Saturday, August 31, 2013

Where I've been and future plans

Well I'd better let everyone know that I am still here in the mortal world. I've been on the road the last week with the addition of spending time with my family along the way. I will be continuing my education at Brigham Young University now. I will be shifting my focus and efforts to making sure I get really good grades in my class. However there will be at least five films coming out at the end of this year that I plan to see and then review here.
1. Ender's Game
2. Thor: The Dark World
3. Frozen
4. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
5. Walking with Dinosaurs: The 3D Movie
I know I've said I'd start posting short stories on this blog. I will try to do it at least this next week.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Setting up new computer

No reviews here. I've been bad about posting this week so I'll do one now. Right now I'm blogging from my iPhone which is an interesting experience. My brother is helping me to set up my new laptop for school. I am impressed with all the things that I can do. They are too numerous to list so I won't. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Should story adaptations always be the same?

I've heard a lot of negative comments over the last two years of certain books and stories being adapted into films. A lot of the times the plots are different from the original source material and people use that to decide that the films are no good. That isn't always the case though. Let me show you some examples of films adapted from stories that did very well.
From what my friends have told me if they had stuck one-hundred percent true to the book it would not have done as well.
Ah yes, the classic story. True it stayed very true to the original fairy tale. However there were a few things taken out, like the Queen's first two attempts to murder Snow White via a poisoned comb and a poisoned corset. Also in the original story the Queen died when she screamed so loud she broke a blood vessel while in the film she fell to her death off a cliff with a boulder following in pursuit.
Very big differences from the source material here. Elements of mysticism and high fantasy in the film adaptation of the beloved children's book. Nevertheless the film did an outstanding job.
Now you're probably wondering "Wait. This film stayed very true to the books! Why is he posting it here?" Yes it's true that this film stayed very true to the books. However there were some differences between the original novels and the films. The incident involving Tom Bombadil was never featured in the films. Also the encounter with Shelob happened in The Two Towers, not The Return of the King. If films had to stay completely true to the books then these films should've been hated.
Last one. I promise. This film adaptation was definitely a big success, yet it too was very different from the book. There were fifteen dinosaur species in the book and only seven were shown in the film. Also two of the films species were not featured in the first book. There was also a major plot element where the characters see Velociraptors sneaking onto the boat and they try to call in to let the people know what's happening. That was completely scrapped from the film.
One thing we could possibly look at with film adaptations of books and stories is if they capture the spirit of the original tales or not. That was how the author of How to Train Your Dragon, Cressida Cowell, looked at the film of her book. Diana Wynne Jones knew that the adaptation of Howl's Moving Castle, yet she was okay with that. I've been thinking that maybe we go to the movies expecting to see the books. Maybe we shouldn't. There probably comes a time when a story will need to be re-imagined. After all the original fairy tales we grew up with were edited and changed because the original versions could get pretty dark and graphic. I doubt parents would allow children to read or see a Cinderella story where the stepsisters cut off their heels to try and make the slipper fit. Maybe one of the keys to re-imagining a story is to stay true to the spirit it had. The time will come when we will need to re-imagine our stories. If not they will most likely not survive to entertain the next generation.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters review

Sea of Monsters. What exactly does that bring to your mind?

Seas infested with sea reptiles?

Krakens attacking ships?

Sea Serpents on the rampage? 

