Stephen W. Gee's

Posts

Help Houston

What’s going on, y’all. Been a bit since I’ve posted. I’ll get into that in the next post. For now, I’ve something else to say. For those who don’t know, I’m from Texas. Though I was born in Grapevine, TX, and first lived in Hurst, TX, and went to college in the aptly named College Station, TX, I’ve spent most of my life in Houston. Until a little over a year ago, Houston was my home. Houston is drowning. If you...

I get it now!

I finally get it! Writers and salespeople are the same! They’re whiny, lazy, cowardly, constantly make excuses, always blame others, and are generally reprehensible! (Also, the drinking. All the drinking.) They’re the same because writers and salespeople do the same thing: they dance with the fear. Day in and day out, the thing they do is tiptoe up to the edge and, when they can no longer put it off any longer, they jump. And once you jump, it’s easy!...

Guardians of the Galaxy, Glee, & Firesign

You can learn something about me and my Firesign series if you know a pair of seemingly unrelated tidbits: I loved the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, and I used to watch (and enjoy) Glee. There’s a unifying theme throughout the three. It’s probably no surprise when I say I enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy. So did everyone else, and it’s an ensemble space opera romp with narrative similarities to my own work (a group of friends, adventure, traveling, tons of explosions). Glee might be more surprising;...

That’s not supposed to go there . . .

If you’re wondering why I haven’t been posting the past month, here’s why: No, knees are not supposed to be that size. So, I blew out my knee while skiing early last month. On the third run of the first day of what should have been five days of skiing in Colorado with my family, because that’s how I roll! Literally. I went tumbling pretty bad, and my kneecap ended up on the side of my leg. I had to...

The Carcer Principle

Let me tell you one of the most important lessons my favorite author ever taught me. In Terry Pratchett’s Night Watch, the main villain is a thief, murderer, and all-around bastard named Carcer. He’s the very picture of a psychopath—he has no conscious, feels no guilt, and doesn’t even understand the idea of right or wrong. He’s egotistical, volatile, constantly smiling, and he always has an extra knife. In a basically well-run city where the rule of law is kept, he...

Fire, further

It’s not just capitalism that’s like fire. It’s the internet, it’s advertising, it’s lawyers, it’s video games, it’s beer. Where there’s power, there’s almost always danger. That the world’s filled with fire shouldn’t be cause for despair. It is a good cause for vigilance, though. “We didn’t start the fire It was always burning Since the world’s been turning” -Billy Joel Feel free to use the fire, in all of its forms. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s your friend....

Fire

Two things are undeniable about fire: it’s useful, and it’s dangerous. Anyone who’s been burned by a match or gotten too close to a campfire knows the latter for a fact. Yet it’s true that fire is useful as well. From cooking our food to warming our homes to powering the entire industrial revolution (and many of our cities today), fire has been at the center of much of human progress. Fire is powerful. Yet it’s still dangerous, as even children know. So we pin...

Starting a story with a bang—and when not to

The conventional wisdom is that fictional stories need to appeal to their audience right after they begin, lest the audience get bored and wander off. That’s why so many action stories start off with an action scene, romance stories with a lovey-dovey scene, mysteries with something that hints toward the mystery. Grab ’em quick before they lose interest, that’s the ticket! Youjo Senki started with an episode of action, and it sucked. The second episode, which had less action, would have been a...

If my mother was a politician

My mom is a fighter. She might not think of herself as such, but that’s how I think of her. She’s not the kind who dodges the blows, or backs away from the fight. Oh no. She wades through the punches, accepting the slings and arrows of everyone who gives her shit, and she does not give a fuck. I got that trait from my father as well, who is small-s stoic (think John Wayne crossed with Harrison Ford), but it’s...

Why I never give characters temporary names

If I give a character any kind of temporary name, it might stick. That’s why I never do it. I give them the name they will keep, or I identify them in strictly descriptive terms—the Prince, the Enemy Leader, the Chief. The less descriptive, the better. (Though sometimes, even those stick. I’m looking at you, True Head Cultist.) It’s a lot easier to give a name to the Swordsman than it is to rename a character with an ill-considered temporary name. Temporary...