Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Movie Review: Pacific Rim

I saw this last Friday and thought it was AWESOME!

Let me get some disclaimers out of the way, though: the acting is mediocre—not BAD (though there are a few over-acted scenes), just not award-winning—and the story is very contrived and predictable.

But it's a BEAUTIFUL movie. And, come on: it's ROBOTS fighting MONSTERS!

I went in excited but almost prepared for disappointment because of the reviews. However, the analytical part of my brain (the one that managed to put together that disclaimer) completely shut down the minute the film started. Mostly because my inner child could stop bouncing in the theater chair squealing inwardly with excitement over robots vs. monsters.

The action blew me away! It drew real, teeth-clenching emotion from me, getting me to lean forward in my seat, anxious to see the end that I knew was coming but needed to see anyway.

This is a short review, I know, but it was a great movie! Anyone who like robots, monsters, or movies should go watch it.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Book Review: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

I know, it's pretty sad that it's taken me 28 years to read this book, but to be fair, I didn't learn to read until I was 5ish, and from there I never took the opportunity to read it. In part because EVERYONE told me I just HAD to. And that makes me hesitant.

But my wife read it and loved it. Most of the time, I tend to like the books she reads. So on her recommendation, I picked this one up.

I gotta say, I loved it! The plot is great, the action intense, the descriptions vivid: pretty much everything I would love to see in a book.

Most of all, I was surprised by how old it was. Everything I was reading gave me the impression that Card wrote this sometime in the mid -80s. The ideas behind personal computers, interactive VR, computer games just told me "this guy had a solid grasp on the direction technology was headed." But it was written in 1977! When Pong was the most "advanced" home computer ever imagined! The school's "desks" are basically iPads.

There were a few areas in the narrative where I wish he'd been more clear, and occasionally, he took too much time explaining stuff that I already understood. On the other hand, though, this wasn't abnormal for Sci-Fi. For that matter, it's STILL hard to find Sci-Fi—or Fantasy, for that matter—that doesn't have its fair share of setting description or backstory that may not have as much to do with the story as the reader might hope.

As far as I'm concerned, this book is great. A must-read for anyone interested in Sci-Fi. And I recommend reading it before the movie comes out this fall.

Friday, July 19, 2013

I swear I'm still here

I'm just working on my edits right now. Life with my family and edits to my book take precedence at the moment. But I'm working on a book review that will be out soon. Monday, probably.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Character Flaws?

Flaws in a character are what make them human and relatable to a reader. I've discussed making characters flawed before, but those were flaws in personality. The type of traits that might make a character annoying or unlikable but may be redeemed by other traits.

But now it's time to consider flaws that the character doesn't like. Does your hero want bigger fore-arms? What about the ability to hold a meaningful relationship? Does your heroine want to spend more time with her family but can't because of her career? Or does she wish she'd spent more time on her education? Maybe she wishes she didn't care so much about her appearance but would prefer to spend more effort on the people she cares most about.

And don't be afraid to look to your own life for examples. It doesn't have to be something big. It could be something simple and stupid. I, for example, STILL wish I could grow a beard. Sure, there may be other things that I would change if I could, but as far as character and personality go, I am putting effort into those. The one thing I CAN'T change but REALLY wish I could is that STUPID BEARD!

The protagonist in my current book wishes she had a prettier laugh. But instead she snorts. Loudly. And it bothers her.

So take that for what it is. But make sure you have an unchangeable flaw for your characters so they're relatable to your readers.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Vacations and Celebrations

It's summer time, and my wife and I are taking our big vacation again. It's been great! My sister-in-law is in town, and we've already been to two breweries, a meadery, a GREAT local restaurant, and a movie. I love time off.

Now that doesn't mean I'm going to waste my time goofing off. I plan on getting some GREAT work done on my book in the next day or two. I'm even getting a blog post in today, which hasn't been that consistent of a project for me.

Tomorrow, I'm celebrating the birth of my country with a proud member of the United States Navy. We're all going to a Rapids game (the Colorado soccer team) where we'll see some running around, ball-kicking, and a fireworks show. I'm proud of my sister-in-law and her service, and my wife and I are excited to celebrate the 4th with her.

Go have fun tomorrow. Enjoy the day, and I'll see you on Friday.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Charity of the Month: Samaritan's Purse

Like last year, my home state is burning. Samaritan's Purse is organizing volunteers to help with relief down in Colorado Springs, and I'm thrilled to support their efforts through this blog. Giving a donation to their disaster relief fund is easy. Just click here, enter the donation amount, and proceed to "checkout."

Even if $10 is all you can afford, every little bit helps. Please do what you can, if you can, to help those who are suffering as a result of this terrible disaster.

And thank you for your thoughts and prayers.