Chappie Movie is Crappie
I can’t recall ever having walked out of a movie theater before the movie ended–until yesterday when I tried to sit thru Chappie.
The movie is horrible. Save your money.
It’s set in 2016 and robot police are keeping the peace in Johannesburg, South Africa.
This robot …
I’m not even going to waste my time writing a full-length review.
- Hugh Jackman is a protagonist in this movie. I honestly can’t tell you if he was the biggest bad guy or not. There were so many people in this movie to not like.
- Dev Patel is kidnapped at the beginning by a group of low-lifes, but so long as he leaves Chappie, a robot, with them, he’s free to come and go. (Hey, if you’re ever kidnapped, that’s the kind of nappers to have.)
- Sigourney Weaver is the boss of Hugh Jackman. Is she a protagonist, shapeshifter, I don’t know.
- The low-lifes who kidnap Dev and Chappie, there’s not a lower Root Center chakras role that’s ever been on the screen than these three. We’re at the bottom of the food chain. And that woman’s squeaky voice. Kill me.
I don’t care how this movie ended. I don’t think I even got to the supreme ordeal midway through.
The only laugh I got out of this movie was the license plate of the bad guy’s car–FOKOFF….
Again, it’s bad. Save your money.
My friend Winton Blount III died in Montgomery, AL this morning at the age of 70.
In 1993, after working on the City Stages music festival in Birmingham, I interviewed with Winton the day after it ended in his Montgomery offices at the corner of the Boulevard and Vaughn Road. That week in Birmingham, I’d befriended Guy McCullough and the night before, he’d seen me with my golf cart piled high with coolers, hoses, extension cords and the like, trying to save equipment from walking off. When Winton and I finished talking, he said, “I want you to meet my creative political consultant,” and through the door walked Guy.
Those next 13 months of life changed me in many ways. From Guy’s influence, I bought my first laptop computer and got a PCMCIA card–a modem, that was sporting a whopping 14.4 mbps when connected to a phone line and CompuServe. Guy and I exchanged email in those days when we talked about things for the campaign.
Thanksgiving of 1993, we went on air with a 60-second commercial of Winton wanting to take back the state from the career politicians who had been at the trough of government for decades. At rallies, we even had a wooden trough on wheels that squeaked louder than anything so as to turn heads when it came down the hall.
Winton’s favorite Chik-Fil-A sandwich? One chik, no pic.
He had a driver, a former Montgomery police officer named Jim who drove around a van we traveled the state in. It even had a fax machine in it in those days. We drove from one end of the state to the other in those 13 months.
There were many days we were in the lead. Then former Gov. Fob James switched parties and entered the race. Then former state Sen. Ann Bedsole entered the race. (And just as Word did then, when you type Bedsole, it changes it to Bedsore.)
Winton came in third in the Republican primary in 1994. We lost. The final weekend, Ann Bedsole went on TV with video of her picking up a grandchild. We had been ready to do a spot showing how in 197X Ann voted for a bill that would have allowed drug peddlers, child molesters and rapists to go home for the holidays for Christmas. We’d even looked into buying the rights to “I’ll be Home for Christmas.” But Ann went soft, and negative, and it was too late to do anything about it.
We were ready election night to use Van Halen’s RIGHT NOW as a theme song to carry the campaign forward. The song still resonates in my mind. Of course, Chris Roberts at The Birmingham News was poised to also point out the song was from the album For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, which if you take the first letters of each of the four words spells…..
I rode with Winton after the primary to some event he’d agreed to do in Dothan. Every time he saw one of his campaign signs along the road he cussed. I probably did, too.
He handed me off after his loss to work for Gov. Fob James’ campaign. I gave Gov. James my dedication while serving him, while a certain craphead woman in Birmingham accused me of being a Blount man in the heart of the James administration. Bitch. I was honest. I fought hard for my job. You still suck, Bettye.
