Tag Archives: Lord Of The Rings

Five reasons “The Two Towers” is the worst Lord of the Rings film.

Five ReasonsCritics claim that the middle film of a trilogy is the most difficult. They’re wrong.

The opening has the advantage of introduction. More time is allotted to get to know the people, setting, rules. Caring about the characters is more critical than advancing the plot.

The ending has the advantage of drama: Everything hinges on individual moments.

The penultimate installment has its own advantages, though. New threads can be introduced that don’t require immediate resolution. The characters are established. The center of a trilogy is the only place you can get away with episodic cliffhangers (the kind television takes for granted).

That’s why The Empire Strikes Back is the strongest STAR WARS. There’s no time wasted on Luke’s background, Han’s motives or Leia’s personality. Obi-Wan’s stoicism sets up Yoda’s hilarity (which wouldn’t be funny if we’d met Yoda first). Throw-away lines from the first movie (“You think a princess and a guy like me…?”) become whole plots, because there’s time for development.

Events aren’t concluded. Heroes stumble from bad to worse ’til credits roll. It’s fantastic.

Despite the gooey fun at the trilogy’s center (like a tootsie pop), The Two Towers managed to repeatedly disappoint, though sandwiched between two of the greatest fantasy adaptations of all time. Read More →

The Continent of Lost Ideas

foggy_valley2Some people believe that coming up with ideas for stories is the hard part. I disagree. In fact, I have ideas for new stories several times a day.

The hard part is taking the idea for a story and molding it into some meaningful presentation. There’s a big difference between, “He finds an evil ring of power” and The Lord of The Rings.

I’ve met hundreds of people who aren’t writers, but have ideas for a novel or a movie. (Sometimes they want me to write the story and then split the credit 50/50 if it’s wildly successful.) I’ve also been asked whether I’m afraid of anyone stealing my ideas.


It takes more than a really good idea to write a bestseller or blockbuster. A lot more. No, the only intellectual property concern I have is for full text completed works. Besides which, there’s nothing new under the sun and every idea you can imagine has been done to death. It’s how the story is told which makes a good read.

I’ve lost thousands of ideas in that gap between idea and story. If I don’t have something down on paper (literal or digital), the concept is eventually lost. (This has happened with musical compositions as well as story ideas, which makes me sadder because those are rarer.)

Perhaps these lost ideas wander the earth and congregate in some far off mystical place. Hopefully I’ll be able to visit eventually and get some of those ideas back.

But in the meanwhile, the blog seems like an appropriate place to share my ideas. First, I can create a record of them, and someday when I’m bored and looking through old posts, or just want to work something but don’t know what, I can call up all the posts of story ideas and see what tickles my fancy.

It also will allow feedback from you if one of these suddenly appeals to you.

Two ideas that I want to get down immediately have both come from dreams. (Dreams are a superb and source of raw ideas, but they have a poor story structure; again, the hard part comes in the craft.)

  • Post-apocalyptic search for his life-mate
    • There has been a major catyclism; war, natural disaster, whatever. Whatever it was destroyed whole cities and ruptured the fabric of society. In the midst of this chaos, our hero has taken leadership over a small band of people and helped them survive. But he was seperated from his lover before the disaster. Once he has decided that his ragtag band can now survive without his leadership, he prepares to depart. “Where are you going?” they ask. “To find _______.” (The name of his true love.) “That’s crazy!” they protest. “She must have died! Even IF she survived the initial disaster, there’s no way she can survive the current aftermath of (insert other dangers, radiation, wild animals, bandits, confused attack robots). And even IF she survives it, there’s no way YOU’LL survive (current dangers) and even IF she survives AND you survive…you’ll never find her.” He responds, “Well, I have to try,” and leaves anyway.


  • The dragon thief
    • In this particular world, there’s a fantasy airforce of sorts, dragonriders who make up an elite corps of soldiers like modern Airborne Rangers or something. The protagonist of this story isn’t one of these soldiers, but he is a daredevil thrillseeker. He decides to steal one of their dragons right out from under them. The modern equivalent would be a mobster trying to steal a jet out from under the airforce. This is even further complicated by the fact that in the story, the jet (dragon) actually has loyalties to its rightful owners.