NaNoWriMo!! And Other Resources

Hey all!

You may have noticed that I have been conspicuously absent for quite some time now. There’s a few reasons, not the least of which is that life has just been kind of in the way. But more to the point, my writing goals have changed and I’m not quite sure what that means yet for Beyond the Threshold.

When I first started this flash fiction blog, it was something of an experiment. I had never written in short-story form before, and had several unfinished “novels.” I wanted to explore flash fiction as a way to test out new ways of telling stories, improve my world-building skills, and create a bunch of characters and scenarios. I wanted to have fun, and see what I could learn.  It was well worth it, but I feel like I might have hit a wall for what I can do in 1000 words. In order to grow, I think it’s time to change up the game.

So, for the first time ever – I’m participating in NaNoWriMo! In the spirit of that, I’d like to share some of my favourite writer resources with all of you lover of words 🙂 If you are looking for inspiration, motivation, or just a way to geek-out writer-style, you’ll want to check these out!

Podcasts

Podcasts have become a constant in my life. They are perfect for listening to while I’m doing anything very hands-on like cooking, cleaning, crocheting – anything of that nature.

Here are a few aimed specifically at budding writers:

  • Writing Excuses: Tips, advice, and writing challenges brought to you by 3 working  authors
  • How Story Works: Story theory! Course-style discussions on how to craft a well-written story brought to you by author Lani Diane Rich
  • Comics Experience Make Comics: Everything you need to know about making comic books and participating in the comic book industry

And whether you are interested in writing or not, story-lovers need to check out these podcasts by story-teller extraordinaires:

  • Myths and Legends: Folklore from all over the world, told accurately – but with a critical and comical edge, brought to you by Jason and Carissa Weiser
  • Fictional: Iconic tales you may have never actually read, also brought to you by Jason and Carissa Weiser
  • Lore: Stories from the darkest corners of history, brought to you by Aaron Mahnke (now a TV series on Amazon Prime Video)
  • Origins: Exploring the origins of dark legends and supernatural archetypes, brought to you by author Jaimie Engle

Gamified Writing

Looking for a fresh challenge or a way to spice up the relationship between you and your story? Here’s a couple places to check out:

NaNoWriMo – obviously! Sign up for free and challenge yourself to write 50,000 words in the month of November. It’s already started, but it’s not to late to join. Update your word count, race your writing buddies, win badges and qualify to win a prize at the end.

4thewords: In this quest style game, you kill monsters in battle by writing to complete quests! Set up as many projects as you want, and choose which to write for in each battle. You’ll start off by needing 200 words in 30 minutes, but it gets tougher – pressure’s on!

Ad Hoc Fiction: This is a free weekly flash fiction contest. A prompt word is given and you have 150 words to tell a whole story, using the prompt at least once. Be creative! The competition is sharp.

Happy Writing!

 

 

 

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: 15 Most WTF Things That Happened in the Comics

In 2007, Joss Whedon finally released Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #1. The comics have been a combined effort of Whedon and other writers from the TV series, as well as some new names. Picking up some time after the events of “Chosen”, the comics introduce fans to a much expanded Buffy-verse where there is conflict with the US government, and a Slayer army stationed all over the world.

Admittedly, Season 8 was a rocky ride that felt larger than life. In its Afterword, Whedon writes “We’ve learned what you like, what you don’t… We’ve lost a few fans along the way and, hopefully, gained a few.” He added a promise that the following seasons would strive to return the series to what made it special, “the everyday trials that made Buffy more than a superhero.”

The series is currently in season 11 and delivering on all that it promised. Plus, there are some really fun new concepts and characters, like zompires, and the return of some former Scoobies, like Oz. And for the shippers, we do get to see Buffy and Angel interact again – and we finally get some proper resolution with Spike as they finally develop a mature and loving relationship.

You have to take the bad with the good, so here are the 15 Most WTF Moments, to date.

View List on ScreenRant

From ‘Riverdale’ to ‘Bates Motel’: Revisiting Classics With Progressive Images of Women

TV shows that draw on decades old source material are not exactly a new phenomenon, but there is certainly a new trend arising from it: the revitalization of classic, but problematic, material. The fact is, there is an overwhelming number of great stories out there that, by today’s standards, are burdened by their historical baggage — perhaps most notably in their politics of gender and sexuality. A good example is the cover of a 2011 Archie & Friends comic, in which Archie is asked how he tells apart his set of twin girlfriends, and with a big smile he replies: “I don’t even try!!”

As popular culture becomes increasingly progressive, looking back at some of our favorite classics requires a certain amount of whistling passed some pretty unfavorable images of patriarchal and heteronormative values. But we do it because, hey, they’re the classics! And we justify it with extensive contextualization, which is fine. But what’s braver, is questioning those images. And that’s exactly what we are seeing on TV these days with shows like Bates Motel (2013 – 2017) and (2017 – present). These shows are more than simple remakes, reboots, or re-imaginings, they are subversive re-contextualizations; and though they aren’t perfect, they’re rather brilliant.

Let’s take a look at why.

