rant

Movie Review: The Fantastic Four (2015)

MV5BMTk0OTMyMDA0OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzY5NTkzNTE@._V1_SX640_SY720_So, I know I'm particularly late to get to this rant, but Wednesday I had the...um...unfortunate experience?...of seeing the Fantastic Four reboot. (Look, in my defense, I've been under a lot of stress, it was cheap and I just needed to get the hell away from Kickstarter for a couple of hours. Don't judge me.) When I left the theater, I was pissed. Many are the reasons for my ire. Alright. Where to start?

Let's start with the simple problems. This movie is FULL of shitty writing.

(I would warn you about spoilers, but I don't think anything is spoiled here.)

 

 

Relationships

First off, the relationships are all half-baked. Sue and Johnny Storm don't come across as siblings at all. When they're on screen together there is no chemistry, let alone any sort of familial bond. Reed Richards and Sue? Eh. Weak sauce. It comes across that Reed thinks she's pretty, but there's nothing there in terms of romance. Reed and Ben Grimm? No depth. Ben's devotion to Reed has nothing behind it. Ben and Johnny? They don't start quipping with each other until the last 3 minutes of the film. And then there's Victor Von Doom. His relationships with--well, everyone--are flaccid. We get that he is a creeper for Sue the way he stares longingly at her, but that's all performance. That's the actor. Doom and Reed partner up well, but don't develop any sort of bond. Doom and Ben? They meet five minutes before Doom falls into a pit of green lava. And Johnny? Well, Johnny and Doom do seem to have a decent playfully antagonistic relationship. This is only shown in a single line exchange that happens to be the solitary line in the movie that is a true Johnny Storm character moment.

 

Johnny: This is Borat. Borat is a Dick.

borat_great_success

And that was it.

Basically, these 5 characters are supposed to be the crux of the film, but instead, they are pawns just being moved around by plot rather than their own motivations. Their relationships never get the opportunity to form, and their own personalities never get to develop. They are all, at best, two-dimensional characters.

When your characters have no arc or depth, when their relationships have no meaning, there is no human element to latch onto. The story becomes little more than a vehicle for CGI effects and mass destruction sequences.

Events

And let's talk for a moment about the plot, such as it is. The plot is that Reed (with Ben's pocket knife and .... I guess his silent presence and free reign of his family's salvage yard?) has created interdimensional travel without realizing just what he was doing. When his school science fair (a scene totally ripped out of Disney's "Meet the Robinsons", I might add) DQs him for being smart, Dr. Franklin Storm and his adopted daughter Sue show up (random!)

Jordan > Sue Storm

From there, in a move from 80s classic "Real Genius", we see a group of college students working on a major project that the military wants for itself. Doom, a brooding emo drop-out, is pulled in with the promise of seeing Sue. Johnny is coerced by his father to join the team so that he can get his car back and return to a life of illegal street racing. They build the thing. They succeed. They fail. They get powers. Doom is left for dead. The military gets their fingers in, weaponizing the people involved as well as the technology. They rebuild the teleporter. They find Doom. Doom goes apeshit. Four people--one of whom has been absent for a year--suddenly know how to power stunt with one another to defeat Doom.

Weak. Fucking. Sauce.

The pacing of events is also strange. We spend too long getting to "Planet Zero", the alternate dimension where the plucky smart kids will get their powers. And in all that time, we're not building relationships. We're not DOING anything but watching construction montages and Franklin having arguments with Doom and Johnny about how much potential they have. (Basically, Franklin spends the whole movie thinking he knows what's right for other people.) Again, there's nothing human to latch onto during this time. You want them to succeed because you're told you want them to succeed. The audience has no skin in the game. By the time we get to the second act--all events that happen AFTER the ill-fated trip to Planet Zero--we're snoozing. (Literally. My friend that saw it with me fell asleep. Multiple times.)

