Never Lie to Yourself

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As writers, we walk the fine line between absolute courage and utter hopelessness.  Finding the middle ground is important.  Sway to either one and your writing will suffer.  If we have to much confidence in our writings then we begin to fall in love with our own words and become blind to our faults. If we begin to despise our work, doubt creeps in and the creative juices come to a stand still.

This balancing act requires us to walk the razor edge.  To stray is to delve into the writer’s danger zone.  For me, I know that I must force myself to accept any constructive criticism with the utmost rationality.  If one has people in their lives that will give honest feedback then cherish it.  To fall in love with your own work will leave you in a disastrous place in which your writing never improves.  If you’re lucky, these same people will help you from falling into complete despair.  Understand that a first draft is not meant to inspire, it is merely a guide for your second draft.

With all this said, I recently looked at where my book was heading.  At the time I felt pretty good about my 45,000 words.  I believed I was nearly half way done with my first draft.  I was wrong.

As I let a few trusted friends read it, it became clear to me that everything after the first chapter needed redone.  It can be heartbreaking and the stubborn might refuse to begin again.  But in pragmatism, i have chosen a path that I believe will churn out the better story.

I do not believe that those first 45000 words were in vain. They merely helped guide me to the place I needed to be to truly begin my book.  I’ve learned so much about what works and what doesn’t.  For every word written, I’ve gained skill, confidence, and a better understanding of my characters.

With all that said, I’ve gone back to diagramming and outlining a solid, and more complete book.

Remember in your writing, never lie to yourself. Never believe solely in your own talent.  Never completely doubt yourself. Learn from others, but ignore the doubters.  Never hesitate to begin again.  I’ve tried to always follow this piece of advice in life. “If you don’t feel like doing it, you probably should.”

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The Shadow Soul: Chapter One

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Someone was calling his name. Cameron felt sure of it. There it was again, muffled as though a voice screaming beneath the still surface of a dark lagoon. And again, near yet so far. Straining to find the source, he but fell lost to the shadows of a dream, the voice a beacon hidden in fog. A fear crept up from his gut into the recesses of his diminished conscious. Who is that? What is happening? 

“CAMERON MATTHEW SHAW!”

The command punctured an unseen barrier, startling him with sheer force and ferocity. His eyes flashed open in a furor of confusion. What’s happening? Where am I? A mania seized Cameron as he searched his broken memories seeking an end to the chaos.

When he found them they struck hard, their violence visceral as any physical wound. A final march. A fateful plungeIt had happened so fast“I did it. I actually did it,” Cameron said over and over, each syllable steeped in disbelief and despair.

“I’m dead. Oh my God! I’m dead,” he whispered, a realization spoken aloud for the first time.

Lying face down, his face contoured to the damp soil of a forest floor. His entire body buzzed as if awakening from a deep sleep. In those first moments, Cameron didn’t move. Lying still upon the cool earth, his chest expanded and contracted with each slow breath. He waited, hoping for the voice to call upon him once more. Come on. Impatience. Frustration. Come on. But the voice turned a deaf ear to his silent longing.

After a brief moment of eternity, Cameron sat up in resignation. Disoriented, he rubbed his eyes and began to survey the surrounding area. As his senses returned, Cameron couldn’t quell his bewilderment. He was still wearing the same t-shirt and pair of jeans he had put on that morning. A quick check of his body told him all was in order. I can’t believe I actually did it.

Cameron’s vision began to clear, illuminating a world unknown. Sitting in the center of a small clearing, a towering forest of pine surrounded him. Dense and dark, sunlight filtered in through foliage overhead casting shadows that danced upon the stage of imagination. A silence hung eerie in the absence of the natural sounds of a forest and the sensation of being watched gnawed at the fringes of Cameron’s consciousness.

Slowly pushing himself to his feet, Cameron took in the forest around him. Where am I? The question, a beating drum, reverberated within his head again and again. His new world made little sense but seemed the only thing to truly matter. Where the fuck am I? A growing fear plunged its roots deeper, unbridled by the momentum of unabridged fancy.

