L.J.

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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    Latest Articles

    Latest Topics

    2

    Fifity Shades of Fan Fiction

    Fan fiction has a rather negative image within the literary genres. Works such as Fifty Shades of Grey do not not necessarily help the genre to renegotiate its stand in the literary world. Why is it that fan fiction is oftentimes seen as problematic? What are some positive examples? What might be the future of fan fiction?

    • For a shining example of the heights that fan fiction can achieve, I would suggest looking into Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality. It takes the source material and elevates it into something brilliant, profound and even life-altering. – Lokesh Krishna 4 months ago
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    • This is going to be a long comment but first, I really do think this question is relevant so good job. I just want to add a few things (mainly for the future writer): I gather that by fanfiction you mean those posted online for nonprofit purposes. It would be interesting to compare the impression people have of those works in comparison to "Wicked", modern Dracula/Frankenstein/etc. rewrites, those based on an existing work (ex. "Dorothy must Die" by Danielle Paige), etc. The distinction between professionally written "fanwork" and others might influence what you consider examples of fanfiction in your second question. For the first question, is there a conclusion to be drawn from people's impression of works when produced professionally? Do people assume that had a work been good it would have been published, and so works online are thus of lesser quality? Or is online fanfiction mocked because of the idea that the internet is a young person's playground, and thus online writers must be younger/less experienced? There is also the notion that fanwork is necessarily erotica which might make it seem cheaper to some. [Note: While it is also possible to discuss the pros/cons of fanworks in terms of queer representation/copyright/etc. the best thing about your question is that it's focused on people's perception of fanwork, so I wouldn't broaden the topic to include its actual workings]. For the third, one can look at the influence fans have on writers: it would be easier to see said influence on shows, but it would be interesting to see if book authors are influenced similarly. I guess my only issue then is that your topic is still very broad, and all three of your questions could make separate articles. I'm not sure I would ask you to focus on one question yet, but it would definitely be to your advantage. Still, an interesting topic. – Rina Arsen 4 months ago
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    • As a personal opinion (haven't read but watched one movie and have heard a lot of talk about it's origins), and one the future writer might use, I see it as completely irrelevant that it started out as a fan fiction because the end product doesn't rely on the source of inspiration. It's just a big messed up relationship. The fact that we constantly tie it back to it's fanfiction origins is proof that fanfic has a bad connotation, one that we should address and assess. If it doesn't affect the content, why are we still bringing it up? Why is it such a big deal? Readers of this article should ask themselves those questions. – Slaidey 3 months ago
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    • While the Artifice has received quite a few articles on this topic which are still in the publishing queue(I myself edited one today), one important derivative aspect which could be looked into is the availability of online portals for people to write out their fantasies for others to read and how this has radically altered the way people view these writings, what with everyone considering themselves a great writer.(No offense intended) – Vishnu Unnithan 1 month ago
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    Overshooting the Storyline

    There have been several productions of the same genre or universe in the past years. Be it superhero movies, the stretched out story of the Hobbit, or the current bombardment of Star Wars films. When does a genre or a story overstep its zenith? How do the financial aspects of the film industry interfere with storytelling (profit vs quality)? What are some of the counterexamples? What makes a franchise become successful in the long run?

    • There was a brief plague of two part finales: Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Twilight, Divergent. I have to say that having not read any Harry Potter books, watching one of the films felt rushed to me and that there were bits that were underdeveloped or could have been opened up and I would have enjoyed the extra time spent on them. But then the film serves a different purpose to the book. – jackanapes 3 months ago
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    • Here is an interesting infographic from Forbes on the highest grossing film franchises. https://www.forbes.com/sites/niallmccarthy/2015/04/13/the-most-successful-movie-franchises-in-history-infographic/#422c942e5d22 – Hyacinth 3 months ago
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    • This might be simplistic, but I think a storyline overshoots when you end up with 3- to 6-hour films covering just one part of the story (i.e., Breaking Dawn, Deathly Hallows). Unless you're a diehard fan--and if you are, that's absolutely fine--you're probably not going to want to sit through that. Case in point: I like LOTR, but I won't sit through the movies because they're so freaking long. – Stephanie M. 3 months ago
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    The Impact of Product Placement in Hollywood

    Be it Coca Cola in Jurassic Park or FedEx in Cast Away, product placement is an important component of the advertisement and film industry. It might be interesting to look at the effects such product placement has on the production of a movie. How are the products placed? Does it change the storyline? Has the production team compromise creativity for the product?