Human-Torch-in-Fantastic-Four-Trailer-2Act 2 is a lot of showing how the military are responding (poorly) to the development of four kids coming from Planet Zero and having pyrokinetic powers or fluctuations outside the visible spectrum. We see Sue being left to fluctuate on a table. They're just watching Johnny burn. Reed is being stretched to his limits and seemingly tortured while Ben is left alone to be a rock. And Franklin can only watch as his children--biological and adopted--are in dire straits. We see more training montage action, but again, there's nothing to grasp.

There's a lot of wasted potential in Act 2. We should be seeing Ben trying to cope with body dysmorphia and how the government is using him to kill. We should see his depression, his loneliness. But we don't. It's all flat. It moves quickly, but jerkily, into the third act which, like many films these days is riddled with problems. Most of those problems though are because of the poor set up with characters.

Characterization Issues

In my review of "Star Trek: Into Darkness", I told you about the Hollywood Formula of characters. Protagonist, Antagonist and Relationship Character. A satisfying story comes when we like our protagonist and can root for her, when someone clearly presents obstacles (antagonist), and there is a person who has been around the block who can help bridge gaps between protagonist/antagonist and protagonist/audience. For a story that "works", all three of these roles need to be clearly related in the film or text.

635640150236937897-56-FANTASTIC-FOUR-MOV-jy-5566-We get that Reed is our main protagonist. We follow him. He leads the audience into the story. His goal is also pretty clear: make a teleporter. However, for most of "Fantastic Four", we don't have a clear antagonist.

You would think it would be Doom, right? I mean, we've read the comics...or we've seen the first attempts at bringing the Fantastic Four to screen. Even if you haven't, the name DOOM kinda outs him as the baddie, right? But that's the thing...he's not the antagonist. He's not the one getting in Reed's way of his goal.

In fact, for most of the movie.... no one is. No one is trying to make things more difficult for Reed. Only once the team has succeeded in making their device does an antagonist show up.

I am Government Man. Come from the government. The government has sent me. *chews gum*

Government Man. (Does he even have a name?) Anyway, this is the military liaison who wants the project. He shows up and is the face of evil, not just because he's trying to keep the kids from finishing their work (going to Planet Zero), but he represents everything DOOM hates. Everything Franklin is working against. The Government Man is the antagonist. Which, to me, says that Doom or Franklin would be the best choice for relationship character. They share the role.

However, it seems that "Fantastic Four" writers didn't learn from my rant about "Star Trek: Into Darkness" because what happens in the third act? Doom, our relationship character, takes a leaf out of Khan's book, squishes the head of the antagonist and then assumes the role.

doomfantasticfour-146710The writing is bad. The story is not satisfying. STOP DOING THIS STORYTELLING BAIT AND SWITCH!!!

Beyond that, the characters? They're all wrong. Again, this could be due to poor pacing and just lazy writing, but the characters are little more than namesakes of the original Fantastic Four.

Ben Grimm looks like Peeta from the Hunger Games. He's silent and just kinda plods along with Reed. He doesn't have his own strength, even though he's supposed to be Reed's rock (Watson to Richards' Holmes.)

Doom is emo, and while he does have a bit of a vibe of "I'm smarter than you, and I don't need you", he's not egomaniacal enough to be DOCTOR DOOM.

Johnny? Oh my god, I jerked at one line because the wrongness of it slapped me in the face. Johnny Storm--our adrenaline junkie--is afraid to go repelling on the surface of Planet Zero. BULLSHIT. Johnny would've been basejumping. Doom says, "We need an anchor." That anchor SHOULD have been Ben Grimm. It always was. Ben had no place to go into the fissure and no motivation to do so. Poor choice, writers.

And then there's Sue.

Sexism

Pretty. Script says I come from Eastern Europe now. Could be an assassin. Look, I'm just like Black Widow!

The original comics are rife with sexism. Sue Storm is the Invisible Woman for a reason. She's a commentary on what men at the time thought a woman should be: pretty, silent, come when I need you. Unfortunately, while this movie seemed to ignore the source material for, well, almost every other character's motivations...they kept this tidbit in tact.

