Category Archives: Choice

Lex Talk About Lex, Baby

A guest post by Matt Becket.

Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of JusticeLex Luthor goes up against quite a lot more than just virtual demigods in Batman v Superman. He goes up against us. We, in fact, are his greatest challenge.

I imagine that DC’s goal in presenting an archvillain is to create a feeling of disgust, hatred, or sympathy for the character. Without it, they are unsuccessful. Lex needs to hook us. We need to want to be hooked.

I love movies. I even enjoy bad films if only because my butt is planted in the seat of a movie theater. It’s all magic to me. With a PG-13 superhero movie I become a ten year old boy. My youthful eyes don’t go to judge – but if they get side-tracked, they age into the critical eyes of a college freshman (some of the world’s harshest judges). When this happens the popcorn isn’t as savory and the soda loses its bubbles. It’s still magic, but flat magic propelled by other factors my eyes latch onto such as special effects or cinematography.

I personally appreciate the Warner Brothers’ attempt in making a new Lex, but something did not work. People have blamed casting. Casting is usually the first thing to be blamed. The second thing to be blamed is direction. These two are contributors, but I think the writing and pacing in this movie hurt the new incarnations of these characters the most.

Good characters usually have clear motives with stakes involved. Reintroduced characters shouldn’t rely too much on a savvy audience already familiar with the brand. Lex Luthor wasn’t given a good platform this round. I wanted to know how this particular Lex got to this point. I do admit you can fit the pieces together, kinda, but his motive didn’t hit home and wobbled. Was there a movie between this one and the last that I missed?

Let’s break Lex down. What do we know about Lex Luthor? He’s rich. He’s smarter than Superman. His inventiveness is up there with Batman. He’s power-mad, but he’s able to hold himself together. These are fantastic qualities in a Super-villain (it’s what gives him that “super” bit.) What can mess this up? I think the answer is overincarnation. Yes, I made up this word just now. I think I made it up. No idea, I’ll Google it later.

Where were we? Right! Overincarnation. We have the comics, the old black and white TV serial, more comics, video games, Smallville, Lois and Clark, bald Kevin Spacey, bald Gene Hackman, the Super Friends cartoon. That’s a stable of Lex Luthor! Having been exposed to this, we have Lex Luthor expectations and have all formed some sort of Lex Luthor in our head. Can Hollywood find that least common denominator Lex Luthor that our moms, brothers, and Grandpa will appreciate? Sadly, I feel that this time they did not.

The world knows who Lex Luthor is. He’s been fighting Superman since 1940. He’s very recognizable.

It would have been really cool if he had made an appearance in Batman v Superman. We kept waiting, but he never showed.

 

About the Author:
111814LargeSquareCrop (1)Matthew started lying as soon as he could talk. Thrilled with the reaction he received, he started making the lies bigger. Some of the lies he had kicked around for years became commodiously appropriate for the written word. Matthew has fun lying in the Middle Grade genre, but lately has been taking on the Adult Dark Humor Crime Thriller genre. He is currently working on his novel – The Sommelier.

When not lying, he is usually traveling, or hanging out with his wife and three cats in Celebration, Florida while looking up words like “commodious” on thesaurus.com .

Where do I find this guy?
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/matthewdavidbecketauthor/?ref=hl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MatthewBecket
Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/user/MatthewBecket

Kickstarting Zen Awesomeness

I have a deep and abiding personal respect for James A Owen. He’s a talented and successful author, comic books artist, and business person. He’s always been a good friend to me, giving me unconditional support and encouragement in not only my writing, but also my personal life. He taught me about the power of selling your Eggs Benedict and about the need to push yourself until you are just a little bit scared. His actions frequently remind me of the power of kindness and understanding. Now, he’s the one in need of a little help, and I’m for sure going to answer the call!

When first asked to speak to middle schoolers as part of his book tours, James decided that he didn’t want to talk about his Imaginarium Geographica series. If he was given only one hour to speak to the kids, he wanted to talk about what he thought was important in life. About the cumulative power of choice in our lives, on the need to decide what you want and work for it, and on the idea that it’s never too early to start shaping your destiny. This talk, Drawing out the Dragons, was so successful that he’s been asked to repeat it hundreds of times over the years.

When James realized that he couldn’t reach all of his audience personally, he converted the talk into a book. However, the story and the philosophy weren’t done there. He had more to share. And so, he wrote the Meditation’s trilogy to share his amazing life and philosophy of relentless optimism in the pursuit of one’s destiny.

