The Day I Kicked Thor’s Butt ~ #Writing Sense on Complex Plots

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Have you ever fallen in love with a movie, then had it’s writers break your heart? I picked up “Thor: The Dark World” a few months ago and started swooning over the images of Asgard. I had been looking for location ideas for my novel and Asgard’s sets nailed it. I haven’t been able to find anything comparable, anywhere.

I also got caught up in the storyline. It had seemingly well-developed characters, science meeting magic, great special effects: and yes, I could have done without the needless violence, silly costumes (a Norse goddess in Roman battledress, ancient pre-history beings in spaceships etc.) but, on the whole, it wasn’t too bad for a money spinner. So I did what was suggested and bought the first movie in the series, so I understood the background. (There are no spoilers in this post for either movie.)

Dear Lord have mercy!

It destroyed it. They had not even painted the wood in one set twice, so the grain was showing through on something that was supposed to be made of gold.

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Close up, Frigga’s hand is on a badly painted prop.

OK, Marvel is out to make money. They produce hyper-active blockbusters and a great deal of merchandise for a quick buck. None of the Norse Eddas get any story details to match in a cohesive manner, so Marvel could very well do what they pleased. Fair call. A modern twist on a very old tale. BUT…

… War obsessed, arrogant, rebellious, loud-mouthed, egocentric gods do not turn into fully reformed, sweethearts in under forty-eight hours. Seriously! I can suspend some disbelief in the name of good entertainment, but that one point, that is why I write books with promos which state: “don’t take shortcuts which result in hollow characters, fake plot lines and with short cuts to “happily ever after” endings. Your audience will gag. You will never get a second chance to win them back.

I researched where it all went wrong for Marvel and the consensus was poor character development. Marvel places the emphasis on plot. There must be many mysterious lose ends which create a “wow” effect when they are tied up; the pace must be so fast there is no time; violence is golden; and character motivation is irrelevant, as people will automatically assume that the good guys just plain work for good, and the bad for bad. Thus no further information is needed. The bad guys always turn good, so problem solved. (Not!) They need a reason to change or keep putting themselves at risk.

Have you experienced that point where your story takes off on it’s own path, as the psyche and needs of your protagonist, force their way through? That is how it is supposed to be. Character personality, weaknesses and strengths, motivation, needs and conflicts drive story: not clever, complicated plots!

Had Marvel found a fast way to show that Thor had worked with Jane as a human, for say, a month, I would have bought the change. If only they had flashed up overlaid text saying “One month later…” and cut into showing him doing some menial job with pleasure. That is solid. How hard is that? (I am only picking on one element here, there are a few which are just dreadfully done.)

IMG_0710Consider this:

  1. If you have someone who just lost a significant other: they will take time to grieve, not be over it completely in the next chapter with no emotional residue. Research the grief process and weave it in.
  2. Warriors who fight frequently, or for long periods DO suffer shellshock, post traumatic post syndrome and anxiety disorders; or they become hard and nasty loners. Weave it in.
  3. People don’t just snap out of major shocks (for example, a change in the way they thought the world was, or the shock of attack, accident etc.) Understand how shock works and weave it in.

That is what I wrote the book for, to stop us from writing like Marvel. The book is cheap and available on Amazon or as pdf from my site. Please use it and save your readership from throwing their iPad across the room in disgust.

realcharactersP.S. I still love Asgard. Oh and by the way, if you have ever wondered why they have joined so many super heroes together in the Avengers, it’s because Marvel owns the rights and can do whatsoever it wants. Those super heroes that don’t get included, are not owned by Marvel. It all comes down to money, not story. You’re not surprised either, are you?


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All images are the property of Marvel, the Internet is awash with them.

This article / blog post is Copyright Cate Russell-Cole 2014. All rights are reserved Internationally. You may not reproduce it in any form, in part of whole, without Cate’s prior written permission. That includes usage in forms such as print, audio and digital imaging including pdf, jpg, png etc. A fee may be requested for re-using her work if it is for a commercial venture. 

Link sharing and Pinterest pins are most welcome as long as Cate is the attributed Author.

Sanity Saving Blogging Resources

Be UniqueLife flies by at an insane pace… I constantly miss or have to dash past blog posts I want to and need to read. In case you missed it, here are the resources I shared during Blog Taming Month in February. A few extras are thrown in, just because I can… Happy scribing and remember, forget the musts, the have-tos and the myriad of experts. Your best success comes by being yourself!