He was not alone. Cameron felt it. Unseen eyes. A curious intensity. An insatiable hunger. Someone had awakened him. Someone had called him forth from the shadows.  The Voice. He knew it to be true. His eyes flicked from tree to tree in desperation, but neither stranger nor friend appeared.

“Cameron…” a voice called softly from behind.

Taken aback, the surprise sent his heart racing. Cameron turned as if on a swivel and saw a man standing at ease among the trees nearest the clearing. The stranger before him stood as though a statue; his stern face unyielding, his intense eyes piecing all before them. Cameron felt exposed, as though his whole life were laid bare.  How could I have missed him?

The man was tall, middle-aged, and gaunt. His cropped hair was black but for the hint of grey creeping along both temples. A narrow face and fierce mouth gave rise to a pair of eyes set narrowly together. Burning like coals, they were ablaze in consternation and determination, his gaze penetrating all. He wore a well-fitted suit and had the air of a man determined upon his own path.

He stood oddly at ease next to a wooden park bench. “Sit,” he ordered, beckoning to the bench with a wave of his hand. A command given with expected compliance.

Cameron didn’t move. Fear and hesitation wrought themselves across his face. “Who are you?” His faltering voice belied his fear.

A tight smile spread slowly across the man’s face and once again he beckoned to the bench. ”Please, have a seat Mr. Shaw,” he said through clinched teeth.

Taken aback by the absolute authority in the stranger’s voice, Cameron reluctantly complied. Crossing the clearing, he took a seat on the bench, putting as much distance between them as he could. For a moment, neither said a word. Cameron could hear his pulse throbbing in his ears. Time to pay the piper. He was sure. Horror stories told to him in the innocence of youth flooded his mind alongside a lifetime of failure and regret.

As the silence built, Cameron cast sidelong glances to the man beside him. The mysterious figure had pulled out a small notebook and was furiously reading its contents, paying no heed to Cameron’s growing anxiety. Cameron waited for something to happen, anything to break the suspense.

Finally, he could stand it no longer. “I’m dead?” he stated, more question than statement. The truth? Cameron couldn’t ascertain the validity of his own proclamation. Dead? Alive? Dreaming? Nothing felt definitively different, yet there he was breathing as though nothing had happened.

“Oh?” the man asked, continuing to read the notebook. Flippantly flipping the pages, he turned a blind eye to Cameron’s question.

Noting the indifference, Cameron continued to search his own memories to bridge the gap. They were linear to a point but then faded. It had been but an hour since Cameron made his decision, mere minutes having passed since building the courage to act upon his convictions. The decision hard, the doubts overwhelming, yet in a fury of hot tears he had acted, plunging into the darkness and waking in a place unknown.

“I died,” Cameron said. This time, he knew it to be true. There could be no doubt. It had been his choice. He had willingly come. Everything had made so much sense before. “I’m dead.” Words spoken once again, more so for his own affirmation than for the man next to him

“Oh? Is that so?” the man asked, “You appear to be alive. Just now, it seemed to me as if you were born. I watched as your body entered this world. I watched as you began to breathe your first breaths. I watched as you sat up and took in everything for the very first time. The forest, the clearing, this bench, is it all a dream? Tell me Cameron, do you feel dead?”

“No, but I know that I died. I remember it clearly now. One moment I was falling and the next, I could hear you calling my name.”

“Ah… But that is a separate thing all unto itself.” Putting down the notebook, the man turned, facing Cameron. “I did not question you in regards to your having died. I merely took exception to the ignorance of your second statement. To have died is not the same as to be dead. Is that not obvious?”

Taken aback, Cameron was unsure how to respond. The abrasiveness of the stranger’s cynicism forced him to question his assumptions. What does he want from me? He despised his own obtuseness and rather than admit his ignorance, he decided upon a different line of communication. “Where are we?” he asked.

“We are sitting on this bench, discussing whether you are dead,” the man answered. “Think for moment. Now tell me, where do you think we are?”

“I don’t know where we are, but I know that I died. I died and this is not what I was expecting.”

