Leave Taylor Swift Alone

Marie Claire digs into Taylor Swift for her extreme–  not saying anything about politics? Is this seriously what we’ve come to?

The modern witch hunts by the extreme SJWs are so crazy that now they go after you if you simply don’t jump on the outrage train and shriek with everyone else. Or maybe a musician just wants to sell albums to everyone in America and not just one political side, you know, like most artists used to.

Best comment I’ve seen on it so far:

But this is why we need pop culture that goes beyond silent on it, but actually speaks out to let others know there is another side. The entertainment industry is so monolithic, this is why they’ve gone this far. When they learn that most people don’t think like them, we may be able to get back to normalcy. For now, go read MAGA 2020 and Beyond! 

Can Gamma Male Protagonists Evoke Classical Pathos?

I had an interesting discussion with a friend last night as we were digging far too deeply into anime. Almost every anime show (especially those set in a high school environment, which is the majority of them), have male protagonists that are your classic gamma male archetype. They are socially awkward, especially around women. When encountered with women they go into a crazed frenzy, female worship, nosebleeds, slapstick failings. We’re supposed to root for them to get the girl in spite of their failures. And sometimes we do, but we can’t help but wince every time they enter the scene with their female counterparts, who are usually far more composed and cooler than they are.

The result is a different kind of emotion than we receive from a more heroic character. When an alpha or beta protagonist confronts problems, we get the feeling of the basic human instinct overcoming dilemmas, whether they be spiritual or physical, and it fills us with a sense that uplifts us emotionally to a place where we strive to be something better than ourselves, or at least our thoughts are provoked in a direction to where we discuss the merits of certain values. Whatever that may be, that is the true sense of pathos that gets evoked from a good story with such a protagonist.

But with the gamma, we are still in the wince mode, hoping that he can get through the situation unscathed. If he does, we don’t exactly feel fulfilled after watching or reading the work. I believe this is part of the reason so many animes or mangas give us a feeling of let down with the ending, making a cool concept imminently forgettable when they don’t need to be.

My friend brought up another classic example of the gamma: The Phantom of the Opera. The Phantom is very non-confrontational, hiding, stalking, unable to interact at the basic human level. We feel pity for him, but we feel no true sense of pathos to where we as an audience are uplifted by it. It’s tragic to watch, and horrific, and though the musical is quite well done, we walk away from it as an audience as unfulfilled as when we watch anime. Our sense is that we wish things were different, but in an undefined way, or that we wish the phantom was simply a different person. We’re not moved in our emotional response to any sort of thought or action beyond a wish.

And so it’s my conclusion that a gamma protagonist does and cannot evoke a true sense of pathos in a general audience, as we aren’t stirred to a cause, a thought, or any sort of action. We’re only stirred toward pity.

What do you think?

My character Zaira Von Monocle is unrefined and untrained, but she’s certainly not a gamma. She’s driven by loyalty to King and loyalty to family, some of the most important things we can have as people. For Steam And Country has stirred a lot of emotions in people, but you should see for yourself if I evoked any sense of pathos. You can read it here.  

MAGA 2020 Makes PJ Media!

Ace Reporter Megan Fox is the ONLY conservative media commentator to cover the anthology, some of the only pop culture out there going counter-culture to the anti-trump mainstream. She’s brave for covering it, we’re brave for making it. Makes a great combo.

For years we conservatives have complained impotently about the derailing culture and lack of entertainment choices, and yet, which one of us stepped up to fill the void? We watched literature join the dumpster fire that is modern culture and cried tears of helplessness. But no more. 

Pretty much my whole goal in making books and producing content. There’s lots of complaining, very little action. And I’ve certainly gotten some big POO POO from the people who won’t take action when attacked by a writer from the National Review yesterday. Glad someone in the media is picking up on the work and being bold about it. Read her full article here.  

And if you’d like to check out the very hot MAGA 2020 anthology, you should. I signed a few copies this weekend for some fans.

Review: Win Bigly by Scott Adams

Win Bigly By Scott Adams

As an author who enjoys the marketing aspects of my business, I am always hungry in good marketing strategies or psychological persuasion analysis. As such, I’ve been following Scott Adams for some time, as he’s been keen to talk about the topic. His citing of Robert Cialdini’s Influence only gave him more credibility in my mind, as I have read the book and apply several of its methods to my online presence.

That said, I was primed to feel as if I wouldn’t fill up on the content of this book. I’d read Adams’ autobiographical How To Fail At Almost Everything And Still Win Big, and while I enjoyed learning about the trials of his life and how he worked hard to overcome them, I felt like it was a little lacking in terms of deeper content applicable to me overall. But, by the same token, I still recall several phrases and life-advice blurbs he gave in the book, so perhaps it was better than I give it credit. But this is also a political book, and I’ve seen a trend of a lot of authors use their blog posts, retool them, and push a book out for marketing purposes. As I’m happy to support Adams because I do love his blogs so much, I did buy it. But I was firmly expecting there to be little meat to the book where I’d already satiated my interest in psychology with a good meal on his blog.

