A Sober and Logical Analysis of Disney Princes, or No, Disney Doesn’t Hate Boys

Pop Culture

This click-baity article at the Federalist: “Why Does Disney Hate Boys So Much?” way overstates its case. Contra the article, male Disney characters have not gotten lamer lately. As the father of two little girls, and as a boy who had a sister during the “Disney Renaissance”, I’ve seen my share of Princess movies. And when you look at them all, in total, the male characters have gotten much more interesting as the films have gone on.

Don’t believe me? Then absorb this totally objective analysis. Herewith, a selection of primary male characters in Disney Princess Movies, together with how much they speak, and what their function is in the plot. I exclude Aladdin and any other film with a male protagonist (which spares me having to re-watch Hercules and Hunchback of Notre Dame, which seems to be when the so-called Renaissance went through it’s Mannerist Phase, or something).

That’ll Do, 2016. That’ll Do.

Pop Culture, This Modern Life

I had this long blog post about Statistical Clustering and Artists Die, but Art Survives written in response to Carrie Fisher’s demise called Why I Don’t Get Sad Over Dead Celebrities. I was letting it lie to give it an editorial once-over before I posted it. Here’s the part that got Overtaken By Events:

Is it sad? Of course it is. Not merely because she died, but because she predeceased her mother (that’s right, Debbie Reynolds is still alive), and that’s not a thing that should ever happen.

I still think some of those points are solid, but now Todd Fisher has to bury his mother and his sister in the same week. That is just sad, so I’m going to shut up about it. Starting … now.

Changes and Additions

Blog, Books

First off, I’ve ditched the custom URL. Decided it wasn’t worth the cost. I’ll keep the address as plain andrewjpatrick.wordpress.com, unless I decide to buy a custom Content Blues. Which I might do.

Secondarily, another theme change! Last one was too artsy. The content was getting hid, and I was never satisfied with the typeface on the background.

Third, I’ve added a page to link all my Tablo books. Those are where all the production is being done now, anyway. Both Void and Party at the Last Tomorrow have been updated since I last posted.

I think an Unnamed Journal page may be necessary as well. Back later!

 

Unnamed Journal 7 – Available for Free on Joomag.

Books, Links

Edit: Link was displaying messy code. Fixed now.

Unnamed Journal, a magazine I have been known to write for, is now in its second year. It’s been available in print from POD houses, Blurb and Lulu, and in digital form on Amazon. For the new year, they’ve switched gears, going to online magazine publisher Joomag.

The thing Joomag lets magazine publishers do is offer subscriptions. Amazon floated this idea for a little while for self-published magazines, but closed it. You can still subscribe to magazines on Amazon, but they’re from established players only. So it goes.

Right now, the editors of Unnamed Journal are offering their subscriptions for free. So when you click the cover pic below, you go to joomag.com and you can have the next issue, and subsequent issues, at no cost to you.

unnamed

Enjoy.

The previous year’s issues are now collected in the Year 1 Omnibus on Amazon. There’s lot’s of good stuff in there.

A Complete Map of Tolkein’s World

Links, Pop Culture

The news has taken up space in my brain and I’m working on finishing a short for the 7th issue of Unnamed Journal, but I just had to post this. (h/t Ace of Spades).

(Click to enlarge. Do it!)

It’s a map of Arda, Tolkein’s world. The Middle Earth you know from The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings is only a small portion of Tolkien’s realm. You have to read The Silmarillion to get the larger picture, but even so, I’ve never seen the whole thing.

It’s a slice of nerd with Awesome Sauce. Share and Enjoy.

Writer’s Block and the Surpassing Thereof

writing

You’re a writer. You don’t know how to proceed with a project you have started. Whatever shall you do?

melodrama_7456

Let’s start with a windy essay on the subject from the New Yorker. It follows the following steps:

  1. Relevant interest-grabber from the life of Graham Greene.
  2. Theoretical support from psychoanalysts of the Freudian school.
  3. Empirical support from a psychological study done in the 1980’s.
  4. Some jibber-jabber to give the appearance of fleshing these ideas out.
  5. Some guy you’ve never heard of discussing his imaginary conversation with T.S.Eliot.