Well not exactly in this film. In this film adaptation of the second book of the Percy Jackson series Percy and his friends at Camp Half-Blood find themselves in a dire situation. The tree which gives Camp Half-Blood its protection has been poisoned and monsters are starting to invade the camp. The only thing that can reverse the poisoning is the legendary Golden Fleece which is located in the Sea of Monsters, which in the series is the ocean where heroes like Jason and Odysseus sailed during their quests. It has moved west like Olympus and the Underworld and is located in the part of the ocean we like to call the Bermuda Triangle. So that's why stuff gets lost in that ocean. They're eaten by monsters. Anyway Clarisse La Rue, daughter of Ares, is given the task of going to retrieve the fleece. Percy and his friends, however, decide to go along. Along the way they encounter many monsters of the myths and learn important lessons of trust, friendship, forgiveness, and of choosing our course in life. 
I think this film teaches a good lesson on believing in ourselves. Percy in this film is starting to doubt himself and wondering if he's really good enough. He's starting to attribute his success to luck. However as the film progresses he uses his skills to help his friends survive the dangers of the Sea of Monsters. Annabeth's past comes to life as they encounter Tyson who is the half-brother of Percy. She holds a grudge against Cyclopes because they took the life of a friend of hers years ago. Throughout the film her dislike for Tyson's race is evident. However eventually she learns to not hold Tyson accountable for the actions of others. Probably one of the biggest lessons in the film is that our paths are not set in stone. We can choose our destinies in life.
Admittedly I was furious with the first film. I didn't like how they went a different course from the books. However as I saw this movie I was calmer and I enjoyed it. They did work a little harder to be closer to the book this time than before. There were still plenty of differences from the book. For example they didn't encounter Circe, though she was mentioned. True I wish that the films have stuck closer to the books. However I don't think that I should condemn this movie because of how different from the book it was. If you insist that film adaptations have to be a hundred-percent the same as the book then you might not like this film. However if you want a good adventure to enjoy you might want to set sail on this quest.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Friday, August 16, 2013

Creatures for Book 2

Hi everyone. One of the mistakes I made with my first book was the use of too many different species. That was something I was hoping to correct with the second installment in the Myths of Dymos series. However there was something I wanted help with: I want to know which creatures you would like to see in this next adventure. This is just a list of what I was considering thus far. I'd greatly appreciate your feedback and suggestions on what you would like to see Josun and his friends encounter in the land of Bylouth. If you know of something that isn't on the list that you would like to see in book two please let me know. Just post your suggestions in the comments section below, or if you do not have an account connected to Blogger please feel free to comment on Facebook. Now on to the list:

Roomar Vulshur
Oberus (possible new creature or name for new character. Haven't decided yet.)
Boar based off of the boars from Greek Mythology
Deer based off of the Ceryneian Hind
8-legged horse
Sea Serpent
Magic users (wizards, witches, etc)

Parasol Ant (what the book Walking with Beasts called the ants from the first part of the documentary)
Woolly Rhino 
Woolly Mammoth
Cave Bear 
Cave Hyena 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Review of The Avengers

Well since I'm still getting back into the swing of things I figured I'd do a review on one of the movies I've seen recently. I've already tweeted that I've seen this film. However now I can actually share my thoughts on it.

Yep. That's right. One of the biggest superhero films as of yet. You have all probably seen this film already so I don't have to worry on spoilers. Loki returns and steals the Tesseract so he can lead an army of aliens to Earth and subject the planet to him. As a result Nick Fury calls on several superheroes whom S.H.I.E.L.D. had come into contact with like Iron Man, Captain America, and others to help stop Loki. Sadly the team finds themselves at odds with each other and Loki escapes not long after they capture him. However they learn to put aside their differences and work together to stop Loki and his armies. 
To say this film had no action and made you go to sleep would be a really big lie. Action starts almost right away and you're awake throughout the film. However good the action may be I try to look more at the story of a film. It was pretty clever to use several superhero films to lead up to this moment. I've been trying to think about what lessons we could take away from this movie. The best I could come up with is teamwork and friendship. Everyone here had to put aside differences to save the world. Tony Stark and Steve Rogers worked well when they had to get the engine of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s flying base, the Helicarrier, working again even though not too long beforehand they were at each other's throats. Nothing like a massive airship falling out of the sky to get priorities straight right? The Incredible Hulk was also able to put his anger and strength to good use by taking out a great deal of the invasion and making sure Loki didn't do any more damage. Thor also gave some good advice on his foolish choices of the past. If you think about it you can pick up on an anti-war theme. S.H.I.E.L.D. had been studying weapons of H.Y.D.R.A. as one way to protect the Earth. However he goes with what he thought was a better idea: A team working together to achieve the impossible. It is when we put aside our differences and work together for the common good that mountains are moved. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Thoughts on Dymos