In 1995, Winton got a number of Democrats to switch parties. He staged a rally on the steps of the Capitol and like I’d been taught to do, recorded the event. Winton gave a glowing endorsement of Fob. Afterward, I called Winton’s life-long friend and consultant, Lawrence Bear and told him what I had. That wound up being a commercial, a soft one, we ran at the end of a brutal runoff election between Fob and Winton in 1998.
There were those who wanted me to engage in rumor mongering about Winton during the 1998 campaign. I refused.
Winton and his then wife, Lucy, and I all were together again in late 1998 campaigning for Fob. It was nice to be around them. Lucy even featured me in a book she’d written about the campaign–it’s a rocky road, but there’s a rainbow in sight, was the title of the book. I still have my copy.
In 1999, Winton hired me to shoot video of the Blount Family reunion in Union Springs. I was nervous. I didn’t know how my presence would be taken. But alas, later in the evening, I was sitting in a building out back and Stuart, Winton’s only daughter, walked in and gave me the warmest of greetings, a hug, and made me feel like nothing had been changed by the previous four years. It was one of the most relieving events of my life.
It’s been since before 2001 when I left Alabama that I’ve talked to Winton. I won’t get into why. I reached out to him a couple of times in the years gone by but nothing in return happened.
Today, I’m told, he passed away in his sleep. Tonight, he will join our mutual friend, Lawrence Bear, and the former Mayor of Montgomery, Emory Folmar, no doubt in the Buck’s Pocket of Heaven. And Lordy what a party that shall be.
Lucy Dunn Blount once told me in 1993 that “Winton will be just as good a friend to you in 20 years as he is today.” That’s how I remember him. That laugh he had. The jokes he would tell–(Lord, for his opening interview with Phil Rawls of the AP in 1993, Winton told a joke about the Fugawee Indians and I almost fainted. If you don’t know it, a lone tribe of Indians used to wander the Great Plains and every once in a while they’d pop their heads up from the corn and look around and say, ‘Where the fugawee?!'” Phil was a deacon in his church….)
He didn’t die a rich man from the accounts I’m hearing. Not of earthly wealth, but I certainly admired him for what he tried to do to continue to make positive changes in Alabama and for that, to me, that makes him one of the richest people I could ever hope to know. He will be missed and my heart is filled with sadness.
One last thought. In the 1990s, Winton used to have the National Geographic map of the universe at the top of this post on his conference room wall. He called it his “It Just Doesn’t Matter” picture. It shows where we are in the scheme of things in the universe. He said when people tried to get him down about life’s problems he referred to this picture because a problem compared to the immensity of the universe … It just really isn’t going to matter in the long run. Such a great thought to keep in mind.
AT&T Rollover Plan Pisses Me Off
I have two teen daughters who live with their mother who lives in the middle of nowhere and doesn’t have wifi. So when my two daughters’ phones renew each month, they start watching YouTube videos and God knows what else until we start getting warnings from AT&T about how they’re going to charge me $15 for every gig they go over on our plan. And trust me, I’m paying out the ass on how much I pay for a lot of data each month.
Used to be I could use the Parental Limits portion of my plan to throttle their data consumption. But that was working to well and AT&T wasn’t making rip off money hand over fist, so they deleted it. One of their sales guys told me it was getting too hard for them to manage. Bullshit. They’re the freaking technology company. Don’t tell me in this day and age they can’t make something like that work and work well.
Now, the way AT&T works, you can either just turn data off or on for a phone on your plan.
And I’ve had to up the data on the plan so that I can actually have data when I move around town or the country and NEED it. I can’t limit my daughter’s phones so that when they get to X level, their phones stop.
And so now, AT&T is going to, out of the kindness of their hearts, start rolling over any data we have left at the end of a month.
Well, if we ever have any left, that will be a nice thing. And since it won’t ever happen, well, then it’s meaningless to me. Other than serving as an aggravation to the fact that too freaking much of my money goes to AT&T each month. It’s enough to make me gag and want throw up every time the cellular and the home account bills are due. UVerse, Internet for the home, and cellular phones. It’s disgusting and AT&T isn’t doing anything but racking in money I don’t have and now they’re just making me angry.
