As a citizen of the Internet, I've seen my fair share of writing advice posts. They're everywhere, and it doesn't matter how long the author's been writing or how many books they've published. People loooove to talk about it, and I'm not here to judge them for that. I see a lot of good stuff out there--but also a lot of...not so good stuff.Read More
Look at any review for a non-blockbuster superhero movie in the last five years and you'll see the same question repeated again and again: "Have we hit peak superhero?"
The answer, of course, is no. We're no closer to hitting peak superhero than we are peak ice cream.Read More
I consider myself to be panmusical, which isn't even a real word, but whatever.Read More
To celebrate the official start of summer, here are my thoughts on the superhero movie season so far.Read More
Even though I still have one more book to write in The Circle War series, I'm already starting to map out The Next Big Thing once I finish.Read More
Querying agencies is a little like applying to college--you send a few applications to schools that are probably out of your league, but most go to schools you have a better shot at. After nearly nine months of sending out queries, I got a call from an agent I considered to be a long shot.Read More
I finished editing Godsend sometime near the end of summer 2012. By that point, I'd put the book through multiple polishing stages, refined it using beta reader feedback, and workshopped it fully through the Raleigh Novel Group, a collection of talented writing buddies including Barbara Davis, Doug Simpson, and Lisa Rosen. It was edited, formatted, and scoured for plot holes. August Dillon was ready for his close-up.Read More
#Thorku begins! To catch you up on the story, Loki has banished Mjolnir to Los Angeles while at the same time shipping Thor to NYC. Thor has to get across the country to find his weapon, and he'll have to do it while perpetually drunk. And speaking in haikus.Read More
I was going to do a list of my top ten favorite fictional characters, but that's nearly impossible. For one, I will always forget someone--ALWAYS--and when I do, I'd have to spend the next three days re-ordering my list. To quote 2013, "Ain't nobody got time for that."
An easier list for me to tackle is the list of characters who've influenced the way I write. They come from all corners of entertainment, including movies, books, and TV. When I create a new character, these are the ones I measure them against.
NOTE: For the sake of keeping myself sane, they're not presented in order of favorites. I'm equally jealous of each of the creators responsible for these characters.
1. Atticus Finch
The father of all father figures. To Kill A Mockingbird is one of the greatest things ever printed, and Atticus is one of the reasons why. He's smart, he's fair, and he's probably the best-cast role in Hollywood history. Gregory Peck might as well have changed his name, because he's always going to be Atticus to me.
Equal parts thwips and quips, Peter Parker is the nerd king of superheroes. I have a soft spot for heroes that enjoy their job and don't mind lobbing a few jokes while they're throwing punches. Superheroes make up a large chunk of my favorite characters and Spidey's at the top of the list.
3. Roland of Gilead
A descendant of King Arthur, Stephen King's Roland Deschain is the reason to read The Dark Tower series. "But you got Clint Eastwood in my fantasy story!" some might say, and I'm way okay with that. The scene where Roland saves Jake from the Tick-Tock Man still gives me chills.
4. Eddie Dean
Sticking with The Dark Tower series, Eddie Dean is the light to Roland's darkness. Where Roland is cool and brooding, Eddie is everything but. He's a former drug addict who once took down a den of drug dealers while buck-ass nude. I think we can all look up to that.
5. Han Solo
Maybe not the original rogue, but certainly one of the best. The only problem with Han is that everyone and their brother has tried to copy his success over the years. Even if you think you're breaking new ground with a character, if they're a good-looking bad boy with a heart of gold, you're never going to escape comparisons (and you won't do it better, either).
6. Don Draper
I could list the entire cast of Mad Men here, but Don Draper is the key to the success of the show. He's an enigma that people have been trying to solve for years. Just when you think he's turned the corner to leave his boozing, womanizing days behind, he stabs you in the heart and goes right back. For some reason, we still root for him. I'm not sure I want to know the "why" behind that, but I'm so incredibly jealous that Matthew Weiner was able to create someone so complex and interesting that we almost don't care that Don is such a despicable person.
7. Kara "Starbuck" Thrace
The reason Starbuck makes this list is because she embodies what I think too many writers aspire to with their characters but never quite achieve. She's not the prototypical "badass female" character. She's a badass character who happens to be female. The difference comes in the execution. With Starbuck, her persona never felt forced, like the writers were trying to make her fit a mold. Everything about her felt like it was natural. I hold that up as the gold standard.
8. Jaime Lannister
One of the few villains that made the list, which is kind of surprising given how much I love my villains. The Kingslayer represents one of the holy grails of fiction: the relatable villain. Funny to think that someone who has it in him to push a 10-year-old boy out of a tower window can eventually make you go, "You know, he's not so bad." One of the things Martin does best is show that not all characters are black and white. Jaime Lannister is his greatest achievement.
Everything I love about this character can be summed up in the following scene, where he takes Iron Man down a notch and shows the reader exactly who his character is in fewer words than it takes me to describe my stupid cat.
10. Doc Holliday
Val Kilmer has given this world two of its greatest gifts: Top Secret and Doc Holliday. If Gregory Peck is forever Atticus, Kilmer will never be anyone to me except Doc. Every second he's on screen is pure gold. I'd give my left leg and part of yours to ever create someone with as much charisma as this guy has. He should win an Oscar every year.
WARNING: this video contains Jason Priestly
And there you have it. This list easily could have been 100 people long. I had to make some tough cuts along the way, and these are the few that I struggled to keep out of the top 10:
Honorable Mentions - Darth Vader (Star Wars), Carol Danvers (Marvel), R2-D2 (Star Wars), Jack Vincennes (L.A. Confidential), Scout (To Kill A Mockingbird), Bonnie/Lola (The Girl Who Would Be King)
I was invited to be a guest on The Hodgepodge Podcast recently. In Part 1, we talk about my thoughts on Thor: The Dark World, Man of Steel, and superhero movies in general. Give it a listen to find out more.
In part 2, Doug, Dirty A, and I wax poetic on The Walking Dead. This was recorded before the final few episodes (which I loved) and might contain a few spoilers for the season.
Thanks again to the Hodgepodge Podcast guys for having me. My next appearance will be in April to discuss Marvel's latest: Captain America: The Winter Soldier.