All of which in support of the idea of dream-journaling, or some other kind of journaling. Free-writing, anyway.

Now for something more 21st-Century: How to Overcome Writer’s Block: 14 Tricks That Work.

It’s not as bad as it sounds. You’re expecting a Buzzfeed/Cracked listicle, but it actually gets pretty in-depth. It even tells you what you should not be doing:

And just for fun, here are some anti-solutions to this problem:

  • You do not overcome writer’s block by refusing to write until you feel “inspired.”

  • You do not overcome writer’s block by wallowing in self-pity.

  • You do not overcome writer’s block by procrastinating or making excuses.

  • You do not overcome writer’s block by watching TV.

  • You do not overcome writer’s block by reading articles on how to overcome writer’s block. (Kinda shot myself in the foot there, huh?)

But here’s the best part:

The fail-proof way to overcome writer’s block is one you already know. In fact, you’ve been avoiding it this whole time, because it’s precisely what youdon’t want to hear.

You overcome writer’s block by writing. (Tweet)

Start somewhere, anywhere. Write a few lines. Say anything. And see what happens. Don’t think about it too much or make any fancy announcements. Just write. It doesn’t need to be eloquent or presentable; it just needs to be written.

Which means I need to up by word-production totals, or the infinite monkeys will never unionize, Jesus will never finish his conversation with Satan, and the Pricey Vulture will stay out in space forever.

Progress on the Writing Front

Books, writing

Chapter 3 of Void got finished last night (I’ve made some minor edits to the first few chapters). It will be part of Unnamed Journal, Issue 7, which is supposed to be out November 15th. That will be our year anniversary issue, so check the Facebook Page. Big changes will be afoot: a free back issue starting tomorrow, an omnibus, and a new design from a new platform. It will be rad. .

I’ve also laid down some good outline material for The Devil Left Him, so some new material should be out on that soon as well.

That’s all. Just what I been onto.

 

Prepping vs. Pantsing, Outlining vs. Discovering – Where I come down on the Great Writer Divide

Books, writing

In the minds of many authors, there are two ways to write a piece of fiction:

  1. Outlining (“Prepping”). You figure out what’s happening, who the characters are, the arcs, everything. You do this before you’ve “written” a single word. Then, when you do sit down, you have a plan.
  2. Discovering (“Pantsing”). You sit down and let the story come out of you. You figure it out as you go along. You let nothing stand in the way of pure creativity.

Most authors who discuss the distinction, such as Larry Correia here, don’t say that there’s one best way to do it:

There isn’t really a correct method. Either one method works for you, or it doesn’t, or you use a combination of the two. Whatever. The important thing is you write a good, sellable book. Here is my usual disclaimer about anything related to writing, despite what your English teacher told you, there aren’t really any rules to this stuff. The only rules are 1. If your readers like it, you can do it. 2. If your readers think it sucks, take it out. For every rule you find, there’s a bunch of writers who violate the hell out of it and sell a lot of books. So the following is just my opinion about what has worked for me.

My experience goes along with this. I’ve done both ways, and there are advantages and disadvantages.

The first thing I ever wrote, which will not see the light of day for a long while (if ever), was a long bit of swords & sorcery fantasy called The Island Prince. I spent three years on that, because it was pure Pantsing. I made up every chapter as I went along, with a very vague idea of where the plot was going to go. Keep in mind, I knew the world extensively, as I’d been putting together the backstory of this kingdom, that dynasty, etc. since I was about 14. I knew where I wanted it to go. Still took three years. I laugh when I think of it now.

