Dithering


And Then, Aliens Attack

Recovering from a stomach bug of some kind, so this may be a bit more rambly than usual.

(photo taken in happier times, pre-stomach bug)
I’m working on something that I can’t really talk about yet, because it far and away from a done deal, but I am very, very excited about it. The editor has been very encouraging and helpful with the project as a whole, with only one real note.

Y’see, there’s a point in every story where, right after your lead Does Brave Things, that you get to choose what kind of story you’re writing. A genre fiction story, be it about wise-cracking gumshoes or space wizards wielding laserswords, functionally ends after the Brave Thing is done. Sure, there may be a medal ceremony or a dance party, but the story is over. I’ve been reading a bunch of Spenser books while rocking Wednesday to sleep, and while there is often lip service given to the fallout that Spenser will have deal with following the various illegal things he did in his dogged search for the truth, we never see it. The story ends when the problem is solved.

Literary fiction, for lack of a better term, is all about what comes after Doing Brave Things (well, that and also money). Doing Brave Things may lead to an emotional peak, but we have to deal the consequences of those actions. Not only that, we want to deal with those consequences. That’s why we showed up. If we wanted everything tied up in a bow, we would have picked up a detective story.

This might be why so many people seemed upset with Luke’s characterization in THE LAST JEDI. There is a sincere argument to be had that despite it’s clear devotion to the visuals of the previous films, THE LAST JEDI’s meditations on failure and communal effort over swashbuckling heroism has little to with the pulp fantastic that was STAR WARS stock in trade. Luke’s story ended after he forgave Darth Vader and they killed the Emperor. To have him continue to grow and change after that feels like a different style of fiction. Because that’s what defines a peice of genre fiction: it knows when to stop.

But, back to my point, the editor had one note. I really like these characters, I really like this story, I wanted good things to happen. I subconsciously decided not to write about what would happen after they Did Brave Things. So, I thought “Great, they do the Brave Thing, and then aliens attack. Story over!”

Needless to say, the editor was not as excited about the aliens attacking as I was (in my defense, it was appropriately foreshadowed). But this because she is looking for something more literary, but I, because I love those characters so, so much, wanted to do something more genre. So that I could get a—possibly unearned—happy ending.

And even I will admit that while “…and then aliens attack” is good ending, it’s not the best ending. And do these characters who I love so much that I wanted to keep them from harm, do they not deserve the best ending I can give them? Of course they do.

I have adjusted my mindset, and am now prepared to write the scenes that will make me sad, because, honestly, torturing characters is what makes them great. Even in genre stories. After all, even Robert B. Parker puts Spenser through a crisis of the soul once per novel.


On Alternate Realities

Wednesday has been helping me with novel revisions.

As a co-writer, she doesn’t offer much, but the company she provides far makes up for it.


Recent events–The Man In The High Castle TV show, Marvel’s Secret Empire crossover, current politics–have meant a lot of speculation of how the Nazi’s might have won WWII. I am hardly immune. As a lover of history, I’ve always been fascinated by the individual choices that lead to massive, world-wide changes. It’s amazing how the petty actions of a few can change the lives of the many.

For example, I’ve been studying the post-Civil War Reconstruction, and the ways pro-Confederacy ideals wormed their way into American society and government despite having lost the war is absolutely horrifying. We’re still dealing with it, over a hundred years later.

So, if I was going to pull a Nazis-Win scenario, that’s the one that makes the most sense. The ground war is won by the Allies, and everyone pats themselves on the back. But the Nazi ideas have already taken root, and America, rather than looking ashamedly away from the Japanese-American internment camps it put up during the war, decides to double-down on them. “This is why we won,” the rhetoric goes. “Our American purity must be protected.” So the camps are expanded, which turns out to be not a hard sell in an America that’s still has whites-only water-fountains…

There is, of course, an argument that the reality described above is not that “alternate” at all


Speaking of alternate realities, I got to get my fanfic on over at Quirk Books, talking about Galifreyans other than the Doctor, and the cosplay habits of fictional characters. Both are divinely silly and well worth your time.


New stuff over at the Patreon: a flash fiction about lingering, post-apocolyptic emotions called When The Cry Fades (read aloud as well, natch), and page 2 of the Secret Comic Project, where in I got to draw wolves and the inside of a diner.