“Ha! Expectations are rarely met in life or afterlife,” The man paused, “What were you expecting? Pearly gates? A city lost in the clouds, No?  Perhaps you were expecting glorious trumpets welcoming you to paradise as past friends and family gather around.” Words spat with sarcasm and disdain. The sneer etched across his face cast aside all pleasantries, cynicism in its purest form.

Hesitant to answer and averse to voicing his fears aloud, some time passed before Cameron brought himself to answer. “I’m not sure what I was expecting. I guess I was expecting something more akin to fire and brimstone,” pausing, “Absolute judgment? The truth is I’ve never quite known what to expect. I certainly wasn’t expecting all this.” He waved his hands at the forest around. “I wasn’t expecting you.”

There I said it. It was the truth as he saw it. He had never deemed himself worthy of paradise, had never thought to find the eternal peace so many seek. A fear held his whole life amounting to nothing more than shouted warnings and vague threats.

“Ah… your truth,” A small half-smile flickered momentarily on the stranger’s face. “But sadly, you’ll find this place to be lacking in both fire and brimstone. Look around, Cameron. Do you see a lake of fire?  Does our air reek of sulfur? Can you taste torment upon your tongue?”

Chuckling, he asked. “Tell me, how do you know you weren’t expecting to meet me? Who am I? Have you ascertained my purpose? Assume I was the devil himself or perhaps a lesser deity in disguise, what would you say then?”

“Are you?”

“Ha. To the point. I like that. But to answer your question, I am not the devil, nor any real or imagined deity. I am but a man, much like you…” he smirked, “more or less.”

What does that even mean? Cameron wondered as he attempted to gauge the intentions of the man beside him. Who is he and what does want? The whole situation was unsettling. He shifted his weight forward and stared at the ground.

Beside him the man stood and straightened his jacket with a sharp flick of the wrist. He looked to a large silver watch adorning his wrist. “It’s getting late,” he murmured to himself”

“Come along, Cameron.” Another command issued with assumed compliance. The man began to walk away.

“Wait a minute,” Cameron objected, never one to follow blindly, “I don’t even know who you are.”

The man stopped.  His shoulders tensed and he tilted his head to the side in apparent impatience. “Would it matter, Cameron? As of this moment, I’m the only person you know in the entirety of the afterlife.” He turned, reluctantly waiting for a response. “So, ask yourself Cameron, does it matter?”

Cameron remained still, neither able to answer the question or bring himself to follow blindly. His defiant stare returned a sharp gaze. “You seem to know a lot about me, about the afterlife, about everything. Is it so much to ask your name?”

The man sighed. He looked at his watch once more. “While I don’t know that I know a lot about everything, I do know my intentions and I understand my purpose. As for my name, I am known by many, but I will give you my first. I am Michael Ben Ema. You may call me Michael.”

“There. Was that sufficient to quell your inquisitiveness?” He asked. “Alas, no. I can see it in your face.  It’s never easy with the smart ones is it? Very well, we have time for a question. After that, I’m leaving whether you follow me or not.”

“Um,” Cameron was left searching. They were too many to narrow it down. For every new revelation, two questions arose. “Um. So, where are we? Is this where we all end up? Eternity in a forest?” Dammit, one question and that’s what I ask.

One of the corners of the man’s mouth threatened to break into a smile, but in an instant it was gone. “We?” he asked coyly.

“Come on! We. People. Everyone that has died. Do we, or should I say they, is this it? Is this where we all end up? Is this all there is to the afterlife?”

“Ha. And I said one question. Though, I suppose it would be fair to say that everyone who ever lived in the pastlife has come here to the afterlife. Though whether they remain is a different question all together.” Michael turned once more and began to walk into the forest. “But it may be easier to show you rather than tell you. If you would just come with me, I may be able to help.”

“Cameron, I know you are drowning in a sea of uncertainty. You undoubtedly have questions. Your kind always does. But come, our time is short. Soon you will be thrust into this afterlife and you must find your own way.”

Cameron hurried after Michael, hoping a few answers were better than none. Their path was fading, a forgotten walkway long since traveled. Twisting. Turning. Ever seeking the summit hidden above. Overgrowth hung at every turn. At times, the path disappeared entirely. Yet Michael led onward and up, cutting through the forest with ease.

Cameron followed, his mind skirting from one question to the next. Overwhelmed, he said nothing but watched everything, seeking answers to any one of his countless questions. From time to time, Cameron could see Michael looking to his watch. With every glance, the pace quickened. Damn it. Slow down. It was a pace too slow for a jog but fast enough that walking became unbearable. Michael’s long stride was difficult to match.

After a while, Michael broke the silence. “Cameron, do you wish to discuss your death? You know, there are those who are comforted by such. At times it can ease the transition.”

The unexpected question nearly brought Cameron to a stop. He knows. Cameron forced his feet onward, his silence every bit a definitive answer. How the fuck does he know?

“I thought not.” Michael smiled. His eyes once again strayed to the watch.

How does he know?

Before Cameron could fixate upon the question, Michael broke out into a run. Cameron pursued, struggling to keep pace. Can’t lose him. They ran faster and faster still. Fatigue soon gripped Cameron. Fueled by a need to know, he cast his better judgment aside, determined to assuage his curiosity.

At long last they reached a summit, Michael having finished a hundred paces ahead. Cameron found him standing in the center of the path, waiting with a hand firmly resting on the trunk of a large pine. Cameron gasped for breath while Michael stood oddly at ease.

“Are you ready?” a flicker of greed flashing in his eye.

Cameron saw it. Michael made no attempt to conceal it. And both knew they desired something from the other. Cameron needed answers, understanding, or anything that would bring some semblance of order to world. What does he want? Circling high overhead, the answers remained out hand. Cameron felt as if he were grasping in the dark, unable to read the hawk before him.

“Good.”

They were walking once again. Cameron hadn’t noticed them begin. His eyes were open but he was elsewhere, his thoughts all but blinding him to world around. His death. Michael had brought his death to the forefront of his mind. Reliving the moment over and over, Cameron began to grasp the magnitude of his decision, the ripple effect that his actions would cause to those closest to him.

The ancillary details, forgotten in the wake of his choice, burst upon him like water though floodgates. I wonder if they’ve found my body. Wonder if Aria knows yet. Cameron stopped, horrified at decisions made a life time ago. My kids. My god, what was I thinking? Damn. Damn. Da…

“Come now, Cameron. Is there really any use in crying over spilt milk?”

The words cut like a dagger. Cameron’s face flinched. His brow furrowed. His mouth readied venom in reply. But before he could erupt, he stopped, his anger subsiding. Michael was right. He knew it. Though grating, Michael’s words rang true. There was no going back.

“There. You see? There’s the rational I expected to find. It is refreshing isn’t it? To find those few who when confronted with truth, see the error of their ways. Ugh. Cameron, I can’t tell you how many can’t or won’t. It’s utterly exhausting.” A slight smile broke though the usual grimace, “But come now, it’s just a little further.”

It was true, every word of it. Cameron was accustomed to being on the other side of the line but he was too distracted to dwell on it for long. Michael’s rebuke had sparked some sense in him but the horror of his decision subsided to the fringes of his thoughts, far from the forefront but never forgotten.

The trail led them down from the summit, gradually leveling out.  As they walked, the forest began to thin. For the first time, Cameron was able to see the sky clearly. It was blue, familiar even, yet darker in color than the skies of his old life. Off somehow. A warm, southern wind whipped about. White billowing clouds dotted the sky, racing high overhead.

Neither said a word. Nor would it have mattered had they tried. The howling wind drowned out everything. Cameron’s long brown hair whipped about his face. He was nearly knocked down several times.

The small trail led them out of the forest and down to a rocky ledge than spanned no more than ten feet in width. The trail continued down until the very edge, stopping abruptly before plunging thousands of feet to the unseen ground below. The world around Cameron expanded, sending a wave of vertigo down his spine. Within the sanctuary of the forest everything seemed small, but here the enormity of the afterlife dwarfed them.