In the film, Sue Storm is portrayed as smart, but cold and distant. She is pretty, an object of both Reed and Doom's affections, however that seed--like most planted in this film--doesn't grow to anything resembling fruition. And her role in the team is to MAKE THE CLOTHES they'll wear when they go to Planet Zero. Yes, environment suits are important, but they've literally got the woman MAKING THE CLOTHES.

When the experimental teleporter works, Government Man walks into the room with Sue, Reed, Johnny and Doom and this is his line:

"Gentlemen! Everyone! Good work."

*jaw drop* SHE's standing right there! I get that you're trying to punctuate "Invisible Woman" but there are better ways to do it, assholes!

And, when the guys decide to go to Planet Zero, does Reed call Sue? The person who's been working on this project just as long as he has? Nope. He calls Ben, his buddy from back home. None of them even bother to let her in on things, thinking that maybe she's just as upset as they are. Sue is left out of this midnight recon entirely UNTIL SHIT HITS THE FAN AND THEY NEED SOMEONE TO BRING THEM HOME!

She doesn't get much better treatment in the next acts. She bails everyone out with force fields as long as she's not falling to the ground and flailing prettily.

Sue's treatment in this movie is sickening. And she's the only woman with more than one line. It's abominable.


There was very little that this movie did well. I liked the visual effects of the Human Torch. I loved how they presented Doctor Doom after his year on Planet Zero. That was nicely done. Beyond that? Nope. This movie fails on every level. The writing is worse than poor, it's lazy. And the sexism is disgusting.

I'd rather watch the one with Chris Evans and Michael Chikliss. The guy might be wearing a foam rubber suit, but at least he's actually Ben Grimm.

Balls

As most of you know, I despise the New England Patriots. Color me unsurprised that the Assholes of the league have been caught cheating. Again. I'm less than thrilled that my city will be hosting them for the Super Bowl. *Edit: For those of my readers who don't follow the Sports, the Patriots were found to have used balls inflated below the league regulation PSI. This would make the balls easier to throw and handle, therefore giving the team an unfair advantage over their opponents. The rile up has been called "DeflateGate" (because every scandal must end in "gate".)

I've been watching "deflategate" for some unknown reason. (It might be because I'm waiting to see Belichick and Brady--two men who embody my loathing for the New England Patriots--fall on their faces. Not sure.) So I watched Belichick's prepared speech Thursday morning and thought it was exactly what you'd expect to hear. A bunch of denial and passing the buck. What surprised me was that the coach flat out put the onus on his star quarterback.

Hubbawha?!

No honor among thieves, sure, and these two seem thick as the aforementioned felons. I'm actually a little taken aback that Belichick didn't hoist blame onto one of the equipment managers or some lackey ball boy.

What pissed me off about Belichick's speech (other than the man himself), was his comment that in his 40+ years of NFL coaching experience, he has "never talked to any player, staff member about football air pressure. That's just not a subject that's brought up."

Okay, other than the fact that his own comments later kinda sound too specific for someone who hasn't discussed it before, I call horseshit on this one. You've been a coach in the NFL for longer than I've been alive and you're telling me that you have no clue about ball pressure? (I know about ball pressure--I've watched that episode on Mythbusters about the supposed helium-filled ball getting more hang time--and I'm not an NFL coach!) Also, dude, it's your fucking job to know this. So what you're saying is this: you're either ignorant about what your job entails, or you're lying. If the former, perhaps team owner Kraft should rethink his choice of a head coach. (If the latter, pack your bags, assface.)

But really, Belichick's prepared remarks were exactly what you'd expect of a known cheater trying to cover his ass and make the most of the asterisk that will permanently accompany his team's 2014 season record.

Tom Brady's press conference Thursday afternoon was far more interesting to me. Yes, I giggled like a 12 year old at the double entendres flying all over the place. What I really wanted to hear was the quarterback's reaction to Belichick's speech. Thankfully, a dauntless reporter got that one in early.

brady smirk

Brady shrugged it off, citing that everyone's just "trying to figure out what happened." While Tom's answer was calm and tactful, the expression on his face spoke volumes. (Admittedly, I couldn't gif it and show you the evolution of the sneer to smirk to calm face.)

And now, comes the part that surprises me most of all.