The new McDonald’s commercial, Archenemies, is a great 60-second spot all aspiring writers should watch again and again.
They say a story is only as good as the battle going on between the protagonist and the antagonist. That’s the battle between the good guy and the bad guy. If a writer fails to establish a significant level of contrast, the story will be boring.
The new commercial from McDonald’s helps by showing iconic archenemies, but the twist is the premise that McDonald’s food is so good, even these guys can put things aside and enjoy a drink, fries, chicken nuggets or a burger.
We may not all be fortunate to create black and white, good and evil, iconic good guys and bad guys as they are portrayed here in the McDonald’s commercial, but we should all endeavor to portray such opposing relationships in what we write if we are wanting to write good, solid fiction. Otherwise, we are not being true to the art of storytelling.
If the difference between your protagonist and antagonist isn’t as vividly clear as the one between Batman and Penguin, the postman and a dog, Dorothy and the Wicked Witch, donkeys and elephants, and on, then you really need to spend a little more time raising the stakes of your story and more clearly establishing what it is the protagonist is wanting and what the antagonist is fighting with all of his or her might to prevent.
McDonald’s did a great job of magnifying the differences of these archenemies and the power of their food in being able to unite foes. But ask yourself where literature would be if knights and dragons, and coed swimmers and sharks were ever able to get along?
McDonald’s please keep selling your food. For those of us writing, don’t forget your story goes nowhere if your protagonist and antagonist aren’t duking it out for something bigger than french fries.
It’s been a depressing sort of weekend. With Christmas Day Thursday, and daughter Chandler’s 18th birthday to follow Friday, I went ahead and removed our trees and decorations Thursday evening. Yeah, Christmas night everything came down and was boxed up in hopes I’m still alive to unpack it and put it all back up again next November.
At 49-years-old, I probably should not begin to wonder if I’ll be around for another Christmas, but there are some things that are deeply troubling me that just make 362 days from now seem like they’re an eternity away.
While I was packing things up, I even considered writing myself a note of congratulations in hopes that I’m around to read it next year and maybe tell myself that I shouldn’t do that again. But that seemed a little too morbid.
There’ve been some significant family losses the past few months. I lost my grandmother and a brother-in-law. Last week my youngest daughter was in a one-car accident where she very well could have gone through the windshield and into a tree the driver hit at a moderate rate of speed. That’s made me think a lot lately about the frailty of life and at Christmas when family members are missing, well….
Thing I Do Want To Do Differently For Christmas 2015
Friday night at 1 a.m. the power went out for several miles around. Maycee and I got up and walked the complex to see if it was a local accident or something else. Apparently, it wasn’t a drunk hitting the power units on our main road. But I came to realize that I’m tired of a Christmas tree with static white lights and red balls. That’s really been my Christmas Tree set up since at least 1988 and it occurred to me that that’s gotten a little tired.
My mom always used to hate blinking lights on a tree. And then I discovered white lights and moved completely away from the multi-color strings.
So next year, I’m thinking that at least on one of our trees, I want to try multi-color lights with a few blinkers.
Things I Learned During Christmas 2014
Andy Williams sings The Most Wonderful Time of the Year and he mentions the telling of ghost stories. Huh? Well, my Aunt Lynda said to Google it and leave to the Victorians, but yes, they would actually tell “scary ghost stories” at Christmas, not just at Halloween.
Did you know the guy who wrote Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas was from Birmingham, AL, and Judy Garland at first refused to sing the song as originally written? I think I actually read that last year, but for you trivia buffs, it’s still a valid fact.
And Speaking of Christmas Songs….
How on earth did John Cougar Mellenhead’s I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus and Bruce Springstein’s Santa Claus is Coming to Town become songs that SiriusXM and commercial radio decided they need to play every 10 minutes on the radio at Christmas? Mannheim Steamroller is in that mix, too. My gosh, there are so many Christmas songs. These get worn out before Christmas season even gets close. I’ve gotten to where I just turn off the radio when either Bruce or Mellencamp come on.