Micro-Blogging: An Idea to Experiment With

Blogging Survival: Get Ahead by Scheduling

Services Which Make Your Blog Easy to Follow

Surviving BIG Blogging Mistakes

Blog Sidebars: Easy Ways to Add Whatever You Want

Are Your Blogging Goals Slipping? Help to Get Focussed Using Planners and Organisers

Building Community Spirit in the Blogosphere

Is Your Blog Trapping You or Helping You Fly?

Savvy Blogging Cover Image 2If you want even more… and why wouldn’t you? All blog maintenance and promotion posts here on CommuniCATE can be accessed by this category link. Or you can save yourself the trouble and download the free .pdf ebook, which saves you scrolling and reading through all those posts online. This is the download link. It is safe, with no strings attached and comes from my web site.

Chapters Include:

  • Blog Treasures Hidden in Plain Sight
  • Get Yourself A Second Brain
  • Slack, Fake and Egocentric Followers: How to Pick Them!
  • Blog Post Promotion on Social Media: Instantly Hooking Reader Attention
  • Sometimes, It Just Goes Wrong: When to Ditch!
  • The Best Kept Editing Secret
  • 10% On Top: Being a More Efficient Writer
  • Professional, Effective Author Sites: The Problems With Using Blogs
  • Cleaning the Cobwebs Out of Blogs: Reader Engagement and Content Value
  • Guest Posting as Advertising: How To Be Professional and Be Asked Back
  • Your Individuality is Your Greatest Asset: Writing and Marketing as You
  • Faulty-Tasking
  • The Road to Success is Paved by Free-Sharing

Have fun!


This blog post by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You are free to share and adapt it.

Don’t “Write” Yourself Off: I Don’t Care How Old You Are!

One of my memoir classes was attended by an eighty year old lady who had little education; had never written a poem, story or anything else in her life – and discovered she could write with absolute perfection! What if she’d opted for the rocking chair and never tried? Obviously, she had been a life-long reader and that had taught her a great deal, but she never knew the talent was there… until she picked up a pen and started to write!

When this came out on Pinterest, I applauded. Take it to heart. It’s not too late until you’re *a week dead.

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(*Survival Tip: be buried with a mobile phone in case it’s not really over. No, really, people do still opt for this.)


REBLOGS WELCOMED

This blog post by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You are free to share and adapt it.

Is Your Blog Trapping You or Helping You Fly?

BlogTamingMonthCommuniCATE2I’ve been looking at this debate for some time, as I see more and more bloggers talking of burnout and writers starting to rebel against the endless demands of what you must do to succeed! To settle the matter, I took a few hours out to read and properly absorb both sides of the argument. It is complex when it comes to the publishing industry. At the end, all I could do was make up my own mind about what was right for me. I have placed as many of the arguments here as I can (without this post being novel sized) so you can also make up your own mind. Don’t follow the herd: do what works for you!

  • When you find yourself filling in posts with anything, as you just want it done and are tired, drained and over it!
  • Having no direction: which is sometimes apparent in writers with multiple blogs, unless they are for multiple purposes… but watch how much time that takes up!
  • Letting your self-esteem be dictated by reader statistics.
  • If it is an excuse for social media interaction which may be a sign you need to find a better answer to loneliness, or other tasks you are avoiding.
  • When you are investing too much time, and other higher priority tasks are going begging as a result.
  • Getting involved in blog challenges which run you into the ground with time demands and leave you wrecked.
  • When you have made such a hash of a blog that is screams lack of quality, poor commitment to your writing, or stands as testimony to an attitude that makes you cringe!
  • When your content is too personal and can do you damage in the future with potential relationships, employers or contacts in publishing and promotion.
  • Taking on guest bloggers, cover reveals and other sharing initiatives where you are used and not supported or thanked.
  • When the amount of effort invested is not getting you the results you need long term. If you are losing followers, not growing and this has been going on for at least six months, maybe it’s just not the medium for you…

… and you know something? That’s alright: you don’t H.A.V.E. to be a blogger. Do what is right for you. Write what you have in your heart and be true to yourself. Follower numbers aren’t everything.


This article / blog post is Copyright Cate Russell-Cole 2013. All rights are reserved Internationally. You may not reproduce it in any form, in part of whole, without Cate’s prior written permission. That includes usage in forms such as print, audio and digital imaging including pdf, jpg, png etc. A fee may be requested for re-using her work if it is for a commercial venture. Link sharing and Pinterest pins are most welcome as long as Cate is the attributed Author.

The Rebel Writer’s Creed: Set Your Creative Self Free

creed2014My blog posts that are read the most, are the ones where I break out of the “have to” boxes that we sink into as writers. I spend as much time as I can encouraging people to do the same: break free, balance your time and be yourself. That is the only way you will find fulfilment in your creative life.