My first experiences with the trilogy came when I heard James’ Drawing Out the Dragons presentation at the Superstars Writing Seminar back in 2013. I then read the first book, by the same name, and enjoyed it greatly. In fact, it is one of the few books I perpetually keep in my phone. Like everyone else, sometimes I just need someone to tell me that they believe in me and inspire me to keep pushing forward. James does this, both in person and in text.

Right now, James as a few days left in the Kickstarter he is using to turn these powerful books into a beautiful hard cover set. I’m a supporter, and hope that y’all would be willing to consider taking the leap of faith needed to help him complete this awesome project. I promise, you won’t regret it!

DRAWING OUT THE DRAGONS: A Meditation on Art, Destiny and the Power of Choice

“James inspires and motivates both the young and young-at-heart with personal stories that share an important belief: that you can choose to lead an extraordinary life if you will just persevere, stay focused on your goals, and believe in yourself.” —LeVar Burton educator, actor, entrepreneur. Drawing Out the Dragons has the power to uplift, inspire, and change your life, and is the first book in The Meditation s series.

THE BARBIZON DIARIES: A Meditation on Will, Purpose and the Value of Stories

“Mythologies are huge, sweeping things. And the grandest stories are those with the widest arcs of triumph and despair. As much as we may want to, we may not be able to avoid the despair – but triumph is a matter of will.” DRAWING OUT THE DRAGONS was written for everyone, but this book is an advanced course in surviving the Refiner’s fire – because some stories are too important not to share, and some stories are too meaningful to hide.

THE GRAND DESIGN: A Meditation on Creativity, Ambition, and Building a Personal Mythology

This book brings together the ideas from the previous volumes in The Meditations series (Drawing out the Dragons and The Barbizon Diaries) about all of the things I know and believe are most important in choosing to live an extraordinary life. Significance is a choice; and the extraordinary can always be chosen. That’s everything. And that’s all.

March Wrap Up – Nathan’s Top 10 Take Aways

This month on the Fictorians, we’ve thoroughly explored the many aspects of balancing our writing with the myriad of other responsibilities we have in life. I lead this month by insisting that we all have to choose how we spend our time. I have the words “70 hours” written on my bathroom mirror to remind myself that I have plenty of time outside sleep and my job. It’s up to me to choose how I spend it. And I still stand by all of that.
However, the stories and experiences of my fellow Fictorians and our wonderful guest posters have helped me realize a few things about my own work-life balance. It’s not perfect, nor does it need to be! Instead of repeating their words, I’ll simply share my top ten favorite posts for the month. Do they line up with yours?

  1. I found out the secret of Gama Martinez’s awesome prolificness! The man keeps up with one of the most aggressive release schedules I know of by writing his books 10 – 15 minutes at a time when necessary, capturing every opportunity he can to do what he loves.
  2. Ace Jordyn reminded me that you don’t need to write every day to be a writer. We all have our own rhythms. Do what works for you!
  3. Kate Corcino told us about some pretty intense points in her life, how she struggled to find time to write, and those times when writing wasn’t the most important thing she had to deal with. Writing’s a marathon, not a sprint.
  4. David Heyman talked about the struggle to have your cake and eat it too. Sometimes, however, you must give up a slice to make time for your novels. It’s essential to remember that you need to take that slice out of your own portion of your time, not out of the work that pays the bills or the family that loves and supports you.
  5. No one is busier than a new momma, but Joy Dawn Johnson let us peak into her crazy, distraction filled world. And yet, she still gets work done. The trick? No matter what distractions arise, always come back to the keyboard.
  6. Speaking of distractions, there are some things that come up that we have to attend to, while others can be ignored. At least for a while. Emily Godhand talked about how to tell the difference and knowing when to remove or ignore the ones that are keeping us from getting writing done.
  7. I’ve been obsessing about making my writing a business so much over the past couple years that I’ve lost sight of the need to let the artist run the show sometimes. Like Sean Golden, I’ve recently found that my best work has been done when I’m not worried about making a sale, but rather focus on writing a good story.
  8. Nancy Green reminded us that you can’t have “it” all; you just have to decide what “it” actually is.
  9. Jen Greyson talked about the difference between balance and equilibrium. After all, it doesn’t matter if the scales are even, so long as you can be happy with where they lay.
  10. Holly Roberds’ post reminded me that you can’t be a slave to your work. Sometimes you just need to cut yourself a break and give yourself permission to do something other than writing. Seriously! It’s healthier that way.

And those lessons only represent about one third of all the insightful posts we’ve seen this month! Did you catch them all? Which were your favorites? Unfortunately the month is almost done and we need to be moving on to a new theme, but please come back for April’s topic. I promise you’ll love what Anne has in store!

