Friday, August 28, 2015

My Creative Yodas-Joss Whedon

"Whatever makes you weird is probably your best asset." -Joss Whedon

 Let me just say that I unreservedly LOVE Joss Whedon! Not more than my wife or even like I love my wife because that would be just weird, and he's married and he doesn't even know me, but I think you get the picture, rambling notwithstanding.
Like most fans, my gateway to the Wonder that is Joss came from a certain Slayer from Sunnydale, Ca. I remember the movie "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" with Kristy Swanson and Luke Perry and I wasn't very impressed with it. When I saw a trailer for the TV show and saw how there was darkness and actual menace, I could see it was different from the movie in a good way. The show didn't disappoint. Sarah Michelle Gellar and Co., over seven seasons, brought the funny, the dark, the drama and the snark. This is because of the man at the helm who took his creation back and steered Buffy and the Scoobies throughout the perils of High School and beyond. I gladly went along for the ride.
One thing you can say about Joss Whedon projects is that you always know from the writing that it's him. No one writes a conversation or a twist out of nowhere like him.
For example, on the too-soon cancelled, instant classic show Firefly, Mal Reynolds and Jayne are having a conversation centering around Jayne's dissatisfaction with Mal getting a wife while he got a stick that sounds like it's raining. Jayne was holding a rifle, which gave his complaint some weight.

Jayne: Do I have your attention?
Mal: Kind of going to extremes here, ain't we?
Jayne: There's times I don't think you take me seriously. I think that oughta change.
Mal: Do you think it's likely to?
Jayne: You got something you don't deserve...
Mal: ...And it's brought me a galaxy of fun, I'm here to tell ya...
Jayne: Six men came to kill me one time. The best of them carried this...It's a Callahan full bore auto lock. Customized trigger, double cartridge thorough gauge. It is my very favorite gun.
Mal: Are you offering me a trade?
Jayne: Trade? Hell, it's theft. This is the best damn gun made by man. It has extreme sentimental value. It's miles better than what you got.
Mal: What I got? She has a name.
Jayne: So does this: I call it Vera.
Mal: Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly comin' to a middle.

There are many other gems from that episode, not to mention the rest of the show, but to put it shortly, I wish I could write like Joss.  Not only is he inventive, he's also prolific. Besides spawning Buffy and Angel, he also created the aforementioned Firefly, Dollhouse, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, and the current hit, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (renewed for a third season), alongside his brother Jed Whedon and sister-in-law, Maurissa Tancharoen. He's also written a critically and fanboy acclaimed run on the Astonishing X-Men and The Runaways for Marvel, Sugar Shock and Fray, a future slayer, and Executive Produced (And no doubt written some issues) Buffy Seasons eight, nine and ten for DarkHorse.
On the movie side, he revisted the 'Verse in Serenity, co-wrote Cabin in the Woods with Drew Goddard, and wrote and directed The Avengers, Much Ado About Nothing and Avengers: The Age of Ultron.
He also writes music, hence the Buffy Musical Ep, Once More with Feeling, and the Firefly Theme. (Which is a ringtone for my phone.)

Getting to the point of this post, reading or watching anything that Joss Whedon has done, or will do, makes me want to step my writing game up. I want to write killer dialogue, write a story with a killer twist, create a killer character, heck maybe they'll BE a killer. I know I have to write to the level of my talent and gifting and won't ever be a Joss Whedon, but he inspires me to do the very best I can make my stories the best they can be.
He also makes me want to be able to write a script and /or a story perfectly, all ready to go with no revisions needed after the first draft is done.
Yes, he seriously does this. Repeatedly. Read the biography.

Mr. Whedon's next project is a comic called Twist that he's doing with Darkhorse. Like everything else he does, I'm definitely going to pick it up and enjoy a modern master storyteller at work and take steps to become one myself.

Joss Whedon's new book, Twist, and the man himself

The movie, starring Luke Pery and Kristy Swanson, that, thankfully, gave way to...

...the TV show.

Alyson Hannigan, Seth Green, Anthony Stewert Head, Charisma Carpenter, Nicholas Brendon, Sarah Michelle Gellar, David Boreanez, James Marsters and Julliet Landau.