    • This is a really great topic. I would also add that the writer consider some of the ways that product placement has been lampooned by comedic films and satirists e.g. Wayne's World or Colbert and his Doritos. – Jonathan Judd 3 months ago
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    • I think it would be interesting to examine realistic vs. unrealistic use of product placement, as well. It seems to me like there are times product placement can make a movie seem more believable, whereas other times it's obviously only being done for the money. – Ben Woollard 3 months ago
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    • This is a great topic as I always find it so easy to differentiate between a product being in a shot for pure decoration and being there for product placement. I think it also might be good to make a connection to product placement in music videos, which I found to be so prevalent nowadays. But otherwise, Josie and the Pussycats movie made a lot of accurate and comedic references to product placement and the effects it can have on audiences. – giorginamckay 2 months ago
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    The Legacy of J.R.R. Tolkien

    From constructing his own languages to developing the universum of Middle Earth, J. R. R. Tolkien has left its mark on the literary world, as well as the field of linguistics. It might be interesting to look at how much his work has influenced the fantasy genre. How does Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit compare to newer conceptions like e.g. Game of Thrones? What elements of Tolkien’s work carried on to other fantasy narratives?

    • Another interesting aspect to this topic could be to compare the mythologies underlying Tolkien's work and other more contemporary mythology-based fantasy fiction novels - particularly those that articulate the hero's journey. – Toula 3 months ago
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    Visualizing Terror: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

    Visualizing terror is no easy task for filmmakers and writers, given the sensitive nature of the topic. Several productions have tackled the subject in various ways with shifting point of views and emphasises. Examples include Air Force One (1997), Bloody Sunday (2002), Omagh (2004), Syriana (2005), Munich (2005), World Trade Center (2006), The Baader Meinhof Complex (2008), Olympus Has Fallen (2013). How is terror visualized? What purpose does it serve to portray it? Where does fiction start?

    • "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" just serves as a good title. It might be referenced in the article, though it is a fictional event that focuses not on terror but more on coping with it. It might be a good starting point in the article as well, maybe with a quote or Illustration or something. – L.J. 4 months ago
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    • This is an interesting topic that could be filled in with a little more shape if you pinpoint the aspects of film-making or writing the author should/could use. Perhaps a suggestion on not only how terror is visualized but also on the politics of representation and the limits of the visual. – Jonathan Judd 4 months ago
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    Superheroes and Mental Illness: Possibilities and Responsibilities

    Considering the relevance of mental instabilities for a noticeable number of famous superheroes, that are not only loved because of this part of their character, but who also integrate it into their appearance (e.g. Rorschach), it would be interesting to elaborate on the influence and the significance of highlighting such a topic for mainstream audiences. The apparent depression Batman appears to suffer from, as well as childhood trauma from his parents being killed, make for a lot of dramatic effects in the narration. How does this influence awareness of mental illness and how does it highlight this issue for a larger audience? There are several other examples like Captain America’s PTSD, Hulk’s anger management, basically all of the Watchmen’s personality disorders, etc. It would also be interesting to look into movie adaptions, which tend to reach a larger audience and expand on the reception of such characters, as well as discussing the responsibility of the production with clarifying misinformation about mental illness.