On the other hand, I’ve got an entire mystery novel outlined, scene-by-scene, character-by-character, beat-by-beat. I put the outline together in an afternoon. This was years ago, and I have one chapter and part of another drafted. Because I’m now bored of it. I know it so well that I have nothing to learn of it, so sitting down and writing it interests me very little. I’ll get back to it someday – maybe.

You might infer a lack of discipline here, and I certainly won’t argue that point very hard. But I find some combination of the two has enabled me to actually finish things.

Solar System Blues was the result of some initial pantsing, some basic freewriting to establish the world and the idea, and then a very workable outline that I was able to adjust as needed. It hasn’t sold magnificently, but it got a few favorable reader responses on Goodreads, and SelfPublishing Review liked it.

Right now, I seem to be operating under a “Pants it until you can’t, then outline your way home” philosophy. The first two chapters of Void were pantsed, and there will be things tweaks I want to make as a consequence. But now I’m at the point where I need to sit down and figure out my next several moves. I’m almost done with Chapter 3, which will appear in the next issue of Unnamed Journal before it gets posted on Tablo. I’ve hit the same point with The Devil Left Him: two chapters in, and I now need to plan my next moves.

This gives me the thrill of discovery, of building a world out of will, while at the same time organizing my work so I can actually finish things and ship them. Void and Devil will be the next works I complete and publish, and I feel very confident about that.

The Biblical Game of Thrones

Religion

One of the most interesting things about the Bible, especially the Old Testament, is the all-to-human snapshots it gives of life and politics of the Bronze Age. While the Gospels spreads a moral vision of a perfected humanity, the OT spares us none of the warts and horrors we have come to expect of ourselves.

For example, consider the Books of Kings. Historians have called into question whether Solomon really ruled over the resplendent realm that Scripture describes, but the fall from power that Solomon and his heirs experience has a powerful truthfulness to it. Basically, Solomon grew old and arrogant, taxed too much, married too often, and began to idolize himself. He became the thing that the prophet Samuel warned Israel about when they asked him for a king. And then, under his heirs, the northern part of the realm broke away and formed its own kingdom, worshipping the Golden Calf (because nothing is new under the sun).

The House of David after Solomon, ruling the southern kingdom of Judah, was a mixed group, according to the two Books of Kings. We see some genuine reformers, some hardened idolators, and some in between. But they hung on to power until the Babylonians came calling.

The Northern Kingdom of Israel, on the other hand, was a soap opera out of George R.R. Martin’s most lurid imagination.

The leader of the revolt against Solomon, who became king of the Northern Tribes, was Jeroboam I. He build the Golden Calves, an idolatry the Biblical authors never miss a chance to remind us of and condemn. His son and successor, Nadab, was murdered by Baasha, a captain in Nadab’s army, who stole the throne. As Justice would have it, Baasha’s son and heir, Elah, ruled barely a year before a commander of chariots, Zimri, murdered him while he dined in the house of a steward.

Zimri was king for all of seven days. Apparently he’d neglected to check if the army was really behind him. As soon as the word got out that Elah was dead, the soldiers nominated another commander, Omri, to be king, and Omri laid siege to the palace in Tirzah. Zimri perceived that all was lost and set fire to the palace, burning it down over his head. Omri thereafter ruled from Samaria.

After this, we get a period of relative dynastic stability. Omri’s dynasty rules for three generations. They are followed by the dynasty of Jehu, which manages four generations. Then the old pattern re-emerges. Shallum murders King Zechariah, and rules for a month before being killed by Menahem. Menahem rules ten years, and his son Pekahiah for two, whereupon Pekah assassinates Pekahiah (yeah, there’s a difference). Pekah rules for twenty years before being assassinated himself, by Hoshea. Hoshea was a puppet of the Assyrians, and when he made the mistake of rebelling against them, the Assyrians did what they were famous for, and wrecked the place, brought in foreign tribes, and resettled the Israelites in other parts of the realm. So began the legends of the Lost Tribes of Israel.

genealogy_of_the_kings_of_israel_and_judah

There’s a novel in here somewhere, is all I’m saying…