Scorsese and the Great Social Media Switcheroo

Scorsese and the Great Social Media Switcheroo‘Zounds!’ the Internet said. ‘Martin Scorsese doesn’t like Marvel movies?’ Cue the outrage, cue the hot takes, and scene. Congratulations, you think Martin Scorsese hates the MCU and you’ve completely missed the point. Here’s a clue: Scorsese doesn’t care about the MCU. He cares about publicity for an upcoming film. That’s why he’s, and brilliantly I might add, pulling the Great Social Media Switcheroo on all of the Internet.

Every time he’s mentioned in the news, they mention his film coming out in the month. Scorsese just scored a billion dollars’ worth of free publicity, and you helped him do it.

Kudos to the old guy, still taking us to school after fifty years. His body of work spans the entire spectrum of film-making, which it might seem almost plausible for him to wax poetic about the quality of movies these days. Why not? ‘Cranky old man complains about the next generation’ is a simple news cycle trope, and let’s face it, social media buzz is driven by outrage. If I know this, you have to imagine that he knows this.

So put yourself in Scorsese’s chair: you have a movie coming out and you want to generate as much buzz as you can. What do you do? Nobody seems to care about the true-life history of your next project, so don’t focus on that.

Instead, you focus on what people do know about: Superhero movies. Come up with a controversial opinion about Superhero movies that these J-school graduates writing your PR fluff pieces will salivate over. In every article they write, they’ll include the magic words: “That said, I will always love Scorsese, be grateful for his contribution to cinema, and can’t wait to see The Irishman.”

Game, set, match.

Scorsese and the Great Social Media Switcheroo

These guys really don’t care what Scorsese thinks.

Forget the actual discussion. Nobody cares if Martin Scorsese like’s the MCU. You didn’t check in with him for permission before you watched Infinity War, why do you care now?

I’m going to make a prediction here and we’ll see if I’m write in about forty-five days. Scorsese is going to ride the wave of this topic until two weeks before his movie comes out (around Thanksgiving). Then, about that time, he’s going to go on an ‘Apology Tour,’ talking about how he’s had a change of heart.

Boom, Scorsese’s back in the news again, and so is his movie. He rides the wave of contrition around the world – his new movie front and center the entire time. By the time we land on Opening Day, Netflix and Scorsese will be laughing all the way to the bank.

Now, here’s another thing. I don’t personally care. Scorsese wants to use the purpose-built outrage machine to sell his work, who am I to argue. After all, I’m in the same game but at a much lower level.

That in and of itself creates it’s own challenges. Of course I want people to discover Mesh, but I’m really conscious about remaining authentic to myself and my readers. How do I sell my book without selling my soul? I’m still working to crack that nut, and I use moments like these to help me figure out what the right answer is.

In the meantime, this is the reason I’m not really listening to the discussion. I don’t care if Martin Scorsese likes Marvel movies, I have my own problems with them as it is. What I do care about is making and creating. Let the haters hate, our job is to create.

Mesh – Submitted for Coverfly

While I’m waiting for feedback from other beta readers, I submitted Mesh for consideration in a Coverfly competition that offers feedback from other editors.

At best, Mesh gets discovered and this is the small step for an author, one giant leap for Mesh-kind. At worst, I’ll get some more feedback on how to take the story to the next level. Submitting Mesh to Coverfly forced me to write a better log-line for the book, too: Set in the near future, a group of supersmart kids come together to work on a secret project. The question is: are they saving the world or destroying it, and what will they do when they know the truth?

Imma keep working, but wanted you to know what the story about the story is, for now.

How to Get Set for NaNoWriMo!

It’s that time again, when a million new authors throw caution to the wind and commit themselves to writing a complete novel, yes sixty-thousand words or better, in 30 days. All hail NanoWriMo! I have some thoughts about the contest itself, but before I talk about them, let’s talk about you. Do you plan to write a novel next month? If so, here are some suggestions on how to get set. I hope you find them useful as you prepare to write a super-awesome story that takes you to the stars.

The Dirty Truth About National Novel Writing Month

The Truth About Writing a Novel in a Month

13 Ugly Truths About Nanowrimo

The Truth About NaNoWriMo

3 Ways to NOT Fail at NaNoWriMo

Like those? I hope you find them useful. NaNoWriMo isn’t for the faint of heart, but it can lead you to some great places. Best wishes on your next project, and may it be the story you always wanted to tell.

Microfiction – RenFaire for Real

Took a few days off of writing in /r/writingprompts. Now I’m back with a new piece of microfiction. This time, in response to the following prompt – “You’ve always had a passion for writing since an early age. Now, right after you published your first book, the story somehow has transferred itself into reality and you’re the main character.” – I decided to take a new direction. What if you were a fantasy author, now stuck in his weird Pseudo-European Medieval universe? Cosplaying will never be the same after you read ‘RenFaire for Real’ –

They always say “Write what you know,” but nobody tells you what to do when what you write becomes all you know.

Endless rain falls across the green forests of Kylldale. I’ve never been to Ireland, so I kinda fudged the details. Stone walls, cobbled streets, ancient inns. It’s green, so it must rain a lot, right? I worked myself into a lather over those details; the sights, sounds and smells of a Middle Aged-village in winter. Reality force-fed through a bucolic meat grinder of pastoral scenery. It sounded like an escape, but now it feels like a prison. For reasons I’m still trying to figure out, I’m trapped inside my own novel.

If only I’d written the Internet into my book. I’d can send a nasty email to my agent.

