I find truer than others.  Hell, I’m still waiting for my rocket pack and submersible car.  Do you know how fast I could get to work with a rocket pack?  The more hard science and distant futures stories are great, but Bradbury’s seem more realistic.  If you look at the advances in the world over the past 50 years, we’re still no closer to living on the moon then we were back when we thought it was made of green cheese.  BTW, what idiot actually thought that?  Moron.  He was probably also wondering how storks got the babies out of the cabbage patches. 

            Anyway, if you haven’t read Bradbury, start with The Illustrated Man or Martian Chronicles.  If you need some suggested stories, drop me a line and I’ll give you some good ones. 

 

Jerale C

Mindseyechronicles@comcast.net

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            I guess you may have noticed this by some of my writings.  I haven’t written a story from beginning to end in years.  Even when I have an outline I still write out of order.  Many times I’ll have a segment of the story, too far from the beginning and not quite the middle, that’s forming in my head.  As I write that, I’ll start getting a clearer picture of another part of the story, that isn’t directly related to what’s currently being written.  It bounces back and forth like that until the story is done.  As disjointed as it sounds, something interesting comes from it.  Little elements will start to tie in to other points as it goes along.  Something that I don’t think would happen if you wrote straight through.  A trail of consciousness that carries over like a stitch.  I guess you could think of it as a quilt.  A square of this tied to a square of that.  It doesn’t look like much individually, but together you’ve got a work of art. 

            I’m sure I’m not the only person that works like this.  Take for example Christopher Priest.  I mentioned him hawhile back.  He wrote Black Panther for Marvel, and a book called Quantum and Woody for Acclaim.  These books were great, and the Black Panther was the epitome of non-linear.  The entire run was told as a present day flashback.  I know, it sounds hweird (“c’mon that one doesn’t even have an ‘h’ in it!”-Yes, I’m stealing a Family Guy bit, cause it’s funny.).  The story consisted of the Black Panther’s government liaison telling his boss what had happened.  Just about every issued had the boss asking: “So, that’s when blank happened?”  To which he would reply: “No.  That didn’t happen until blank did blank.”, referencing another event that had yet to be told.  It was great, and incredibly funny.  One of the best things about it was that it didn’t flow in just one direction.  It would move backwards, and forwards, and occasionally sideways, without losing the reader.  You’re being told current events by way of flashbacks, without knowing how long ago the events took place for the person telling it.  You have no idea of the true end result, or how soon everything will catch up.  I loved it. 

            Back to me.  Nevermind Over Matter was written in 3 stages.  I had written the beginning, the middle and the end separately.  I had actually written the end before I had the beginning.  It just came to me that way.  Then I went and bridged the pieces together.  It’s freaky, but it happens.  Writing these blogs are pretty much the only thing I do in order.  I try and treat them as a free flowing stream of consciousness.  Cue opening line from Prince’s 1999.  

            Random thought.  What do you think would happen if Benjamin Button had the brain thing like the guy from Memento?  I think I smell a comedy starring Seth Rogen.   

 

Jerale C

Mindseyechronicles@comcast.net

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             Before you ask, yes this is another Quantum Leap reference.  Let me preface.  I’m a child of pop culture.  Imagine Quentin Tarantino minus a pot of coffee and slightly more obscure, and you’ve got me.  Anyone who’s ever talked to me in a general conversation will tell you that some of the most random things are know to fly out of my mouth (conversation wise).  This isn’t a conscious thing, it just happens.  Something someone says will trigger an automatic response.  Usually this comes in the form of a quote from a movie.  I fully understand that even my friends only catch about 75%, at best, of what I say, and like everyone else, they just nod and smile at the rest.  So, how does Dr. Sam Beckett work into all this?  Well, my mind works like his string theory.   Being that if my thought pattern is a piece of string, and you take it and ball it up, all the intersecting areas are in some way relative to the overall message.  Whether this is simple conversation, or a story I’m writing.  This is how the randomness just pops in out of the blue.  My head is all cross town traffic and cloverleaf interchanges.  Cue Coldplay’s Twisted Logic

            I honestly can’t help it.  It’s not something I even try to do.  I often describe myself as: “a fountain of useless information.”  If it makes no sense and has no bearing on anything, then it’s trapped in my noggin.  I almost tossed in a Demolition Man “Be well.” into a work e-mail last week.  Now that’s “nuckin’ futs.”  I think part of it is because I use these references to help relate people to what I’m talking about.  I use them as the easiest way to illustrate my point.  Unfortunately, it’s gotten to the point where I’m not always clear.  But, it’s all relative.  I can have a conversation with K-Mac and toss in a Pulp Fiction or Jackie Brown reference, and he immediately knows what I’m talking about.   “Hey, you going to a slumber party, or something?”  Inside joke.  If he ever read this, he’d bust out laughing, honest.  It’s true, my friends don’t read my posts.  ‘cept you, Jadie.  “Now I feel sad.  Sad llama.” 

            So, why not change it?  Cause I don’t want to.  It’s okay that nobody gets every little thing that I say.  I’m not trying to take the Necronomicon off the altar, I’m just having a casual conversation.  It’s not like I’m delivery a speech to the president, and start spouting lines from Boogie Nights.  “I’m a superstar!  I’m a superstar!” 

            Sometimes I just make stuff up on the fly.  At those times, it can be hard to keep up with me. 

            I know this wasn’t as helpful as I said it might be, but it’s kinda hard to follow my own mental bread crumbs into my subconscious.  I see you nodding with a smile.  It’s okay. 

 

Jerale C

Mindseyechronicles@comcast.net

 

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