I'm about to defend Tom Brady. (I know, it tastes bitter, guys.)

So, the reporters kept harping on, "How could you not notice? Did you notice that the balls felt different? You handle the balls and like them a very specific way, couldn't you tell a difference?"

Look, here's the thing...he's not sitting on the sideline caressing his footballs while the other team has their go. No quarterback is doing anything other than his job--looking at game shots from upstairs, talking with his team/coaches, PLAYING THE GAME. And when they're on the field, the top notch stars like Manning, Luck and Brady? They are in contact with the ball for less than 3 seconds per play. Think about that. Most of these reporters probably can't adequately pick their noses in 3 seconds. And during that short period of time, quarterbacks of this caliber are doing their jobs as master strategists. After the snap they're assessing incoming threats, wind direction and speed, the positions of their receivers, coverage on said receivers, their own physical form, the position/handling of the ball itself, doing mental geometry and plotting trajectories for their upcoming pass. Add to this weather conditions like we saw during Sunday's game. And that's just what *I*, a woman who took a season off of her fantasy league, can think of off the top of my head. There are literally at least a dozen other things that a quarterback is thinking about in the 3 seconds he's in contact with the ball that are more important than the PSI of said ball.

So yeah, I'm going to step in front of Tom for just a moment and say, "Dude, I think you're expecting a little too much of someone who may have held a ball for a maximum of 5 seconds at a time, let alone 12 of them over the course of a whole game, when you ask him how he couldn't possibly tell the difference. If I licked your pen, you'd probably notice. But would you notice if I removed 15% of the ink?"

And now I turn to Tom and say, "Dude, your team is cheating. If you're not directly involved, I'd be pissed as hell at the person who a) didn't think my team could win without breaking the rules and b) is taking my time away from serious game planning to deal with this utter bullshit. Own up if it's you, and prepare for the worst. Also, Belichick's an asshole and I hate your face."

Well, maybe I'd omit that last part. About the face. But not the rest. Pretty sure right now Brady'd back me up on the fact his coach blows goats.

So how do I feel about Deflategate? (Other than the fact that the real winner is Gillette with their ill-timed hashtag #flexball appearing on the screen during both pressers?) I think it's ridiculous. It's the second time the New England Patriots have been caught cheating. There is now speculation that they also cheated during their play-off game versus the Baltimore Ravens. This whole thing has put an asterisk by their team record. Sure, they could win the Super Bowl, but who would believe it? There's always going to be this stain on their 2014 season reminding them and us that this team and its management cannot be trusted. Their wins always come with the caveat of, "assuming they weren't cheating".

Team owner Robert Kraft has a lot of thinking to do. His coaching staff has tarnished the legacy of his team multiple times. He needs to consider firing Belichick. (If this happens, it will be after the Super Bowl. This is assuming some poor hapless ball boy isn't set up as a patsy for this shit.) He has to do something to take back the integrity of his team.

Chairman Goddell and the NFL need to do something more than strip the Patriots of draft picks and levy fines that it's obvious their coffers can handle. That's not discipline. Also, being their second known offense and in such a high profile game, this seriously effects the integrity of the game. Goddell needs to consider long-term suspension (of Belichick AND Brady), and a post-season ban for the 2015 season.

As to the Super Bowl itself, well...The Ravens or the Colts can't replace them. Time and logistics negate the idea that anyone but the Patriots will represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. Should Belichick be suspended? Absolutely. Regardless of his knowledge, it's his JOB to know about ball pressure and the process of what happens with balls prior to a game. He has failed and it caused a serious problem on his watch. Should Brady be suspended? I don't know. Part of me would love that, but then if the Seahawks win the Super Bowl everyone will say, "It's because Brady wasn't playing."

No, I want Seattle to have what Indy and Baltimore didn't: a chance to win the game fair and square.

Don't Stop Me Now

41a9efd8c71bfc3a0295d87ce8decaadSo there are two facts about me that many of you know by now: 1) I am a Whovian. (A fan of Doctor Who, for those who don't speak my brand of geek.)

and 2) I have a very righteous, active and at times insane fantasy life.

