Category Archives: Craft

The Problem With Star Trek: Discovery

Guess who’s the most important person in the universe?

As you probably know, I’m a huge Trekkie. Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) is one of my favorite series of all time. The TNG series finale is DEFINITELY my favorite series finale of all time—I dare you not to cry when the main cast all sit down to play poker for the last time! I’ve been lukewarm about the Star Trek series that came after—Voyager, Deep Space Nine, Enterprise—but I’m still in love with the Star Trek universe overall and its science-heavy storylines and themes of hope. So I was super excited when they announced a new Star Trek series, Star Trek: Discovery. I even subscribed to CBS All Access so I could watch it!

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The Rise of Skywalker’s Critical Flaw: What Happens When You Mistake a Motif for a Theme

Well that sucked.

[Spoilers follow, but come on—who hasn’t seen this movie by now?]

So right about a year ago, I speculated on how The Rise of Skywalker would end based on the themes established in The Last Jedi. Something like Rey becoming her own person and Kylo Ren coming to peace with his light and dark sides. That’s sort of what happened, but anyone could have guessed that based on how all Star Wars movies usually go.

I’ve been trying to write this blog post for a while now – specifically, for about a year – but every time I did, it just turned into a bitch-fest about how much I hated the movie, and then I lost interest and stopped writing. I mean this movie’s already been torn to shreds by basically everybody, AND it’s now almost a year old, so why waste my time piling on?

But after ten months of reflection, I finally feel like I do have something to add to the conversation; specifically, what happens when you mistake a motif for a theme (…spoiler: The Rise of Skywalker happens).

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Another Way to Tell a Story: Sociological vs Psychological Storytelling

On the occasion of the largest pandemic in a century, you might’ve watched or re-watched Contagion, a star-studded 2011 movie directed by Steven Soderbergh about a deadly virus originating from China that sweeps the globe. The film is currently having a renaissance on Netflix due to its striking similarities to real-world events, though its more cerebral and realistic take on a world-wide pandemic resigned it to an underwhelming box office haul upon its originally release in theaters.

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Screenwriting Versus Novel-Writing

Don’t we all wanna be this asshole? Look how in the zone he is!

Throughout my blog posts, I often use examples from novels, TV shows, and movies. Some of the resources I cite for aspiring authors are actually screenwriting guides. Yet this website is supposed to be offering advice on writing books, not screenplays or teleplays. So why do I use non-book examples?

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5 Ways to Tell If You’re a Natural Writer

But I AM a natural heart surgeon! I just choose to do other things with my hands…

Like most endeavors in this thing we call life, how good you are at something depends on a combination of natural skill and drive to improve. Notice I said how good you are at something, not how successful you are, because success depends a lot on luck…more than most successful people are willing to admit. If you’re good at something, it increases your odds of success, but you can still suck at something and be successful at it.

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Overview of All the Genres, and Which is Right for You

“Genre, genre, genre…there’s so much to explore here!”

Continuing from my last post on genres, I’ll now describe each major literary genre, its universal tropes, and if it’s right for you.

…Seriously, read my last post as a primer! TL;DR: you must pick a genre for your story. …But which one?? Keep reading to find out!

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3 Easy Steps to Write a Compelling Villain

[This blog was originally published in Night Owl Reviews]

Crack open any Storytelling 101 book and it’ll tell you conflict is your story’s engine. Every story since the history of forever has centered around someone trying to solve a problem; otherwise, it’s not a story so much as a series of anecdotes, or an aside, or your drunk uncle’s ramblings.

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How to Use Fiction to Tell the Truth

[This blog was originally published in Night Owl Reviews]

What if I told you the best fiction was all about telling the truth?

“But Shana, it’s fiction!” you might respond. “It’s not real! How is my erotic paranormal romance about shapeshifting unicorns supposed to tell the truth about anything?”

Well, let me explain…BTW, if YOU have written an erotic paranormal romance about shapeshifting unicorns, PLEASE SEND ME THE BUY LINK ASAP.

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How The Rise of Skywalker Will End

[Note: this post contains speculation, but no spoilers]

Hope y’all had an awesome Thanksgiving! Here’s an early Christmas present for you:

Want to know how the upcoming final chapter in the latest Star Wars movie trilogy will end? I’ll tell you!

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