Guest Blog: The ‘Alternate Universe’ Excuse

James Harringtons Creative Work

In one form or another be it Marvel, Star Trek, Star Wars or even many book series out there, we see writers wanting to change things and thus creates an alternate universe where they can explore things if they’d happen differently. Some do it better than others… Let me explain.

I’ve seen two ways of doing this:
1. Making one or two minor changes in an established plot and showing how those minor changes altered the destinies of those affected by them, if not everyone in general.

2. Drastically altering the universe with very little explanation, rhyme or reason, using the excuse that it’s an alternate universe so they can do whatever they want.

Quite obviously (to me anyway) #1 is the better way of doing this.
Let’s take two examples of this; Marvel’s ‘What if’ series explores what would have happened if one of two things that could have…

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Guest Blog – Fifty Shades of Error: Chuck Palahniuk’s BEAUTIFUL YOU

Selected Squibs, Scrips, and Essays by Joseph Suglia


Fifty Shades of Error: chuckpalahniuk’s BEAUTIFUL YOU
by Dr. Joseph Suglia

1.) “Even as Penny was attacked, the judge merely stared” [1].  Never begin a novel with a sentence written in the passive voice.  This sentence, in particular, sounds as if it were transliterated from Estonian or spoken by Grimace.  It contains a clumsy adverb (“merely”).  It is fatiguing to read.

2.) “The court reporter continued to dutifully keyboard, transcribing Penny’s words” [1].  Careful novelists avoid verbs such as “to continue,” “to start,” “to try,” “to remain,” and “to begin.”  Such verbs weaken sentences.

3.) “It would’ve been different if there had been other women in the courtroom, but there were none” [1].  “None” is a singular indefinite pronoun; therefore, the second independent clause…

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Guest Blog – Legion of Leia: Sesame Street Game of Thrones Parody

Legion of Leia

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 2.14.11 PM

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but Sesame Street‘s TV show and movie parodies are the best things ever. Today we have a new one for Game of Thrones, probably the last show you’d expect a television program for kids to use for such a thing. In the piece, which is called “Game of Chairs,” Cersei, Robb Stark, Daenerys “Mommy of Dragons” and Joffrey compete in a game of musical chairs, led by Grover Bluejoy to win the throne. Grover keeps messing up the details of how to play the game, which prompts Melissandre to pop up and say, “The monster is blue and full of errors.”

Just watch. You’ll thank me. Game of Thrones returns to HBO on April 12.

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GUEST BLOG: J.A. Konrath’s A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing

J.A. Konrath is a thriller author who is notable for being a success in the independent/self-published author’s game. In his latest update, “The Numbers Game” he breaks down the dollar$ and $en$e of e-book, publishing. It’s a must read for any independent author.


The 25% the publisher is offering is actually based on net. So you’re getting 17.5% of the list price. (Amazon gets 30%, they get 52.5%–which is obscene)

When your agent gets her cut, you’re earning 14.9% of list price on ebooks.For a $9.99 ebook, that’s $1.49 in your pocket for each one sold.

If ebook prices go down (and they will) it would be 75 cents for you on a $4.99 ebookIf you release a $4.99 ebook on your own, at 70%, you’d earn $3.50 an ebook.

Let’s say you sell a modest 1000 ebooks per month at $4.99.

That’s $9000 a year you’d make on ebooks through your publisher vs. $42,000 a year on your own.

Clicky to read more: A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing: The Numbers Game

GUEST BLOG: Warren Ellis “On Killing Stories”

Warrent Ellis, one of my favorite creative minds in this universe talks about the hard decision every writer has to make at some point.

“The lesson is simply this: you just have to recognise that, no matter how much weight you put behind it and how much you tart it up,sometimes a story just doesn’t bloody work, and you have to take it behind the stables and shoot it through the head. No writer is perfect. We all have dead bodies to our names.”