When you combine these two things about me, and my profession as a writer, you get a distinct, burning desire on my part to write for Doctor Who. Now, I am under no delusions that I am, at this stage in my career, going to find that falling into my lap like a purring kitten. However, it's a goal that I strive toward much the same way other pursue Oscars, Hugos or the ice cream truck. (Seriously, my episode of Doctor Who will be how I win my Hugo. Then I'll buy an ice cream truck.)

So, you can imagine that my heart sank a little when I saw agency sibling and rock awesome story spelunker Paul Kreuger post this article at the Daily Dot. According to the Daily Dot, the next season of Doctor Who will see many writers who are old friends of the show. (Show-runner Steven Moffat has said himself he likes to keep things "in the family", as it were, and does not try to deny nepotism. This is well-documented in terms of his other hit show, Sherlock.) A few new hands have joined this season.

And not a single one of them are women.

From the article:

"...this is now the fourth season in a row that has employed precisely zero female writers.

In fact, since Steven Moffat took over as showrunner in 2009 he has never hired a single female writer. And only once has he brought on a female director, back in season five. Needless to say, this track record only adds fuel to the ever-growing number of fans who say Moffat is taking Doctor Who in a more conservative and sexist direction."

The internet is full of evidence and speculation about Moffat and his potential to be a misogynist. You can look that up elsewhere. I'll say that at the moment my jury is still out. I have really enjoyed watching Sherlock, and think that Mr. Moffat has a gift for creating engaging stories. However, having watched Coupling and his episodes of Doctor Who, I have issues with the way he portrays women. I'm sure that Mr. Moffat himself is a lovely person but can neither confirm nor deny this from firsthand experience.

cautionmenworkingNow, I'll be honest, I'm only about half-way through the first Matt Smith season of Doctor Who. Already, though, I'm pissed about some of the writing decisions. Those decisions are, invariably, tied to the way women are written or treated. Specifically, women who are given monumental power and then divested of it almost immediately. It has happened with Donna Noble and it happened with Amy Pond... the woman had a pivotal choice to make that could save or condemn the universe...and when she made her choice she was strong. She owned. She saved the day.

And then... (Spoilers, sweetie.)

The choice didn't matter.

In Donna's case, within the same episode we take the choice she made and the being she had become and took it away from her in a horrifying way. Everything she'd been to us up to that point simply erased. All of her past mattered in the grand scheme of the universe, but that moment of her becoming more than herself? Robbed of it. And put back into a world where she is slow on the uptake and flakey because she "missed" huge world events (that she played a major part in!!!) In a way it's worse than death or being marooned in another dimension.

In Amy's case? Wow... she made her choice to live in a world with Rory in it no matter what that might mean in the long run. Her love for him (and the fact that it eclipsed her infatuation with the Doctor) was so fucking amazing and heartrending at the end of that episode! She realizes in that moment something she hasn't admitted to the audience, to the Doctor or to herself! She needs, loves and wants Rory in her world. WOOT!

And then...

In the next episode, Rory is killed. (Yes, I know, shut up. Not there yet. Grr.)

It feels like they gave Amy the choice: The Doctor or Rory? And then when she made her choice, someone (*coughMOFFATcough*) said, "You know what, you didn't make the choice I wanted you to make. So guess what. Oh, and I'm going to take your memory, too."

In both cases, the woman was given the +1 Stompy Boots of Awesome. In both cases it is up to the Doctor's companion to save not just the Doctor and those in the immediate area, but the world as they know it! In both cases, the women make the clutch decisions, regardless of the odds or how difficult it may be. And in both cases, their actions and memories are deleted so that the Doctor can have a moment. (In one case, the moment is morose and bitter, while in the other...well, he's now #1 and doesn't have to compete with poor Rory any more.)

(As an aside, I don't remember thinking "poor Mickey" every episode, but damn, do I pity Rory.)

While I can't know the writers' motives on the matter, or how it went down in story planning, it plays out like this weird situation where Amy and Donna are working away merrily when the Doctor steps up to look over their shoulders. "Oh, no, that won't do. You'd better let me," he says. Then he shoulders them aside and does things his own way.