Getting into the book though, I found a nice refresher of the persuasion topics, The first ½ of the book or so delves deeply into that, the techniques both he and President Trump use in marketing, including some points I hadn’t paid attention to along the way of the election, or that Adams added for this book specifically in order to make it more substantive. While I’m typically a slow reader, If I have something I find incredibly compelling, I find I read a book in just a few days—and Win Bigly did that for me.

There’s some expert advice in here, but it’s on the reader to apply it to your own life or business. I’m fine with that as I’m good with taking abstract constructs and modifying them for my own use. I’ve built a brand on that kind of persuasion myself in the last year, and both some of my fans and critics have noticed it. Reinforcing the concepts was very useful for me in that regard. The sections on the Persuasion Stack and How To Design a Linguistic Kill Shot I found most flavorful and substantive.

The last third of the book for me or so was skim material. It had all the ingredients of the blog content I had been concerned about when I bought the book. For someone who already follows Adams’ content closely, it’s like the filler at a Poke Bowl restaurant where you’ve got your nice ahi on top with some of the good stuff, and the carbs of the rice or noodles on the bottoms are designed to fill you up a bit cheaply for the restaurant. Now Adams specifically says not to use analogies in persuasion, but bear with me in this review. Believe me, you’ll want to keep reading.

Going over the election cycle, process, all the scandals, all the persuasion points used, and the final victory didn’t do much for me, but if you didn’t read Adams’ blog every day and you’re not already in the know, the content is really compelling, even spooky (a word he often uses). I’m not sure I buy into how heavy his influence was on the election, as my vote didn’t change based on what he said, but he did change my life in the way I perceive the world. I’m chowing down bigly on the persuasion filter and it’s partially because of the way the events lined up and the way Adams described it. If you’re interested and you haven’t followed his work, the final third section might be the most compelling part of the book for you.

Overall, I enjoyed it as much as I do a good meal. Win Bigly solidified what I already believe in terms of influence and persuasion, brought up some fun new points and a couple of good laughs along the way. He did rely a bit on reposting blog content, but not so heavily that it deterred me from enjoying the book. It’s a must read for anyone new to marketing or with interest in the persuasion game of life. There’s a lot to chew on.

Overall, I give the book a 9/10. Entertaining, useful, and just about the right length to hold my interest.

Post Review Important! Read! 

Now my real persuasion plan with this review is to try to get Scott Adams to read and let me take him out to lunch. I live about 10 minutes from Scott Adams and it’s been on my bucket list as an author. I layered my review with food metaphors, in hopes that he reads it, it made him hungry and that he might reach out and contact me. We do have a lot of similar friends on the online presence and I believe we’re firmly on the same team. I’d even use WhenHub to let him know when I arrive, and I’m buying if he’s in! We’ll see if my persuasion was up to snuff. At the very least, I know I delivered a good laugh.

If you like persuasion and Trumpisms, you might also want to check out the new anthology MAGA 2020, some of the only pro-Trump pop culture out there, which features a story by me, a nice intro by Milo Yiannopoulos and a great essay by Ivan Throne. You can check it out here.

Comics to Prose Writing Styles

A lot of readers came here this year, but for those unaware of my history, I cut my teeth on writing in comic form. I became serious about  comic script writing in 2010-2011 when I created my webcomic, Flying Sparks, which did pretty well with an audience and lasted 8 issues. Going back and reading those scripts, I progressed as a writer throughout making the comic. Still toying with rereleasing them, though at the very least they need some dialogue updates to be more readable. Here’s one of the old pages:

Which gets me to the main topic point. A  lot of prose writers I see flood their books with dialogue. Most of the plot happens in dialogue, most of the worldbuilding is communicated through it in an attempt not to “infodump” — which if there’s dialogue tags around it, it still can be an infodump!  Characters go off on sprawling speeches.

Now what’s interesting is comics rely on dialogue pretty heavily. Other than the pictures which communicate most of the background and action, dialogue is all you have as a writer. There’s no tertiary description, and very few abilities to communicate character’s thoughts over the course of a comic pamphlet. But there’s a big difference between the way dialogue drives a comic and the way it’s used in prose: brevity is crucial.

