Releasing your inner dragon

The secret to applying plot devices well: PART 2!

February 01, 2024 Marie Mullany & Maxwell Alexander Drake Season 4 Episode 3
The secret to applying plot devices well: PART 2!
Releasing your inner dragon
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Releasing your inner dragon
The secret to applying plot devices well: PART 2!
Feb 01, 2024 Season 4 Episode 3
Marie Mullany & Maxwell Alexander Drake

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Join Drake and Marie as they discuss the plot devices, their use in fiction writing and how to make even a stale trope seem fresh again.

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Membership for Just In Time Worlds:

Give us feedback at releasingyourinnerdragon(at)gmail(dot)com


Drake's Contact Details:
Starving Writer Studio:
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Writer's Room:

Marie's contact details:
Just In Time Worlds:

Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

Join Drake and Marie as they discuss the plot devices, their use in fiction writing and how to make even a stale trope seem fresh again.

Writer's Room:
Membership for Just In Time Worlds:

Give us feedback at releasingyourinnerdragon(at)gmail(dot)com


Drake's Contact Details:
Starving Writer Studio:
Drake-U:  - Use RYID25 for 25% off!
Writer's Room:

Marie's contact details:
Just In Time Worlds:

That's the biggest problem I have with with Deus Ex Machina. If it didn't matter that the characters went on this journey, that it literally could have just they could have stayed at home. Someone else could have done it. They could have failed. Nothing changes. No matter what they would have done. If that's your ending of your story.

In my opinion.

You suck.

Welcome to Releasing Your Inner Dragon, the podcast that intersects imagination and narrative. I'm Marie Mullany Your guide in the world of fantasy creation.

Join us as we explore the magic of narrative

And I'm Maxwell, Alexander Drake, and we're here to guide you through the craft of storytelling,

Bringing you insights and techniques from the vast and varied world of creative writing

and unlock the secrets of the writer's craft.

so we're still talking about plot devices. Now for you, what does the term Chekhov's gun mean?

It's a warning. Like that's really what it is to me. It's a, Hey, don't be stupid.

So Chekhov's gun. For those that aren't familiar with the term, basically Chekhov said he was a writer and he said, if you're going to describe a loaded gun in a scene,

you can't just describe a loaded gun.

You have to then.

Use that gun. At some point it has to come in, otherwise the reader will be going.

There was a loaded gun on the table. Why was I told.

That there was a loaded gun on the table? What's going to happen with the loaded gun on the table? And it's never going to get answered for them. So, I mean, it really is just a warning. It's a don't drop plot devices in that.

Are heavy, that are big, that are they're noticeable to the reader and they never.

Never capitalize on I never use that plot device never come back to it. You know.

When penny

Was at the grocery store, she realized


Her parents were unfaithful.

To each other for the entire 40 years of their marriage. And then the entire story is about buying cookies and whatever. And I don't mean from subtext version. It literally just has nothing to do with her parents. And you're like.

But but but the infidelity that the parents that what's going on and you just.

Never like the parents are not in the story they're nothing.

Like you just don't do that it's.

That is cruel and mean and it will actually just make.

People angry.

And they just won't read.

You anymore. Yeah.

So that's really what it is to me. Less of a plot device and it was on a plot device list, but that's one of the few that are on here that I'm just like, really? See this? I mean, what about you? I mean.

What is how do you feel about Chekhov's gun?


I'm in I'm in a couple of mine. So on the one hand,

sometimes what looks to the reader are like a Chekhov's gun might just be a element of worldbuilding,

you know what I mean? Like more.

Than you know, I actually have a perfect example of that.

But go ahead.

Yeah. So, so you can end up in a situation where

like, let's like the poster of Rita Hayworth in The Shawshank Redemption.

It could have been anything that was covering that

thing. It was specifically Rita Hayworth that was covering it. And

there were people who call that a Chekhov's gun because they were like, but it was Rita Hayworth.

They should have done something with that element of the story. But it was just a piece of worldbuilding. She was a popular film star,

right? That's it. Like it's it's nothing more than that. Right. You know.

And you would have liked.

To have seen some type of symbolism, some type of something that means, you know, subtext.

And freedom or escape or.

You know, whatever.

And that's because we that's because we humans, we love patterns. You know, we've we've actually evolved to see patterns everywhere because those people who didn't see patterns died. The one time there was a bear hiding in the bushes. And they were like, That's nothing. It's just the rustle of the wind, right?

You know, so those of us who are still here are like, no, that rustles a bear.



Well, we aren't anymore. But our.


So for me, the perfect example is.

So when farmers dropped,

I got so many emails about the boy's father. Now the boy's father is a farmer.

He is he is honorable.

And wise and kind and a good father and a good base and and all of that.

And I do describe him like there.

Is some things in there that I can see why they go down this path, because it says like there's a line that says he didn't even have the gut that most farmers his age.


So, you know, that he was just a little bit more in shape than some of the others. So I got so many emails of, I see what you're doing with with the boy's father. He was.

Secretly a warrior from the past.

War, and he's going to be, you know, a general in disguise and hiding and all this.

I got just dozens and.

Dozens of emails about this, this.

Tertiary character, basically.

And I'm like, No.

No, I just wanted to show you where these boys came from. Like, I wanted to show you the role.

Model that they had so that when they get out into this crazy fantasy.

World with.

All this death and, you know, betrayal and darkness and evil.

That you understand why.

They make decisions the way they do.

Because of the base that they grew up on. And that's it. He's he isn't He's a farmer. He's never been a warrior. He's always just been a farmer. He will only be a.

Farmer through the entire thing. He's not going to.

Show up.

In some magical general with, you know, massive.

Because they know and.

I get that they also get that from Wheel of Time. So Rand's father,

you know, we find out he was sickly, a warrior and he was on the battlefield and found Rand. You know.

Are they find him or or did he. Yeah.

I don't think he's his real father. So I think he just found Rand after the Shield Maiden had birthed him and I think she died or whatever. So he took he took him home

because he didn't have any children.

but yeah. So he turns out to be his integral kind of figure, kind of almost a leader type as things roll on.

And it's like, No.

No, not.

Not doing that. That's not the whole point of the the Tannin character is.

His just.

The role model so that you understand who raised these two heroes that you're about to follow through the story.


So and some people might go, well, that's a Chekhov's gun.

It's not

because of the.

Fact that it does exactly what I want it to do. You might think it should do other things, but you're kind of bringing that in.

In your own.

You know, kind of preconceived notions. You're bringing baggage in with you.

And, you know, and that's that's kind of what I'm what I'm driving at is there are you should not be afraid to world build something that is just world building. Like what did that Rita Hayworth poster actually accomplished. It's set a timeline if you know, when Rita Hayworth was a popular movie star, you know, more or less. What decade we’re in.


And then the transition of Rita Hayworth into I think the next one was Marilyn Monroe and then into somebody else in the sixties and so on and so forth.

There was a time.

You can see the progression of time.

It was a time clock in a world that doesn't track time. Yes. You know, you're in prison, it's decades. There's no you don't Mark.

You don't own a calendar. You don't mark off Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday because you're locked in a cell Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday.

That's that's the plot device that it was. It was a time clock.

For the audience


and I don't think that you should be afraid to use that just because it might be called a Chekhov's gun


I think I think on the other hand like

let's say for example, that

you go to enormous lengths to describe a

statute that somebody creates, you know, that then one of the characters creates or you go to enormous lengths to not describe it, which really irritates me, by the way, don't hide things from me that the character absolutely knows.



that statute or that thing that they create is not just a piece of world building. And if you make it just a piece of worldbuilding, that's going to always bug me, right?

And that's another.


That's actually one thing to say with just to reiterate.

Kind of what you said,

sure, you can do things just for worldbuilding sake.

But if if you bring focus to.


It has to accomplish something.

So the poster and Shawshank Redemption, it.

Might not accomplish what you what you think.

It should have.

Accomplished, but it does accomplish for you.

Exactly what it was meant to do. It's a.

Time piece.

Tannin in you know, farmers, mercenaries.

Is not going to.

Accomplish what some of these people are, you know, thinking that it's going to be this.

Secret warrior general, you know, whatever. But it does still accomplish what.

I wanted it to accomplish for them.

Which is you get to see the type of man who raised these two boys. And so that was it. Still does.

It. So you're right. So if you describe a statue and detail and then that's it, and you're just doing it because you just think you're really good at describing statues, that's going to do nothing. It's why most of my fans realize.

Because I very rarely.

Describe pieces of art.

me and you had this at the beginning when I wrote the first chapter for Laron, and I was just like.

And lavish works of art.

And vases line the wall and you're like, nah I'm going to put a little more detail on them. I guess part.

I just don't except.

For when I do. And so, you know, if I have a character stand in front of a painting.

And look at that painting, then there's something.

Important about it for the story.

Like that.

But to me, the description of the art does achieve something. It tells you something about the culture, right? Right. Does it doesn’t tell you something about the culture or the characters? Then, you know, don't put it in there. Like, I'll give you an example. I have been describing the decor of Rokai Castle for three and a half books before I revealed why

it was like that.

But for three and a half books, every scene in Rokai Castle Tapestries is a winter scene. Everything is blue and white, every black, everything. And then in the middle of the line vessel, you find out why it's like that, why everything is is in winter colors.

And so some people could call that a Chekhov's gun because it took three and a half books to get two and a half books to get to the better resolution of that particular plot point.

But I also don't think that that per say is a problem.

Like if your payoff is big enough, then this is a signpost, not a Chekhov's gun. Right?

And the.

Beautiful thing is, is both of these things which we differ on

and I said this last night when I was talking about a

different subject, just but still the same thing almost everything in creative writing is.

Subjective. Yes.

