The Red Pen of Doom

Conventional wisdom about writing is conventionally wrong.

Why WESTWORLD blows our mind—and what may happen next

DR. FORD walks through a glass door to a dark room. A machine is half-finished with a new host while BERNARD sits motionless in a chair. There’s a dark shape … Continue reading

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Deep story goodness for writers via The Mother of All Cheat Sheets

If you’re attempting NaNoWriMo and are on track to finish the Great American Novel, congratulations. Carry on. If you’re doing NaNoWriMo and there’s no way you’ll give birth to a … Continue reading

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ARRIVAL hits you like a giant space rock right in the feels

  So we rushed to this giant building where popped corn with a fake butter costs $9 a bag, trying to see DOCTOR STRANGE, except we were crazy late. Instead, … Continue reading

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Part 2 of Why NaNoWriMo is noble nuttiness–Why first drafts are always flawed and how to fix them

Hundreds of thousands of people around the world are driving themselves nuts (a) trying to write beautiful sentence after beautiful sentence that (b) build upon each other to (c) craft … Continue reading

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HALLELUJAH by Kate McKinnon, who is just killing it

I’m not alone in adoring Kate McKinnon’s impression of Hillary Clinton during the campaign, though Alec Baldwin’s job as Trump got more attention. This song, though, hit me hard. Who … Continue reading

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Why NaNoWriMo is noble nuttiness–and 8 steps to make it easier

Every year in November, writers around the world attempt something noble and worthwhile: to not just write a novel–the Toughest Writerly Thing A Writer Can Do–but finish the thing in … Continue reading

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Why MELANIANADE is peak SNL and brilliant comedy

Music has never been more competitive. A good music video adds another layer of difficulty–and when you add comedy–the hardest thing of all–then it’s no wonder that truly funny music videos … Continue reading

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The Saga of Sir Bushytail the Brave

This picture was the writing prompt from an earlier post, something I saw on the Book of Face with a caption which went something like this: You swerve to avoid … Continue reading

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Writing prompt: this epic armored squirrel

So a friend on Facebook posted this with a caption along these lines: You swerve to avoid a squirrel. Later, in your hour of greatest need, the same squirrel returns … Continue reading

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Things to watch on Netflix, Part 2: Every Korean Action Movie Known to Man

While I was healing up from a thing, I watched every possible free movie on Netflix. The happiest surprise, out of nowhere? South Korean action movies. I grew up on … Continue reading

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SALSA TEQUILA is a classic parody turned accidental hit

Norwegian comic Anders Nilsen isn’t a world-class musician. He tells jokes. And I bet you my house he didn’t set out to make this a hit song in Europe (or … Continue reading

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Top 5 reasons why GO 4 IT by Corey Feldman is so bad, it circles back to good

Corey Feldman’s live performance on the TODAY show was supposed to be a big opening for his new album, Angelic to the Core, and yes, that is punny. You may … Continue reading

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The five greatest cover songs of all time

As a fan of music, and music videos, I applaud the decision by MTV to start a new channel that actually plays music videos instead of reality TV shows about … Continue reading

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Things to watch on Netflix, Part 1: CARTEL LAND

So I’ve been home almost two weeks after some surgery (I’m fine), and what do you do when you’re on painkillers, can’t drive and can’t write? You read books. And you … Continue reading

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Why the world needs newspapers more than ever

Today’s world runs on ideas, spread by the Series of Tubes–and those ideas are made of words. At the foundation of this pyramid of words and ideas sits an endangered … Continue reading

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Top 7 ways SUICIDE SQUAD went epically wrong—and could have gone right

Marvel and DC have taken comic books for kids and turned them into an unstoppable machine, designed to entertain the masses while making massive profits. When all the pieces fit … Continue reading

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STAR TREK and STAR WARS are now opposite sides of the same repetitive story

I say this out of love, and not just because both series are (a) sci-fi space operas (b) starring ensemble casts of heroes with (c) both series taken over and vastly … Continue reading

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The past, present and future of news

This post is like X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, except with printing presses and the web instead of Hugh Jackman. We’ll go back in time, return to the present and … Continue reading

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The killer beside you

The first murderer I ever met was tall and awkward, with curly hair. But this was sixth grade, and we were all a bit awkward. Every one of us. This … Continue reading

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X-MEN: APOCALYPSE proves that explosions are meh

As a huge fan of action movies, hear me now and believe me later in the week: the Era of Epic Explosions is over. Stick a fork it in. It’s … Continue reading

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7 secret ingredients to cook up a Bad Superhero Blockbuster

We live in the Golden Age of comic book movies, with Marvel and DC pumping them out as faster than you can swipe your VISA for $14 tickets to IMAX … Continue reading

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CHARACTER ISSUES – A new column in Criminal Element

I love advice columns, especially when the questions are incredibly minor, quirky or insane. Across the pond, they call these advice columnists Agony Aunts, which is perfect. Dear Abby has … Continue reading

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CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR does the impossible

What’s hard? Ice skating uphill. What’s impossible? Flying to the moon in a Cessna or making people love a character who’s about as inherently lovable as AquaMan, which is saying, … Continue reading

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Man leads police on 112 mph chase, crashes, then flees with his pet monkey

Photo courtesy of the Burien Police Department. This sounds like an Onion story. But it’s not. As a reformed journalist and unrepentant fan of weird news, this story is classic. Let’s … Continue reading

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Things I’m selling that you should buy and such

MAGIC BREADMAKER You put water and wheat-powder stuff inside, push a button to use the Force, then POOF, out comes bread. Sort of like this: This breadmaker is in a … Continue reading

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The Red Pen of Doom takes on GO SET A WATCHMAN by Harper Lee

To Kill A Mockingbird is a classic novel that turned into an amazing film. So when news broke that Harper Lee, who never published another novel, was coming out with … Continue reading

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Superhero movies: Golden Age or insane glut?

You can’t escape the marketing blitz. Superhero movies have targeted your local multiplex and they WILL. NOT. STOP. Ever since Hollywood took a risk by turning Tim Burton and Michael … Continue reading

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Top 7 reasons why SPECTRE is average while SKYFALL soared

The latest 007 film misses the target—despite having the same ingredients as SKYFALL: great actors, great director, great action scenes. Here’s why: 7) Biggest fight scene comes in the middle, … Continue reading

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The four secret purposes of music videos

Why do music videos still exist now that MTV is dead? The old answer, back in the day, was a simple formula: (a) Band makes a music video (b) Gives said … Continue reading

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Why MAKE ME by Lee Child gets graded on a curve

I can’t count how many hardcover Reacher novels line the top shelf of my library. Lee Child is that good. MAKE ME is his latest novel about Reacher, and it’s … Continue reading

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Defense against the Dark Arts: Propaganda vs. journalism and rhetoric

As the race for the White House gears up, you are being bombarded with stories, 30-second ads, attack tweets and Instagram videos. Back in the 1970s, the average person got … Continue reading

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Bad Writing: The Six Horsemen of the Writepocalypse

Want to become a better writer? Learn from bad writing: how to spot it, how to fix it and how to prevent the disease from happening in the first place. … Continue reading

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Guest posting goodness and joining forces to take over the Series of Tubes

It’s time to expand this little blog. I’ve taken on journalism and PR interns before, college kids looking for a platform and a place to get clips. Was happy to … Continue reading

December 1, 2016 · 1 Comment