Friday will see the 3rd page of the Secret Comic Project, and a weird little thing that I can only describe as “a Gothic Tale of the Library Returns Desk.”

If that’s your jam, consider being a supporter.


I’ve been a mother officially for a month now. Wednesday remains the chillest of all possible babies, a sign that she’s more of a fiendish plotter than a uncontrollable screamer. It is, after all, always the quiet ones.

What’s perhaps the most surprising about all of this is how natural it has all felt. As I was saying to JR, it’s not like there was a hole in our relationship that Wednesday has filled. Rather, it’s that she just snapped in right next to us, fitting into our irregular edges as well as we fit into each other.

It’s been really great to have her around. I foresee grand adventures with this, the third member of our party.

Good luck with the dragon.


I’ve Been Busy

The Voice of Free Planet X is currently on hiatus as JR and I prepare for the arrival of the third member of our party. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing things! For example, I’ve recently appeared on Chris Lester’s The Raven & The Writing Desk (episode already on the VFPX feed!), talking all about VFPX. We dig into how the stories come together, how I record, and what’s coming in Season 3.You’re going to want to listen.



A staple of my wardrobe recently has been this fantastic fox-eared hat. I’m currently involved in a DnD campaign run by none other than Christiana Ellis, playing a charming, con-artist rogue, Muugen the Magnificent, who got cursed to look like strange fox/monkey creature. One of my fellow adventurers is Starla Hutchton (Beyond The Wallers Chooch & Vivid Muse round out the party), and she gave me this hat for X-Mas. I’ve been wearing it on the regular ever since.

Now, if you read the above paragraph and thought “Jared playing DnD with Christiana, Starla, Chooch and Viv sounds great! I wish I could listen!” have I got news for you! You can! Christiana has been releasing our game as a podcast called “So Many Levels.” I think it’s a hoot, and I’ve got some great plans for Muugen’s journey going forward.


Additionally, I’ve been writing humor pieces for Quirk Books. I really should have shown you to these earlier, since more than a few of them are VFPX ideas that never quite developed into full episodes. Here’s the full list, up to today:

Frankenstein’s Support Group For Misunderstood Monsters
An Interview with Kilgore Trout
What if The X-Men Was A Gothic Novel
Narnia Real Estate Listings
Louisa May Alcott’s “The Fast & The Furious”
Jane Austen’s Birthday Haul
The Hundred-Acre Games
Jane Austen’s 21st Birthday Haul
A Christmas Caper
25 More Laws of Robotics
The Hobbit Inspired by Cormac McCarthy
Frankenstein’s Support Group For Misunderstood Monsters, Friday the 13th Edition
Quoth The Tweety Bird
Presenting “Mirrer,” The Wonderland Dating App
The Latest Headlines From OzFeed
“2 Great 2 Expectations” and Other Charles Dickens Sequels That Never Were
Time Machines, Ranked By Accuracy
Forgotten Fairy Tales
Ode to a Venusian Flurn
What If Les Miserables Was A DnD Game?
The Future of Celebrity Gossip
Dr. Seuss-Inspired Books About Modern Technology
St. Patrick Contemplates Driving Out The Snakes

I realize that’s a heaping helping of links to throw at you all at once. I’m going to attempt to make this blog a more regular thing, so that you’re alerted by where to experience my bits of weirdness in a more timely fashion.

Until then, good luck with the dragon.


J. Jonah Jameson Is Angry

JJJ
He’s angry about Spider-Man.

And that he’s getting older.

And that the rock stars of his youth are dead.

And that politics in this country are so messed up, utter clowns are considered viable candidates.

And he was out of eggs this morning.

And New York City smells like a sewer.

And his doctor thinks he might have gout, which is ridiculous, who has gout in this day and age?

And people keep calling him.

And it’s never anyone he wants to talk to.

And all he wants to do is be held, but no one understands that except his wife, and he’s buried enough loved ones to know how precious that is, but she’s at home, which might as well be a million miles away.

And that it’s going to be ANOTHER FIVE HOURS before he can relax in her arms because PARKER can’t take ONE GODDAMN PICTURE OF SPIDER-MAN COMMITTING A CRIME!!!

That’s why he’s angry.

Art by Scott Koblish