And especially things like this where we come down to the author's style. So me and you have talked about this before on the show where.

You're way more stingy with.

Information than I am. I'm a little bit more, you know, and maybe and we've even talked that maybe I give a little bit too much, maybe you give a little less and some where it'd be better if we were both kind of in the middle somewhere.

But the reality is that still our style. Same thing.

With the, you know like,

like you just made the comment of.

Either describe.

It or just don't even bring it in because it doesn't do anything.

I'm like, But it does. So by just saying.

Like in the Laron on chapter,

let's say I was writing and you know, it was just.


The what it does for me is it showed.

A contrast between.


broken tile.

Missing cabinet, you know, pieces and broken plastic furniture and just.

Saying opulent rich, like just those words, even.

I don't describe anything.

It still did.

What I wanted to do. Now, now you are correct. We can definitely push it up without it being a Chekhov's gun and all that and actually do a lot. And you did. And it's fine, It's great. But again, that's not.

It's not that you're.

Right and I'm wrong or I'm right and you're wrong. They're just different styles and looking and there's no right or wrong way to to answer that. And so and it's the same thing with this other thing.

This is still where you.

Get your style. Your style is still.


Going to be stingy with your readers and they're going to have to.

Either be a.

Little bit smarter.

Or be a little.

Bit more patient or whatever. And and that's great. And your fanbase loves that.

And I'm a little bit.


Babying of my readers. Not really, because I don't feel like I baby my readers at all. But but still I am.

I would definitely not wait three and a half books to give them. Why a Castle Was Colored.

The way it is well its very central to one of the characters. to one of the secondary characters? Yeah.

So. So yeah.

So like I said, I just want to make sure that we were talking about the fact that this is no.

There is no right. There's no wrong. There's just you.

And what you decide to do. And then where the right and wrong comes in, which neither one of us have is if you get nothing but one star views and everybody saying, I hate this person because of this thing, then it's wrong. Because again, you only write for the reader. You don't write for yourself. But neither one of us have that.


You know.

I had I had somebody comment the other day on one of my

world building videos that they're busy reading The Hidden Blade, and they're like, I love it, but it's so dense. And I was like, yeah, I know.

Yeah. I mean, when I say.

We don't have that, I don't mean we don't have the individual comments. I've definitely had people.

hit me up for

being to descriptive or to emotional or to whatever.

But those are you can't those are statistical anomalies when.

You look at the whole and you can't.

If you try.

As a writer, if you.

Try to please your.

Please your statistical anomalies, you'll end up pissing off everybody.

Yeah, you have to let things go.

I'm I'm okay with being known as a dense world builder. It is okay.

Because there's.

An audience for it

There's an audience who love the dense world building and who love reading every word are going like, okay, so what does this tell me about the world? And, you know.

And for me.

You know, instead of focusing so much on the world, mine is always about emotion and relationships and interactions from a from an emotional standpoint. So like, that's why I'm like, I don't care. I'll just say rich tapestries and or lush tapestries and rich or ornate tapestries and, you know, intricate vases or whatever, whatever words I choose to use, it's fine for me because all it does is this character is rich and lives a plush life and that character's poor and basically has to ramp, you know, scramble for every bean she.


Or not. I watched a video the other day on YouTube that was 30 minutes long and discussed the way that the hinges worked on the gate of the city of Earth.

And I was fascinated

because they went into like the cultural elements of it and how these hinges like, you know, making of the hinges and and that kind of like that that's kind of thing that fascinates me and therefore

things that make it into my world building.

And then I'm like, and there's a hinge and, you know, the readers are like, Why?

Yeah, And, and I actually fell asleep just listening to you talk about the video.


anyway, so that's Chekhov's gun.


I feel like that's a very natural flow into foreshadowing because that is essentially what we've also talked about here. Yeah.

Because you.

Chekhov’s gun will be foreshadowing.

Incorrectly. Yes. Are you foreshadowing something that.

You never capitalize on?

Yeah. You don't pay it off. Right. Whereas foreshadowing properly is a signpost to something that's going to happen that gives it shouldn't give the reader, you shouldn't give the reader so much that they go. I can see the twist coming that obviously it's too much information. Now you've spoiled the story fully. What you want to do is you want to dribble enough information to them that when they read the the coming thing, they go,

that makes sense.

And they can see it looking back, but not necessarily looking forward.

To me.

What foreshadowing means is

igniting the anxiety in the reader.

So you're right. If the foreshadowing tells you.

What it's going to be, obviously the mother is going.

To die. Yeah, that's there's no anxiety there. Foreshadowing would be


Bad is going to happen to someone this character.


Now you've met five.

People that the character loves. You love all five.

Of those people and you're like,

crap, I don't want anything. But if it happens, this one, then, my God, now and then this.

All that would.

Be. And then there's this other.

that would be.

And so for me, what good foreshadowing does is start the anxiety train.

And that's really, you know, people might say, well, why do you want to make your your readers anxious?

Because that's what pulls them through the story.

We're going to hopefully talk about that at some point today, and maybe that'll be next because it kind of leads into that. But it's it's my philosophy of there's a difference between the.

Reader having to work their way forward.

Through a story versus the reader being pulled that through the.

Story. And that anxiety is going to pull them along. They're going to need to keep going. They're not going to have an option.

To keep going because they.

Need to sit that sate their anxiety.

They need to figure it out, be done with it and move on.

And so that's.

That, that's that


uncontrollable need to keep reading.

That they no longer have control over. And that's what they want.

The readers want to be pulled.

through the story. They don't want to have to go. Okay, well, let me read this next chapter and figure out what happened. And, you know, maybe, maybe I'll be excited about something in the future. They want to be like.


And like, I want.

My readers to want to skip.

Chapters. Like, that's really what I want.

Which is why I'm so

strenuous on every chapter. Being a chapter, you want to skip to because you get to the end of this chapter on character A and you're like, All right, I got to just skip the couple of chapters, get back to A because I got to find out about this. But then you look at the title, the next chapter, you're like.

But that's chapter.

That's Character B And I really wanted to know what happened to the character. B so let me know. I'm just going to keep reading and then, you know, so every chapter ends in a hook and so therefore you never want it's sort of like, you know, we talk about that all the time. The, the I need more money for medical bills, for volumes of the wheel of.

Time eight and ten there one store and especially the parent story.

And so many people are like yeah I didn't actually even read. I read the first couple of chapters in the parents story at the end in Book eight, and I read the last couple of chapters in the parents story and ten, and I knew everything I needed to know.

Like literally, that's it.

You really can't. I don't want to write like that. I don't want to write massive swaths of information that people want to just not read.

Yeah. So, yeah, I mean, foreshadowing Chekhov's gun and then I guess red herrings is also part of that set because a red herring can absolute feel like a Chekhov's gun if you don't do it right.

Hundred percent.

So the purpose of a red herring and red herrings or more common, I think in mysteries than anywhere else, the purpose of a red herring is to kind of mislead the character, mislead the reader perhaps a little bit about like whodunit and

like I don't want to denigrate it, but it does feel like it kind of is. The purpose of it is to spin out the word count a little like.

It could be.

I can definitely see that. And I never seen it used for that.

I use a lot of red herring. I don't write any murder mysteries ever.

But I'm using red herrings. And unfortunately, if I say any of this stuff about my own writing, it's going to be spoilers.

But I like for.

Characters to believe that they're doing something.

And that's it. It's all the proof.

Is there that the reader needs and they're like, Yeah.

The characters.

Doing this because of this. Absolutely. And then they get down to the end and they're like, everything I thought was wrong.

Like none of this is the way it is.

And so that to.

Me is, is more of a stronger red herring.

See that that to me isn't a red herring. That to me is an attribute of the unreliable narrator.

You are correct. I mean.

As in addition to that.

Yeah. So, so to me, like the the what the

other bit about the unreliable narrator, which we can talk about now as well it's also on our list of plot devices is fantastic because as the character believes it, the reader believes it, and both are surprised when it's not true. But what they have done is still important, its still like the whole journey.

And up to then the you're like mind blowing in the revelation.


That's fantastic. And as.

And I agree that it is a it.

Is a.


Of that.

But but I do think there's a distinct or at least to me.

There's a distinction.


let me.

Let me throw my two cents on.

Unreliable narrators.

I only write in limited povs. I either write in third person limited or I write in first person. Those are limited POVs, meaning the narrating character is limited to whatever they know. They don't know.


They know what they know.

So they can lie to the reader, but they're not really lying to the reader because they believe it. And so the reader never accuses.

Them of.

A misdeed because they're like,

You were snowed just like me.

So it puts.

You on the same side as the character or the reader on the same side as the character, as opposed to like what you said earlier where where you like, don't hide something from me that the character knows that.

Is bad.

I don't think there's any good way to do that.

So, yes, unreliable.

Narrators, in my opinion.

At least how I tell stories are paramount. Like I can.

Only tell a story with an unreliable narrator because I'm going to make the reader believe what the character believes, so that when they both find out about it, like, I'm going to make you think that Dylan is the best boyfriend Drake has ever had, and they're perfect together and and everything like that. And he don't, you know, Drake and Dylan dotes on Drake, and.


Only has eyes for Drake. And then when both of us walk in the room and Dylan is Baffin Steve, we're both going to have our hearts broken


Drake totally believed.

In all this. And therefore, you totally believed all this because, you know, you were a part of that, that life. And I don't think and they'll never.

Feel like Drake lied to them.

They will feel that Dylan lied to them. And so that's what we want. We want that, you know, we want to.

Control the readers.

Concern and anger and everything else.

100%. I fully agree on that.

But red herrings.

To me.

Are more precise. So unreliable narrators on everything.

Everything is really just what the how the character perceives it.

