Book Review: Star Wars Aftermath by Chuck Wendig

Star Wars Aftermath

Book Review: Star Wars Aftermath by Chuck Wendig

A lot of people are going to be disappointed in this book.

Some are going to hate the fact how little it sets up the next movie, answers questions we have, tells us what happened to our favorite characters in our favorite galaxy.

Others are going to be bothered by how this book is made for fans, not the everyday, casual reader. Alien names are thrown around with abandonment, assuming the readers know what they look like. Minor characters from the movies walk in and out of scenes as if we should know who they are. It is not a friendly book and will not draw new readers to future books. Even I, a lifetime fan of Star Wars, would probably need convincing before picking up another Star Wars novel.

For me though my biggest disappointment was with the writing. The author lists himself as a screenplay writer and that is obvious since it feels like a screenplay in many ways. Simple. Straight to the point. Dry. There is no literary art here, no sweeping moment of prose that will take you away. Nothing that embraces what makes books and literature a unique medium for telling a story. Honestly, I don’t think I could pick out any of the characters in a police lineup if I had to.

Then there are the “cute” moments in the book. The slight nod to Game of Thrones (the “Shooty” end of a blaster), the dialogue that sounds a little too contemporary as compared to from a galaxy far, far away. With such great writing done for The Clone Wars and Rebels TV shows, it is sad they couldn’t have found one of those writers to take it on. But you know with the love of Star Wars now, imagine if they could have gotten a real author to do it? The mind boggles at the idea. I cannot imagine any author from Generation X and younger saying no to the possibility. Why not try that in the future Disney? (Of course, I would rather write an Indiana Jones adventure, but that is just me.)

In the end, everyone will be disappointed… well, everyone probably but the author, his agent, and Disney’s pocketbook.

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Please, Make It Stop: A Rant About Game of Thrones

DragonAvast there, me hearties! Here thar be spoilers aplenty! (Wait! It’s not Talk Like a Pirate day? What was I thinking?)

Let’s get this out of the way first. We’ve all been holding off saying this for a while, but it’s time.

Game of Thrones is a soap opera.

I don’t know about you, but I feel a lot better after saying it.

I’ve recently found an interview with George R.R. Martin where he argues his book series is not a soap opera, maybe it was his way of preparing an argument before it came at him from outside his circle, but it is. Both the TV series and his book series… two words… soap opera.

Look, I hate to say it as much as the next person. The idea of someone truly doing something new in a very established (and usually predictable genre) is an awesome idea. He combined the history of the middle ages and fantasy… but the result is a freaking soap opera. With history almost being used as an excuse (or as a resource) for twists that help the soap opera continue.

Consider:

  • Soap operas and A Song of Ice and Fire both has multiple POVs of good and questionable individuals.
  • Both end every moment in a cliffhanger (You can almost hear the “stay tuned” at the end of some of the chapters in the books).
  • Both have meandering plots (I feel like I should be capitalizing meandering; no seriously, all caps).
  • Time seems to have its own rules. And both have marriages that seem to last for the same amount of time (and just like in soap operas most are bad matches).
  • And both are not working towards a clean resolution. There is no Mount Doom in sight from what I can see.

Oh, and all of these points is before I even bring up the fact that George R.R. Martin used to work in television and was a writer on a popular fantasy-lite soap opera in the 1980s.

Game of Thrones is a soap opera with people in funny costumes and dragons and we have bought into it.

Heck, I didn’t just buy in, I bought the DVDs, the books, the shirts and even gave them as Birthday presents to people I love. (I was like: “Hi, I love cocaine, I want you to take it too. Here- Happy Birthday!”) Continue reading

“Hope, Feathers, and Blogging” a Guest Post on Long and Short Reviews (Book Tour Day 1)

FeatherHappy Monday everyone!

My virtual book tour is up and running! Sponsored by my wonderful publisher 5 Prince Books, for the next ten days I will appearing on different writing sites around the internet promoting my new novel Permanent Spring Showers. On some there will be an interview, on others there will be an exclusive post written by… this guy. Me. Hi.

Today, I am on the Long and Short Review with a guest post filled with some of my writing advice for new authors bravely considering taking on the publishing world. The post is called “Hope, Feathers, and Flogging.”

Here is an excerpt from the beginning:

Being a writer is not easy.

I’ve been chasing this dream since I was a teenager. I have had three different agents in my time, worked with numerous publishers and I have had highs (for example, the publication of my new novel Permanent Spring Showers) and lows. I’ve gotten close to achieving some of my dreams, and I’ve fallen a few times from them as well. There was even a point where I walked away from writing for four years.

Four years.