In 2013 I stumbled across author S.A. Larson’s Rebel Writer’s Creed. I immediately identified with it and promoted it. The 2013 creed was worded like this:

  • BElieve in myself
  • BE me –  don’t compare myself
  • BEat a writing fear
  • BalencE social media
  • Take writing BrEaks
  • BE a writer every day
  • DREAM BIG

It was everything I have been saying in one sidebar friendly image.

Needless to say, I have been waiting for the release of the 2014 creed with anticipation and it has arrived: the post is here and the creed is above. Please visit Larson’s site, sign up to take the pledge and be a rebel writer. Don’t let SEO, online peer pressure, social media fads etc. dictate how you write! You’re worth more than that!

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My most popular rebellious posts:

~ Your Individuality is Your Greatest Asset: Writing and Marketing as You

Surviving Blogging and Writing Challenges: Wise Choices

SEO and Social Media Survival

Getting Real About Writer’s Burn Out and Social Media Demands

Creative Freedom or Selling Out for Profit: Which is Your Choice?

 


Creative Commons License
This work, created by Cate Russell-Cole 2013 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Writing Challenges Online: 2014 Calendar

51A-PsG1t2LUpdated: January 25th 

A master list of all the online writing events I have been able to track down is below. The CommuniCATE Resources for Writers blog has several initiatives planned for 2014, including Support An Author Month in May, “Blog Taming Month” in February and Independent Author Promotion Month in September.

For an amazing series of lists on blogging events based on every topic, word combination or theme you can think of, visit The Daily Post. You’ll be hooked!

All Year

ROW80LogocopyA Round of Words in 80 Days: http://aroundofwordsin80days.wordpress.com There are 4 rounds of 80 days a year. Rounds start in January, April, July and October, but you can participate in as many as you wish. ROW80 is the challenge that champions the marriage of writing and real life where you post your own goals, check-in twice a week and can change your goals as needed. Join at any time.

5436912_origThe Ligo Haibun Haiku Weekly Challenge:
http://www.yakutia-coppercure.co.uk/l298go-ha298bun.html#.UsyjOaX_Qkg This is original! Haibun is a piece of prose and at least one haiku. The challenge is to take one of the two prompt words, quotes, or visuals and blog it!

Creative Every Day: http://creativeeveryday.com This is a low pressure, all-inclusive, year-long adventure for bloggers. You can join at any time.

#writemotivation by K.T. Hanna. http://www.kthanna.com/category/writemotivation/roll-call/  This initiative runs periodically through the year. You need to sign up, make a realistic list of blogging goals for the month, check-in once a week and visit your team mates to encourage them.

logoNaPoBloMo, BlogHer’s National Blog Posting Month: http://www.blogher.com/blogher-topics/blogging-social-media/nablopomo This now appears to run each month with a theme. People post a link to their posts that they publish on their personal blogs. You must sign up by the 5th of each month.

Blog Blitz by DL Hammons:
Blog Blitz Edithttp://dlcruisingaltitude.blogspot.com.au/2013/03/blog-blitz-wanna-join.html Sign up on the linky list making sure to record your email address, and you’ll instantly become a member of the Blog Blitz Team. Then from time to time, DL will select a deserving blog, email the team members and on that date team members visit that blog and leave an encouraging comment on the most recent post. The aim is promotion and to leave 100 plus comments on each blog selected.

#challengetowrite http://www.coasahmom.com/p/challengetowrite.html#.UaLiDpUyHHg

awwbadge_2014Australian Women Writers Challenge http://australianwomenwriters.com/2014-challenge/
The 2014 Australian Women Writers Challenge was set up to help overcome gender bias in the reviewing of books by Australian women. The challenge encourages avid readers and book bloggers, male and female, Australian and non-Australian, to read and review books by Australian women throughout the year. You don’t have to be a writer to sign up. You can choose to read and review, or read only. (Suggestions for what makes a good review can be found here.) The challenge will run from Jan 1 – Dec 31, 2014. You can sign up at any time. Follow @auswomenwriters on Twitter and use the #aww2014


March

NaNoEdMo, National Novel Editing Month: http://www.test.nanoedmo.net This can be used to compliment NaNoWriMo. Your novel, reborn: 50 hours of editing in one month.


April

logo-napowrimoNaPoWriMo, National Poetry Writing Month: http://www.napowrimo.net Write a poem a day in April.