And Kelly Pickler can’t sing the word “Bag.” It comes out “Bahaagg.”
The worst thing about Christmas music to me is how many songs are about not being with the person you love for Christmas. It’s bad enough when that really happens. If you turn on the radio, you get it over and over and over. It has made it worse this Christmas.
That North Texan, Kelly Clarkson’s Underneath the Tree has to be my new favorite Christmas song of 2014.
When I was a kid in Northern Michigan, I didn’t know I was going to spend so many more years of my life in California, Alabama and Texas where the idea of a White Christmas is something in a song sung by Bing Crosby. The Weather Channel has been toying with the idea of freezing rain here in DFW for New Year’s Eve, but the odds are minute.
To me, Christmas just doesn’t seem to be the same without a mantel of white to cover up the ugliness of the world. Maybe that’s what it is in my mind because I know there are tough aspects in the road ahead.
I wish you all the best for the coming year. Please pray for my family and I shall do the same for yours. We’re all going in so many different directions. I hope and pray we can all celebrate the holidays together again next year. But down deep, I know that’s not really possible. Even if we come together, we will all be so very different from life’s experiences the next 362 days.
Remember when we were kids and didn’t realize when Santa asked Rudolph to use his nose to help him through the Christmas Eve fog, that clouds weren’t encircling the entire planet all at once? Yeah, life just isn’t that simple. But it’d be nice if it was.
Merry Dec. 4, 2014. Is Christmastime just a day for you at the end of the month or do you celebrate throughout December? I often find that Dec. 23 and 24 get here so fast that I’ve largely trudged through each day of the month as though it didn’t count.
Terminal cancer patients often seem to be in touch with their mortality. Those of us without it tend to take our days for granted. Do you ever think about how numbered they actually are and they’re not to be forsaken? I’m trying to keep things, get things, into better perspective this holiday season.
There is much I could sit and pine about, but there are so many more blessings God has put in my life to be thankful for. I need to spend more time counting them than the things that are wrong.
I hope you are free of mind to do the same. God bless you.
Go make it a great day. Every day you live is one less you’ll be here for….
This morning I began something new. Morning Pages. They came at the behest of Julie Cameron, the author of The Artist’s Way, a book that’s been referred to multiple times now in the work I’m doing in the SMU Writer’s Path program.
Morning Pages are simple. You wake up. You grab a pen and you’re then to write out three pages in long-hand about whatever it is that pops into your head. There is no right. There is no wrong. There is no editing. No review. No one, not even yourself, are supposed to read what’s written. The exercise is done purely to free one’s mind of the gunk that’s collected there that’s blocking the way to creative thinking. Pure. Simple. So far, mid-day, it feels like it’s working. At least once I got up from the desk this morning, I felt like I’d left a lot of baggage on the page and emptied it from my mind.
Then came a walk with Maycee. Actually, my Morning Pages contain multiple references to her whining and begging to go out. She’d already been out. So I was compelled to let her on to the porch. Nope. More whining. More writing. More whining. Back inside. Then she went to the front door and rang the Christmas bells that are hanging from the knob. Maycee is now six months old and those bells only were put there last Wednesday. Thursday, the twins, Reagan and Haley, I’m told because I didn’t witness it, trained her to ring the bell with her nose. That she’s learned to do that, I can testify. When she needs to go out and poop, it’s ring, ring, ring.
After a second trip out this morning, I completed my Morning Pages. I didn’t go back and read them. I went on with my day, which now led to another trip to the potty area for dogs, and then Maycee and I left out on our usual morning stroll of at least one-mile’s length before 8 a.m.
Done with that, shaved and showered, I got in the car and headed to meet with my mentor, Ron Rose. You see, I’m at a stuck point in the development of The Privacy Patriots, the novel I’ve been trying to develop over the course of 2014. I gathered up a couple of notebooks I keep working through, grabbed a laptop and iPad and out the door I went, promising to be there by 9.