That is not to say I wasn’t getting ideas during that time and still dreaming something might happen, I was just exhausted and nothing felt worth the inevitable disappointment that I was sure would follow. Everything looked like a negative query letter waiting to happen. Yeah, I was fun to be around.

You can check out the rest of the guest post here.

The Long and Short Review also has an excerpt from my new novel, as well as a giveaway that will be running throughout the tour to win a copy of the book. But wait… there is more! Permanent Spring Showers

The eBook of Permanent Spring Showers will be on sale during the tour. It will be on sale for only $1.99 soon. So there is no better time to grab a copy! You can find it on amazon here.

11 Questions With Louisa Gummer, Audiobook Narrator for A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM

Louisa GummerThis is going to be fun.

See, I wanted to interview the audiobook narrator for A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM, but a old print interview felt so… normal. Nah, this a professional narrator, she is the voice of Jane Austen in the book! Let’s do this with the magic of audio! Louisa Gummer, our fearless narrator, happily agreed and after sending her 11 questions I received the following files which you can stream below.

If you visit England, it is a difficult task to avoid the voice of Louisa Gummer. She does voiceover work for commercials to the BBC. She is everywhere! She is also a comedian performing on the London Comedy Circuit and is a member of the London Liars League.  You can learn more about her work and expansive resume via her site (here).

I think Louisa did an amazing job capturing the energy and spirit of the novel. It truly was a treat for me to listen to her performance, and I think you will see why in the interview below. Enjoy!

1. I was thrilled when I heard you were doing the audiobook. When did you start doing narrations? How did you fall into this gig?

2. What has been your favorite book to work on?

3. Do you have any dream books or authors you would like to read?

4. What is the biggest challenge in taking on a book?

5. What made you decide to work on A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM? What was the process like?

Continue reading

ME STUFF, my new book, is coming soon! Cover reveal!

Me Stuff, front coverToday, I am excited to share with you the cover for my new book, Me Stuff! This was a family affair, created by my talented photographer bro, Adam Emperor Southard. (If you would like to learn more about what he can do for you, check out his site at BestLAHeadshots.com.)

Me Stuff is a collection of some of the more popular and entertaining posts from this site, created for my readers (yes, you!). If you want an example of what you will find in the book, here is a link to one of my favorite tales in it- “The Night I Stopped Being a Model.” Enjoy!

Me Stuff is coming soon!

Here is the back cover from the book:

“Me Stuff contains the c0llected gems of Scott Southard… a champion for us all. His words always contain wisdom and whimsey too.” – Richard Sutton, Sailletales.com

“The recipe for success, witty observational humor, heartwarming honest, mixed with two parts creativity.” – Paula Acton, Scribblings of an Aspiring Author, paulaacton.com

Thieves, psychics, evil poets, mad men, car companies, literary greats, tornadoes, models, vasectomies, bankers, children, Satanists, princesses, truckers, comics, rock stars, strippers, superheroes…

Me Stuff is a collection of some of the most popular blogposts from Scott Southard’s writing site “The Musings and Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard.”

Made for both the fan and the newbie, Me Stuff has something for everyone… Well, except for those who don’t like entertaining stories. This book can’t help those people.

“Scott D. Southard is a rare breed of author. His stories are unique and deeply personal, always moving, never trite, never trendy.” – Julia Barrett, author and blogger, juliarachelbarrett.net

Stay Tuned!

A shout-out to my 1100 followers and a request to my readers!

ElsaThis weekend I passed 1100 followers on my blog. That is awesome! As many of you know who have been following  my blog for a while I usually do something silly when I reach a new 100 milestone.

Well, I did have one planned for this time. In a blatant overreach in self-promotion I was going to rewrite the lyrics to the popular song “Let It Go” from the movie Frozen to be all about my writing and posts. A total ego trip… in snow.

It would have been epic and very embarrassing. In other words, perfect. But I have decided to do something different. Actually, I’m writing to you my readers.

I’m preparing a book for you guys! It will be called Me Stuff  and it will be a collection of some of my more popular personal posts. My hope is to be done with the production of the book sometime in March.

Do you like my blog? Do you check it often? Do you have a favorite post? Why do you keep coming back? See, the thing is I want to know!

I would like to include quotes from readers of my site as part of the marketing around the book! Some might make their way onto the cover, most will appear on the future page for the book and any marketing I might do around it. Readers speaking to other readers is how I view it.

If you would like to say something about the site, my writing, etc., for Me Stuff that would wonderful. You can e-mail me here at AJAD.Southard@gmail.com.

I look forward to sharing this book with you. And thank you again for supporting my site!

Charging the Melancholy Dragon: The Down Bits in Writing Today

Bugs Bunny in CasablancaBeing a writer can be… depressing.