Time to do another blog post. I think what I can do now is give you some ideas as to what I hope to do with book two of the Myths of Dymos. I won't give set-in-stone ideas yet. Whether or not I do will have to wait. What I plan to share here is some things I would like to try and accomplish with the sequel. 

While I did a good job story wise for the first book of the Myths of Dymos I didn't really show the world. There's so much to a world that we are often not told except in those guidebooks to the world. I didn't really share what Bylouthian culture is like. What forms of art do they celebrate? What are some of the festivities and holidays they have? What of their history? The people have lived in that land for over a thousand years and I'd like to show what has come as a result. 

I did show that Dymos has a great ecological diversity. Perhaps I did a little more telling than showing. I focused a little more on the amount of wildlife instead of the quality. I didn't show what the animals were like and how the people have learned to live with them other than they try to avoid the predators when they're hungry. Have they used some of the prehistoric animals as beasts of burden? What's the lifestyle of some of the mythological races like minotaurs and satyrs? Do some of the prehistoric animals make good meals?  Are there any magical plants at all? So much that could be done in a series that I hope to be able to do in the next book. 

One of the biggest things I hope to be able to improve on with the next book is to have the characters learn important lessons on how to better themselves. We all have areas that we need to improve on. Everyone has a challenge that they need to overcome. Writing a good story is good and all. However I think it should be a way to help us learn to be better. I'm not saying that the only way we can ever overcome our problems is to go on some mythical quest. Those are relatively scarce these days. However we can try to show people examples of overcoming challenges so they can have hope and try to overcome their problems. Some may say "But I'm not them. I'm me!" That's what makes you special. You can overcome anything you face if you try. You can write your own stories. If you fall, don't worry. Just pick yourself up and try again. Never give up. 

I did learn of a good story element that I would like to use more in book two: Plot twists. A story can sometimes do what life does and throw at you a sudden, unexpected twist and turn. I don't think I used that a lot in book one. Of course I was still relatively new to writing by then. Now it's something I can improve on with this sequel.

You are probably wondering when my next book will be available. Truth is that I don't know. I'll keep writing and let you know when it is done. Of course I may go back and work on the draft because it probably won't be ready first go. Some authors spend years perfecting their work. I'll do my best to not take that long. There will  be other events going on in my life that will also call for my time, like education. I'll just do my best to write when I can. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The wait is over.

Thank you all for your patience with this post.

Okay, now it's time for me to update this blog. You're all probably wondering where I've been for the last two years. Well, here's the answer: I've been serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I've been serving in the Family and Church History Headquarters mission of the church. It's there where we help people to do their family history. I served there helping to correct information in Family Tree.

What is Family Tree? Family Tree is this website where you can work on finding records for your ancestors. It allows you to do either a pedigree or fan chart view of your family tree. You can also post photos and stories of your ancestors on there. And here's the part many should like:

It's all free!

Anyway, so I've gotten to become interested in doing Family History and learning about my ancestors. I learned that many of my English ancestors were blacksmiths. I've also learned of some of the trials and challenges my ancestors had to go through. It's all so fascinating about what you can find in your family history. If you'd like to try out Family Tree go to and click on Family Tree at the top. You will have to register before you can use it. It's a service that is available to all people. I would highly recommend using it. I know my life has been better since getting into my family history.

Friday, August 2, 2013

I'm Back!

You probably already know this. I have returned to the world of blogging. I'll do a blog post sometime in the near future so you can know where I've been. For now, let's celebrate that the author of The Myths of Dymos is back!