Angel, the highly successful spin-off

Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, David Boreanez, Charisma Carpenter and J. August Richards

The Instant Classic, cancelled too soon.
Adam Baldwin, Summer Glau, Sean Maher, Nathan Fillion, Morena Baccarain, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Jewel Staite and Ron Glass.

A great show, also cancelled too soon.

Dichen Lachman, Enver Gojak, Fran Kranz, Eliza Dushku, Olivia Williams, Tahamoh Penikett and Harry Lennix

Awesome show/movie...waiting for a sequel...

Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen, Joss Whedon, Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, Felicia Day and Zack Whedon

Serenity, the return to the 'Verse

Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite, Alan Tudyk, Gina Torres, Nathan Fillion, Sean Maher and Summer Glau

Marvel's the Avengers, the movie that made Superhero History...

Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth

...And the sequel.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe on TV...It's all connected...

B.J. Britt, Chloe Bennett, Ian De Caestecker, Ming-Na Wen, Clark Gregg, Nick Blood, Henry Simmons, Elizabeth Henstridge and Brett Dalton

 Buffy Season 8 covers

Season 9

 Season 10

The gang's all here.

The Future Slayer

Whedon's first arc with the incredible John Cassaday


Sugar Shock

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Superstar-Chapter 64 & 65

Thanks for reading... Follow me on Twitter and Like me on Facebook! Check out previous chapters of   Superstar and samples of my first novel, Facets: Stories of the Mundane and the Weird, here on the blog.  Facets is available on the Kindle Market!

With these two chapters, the first half of Superstar is done. I'm gonna be taking a quick sabbatical 'til I get things straight for the second half of the book. Then I'll be posting again. Working on a couple of other things for the blog too. In the meantime, if you any comments or suggestions, just drop me a comment here or on Twitter (@wlsherrod) or on my author page on Facebook. Thanks again for reading and supporting Facets of Creativity!

Chapter 64: Here We Go Again

“So, another producer wants us to jump through hoops, huh?” Terry asked. He was at home relaxing. Of course, for him that meant practicing more on top of what they’d practiced at rehearsal earlier that day.
“Whoop-tee-doo,” Eric deadpanned. “I’m starting to feel a bit like a sideshow freak.”
“I know. What d’you think, Groove?”
“We’ll see. Russell’s been talkin’ to a guy from Musicmax Records.”
“They must’ve gotten tired of Mikki and his attitude.” Terry smiled.
“Well, it’s not like he was their only act, but it is safe to say.” Eric paused. “Have you heard from Dom?”
“Are you okay?”
“I’ll just have to be, won’t I?” Terry asked.
“Yeah.” Eric sighed. “Terry, why are you doing this?”
“Doing what?”
“Being here with the band. Why are you doing this. What’s your motivation?”
“If you got something on your mind, just say it, Groove.”
Eric sighed. “I think you’re here because you’re mad at Dom for ditching you and you wanna show her up.” Eric raised a hand, stopping Terry before he could speak.
“Yeah, it’s great to have you back with us. You belong here, but the revenge thing, getting back at her, you gotta let it go, cuz. It’s gonna  poison everything you do and you’re too talented to let that happen.”
Terry sighed. “I can’t help it, Groove. I keep thinking about her all the time. ALL the time.”
“You gotta let her go, Terry.”
“I’m tryin’.”
“Try harder.” Eric looked at his watch. “I gotta go. I need a nap before work tonight. “
“Awright, peace.” Terry said as they man-hugged. Eric left and Terry figured he might as well get his mail. There wasn’t much outside of junk mail, a newspaper and a copy of the latest Vibe.
Terry walked into his room and turned on the TV. He went to the kitchen to pour himself a Rum and Coke when a report on Entertainment Tonight made him put the rum down.
Mary Hart was talking. Her lips were moving but Terry couldn’t hear anything she was saying. He assumed it had to do with the video clips of Dominique, in a beautiful, flowing, white wedding dress and veil and a dude, who had to be Kevin Shields, in a sharp black tux. Terry sat heavily on the bed, his legs failing to support him. A hole existed where his heart was moments ago and he felt himself shutting down, shrinking down a cold lump in the center of himself. Tears rose and Terry buried his face in his hands.
Anger sparked and flared inside of Terry. The fire of it flowed through him like an energizing current that exploded into action. He lashed out, throwing smashing, breaking and screaming anything to express the fury inside him.
When Terry came to himself, his room was a shambles. Amazingly, the window wasn’t broken, though anything else made of glass was. The TV was a smoking ruin and there were holes in the wall and the door. The floor was covered in trash, glass and rubble. Terry surveyed the room. He was a little unnerved by what he’d done. Something caught his eye and he knelt down and picked it up. It was a picture of him and Dom. They looked so happy in the picture. At the moment it was taken, Terry thought that was how they’d be for their rest of their lives. Too bad reality didn’t match up with his dreams.
All the anger, desire and thwarted dreams coalesced and crystallized inside him then. He knew what he had to do.
“You’re not getting away that easily, bitch.” Terry growled as he crumpled the picture.