When I started, I noticed a lot of novice comic writers FLOODED their art with words. They couldn’t quite let the art breathe, speak for itself, but instead did the same infodumping techniques I see in a lot of prose. I wanted to make sure I never did that, and so I shortened a lot of the dialogue in my own work. Learning to communicate through less words made for much better comics that flow better not only so the art stands  out more, but so the pacing of the book works out better as well. I carried this across to prose. Most of my characters don’t talk very often in long paragraphs (except Harkerpal in For Steam And Country, of which it’s a joke within the story how much he talks). It helps me pace the story so it moves along a lot better than I would have without the comic technique.

Back to comics, the dialogue is how you differentiate characters.  Word choices are all the more important because you have to differentiate your characters all the more in comics. This is the onus for a way I edit — where I now do a pass where go through and shift word choices on one character at a time, staying  in that character’s mindset so they talk as they’re supposed to talk and it’s separate and different than the way any other character does. In comics, it helps bring so much clarity to the pages, and it does the same to prose.

Finally, comics have length limits due to art. You really need to stick to 20-24 pages for a pamphlet to conform to modern standards. It means an outline needs to be detailed, tight, with very little margin for error. What this did for me was when I came to prose, I could block out scenes and know almost exactly how many words I’d get, and it keeps my books an intentional and consistent length and pace as well.  This is another nice pacing element that I wouldn’t have learned without writing comics.

Now comics aren’t for everyone, but it’s an interesting exercise as a writer that helped me tremendously. It might be worth a shot just to try the constraints of comic writing  as an exercise. For me, it’s my dream to get back to producing comics on a regular basis. In addition to all of my projects, I’m slowly chipping away there.

For the best of my writing style, check out For Steam And Country, an adventure of a girl who inherits an airship that I could easily rewrite into comic book form. You can buy it here. 

 

Happy #MAGADay!

One year ago we s tarted winning  again. Is it any wonder my debut novel came out the asme week the God-Emperor fulfilled his prophecy to ascend to the Cherry Blossom thrown?

Well on the one year anniversary of all the hard work we put into our memes, which became reality to Make America Great Again, we have a treat for you.

Some of the only pop culture out there to celebrate this glorious day. It’s called MAGA 2020 and it features stories by some of the best in the business like John C. Wright and Brad Toregerson, along with some amazing essays by political philosophers like Milo Yiannopoulos and Ivan Throne.  Oh yes, and it has a story from the leading Hispanic voice in Science Fiction — Jon Del Arroz. It’s aptly titled ‘Winning Is What We Do.”

Do check it out and make this your gleeful look into the future so you can enjoy MAGADay with the rest of us:

https://www.amazon.com/MAGA-2020-Beyond-Milo-Yiannopoulos-ebook/dp/B075YF99P4

My Thoughts On the Brian Michael Bendis Move

I got the first hot take on Periscope this morning, one of my better Periscopes:   https://www.pscp.tv/w/1YpKkWMMWQNKj  Follow me there or I post all of them to YouTube when technology cooperates. Make sure to subscribe and tell your friends:

Big news for comics. And if you want big as in big league, you’ll want to check out the MAGA 2020 and Beyond anthology featuring a ridiculously fun story by me and an intro by Milo Yiannopoulos. It comes out tomorrow but you should pre-order it now. Believe me.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075YF99P4

Comic Review: Batman Dark Prince Charming

Batman Dark Prince Charming comes in a nice hardcover package – a bit small for the hardcover treatment and at a bit of a steep price point at $12.99 for what looks like a thin book. It doesn’t help the book comes shrink-wrapped so if you’re not in the know in having researched it, you are gambling on the quality of the book. Marini being the only creator listed on the front was confusing to me too, as I didn’t know who that was going in. The cover art really doesn’t do the story justice either, with a very un-exciting look of a Batman mid-shot pictured above. Not sure why they went with that as it probably harms the book sales rather than helps it.

Enrico Marini is an Italian artist and writer who does the full duty from start to finish on the comic, as he’s done on several others published through a French press. It’s something we don’t see often in the comics world and so it’s intriguing by itself, but what’s inside is some beauty nearly unparalleled in comics.

His art style is one of my favorites. It’s that hyper-detailed pencil-to-colors look where you don’t get the broad strokes of the ink covering up the original drawings save for where the artist chooses to for the art’s sake. I personally think it makes for a very fresh looking quality. It’s one Tomas Giorello used on the first 3 issues of X-O Manowar, another Italian artist, and I wonder if their styles come from their training over there. Either way, once I saw the art, I was immediately in for this book. Even if the story was non-existent in this book, I would have  probably liked to flip through the panels just to get a glimpse at Marini’s drawings. They’re that good.

Story wise, we have a standard Frank Miller-esque dark Gotham with a Joker who is kidnapping children, a Bruce Wayne who’s getting hit up for a paternity allegation, and a Batman on an obsessive mission to find the Joker and save the day. What I like about this that I don’t see in the current Batman ongoing  — which is where I think the Miller-esque Batman has gone a bit too far – is Batman doesn’t sit around whining about how he’s lonely or how he’s sad and how he doesn’t feel he’s making a difference. He’s being a hyper-driven Detective here by  every means possible, and so it’s more fitting with the character. We get some nice cameos from Killer Croc and Catwoman (who is stunningly drawn).