And casts "obliviate" on them. Quit fucking with women's heads and memories, Moffat!

moffat

 

But I digress.

 (/end Spoilers.)

capaldireactions6New season of Doctor Who with Peter Capaldi manning the TARDIS...no female writers. As I said, I saw this link when my friend Paul Kreuger posted it to Facebook. Someone commented on that thread, "Why does it matter?"

*raises hand*

Allow me to explain.

I watch Doctor Who and I don't see myself in the women there any more. The change happened shortly after Russel T. Davies and Julie Gardner left the show, to be replaced by current showrunner, Mr. Moffat.

In the RTD era, I could empathize with Rose because I remember what it was like to be 20-something and listless with a shit-paying job and no idea what I wanted in life. I could see the allure of running away with the Doctor. I could see myself in Sarah Jane whose heart had developed a scar in the shape of the Time Lord. Martha was smart, capable and invisible to the man she loved. But once she got over that crush on the Doctor, she continued to be a badass! She was more WITHOUT him. (In fact... Rose became MORE without the Doctor. As did Sarah Jane. Those women grew and took their time with the Doctor as a foundation. They built wonders.) And Donna? Never once was she dewy-eyed and lovestruck by him. She was the "mate" he'd been looking for! A take-no-bullshit partner.

But then...Donna didn't get to be more. She was diminished.

Amy? River? Don't get me wrong, Amy has had some choice moments, and River has had some great dialogue. But, thus far, these two women have been defined by their relationship to the Doctor. They are props, set pieces and plot points bowing dutifully or batting their eyelashes at the Doctor. They aren't whole people.

And that is a problem.

For one thing, in terms of story? It gets old. I'm tired of seeing the Doctor with young companions who just fawn over him! It's a hope I have with Capaldi in the role: older companions who aren't trying to bed him or wed him. I want him to have a companion again.

For another... I want to see women written as fully-formed human beings (or aliens, or whatever). I want them to be written from places of truth where they have real motivations and histories and needs and fears that have NOTHING to do with the Doctor! Men on this same show get that. Captain Jack, the Master, even Mickey "the Idiot". They all have fully-realized characters who have the opportunity to grow in--and because of--their time with the Doctor.

That is why it's important to have diverse writers. For more points of view, and more satisfying, emotionally engaging stories where everyone can see themselves portrayed in a positive role.

keep-calm-and-no-girls-allowedMore importantly, though...

....when such a high-profile show has no women writing or directing episodes, what does that do to the crop of female writers? In my case, it pushes me. It's not going to deter me, though it might hobble me. It's another obstacle for me to circumvent, climb, think my way out of or blast into rubble. (Just like the Doctor, Martha, Donna, Rose etc etc have done time and again.)

But what about others? What about young girls? Kids like my daughter. If they don't see women directing, writing or collaborating on the things they love, they may think they are not allowed to do those things. My daughter has already said she feels "more like a boy" sometimes because she likes comics, video games and Doctor Who. Why are these boy things? They aren't! They are for everyone. So when little girls look at the lists of creators on a show and don't see female representation...they may believe that this is something they can't do. And sweetie, let me tell you, the only things a woman can't do that men can involve peeing while standing.

This move--this continuation of keeping Doctor Who a Boy's Club--is dangerous because it says to women and minorities that we are not welcome. And sci-fi has always been about exploration, finding humanity and ourselves in the alien.

By excluding us, you're limiting yourself.

Now, I am not professionally ready to write an episode of Doctor Who at this point. My writing is not at that caliber, and I need more experience with the older Doctors (plus I'm not caught up). But that doesn't mean I'm not going to keep my head down and work toward that goal. Moffat might not be the showrunner when it's my time, but my time will come.

I'm the same woman who said, "I'm going to drum on stage of the Briar  Street Theater in Chicago with Eric Gebow (my Blue Man Group idol)". And I did.

I've never let my gender stop me. So why should you?