Here, they were thousands of feet in the air, standing upon but a small ledge jutting out from a wooded mountain range. The mountains extended as far right and left as his eyes could see; a never ending wall covered in a sea of pine. The very peaks just managing to escape from clutches of the forest.

Cameron turned his back to the ledge, admiring the mighty green giants from which they had emerged. The view astounded Cameron, temporarily forcing all doubt and insecurity aside. If only they could see this.

A firm hand to his shoulder. “You’re missing it,” Michael yelled over the howling winds, “Cameron, you’re missing the whole point.”

Confused, Cameron stared dumbly at Michael

“You’re still living in the past,” Michael said, as he pointed to the forest. “The past has nothing for you. Your only way is forward.”

Michael beckoned back, pointed towards the ledge. “Come, Cameron! Stand with me on the very precipice of this world. Stand with me on the last step between pastlife and afterlife! Stand and see whether you feel dead!  Stand with me and behold, the City of Sheol! It beckons! Can you feel it calling?” Michael yelled over the roaring wind.

What is he talking about?

Then Cameron saw it. Out beyond the ledge and filling the horizon, a city unlike any he had ever seen. A city of gods. A city of dreams. Sheol had no equal.

Pristine and peaceful, modern yet ancient, towers of stone and steel stretched out from the valley below as if fingers grasping for the clouds. The city was alive, a kaleidoscope of moving parts, bustling with the activity of a billion souls. And yes. Yes, he felt it. The city’s song cried out to him, reaching deep within. Soothing. Tranquil. A wave of peace strangled the chaos and fear within his heart.

Mesmerized, he closed his eyes and listened to Sheol’s song. Years of pain begged to fall from his shoulders. His questions left inconsequential. Cameron stretched his arms out wide and felt truly at ease for the first time in years. It was beyond comprehension. Beyond words.

“Cameron Shaw,” she sang, “Come. This city was built for you, for all of you. Forget your wants. Forget your pain. Let go. Sheol provides all.”

For a moment, Cameron wanted nothing more than to shrug it all away. To let it all go. He stopped himself just as the weight began to slide from his shoulders. It’s too much, too good for me. Something gave him pause. At what cost?

Michael startled him with a firm hand to his shoulder. Michael leaned in to Cameron’s ear. “You feel it don’t you, Cameron? Yet you pause, why not just let go? Why not give in? Embrace Sheol and take this life. Isn’t this what we all envision for ourselves? The promise before you is far superior to what you hoped for yourself. You admitted it yourself. Rationality dictates that you should readily embrace her peace as the gift it is.”

“Is this it? Is this the only way? Is there more?” Cameron asked half hoping to shrug off the burden that had rested on his shoulders for so long.

Michael smiled, pausing to give his next words gravity. “No. Sheol isn’t your only option. You may refuse her and pursue your own purposes. But let this be a warning that you may never accuse me of deceit. If you choose to turn your back on Sheol, you will suffer. You will grieve. Your refusal will define you and you will not make it through the fire unscathed. If you reject Sheol, she will reject you. You will wander here and there, ostracized from society, cut off from all you know. You will be but a reed blowing in the wind. There will be no sanctuary. And eventually, the forces of Heaven or Hel will find you, and your end will be written in stone.”

Wait. What? Michael’s warning jarred Cameron loose of Sheol’s hypnotic song. Heaven and Hel? Cameron felt as though a bomb had just been dropped upon him. New revelations continued to obliterate every mental construct he formed. He searched Michael’s face for some hint of jest but Michael’s eyes burned with truth.

“You speak as though the city itself is self-aware.”

“Who’s to say she isn’t?”

“What? And what of Heaven and Hel? Do you ever actually answer questions or do you get off on being as opaque as…”

“Stop!” Michael commanded. “Sheol keeps her mysteries. As for Heaven and Hel, Cameron, every legend has its beginning, every myth its kernel of truth. In Sheol, we all hear one language yet there are many spoken. I speak and you hear Heaven and Hel. The translation isn’t universal.” Michael shrugged, “The truth is, Heaven and Hel are nothing more than two sides of the same coin. Locked in an eternal war, both struggling for supremacy.”