Continue Reading on Movie Pilot

images credit to The CW and A&E

Top 15s: 15 Times Game of Thrones Characters Got Exactly What They Deserved

Game of Thrones is a story of war, honour, and bloodlines. The struggle for the Iron Throne is a boundless bloodbath, spanning endless winters – and whether you count it a prize or a curse, no one is safe. Inspired by the tragically gory stories of past monarchs and empires and glorified using magic, fantasy, and sex; Game of Thrones is meant to do nothing if not thrill. Much of its excitement comes from that simple fact that anything can happen. Vying for the throne, characters thrive on vengeance and power. And each week, the question remains the same: who will get it next? Or, more importantly, who should get it next?

With all of the betrayal and evil-doing in Game of Thrones, the most powerful force of all is karma. Twisted as it may be, we love to watch the tide turn on those we love to hate. Similarly, there’s the odd occasion when a stroke of luck graces one of our heroes or heroines, and that can be just as satisfying. For all its tension, drama, and violence, Game of Thrones rarely misses an opportunity to give characters what they have coming to them. Here are 15 Times Game Of Thrones Characters Got Exactly What They Deserved.

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Hunger: Two-Sentence Horror Story

I gobbled down my first meal in days, barely chewing, expecting to feel guilty about it afterwards. But I only felt relief; besides, I never really liked my neighbours.

© Shyla Fairfax-Owen

Thanks for reading my two-sentence horror story… Mmmm human flesh… Feel free to share your own in the comments!

It’s the Golden Age of TV; But Is Binge-Watching Ruining the Experience?

A couple months back I encountered the newly released trailer for Stranger Things, Season 2. Aside from the utter disappointment that came with the realization that the trailer was only a play on audience anticipation and gave no narrative information, I found myself disappointed in me. Why? Because despite ranting and raving about the brilliance of this show, I had to stop and think, ‘what happened last season?’. Blasphemy, I know. But this is the paradox of binge-watching.

For those of you who don’t know, Stranger Things is Netflix’s greatest success. Season 1 was an engaging mix of 80s nostalgia, sci-fi/horror hybridity, and beautiful character development.

Stranger Things [Credit: Netflix]
Stranger Things [Credit: Netflix]

Most people are quick to describe it as similar to the best horror movies of the 1980s; and although Stranger Things is a perfect example of this sentiment, the truth is that this is a period of time in which TV has become far more cinematic than it has ever been in the past. We are currently in a new age of storytelling that conflates the escapism of the cinema with the accessibility and interactivity of TV.

The Cinematic TV Experience

Bates Motel [Credit: A&E]

We are presently experiencing TV in a way we never have before. Some go as far as to call it the Golden Age of Television, referencing the sheer quantity of quality TV available. Traditionally, TV has been thought of as the cinema’s crass younger sibling; it was originally a space for variety shows and game shows, and eventually moved towards the sitcom. For a long time, TV shows were rigidly structured and predictable in a way that cinema was not. Of course, to be fair, the cinema had had decades to mature by the time the 1950s saw the birth of TV.

Though the introduction of TV (and later the VCR) initially worried the film industry, the fears eventually proved to be unfounded. Stats from the 1980s show that people actually attended cinemas in record numbers. There are different ways to interpret this, but what seems evident is that TV and movies do not cancel each other out. They offer different viewing experiences. Or, at least, they once did.

[Credit: Slate]
[Credit: Slate]

Back in 2000, historian and theorist Anne Friedberg wrote a critical essay aptly titled, “The End of Cinema: Multimedia and Technological Change.” This essay highlighted the ways in which spectatorship had been altered, first by the advent of the television, then by the advent of the VCR, and finally by the advent of digital media. Astoundingly, her arguments do not feel at all dated when we think of them alongside the advent of content streaming. Rather, it seems she was prophetically telling the origin story of Netflix.

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From Sunnydale to Burnside: Joss Whedon’s ‘Batgirl’ is Full of Promise

Last week it was reported that Joss Whedon is being recruited to write and direct DC’s first-ever Batgirl movie, and the fan anticipation is already palpable. Whedon is better known for his long-standing relationship with Marvel Comics; he wrote a wildly successful volume of Astonishing X-Men (2004-2008) before writing and directing The Avengers in 2012. He then went on make Avengers: Age of Ultron, after which he stepped down from the MCU, displeased with the work.

The Avengers [Credit: Marvel Studios]
This sorted history with Marvel makes his potential move to the DCEU all the more intriguing – but it won’t be his first rodeo. Whedon actually wrote issue #26 of DC’s Superman/Batman back in 2006. And yet, even with this mature comic book resume, it’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer – his very first TV series – that we should look to for evidence that Batgirl is full of promise.

Buffy Spinning Stake
Buffy the Vampire Slayer [Credit: 20th Century Fox]
Without a doubt, penning Batgirl will give Whedon an opportunity to return to some of the most prominent themes of Buffy; you know, the stuff that made him a household name among fans and critics alike.

Continue Reading for themes to look out for in ‘Batgirl’ such as, the ups and downs of campus life, duality, technology, sexuality, and friendship.