Sunday, April 25, 2021

The Fight Scene is the Last Scene

 Men Fighting In The Ring

Action scenes are the most memorable aspects of any fiction. Fast-paced and intense, they sear themselves into the audience's memories. Battles between the hero and the lesser mooks punctuate the plot, while the final showdown between the hero and the villain serves as the climax of the story. And that is what action in storytelling is: a climax. A climax that must be built up to.

Violence doesn't happen in a vacuum. When someone resorts to violence, it's because he wants something out of it. What he wants, and who he is, drives what he will do. What he does defines the action scene that follows.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Flipping the Script on the Subversives

The British TV series Father Brown is a mystery drama based on a character created by the novelist G.K. Chesterton. One episode caught my eye in that it delivers an especially heavy dose of subversive moral messaging. The episode in question is “The Sacrifice of Tantalus,” the sixth episode of season seven. The episode is subversive on a number of levels. It subverts, among other things, the nuclear family, the police, the judicial system, and the Catholic Church. G.K. Chesterton must be rolling in his grave.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Call for Submissions: Adventure Stories for Young Readers

 Portrayal, Portrait, Baby, Face, Mood, Young, Child

Misha Burnett has partnered with Sanderley Studios to create a short fiction collection for young readers. They are now accepting submissions until 15th May 2021.

Submissions should satisfy the following criteria:

  • Between 5000 to 10000 words
  • Target audience: junior high to high school aged children
  • Characters need not be the same age group as the audience, but young characters must demonstrate healthy obedience to parents and legitimate authority
  • Plot should be action orientated, and showcase, but not preach, virtue.
  • Stories should be an escape from real life drama
  • All genres considered, but exotic settings preferred, such as science fiction and fantasy, wilderness survival and historical fiction
  • Preference for previously unpublished stories, but may consider stories previously published online.
  • Open Office preferred, Word and .rtf also accepted. PDF not accepted

Send questions or submissions to Misha Burnett at mjb63114 (at) Use [Name] Young Adventure Submission [Title Of Story] as the subject header for submissions. Include a brief description of the story, word count, genre, and publication history if any. Attach stories to the email.

For the original announcement, check out the link here.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Dad and Chad vs. Aliens

Of M. Night Shyamalan’s films, Signs is one of my favorites. I saw the film when it was released in theaters in 2002, and when it was recently made available on streaming, I gave it a rewatch. In this essay, I’ll examine how male social hierarchies are depicted in the film.

Overall, Signs is an excellent film, although it does have some flaws. Shyamalan excels at Lovecraftian horror, both in the writing and behind the camera. I particularly like his use of slow-disclosure shots, which are effective in heightening suspense.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Amazon Reinvents The Serial Magazine

Amazon announces a new aspect of its ebook publishing arm.

Quoting the video:

Kindle Direct Publishing is introducing a new storytelling option: Kindle Vella. With Kindle Vella, you can self-publish serialized stories, one short episode at a time. Episodes can range from 600 – 5,000 words. In the next few months, readers will be able to access all Kindle Vella stories in the Kindle iOS app and on

This is Amazon attempting to replicate something aimed at mobile users that succeeded such as Webtoons and other serial publishing sites that are mobile-oriented, but with a different target audience of normie readers that are already invested in Amazon's walled garden. The PulpRev Discord is discussing this, as we've been looking for some way to put out a Pulp Magazine model, and this is geared for those who otherwise might hit up webnovel sites or something like them to publish serial fiction.

Right now, this is a US-only thing and confined to Apple's walled garden mobile infrastructure, but you can safely assume that there will be an Android app soon enough and some way to participate on your desktop.

For a longer video, by another working author with his own take on it, Derek Murphy's video is below; it's long, so you may want to bump playback speed to 1.5x so you can squeeze it out over a coffee break. The article version of Derek's take is here if you read faster than you watch.

This is a developing publishing situation, and there will be follow-ups as details emerge.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

The Untapped Potential of Cultivation Fiction

 Temple, Monk, Sea, Shaolin, Martial Arts, Religion

Wuxia. Xianxia. Cultivation fiction. Some of the hottest indie fiction genres in the market today, inspired by Chinese folklore, web novels, movies and television. Strip away the Eastern-esque aesthetics, and what you get is the quintessential power fantasy.

Take a protagonist. He is a commoner, a hero chosen by destiny, or someone cursed with the inability to cultivate. Through hard work, he develops fantastical power, overcomes legions of foes, and becomes an immortal, a god, a being that stands above human existence. He becomes stupendously wealthy, every corner of the world knows his name, and optionally, he attracts a harem of beautiful women. It speaks to every base desire in every man.

This is not cultivation.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Subversion in Detective Fiction

There’s a good deal of discussion these days about how much “wokeness” has permeated virtually every aspect of popular entertainment. Indeed, the political messaging in movies and television is often so crude and ham-fisted that even the most slow-witted and unaware consumer cannot fail but notice it. Fortunately, most of the people who write these stories are as inept as propagandists as they are as story tellers. But that’s not always the case.

When thinking about messaging in storytelling, it’s good to think about it in terms of layers: There is the direct, transparent messaging that lies on the surface of a story; it is there, in plain sight, for everyone to see. And then there is messaging that lies below the surface, messaging that is subtle and subliminal. Unless you’re specifically looking for it, you’re liable to miss the subliminal content altogether. Most people do.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Subversion of the Masculine

The Critical Drinker recently posted a Youtube video where he and Sargon of Akkad discuss the Disney animated film Moana. I never saw the film and only watched a few minutes of the Drinker’s discussion, but it did remind me of a video Jonathan Pageau made on the topic a few years ago.