Continue Reading RenFaire for Real

The Character Arc of Marty McFly

It’s fall in Oregon, which means we’ll get beautiful, crisp mornings and brilliant colors. You can watch nature in progress over at the Owen Rose Garden webcam. I, of course, am not thinking about nature at all. No, I’m thinking about Back to the Future, as one does. More specifically, I’m thinking about Marty McFly and the character arc he takes throughout the first BTTF movie. There’s a stack of things you can learn about character development by watching Back to the Future, so let’s talk about how Marty McFly can help you write better stories.

First things first, let’s talk about Marty in the first BTTF movie. The other two movies were written after the success of the first, and most of his character growth happens in the first movie. Yeah, yeah … he couldn’t stand being called chicken, but that was a bit of lazy storytelling. A kid who can travel through space and time gets triggered by the word ‘chicken?’ Gimme a break. No, Marty’s character was interesting in the first movie alone and demonstrates a very solid storytelling arc by the end of the first movie.

So to recap, Marty McFly is a teen living somewhere in suburban California in 1985. He has a single friend, a local ‘mad scientist’ who engages in eccentric science projects like synchronizing all of his clocks and building the world’s biggest guitar amp. We quickly find out that Doc Brown has invented a working time machine, and Marty ends up using it to travel back in time.

He quickly finds himself stuck in the world of his parents, now teenagers, and ends up potentially creating an alternate reality where he is never born. With the help of his now-younger friend Doc Brown, Marty manages to undo the time paradox, fix his powerless time machine and return to the restored world of 1985. Along the way, he manages to fix his broken family, and that’s where the magic happens in terms of Marty’s character. Continue reading

New Microfiction – Earth Problems

Caught an interesting writingprompt the other day and turned it into a new piece of microfiction called ‘Earth Problems:’ “In the far future, humanity has successfully colonized the Moon, Mars, and set up outposts on Mercury. Trade among the planets is common, and has been so for hundreds of years. Then, with little warning, a comet half the size of the Moon struck earth. The impact was visible from all colonies.”

Click to Read ‘Earth Problems’

Five Storytelling Rules of Brad Bird

I loved Brad Bird’s work before I knew who Brad Bird was. Back in the 80s, Steven Spielberg put on a TV show called ‘Amazing Stories.’ One animated episode featured the strange, stressful life of a family dog. I remember laughing at that episode, and later noticing Bird’s name on a number of other animated projects I liked: The Simpsons, the Iron Giant, and the Incredibles. Over the past forty years, Brad Bird has proven himself to be a master at the business of storytelling, and with that in mind I wanted to jot down some notes on five rules his projects seem to follow.

To be fair, there are other blog posts like this that talk about Bird’s storytelling and they have value, too. However I want to dig deeper into what the rules are, what they mean, and how they apply to people like me who want to tell stories for a living. Let’s start the discussion with the most important rule:

Catch the Feels

One cool think about a Brad Bird project is, it’s never boring. Laugh, cry, or explode, Bird is going to make you feel something deep, and you can’t say that about every movie. Think about the emotional gut-punches you got in ‘The Iron Giant,’ or even the boiling frustration of Mr. Incredible as he grinds away in that office job.  Brad Bird knows how to tell a story that will catch you in the feels, and that’s why we love him. We want to feel something, we want to believe something. If you want to be a good storyteller, and lord knows I do, then you have to make your reader / audience feel something.

Continue reading

New Microfiction – Pest Control

Created a new piece of scifi microfiction in response to the prompt: ‘Humans never managed to developed laster-than-light travel. Instead, they developed ways to discretely piggyback on ships that can. The other races in the galaxy are getting suspicious.’ So, I decided to write a story where humans are treated like pests. Guess how they decide to treat us? I hope you enjoy ‘Pest Control.’

“Oh god, here’s another one!”

“Quick, deploy the sentinel.” A whirring airbot hurtles from the darkness, lidar scans searching for the critters. They can’t hide forever, sentinels know what to look for. Air composition changes, skin oil deposits, spoor. Little beasts are cute in a way, but they’re dangerous to the traveling elite.

“There, there!” The airbot responds to the chief engineers shout, tracking to the left. They listen to scurrying sounds, feet scraping against metal and plastic. “seems to be more than one. I can hear two sets of mandibles.”

His assistant, the one responsible for sentinel maintenance, nods his head. “Should install vermin guards on the cargo bays. Keep waiting for them to appropriate the funds.”

“It’s in the next phase of ship mod work. We’ll get there. In the meantime, watch the fun!” The chief engineer cackles, one of six green bellies drapes over the handrail. “Go, go. Run you little turd!”

“Hey!” a third voice joins them. It’s Ry’legh, the midshipman. “I got five credits, says this one lasts longer than ten minutes against your sentinel.”

“You’re on,” the assistant replies. “I sent our best. This little booger don’t stand a chance.” His airbot seems to sense the new tension in the air and chirps with determination. This isn’t a matter of life and death, it’s a matter of cash! It re-acquires its target, another dirty-faced, nearly-sentient human, running for its life among the hulks of cargo containers in Cargo Bay 7.

Continue Reading ‘Pest Control’ here

Some Great Free Writing Advice

Chuck Wendig just tweeted about it, so I went through this Twitter thread and BOY are there some nuggets of free writing advice. Malinda Lo’s been doing this for 15 years and she’s accumulated some hard-won insights on the writing game. She passes them along in this doozy of a Twitter thread, so grab a cup of coffee and get reading …