Traffic on 635 was a mess, so I wound up running parallel to I-30 west until Dolphin Street. Made it through the Canyon and on the other side, began to realize I was actually going to make it to our rendezvous point early. And then the car stalled. It apparently went into “Limp Mode.” A design feature to keep serious damage from happening to the engine.
By 9:20 my car was attached to a tow truck and headed from whence I’d just come, back to Mesquite. By 9:44 a.m., the time OnStar’s people said the truck would be at the spot of origin to get me, we were pulling into the repair shop.
The shop, one I told the tow truck driver I use because it’s so quick, is backed up. They have about three or four jobs in front of mine. So Bruce, the owner of the shop, dropped me here back at home.
And instead of going and talking to my mentor, discussing, hashing and rehashing, God revealed to me another plan.
You see it was yesterday that another now very significant mentor in my life, Author Suzanne Frank, told me to go do something besides trying to work on my book. She said to go trim the tree. (I didn’t write her back and let her know there are already three up.) She said to bake something. But to get away from my book and let my mind wander a bit.
And so I began reading Week One’s section in The Artist’s Way.
When I did all but about three of the first week’s exercises, I turned my chair from the desk, leaned my head back and closed my eyes and said a prayer.
I Am A Brilliant And Prolific Writer
I wrote in a notebook the following sentence:
I, Donald J. Claxton, am a brilliant and prolific writer.
And then I wrote it out again. Eight more times I repeated this function for a total of 10.
And as I wrote, I began to hear little voices saying, “No you’re not.” “You fool.” “If you’re so good, why haven’t you published anything significant yet? Your 49th birthday is Saturday. What the hell have you been waiting for? Lunch?”
I wrote those things down, too.
And then I identified people, “Monsters” the book refers to them, in the past, who might have called me things like that or said things about my writing that was negative. And then I identified positive people and positive things that have been said about my writing.
There are a couple of more exercises I need to do for the first week. And I will do them another day. Tomorrow, I will get up, scribble some thoughts about hopes and prayers the car gets repaired and isn’t going to cost a lot of money, money I don’t have, to get on the road again.
Tomorrow I have a writing class at SMU that I missed in November because of a family tragedy back in Alabama. Now, at the moment, even being there tomorrow night feels like it’s in jeopardy.
But I have to firmly believe as I sit here at this writing and believe that the same God who made sure I took some time today to be still, to think, to not think, to just meditate and breathe in the good and the bad of life, is going to make sure tomorrow works itself out, too. Perhaps if the day had gone some other way, I’d be upset about all this.
Something tells me already today’s first week lesson has already taken hold on my heart.
My own family has been going through a painful trial the past few weeks, the details of which I will not go into. But it has been a time for prayer, consoling, and unconditional loving. In today’s age when dysfunctional families are more the norm than the exception, that seems like something nearly impossible.
I am directly copying (below) advice from another counseling friend, Dr. Harold Duncan of Preston Place Counseling in Dallas. This came from his recent post and email entitled “A Word About The Holidays.”
This is sage and safe advice. As we all know, there seem to be some in most every family who wear their feelings on their sleeves, just waiting for someone to come along and bump into them and give them new reason for aggression and resentment. So here are Harold’s suggestions:
1. Slow down
- Take time to think about what is really going on–the significance of the season.
- Gifts are a form of communication. Consider what you are saying by means of your gift.
- The most meaningful gifts are not necessarily the most expensive.
3. Pay attention to your health.
- Monitor what you eat and drink. Focus on moderation.
- Get enough rest and relaxation.
4. Plan ahead-avoid overloading your schedule–decide to say “no” to some of what is expected of you.
- Set and stick to you own realistic limits.
- Don’t commit to more than you can handle.
- If traveling, allow yourself plenty of time.
5. Make your own plans–do not defer all your time to others.
- Make plans to do something you enjoy.
- Make plans to be with people you enjoy.
- Say “no” if you don’t want to do something.
6. Allow yourself to feel sadness and grief when appropriate.
- Say a special prayer or memorial for a loved one, make a keepsake ornament, reminisce and don’t deny the grief or pain you may experience.