“Why do they fight?”

“Why does anyone fight? You’re missing the point. If you were smart, you would forget it all. Embrace Sheol, enjoy your peace. It’s simple.”

Cameron set his jaw. Every line of his face betrayed his defiance.  I didn’t throw everything away for nothing. I won’t be turned away.

Michael smiled. They locked eyes and understanding passed between them. “Good. I can see you’re finally serious. I know you’ve come here with a specific purpose, that in death you sought answers. Sheol’s gift is mighty. But believe me when I tell you, your purpose is greater than her peace.” He waved a hand towards the city. “Forsake her. Forget this shit. You are all that you have. Live selfishly. Pursue your own goals. Your purpose is your own.”

“And what of yours? What is your role in all of this?” Cameron was grateful for the truth, but was suspicious all the same. “Why tell me to give in? Why offer Sheol’s peace at all?”

“Your purpose in your own and mine is my own. I’m here merely to guide you to this point. I’ve laid out your options and will let you choose. But do not be mistaken. I do not answer to you.” Michael’s face hardened. “So what will it be, Mr. Shaw? Peace or Purpose?”

Cameron drew himself up, readying his heart, “I’ve endured torment and I’ve chosen grief. It’s too late to turn back now.” I’m ready. He hoped.

“So be it!” Michael said. He looked to his watch one final time. “It’s time. Remember, be it Heaven or Hel, whichever claims you first, never forget your Purpose.”

“And Cameron,” he paused, “I hope your life was worth it. I hope you find your brother.”

Finished, Michael turned and stepped over the ledge, leaving Cameron alone on the last step between pastlife and afterlife.

All Rights Reserved: The copyright holder retains all the rights provided by copyright law, such as distribution, performance, and creation of their work. 

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A Second Set of Eyes

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I recently turned over the first chapter of my novel over to a trusted friend and fellow writer for a full vetting.  I asked him to not hold back, to be as honest as he could.  The results were far from surprising. As it turns out, I need to edit every bit as much as I suspected.  

When I sent the the chapter for review, I knew major changes would be necessary.  What I hadn’t counted on was just how much my own eyes missed.  When the chapter was returned, the problems highlighted jumped out at me.  Of course, I thought, how could I have missed this or that. And that and that and this.  It was really eye opening. How can I (or anybody) miss such obvious problems within my own work? 

I suspect that living with a significant other is very much the same.  Love and devotion can be blinding.  We are so often blind to the faults of those we cherish. A writer’s work is much the same.  I’ve spent months agonizing over this word or that, all the while unaware of the rather large elephants in the room.  The closeness to my own work, blinding me to the very obvious.

With that said, I think I can speak for writers and authors everywhere when I say that a second set of trusted eyes can be vital to your story.  Plot holes, inconsistencies, and repeated words or ideas are just a few of things that we as writers cannot often see.  We tie the ideas in our head so much more than the words on paper.  

I am grateful for my friend’s critiquing and would encourage anyone who writes or plans to write a novel to join a local writers’ critique group.  The insights I have learned at my own have challenged me and my writing, forcing me to come to terms with my writings’ shortcomings.

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Intrigue and Mystique

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I, like millions upon millions of other TV viewers, turned in week after week for six long years.  I continued watching all to find out about the island and its many mysteries.  One of these mysteries was more important that all the others;  What the fuck was the smoke monster? That billowing evil with its hissing noise. God, I wanted to know what it was so bad.

The longer I watched the more I learned. The more I learned, the less I was impressed.  The entirety of the sixth season was like a sinking ship.  Each answer revealed but a horrible dampening upon the mystique of Lost.  As the final episode came to a close, I couldn’t help but feel cheated and angry at the answers that lay behind all my questions. The questions that were left unanswered still tantalize to this day while all that was revealed was soon forgotten in a wake of disappointment.

