Friday, 23 September 2016

Currently in editing mode!

I'm rounding the bend to finishing my first full book. After much editing, advice, rewrites, and growing, it's quite nearly in the state for public consumption. I can't wait to put it out there!

As a result, I'm currently revamping my "Works" page to deal with this. It will be entirely different in a couple of weeks. So if you're new here, keep that in mind.

Because of this rise in activity, I don't have a proper a post this week for you, So instead, here's some classic video game music. If you have taste, you should like them as much as I do.

Instead of obvious greats, here are some overlooked classics.

This was before video game music tried to ape film scores and lost a lot of their energy. There are many more I could have listed instead.

Anyway, have a great weekend!

Friday, 16 September 2016

The Anti-Hero Question

Since the 80s, there has been a certain type of protagonist that has taken the spotlight from the traditional role of heroes and villains. It's not the reluctant hero, or the reformed villain, but the hero that isn't really a hero at all. He still reigns supreme today.

I'm not sure what brought about this change, except for certain audiences love of moral ambiguity, though these characters soon ended up choking out a lot of the fun of comic books. Reading lighthearted fare like Whizz Comics now is next to impossible without an intolerable dose of "irreverence" and winking humor. It's pretty much grimdark, or obnoxious comedy, with no in between.

But that's not what I'll be talking about here.

I want to talk about the most popular examples of this type of character, and what makes them so well-liked. What makes them work, and if they are really heroes at all.

The first is one of the most popular examples of an anti-hero.

Jon Bernthal as "The Punisher"

The Punisher is the most popular example on an anti-hero. The Netflix Daredevil series had possibly the best portrayal of this sort of character that I've seen. Well, next to Paul Kersey in Death Wish, where he was not touted as anything but a vigilante. The Punisher is usually treated as invincible and unstoppable. He was clearly certain writer's and audiences favorites as he won battles he never really should have. The Netflix version was different. The Punisher there was portrayed as broken, and very fallible.

Now, he wasn't portrayed as a broken, weepy ball of wussy who won't do anything. That's a different sort of anti-hero. He was portrayed as a desperate man, hitting back at the injustice of the world in the only way he knew how. He became a different sort of soldier, to fight a war that he had every intention of dying in. It was a suicide mission.

He isn't a hero. In the Netflix series, he actually comes very close to being a villain at many points. There's no ambiguity about it. He almost kills innocents, he has no value for life, and he teeters on the edge of self-destruction. The Punisher is just a murderer with a vendetta.

The difference is that as the series goes on we learn more about Frank Castle the person. We know that he isn't as dead inside as he thinks. He is still a human being. There are still flashes of the good man he once was. But he buries it deeper and deeper into blood with bad decisions. It becomes a question if he can ever truly find his way out again.

That makes him interesting as a protagonist, but not as a hero. And it's not because he kills people. Not totally, anyway. Sometimes, it is the right decision to make to kill a threat that cannot be stopped by other means. Would the Punisher kill the Joker, for instance, I don't think many would argue it the wrong decision. It depends on the context. But going out and murdering every two-bit thug in the city is not heroic. Shooting a purse snatcher is hardly the paragon of retributive justice.

I like this version of the character better because he is not treated as someone to look up to. He's not treated as invincible. There's a very well done courtroom scene where several people try to paint Frank Castle as a hero with pretty speeches, and it clearly bothers him a lot. This eventually boils over at a particularly heated moment. His reaction to what they say shows a very clear 180 degree turn from where he was at the start of the series. He knows what he is, and it's not something anyone should aspire to.

But the Punisher is merely the most popular example of an anti-hero. Are there other types of anti-heroes beyond this? I can only really think of one, and I'm not sure if I can call him an anti-hero. You'll see what I mean.

The Shadow

The Shadow is a vigilante. But he's a different sort from the Punisher. He is a being who steps out of the corners of criminals' minds. He faces them down with the reality of their deeds and though he might murder them, it is something he must do for justice itself. He punishes the unrepentant so that the innocent may remain so. Is he an anti-hero?

This is where an argument can be made. Nobody knows what the Shadow actually is. Is he a person who made it his job to take on crime? Is he some being that has been tasked with judging the guilty and sending them to Hell? There is no canonical answer to these questions. To me, that's what makes him a fascinating character, and more than he first appears.

Is he the physical manifestation of Justice? It's never explicitly stated what he is, but that is a possibility. If he is, then is he really an anti-hero? It's hard to argue that he is, if his Justice actually does transcend man's law.

But it can still be argued. That's what makes his case an interesting one.

This was actually one of the problems with the Alec Baldwin movie from the '90s. Along with some sex jokes that didn't fit the tone, The Shadow's abilities were given a sort of origin (as opposed to the men of Kent Allard and Lamont Cranston, who are separate from those issues) robbing him of mystique and power in the process. He still has much mystery, but the Shadow was humanized, and it hurt the character. It remains the weakest point of the film.

The Shadow has agents who work for him, all in special roles, to destroy the evil gripping the city. They are saved by him, and in turn work for Justice itself. They do not question what they are fighting. They know it is evil of the worst sort.

When he confronts villains, he tells them straight out what they are, everything about them, and they are always the unrepentantly evil type. He confronts evil to crush it, not to let it slither away. They are like if Batman lets the Joker walk away. How many lives would be saved if they were stopped from their deeds to poison the lives of men?

This makes the Shadow a far more interesting character than the Punisher, at least as far as heroics are concerned. The Shadow faces evil itself, and extinguishes it, so the light can shine. He has a very specific purpose. He reminds villains of the eternity that awaits them, before he delivers them to it. There aren't really any other heroes like the Shadow.

But all this avoids my question. Is the Shadow a hero, or an anti-hero?

I think this would depend on what your view on a hero is at his core.

A hero is a champion of the people, someone that can be looked up to as an inspiration, or a symbol of justice. But what is the right way to be that hero? What is the right way to administer justice, keep mercy alive, and fight the darkness without succumbing to it? That makes for some good speculation.

The Shadow is a force beyond us. We can't be the Shadow like we can be the Punisher. He is a pure being of Justice, who administers mercy to the truly lost and empty (see the first novel), and is looked up to as a symbol of hope that this world can reach daybreak and escape the night. He may not be what heroes are known for being today, but he has many of the best qualities of the best heroes.

But then we get to the murder issue. This is not something that used to be a problem, even Batman used to kill, but as comics have gotten older, so has the debate on this issue grown. Suffice to say, we have ask if killing is ever permissible.

The argument would be that because the Shadow kills, that makes him an anti-hero. Does it? As alluded to earlier, and pointed out in Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, this is not a black and white issue. Not when you are fighting on the side of justice against evil. How many would have been saved had Batman (or the justice system) killed the Joker instead of bringing him to the police over and over? Is that really justice to let unfettered evil walk away with a slap on the wrist, and free to continue their ways? We know the Joker will never repent. So why should he live to murder hundreds of others? That is not justice.

It must be noted, again, that the Shadow is not Batman. He's not the Punisher. The Shadow does not hurt or kill innocents, he does not hunt the truly repentant, and he knows more about the villain than most heroes know about their villains. He knows exactly who he is pursuing. Would he kill someone who truly would throw away the sword and reform? I'm not so certain he would. Of course, I haven't read every Shadow story, but as an administer of Justice, he would have bigger fish to fry than chasing down such a person. This is a man who went after Nazis, for crying out loud. He knows what evil is.

That's a long way to say that you could make a case either way. He could be read as a hero, or an anti-hero. And it's what makes the Shadow such a fascinating character to speculate about. I personally consider him a hero, a being of Justice, the Reaper himself, coming to extinguish the night so the dawn may rise. He is a being quite separate from us.

But you could argue it the other way just as easily. The Punisher is really only one thing, and there is little debate about that.

The difference between these two characters is purely in execution. Quite literally. They both make the reader ask questions of the concept of heroes and villains. What really is a hero? Is he someone who fights evil without succumbing to it? Or is he someone who destroys evil without destroying himself? Is he an upholder of Politically Correct values, or does he fight for something more noble, and far older than himself? This is the question the reader must ask himself.

The only conclusion I can come to it that evil exists, and it must be fought. How we fight it can always be argued, but it should never be argued that it exists. Should we fail to recognize it, we will lose ourselves to it. It will never truly disappear as long as existence stumbles onward, so we must remember to be vigilant. There is a line, and no mater how blurred we might try to make it, it is always there, and waiting for us to cross it.

Live in the hope that one day the weed of crime will finally be uprooted. Until then, keep digging.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Retro Gaming Returns!

Yes, the gaming world has been through some trying times recently. And by recently, I mean at least a decade.

One of gaming's most important franchises is the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. This series is mostly known for its first four games (and portable offerings) being so great that they could compete with Super Mario Bros. and such. The games are so good, I still play them just like I do the old Mario games.

But times changed. Sonic entered the 3D space and had some growing pains (Mario did too, in my opinion) and has since been overtaken in popularity by many new franchises over the years. That doesn't mean Sonic is a bad franchise, however. Sonic Colors for the Wii and Sonic Generations for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC, are two of the best games in the series. The latter even features 2D levels like the old games do, only in glorious HD 3D graphics.

All that said, there's something about the old games that hasn't quite been matched.

Sega, celebrating the 25th anniversary of their most enduring franchise, agrees. To get Sonic the Hedgehog back to prominence where it belongs, they decided to try something new, yet old. What did they do, you might ask.

They revealed this:

A full fledged new Sonic the Hedgehog game done in the style of the old games. 2D graphics, the same character physics and controls, and the same speed and jump gameplay. It's as if they are making the Sonic game the ill-fated Sega Saturn never got.

I'll be honest, ever since the PS2 generation of gaming, I've begun to drift. The games were no longer simple, creative, and fun, but overwrought, needlessly convoluted, and all samey. As someone who grew up on Nintendo and Sega games, it wasn't what I got into the hobby for. It became a chore to keep up with.

That doesn't seem to be changing, but at least it seems the old guard is well aware at how far away we are from what made gaming fun in the first place. Nintendo still makes games as great as they did back in the day, and it looks like Sega is keeping up.

If you don't believe me, well, just check out this game.

Sometimes, going back to the past is the only way we can move forward. Just because something is old doesn't mean it has no value. This is a fact the gaming industry needs to realize before it falls into more of the rut of milking a successful formula dry instead of seeing just why it worked in the first place.

Hopefully the game industry will learn this before their sales entirely crater out. A video game world without Nintendo or Sega is not one I want any part in.

As an aside, this is currently my most anticipated game of 2017. If that doesn't show my age, nothing will.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

"But I Wanna be a Hero, too!" ~ My Hero Academia Volume 5 review

*Be aware of spoilers!*

In this volume of My Hero Academia by Kohei Horikoshi, we reach the end of the Sports Festival and learn much about the heroes' internal battles as well as the villains' next plot. This is the volume where My Hero Academia fully hits its stride.

I've mentioned before that My Hero Academia is my favorite currently running manga. My opinion remains the same. The reasons why are plentiful, but I will try to be brief.

My Hero Academia is written by someone who loves heroism for what it is at its purest level. It glorifies self-sacrifice, eschews selfishness, promotes good, and is never afraid to show evil for what it really is. Every character in the series is given a chance to see just why they want to be a hero (or a villain) and it never stops being both inspiring and invigorating for the reader.

Take this volume, for instance. It's the first without our protagonist, Izuku Midoriya, on the cover. That's because, as the subtitle mentions, this is the origin of Shoto Todoroki, one of Midoriya's classmates. Todoroki is a quiet guy who keeps to himself, but something about the way Midoriya acts and throws himself into his heroism has started to stir something within the loner. He comes off at first as something of an anti-hero, but that quickly falls away. This volume mainly deals with Todoroki as he explores just what kind of hero he can be, and if he is approaching it from the right angle.

But it's not just that. This volume also deals with Katsuki Bakugo, Midoriya's childhood friend, dealing with his own shortcomings as a hero as he ends up both taking on a girl without losing his overbearing pride, and facing a match where his opponent will not show him everything he has. His massive pride is almost obliterated. This is the moment that Bakugo begins his journey of becoming a real hero. He wants to be someone who will not fall flat next to Midoriya in everything that matters. This will return in future volumes.

Other events include characters like Tenya Ida, and Ochaco Uraraka beginning to coming into their own as characters, and the realization that a villain unlike any other is at large. This volume is packed.

While My Hero Academia is a a superhero story, which means tons of big action and spectacle, it is also a shonen manga, which means growing up and doing the right thing at any cost. It remains the best of both worlds. This makes it not only a terrific read for fans of either, but also for those who might have fallen away from them with age. This series will remind you why you enjoyed superhero comics and shonen manga in the first place. The kid version of you knew something you didn't.