7. Don’t use the holidays for family therapy.
- This is not a good time to work on your spouse’s attitude or your mother-in-law’s sharp tongue.
- People are probably not going to change much–especially during the holidays.
- Courtesy is usually a very important priority.
8. Consider volunteering some of your time to help others.
- Take clothes to a homeless shelter.
- Serve food to the needy.
- Provide gifts to a child.
9. If your “holiday blues” don’t lift after a few weeks, seek help.
- Feelings of depression and anxiety that are moderate to severe and long-lasting may be signs of an illness that should be discussed with your physician or counselor.
Be safe out there traveling. Take lots of pictures. And keep love in your heart. We’re all only here for a whisper of time. Make the most of every breath, during the holidays and throughout the rest of each year as well.
God Bless you all.
Several of my friends posted on my Facebook wall Saturday p.m. about how distraught I must have been about Auburn losing to Texas A&M. I really was not.
Truth is, I didn’t even watch the game, and for that matter, haven’t sat beginning to end for an entire collegiate game all season.
I’ve had other things going on.
Namely, I’ve continued to use every available moment to work on my first novel project, what I’m calling, The Privacy Patriots.
So what was I doing most of Friday evening, nearly all day Saturday and three hours on Sunday?
My homework, prescribed by Author Suzanne Frank from Southern Methodist University.
I was binge watching, the HBO series, The Newsroom. Yes, from about 1:30 p.m. Friday until 10 a.m. Sunday, I watched all 19 episodes of Season 1 and 2, and then at 8 p.m Sunday night, watched the first episode of Season 3.
WHY THE NEWSROOM?
I’d never heard of the show before Thursday night’s class at SMU with Suzanne.
As class was beginning, she handed back 36 pages of 12 scenes involving my lead character, Kip Rippin. The exercise was designed to learn about what 12 major events had shaped him before the book begins. We were supposed to develop things that made him weak, strong, wounded, needing to change; the guy he is when we meet him on Oct. 13, 2016 in the newsroom of the fictional media blend of TV, radio and print called The Washington Broadcaster.
On the cover page of my submission was a note from Suzanne: “PS: you need to watch ‘The Newsroom’ especially this final season.”
Suzanne cautioned me about binge watching. “Every show is so intense.”
And is it ever. From the beginning scenes you’re sucked into an emotional roller coaster with multiple character archetypes and storylines.
Twenty hours of viewing later, I’m a much different person than I was Friday morning. I’m a much different budding author and writer, too, as I’ve seen some excellent examples of what I need to be planning and revising in my own characters. Not to make them like Will, Mac, Maggie, Jim, Don, Sloan (BTW, how in the hell does Aaron Rogers from the Packers wind up with a girl like that?) Charlie, and Neal, but to give them places to grow and develop in the pages I have yet to compose and then revise a dozen times before they hopefully appear printed before your eyes.
HBO has a great show on its hands. Regrettably, there are only five more episodes to go before the series is over and the character arcs are completed. The important thing about this new season is that Neal, one of the techies in the show, is now entangled in a mess with an Edward Snowden type of character, much like my Kip Rippin is in The Privacy Patriots. Naturally, my storyline isn’t going to be like the Newsroom and the premises between the show and my work are completely different, aside from involving whistleblowers. The richer experience for me, no matter how the Whistleblower storyline goes, is an example on making characters come to life, play off each other, and live rich lives in the conflict that’s created in their tiny world of a cable newsroom in New York City.
I can’t wait to see how the next five episodes go. But more importantly, I can’t wait to see where my own characters go because of the experience of watching excellent storytelling on TV.
For much of my life I have been in love with writing. If you jump over to TraverseAdventures.com, you’ll see a reference to the window at 208 Fortress Street on what was KI Sawyer AFB, in Gwinn, Michigan. From that window of opportunity, I would sit at my kidney bean desk and a children’s typewriter and construct stories.