I think that this notion applies to the world of fiction.  The more me know about a given topic, the less awed we become as readers.  This makes me think back to every book one I have read that started with it all; great characters, a mysterious plot, and a ton of unanswered questions.  But, by the end of the series, I usually find that for all their mysteries, the answers almost always fall short of what I had envisioned the answers to be.

I’ve come to hate endings. I’m always disappointed.  I think the most successful stories leave us wanting more, leave half the questions unanswered.  I would much rather a book or movie end, with me dying to know what happens and destined to never find out than to read a story to its conclusion and think that’s it.

With all this in mind, I’ve gone about crafting my current work in progress. While the going has been slow as of late, I can’t help but think to the end of the road, to the end goal.  I know what I want to do. I have my ending in mind.  But at the same time, I think that in leaving some part unresolved, that the story can have a more lasting impact.

So for now, I leave, off to walk that fine ledge between mystique and intrigue, hoping to find the right balance in both life and writing.

 

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The Winter Soldier. A Review

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I went to see Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier and I must say, I am thoroughly impressed.  While Marvel’s recent Phase II movies haven’t completely lived up to the hype (see Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World,) The Winter Soldier certainly did.

I must admit, when I heard that the Russo brothers were set to direct The Winter Soldier, I was skeptical at best.  While I loved Community, I wasn’t on board with the idea of two unproven commodities directing a movie of this size. And while I normally cringe at the idea of being wrong, in this instance, I rejoice.  The Winter Soldier was not just good, it was great.  And by great, I mean that it was on par with Whedon’s The Avengers.

I loved nearly everything about the movie.  The opening sequence was beautiful. The Winter Soldier has finally given us a Cap that showcases all of Rogers’ abilities.  In past movies, the Captain was well near the bottom of the totem pole as far as super powers go, but I feel that The Winter Soldier showcased them perfectly.

Mackie’s Falcon was an excellent addition to Marvel’s growing cast of characters and we finally got a movie that showcased the Widow’s badassness.

My one regret of the movie, was that the Winter Solider was barely in it.  Based upon the end credits, it seems as if the relationship between both Rogers and Barnes will be fleshed out in further episodes and that we must all wait to see what happens next.

Hail Hydra.

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First Battle Scene

 

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I’ve always been inspired by massive battles in both print and video.  To this day, I would swear that the fight between Neo and the 100 Agent Smiths in Matrix Reloaded is the best movie fight scene ever.  The epicness of Helm’s Deep in the Two Towers is another classic.  There’s just something about battle on a grand scale that can be truly mesmerizing.  The opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan is another example of this, though it was at times a complete shock to the senses.  I will never forget sitting in the theater, as a ten year old, watching at wave after wave descended upon the beach.  Chilling, yet memorable.

So when it came to writing my own first major battle in Shaw’s Uncanny Afterlife, I was extremely excited.  I’ve had it planned from the very beginning,  The sequence was one of the first things I remember plotting when I set out to make an outline of the book.  After forty thousand words, I was finally able to write this scene. While it is still in rough draft mode, I’m extremely pleased with the outcome of the chapter.  It’s chapters like these that make the rest of the tough sledding worth it.

One of the difficulties in writing these scenes is making them come alive. I can see it so clearly in my head, and yet i found myself having to continually read and revise.  It is definitely was of the harder things to get write.  Overall, I would say it was very successful, and I cannot wait to finish this rough draft and get that final payoff.  It is going to be amazing and the promise of that is what is keeping me going.

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Camp NaNoWriMO

I’ve slowed down considerably on the current manuscript considerably over the last month. In the hopes of picking up my pace, I’ve decided to participate in the Camp Nanowritemo.  I’m hoping to complete my rough draft by the end of April but as of right now, I’m not terribly convinced it will happen.

 

Update: 4/27/2014 Well that was a horrible fail.  I’m still comfortably plugging away at my 500 words per day pace.  I keep telling myself that 7 days of 6000 words and I will be done with my rough draft, but alas, I don’t see a sprint like that happening anytime soon.

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