Who am I?

Professional shoulder devil

Writer of some things, maker of other things

Crafty (in every sense of the word)

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X is for Xerox: When Copying Isn’t Quite Copying

X is for Xerox: When Copying Isn’t Quite Copying

(Standard spoiler disclaimer applies to The Book of MormonWickedThe Lion King, and The Music Man.)

We got the soundtrack for The Book of Mormon pretty much as soon as it was released, and I was utterly engrossed.  But one thing bothered me quite a bit.  The song “You and Me (But Mostly Me)”…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njHiUggTjRo&w=500

…sounded awfully familiar.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlMBcTGJ4YM&w=500

It kind of stuck in my craw.  The rest of the songs are great, so why rip off something contemporary and distinctive?  But the more I listened, the more I realized that it’s supposed to sound like Wicked, because they do the same thing throughout the show.

Read more…

W is for Wordless: What Goes Unspoken in The Quick and the Dead

W is for Wordless: What Goes Unspoken in The Quick and the Dead

(Standard spoiler disclaimer applies to The Quick and the Dead.  Also, this page has several images and large GIFs, so you might want to give it a minute to load before proceeding.)

I love me some dialogue.  There’s nothing quite like a good snappy exchange, and great quotes are the kind of thing that becomes timelessly viral (as evidenced by the average quantity of Monty Python quotes in a given D&D session).  But dialogue isn’t everything, and there’s a whole lot you can do without ever saying a word.

As befits a story about a stoic badass riding into a town full of stoic badasses, The Quick and the Dead is practically a master class on this topic, packed with just about every kind of visual communication you can imagine.

Read more…

V is for Variations: Originality is Overrated

V is for Variations: Originality is Overrated

(Standard spoiler disclaimer applies to… well, anything by Robin McKinley.)

I read voraciously as a kid and teenager, although I had a tendency to stay in a comfort zone of familiar books and authors.  One of the most influential authors, both on my writing and on my general outlook on life, was Robin McKinley.  In fact, it’s one of her books that I consider to be my favorite of all time.  Here, I’ll describe it for you:

We meet a young woman who’s something of a misfit, although she has strong family ties.  She gets swept up against her will into a new exotic world and befriends its brooding, magical ruler (who’s quite a bit older than her).  In this new world, she discovers that she has position, power, and purpose: to save her new home and its prince.

I am referring, of course, to Beauty, though you may have been forgiven for thinking I was referring to Rose Daughter.  Or The Blue Sword.  Or The Hero and the Crown.  Or Chalice.  Or Sunshine.  Only the first two are actual retellings of the Beauty and the Beast legend, but the others all pretty much riff on it.  This basic format can be seen in her other retellings, of Sleeping Beauty and Donkeyskin and even Robin Hood.  For nearly forty years, McKinley has been coming back to this same well.

And it works.

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The Reading List

Here’s a rundown of stuff online that I dig.  Clicky for more details!

 Writing Stuff

Agent Savant

BookEnds, LLC *

Confessions of a Wandering Heart

Janet Reid, Literary Agent

Miss Snark *

Pub Rants

Query Shark

Rachelle Gardner

The Review Hart

Sarah Negovitch

SlushPile Hell

Terrible Minds

TV Tropes

Writer’s Digest

WTF Bad Fantasy Covers

WTF Bad Romance Covers

Not Writing Stuff

Amy Mebberson

Cinema Sins

The Comics Curmudgeon

Darths and Droids

Dear Prudence

Disney Gents from Last Night

Disney Ladies from Last Night

DM of the Rings *

Heal Yourself, Skeletor

Least I Could Do

Narbonic *

The Order of the Stick

Questionable Content

Scandinavia and the World

Skin Horse

Two Lumps

XKCD

Zero Punctuation

* No longer updated, but archives of awesome

Contact me

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Other online hangouts:

Goodreads

NaNoWriMo

Offscript Studios on Etsy

Different stuff gets posted different places.  More info!