So I think I think what we have here is a definition

difference. Yeah. Because in my in in according to my definition, a red hearing is a logical fallacy that is meant to distract. And in writing, it's a piece of information that misleads the reader about an important truth so that they expect one outcome and not another. It's a false clue.


And yet and I think that's probably the reason why I define it.


Little bit more ambiguously, because you're defining it correctly on.

The the the murder.

Mystery definition of what a red herring is. It's too it's to cast blame on this person as being the murderer when actually.

It's this person 100.

Percent your. That's why I said I'm not arguing with you because you're right. I don't write murder mysteries. So when.

I incorporate the term.

Red herring in my, you know, epic fantasy.

It's I use it a little bit different. But but I still, you know, I say this all the time. It's not whether you are right or wrong, it's whether you thought about it.

It's what you don't think about stuff and just willy nilly.

Just write that.

You usually get things.


And so that's why I see red herrings the way I do. It's not because I feel like, this is definitely the literary definition of a red herring.

It's when I learned.

About red herrings and I learned about how good they are in murder mysteries. I went, Okay, but I don't write murder mysteries.

So how do I relate that to.

What I actually do? And so, yes, you're right. It is an aspect of the

unreliable narrator. It's just me focusing a little bit more on a very specific thing. So case in point, the Dylan Drake thing that I just kind of went through.

That is.

I would consider more of a red herring for what I see it as, because I'm focusing on this line.

So to me, like because that's not a part of that. That's not a part of the red herring part for me, because that is that is the narrator is unreliable because the narrator

a red herring for me is

at the the character is on a quest to find the mighty kazoo of the misty mountains in the, you know, dragons layer before it gets blown and the kazoo God comes down and smite the world

and they hear a rumor

that the kazoo can be found in the treasure hoard of the hermit of the pink forest.

And off they head to the pink forest to go find it there. And then it turns out not only is the thing not there, but the hermit has never heard of it. And this is completely a wasted trip. That to me is red herring. It's a plot red herring. But like, this is something that the author inserted to waste time.

And that's where I can see you saying that it's just.


had had had the film had a film.

That that runtime out through a three hour film by.


38 minutes long but we need to make a 90.

Minute movie so let's do some walking.


okay let's let's let's take eight let's take a children's book and split it into three movies. Yes.

Yes. So yeah, I agree with that.

Again, it's it's I'm definitely not argue with you. I'm just explaining the way I see it and how I kind of use it.

It's just.

Me focusing a little bit.


On really convincing the reader that they believe the lie because I don't write murder mysteries, so I'm not trying to cast blame.

Like, you know, I write a lot of.

Good versus evil stuff.

So like, I'm not going to, you know, the ultimate evil like.

A dark one in the in the wheel of time.

We're not going to go Well, it's not actually.

The dark one. What it actually is is the yellow one. The yellow one's actually causing all the no no, there's the dark one in the light one and that's it.


I mean,

you can do that. You can do that kind of switch, but then you need to do a lot of foreshadowing about. Right like that need that foreshadowing needs to come for a while. Right. There needs to be doubt in the reader's mind that the heroes will actually on the right sort of life.


And then you can do that kind of trick.

And that's like, I.

Don't want to go into my actual example from my writing in case, you know, anybody wants to enjoy themselves. But there is.

A big thing.

That they think something is going to turn out and it's very.

Everyone believes.

It like, yes, we're going to do this and this is what's going to happen. And then it turns out to be worse than you could ever possibly imagine.

So but the red herring aspect of of an epic fantasy would be, you know, to send the characters off on a on a separate quest and to send them chasing something. And the problem with doing that and then having no payoff for the reader at the end of that red herring is that the reader feels like they've been cheated because

in a form it's bad enough to sit through it.

But in a book maybe I've read, I don't know, 20,000 words now of chasing this red herring. It goes nowhere. I'm like, Yeah, what did I read this for? Why did I go to the pink forest and meet this fricking hermit.

That has nothing to do with anything.

That has nothing to do with anything. Yeah. This better have one hell of a payoff. Well, maybe I don't even continue reading. Maybe I just go. No payoff can be good enough. And I put the book to. Yeah.

So it kind of.

Happened last night in the writers room during my critique.


There was this one girl who read and I'm going through this one paragraph and I'm like, See, look.

This right here.

Is a huge missed opportunity. You could have, you know, expand upon this. You could really have put in the emotions. This is important and this could have had a, you know, a really great effect on the reader.

And she said, wait. So what you're saying.

Is how.

I expand my word count is.

To instead of shorthand some of these things just write them.

And I'm like, no, 100%.

No, that is not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is, is that.

Everything you write, you should look at through the.

Lens of.

What would be the best way to make the reader be impacted by this. If if it's better to impact the reader by short handing it, then do that. If it is better to impact the reader by turning.

That two paragraphs into three.

Pages, then do that. But it's not to extend word count, it's to impact the reader, period.

You know, I say it all the time.

The only thing that's.

Real in our relationship with my relationship with my fans, the only thing that's real is not my book and not my characters and not my.

World. The reader.

The reader is the only thing. So what I'm actually doing is writing words to impact the reader.

Every word, every character.

Every scene, every situation, every red herring or plot device that they use. They're all through the lens of. Will this dramatically impact the reader the way I want it to impact them? And so when I'm looking at a scene like the one she read, I'm like.


Because there's a moment with the character and their mother, and it was just kind of like a, you know, this morning this happened.

I was like that is actually a pivotal.

Growth moment for the relationship between this character and their mother.

And I, if you allow the readers to.

Live this moment instead of just, you know, glossing over that this is what happened and this is how it ended, this is something that could really connect the reader to the character and care about the mother and care about all this situation. And because that did matter for the story.

Yeah. So,

so yes.

If you're writing Red herrings because you just need another five scenes, then you're doing it.

Wrong if you're.

Writing those scenes because it is going to have the most, you know, meeting that hermit in the pink.

Forest is going to be the best.

Dramatic impact on the.

Reader for this.

Situation moment. Whatever we're trying to do, then yes, you need to go meet the hermit and the pig first.

But it's the reader that's the key. That's always the focus, that's.

Always the answer.

That's always the solution. That's always.

The concern. That is.

Always the be all end.

All the alpha, the omega.

How does it affect the reader? I don't care that you like the guy. I don't care that Tolkien like Tom Bombadil. It didn't do anything. Like

it's just some acid trip. Like it doesn't move anybody. It doesn't change anything.

It doesn't impact the readers in any way, except for the fact.

That I.

Guess in hindsight, it has.

Caused 100 years of people arguing over it. Yeah, something

about and other people are like, it's worthless. I have to do right by cutting it out.

I have met humans. I don't know. We say everything is subjective, but these people are subjectively wrong. I have my humans that

they think that the poetry of the Tom Bombadil songs are fantastic. And I'm like, No.

But you can't hear music in your head when you read them.

I don't even even if I could, even if the music came off the page, the poetry is still crap.

Subjectively, of course.

Tolkien, a poet, was not.


So yeah, I mean, that's just it

If you want great poetry read Keats. Keats's amazing poetry.

But that's just it.

It really comes down to that. And that's why when you said that of red herrings and then you go, You know what?

You're right.

And I don't. And it's because people aren't going. They're going, Well, I just want to do this. I think it's cool.


I need more word count or whatever. And they're not going.

Is this the.

Best way to impact the reader in the way I want to impact them And that's if you focus everything on that.



I mean, I, I.

Do believe that's one of the reasons I have such a high hook rate. I mean, 94% hook rate is insane that I don't know of any other author that has that high of a.


If i can get somebody to read me. More than likely than not, they'll read me forever.


it's because every word I write.

Is meant to impact them. Now it's subjective, so it's me guessing at the best way to impact them. There is no right answer to that. There's no wrong answer that some are going to be right for some people and others can be wrong. You know it's going be wrong for other people.

But at least I'm.

Constantly focusing on every word, every sentence, every paragraph, every scene, every character, every situation. I'm constantly how is this going to impact the reader? How's it to impact the reader? How is this going to impact the reader? How is this going to impact the reader? I never go, look how cool this is. Look, have fun. This is for my character.

look at this. This thing for my character, this thing. I don't care about any of that. It's always the reader. That's all I care about.


Yeah. So I mean, those I guess those are all of the things that we could talk about, but grouped together form the plot devices of foreshadowing, of

getting the reader to believe a story and then getting it twisted on them with the unreliable narrator,

the red herrings which these things need payoff, red herrings and Chekhov's guns need by.

If you don't pay them off, you're going to annoy your reader.

Well, if you pay it off, it's not.

Chekhovs gun anymore.

But yeah, that's why I say its more of a warning

But yeah, yeah. You know, it can feel like a Chekhov's gun to the reader for a while, right? But not forever.

And then, I mean, I was. I like you. I'm a firm believer in the unreliable narrator in the limited POV. So that.

Is fiction to me, that is, that is.

Speculative fiction to me is an unreliable narrator.


When you have. And that's why.

You know, and I do this all the time when I'm out with a group of my peeps, like when I'm at Comic-Con, I'm sitting in front of 600 people. If this topic comes up, I will always do the test of.

by show.

Of hands. How many people in this room? And they're all fantasy fans. How many people in this room have started reading Lord of the Rings but never finished? Every time.


Half the audience raises their hand. I don't want to write a book.

Where half the.

Readers don't read it. Now I would like to write a book that sold as many copies as all of the rings, and maybe I'd be like, Well, I don't care if half of them don't read it, but I still.

I don't.

I don't want to.

To do that.

To be fair, to Tolkien To be fair to Tolkien. It was written in an English that is not that accessible anymore because it was written, you know, a hundred years ago that the language has there are words that he uses that you definitely need a dictionary for.



