Category Archives: Writing


I’m about to embark on two of the toughest pieces I’ve ever written, simultaneously.

As the title of the last volume promised, the story from here on out is breaching new territory. For some, six is where they should jump off this train and leave it at that. If they’re looking for a safe, comfortable slice of horror fantasy nonsense, “The End of Everything” should really be where their reading ends.

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I never want to pull a Rowling

There are very few things that legitimately keep me up at night. I try to live without regrets, so it’s usually only the physical pain that keeps me awake. There are a few exceptions, though, and one of them is eating at me right now.

I never want to pull a Rowling.

In case you haven’t heard, JK Rowling put out a series of books folding Native American culture into her mythology, and establishing a North American branch of her wizarding tradition. My first reaction, of course, was, “That’s ridiculous. The settlers were the wizards. That’s why they were so good at making our nations disappear. Treatorius Disregarda!” My friends and I laughed it off, since we always try to have a sense of humor about what we can’t change. Then I found out exactly what she’d done, and I wasn’t really laughing anymore. To give you an idea: In her mythology she says there were never skinwalkers, only wizards that were persecuted by the establishment of non-magical persons. That encapsulates my first two problems with it, in one statement, but more on that in a bit.

I’m sure her intent was to respond to fans who felt left out of the English-centric Harry Potter series, and wanted to see themselves reflected in the series. That seems pretty clear here. Intent, however, is just not enough to cover the way she did this. First, she lumped a lot of nations into one aggregate concept, a la ‘Native Americans’. To fold Navajo, Apache, Cree, Lakota, Hopi, Cherokee, Seminole and so many others into one label like that is pretty upsetting on its face. It seems the various spiritual and druidic traditions in the UK didn’t mind this homogenization, or I didn’t hear about it, but they had a lot more in common than the nations being stuck in a cultural blender here. Their culture wasn’t painted as false propaganda, and reduced to yet another victimization either, and that’s what really galls.

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Paint By Numbers Storytelling

I really, really didn’t want to write about writing. Unfortunately, something has gotten wedged in my brain that I simply can’t stand anymore, and I need to pry it out. So it’ll go here. Feel free to ignore it. Or not. Might entertain you some. It’ll definitely give you an insight into what you’ll be reading in Malakhim.

I really can’t stand Paint-By-Numbers storytelling.

In case you’ve never encountered it, paint-by-numbers is a method of painting in which general areas of a painting are assigned one of a few numbered colours. The participants are invited to fill in these colours, and thus produce a painting out of blocks of simplified colour. It looks like this:

Paint by Numbers software available here:

Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with paint by number, as a rule. Using the technique you can produce some lovely images. It can be an enormously rewarding exercise, a way to build technique and understand how an image fits together. The same can be said of paint-by-number storytelling for skill development. Arranging familiar elements along familiar theme structures is one of many ways to learn. We don’t all have to do the equivalent of literary still-life, the world doesn’t need that much painted (or beautifully worded) fruit.

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Our own worst enemy.

Paranormal Activity is, as Honest Movie Trailers puts it, a movie featuring a hell of a lot of nothing. The entire movie contains fewer special effects than most chewing gum commercials these days. Yet it beat Saw VI into the ground, and effectively ended the (*mutter* sanctimonious torture-porn) series. People who are jaded with spilled guts and blood were fleeing the theater in terror, and seasoned movie veterans couldn’t watch it at night.

Why does a movie which is essentially a whole lot of nothing inspire so much terror? Because what we see is never as terrifying as what we imagine.

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Why are the books free?

It’s the elephant in the room. The hippopotamus, at the very least. Definitely some sort of water-loving African mammal cruelly displaced from its environment and placed into the awkward confines of modern life. