Tag Archives: tropes

Is this Summer mode?

The new puppy didn’t allow us much sleep last night. We were prepared for this, and he isn’t our first puppy. Both of us took turns running him outside in the middle of the night.

He eats and drinks like a horse. This might be explained by his being more active today. Puppies seem to go through a few phases. At first they are timid and shy, then they start exploring their new homes. Today he moved through exploring and into playing and personality. I’m hoping he played so much that he’s plenty tired tonight.

I started a new short story, but only managed about 500 words. I think this might be my Summer mode. A few words here and there between other duties. I’ve hit it fairly hard in the last few months, and I’m okay with that. Sure, I’d like to have gotten more done, but I have a great start on my next novel. I also have a bunch of short stories put aside and can do something with them come Autumn.

Sometimes it’s important to know when to say “No.” I have this idea that could be fun, and it would certainly challenge me, but I think I’m going to pass. I just have enough irons in the fire.

It would have been set up like a stage play at a small mountain theatre. I wanted to write a melodrama, and hit as many cliché tropish beats as I could. By doing this on purpose, the challenge was to make it funny in its presentation.

I intended to use characters I’ve written previously and make them play roles in the melodrama. Unfortunately, if folks haven’t read the books it wouldn’t work. I can see Don Manuel de la Cámara y Libermoore, (from Panama) as the mustache twirling villain. I can even see Lisa the robot girl as either the damsel in distress or the heroine. Like I said, I just don’t have the time to mess with it right now.

I did the research and made some notes. I have a roster of the standard characters and their purpose in the story. Still, take a look at this video and tell me it couldn’t be fun:

The song is old, and has been recorded by multiple people. Buck Owens dropped a verse, but it was the best video I could find of it. The notes aren’t going anywhere, and I might resurrect the idea at some point.


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Just popping in

I’ve been slacking off on my blog duties lately. Things have gotten busy across multiple fronts.

My parents are visiting this weekend, and the women all decided to go shopping. I always have to choose whether to hang out with Mom or Dad. Dad won’t run around the mall anymore, and I really don’t blame him. We’re hanging out while I work on some projects and we visit.

I managed to set up two guest posts, and need to set up at least one more. I’ll work on it, but may put it off until Monday because it doesn’t have a tight deadline.

I’ll probably turn on the Preakness Stakes later today. Right now, I’ve found a pulpy old science fiction film. Dad and I are watching The Lost World from the 1950s. These are the kind of movies where they took real iguanas and monitor lizards, glued horns and fins to them, and called them dinosaurs.

These movies are so bad they’re fun. The group is a trope these days. There’s a dinosaur expert, a news reporter, native guides, and a city woman. There’s always a woman. They have no luggage, but she always manages to look sweet, have her hair fixed, and wear flawless makeup. She even manages a change of clothes or two. Her job is to ask questions for the men to answer, and scream whenever a dinosaur shows up. I’m sure she’s going to need rescuing at some point. Maybe multiple points.

One of the guides carries a guitar. Deep in the jungle with nothing useful, but he has a guitar. Hollywood had something musical in every movie back then.

They even managed to find a cavegirl. Movie cave girls never manage to be old, fat, or have missing teeth. She’s their prisoner, but no logical reason why is ever given. She escapes and they chase her so we can see more lizards dressed up for ComicCon.

Swanky city girl falls down, screams a lot. She never tries to get up and run away, because women in the 1950s never thought of that. Plus if she ran away she wouldn’t need rescued.

There was a man eating plant too.

There was a scene where one of the native guides went crazy and ran away screaming. A simple slap made him all better. A slap cured mental disorders in the 1950s. I expect quicksand to show up any moment.

Two of the dressed up lizards are fighting now. Today the cops would throw the film makers in jail for cruelty to animals, and justifiably so.

Honestly, I love this stuff. People would crucify me if I wrote a story like this, but I’m having a good time watching this movie.

Okay, so I can’t write a story quite like this, but I have a short story that kind of pays homage to this kind of thing. No lost worlds, or dinosaurs though. I really should add something like this to my short story list. I could avoid making it too tropish, and I would be expected to have a real plot.

Films and books like these were the parents of many popular films and books today. I can see shades of escaping the Poseidon Adventure, Jurassic Park, The Goonies, Indianna Jones, and many others here. Ancient pulpy stuff makes for good fertilizer.

I did get some cool poster images in mind for Lisa. She might make a great scream queen, or cavegirl someday. I don’t know what I would do with them, but something may come to me.

No idea what we are doing tonight, but I’ll be busy doing something with my parents. I’ll try to check in tomorrow.

Is anyone watching the Preakness? Do any of you like old pulpy science fiction? Do I need a mental health slap for enjoying this kind of thing?


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Things I’d love to write about, but won’t

I’m sure most writers have a list similar to this one. For one reason or another, there are things we enjoy, but will never write about.

Keep in mind, this is a blog post, not a vow. If I ever get popular, I reserve the right to change my mind.

Werewolves. I love classic werewolves. The scary ones, where you wind up having sympathy for the human with an uncontrollable condition, and with the madness that comes from knowing what he’s done. I really don’t like superhero werewolves, prancing shirtless werewolves, cat people, werepigs etc. And what’s with the trend where they can change any old time they like, moon or no moon? I’m afraid a return to the traditional wouldn’t even get a second look from readers.

The Headless Horseman. This is just a cool character. He’s been done well, and he’s been done poorly. He’s just something I prefer to enjoy. I don’t feel the need to write about him. There are other revenge based stories I can write.

Vampires. Again, I mean the classic traditional vampire of legend. There was a romantic tragedy about them that created sympathy in readers. They’ve become everything from splash, gore, and shock to boy toy eye candy. They can walk around in daylight now. The traditional protections don’t seem to work anymore. I’m afraid they’ve been bastardized beyond recognition.

Zombies. I actually wrote about them a couple of times. I think it’s out of my system now. In one case, I changed them into something else entirely. I never used the word zombie at all, and now they are something else. It was the hive mind I needed, not the undead. One of my favorite zombie characters are the Cybermen from Dr. Who. If you think about it, Cybermen use humans to make more Cybermen. They’re scary, and I think they’re done well.

Classic monsters are like a magician’s trick. We’ve been shown how it works, and the magic is gone. The public has seen so many of them they aren’t frightening any longer. Readers expect a zombie or werewolf behind every rock.

I respect those who want to take them for one more ride. They can be as unique as we are; therefore, their stories can be different. I just won’t be one who takes them out and plays with them.

I don’t feel the same way about robots, magic, or space. Natural dangers sell themselves. Sharks, psychos, evil corporations, and governments are in the evening news. These are broader brush issues and variations are easier to come up with.

What do the rest of you think? Are there characters you love, but won’t write? Are there characters you won’t read about anymore? Movies that you’ll pass up, because the monsters are tired?


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