At this point, the series has my full 100% recommendation for any fan of action or adventure. While the first few volumes were mainly world-building and character establishment, from this point on it's all good versus evil, heroes making their stand, and villains trying to ruin it all.

While western comics are falling into political preaching and stale retcons out the wazoo, and eastern comics are reveling in pornography and nihilism, there still remain series like My Hero Academia out there to carry the torch for tradition. This is why we read in the first place.

Good is good. Evil is evil. That's the way it is, and always will be.

Highly recommended.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

To the Batmobile!

I'm way too young to have seen the 1960s Batman show when it first aired, but I did grow up with it.

Back before kids were declared by experts to have no interest in the old days, YTV in Canada used to air shows that were decades older than its audience. The Batman live action show was one of them, airing in the afternoons. And I was a huge fan.

Apparently I'm not alone, because it's finally being brought back, only in animated form:

It's a throwback to an age where you could be silly and lighthearted without having to be nasty or pointlessly irreverent. There isn't really anything like the 1960s Batman, and its longevity is proof that it has also affected many others as well.

I know some people who dislike this show, but I will never understand why. If you were ever a child with a childlike sense of wonder, then this show is for you. It is one of the best pure fun television shows there is. Cynicism can't taint it, even with age.

Have a good weekend, everyone, and I'll be back next week. Same bat blog, same bat poster.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016


I'm not sure how common this is with other writers, but I like my confrontations between heroes and villains to have stakes on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level. Growing up on an unhealthy diet of shonen anime, '80s action movies, and old comics and manga, got me very well acquainted with the first two. The last came from my conversion to Christianity, and a desire to dig deeper in the stories I had already liked. Of course, those are all thematic elements. It's nothing to beat the reader over the head with.

But my point is, what happens when all those elements come together? When your protagonist is up against something that not only can kill them, can't be broken mentally, and threatens your very soul? That's a triple decker of trouble.

There are three examples I can think of, all of which are regularly considered classics by their fans. The first is The Lord of the Rings, which is self-explanatory, and the second is the Trigun anime, which is possibly the most influential piece of media in my life. These hit harder for having a three dimensional conflict that can be seen from multiple angles, and be no less powerful.

The final example is in the anime classic, Yu Yu Hakusho. The third major story arc in the series is called "Chapter Black." The main character, in typical shonen fashion, has developed to be a powerful fighter that could demolish any enemy. Think of any popular shonen whether Dragon Ball, Naruto, Bleach, or Fist of the North Star, and you know that the grab for power is what makes the difference in whether the hero wins or loses. Being right is one thing, but it needs power to back it up.

Chapter Black is different.

This story arc centers on the appearance of seven psychics appearing in Tokyo who threaten the world by opening a gate that will allow monsters into the world to destroy the human race. Yusuke Uremeshi, a spirit detective and the main character, is tasked with stopping them. Yusuke is incredibly strong, but now he wonders just what the point is in taking orders? After certain recent events he has become much too complacent. He begins to get bored with normal life. The world is made of paper. He flirts with crossing a line that could very easily devour his soul, and it comes back to bite him.

What makes this story arc so good is that Yusuke's strength is in more than how hard he punches. For the first time he is faced with the task of intentionally killing villains to stop them. This is because their powers are far beyond mere physical strength. They want to show how horrible and rotten the human race is, and Yusuke has to stop them. He has to prove them wrong without falling victim to his own strength. But, maybe they have a point. How great are humans, anyway?

For a hint of this, watch the video below. The confrontation Yusuke has with the Doctor is one of my favorite confrontations in any medium. Marvel at the direction and choreography, and wonder at just how the main character is going to get through this without falling into the villain's trap. This is one of those moments that has stuck in my head years after seeing it.

Too good. However, that is not the full confrontation. To see the rest, go watch the show! It is in episodes 73 and 74 available on the Funimation website for streaming.

If I can write one thing in my life as tight as this, it would be enough for me.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Cirsova Issue #2 Review

If you recall, I was a big fan of Cirsova's first issue. I am not old enough to have been around during the heyday of Fantasy and Science Fiction magazines, and it would take a lot to get me interested in modern ones. That has nothing to do with the quality of the stories being any worse, but because of the modernist tendency to write stories where the main character might as well killed himself before word one. I don't like to feel hopeless after reading stories.

But Cirsova doesn't do that, and that's one of its main appeals. The first issue was full of stories of adventurers facing impossible odds and taking them on regardless. It was not only a pleasant read, but refreshing.

So you might be wondering if issue two continues on this path, or misses the boat. That's a fair question to ask.

Fear not, fellow adventurers, I am here to report that Cirsova remains intact! Issue two not only contains another excellent cover by Jabari Weathers, but has stories that easily stack up to the first issue.

So let's give them a look.

"The Sealed City" by Adrian Cole is the perfect story to start the issue off, being one about a satanic cult and a man called a "witchfinder" who is hunting them down in a far future setting. This story sets the tone for the rest of the issue to follow.

It's not my favorite story in the issue, but it is the one that got me hooked into reading the rest of the stories right away. I'm just a big fan of heroes hunting down evil cults and exterminating them. What can I say? It's a problem I'm going to have to learn to live with.

"Hoskin's War" by Brian K. Lowe is the second story. It's an alternate history take on the American Revolution, and is quite a bit more interesting than I first thought it would be. The fantastical elements are weaved in quite skillfully.

I was quite taken with how the author weaved in the English, the American rebels, and the Iroquois, presence here without a hint of PC interference. I know I shouldn't have to bring that up, but it is such a rarity nowadays that I can't help having to mention it. Political correctness sands a lot of good ideas down to grey goo, and would have only hurt this story tremendously.

This was a thrill ride from start to finish with probably my favorite ending in the issue. Hunting mystical beasts, unsettling shadowy monsters, hints of a greater danger? Yep, it has those. If you want to read one story to see if Cirsova is for you, I recommend this one.

"Squire Errant" by Karl Gallagher is the story of, well, a squire, who must finish the quest of his knight. What is that quest, you might ask? Well, slaying a dragon, of course!

This is the most straightforward story of the bunch, and I'm glad it was in the issue. It's hard to add much here without wrecking the whole thing. Simply put, it's a great story. It adds a bit of levity to the issue, too. Things can get a bit heavy.

"The Water Walks Tonight" by S.H. Mansouri is probably the closest Cirsova has gotten to horror yet. Some shady men go out to defend a town that is under attack by a strange creature that might be sent by the gods. The town is losing its fishing industry, and these men with Nordic names are going to stop them. Or are they?

This was a bit difficult to read. Not because of the language, or anything that happens, but because the reader is thrown into the deep end of the world off the bat. By the time you catch up, the plot kicks into high gear, so it's not a problem. It's just something that should be pointed out.

To go too in depth into what happens in this tale would be to spoil it, but the ending is probably worth reading the whole story.

"Shark Fighter" by Michael Tierney obviously has the best title in the whole magazine. I shouldn't have to explain why. Conceptually, it's the most straightforward story here. A diver faces off against a tiger shark while he slowly regains his memory. The background elements add a flavor to the tale that made it quite unique from its initial premise.

I have no experience with diving, but I was able to follow the story just fine. It might knock you off-kilter for the first few pages, but stick with it. It's the most surprising tale here.

"My Name is John Carter (Part 2)" by James Hutchings continues the fabulous poem from issue one. If you have not read the original Barsoom novels, you might not get as much out of this, but that should just give more motivation to read them.

Poems are not my expertise, but I have two rules for them. A) It must rhyme, and B) It must have a rhythm. This poem had both in part one, and it has them here. It's a success on that alone.

It also has a clear love of the original John Carter stories that fits in perfectly with the rest of the magazine contents. The poem melds the past with the present in a way that makes one appreciate Cirsova all the more.

It really reminds you that the spirit of the old Burroughs novels still sparks today.

"Images of the Goddess" by Schuyler Hernstrom is both the final story in the magazine and the lone novella. A monk named Plom goes on a quest to find a Holy Book of his goddess, and meets some strange characters on the way.

This is the hardest story to talk about without getting into spoiler territory. The plot winds out really well. Lets just say that this is probably the best story of the bunch with some memorable world-building and characters, as well as some surprising humor and ripping action. This tale has it all.

