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Tag Archives: Game of Thrones.

Just wanted to gloat.

ūüėÄ

Okay, that’s enough. ¬†Back to work for me.

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean

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Greetings, Bearers,

I have yet another theory to throw into the already seething and stewing pot of various theories surrounding George R.R. Martin’s beloved Game of Thrones series, one which I have yet to have heard.

We know that the Night King (based on the TV show) was created by the Children of the Forest, right?  And, it seems to be that it is through the Night King that the White Walkers have come into existence.

Therefore, I submit this theory: If the Night King is killed, would that essentially end the White Walkers?  What if it was only necessary to kill him and not wipe out the entire army of White Walkers and wights?

Food for thought. ¬†And if I end up being right, you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll be bragging about it, seeing as how I have not yet seen this idea be presented anywhere else.

So there.

And this is to George R.R. Martin: I know you don’t tend to read fan theories, but if you happen to read this, I hope to be half the writer you are, sir. ¬†You have a God-given talent for this craft, one that stands head and shoulders above everybody else. ¬†You are Tolkien’s heir to fantasy writing.

As for everybody else, see you in the Vein!

J. Dean.

(And now my watch is ended)

Greetings, Bearers!

Before getting to the heart of my post, I wanted to let you know that Bastards’ Road, my short story set in the Game of Thrones universe, has been posted to fanfiction.net. ¬†Click here to check it out and please support this cool site!

Okay, on to my post. While this is not something I haven’t talked about before, I’m going to make a fairly strong statement about it now, and make it clearer than ever. ¬†If you are a writer, and you want to write a great story, do yourself and all of us a big favor: write a good story. ¬†What I mean by that is that the purpose of the story is the story. ¬†It’s meant to entertain, to take your audience on a rollercoaster ride on a track of plot, character development, action, and emotional contact. After their eyes finish skimming the last word on the last page, the people who read your work should be setting it down with the satisfaction of having read something that they loved, much like a person who sits and eats a perfectly portioned, perfectly flavored meal. They should have loved the story, should have loved each high and low that you took them on, and they should have eagerly anticipated the climax while being reluctant to get there because they’re enjoying the ride so much.

In a nutshell, it’s about a good story, period. It’s ALWAYS about a good story.

But when you sacrifice telling a good story for the sake of exalting your worldview or your politics, or because you want the story to be more about your ideology than the composition and construction of characters that are colorful and fully developed, you’re killing the story. ¬†And you shouldn’t be surprised when somebody doesn’t like that.

The joy of the story comes in the putting together of something that weaves creativity with a point of contact that reaches as many people as possible. ¬†Take, for example, the Beatles song “I am the Walrus” written by John Lennon. Lennon basically wrote the song because he learned that a teacher in his old school was having students analyze the lyrics to Beatles songs, which inspired him to put together the nonsensical and gibberish-laden piece now immortalized as one of the more popular tunes on the Magical Mystery Tour album.

By his own admission, Lennon was just having fun with it. The song isn’t about anything. Yet when combined with the musical orchestration and other little “surprises” in the song supplied by the Beatles and George Martin, the song is now one of the Beatles’ most popular. ¬†Why? Because it’s a well-crafted song, not because the lyrics have any “deep, hidden” meaning to them (Sadly, even though Lennon himself indicated that the song is ultimately about nothing, there are still “intellectual” people who refuse to take his word for it and insist that there is more to the song, thus ruining it via literary deconstruction).

Now, Lennon–who in his later years was certainly more politically volatile and outspoken–could have simply written something more straightforward about the whole matter in a more activistic manner and put together lyrics that would have been a bit more poignant (for a more extreme example, see Guns ‘n Roses’ “Get in the Ring”). But Lennon didn’t. ¬†He made it about the song and the enjoyment of artistically crafting a well-composed piece. And while he “addressed” the matter of lyrical analysis. He did it in a way that still made it about simply sitting down to listen to good music first. Lennon did not sacrifice good music for the sake of an issue; he wrote good music and in the process dealt with the issue in his own, humorous way.

In another manner, the same thing could be said about J.R.R. Tolkien and his epic “Lord of the Rings” series. Tolkien despised allegory, preferring “applicability” instead. Tolkien’s characters, plots, and themes might have had applications which could have been used (my particular favorite being that of the One Ring and its application to the lust for power), but the story of Frodo’s trek from the Shire to Mount Doom is just that: a story. Tolkien essentially wanted to take people on an adventure, not primarily to make a point about war or politics or society. If there was any influence from Tolkien’s political or religious beliefs (he was, after all, a devout Catholic), it was more or less incidental to the point. The point was the story, not the commentary on societal issues that might or might not be gleaned from its elements.

What this comes to is the modern idea that everything has to be seen through a political worldview. This has come to light especially in the last few years, in light of the fiasco that was “Gamergate” and the release of the horrendous¬†Ghostbusters¬†reboot which generated controversy, and now arising again with concerns about the female Doctor being introduced in the upcoming Doctor Who series and the characterizations put into play in the new¬†Star Wars films (I’ll include links on these below, in case you’re not familiar with what’s going on in each of these).