Mic Check

Barker copySo, I don't have this whole "professional writer" thing figured out. (Shock and awe.) I, like most people, am just making shit up as I go along and hoping to every god that I don't fall flat on my face in front of everyone. There's one thing, though, that I've been thinking about of late that I really struggle with. And that special something is maintaining enthusiasm while marketing myself.

Hell, self-promotion is hard enough. Sure, let's take a group of people who are professional introverts and have a well-documented tendency toward fraud complexes and then have them PROMOTE themselves.

I admit that the days I feel like a failure are fewer now than they were...say...4 years ago, but I still have about one week out of every month where I am convinced I should just get out of writing forever and save the human race from my drivel. Those days still exist.

anigif_enhanced-buzz-5039-1358536540-1

 

Even when I have those days, I still have to get out there and bang the drum. I don't mind doing it for other people. In fact, I love being the carnival barker for other people. Step right up and see the amazing Beth Cato and her debut novel THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER! Tremble before the might of Delilah S. Dawson (writing as Ava Lovelace) as she unleashes THE SUPERFOX upon you. 

And so on.

But it gets exhausting to do it for oneself. At least for me.

Seriously, there are days when the field in which I grow my fucks is a barren waste. give_a_fuck

There are days when I absolutely loathe my writing (the same book that I loved two days ago and have to encourage you to buy) but I have to muster the enthusiasm to convince you it's not a waste of your life energy (and money) to experience it. And even if I like the book or story, there are days when I'm just tired of looking at it, thinking about it or even knowing I created it. It's like with anything else... sometimes you just get burnt out on something. For example, I've read UNVEILED somewhere in the realm of 10 times (minimum) in the past 4 months. This past weekend I had to read it (again) for what is (I hope) the final proofing pass...and I can't begin to tell you how much I hated that book. Not necessarily because it was shit (I'm the way wrong person to ask about that, see above points), but because I'm just tired of it.

And, of course, NOW is the time when I have to really gear up the promotion machine to get YOU to love it and buy it and tell everyone in the world how amazing it is.

Oy.

enhanced-29213-1398019678-5Not only do I have to fight myself on this one sometimes...but I have to fight the rest of the world. Or so it seems. Most of the self-promotion I do is via social media. Facebook, Twitter, this blog...these are the main ways I try to flag your attention and get you to notice my works. I don't know about you, but my Twitter feed moves incredibly fast. There's a billion words that I try to sift through to see what my friends are saying. Of late, I've been rather quiet (for me) on Twitter because I have just felt kinda out of it. Like I don't have anything to contribute.

And that leads to anxiety. There's this odd fear... I don't know if other people (creatives or otherwise) feel this way, but I have this fear of being forgotten. If I don't tweet something witty today then you're all going to forget I exist and move on to the latest, hottest, prettiest, coolest new model of funny chai-loving pyromaniac.

I feel that way in my writing life, too. Like if I don't produce something new right the hell now, I'm going to lose what tenuous purchase I have on a publishing career and fall into the abyss.

I feel like I'm competing for your time. There's so much content! And the internet is so LOUD! I feel like I have to constantly yell louder to be heard in the din of "click here". And on top of that, you have to measure your promotion carefully. Like with the Kickstarter, I had to carefully choreograph when I made what announcements and upped my game. I felt like I had to constantly refresh things and out do myself to keep people interested.

And that's exhausting.

So yeah. It's not something I've figured out yet. At least, in my opinion. I mean, I can't see returns on sales or hits or followers and such, so there are days where I feel like I'm just shouting into a hole. I know that it's necessary. It's part of the job, and I'm sure there's a balance and rhythm to it. I just haven't found that yet.

So yeah... um... buy my books? ;)

And seriously, go check out Beth Cato, Delilah S. Dawson, Tex Thompson, Stephen Blackmoore, Kerry Schaefer, Chuck Wendig, Marsheila Rockwell, Rene Sears, AD Marrow, Michelle M Welch, Sharon Skinner, Karina Cooper... oy, okay, I could keep going. They are amazing wordsmiths and all around awesome people. If you don't buy their stuff, my stuff...just... go support some author types.