Camp NaNoWriMo, April and July, http://campnanowrimo.org/ Based on November’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), Camp NaNoWriMo provides the online support, tracking tools, and hard deadline to help you write the rough draft of your novel in a month… other than November!

logo2Wego Health Bloggers Challenge: http://blog.wegohealth.com/2012/04/01/april-is-health-activist-writers-month-hawmc/ Health Activist Writer’s Month is a month dedicated to the art of writing… about health. Award nominations for health bloggers are held later in the year. Watch the Wego website for events and challenges.

A2Z-2013-BADGE-001A-Z Blogging Challenge: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com “Can you post every day except Sundays during this month?  And to up the bar, can you blog thematically from A to Z?”

This appears to be one of the more popular challenges which has gained a great deal of traffic for participating blogs. They also have a reflections session at the end and guest post opportunities on their blog.


May

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Story A Day: http://storyaday.org “An annual Extreme Writing Challenge. Write a story every day in May.”

Story of my Life Blogathon: http://storyofmylifetheblog.blogspot.com.au/2013/04/blog-every-day-in-may-challenge.html Blog every single day in the month of May.


June

junowrimo-book-button-large-e1367440612773JuNoWriMo, June Novel Writing Month: http://junowrimo.com Write your novel in June, with a goal of 50,000 words, or 1667 words/day on average.

Word Count Blogathon: http://michellerafter.com/the-wordcount-blogathon/ The Blogathon is an annual community blogging challenge that brings together freelancers, writers and bloggers for the purpose of improving what they do by posting to their respective blogs every day for a month.

#Rockyourblog: http://eatplayrock.com/2013/05/june-writing-prompts/ from Cheap Is The *New* Classy and Eat Play Rock know that sometimes it can be hard to think of something to write about. So, we are happy to bring you this summertime themed list of prompts for the month of June. We hope that these summer topics can provide you some inspiration! As an added incentive, one lucky participant will win a $10 Starbucks Gift Card and a 125×125 ad space for an entire month on both Cheap Is The *New* Classy and Eat Play Rock!


October

OctPoWriMo, October Poetry Writing Month: http://www.octpowrimo.com Write 31 poems in 31 days.


November

Nanowrimo-298x415NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month from the Office of Letters and Light: http://nanowrimo.org Write your novel in a month with a supportive community, word count tracker and a goal of 50,000 words. If November is a bad month for you, see Camp NaNoWriMo under April. This is the biggest event of the year. If you don’t write novels, you can join as a NaNoRebel or…

LeNoWriCha: a “rank-and-reward system is to provide an escape from the “success/failure” paradigm that seems to evolve from NaNo.” Started by David Shelverman Grimes and accessible through here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/david-shelverman-grimes/lenowricha-an-upgrade-to-nanowrimo/10151561140712496

WNFINNOVWrite Non-Fiction in November: http://writenonfictioninnovember.com “Challenges nonfiction writers to spend the month of November writing and completing a work of nonfiction. It also discusses nonfiction writing and publishing and provide a way for nonfiction writers to comment on their writing experiences during November each year. This is not a contest!”


December

2014-01-25_15-56-28INTERNATIONAL PLOT WRITING MONTH: December AKA PostNaNoPlot Perfection http://plotwrimo.com PlotWriMo initially came about to help writers who take part in NaNoWriMo and find at the end of November they are left with a whole lot of words that do not always add up to much. PlotWriMo annually spans the entire month of December for writers who have a draft of a novel, memoir, screenplay and are wondering, now what? This is a chance to revision and redefine the plot arch of your project before actually rewriting the manuscript. (This also works for writers without a first draft. Whether you merely have an idea for a story, a few chapters or scenes, just tweak the assignments to make them work for wherever you are in the process.)



Know of a challenge not listed here? Please let me know.

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Not Your Average Romance Writer: Nora Roberts

Visit Nora’s web site at: http://www.noraroberts.com

Nora-Roberts-pic“Nora Roberts (born Eleanor Marie Robertson; October 10, 1950) is an American bestselling author of more than 209 romance novels. She writes as J.D. Robb for the “In Death” series, and has also written under the pseudonym Jill March. Additionally, some of her works were published in the UK as Sarah Hardesty. Nora Roberts was the first author to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. As of 2011, her novels had spent a combined 861 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List, including 176 weeks in the number-one spot. Over 280 million copies of her books are in print, including 12 million copies sold in 2005 alone. Time named Roberts one of their 100 Most Influential People in 2007, saying she “has inspected, dissected, deconstructed, explored, explained and extolled the passions of the human heart.” Roberts was one of only two authors on the list, the other being David Mitchell.” Source” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nora_Roberts