Gladiator – Great Storytelling, Bad History

Disclaimer: There are a lot of people who rag on the Gladiator movie from the historical standpoint. Which is fair enough, because there are a boatload of historical inaccuracies. But Gladiator is also an extremely well-crafted story, hitting many emotional ‘hot buttons.’ Here are five reasons I loathe and five reasons I love this movie:

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Writing Inspiration from History: Setting and Action

Sometimes you hit the wall.

The Great Wall of Writer’s Block.

You can peek over; know there’s something much better on the other side, but you just can’t find your way through.

So far, I have identified three types of walls that pen me in once a story is underway:

  1. I need a scene, but can’t visualize the setting or action in that scene.
  2. I need a character, but don’t have a voice or vision of that character.
  3. I have a great setting full of interesting characters, but they stare blankly at each other, wondering why their author is so darn indecisive.

So I’m sharing some of the ways I use to break through the wall.

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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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