The phone rang and Eric cursed whoever it was that was disturbing his nap.
“Hello,” He snapped.
“I’ve got to go.”
“What? Who is this?” The flat, robot-like monotone didn’t sound like anyone he knew.
“Groove, I’ve got to go.”
“Terry, is that you?”
“I can’t stay.” Terry droned on. “I have to go.”
“Go where? What are you talking about?”
“To California. To get Dom back.”
“Terry, she’s living her own life now! Let her the fuck go!”
“I can’t,” Terry intoned. “She’s mine, Groove. No one else’s. I’m gonna show her, Groove. I’ll make her see.” Eric was about to speak his mind, but Terry had already hung up.

“Damn, Terry.” The gutbuzz in Eric’s stomach kicked into overdrive. He wanted to do something, but he didn’t know what that would be. Terry was grown and was capable of making his own decisions and, regrettably, his own mistakes.

Chapter 65: Leavin’ On a Jet Plane

Within a week, Terry had either given away or sold most of his possessions. He’d even managed to sell his car. All he was taking to California was his acoustic guitar, a keyboard and a duffle bag full of clothes. He was waiting on his cab to take him to Midway when there was a knock at the door. He thought it was Eric trying to stop him from leaving.
He was only half right.
“Denise?” Terry said.
“Hi,” She said and sauntered into the bare room. “I was hoping I’d catch you before you left.”
“You like me. I know you do. I can see it in your eyes…feel it when we’re close to each other.” Denise said as she moved closer to him. “You can’t leave. The group needs you…” She caressed his face. “…I need you.” Terry grabbed her hand, effectively stopping her.
“Don’t do that.”
“Why?” Against his better judgment, Terry looked at her: She had on a light blue sundress that contrasted nicely with her light chocolate skin and matched the open toed sandals she wore. Denise’s limpid brown eyes pulled Terry in even as he tried to look away and her shapely body, braless beneath the dress, pulled at his attention as well.
“I…I gotta stay focused.”
“Maybe there’s a reason.” Denise said as she gently pressed the full, sleek and warm length of her body against Terry. “Don’t spoil something that could be a beautiful thing, Terry.” She gently kissed him for emphasis.
Terry reluctantly broke the kiss. “I can’t.” He breathed.
“Yes, you can.” She kissed him again and Terry responded, pulling her closer.
Their embrace grew more and more passionate and Terry started to let himself go and enjoy it. That’s when he saw Dominique in his mind, looking so happy in her wedding dress next to her husband. Anger seeped into him and cooled his ardor. No matter how beautiful Denise was, she wasn’t the one he wanted. He gently pushed Denise away.
“What’s the matter?” She asked. “Why did you stop?”
“Denise, you are an incredible, wonderfully gifted, woman. If things were different, I’d love to be your man…”
“But you’re in love with someone else.”
Terry nodded. “All I see is her and I’m going to get her back.”
“What about your music.”
“I still want that. And it will happen.” Terry gazed straight into Denise’s eyes as he spoke and she saw the fire and absolute certainty there.
“Yeah, it will.” She grinned and kissed his cheek. “Good luck and be careful.” She said and walked out.
Doubt dropped into him and Terry wondered if he might be making a mistake. He could still go back to Avant Groove, still go to Denise and let her love him like she wanted him to. He could still change his mind.
Then he heard a horn blow out front. He was conflicted for a brief moment, then Dominique’s face appeared in his mind and all doubts fled and were replaced by a diamond hard resolve.
The horn blew again and Terry grabbed his belongings and walked out to take back what was his.


(c)2015 W.L.& Courtney Sherrod