Other than that, it’s a standard Batman v. Joker fare. Joker is out of control insane, and leaving a trail in some ways to toy with Batman. He acts a bit shocking throughout – this is very dark, close to R-Rated in its  content. I usually don’t like that in a comic, but it fits here decently.  I wouldn’t say the story is mind-blowingly different in any regard to other stories I’ve read, but it IS classic Batman. It feels right, and that’s what’s important.

It is half a story as this is a part 2. So you are committing to $12.99 x 2 to get the full story here. But on the flip side, it’s clear the amount of art quality and time they took toward making this book, I’m all in on it and I’m waiting for more. Marini’s art has me wowed and I’m itching for the conclusion.

9/10

In Praise Of Jeffro Johnson

I’ve been writing for a little more than a decade, and seriously since about 2012-2013, but it wasn’t until I started reading Jeffro’s posts on the Hugo nominated Castalia House blog and his Appednix N book that something clicked in me.

It’s because of him I shifted my reading habits from the modern sci-fi political drivel to Edgar Rice Burroughs, Poul Anderson and Leigh Brackett. I would have never discovered this past full of wonder, where these authors reached for the stars and dreamed rather than dug their heels into the earth and tried to make a grittier, hellish  version of now.

He showed me what science fiction and fantasy can be.

Now you might think I’m overstating it, but it’s really incredible just how much the genre has transformed in the last three decades or so, and not for the better. I highly recommend searching his Castalia House posts at the very least and I also recommend every writer read Appendix N, his literary criticism of Dungeons and Dragons. It’s really brilliant and opened my eyes.

My writing changed because of it, and not just in a way where I consciously decided to draft things a different way. Old fiction was all about fun and wonder, and so when a writer approaches a book like that, it becomes more fun to write — it’s made me more productive in my habits just cuz I’m enjoying the process more. I don’t worry about realism now, I’ve realized that’s a dumb thing to strive for in science fiction,  I only worry about creating an exciting vision. It helps me cut down on slow points in the process, these revelations have done wonders for me personally.  And I know I’m not the only one.

Today I learned Jeffro will be stepping down from the Castalia House blog, a blog which has become daily reading for me because of him and the other great authors there. It makes me sad because this is the end of an era. I really hope he’ll continue to at least write occasionally so we get his insights. I’m going to miss him a lot in this capacity and I know others will as well.

I trust that Morgan Holmes will do an excellent job, and will also keep Jeffro’s vision in mind. But I wanted to dedicate this blog to Jeffro’s hard work over the last couple of years all the same. Thank you again, Jeffro. I hope you won’t be a stranger around these parts!

If you love Appendix N, the first story I wrote since discovering it was published this summer. You can find it here and see a marked difference in how I come at fiction. 

Thanks For Reading!

Another bigly popular week at the blog and I really appreciate everyone who comes and takes the time to read. Hopefully it’s been fun and informative.

I’m hard at work on Baron Von Monocle 2 for National Novel Writing Month — about 6,800 words in as I write this. If you haven’t checked out the first book, this is going to be my flagship series for the foreseeable future so you’ll want to: http://bit.ly/forsteamandcountry

If you have, thank you doubly! This book won’t be ready right away, but my next will be a space opera, The Stars Entwined, which will be a very unique take on warfare spy games you’ll love. In the meantime, Gravity Of The Game is still getting great buzz. It’s quite heartwarming and many have told me they think it’s worthy of a Hugo award: https://www.amazon.com/Gravity-Game-Jon-Del-Arroz-ebook/dp/B0763KN3R7

On Wednesday, the anthology MAGA 2020 comes out, featuring positive pop culture stories about the future of America. I’ve got a very fun story in there, and Milo Yiannopoulos penned a brilliant intro. You won’t want to miss it. https://www.amazon.com/MAGA-2020-Beyond-Milo-Yiannopoulos-ebook/dp/B075YF99P4

If you’re all caught up and just want to support, subscribe to my youtube channel where I upload all of my daily periscopes (assuming technology cooperates) and do some interviews from time to time: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrGNYo4n2qT9z52qtevon4Q  costs nothing but just building that platform so could use some looks!

And I’ve got a mailing list. I haven’t used it yet, but eventually I’ll give out freebies and do some announcements: https://delarroz.us15.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=3c0d4761bf596db6605e25975&id=e7c61287b0

A busy month to be sure but working harder than the rest of the industry and coming out with great product is what we’re all about. This ride’s just getting started and I’m in no way tired of winning yet.