The Highs and Lows of Life

A Guest Post by Frog Jones

My name is Frog, and I am an addict.

To begin with, I am a full-time public defender. In the course of that job, I spend roughly fifty hours a week wrist-Mason County Courthouse
deep in legal briefs and heroin addicts. When I am practicing as an attorney, I owe it to my clients to be the best attorney I can be. When years in prison are on the line, it’s my job to make absolutely sure that the State gets it right. So when I am working as an attorney, I cannot be anything but an attorney.

When I stand in front of a jury, it’s a rush. I love it, and the whole world melts away into nothing but me, and my voice, and my will. A well-done closing carries you and your jury into a rhetorical ecstasy, and I chase that high on every trial I do.

I am an addict.

I am also involved with the Mason County Drug Court. Here, I’m not just an attorney; I am a part of a therapeutic team. When I’m serving on the Drug Court, or serving as legal counsel for the Drug Court foundation, I owe it to the addicts who are actually struggling to improve their lives to be the best Drug Court team member I can be. So I volunteer for the Foundation, giving extra of my time to make sure that the program has the resources it needs to help those people. And I get to watch people improve from their addictions. Do you know what it feels like to watch a drug addict hit one year clean and sober, get a job, and get to spend time with their child for the first time in six years? Knowing I’m a part of something like that is a glorious feeling, and I chase that high with every participant that comes into the program.

I am an addict.

Foundation LogoI am the Chairman of the Board for the Mason County HOST program. Seems pretty technical, but what it means is I volunteer to organize and lead a team of people who are devoted to housing the homeless teenagers in Mason County. This organization has two employees, three community grants, and a Memorandum of Understanding with the County, and is responsible for a budget of roughly $160,000 per year. And as a result, the homeless teenagers who make their way into this program all graduate high school. 70% of them move on to post-secondary education. These numbers are so good that the federal HUD program has inspected us to figure out what we are doing right.

Imagine what it’s like to sit at a high school graduation, and watch ten to fifteen kids walk that aisle. Kids whose drug addicted parents had ejected them from the house, or beaten them until they left, or took other liberties that forced their exit. Kids who were trying to live in a tent, on the streets, and not getting food stamps because you have to be an adult to qualify. Imagine watching these kids graduate, knowing that they’re off to college and putting together an actual life for themselves. And knowing that you had a hand in it. It is a high that I cannot begin to describe, and I chase it with a passion.

I am an addict.

And in the midst of all this, I write. I write short stories. I write novels. Some of them get published, some don’t. But I sit in front of the keyboard, and I create stories that I would want to read. And there’s no high. Presumably there could be. I imagine that the moment I accept a Hugo, or a Nebula, or some other distinction of high honor that there will be a high. This, however, is not likely to happen in the near future. So there is no such thing, for me, as a writer’s high.

You see, all those highs? There are lows to go with them. Losing a jury trial where my client may very well be innocent is devastating. Watching a Drug Court Graduate relapse, overdose, and die wrecks me. And hearing that one of our former students in the HOST program has gotten into a car accident because they were driving drunk, and died? Absolutely depressing.

And I write. I write because it isn’t a high, and it isn’t a low. I write because it is an escape. This is not to say that I write only when I feel like it; I can’t produce like that. I force myself to write whether I feel like it or not, because it allows me to get away from my life. It allows me to leave the highs, and the lows, behind. I write not to chase the high, but because I can find my stability. I write because it is before the keyboard that I can find peace.

The question of the month here is how to strike a balance between my writing and my life. For me, this is an improper question. There is no balance to my life without the writing.

Now, that’s not to say there aren’t practical issues. It has to be scheduled. It has to be pre-planned. The schedule must be followed. But that’s not because I need the money, not because I need to make a deadline, and not because I have to prove something about myself. The schedule must be followed because, without the stability that creating my art provides, my life will spiral out of control. Writing is the thing that provides balance to everything else.

Because I am an addict.

Frog Jones:

Frog Jones writes with his wife, Esther. After a ten-year vow to never show each other a word they had written, they eventually broke down and wrote a novel together. Together, they have published the Gift of Grace series from Sky Warrior Books, as well as short stories in anthologies such as How Beer Saved the World, First Contact Café, and Tales from an Alien Campfire, as well as many more. The Joneses live on the Puget Sound in the State of Washington with Oxeye, who is twenty-five pounds of pure bunny. Frog’s works can be found at http://www.jonestales.com, and he also appears on the Three Unwise Men podcast at http://3unwisemen.com.

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