This is really not surprising and most that work in the arts feel this to a certain degree, because you are putting a piece of your soul out there for the world to see and judge.

And everyone judges.

Yet, for an author there is something about writing that makes it seem so, so much more personal.

It’s probably because a story begins in one’s mind and resides there for months to years, until that fateful moment when a writer finally hits “print” on their keyboard or “send” in that first e-mail. And when you consider that most authors are introverts to a certain degree to being with.… Well, it just spells depressing doom, doesn’t it?  Yes, this all seems completely explainable, so why does it affect all of us so much?

Because creativity is all illogical! It’s on a completely different side of the brain from logic! Creativity resides with emotion and once I am ready myself to show or talk about a book, I usually expect to be disappointed and a little down. This is not me being a glass-half empty kind of guy; it’s just the nature of being a writer, especially in today’s overly-congested market of authors peddling their wares.

Yes, we writers when we are young to the field all dream of accolades and awards and long lines of readers desiring autographs at the local bookstore, but that doesn’t always happen. The chance of that happening to any of us is the equivalent of winning the lottery. Maybe three lotteries… back to back… in one day… and then getting hit by lightning while picking up the winnings.

These are the two most important lessons that get me through the rough authoring patches… Continue reading

My Greatest Hits! Genres, Series Writing, and Finding Writing Sucess

JukeboxTo introduce my new editing services for authors via Rebecca T. Dickson’s site (here), we are sharing some of my most popular writing articles. The Greatest Hits collection continues!

Three weeks ago, I linked to the previous three entries (here), these are the most recent articles to be shared. Two of them were pretty controversial on my site. Enjoy!

  • Our Dangerous Fixation With Genres. The world of writing is so “properly” organized, from bookstores to libraries, that I worry about what this may be doing to creativity and the future of our artform. (Oh, and there is a fun bit where I describe the armies for each of the genres. Trust me.)
  • Redefining Writing Success: Learning to Fly in Today’s Congested Writing World. Maybe it is the growth of self-publishing or the fact people are reading less than they did before, whatever the case we need to change how to we look at success as an author… and it doesn’t always point to the wallet.
  • Writers, why does everything need to be a series? Is it because of TV? Comic books? Whatever the case, the idea of writing a series is now very prevalent. It has not always been this way, and I worry about how this is shaping our literary landscape.

If you would like to learn more about hiring me as an editor, you can do so via this page. Or you can contact Rebecca T. Dickson and ask for more information via her site, which you can visit by clicking the image below.

Rebecca T. Dickson, Editor

Tackling The Problem of the Agent Query Letter

I agree Charlie, I completely agree...There are no guarantees in the world of writing.

You may feel after completing that dream novel that you are standing in a packed football stadium ready to kick the field goal. And this should be an easy one! You already did the hard work bringing the ball this close down the field, right? That was those hours writing and outlining and planning until late in the morning. And in all of your dreams, this part of the writing career was easy. It always is. The field goal is right there!

The sad thing is that in reality the holder with the ball is a little bit like Lucy from Peanuts. Which makes you something akin to Charlie Brown.

Now before you lose hope with that analogy, let me remind you that Charlie Brown actually did get to kick the football once or twice. Granted, one of those times was in a TV special and he was invisible thanks to Snoopy and some happenstance magic. But that is how things sometimes work in the world of literature as well. Sometimes you need that bit of luck… or a dog with a magic wand.

The first step to achieving your dream, the field goal, is getting that agent. They are the gatekeepers to the big publishing houses. Here are some suggestions to consider before you start running up to the ball.

Continue reading

My Greatest Hits! Editing, Literary Agents, and New Writers

JukeboxAs part of my introduction on Rebecca T. Dickson’s website for editing/writing services, some of my older writing posts are appearing up there weekly. These are my greatest hits, people!

Currently, three can be found on her site, with more to come…

  • The Necessary Humbling of Editing. You can learn a lot about my editing philosophy in this post, as well as my experience working with editors. Oh, and there is a writing horror story as well in it.
  • What I learned from having a literary agent. This still is one of the most popular writing posts I have ever written. It’s good to know that my bad experience has helped so many…. Okay, I jest. There are some good lessons in it, and yes, I would still work with an agent again. To be honest, I hope to find one for my new book.
  • Welcome to the World of Writing: My Advice for New Writers. What would I have liked to have heard when I started down this thorny path of authoring? This is that post.

If you would like to learn more about hiring me as an editor, you can do so via this page. Or you can contact Rebecca T. Dickson and ask for more information via her site, which you can visit by clicking the image below.

Rebecca T. Dickson, Editor