How Marvel’s Movies (and Others’ Products) Have Changed Storytelling

Pop quiz for you. Don’t worry, it’ll be easy to answer. Have you ever read any licensed literature? Like Star Wars books, or Star Trek, or Warhammer, or … Sands, really any licensed property? Or maybe seen a tie-in TV show to a movie? Played a game of a movie or a book?

Basically, anything that could be considered “secondary canon?”

Right. I can already tell I’ve lost some of you. So let’s back up. Let’s say you are a movie producer. Better yet, you’re one of those producers like James Cameron who often writes, produces, and directs your own movies. And you’ve just made a hit.

Now, with this hit on your hands, someone has come to you and asked for a chance to expand on the universe! They want to write a trilogy of books that tie into the movie and extrapolate a bit after it! Awesome!

But … you don’t want to write a trilogy of books. You want to keep making movies.

“No problem!” says the publisher with the contract. “We’ve got an author lined up! They’ll write all three. We just need some notes on the movie, for you to answer some questions, and that’ll be all we need!”

So you sign the paper, and the trilogy comes out. You collect a small licensing fee, and a bunch of fans of your movie go on to read the book and form excited theories and ideas.

Except … a year or two later, when you sit down to write the sequel, you’ve got a bunch of ideas that don’t quite mesh with the world and liberties the author of the book trilogy took to flesh out their story. Not that you know this: You probably haven’t read them. Or, if you did read them, you’d know the score as being thus—

The movie came first, therefore the movie is the final word.

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Penclash

Hey readers! I just wanted to give you a heads-up on a new writing site I learned about through the circles I’m in: Penclash!

Okay, so it’s not a site yet. And, legal disclaimer: I am not in any way affiliated with Penclash outside of having heard about it through the writing circles I hang out on. I’m not affiliated with the site’s owners or developers or anything like that. I just heard about it, and immediately realized this was something that could use some more publicity.

So, what is it? Well, Penclash is a writing competition site. That’s right: A whole website dedicated to short story competitions. If you’ve ever hung around online writing sites you may be familiar with these: Folks (sometimes even site hosts) will put up a challenge or a prompt, give a submission date, and on on occasion even offer a prize of some kind to the top stories, and away people go. There are judges, submissions … it’s a pretty common feature of online writing sites to have these contests.

So then what’s Penclash? It’s a site built for these. With integrated features for other fictions sites, easy-to-create contests, monthly site-wide contests … and more!

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The LTUE Schedule!

That’s right folks. Life, The Universe, and Everything, the best writing convention there is for Sci-Fi and Fantasy is almost upon us! In two days the doors will be open, the con will start, and the knowledge and geekery will reach critical levels of awesome.

Of course I’ll be there. And I hope you will be as well, because LTUE is hands-down one of the best places a budding young writer can go to get insight, knowledge, tips—well pretty much every bit of knowledge on writing they’d want, from dozens of talented authors. Panels, workshops, discussions … it’s all there.

The MugOh, including myself! I’ll be wandering the halls of the convention as well. If you’re going to be there and want to strike up a conversation, from talking about writing advice to trying to mine for secrets from the upcoming Jungle, say hi! Believe me, I’ve missed panels before simply by being caught in a ball of authors and fans in the halls, all talking about writing tricks or cool books we’ve been reading, etc.

Oh, and if it helps, I’ve attached a shot of my rugged mug to the right there. I know I’ve got that picture on the about page, but it is, if we’re honest, an old picture. This one’s just a quick selfie, but it shows off the current look I’m sporting, for easy identification. Walk up and say hello! I don’t bite! And don’t worry about getting my name right either. If you yell “Viking,” my long-time nickname of over a decade and my online handle, you’ll get my attention.

Oh, and I’ll be wearing a shirt that says “Ask me about my book.” It was a gift that fits this kind of con perfectly.

So, now that you can pick me out of a crowd, how about that LTUE schedule? You can access the whole thing here, but I’ve gone through today and put together a small list of panels that look or sound interesting. Some I’ll attend, some I’ve just highlighted for usefulness that you all may be interested in, and some just plain sound fun.

Oh, there is one I’ll draw special attention to, and I will be there, so you should be too! At 3 PM there is a Launch Event for the LTUE Benefits Anthrology Trace the Stars, which is a collection of short stories by a lot of great (and famous) authors written to support the convention (all proceeds from books sales fun LTUE!).

Anyway, hit the jump for a day-by-day list of panels that have caught my attention. The “—” denotes that there are two interesting panels in that time that caught my eye.

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Shadow of an Empire Wallpapers!

Hey readers! Got a pretty awesome treat for you all today!

You’ve seen the cover for Shadow of an Empire, right? That awesome, western vista done by Michal Kváč. Well, those close followers of the site may remember how I teased that it was wallpaper-sized. And those who were Patreon Supporters? They got the wallpaper sizes.

Well, as of today, you can too. That’s right, in beautiful 4451×2560 Widescreen, you can have the full cover image of Shadow of an Empire for your desktop or digital device background, available in both textless and text versions.

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The History of Dead Silver

This post was previously a Patreon Supporter Exclusive! Patreon Supporters get advance access to articles and bonuses such as this monthly. They also can receive other bonuses! In return, their support helps keep Unusual Things a premium site (read: NO ADS). If you enjoy Unusual Things‘ content and would like to see it continue, please support by becoming a Patreon Supporter today!

If you’ve not read Dead Silver, be forewarned that this post contains many spoilers. Then again, the book came out four years ago, and you can always grab a copy for the low price of $2.99 to catch up before spoiling anything!

Anyway, that’s your warning. Now, let’s take a look at the history of my second book, Dead Silver.

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Happy Memorial Day!

Hello readers! It’s Memorial Day here in the US, which is a national holiday, so there won’t be a Being a Better Writer post this week.

However, that doesn’t mean that there’s not going to be any content here today (or especially not this week). After all, Shadow of an Empire comes out this Friday! As well as another preview chapter tomorrow!

But if you’re looking for something more BaBW related, consider this awesome video I was linked to the other day on the fantastic attention to detail in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. I’ve said before on this site many times that attention to the small details can make the whole book come alive. Well, this video shows how Who Framed Roger Rabbit‘s attention to the small details put it head and shoulders above its competition.

Anyway, if you’re in the US, enjoy your Memorial Day, and if you’re anywhere else, enjoy Monday all the same!

Shadow of an Empire Cover Reveal!

Here it is, readers! The official cover for Shadow of an Empire, releasing June 1st!

book_cover

Yeah, that’s it! This wonderful piece of art was created by the stellar Michal Kváč, whose site you can access at that link! I highly recommend them!

Now, if you’re a patreon supporter, that means head on over to my patreon page, because you guys are getting the full size image available both with text and without text as a 5K wallpaper. Trust me, it looks awesome. That’s a patron-supporter early bonus … the rest of you will have to wait a while.

But there it is, in all it’s golden glory. Shadow of an Empire will be available for pre-order soon!

 

Oh, and you guys may have noticed, but the site looks a little different now … Just some nice thematic changes.