    • I think there is a responsibility of naming and presenting positive images of mental illness in the superhero genre. Many superheroes do exhibit symptoms and signs of mental illness, but the average reader might not make the connection because I think a lot of these mental illnesses are passed off as being "character flaws" to make heroes seem more tragic (Batman and his depressive symptoms being the result of his parents' deaths. Now tragedy can cause depression but its not the only factor). You also don't often see these heroes coping in healthy ways (cough cough batman sometimes). So there's a ton of issues to be explored between people even acknowledging officially that certain characters do have mental illness and whether these characters are supporting stereotypes of their mental illness, especially that the mentally ill are violent and dangerous (this applies to super villains as well). – LauraKincaid 8 months ago
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    • I think this is super important! I really wish they would show Steve Rogers dealing with his PTSD. I thought they did a pretty good job with Tony Stark in Iron Man 3, and I'd love to see more of it! Not only mental illness, but just disabilities in general. I was super disappointed when Hawkeye wasn't deaf, or at least not portrayed as such, in the Marvel movies. I really think they could do a lot with that! – Jenae 8 months ago
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    • MOON KNIGHT/CRAZY JANE Positive examples? Maybe?Also, 'Lazarus fever' may have some thematic relevance in Batman stories though I haven't really thought about it much.Maybe the entire 'hero complex' that necessitates superheroism is a mental illness, I mean, you have to be a little crazy to dress up as a bat. Is this what the surface-level illnesses represent? Maybe incorporate addiction (Roy Harper)?Love this topic! – m-cubed 8 months ago
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    • The Sentry is another character worth looking at in a piece like this. – Richard Marcil 8 months ago
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    • Maybe look to the new 52 Batman, he is more emotionally disturbed than any incarnation in my reading. – TheSwampThing 8 months ago
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    • Iron Man is an alcoholic, it's been portrayed many times in comics - I don't know if that's a good example, but it's def there. And, Hawkeye (which was mentioned) in the comics is deaf as well, and it is mentioned several times! Harley Quinn would be a good addition and Joker in some instances as well. – scole 8 months ago
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    • Jessica Jones has PTSD as a result of rape, which could also be addressed in this article. – vaidyadoc 7 months ago
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    Latest Comments

    Great article. Well written and researched. Especially the history of trolling, connecting the past with the present, shows how integrated trolling is into human societies.

    The Art of Trolling: A Philosophical History of Rhetoric

    Nice article. it helps to make abstract art more approachable for somebody not familiar with the workings of the art world.

    Understanding Abstract Art

    It is really interesting to see how a pregnancy was such a big deal a few decades ago and now there is a whole rather problematic appeal to highlight pregnancy stories in the most ridiculous ways – e.g. in Fringe, Prometheus, etc.

    Why Wouldn't Everyone Love Lucy?

    Well researched article with good and many examples. The tendency of most TV shows and movies to emphasize on romantic relationships is oftentimes lacking in depth. That there is much more to any relationship, as the article points out, is more of a secondary part of the story. It would certainly be refreshing to see the reality of relationships in all their occurrences portrayed more often. That there is a best friend in a romantic relationship is something that could be the basis for a less bland storytelling.

    Relationship Entertainment: Navigating the Struggle between Romance and Friendship on TV

    Rereading as a way to re-examine the self appears to be one of the most valuable things when taking a an old book from the shelf. The comforting feeling while revisiting places that were stored away in memory seems to be of great value when rereading books from ones childhood. Depending on the publishing date, the country, and the overall development one took, rereading a beloved children’s book can yield an unknown appreciation for the author, and for the story itself. The inevitable changes that one undergoes from first opening a book to returning to the story not only produces an affirmation, but also enables a reflection on the characters, the choice of words, the style of writing, and an overall evolution in the understanding of a book.

    Why Reread Books? The Pros and Cons of Rereading

    „[Y]ou can have action and drama, without giving the audience seizures with over-the top action sequences“ – that seems to be more apparent with every new 3D, superhero, overblown-hyped film coming out, alike the recurring battles between dwarfs and elves, robots and aliens. All happening in front of a blurred out background without any attention paid to detail, making it easy for the eyes but rather bland for the mind. Burton’s eye for detail and intrepidity in challenging his audience, advances him out of the ordinary and into an outstanding filmmaker, who proves „Originality is the key for longevity in a creative industry“. Well written take on the mechanisms of the entertainment industry, and the connection between creator and audience.

    The Nightmare Before Christmas: Why Being Unique in Hollywood Still Matters