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Showing posts from February, 2013

Prediction for the Future of Bookstores

Every time I walk into Barnes and Nobel these days it seems like there are more and more toys/games and fewer books.  Is it sad that when I need a Valentine's Day card the first place I think to go is Barnes and Nobel?

I can't say I'm totally complaining about the current state of bookstores.  They are trying to sell the geeky strategy games like Settlers of Catan.  I love geeky board games (I collect them) so it's kind of validating for me to see that my geekiness is, in fact, trendy and cool.

But I do feel bad for the people that run bookstore giants like Barnes and Nobel.  It has to be depressing going to work every day knowing your company is on life support.  It brings to mind Blockbuster's amazing press line: "Our company is doing fine, we're just shutting all our stores down."  Uhhh....  I guess admitting to the fact that your business model is no longer sustainable makes stocks crash?

The problem is not the commodity.  Books have never before …

Review of "The Secret of Aniceto Cuevas," a short story by Jack Hughes and Peter Lewis

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Summary: In 1939, an English businessman is sent to San Juan, Puerto Rico to complete a deal for his firm. While there, he meets the fascinating and charismatic Aniceto Cuevas, a man who seems to truly have it all. He soon learns, however, that there is much more beneath the surface of Aniceto, and when the facade begins to unravel, a shocking discovery is made.

Review: A gripping tale with a writing style that seems to ooze with the same charisma of Aniceto Cuevas himself.  Aniceto is rich, cultured, well-spoken and seems to know everything about everything.  You can't help but feel caught up with the protagonist as he strives to impress the type of man that everyone wants to be.
Without revealing too much, the story naturally leads to the reveal that not all is as it seems with Aniceto.  A tragedy in his past seems to have permanently twisted his mind to the point where he can't enjoy his present accomplishments.
While the story and its ending are good, I can't help but f…

Paperman

I love short films.  I know... shocker.  But I think with the current trend of moviemakers cranking out three hour movies on a regular basis, this becomes a really interesting topic.  When you're sitting through a three hour long film, do you honestly remember everything that happened in the film?  No.  You're left with an overall impression.

A good short film can have just as much of an impact on you as a movie.  Sometimes more so.  They're also a really good way to explore how to write short stories.  You don't need $10 million in explosions to make a moving story line.

So I thought I would do a few blog posts exploring some of my favorite short films and what we can learn from them.  Before reading further you must first watch this cute little love story (in honor of Valentine's Day):  http://mashable.com/2013/01/30/paperman/

Awww... cute, right?  From a storytelling perspective I really admire how little we actually know about the two main characters.  We know …

DANGER: Over-Editing Ahead. Take Alternate Route.

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Writers have a tendency to obsess.  Wait, let me be clearer: writers have a tendency to really obsess.  Wait, what did I mean by that?  Should I have phrased that differently?  Maybe I could have said, "writers will really obsess over their work" and that would have been a more powerful statement.  Maybe "obsess" isn't the best word.

See what I mean?  It's endless and often times pointless.  Gasp!

I think the obsessing stems from a breakdown of what's on the page and what's in your head.  In your mind you have this epic sprawling tale of love and woe but the epicness is just, for whatever reason, not coming across when written down.

For me, it was kind of mind-blowing when I realized that the reason this was happening was because my ability level was not quite high enough.  There's a quote by Dr. Shinichi Suzuki that I really like:  "Knowledge is not skill.  Knowledge plus 10,000 repetitions is skill."

Sure we all know how to write.  …