Now here’s the crux of the matter: hold whatever political or societal viewpoint you wish: it’s a free country (and I hope a free place where you live if you’re outside of the U.S.). ¬†But when you turn your story into nothing more than a propaganda piece for your politics or worldview, or when you’re so attached to your worldview and politics that you think your story will suffer unless you stuff your worldview in there in such a way as to emblazon it across every key facet of your plot and character development, you will almost always inevitably kill your story and lose your audience.

As I’ve already run much longer with this post than I had intended, I’ll cut it short and leave the video links below to explain more. ¬†But the point is that you as an author must RESPECT THE STORY FIRST. You must make your story good, make your characters good (not necessarily morally, but appealing), make your fictional world good, and all will work out. ¬†But if you refuse to do this, if you refuse to alter your story in a good way because it may impede on your politics or activism, if you create a story, a movie, or a video game dominated by the fear of the “politically correct,” or if you refuse to respect the source material if you’re captitalizing on an already established scifi or fantasy world, then you’ll get what you deserve, and that’s negative press for turning your opportunity for creativity into a political sermon.

So there.

Whew! I hadn’t planned on writing that much, nor did I intend to make it quite so negative at the end. ¬†Be that as it may, sometimes you have to be negative in order to bring about a positive result, right? ūüėÄ

Okay, back to work.  In the meantime, check out these links below my sigline for futher thoughts. They illustrate the problems you get into when you make your agenda more important than your craft.

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean

Greetings, Bearers!

And now for the moment of truth. ¬†I’ve finished my Game of Thrones fanfic piece, and am bringing it to you for your enjoyment. ¬†This piece is called “Bastards’ Road,” and is a slice of life beyond King’s Landing¬†that takes place between the fourth and fifth seasons of the show, with three original characters. It’s down below, under my signature.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.  This was a particular pleasure for me to put together, and it was my attempt to create a scene beyond what we see in the novels and television show as to what might be happening in the land of Westeros.

Of course, please feel free to give me feedback. ¬†And if you liked it, it’s yours to take and pass along to others!

With that, I’m going to be steering the majority of my focus back toward writing the Vein novels (not that I haven’t at all, but I’ve divided my attention between the Vein and other things, including this short story). ¬† As it and other creations become finalized, I’ll let you know!

And once again, before I go, a big thank you to those who have been reading and enjoying my other works, including the new short story “Thread. Bare.” (see two posts below this one). ¬†It’s been getting some attention! ¬†Feel free to share your thoughts about it and anything else I’ve written with me, or with other people (even better!).

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean

Bastards’ Road:¬†GoTss

Greetings, Bearers!

Yes, I am alive! The family and I have been moving, so it’s been difficult for me to put up a blogpost. ¬†Sorry about that. ¬†Fortunately, moving will soon be done in the next couple of weeks, and now that I have internet for my Mac (after nearly seven months of internet limbo) I can start posting and writing more regularly.

In fact, I hope to have a special treat for you before the end of the summer. ¬†I’m working on a Game of Thrones fanfic piece (in addition to the other things I’m working on) and hope to have it ready for you to enjoy! ¬†I like writing fanfic pieces that delve into the lives of everyman characters in these worlds, perhaps to get a glimpse of what life might look like from the viewpoint of a commoner. ¬†It’s been fun to write, and I’m looking forward to showing it off once it’s done.

Anyway… writing is still going, even though the move has been a bit of an obstacle (write or have furniture? Write or install washer and dryer?). ¬†I’ve been stretching myself out with my college detective piece and the writing in The Vein, in addition to a little more nonfiction work. ¬†It’s busy, but it’s a blast.

Alright… back to work. ¬†And back to Westeros, before winter gets here!

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean

Greetings, Bearers!

So I and the family are back from vacation, a good week spent in San Diego. ¬†While I’m bummed that the opportunity to write did not present itself in the way I had hoped (that’s the irony of vacations for a writer: free time that prevents one from writing-at least in my case), it was a good, refreshing time for me. And… I have to admit, I can see why so many people are in love with California regarding its weather. ¬†Believe me, I wouldn’t mind going back down there! ¬†You California inhabitants living by Coronado beach have it made!

But, upon coming back and getting back into the swing of writing again, I couldn’t help but start off this blog post by commenting on the passing of James Gandolfini. ¬†The man was a good actor, and (based upon the accounts I’ve heard) a remarkable man to know. ¬†It’s a sad thing when anybody passes on, but it’s especially sad to see somebody pass on when they have made such a connection with the wider public in a way that Gandolfini did with the role of Tony Soprano. ¬†He took the role David Chase scripted and turned it into a masterpiece. ¬†Although Gandolfini did other roles of note (in particular I recall his role in the movie¬†8mm with Nicholas Cage), the mob boss of Jersey will always be looked upon as his crowning achievement. ¬†His presence on the silver screen and television will be sorely missed.

