I've been writing since fourth grade and blogging since 2014. I've been a nerd my whole life.

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Latest Articles


Latest Topics


Are Detectives the Main Characters in their Own Stories?

An interesting trend in mystery fiction is the "outsider" nature of the classic detective. These characters – Hercule Poirot, Sherlock Holmes, Adrian Monk, Shawn Spencer, Scooby Doo, etc – seem to exist for the purpose of helping other people’s stories reach resolution. Although they are often the perspective characters in their stories, it can be argued that the main characters are the victims and the perpetrators of the crimes being investigated. Those are the characters who are causing events to happen and having events happen to them.
Consider the stories where a detective finds themselves in the middle of a mysterious situation they were not hired to investigate, and yet they decide to root out the who, how, and why for the net benefit of everyone else.
An article on this topic could explore why detective characters are so often written this way. Why does this affect the mystery genre in particular? Is this a net benefit or problem with the genre?


    Urban Fantasy vs Cosmic Horror

    In the Urban Fantasy genre – Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, etc. – magic and magical creatures exist alongside humans, but humans don’t know about them.
    The Cosmic Horror genre – i.e. H.P. Lovecraft – has a similar rule, except if humans see "past the veil," what they see is usually terrifying and even madness-inducing.
    Meanwhile, in the Percy Jackson series, a demigod can see monsters just fine, but looking at a god or titan’s true divine form is hazardous to their health. This seems to be an overlap between Urban Fantasy and Cosmic Horror. Similarly, the existence of Squibs and Obscurials in Fantastic Beasts lore sometimes approaches Cosmic Horror territory.
    Compare and contrast the two genres. What other overlap exists between them? Where do world-builders and storytellers make distinctions between the genres and why? Do interesting themes and lessons emerge when you consider Urban Fantasy from a Cosmic Horror perspective or vice versa?


      The Dark Knight: How Do You Measure The "Best" Sequel?

      The Dark Knight is widely regarded as one of the best movies of its kind. It is officially a sequel to Batman Begins, but unlike most sequels, audiences don’t really need to watch the first movie to understand or enjoy the plot of the second. The only major plotline that continues between the two (apart from Bruce Wayne Being Batman, of course) is Bruce and Rachel’s relationship ("If there is ever a time when Gotham doesn’t need Batman, we can be together.")
      Does the stand-alone nature of this movie make it a better sequel? Or a worse one? What metrics do you use to measure the quality of a sequel? We don’t determine the quality of a horror movie by how much it makes us laugh, for example. Do we determine the quality of a sequel by how much it depends on the story of the first movie?
      Compare to Terminator 2, Rocky 2, John Wick 2, Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back, and other movies considered some of the best sequels of all time.

      • Godfather 2, Aliens, Toy Story 2, Logan as well. – Sunni Ago 4 months ago
      • I think it's important to remember the difference between this sequel and the other's you named-- source material. I'm not saying it lacks originality, I adore THE DARK KNIGHT but there were characters and relationships that we as a culture were familiar with before the first film even released too. Might be interesting to explore the effect it had – hudsonmakesmovies 4 months ago
      • Also Back to the Future Part II, Shrek 2, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, X-Men 2, Spiderman 2... – noahspud 4 months ago

      Why Are There So Many Neurodivergent Super-Detectives?

      The list of fictional characters with relatable representation of neurodivergence (ADHD, autism, OCD, et cetera) has a lot of detective characters on it. Examples include Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Benoit Blanc, Adrian Monk, Shawn Spencer, and Sonja Cross from The Bridge.
      Some of these characters were created before the diagnoses became popular, and yet they match the symptoms remarkably well. Their special interests and hyper-focus help them notice details others might miss. At the same time, their unique way of seeing the world often separates them from society.
      Analyze various fictional detectives and consider why so many of them are neurodivergent. Is there some reason neurodivergence would make someone a better detective, as opposed to some other career? Do these characters run the risk of making their diagnosis their entire personality and not being fully developed characters?


        Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency: Hard to Adapt?

        Douglas Adams’ foray into detective fiction, with his iconic twist of science fiction and extremely British absurdist comedy, was a novel called Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and its sequel, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul. These books have been adapted into two TV shows, one on BBC4 and one on BBC America. The books and TV shows are all quite different from each other; even the character of Dirk Gently changes a bit between adaptations.
        Compare and contrast the book(s) with the TV shows. Why did the shows change so much? Is there something "unadaptable" about Adams’ original work?


          The Red Ten vs The Boys

          From 2011 to 2017, Tyler James and Cesar Feliciano created a ten-issue comic book series in which a parody of the Justice League were mysteriously murdered in a plot eerily similar to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. As in Christie’s novel, it was slowly revealed that the superheroes were being killed because they were guilty of dark secrets.
          This series bears a resemblance to The Boys, the comic series by Garth Ennis currently being adapted into a TV show. This series has its own parody of the Justice League, hiding their own dark secrets. The titular characters, the Boys, set out to test the heroes’ limits and, if necessary, deal out bloody justice.
          Compare and contrast these series, their characters, their themes, etc.


            "Gods" in the MCU: Are Any of Them Worthy?

            In Thor: Love and Thunder, Gorr the God Butcher wanted to destroy all the deities in the MCU. His motivation was he had found the god of his civilization quite disappointing, and he assumed all deities were just as selfish and uncaring. The movie hoped the audience would think Gorr was wrong because Thor, the god of Thunder, is not selfish. Unfortunately, we have not met many other "god" characters in the MCU with redeeming qualities.
            Analyze the MCU characters referred to as gods or god-like beings – not only the Asgardians but also Dormammu from Dr. Strange, Ego from Guardians of the Galaxy, Arishem from Eternals, the Egyptian gods from Moon Knight, and Zeus. How valid was Gorr’s anti-god position? Is there a deeper meaning in this repeated theme?
            Consider the fact that Odin said, "We are not gods," but other characters nonetheless refer to Asgardians as gods. Does a character need to be chosen by a mortal civilization to "count" as a god?


              Do Disabled Characters Need to be Played by Disabled Actors?

              Movies and TV shows often feature able-bodied actors/actresses playing disabled characters. Some audience members with disabilities are not content to see characters who are like them; some of them believe these characters must be played by people who actually have the disability they are portraying. Discuss the validity of this argument and the validity of the counterargument: representation doesn’t matter any less if it’s just acting.
              Examples for the discussion include Ben Affleck in The Accountant and Daredevil, Charlie Cox in Daredevil, Patrick Stewart in X-Men, Bryan Cranston in The Upside, Freddie Highmore in The Good Doctor, Danny Pudi in Community, and Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man.

              • Scholars who have been developing important advancements in the field of Disability Studies over the last 30 years have established through their work that it is not necessary to use euphemisms to refer to disabled people because it creates confusion about the important distinction between “disability” and “impairment.” – T. Palomino 8 months ago
              • Hey, thanks for this! I'm disabled myself (cerebral palsy/Asperger's), and I can see both sides of this argument. For instance, if you want to show a severe case of CP, where the person experiences quadriplegia and the inability to speak, for instance, it might be difficult to find an actor who fits that profile. But at the same time, that leads back to the question of why the acting arena has been so "closed" to people with disabilities over the centuries, so that actors with disabilities can't make spaces for themselves. I personally have experience in theater, where I believe I was denied roles not necessarily because of ableism, but just because the concepts of inclusion and modification were not part of consciousness yet. So when I see actors and actresses like Ali Stoker (Stroker? Her last name escapes me), getting roles on Broadway, I feel like we're progressing. But then I see, for instance, able-bodied actors still being cast for roles like Crutchie in Newsies, and I'm like, just, why? When there are a ton of ambulatory actors out there who still use or have experiences with mobility aids? And, as noted with Rain Man, why are we giving Oscars to able-bodied actors for portraying disabled people, especially in a way that continues to feed inspiration porn? So all that to say...yeah, please write this. – Stephanie M. 8 months ago
              • This is something I've pondered often. Some actors are able to play a good role and pull it off but those with the actual disabilities and have the knack for acting should be considered first for those roles. Granted, sometimes--and often--Hollywood doesn't try to be politically correct in its casting. This stems from various reasons, including household name. – Montayj79 7 months ago
              • This is a difficult one. If acting can be difficult and tiring for people without any disability imagine how strenuous it'll be for a person with a disability - the shooting and re-shooting, the long scripts, the long nights, the travel and moving from one location to another, etc. It would really be difficult – Laurika Nxumalo 7 months ago
              • I don't think so. Coming from a guy who has Autsim, I don't think an actor has to be disabled to play a disabled role. All that matters is can the person act? – JohnMcKinney 5 months ago

