wtardieu

wtardieu

I'm a Florida native, English professor and writing consultant. I'm also a published author of commercial and literary fiction. I love to challenge traditional perspectives.

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Latest Articles

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Book Series to Television Series: How Does the Story Change When an Author Starts Writing for Viewers Rather than Readers?

With popular book series titles making their way into television, authors seem to be forced to make a switch between writing long-form prose and writing with the television audience in mind. Does the narrative change, for better or for worse, when an author is acutely aware that the next book will be formatted for episodes rather than novels? George R.R. Martin’s celebrated Game of Thrones series is a prime example of how an author feels the pressure of a viewing audience baring down as opposed to writing novels at a leisurely pace. What effect does this have on the story, characters and plot when an author is pressed to satisfy an episodic format at a mainstream pace?

  • Interesting topic. I think J.K. Rowling's Fantastic Beasts screen play is another good example of an author moving from writing for readers to viewers. – C8lin 2 months ago
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  • Would be very interested to read this article, as at the moment I cannot think of another TV show besides GoT where the writer of the books also wrote episodes for the show! – Sonia Charlotta Reini 4 weeks ago
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Cold Feet: Is Disney's Frozen is a Step Backward for Feminist Princesses?

Although Frozen has been praised for introducing the idea of familial true love, both women exhibit poor logic, emotional flightiness, and naivete. While Disney has come a long way from the submissive Snow White to the empowered and knowledge-seeking Rapunzel, Frozen’s leading ladies seem to succumb to manipulation and victimization much more easily than those in earlier films. Are Ana and Elsa representative of a step backward in Disney princess evolution? What characteristics do they exhibit that might be damaging for young girls to emulate?

  • Are all humans not subject to exhibiting poor logic, emotional flightiness, naivete, manipulation, and victimization? Hercules was emotionally flighty near the end of his movie, and he was also heavily manipulated, as have several other men throughout Disney's movies such as Aladdin, Simba, and Tarzan - who are all thought of as very masculine characters, yet they are still subject to emotion, poor logic and so on. Allocating such characteristics as being predominately feminine might need to be analyzed before the question itself is explored. – Steven Gonzales 3 months ago
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  • Very good point. I think it will be helpful to focus mainly on the comparison of these main characters to earlier princesses, rather than the characteristics, themselves. – wtardieu 3 months ago
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  • One thing to consider is whether it's actually a step forward; perhaps their flaws make them more human and relatable. Anyway, that's another viewpoint that could be explored. – Laura Jones 1 month ago
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  • I agree with Steven Gonzales that characters like Elsa and Anna succumb to manipulation and victimization simply because they're human (or in the case of characters like Simba, non-human with human personalities). I don't know of anyone who hasn't been made a victim or manipulated at least once. The key is in how you handle it. I definitely think though, you could make an argument that one sister handled the victimization better than the other. Whether that's Elsa or Anna is a matter of opinion, but there are cases for both sides. – Stephanie M. 2 days ago
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Latest Comments

wtardieu

I’m actually much happier with this ending, though I might be happier still if she died. I was never a fan of the Disney version, Ariel losing most points as an admirable princess for her selfishness, entitlement and trivial longings. I feel that Anderson’s message has to do with coveting. Ariel is a (walking) symbol for the-grass-is-greener cliche. Sure, many princesses seek out a world unknown to them, but for more substantive reasons and at lower stakes. Rapunzel longed for knowledge and her own sense of identity, questioning the reality fed to her by Mother Gothel (Allegory of the Cave motif). Mulan was driven out by the desire to defend family, and even Elsa sought out a haven for herself where she could do no harm. Ariel had a pretty sweet life and, despite the wise advice from everyone, including the person who would ultimately curse her, she still chose to covet. If anything, that’s Anderson’s Christian message. Count your blessings and avoid looking to the other. She rejects her place and role for no practical reason. At least the other princesses had noble reasons (at least, in the Disney versions). So ungrateful. “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Ariel – the first Millennial.

In Defense of the Conclusion to "The Little Mermaid"
wtardieu

I see many influences of Tolkien in The Legend of Zelda. Even the use of a world map in the very first game, and the use of Chosen One and Wise Old Man archetypes harken back to the Tolkien universe. (It is a Gandalf-like figure who gives Link his first sword.) While it’s true that Zelda and many other games incorporate common and ancient mythological archetypes, I think the author has a point that it’s the culture and iterations of those archetypes that are borrowed from LOTR. There is a Death Mountain/Mordor comparison, an into-the-cave-with-a-light-theme, giant spiders, and even a psychic mentor connection between the wise and solemn female royalty figure and the hero (Galadriel and Frodo).

The Influence of J.R.R. Tolkien on Modern Video Gaming
wtardieu

I’ve always loved the games that drop you right back at the checkpoint so you can master whatever gauntlet has you stuck. It exercises endurance, diligence, and adaptability. It forces you to try something different each time. I’ve come to never expect to beat the Dark Souls chapter boss on even the third try. Some of them are so intimidating, I wonder if someone is going to come on screen and go “Just kidding. We had you there. You actually thought beating this thing was possible?” I always know I’m going to have to treat it like a project. Learning through failure and sorting out pros and cons is what the game truly teaches. The hollowing punishments feature seems a lot like choosing an insurance plan. Higher deductible or lower premiums? How much do you really want to pay out-of-pocket?

How Dark Souls Teaches Us to Accept Failure
wtardieu

I think the reason we struggle with this question is because so many of us view writing as an art form. If we view it as a skill, it’s easier to say whether we can teach it or not. The answer for me is a resounding “yes”, but I’m a writing teacher, so I’m biased. Also, the author separates fiction and non-fiction and categorizes one as artistry and the other as critical thinking, but I believe each requires both. I don’t think there is any less artistry in crafting non-fiction or any less critical thinking in crafting something completely made-up. I think writing can be taught if the approach is to guide a student toward having the desired effect on their readers, whatever that may be. Often writing programs will wrangle a genre writer into writing literary fiction on the basis of creating “fine art”. That’s not turning out writers, that’s turning out puppets. I also disagree that writing a book doesn’t necessarily make you a writer. Sure it does, just maybe not a good one.

Can you Teach Someone how to Become a Writer?