There is one encounter with a bounty hunter later on that was particularly effective. These are the types of action scenes you can't get outside of fantasy and science fiction.

Of all the stories to end the magazine with, this was the best choice.

But it is not the end of the issue.

"Rescuing Women" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch is the lone essay and final piece in the book. Well, besides the editor's comments (which I quite enjoy) that is. This is a piece about the female presence in science fiction since the pulp days and how politics are used in order to shadow the truth.

The truth is that women have been writing science fiction since the pulp days. Some of the greatest science fiction authors are women (C.L. Moore, Andre Norton, Leigh Brackett), and were treated no differently from the men. So why is it that there is a narrative about how women were never allowed into the field and were held back for so long? Why does it still continue to this day? This essay dives into the truth of the matter.

It was an excellent essay to end the issue on. It leaves you thinking after just experiencing some great tales.

That's a great way to describe the issue as a whole. When I closed issue #2 of Cirsova, I had a smile on my face. That makes it a rousing success, in my book.

The final verdict is simple. Do you like Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction? If the answer is yes, then why aren't you already reading Cirsova? If the answer is no, then I can't even imagine why you read the review to this point.

A bigger question is whether a magazine like this is necessary at all. I'd say it is. High School and College teachers scare so many off from reading at all, and the Big Five Publishers are wired in to producing the same garbage that chases so many away. Most never even pick up another book after High School.

But it doesn't have to be that way. There is more to reading than stories of nihilistic sleazebags who spend three hundred plot-less page books whining about how the world robbed their precious selves of everything. Unless you're a Liberal Arts teacher, or one of their captive student, you're probably not going to choose to read crap like that.

Cirsova is a reminder of what stories can truly be. For that alone, I wish them much success. However, the excellent stories (and essays!) make it a no-brainer of a purchase.

Highly recommended.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Telling the Truth in Fiction

Someone once told me I should write Historical Fiction so I could write the "truth" and tell people "how it really was" back in whatever period they were talking about.

I wish I could say this individual had good intentions, but I know the real reason they suggested it. It was to preach and convert. This person was angry about a lot of things, but they got the intent of stories completely wrong.

I grew up around a television station called YTV. For those that don't know, in the late 1980s through the late 1990s, YTV was the station for kids in Canada. They aired programs as varied as the 1960s Batman show, Rocky & Bullwinkle, the 90s Spider-Man show, Dragon Ball, Samurai Pizza Cats, Are You Afraid of the Dark, Beast Wars (called Beasties), ReBoot, Rocko's Modern Life, and all sorts of cartoons from around the world and different eras.

Other things I watched and read included The Hobbit, The Outsiders, action movies out the wazoo, and the Disney Afternoon. That's not even including things like MacGyver I mostly saw in syndication.

What I'm saying is that what I learned seeing all those shows as a kid, is very different than what this person was suggesting I write.

The important part of these stories was the sense of wonder I got from them, and how they inspired both my imagination and my love of fiction. I could never warp these stories for something as banal as scoring points or annoying the "right" people. Stories are about more than that.

Unfortunately, YTV is no longer that station it once was. It has since become the Canadian wing of modern Nickelodeon, PC shows with obnoxious humor, and little for the family to sit around and enjoy. It's character is all but gone.

But now that there's a whole indie world out there for authors and creators to enjoy, it doesn't really matter. It doesn't matter what the networks, publishers, or gatekeepers want, because they are completely out of touch and have been for a long time. This abysmal Summer Movie Season should be the clue that Hollywood is lost at sea.

You want to "tell the truth", then tell stories. Tell the sort of stories that inspired you in the first place. Tell the sorts of stories you always wanted to see, but didn't. Tell the sorts of stories nobody tells anymore. Tell stories nobody wants to tell. That's why you wanted to tell them in the first place, right?

You don't need to become a schoolmarm to be a storyteller. Homer wasn't. Shakespeare wasn't. Tolkien wasn't.

And yet they all told tales that have stood the test of time.

Storytelling isn't about teaching, it's about wonder. Save your lectures for the classroom, and remember what it was like to be a child. Remember that same child who was blown away by that one story. That's who you're really writing for.

That's how you tell the truth with stories.

Note: In unrelated news, author Brian Niemeier has been shadow-banned by Twitter for no discernible reason. Check out his site and his works, if you have the time.