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              Latest Comments

              I recommend Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. I’d say that movie takes the multiverse concept to some very good conclusions, such as mixing different animation styles to visually show different universes intersecting and exploring ideas of destiny through the lens of Spider-Man, Spider-Gwen, and their relationship. It goes even deeper than the first movie in the series.
              I wish I’d had the chance to include that movie in my article, but the two were released at about the same time.

              Marvel Movies and the Multiverse: Different Worlds, Same People

              I imagine the trick with YA fiction in particular is how quickly young adults grow up. If an author takes “too long,” the intended audience of the first book in a series may not be in the target demographic anymore by the time the story is complete. Imagine if A Song of Ice and Fire or the Kingkiller Chronicles were intended for young audiences. There would be a lot of kids growing up to be very disappointed adults.

              How Does a YA Series Remain Whole as it Grows?

              As far as I know, one of the original scripted web series on YouTube, lonelygirl15, could fit the analog horror genre. As a classic vlog-style video series, it has become nostalgic the same way the horror classics like Halloween are nostalgic.

              Analog Horror: Analyzing an Eerily Nostalgic Genre

              As a Christian, I personally can’t abide the way media suggests sex outside of marriage is okay, and even sex scenes featuring married people can put unclean images in people’s minds, tempting them to unclean thoughts and sinful actions.
              But it’s also not my place to demand secular media stop doing this. It’s not like they would listen to me, anyway, and it would be wrong for me to judge or condemn the producers of these movies for sinning in ways that I don’t.
              I can point out that the concept of “free love,” casual sex, and pornography is bad for people’s physical, mental, and emotional health, but again, no one is likely to listen to me.

              The Portrayal of Sex Scenes in Media

              Indeed. Examples of girls who don’t quite fit the stereotype include Jess from New Girl, Juno, and Maria from the Sound of Music. The cure seems to be focusing on the woman’s perspective, so audiences can see more depth than just saving the male lead.

              The Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Manipulative or Unrealistic?

              As female empowerment increases, proponents of female empowerment care more about how women are represented in the movies. The fact that this trend has existed in some form for a long time just raises the question of whether it should still exist or how much it should have changed in recent decades.

              The Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Manipulative or Unrealistic?

              I loved the Thor movie’s take on the Hero’s Journey. At first, it seems like the trip to Jotunheim is the Call to Adventure, but it’s actually Thor’s way of Refusing the true Call to Adventure. It shows he’s not ready for the throne and needs to go on a character-development journey.
              Similarly, the Death of the Mentor trope is subverted by Odin coming back from the Odin Sleep at the very end, and the Fighting with my Father trope becomes a drinking contest/bar brawl with Jane’s father figure.

              Thor's Worthiness to Wield the Hammer

              Wow. Very well done. This article shows a lot of deep thought and analysis of these characters. There were a few surprises, too.

              Disney Protagonists and the Seven Deadly Sins