My son showed me a meme yesterday and I don't.

I won't I won't.

Quote it exactly. But basically it's literally straight out of a movie from like the forties or fifties or whatever.

And it was something like,

I like John. We spent many a queer night together. We've even shared several fags over the years. And I promise you, if there's anything queer about him, I would know it.

And it's like, I love love.

Language. How the language has shifted. Yeah.

So I mean, and that literally is the dialog of that scene. Like, no, no joking about it. That's what was written because it meant something completely different.

If you, if you read a book from like the 19th century, it's like towards the back end, right? You'll often come across the words of a they made up a very gay party as they went riding in the forest. And it's like,

Well, that's an interesting choice of words.

So I.

I told you before we started, I acquired six cases of books from the 1700s to the early 1900s

One of them is titled something like

the N-word of Something or something like that.

Like that's the title of the story. It's like different times. Different times.



because that's my son was like because he reads a lot. He reads a lot of really old stuff. He reads. And I was like, Have you read any of this? Because it's a set of this one author from like the late 1800s. It's all of his stories and he's like, I don't recognize any of these. And I promise you, if I had read this title.

I would remember it.

So yeah, yeah.

Language drift is real. You know, language changes over time, meanings change.

I mean, my my mom, I was telling you about it. My mom had because she was a literature professor. She had a copy of Beats Death Song, which is one of the few surviving texts out of English, as

you know, the very, very far post before the conquest of Hastings in 1066 and the French introduction into the language.

And I like Chaucer, you can still kind of read if you read Chaucer today, it's difficult because you have the whys and so on is really hard, but you can still kind of read it. The beats death song you absolutely can't read. It's written in what amounts to German,

you know, and you look at

no German. German. It's Anglo-Saxon.

Yeah. Gaelic is something else. Gaelic is what the Celts spoke right. Even further back.

Im jus trying to remember

What you had said.

About it. Yeah, yeah,


Things change.

There is two.

Things I do want to talk about before this episode ends, and they do kind of go.




they're on opposite ends.

So and we have talked about both of them.

But I want to focus on them. So one is the and I don't know if it has a plot device name.

I call it the 12 hours earlier.

And then the other would be the other side of it, which is deus Ex Machina.

So one's a crappy way to start a story. The other crappy.

Way to end a story.

That the 12 hours earlier I believe is called borrowing tension from the future.

That makes sense I.

Think that's I think I.

Actually would.

Call it ruining tension in the future.

But yes.

Borrowing works do that's another word for ruining.

So I believe it's called borrowing tension from the future or flashforward. I've also heard it called a flash forward.

So and this is very typical in

in in some in certain kinds of mystery movies and so on where they like to show you the situation now. And then they got 12 hours earlier to show you the journey here.

And like you, I, i,

i, I, I just can’t. there was that there was a show that I actually really wanted to watch

it. It had Chris Pratt in it. He has like a list. He's an ex-military guy. He's going to, you know, work through this list. It looked like the kind of show that I'd enjoy.

I can't remember what it's called right now,

but I

clicked on.

It was it was on Amazon or something, anyway. But I clicked on the

thing and I watched the first episode. And the first episode started with a funeral.

It started with the with Chris Pratt at a funeral. And then it says two weeks earlier. And it shows me then in that episode, all the events leading up to his team dying.

But I've already seen the funeral

and I was just like, I don't I don't understand why you would do this. Why don't you just start at the point two weeks earlier where I don't yet know that everybody on this team is going to die. Yeah, Why would you show me that? Everyone's going to die and then show me how they die?

Why would I care.

If there are any people they're writing, TV shows or movies? You don't see it as.

Often in books, what you just see is normally flashbacks. And we beat that to death. Where if you have a flashback in your.

First chapter or two, you.

Start in the wrong spot. But you do see it horribly in TV and movies. If there's anybody out here who is writing in those mediums, please listen to this one thing. If you listen and nothing else.

It doesn't work ever. It never works.

It has never worked. It never.

Will work. Even like something.

Simple, like John.

Wick. It starts off with.

You know, the SUV kind of rolling forward and hitting the wall, and then he slumps out. He's got the bullet wounds and he leans up against the little ramp, the little construction ramp thingy, and he pulls out a phone and he looks at his wife and his dog.

Like, that's it. That's all they do. But you know that that's where he ends up, which.

Means, you know, he survives everything. Not that he you would assume that he would die, but still, you haven't borrowed any tension.

You have to let it out. You have ruined it. You know, when you stab the hero or, shoot the hero in the.

Face and then go 12 hours earlier.

We know where we're going.

The story that I always tell is the story.


Agents of Shield. I was super.

Excited when that TV show came out.

Super excited. And I think it's the second.

Episode that I got to that I abandoned it and still have never watched it.

And it's a scene where it's either a second or third episode. But you've already met the Agent Jet. You know, we've already been on it. We already have learned about it and all that. It's a cool, you know, awesome thing.

And this is the second or third episode starts with all the cast locked in the cell of the jet

and bad guys there. And so obviously the jets.

Been taken over. We see this and one of them goes.

Ah, I'm sorry, it starts.

I apologize. Start in the wrong spot.

It starts with you looking.

At the jet in the sky and it's flying along and the side blows out of it and people.

Fly out of it like that's where it starts.

And then it 12 hours earlier. And we go through there and we go through the whole thing. And at the very end, right before the final act,

everyone's locked in the cell in the back and. The bad guys are there and they've taken over the plane. And so we've already got this. And the first thing, the guy, you know, the writers pissed me off because one of the characters goes.


I know how to get us.

Out of this, but you're not going to like it. Now, if they had.

Stopped there, I would have been furious, but I would have kept.

Watching because.

I'm like, Yeah, I do know.

How it ends because I've.

Already seen it. You already showed me. Whatever you do is going to blow the side.

Out of the plane.

I've you've already ruined it. But the reason why Rage quit was then on screen, The character leans over to the other character and whispers into his ear

like he's hiding something from me. I've already seen your plan.

You're really wasting my time whispering something so that I can't hear it. We've already seen it. Like I was so furious over that again.

Egregious that they had just done. You're not going to like it.

And then cut away, go to commercial, come back later.

But to then waste my time for 20 seconds watching him whisper a plan that I already know and enough like I was. So I'm still angry about it. Like, that was ten years ago.

And I'm still furious about it.

So it.

Doesn't work.

I will tell you what, I've seen it in writing and I put the book down. So sometimes times I like reading spy stories, sometimes I even like reading military stories. There was a point in time where I pulled through all of the Tom Clancy's.

Me to.

Get so, like, I, you know, I do.

I had a John Grisham phase.

Absolutely. man I read John Grisham like I read them all. I love the Dick Francis as well. I read all of those. Like, I really got a love for that kind of book.

And so I picked up a news and a quick reads, right? So I picked up a new spy book. I won't say who the author is because it's a self-published author and

the Prolog is like the protagonist of the story is bleeding and he's been shot and he's thinking of this woman that's apparently betrayed him, whatever.

And then the first chapter, like, it's this whole thing of like him, you know, crawling around the desert and then the first chapter is like two weeks earlier. And I'm like, You are kidding me, right? I'm done.

I was like, That is the worst use of a Prolog that I have ever seen in my entire life. I cannot actually believe you did this.

It doesn't work.

Don't do it there. I will give you.

Two instances where it actually.

Worked. There are two.

One is stupid. It's Breaking Bad. So they would do. But what they did was so esoteric

like like in one.

Of the.


But the thing is, you're looking at a clean swimming pool. It's this, you know, gorgeous California pool and it's set in New Mexico, whatever, sunshine pool. And then all of a sudden a teddy bear comes floating by, but.

It is charred.

And singed and still.

Smoking. And then it goes. Two weeks earlier, like

the very first.

Episode in or starts the same way. There's an RV.


Through the desert. The door kind of pops open.

A hazmat suit flies out flitters and.

Lands on the ground and the camera pans on on that as the RV races by.

And then it goes 12 hours early or week earlier, whatever

they they are. So just means nothing. There's nothing to grasp from that. The reason it works.

And what the reason why they work is because at no point does it tell you what the fate of the characters is, right?

It's just all opened into question. It's all WTF

like, how did, how, how did this bear get here? Like.

And so that but they're, they're dumb. They're, they're, they're literally insane things. They work.

There's a second one that I will give you that.

Works and this works because.

And I say this all the time.

The reason why.

You don't have worldbuilding and backstory and and all this stuff in the opening page of.

Your book.

Even though you think, well, if they don't.

Know the history of this character.

How will they know what's like? Because they don't need it. They need what's happening now and following up with the character now and.

Then you've earned their.

Loyalty to learn.

The past. Yeah.

So James Bond movies. James Bond.

Movies work because by the time they started doing the.

End of of a mission that just ended that we're never going to.

See, we care about James Bond. We've already they've already earned our loyalty. So by opening a.

Movie in the final.

Flight of a mission that happened before.

That we're never going to see, it's a made up mission. We're just we're just going to see him racing down a hill on skis.

Been shot at and jump off a cliff and parachute in and all this crazy stuff. Because we know.

Who James Bond is. We care about James Bond. We love Bond.

So we're fine just watching the escape. We don't.

Need to know.

What he did, what his mission was.

We don't need to know anything.

You have already earned our loyalty. So you start off with this crazy stunt and we're right there. We're good.

And then we get in, argue that that is not borrowing tension from the future. I would.

it really.

Isn't borrowing tension from the past

You're right. I was thinking about that when I.

Was saying that, because I was like, Because it doesn't have a 12 hours earlier. No, that is not the mission of it. So you are.


I literally when I was going through it, I was sitting there going, Drake.

That's not the same thing.

That you're saying at the high point of a of a buildup the reader is never going to see.


Yeah, and that works. But again, it only works because they've earned the loyalty.

Of the fans.

So I will push back a little bit on that because I do that with Louie in the very first chapter where you meet him, he is executing the last step of his mission by shadow, jumping into a locked room and leaving a pair of eyeballs on the table.

And you never see the buildup to that. You never see him investigating any of that because it's not important

Right. The purpose is to introduce you to Louie's abilities up front. So you don't think he's a he's a farm.



Yeah. No, no. That's why I said halfway through that, I realized that I was actually comparing apples to.


Superjet airplanes.

Because. Because you're right. But what do you avoid?

You know, making the mistake of in that chapter? You don't give me the history of what illima is. You don't give me the history of what magic is. You don't give me the history of what an assassin is. You don't give me a history of why he's here. Like he even buys a gift for his daughter. And you don't give me the history of his daughter or the history of it.

You just give.

Me. You put me in the moment. You make me care about the moment, and then you give me that like we talked about earlier, the unanswered

question. Yeah. Okay. Wait, what's going on.

Here? Because and that and you do that so.

Well in the dichotomy. I'm a businessman on a business trip, and I promised my daughter I was going to buy her something, so I go buy her this cute little toy.

And then I drop two severed eyeballs.

On somebodys


As a warning and go home because, you know. So you started with this. this is just a businessman and he loves his daughter. And and it's so cool. And it's like.

Wait, what's his job? What is he doing? Like, that's why you get.

Pulled through that story. And that's what I said. It's not about.

The reader doesn't want to.

Work through the story. They want the story to pull them through it. And so, yeah, I did. Like I said, I realized halfway through that I wasn't actually talking about the plot device that we're talking about here.

But it's it is an important plot device and it is one that can work if you have a character that is not a farm boy, they're at the height of their power, right. starting the story at the end of a mission that's not important to the actual plot. The story you're telling is a good way to show the reader that character in a climactic situation is competent.

But there is one thing you have to avoid there. If you're going to use that plot device and let's call that plot device borrowing tension from the past. So in order to the big thing you have to avoid if you're doing that, is that climax can't bolt too high because then you're going to build your story's climax to high and then you're going to, when you start the story proper in chapter two, your drops are going to be too steep From the high of the climax to that.

So it's got to be a casual

kind of completion of his mission.

Which is one of yours, works really well at the beginning of a brand new fantasy story, and James Bond works well at the beginning of a movie. First of all, it's visual. Second of all, we were well into the franchise. We you know, you could do that in book three or book four or whatever.

And not.


Wouldn't hurt because they've already had this ride. You've already earned their loyalty. And so you can give them really high and then a really deep drop to mundane-ville as we're going to start down here and they'll go with it, but not with it, not at the beginning. You haven't earned enough loyalty from your readers yet.

Yeah, exactly. So that is the thing to be careful of there. So I think it, I think that that is all of the forwards and backwards and foreshadowing and so on that we.

For we, I do want to talk about.

Deus Ex Machina which is the other editor.

We're getting, we're going for Deus Ex Machina.

And grouped with that I want to talk about love at first sight because it like to me those two things are very much the same problem.

Yeah they're they're

you're doing it for the story.

It's because it's convenient.

It's just convenient for the story. It means you have to work less as a storyteller.

Yeah. Now

so deus ex machina for those of you don't know, is when it is God in the machine, the literally you are saving the character without them having earned it. The plot or the world is saving the character.

This you can do this, it can work, but it has to be a very, very specific story device.

And you have examples where it works.

You have examples where it works because I don't I feel the same way about this as I feel about borrowing tension from the future.


I've read a couple of books where there were lucky characters and then their luck is basically the plot device.

That doesn't feel like.

And then the luck runs out.


Right. But then to something else saved them.


No, no. They they have to grow and learn. And so. Right.

So I don't say that. So like

smell for Chameleon. Yeah. That way where.

You know, for those who don't know, there's a magical world called Zanth, the character. The first book is in danger. If you don't have magic, you're kicked out. You have to leave your exiled. And he doesn't. And it's by like 18 or whatever. And so he doesn't have magic. So he goes to see the wizard to find out why he doesn't magic, what is his magic if he has it, and so on and so forth.


along the way.

All these fantastical things happen, these narrow escapes and this, you know, all of this stuff. And what he finds out is he does have magic. His magic is he's not affected by magic,

which is a form of magic.

And so

you could that.

But I don't see that as a deus ex machina. It's still him doing this stuff.

Yes, but it is like it it seems like deus ex machina. Right. Let me give you that's thing like you can you can use it as that kind of a trope where it looks like something as long as you then pay that all off with like actually the God of luck was sitting on his shoulder or something. I'm saying like, you need to

So like, you, you can't just introduce the device like Chekhov's gun.

And they just got all of the characters just always lucky.

Yeah, well it's like.

Jinx from like the the second Deadpool movie.


She's like, you know.

What's your special power? I'm lucky. Is that really special power? It is. You know, the way it works around me. And then you see her in combat and like.

She's in a truck that's.

Flipping over and and she.

Just steps out of it because she's so lucky.

That it's going to land perfectly to have her, you know, be able to just take a step.


And the truck is going to keep flipping into being destroyed and everything like that.

Like you don't feel that God saved her. You feel that that just.

Her power and she just, you know.

All of like

like I can let go of the.

Steering wheel and turn around and pay attention to firing a gun at you, because.

My luck is.

Going to make sure that this truck doesn't crash into something and we all.

Die. This is not going to happen.

So I'm just going to do it because I know I have this power.

100%. But it can be it can still like it doesn't have to be a literal God. Like if you think about Terry Goodkind. What if my biggest complaint was Terry Goodkind is his entire magic system or his or all the books as well. Go like this

builds up to a tense climax. Richard, magically, and without any foreshadowing whatsoever, unlocks a new ability that nobody's ever heard of in the magic system and solves the quest.


I don't again, I don't.

See that as.

Bad writing. But it is.

It is Deus Ex though. It is it is summon deus ex how does how does Terry Goodkind’s magic system work summon Deus ex right?

Yeah. But here's here's like the ultimate example.

I mean.

It was it was poorly done in the book. It was a little less.

Poorly done in the first adaptation. It was.

Incredibly horribly.

Done in the newest adaptation. And I'm talking about Stephen King's The Stand.

So in the book, it was not great. It was okay.

It wasn't like in-your-face or whatever. And in the the first movie back in the, you know, late nineties or whatever it was.

They did a pretty good.

Job of trying to hide it in this latest version.

God literally.

Comes down and.


So for those who don't know Satan.

The world is.

Destroyed. God and Satan are having their final battle. Satan becomes mortal, you know, an actual entity. And he is in Las Vegas, my hometown.

And all evil people that are alive.

Are trying to Las Vegas and all good people that are alive are attracted to like, I don't know, Kansas,

wherever it was some some

some Midwestern.

Farming area.

And so.

At the end.

There's been this subplot of this crazy guy who is supposed to be working for Satan, but he's kind of off his rocker and he ends up bringing a nuclear bomb.

Into Vegas. And that has.

Always been the thing that destroyed Satan is the nuclear bomb.

But in all the others, it was it was like they did a better.

Job with it. And this new adaptation.

God's face, literally appears in the sky. Lightning shoots out of his eyes or whatever, and he hits the nuclear bomb and detonates it. So God literally shows up and literally saves the.

Characters and the end of the story and everything like that. And it's like.

Wow, like, could they try?

And the worst part about it is, so Stephen King wrote the book. He didn't write the first adaptation, which I think they did the best at it.

He actually wrote the newest adaptation like like he went worse.

Than what he did in the.


And so.

Yeah, that that to me was just.

Breathtakingly, horribly.

Done because there are nothing the characters do nothing to earn the victory. Satan is defeated, but nobody did anything to do

it. And that's

that's the.

Biggest problem I have with with Deus Ex Machina.

If it didn't matter that the characters went on this journey, that it literally could have just they could have stayed at home. Someone else could have done it. They could have failed. Nothing changes. No matter what they would have done. If that's your ending of your story.

in my opinion.

You suck.

Like that's just horrible. Because why did I follow these characters? Why do I care about any of them if they literally made zero impact.

On the entire thing?

I think we're in complete agreement on that point. But I just want to point out that there are critics who say that the fact that the Navy officers rescue the stranded children in Lord of the Flies is a deus ex machina, because there are people in this world who have too much time on their hands.

Yes, I disagree with that wholeheartedly.

That is why because it doesn't matter to the story, but that is not the point of the story.

The story's over. Yeah. And so that, in my.

Opinion, is we have two ways to end that.

Story. So we've proven that all humans are born evil.

They're now going to kill another child.

Do I write a scene where little boys brutally murder another little boy and then say the end?

Or do I say, Look, I've proven my point and let him escape.

And do a rescue from without?

Because that's really what that is, is a rescue from without.

Like that's a that's that's not a hard decision.

I'm not going to end my.

Book by brutally murdering a child.

Then going.

That's it then. Have a good day. I think that's he proved his point. He hated humanity. Golding hated.

Humanity. He thought all of us were pieces of garbage. And he proved it in the story

because they decided to kill Ralph. And then, Piggy.

They killed Piggy.

And he decided.

To kill it.

Like Piggy does.

But it's more of an accident. And that's when the. That's when the theme is asked to the world. Okay, you now kill the child. Do you a say, wait. Ralph was right. We are taking this too far. We need to settle down.

Or do you go screw Ralph? Let's kill him too.

Because it's fun.

And that's what they choose. They choose to do that, which proves.

All humans are born evil.

And so.

Now, as the writer, you're.

In a.

Conundrum. Do you.

Finish the.

Story? You could also.

I guess, the third one would be they just decide to kill him and you end the story. They're like, And then you leave it up to the reader's imagination on whether they actually killed. And maybe that might have even been a better answer than having the Navy show up.

But you can't do that midway. You can't just write your final chapter of boys brutally murdering.

For no reason another child and then saying the end.

And then they all live happily ever after, except for



But I also I don't I don't feel like that ship rocking up is Deus ex. I really like Golding. Golding called it a gimmick, which I agree with. It is a bit gimmicky, but it's a gimmick I can absolutely accept because it was

it was not part of the resolution of the story.

Yeah, the story's done. We’ve proved it. humans are evil, we're born evil.

And we, you know, and again, I don't believe any of this them. And that's the thing.

Just because a theme.

Proves something in a story doesn't mean that the audience has to resonate with it. For it to still be a successful story.

I still love Lord of Flies. I disagree wholeheartedly with what it proves thematically. Yes, but that that's so I said this earlier.

I was actually in a discussion with somebody by an email.

I should maybe pull it up and read. So I didn't read this last time, did I?

I don't think so.

Yeah, I don't.

Think so either.

So I said

I was talking.

About kind of what the problems with some of the.


Are. You read this to me I don’t like.

I read it to you, right? I didn't read.

It. Tell it to the audience. Yeah. So the one pertinent thing that I wrote,

I'll just read.


So I said, Every author has always threaded their political beliefs into their work from George Orwell's 1984, showing how a march toward a utopian society leads to oppression and tyranny. To Marge Peirce's woman on the edge of time, showing that while utopian visions may seem idealistic, they are not entirely unattainable. Even in my genre of fantasy, you have books that push the ideas beliefs such as C.S. Lewis, as Chronicles of Narnia, which pushes the message of Christianity.

But that is the magic of stories.

Or at least, or at least.

It is when it is done.

Correctly, whether the reader agrees or disagrees with the proven

thematical element, the book can still resonate with them. Case in point Lord of the Flies by Golding. It proves that all humans are born evil. Now, I personally do not subscribe to this conclusion, and yet the book still resonated with me.

Why? Because for the simple fact that it is a story first and an.

Agenda second.

The story doesn't scream at the reader.

All humans are born evil and if you disagree, it's because you're a bigoted racist.

No. Instead, it forces the.

Reader to come to their own conclusion based on the events they lived through as.

They traverse the story. Sure, in the world of the story.

It proves that all humans are born evil.

But it doesn't try and force the reader to agree that this is the reality that they live in.

It allows them to make that for themselves. And this is the heart of why storytelling is failing us today. Today, writers start with an agenda and then try to create a story from that agenda. They scream at their audience, This is the way things really work. And if you don't agree, it's because you're a bad person. No one is entertained by such heavy handedness, nor are they moved or moved to change their beliefs.

A good story is meant to challenge the reader with a situation and then force them to make their own decision of the truth of it. When done well, this can indeed change the readers mentality. A case in point Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Or have you seen her last name? It changed many heart and mind over the facts of slavery, but again, it did so by challenging the reader and forcing them to think about things in a different light.

It didn't scream at them.

You're a terrible person.

If you agree with slavery.

And that is.

In my opinion, the thing that writers are missing more than anything else today. They are saying.

That this is true.

And if you.

Don't believe it, you're wrong.

As opposed to going, hey, I'm going to prove something in the story.


As as we all will, as we always do at this point, I'm going to push back on you and say that that is true of a lot of I piece. It's true of a lot of writers it's not true of all of them. We have very definitively had great books and TV shows and movies come out that have not approached storytelling in this fashion.

What do you me a say.



Because I'm going to need receipts

On that.

Ted Lasso.

I need receipts. I don't see it.

You need receipts on Ted Lasso not having an agenda. First approach.

But that's not what I said.

That is what you said. No

you said all writers do this these days.

And I said, I'm going to push the writers this.

I said, It's what writers are getting wrong these days.

Yeah. And I'm saying that there are writers who are not doing.

It that's not.

Pushing back on.

Me, telling me that there's still a few good writers out there is not pushing back on.

You know, I'm not done. I would like to point out that there were writers back in the eighties who were as heavy handed and then they went wrong.

Bad writers from the eighties versus bad writers from today is not prove me wrong.

I'm saying you're saying it's today. It's all.

Today. No, no, no. You're taking your you're bringing your own.

Baggage in this. And the fact that you hate how negative I am. That's you. That's on you. I'm not saying any of that. I'm saying the reason why stories they are, whether it was in the eighties or in the 2020 threes or in the 1750s, is

stories are not about you screaming at the audience. This is the way you must believe.

That's what I'm saying. You're not pushing back on that.

No. So that's why when you were like, Wait a minute, what do you mean you're pushing back on this? Because.

I mean, I now.

Very interested in how you could possibly push back on this. You're pushing back on just my negative. This said I hate new writers and I will give you that every single time.

That's perfectly fine, because you're right. I am a jaded old man.

And these kids today, they get on my lawn and they just don't write stories well and I'm tired of it

back in my day we knew how to tell stories. I get it I get it

I'm definitely the crotchety old man.

And I do tend to be more generous.

Right? There are.

Absolutely good writers.



But there are more bad ones because the industries are losing money hand over fist. I mean, Disney lost $2 billion last year, not because.

They wrote really good movies and Disney's.

Movies lost $2 billion. That's what I need. That company made.

Right? Right. Yes.

But the movies that Disney.


Out lost two.

Billion dollars. And it's not because.

People were

what's the word they use superhero fatigued. Like I would still.

Be watching superhero movies if they were worth a crap.

They're not. And so I'm not going to give you my money.

If you can't write.

A good superhero movie. I'm not watching it.

See here again, I've got to tell you, like we bitch about and I mean, I've done my share of bitching superhero movies, but honestly,

do you remember

the early Superman movies? The Superman movies of the Eighties? Yeah. Well, man, I try to watch one of them the other day. They are bad.

That was

always been bad.

And. And then I took a look at an early Hulk movie that just could not get the Hulk right. They did three origin stories for that character, and they all sucked. All of those.

Movies. I'm not a fan of the original Spider-Man. Yeah, and a lot of people really do love those.

There were a couple of MCU, like the first phase of the MCU, and really honestly, like I, didn't enjoy like the buildup to the second phase nearly as much. I didn't enjoy the second phase as much. The part of the MCU that I really enjoyed was the buildup to the first

the first Avengers movie. I agree. That was great.

The second one started to lose it a little for me, especially the second Climax movie Avengers two. I didn't fully buy the story there. I had some it felt a bit Deus Ex to me, to be honest with you, in places.

Yeah. It also felt stupid.

Yeah. And then the third one,

the third one was okay, but the climax, I mean, the climax was big. And it was spectacular and it did all these things, but it wasn't. It was just the big, spectacular blow up movie.

Yeah. Yeah. So the last, the last.

Endgame or whatever, it was the final when Thanos is defeated. Yeah, definitely against the crowd. Because I think that movie was horrible. I Think it was horrible from start to finish. And that was the a lot of what I hate about what they're doing now was was starting to creep into there. But that's actually not the reason why I hated that movie.

That's not what but it's this like the fact that these these female characters or whatever and there is not the problem with that movie. The problem with that movie is it's just a blow up movie. And they had such great opportunities there because with the eradication of half the people,

right, if they had actually stuck with that,

that my biggest problem, one of my big problems actually with a lot of IP

is you go through this whole journey, this whole journey of like them fighting against the system and so on and so forth.

And then you reach the end and the system doesn't change. What changes is the people at the top. So what you're basically saying with that is that this system is fine as long as you have good people running it, which I mean theoretically, but I don't want to live in a kingdom even if the king is a fricking perfect dude.

Yeah. So my notes with it was twofold.

And it all hinged on Thanos.

First of all, he is the most brilliant tactician.

That has.


Graced the universe.

He can hear.

Half of a conversation and.

Then know.

You're going to be six months from now.

And stop.

And yet his plan

is worthless. He's going to kill half the universe. And that's if if he truly.

Believed and this is just this stupid plot device that they're using just in this dumb way that we have to kill off half of all the population, we're all going to die.

I don't cotton to that. However,

in my lifetime, 50 years.

We went.

From three.

Billion people on this planet to 8 billion people on this planet.

So what Thanos did in his brilliance to save the universe from overpopulation is he bought 50 years. 50 years after that, the universe is the exact same.

Size as it.

Was when. He snapped, like, Are you kidding me? You are so smart yet you don't realize that literally all you did was just push it down the road. 50 years.

I that they did a real disservice by not having Thanos in the in the original comic book line, if I remember correctly and I mean it you know it's been a while, but in the original comic book line

he was in love with death or something like that, and he was giving her half the souls of the universe as a gate flower.

Yeah, as a fan.

And I love you this much.

That would have been fantastic.

Well, okay, so

no, because they.

Had already decided not to bring the incarnations into the MCU.

So you can’t have death.

You can't have it personified. Okay Great.



killing off half the world to save everybody from overpopulation.

But it being a.

Stupid, stupid.

Plan because it buys you 50 years.

And the most brilliant tactician would have to think about that. That's a.

Dumb motivation. What they should have done is a very simple motivation shift is go well, I don't want to bring death into it, so I want to kill off half the world as a present to the woman I love.

But I do want to be remembered as most ruthless warrior of all time. So I'm going to kill off half the universe. No one's breaking that record. No one will ever break my record. I will live in infamy for ever as the man who killed

everybody. That's a.

Great motivation and that's a believable.

Motivation. And then you don't have.

This stupid ness of.

Really, that's his motivation. He's trying to save the.

Universe from overpopulation. And by 50 years.

That was just such a like, I was like.

There's a part two to this for the part two.

To this for.

Me. Yeah. Is the.

Other thing that pisses me off is.

The Avengers killed Earth.

They destroyed all of humanity.

They killed everybody.

They killed 100% of this planet.

Thanos kills half the planet.

We can survive that. We can go from 8 billion to 4 billion. And it would be exactly like what they did. We'd have a bunch of extra cars, we'd have a bunch of empty houses, we'd have a bunch of whatever We can absolutely spend five years paring down the distribution chain for medicine and medical and food and everything like that.

You drop 4 billion people on that planet, no one survives. Everyone starve to.


Nobody gets like. Everyone dies. If you bring half if you bring 4 billion people onto a planet that absolutely no longer.

Has the infrastructure.

To support anyone over 4 billion, everyone dies. Yeah. So that's the.

Other thing that pissed me off is The Avengers are the villains.

They kill.


That is, I pretty much restored everything to just the previous status quo, like, no, no change required. And

then when we when we hit that Falcon and the Winter Soldier with the Flag-Smashers,

you know what? Those Flag-Smashers had a point. And it was a point that went completely unaddressed because they did not have the courage to make actual fundamental changes.

They didn't have the courage to tell that story of change. Yeah.

I agree.

So and again, that was the beginning.

Of the end and everything has gone downhill since then and they've lost the plot on to write stories.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was where I stopped.

I, I

when I, when I saw that I was like, okay, but this is the you, you clearly set this up to be an interesting storyline and then you backed away from it because you are afraid of rocking the boat.

Yeah, storytelling has always.

Been about

forcing society to look at stuff they don't want to look at. And right now we live in a world where.


The small minority of voices who don't want to look at certain things.

Literally crash your life when you.

Try and force them to look at those things. And storytellers are cowards. And I admit it, I'm a coward too. I don't want to rock the boat either, because I don't want to have the world come down on me and crush me.


you know, I mean, we're writers. We live in we live in a little.

World where we write.

Stories about stuff. We're not out there. It's not I mean, when I was in my twenties, you know, late teens, early twenties, I'm a marine, I'm out there willing to do whatever in combat. I'm now 50 and I've been a writer for 20 years or more.

And I yeah, I'm I'm fine.

I'm way old to be fighting.


The battle we are getting way off base.

Okay, technically, but not really, because all of the stuff that we talked about are still plot devices. All of them are decisions that these writers made for good or for bad. That push

whether the.

Audience is going to cater to or not. And it is subjective. So some people still loved you know, I'm definitely in the minority and you're on the minority on that last Avengers movie of not liking it. Most people love that movie.

That's fine.

I mean it was full of fan service, of course they like. I mean, if you were watching it for the fan service, it's great.

It's it's but I think as we move forward in time.

The fan base more shifts toward us, more shift toward us, more shifts to us until you get to the point where Disney just lost $2 billion on the most money making IPS.

Yeah yeah. I think that's that's.

Again we're talking just the movie division

we're not talking about their child slavery, slavery, money making and and all that stuff that they're doing. We don't talk about any of that. They're they're weaker slave plants that they make so much money on. And of course, they're going to make a lot of money on those. We're talking about strictly the movie industry and I'm jesting about all of that sort of.


all of it does matter.

It really does go down the path of this. And because we're on this subject, I do. And it it's not on our list. But there is another thing to think about that I think goes along the the plot device and we may have talked about this on the on the show before.

But it's why.

DC movies have never resonated well with audiences where Marvel movies until recently have always resonated well with with audiences. And I think it's a very simple thing that always boggles my mind when people are like, I just understand why Marvel movies are good and DC movies are bad. It is such a simple, simple thing.

In Marvel movies.

It's never about the power. It's about the person.

Spider-Man. And that's why the new Spider-Man were so much better than the original. Spider-Man is not special because he's super strong and sticks to walls and can sense danger and all of that. He is special and relatable because he is a teenager trying to figure out his place in the world, that's it. Just like me.

I don't have his powers, but.

I absolutely am living his life.

DC only focuses.

On the power. That's it. And that's why Batman is the only DC that ever.


Really good, because.

They have no powers.

You know, I love the line in that last one. We're like, What are your superpowers? And he goes, and Batman says.

I'm rich. Like, that's funny.

One Wonder Woman the first the first one was an exception to that. That was.

Good. It was thirds. It was two.

Thirds of an exception.

It wasn't that they backed from what the ending should have been because they were afraid. Yes. And you can actually see them being afraid and backing away and making it about.

That mid act to climax.

And that first one woman is.

Breathtaking because not about Diana's.

Powers. It's not about the fact that she can.


An army of machine gunners and survive.

It's about her humanity. She is going to be damned if she's going to sit.

Around and not do something to save innocent women and children.

She would rather take the risk.

And then that inspires.

The normal humans to join her. Yeah, that was breathtaking. It was all of that. The entire first two thirds of the movie were about her humanity.

They focused on Diana's humanity, how much she cared about people.

How it hurt her.

The pain and the and.

And everyone loved that. And then they made her a god. Last third of the.

Movie, they went, Hey, audience, look.

We made her God. She's a God. She's like another God. Isn't that awesome? That's two gods fighting with this God power and God, God, God, God, God. And you're like no.

The worst part was that that absolutely foreshadowed that it wasn't Ares right, there was no Ares it was actually just men right.

Just piece of garbage people.

Yeah. And they could have made it such a great climax based on that. It could have been spectacular.

It would have been a great.

Growth moment, Diana to have left her island because of her idealistic. Everyone should just get along and then.

Realize that.

Some people.

Are just pieces of garbage. Yeah, that would have been a wonderful thing. And it's it's a great lesson for humans to learn. Yeah.

So, yeah.

When they.

Went She's a god, she's fighting a God. Look at all the gods fighting and God powers.

Like, No, no one.

Cares. We're not gods. We're not going like the gods.

That wasn't great to me. I will say that here again. I swim against the stream. You know, the the the first Henry Cavill Superman hero and Man of steel. I fricking love that movie.

But look at what they did was.

Amazing that scene where where Superman, you can see Superman standing and Zod is going to kill people. And he's like, I have to choose between killing the lost of my species and saving humans, and he chooses to kill I was like, That's it. I'm blown away. Yeah, I was. That was.

They focused on his.

Humanity as opposed to his power.

So that movie.

Is a good DC movie. Everyone uses the Wonder Woman. I don't think it's a good DC movie. I think they failed I think it was a good two thirds of a DC movie, but I think they failed.

So I'll tell you something funny. I think that the reason why they backed away from where they were going with it, with a Wonder Woman movie, the reason why we got that lost one third of God. powers, God, powers God powers is because of the enormous online pushback that Man of Steel got because the fanboys were like, You can't make Superman kill people.

They was enormous pushback against the Man of Steel movie by the by the Super Superman fanbase who were very upset that their hero didn't just walk out all over the situation and not face any conflict.


But again, if their fans of DC then they've been fans of just looking at the Power and it is there is going to be a fan. I mean.

DC still had fans never they just.

Marvel. Marvel was always the bigger studio because more people are much more attracted to the humanity of things than the power of things.

But some people are going to be attracted to power.

I mean, that's the thing. It's subjective. So you're always going to have people that like whatever.

So I can see it

But you know what? There is one.

DC movie that I think they actually nailed from start to.



it's never talked about

the first.

Shazam movie.

With the guy from Chuck. Yes, it was all about Chuck. It was all about his.

You know, insecurities as a human being.

It was all about the humanity of it.

It was never about the power.

Yeah, that movie rocks.

In my opinion. I mean, it's not well written, it's not a great movie.

But from the aspect delivering.

On a thematic element that's going to resonate with the vast majority of humans, that's the only one that well, Man of Steel, like I said, they they did a really good job with that too. I can see how it pissed off diehard DC fanboys because of the fact that they're attracted to They know there are people just like, I just want to see the power because they're fantasy fulfilling.

I mean, all entertainment, it's fantasy fulfillment.

So, you know, they're fantasy is I want to be invulnerable and, you know, never have to actually think about anything and never have to deal with any of the emotional ramifications. I just want to be able to win.

And I get that

we all.

Have times

we're vulnerable and we just.

We just want to win.

But Shazam, they actually did a really good job of making you care about the character, make you care about the world, the situation, the whole nine yards.

And it's it's not a great written movie.

So that's why it's never going to rise to the top.

It was definitely nowhere near the first two thirds of the Wonder Woman movie.

But when you ruin the Wonder Woman movie with the last third, then Shazam, in my opinion, is far.



At least it has a satisfying everything as opposed to a very, very, very disappointing ending.


So yeah, so all of this and the reason why I feel like all this goes along with plotting is because these are all decisions that writers make. These are all decisions that you make. And again, I, I said it earlier in this, I feel like if you run everything through the lens of what is going to be the most impactful on the.


if you.

Do that, then you don't turn Wonder Woman into a God.

I want to say one more thing

before you do that, before you run everything through the lens of the audience, define who your audience.

yeah, 100%


And give great addition.

Give your ideal reader a name and determine what their personality is and measure your your story against that reader. Because this is a thing we've just spoken about, like the pushback that Man of Steel received. So I thought it was a brilliant movie. There are people who think that Wonder Woman was a brilliant movie. Despite the ending, lots of people think, Yeah,


And they or the audience that this was aimed at Barbie, a great example as well. Okay. So Barbie made $1,000,000,000, more than $1,000,000,000. It was the biggest grossing film. It is the only reason Warner Brothers is not underwater because they had also the biggest flop. So they had the both ends of the spectrum because they put out the flash, which was

indescribably bad

Yeah, yeah,


On and off the screen. Like it didn't even.

Just end with the fact that it was a bad movie.

It also was made by horrible people.

Yeah, it was, it was indescribably bad made by just, just the worst like. Okay. So, so Barbie really saved Warner Brothers like, six months, and it made $1,000,000,000 because it knew who its audience was. It wasn't afraid of telling the story for that audience and saying, you know what? I know. I know as a movie, I'm going to piss off a whole other state of the of the of the world.

But that's fine because I am aiming at my audience and my audience are going to love this story.

You cannot be everything to everybody.

I will.

I've seen pieces of it. I will never watch the Barbie movie

And that's fine

The funny thing is.

My wife only watched it

With the sound off. She watched it with subtitles.


That was the only way she.


Feel like she could stomach it. So she watched it. Audio off subtitles only. And she watched it on the plane ride back from Christmas vacation.

Otherwise she wouldn't even done that Much of it. But she was.

Like, Hey, it had some funny jokes.

But again, she's not into she's not their target market. Just because she's female does not mean she's the target market of that movie.

So I personally think that Barbie's message is that no matter which gender you put over the other, you always end up in a bad situation. Yeah, you've got to you've got to aim for it. So I actually think that was Barbie's message. But it regardless,

the point is that Barbie was not aimed at me, right? It was absolutely not aimed at me.

And they made peace with that and they shot the lights out with their target audience. Yeah.

That’s why twilight was a success. Yeah.

You know what your target market is? You aim for that target market and you, that's what you do. And you don't.


That you're going to upset people. So like, man of steel,

I think what they did.


It made more money than the other DC movies of.


And so.

That should have.

Been if I was in charge of DC at that point, that's when I would have pivoted.

I would have gone, okay.

Yes, we're going to lose our old fans or some of them because they're not going to be happy that we're going to actually start looking at human themes instead of just looking at God.


So I'm going to.


And I'm going to get a.

Bigger audience.

Even at the expense of losing some of mine, That's what I would have done because I am much more money motivated. To me, it's it's and it's not money. It's reaching more.

People. When you reach.

More people, you make more money. But to me, I want a bigger audience because that means I'm impacting more people as opposed to, you know, no writes for everybody. And so the people that don't.

Like me, I don't care. I don't care.

If you don't like me, you are no longer even a concern of mine. I'm not going to care. And I said it earlier. If you try to cater to your outliers.

You will actually lose everybody.

And that's kind of the point is like you have to define your reader and you've got to aim for them if you try and be everything to everyone.

See, I actually don't.

You’ll be no one to everyone

I actually that a lot of the problems with what you call Agenda First movies is that they are trying to be inoffensive to everyone and end up just being either completely bland or offensive to everyone, right?

Yeah, no, 100%.


it's not even that their agenda first, it's that they're aimed at no one.

Except for and.

Yes, you're right, there are definitely those movies out there that are just failing.

But I'll go back to what I read. The ones that really offend me are the ones that instead of posing a situation to me and yeah, you're going to prove something, the story has to end. So you to prove one way or the other.

But instead of just proving me your point and then going, But you lived it, man.

Like you decide where you feel like you are on that on the spectrum,

that is. And again, that's exactly what Lord of the Flies does. It does.

Not make you have to agree.

That all humans are born.


And any way, shape.

Or form, even though Golding 100% believe it, he said it like he hated humanity.

And you get it from if you read his history, you understand why he hates it. He hates.


However, even his in his story he did not force he said that's the thing that I think is the most egregious is when they go.

My opinion is reality and if you don't agree with it, you're just a bad person.

And like 100% I'm not saying there aren't. I'm not saying there aren't those heavy handed. Yeah, but there's always heavy handed.

Right. And you're also right, there are there are.

Ones that are just trying to be so vanilla that they're.



They just have no like.


So watch this.

Yeah, there's nothing but.

A lot of them.

But again, all of.

These that we're talking about, the reason why I feel that all release the plot devices is.

Plot devices are decisions decisions that that.

That the reader makes.

For their story


I'm sorry the author makes for the.

Story. The reader does.

Also make the decision. They make the decision whether to give you money or not.

But but the.

Author, these plot devices are there because you need to decide what you're doing in your.


And this is the message that me and Marie say in every one of these podcasts or at least the theme of every one of these messages, just make it. If you're.

Going to be a story creator.

The most important thing to do is make a decision. It's when you don't make decisions, when you just.

Accidentally puke

Words on.

Paper, that's.

When you make the big mistakes because you're not thinking about it.

It is 100% fine to build in gender roles. Gender inequality,

race, whatever you feel your story requires, you can build all of those thematic elements but choose.

You choose

To build them and don't

not make a decision, right? Yeah.


I mean, on the one hand,

a lot of the modern way of thinking should love Genesis of Oblivion Saga because.

I have every race.

But I mean, I wrote it originally back in the early 2000, and I had every race back then. I didn't add it because now it's the the chic thing to do. So they're not going to like it because I also have a lot of.


Tension and racial hatred. And, you know, because I'm I'm playing with those thematic elements and I'm trying to show the audience that these are stupid and.

Like, it's just but it's also reality.

We as humans.


Anyone who's different than us.

People with beards hate people without beards.

You know,

whatever. I mean.

It's just we are stupid.

And petty and how.

Little like DC people hate Marvel, people like.


So dumb.

We are the product of 5 billion years of evolution. And the reason why we are the apex predator and the only surviving human species on the planet

is because we cooperate well in our tribes.


And we demonize what is not our tribes, because that is how you survive an.

End modern man.


Be able to get over that.

Absolutely. I fully agree with you. But that is like if you push it in a box. That's what we fall back.

I wept when

when Japan got hit with the tsunami and had the nuclear disaster that they had a couple of years ago, not because of the disaster, not because of the loss of life.

I literally cried when I watched.

The news footage of thousands of people standing peacefully in line, waiting their turn to get.

A bottle of water.

Yeah. And the reason why I cried was because I went. That would not happen in America.

We would eat each other.

Trying to get to that bottle of.

Water. And that said to me.

It's very sad.


These people went through this tragedy and yet are still human to each other. And I don't feel my countrymen.

would be the same.

And so I cried. I literally cried because of how much I hate the fact that Americans, I don't think could live up with that. To that ideal. So the reason why I have every color of skin color in my fantasy world, and I did it well before any of this stuff was even considered is because I want to show the stupidity of racism.

But that means people have to be racist in my story


And they all are.

You're in the Asian guys and he's talking about round eyes and, you know.

They're so tall.

And stinky, they don't smell good to him.


You know, that's just a minor example. They're all they all view each other with disdain when they're different. And it's just me playing with the fact that this.


We’re, we're a modern society and we don't need to be that way anymore.

So yeah, So anyway, that's why I think all.

Of this is important is because it is all a plot device just means a decision. What decisions are you going to make to make your story? How are you going to impact your reader? And so all these things that we've been talking about over these last two episodes, that's what they are.

They're decisions.

Think about them, make the choice and our opinion, make the choice on how you're going to impact the reader. And again, exactly as Marie said, make sure you're impacting the reader.

That is your reader. Not all readers, your reader.

As that is a huge distinction. I actually do have that in my class. I call them Circles of Influence,

and so you have to figure out your circle of influence and then figure out who is in that circle, the fans that are in that circle, and then target.

Them through everybody else.

You know, I mean, I have that all the time.

Where like my only two star.

Review on.

Goodreads and.

It's long I haven't memorized it,

but I have memorized the very opening line. It says.

I don't read fantasy, but

and I'm like, That's.

As far as I need to read on your review. I don't care that you gave me a two star review because I don't write for you. You're not my target audience.

I mean, you'll never see me critique.



Country music literally makes my eyes bleed.

It's horrible. It's disgusting to me.

But that doesn't mean other.

Don't love it. And I'm not going to pooh pooh on their stuff that they love just because I don't love it. So I'm never going to be like, you know, I don't think I was going to say

reviewing the new. And I'm like, I don't even know a country music singer.


New. I mean, obviously I remember the Conway Twitty's and the words that have, you know, the names that have worked pop culture.


but, you know, the only country singer I know is Dolly Parton. And the only reason I know about is because I know that she is an excellent human being who runs like school and library stuff and gives a lot of money away. Like that is it


So yeah, so like I was going to use some modern I don't know, I don't know, but I'll never review a modern, a brand new country music album that just dropped because it sucks. Like I already know it. I already hate it when it's because I don't like the genre, not because. So if you're going to give me a two star review and start it with I don't normally read fantasy or I don't like fantasy or whatever it and.

I don't really.

Like fantasy.

I don't read, I don't read romance.

I'm not going to review romance. I'm not going to give somebody a two star review because the plot is predictable.


Because people read romance for the predictable plot.

But they read it for.

The gushy feeling it creates inside of them and nothing else. It can be bad writing. It can be two dimensional characters, it can be.

Horrible, predictable plot.

Does it give them the gushy feeling? If it does you in, If it doesn't, it doesn't matter if it's the best written thing ever. If it give the gushy feeling inside, they're going to hate your book because it's not what they're looking for. So that's I just want to tie it in. Yes, we take some rabbits and at the end of this one.

But it really.

Does come down to what a plot device is, in my opinion, is decisions that you need to think about to make to impact.

Your or.

Audience who you're writing for.

Absolutely. And I think that that is a good place to end this episode. We will see you soon for another one.

Greetings, Enchanting Wordsmiths and Dream Weavers. It's Marie Melanie, your companion, on this fantastical journey of creation. If our podcast has been a guiding star in your literary sky, please like and subscribe and share our episodes with your fellow creators and help support our endeavor to explore and help support our endeavor to explore the boundless universe of writing.

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