Admittedly, I long have had a problem in my writing. I like people and dislike controversy so much, I found it hard to create characters who I began to care for and then needed to throw every sort of imaginable adversity in their way to make a compelling tale. As I told the class I was in at SMU over the summer, “I hated to skewer my characters.” Essentially, however, that’s what makes a good story; one worth reading, one that has something to say.
My life has changed drastically over the past four years. I have had a lot of bad things happen to me emotionally, physically and any other kind of -ly you can come up with to where I’ve been able to punch through what I didn’t have in me before. I’ve experienced how bad things happen to people that shouldn’t, how nutty and dishonest people can wreck one’s life. I’ve witnessed how mean and disingenuous people really can be. Disillusioned now, I have seen how the truth has so little to do with what goes on in court rooms, and how jealous, greedy and evil some people really can be. I’ve seen what demise the use of meth can bring about to a person and their family. Ultimately, I’ve learned to put new value in the simpler things in life.
Christopher Vogler‘s The Writer’s Journey
There are two upcoming classes at SMU I look forward to beginning the next two weeks. One is called Story, a five-week class that features the book The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler. The second is a class called, “Stakes,” which is a two-session class designed to help writers “raise the stakes” their characters will endure in a work.
I’ve begun reading Vogler’s work, which also led me to Barnes and Noble yesterday to purchase Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With A Thousand Faces. Vogler wraps a lot of what he has to stay around the works of Campbell, which are largely based on premises of Freud and Jung–and as much as modern psychology has undone the concepts they put forward years and years ago, I have to wonder about some of what Campbell says–but I’m enjoying the aspects of what Vogler has put forward. But Campbell also dissects the essential elements of what stories have been about for thousands of years of recorded human history, largely through myths. Volger and Campbell’s contention is that stories, even today, are still deeply rooted in the tales of yesteryear and will be until the end of time.
At this writing, I’ve only ingested the first part of the book but it has been exceedingly insightful into the essential elements of the characters a successful work theoretically should contain.
Of course, a story needs a hero. But then there are certain other foke that a hero must get help from, or be opposed by, to make a good story work. I highly recommend this book already. Yes, I’m still a fan of Bob McKee’s STORY, but Vogler is able to say things in some ways that are simpler to comprehend than McKee.
The Privacy Patriots Progress Update
For the Stakes class, yesterday, each of us in class were to have sent in two chapters of our work, and a 12-point plan for our “hero’s journey.” That’s a dynamic spelled out in the Vogler book where the progress of a story is broken down into 12 logical steps from setting the stage of the hero’s ordinary world, getting called to go on an adventure, refusing to go, meeting with a mentor, crossing the first threshold or point of no return, going through tests, meeting allies and fending off enemies, to approaching the lair of the biggest enemy, the ordeal, getting the reward or seizing the sword, the road back, the resurrection or climax, and then the return with the elixir.
Essentially, any good tale is going to have all of those elements, not necessarily in that order, but they will be contained in the work to make it compelling to read or watch.
In some ways, it almost ruins the reading or watching of books or movies, because instead of concentrating on the content of the story, I’m now more mindful of which element is in play and where. The trick of all writers though is to make the tale so compelling, that while one might be aware of those elements, the reader is still captivated.
So I’ve begun the process of writing the book. The two chapters I sent in were a prologue–which many books argue is out of fashion today, but if you go to the book store and pick up a book, it’s still likely to have one–and then blocks of what’s theoretically going to happen in establishing the “ordinary world” of my primary characters.
This past summer, along with massive client projects, I’ve managed to build some in-depth character profiles for each person in my book. And now, almost as if I were a character in a story about writing a book, I’ve been given my call to adventure (START WRITING IT WILL YA?!) and in part, answered it metaphorically with, “I’m not ready.”
My two instructors over the next six weeks are going to be the “meetings with the mentors” to get me further down the road with this tale I so desire to tell. It’s time to skewer some characters and make them hurt before helping them emerge on the other side, stronger, better and more human because of it. Much like the last four years has done to me.