This also dovetails with what I’d like to write about in this week’s post concerning writing, and that’s the writing found in the television show The Sopranos. ¬†I’d like to take a little time and discuss that with you, particularly if you yourself are a writer (although non-writers will find this interesting as well, I trust).

One of the things you’ll notice about writing for movies or television is that it carries an extra facet of delivery not found in novel or story writing, and that’s the delivery presented through the visual medium of the actors as guided by the director. ¬†This can serve as a blessing or curse depending on the handling of the second part. ¬†For example, weak writing can sometimes be masked by strong performances or, in some cases, a barrage of visual effects, thus making the end package more presentable to the audience (and in my personal opinion delivering “chocolate covered garbage” as a final product). ¬†On the other hand, strong writing can be hampered by a director who does not understand the source material (or worse yet, who insists on doing it his/her way against the wishes of the writer) or by subpar acting, thus causing the audience to miss out on what could have been a very good presentation had the proper elements been put into place. ¬†In this sense, I really don’t envy screenwriters too much, as leaving one’s scripts to the mercy of Hollywood doesn’t always bring about the best results (If you want a more obscure but no less relevant example of this, go read Peter Benchley’s book Beast, which was superb, and then go watch the hideous ¬†made-for-TV movie that followed it several years later. ¬†You’ll see what I mean…).

With The Sopranos, however, David Chase delivered the best of both worlds, and did so with a standard and presentation that has influenced much of American television.  He pulled off the perfect mix, and it shows.  The actors through their characters bring his work to life, taking good stories and making them great onscreen presentations.  This show is an example of everything going right with regard to the creativity process, and should be a lesson for any aspiring producers and directors regarding the treatment and delivery of scripts.

But setting aside the acting performances for a moment, I want you to think about a few key things with me from a writing perspective, things that we should at the very least file in our memory cards and consider for our own craft.

First, listen to the conversations on The Sopranos. ¬†The verbal interactions sound like… well, everyday verbal interactions (minus the excessive f-bombs and other at times overdone profanity that I’m not fond of, along with the nudity/sex, but that’s beside the point, and also the reason I use the fast forward button ūüėÄ ). ¬†The characters talk like real people talk, and avoid the formulaic (and often predictable) manner in which lines are constructed and delivered in most other movies and television. ¬†Conversations get off topic. People get cut off in the middle of speaking.. sometimes rudely. ¬†Reactions to accusations carry plausible responses. ¬†You can watch the dialogue given and say “Hey, that sounds like family dinner at my house!” (minus the occasional reference to dead bodies, of course ūüėÄ ).

Second, the plot did not have a predictable, linear approach at times. ¬†What I mean by this is that Chase often reworked the elements of foreshadowing and predictability that much of Hollywood becomes so reliant upon. ¬†A character, for example, might make a remark about needing to do something in a way that gave the impression to the viewer that (s)he was planning on following through on it. ¬†But then it never happened; it ended up being talk that never materialized into action… again, just like real life. ¬†Chase gave the viewer no security on the direction the Soprano family and their associates were heading. ¬†There was no guarantee that “everything would work out in the end” or that the conflict would be resolved in sixty minutes (if ever). ¬†Nothing was guaranteed, nothing was safe.

And that leads to the third and most exciting part of the show: Nobody¬†was guaranteed to live through the episode. ¬†Like Martin’s¬†Game of Thrones series (which shares many elements of its writing with The Sopranos), the characters in Chase’s world weren’t promised a happy ending to their episodes, and if you’ve seen the show, you know what I’m talking about, when people you thought were “safe” ended up six feet under, many times in a manner unexpected, and leaving us to pick our jaws up off the floor and wonder how on earth we didn’t see it coming. ¬†And let me as a writer tell you non-writers something: putting all of your characters on the potential chopping block isn’t an easy thing to do. ¬†Readers and viewers usually¬†want safe characters. ¬†We want to believe that certain people will make it through (or not make it through at times) the story. ¬†You’ve probably caught yourself doing this at times, watching a show or reading a book and hoping that a particular character stays alive because you either empathize or have taken a personal liking to him or her. ¬†Your heartstrings get attached, whether or not you meant to allow it to happen, and then you’re invested in the hero (or even the villain, as in the case of Tony Soprano), hoping that the ending turns out the way you’re begging for it to turn out.

Chase doesn’t give us that luxury. ¬†He gambled with his characters, and there was no safe bet for any of us to place.

So if you’re a writer and you haven’t done so, I want you to check out The Sopranos. ¬†Do it from a writer’s perspective. ¬†Pay attention to the construction of the story, the lines spoken by characters, the set up of situations, and the character developments. ¬†You’ll find yourself coming away with a library of influences for your own writing like I have, influences that break formulas that screenwriters have relied upon and push for fresh, new exploration of writing that is bold and refreshing.

Okay, back to writing for me as well. ¬†And if you like what I’ve put, drop me a line with your thoughts. ¬†If not, well…. “Fugghedaboutit!” ūüėČ

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean