Where’s Your Flux Capacitor?

I guess the first question is really this: What is the Flux Capacitor?


…it’s what makes time travel possible.

And that’s all you need to know.

What a great bit of storytelling! The entire Back to the Future franchise rests on the ability of Marty McFly and Doc Brown to travel through time in their suped-up DeLorean. But do we really need to know how time travel works? Nope. We just need to know that it does.

Therefore the Flux Capacitor makes time travel possible and it also makes the story possible. All without being explained in the slightest.

So the real question of this post is: What makes a story possible? What is it that a plot relies on to make all the action which follows it make sense? If you are writing a story, do you know what is special about your story which allows it to happen?

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Buffy and the Disappearing Vampire

I’m a Buffy girl from way back.

The movie was the spark, but the show was the bomb! The seven-year series was creative, entertaining, enlightening, and sometimes controversial (perhaps one day I’ll post on the Willow-becomes-a-lesbian saga). Some of the storylines were not as strong as others, but there was always a compelling reason to watch the show.

One of the things Joss Whedon did brilliantly was to create the ‘disappearing vampire.’ When Buffy staked it through the heart – or managed some other fantastic kill shot – poof! Dust in the wind.

From a storytelling standpoint, this worked well because:

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War of Words: When Authors Hate

I wanted to include this brilliant infographic courtesy of The Huffington Post. Just hover over the arrows to get the rich vitriol of authors ragging on each other’s work.

One of my favourites:

Mark Twain on Jane Austen

I often want to criticise Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Everytime I read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.
—Letter to Joseph Twitchell (Sept. 13, 1898)

Poor Jane. At least she was dead. I still like Pride and Prejudice, no matter what the man with the mustache says.

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The Dangers of ‘Like’ Culture

Who doesn’t want to be liked?

Apart from Holden Caulfield – and that’s up for debate too.

On Facebook, as in most of life, it can be difficult to take a position that may turn out to be unpopular. If you post something many of your friends don’t ‘like’ it increases your sense of isolation. Even more intimidating, it can make you feel as though people are judging you for your dissenting opinion. And you’re right, they probably are judging you.

An interesting article by Neil Strauss on the Wall Street Journal website compares mining for likes to stand-up comedians practicing jokes:

A status update that is met with no likes (or a clever tweet that isn’t retweeted) becomes the equivalent of a joke met with silence. It must be rethought and rewritten. And so we don’t show our true selves online, but a mask designed to conform to the opinions of those around us.

A mask is such a good metaphor in this instance. We do so often hide behind our on-line personas like revelers at a masquerade. Me included.

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Io Saturnalia!

This time of year

in every age was viewed by all classes of the community as a period of absolute relaxation and unrestrained merriment (from Lacus Curtius)

Methinks not much has changed in the intervening two millennia.

While many will argue that it cannot be proven Saturnalia eventually gifted (hehe) any characteristics to Christmas, here are a few striking similarities:

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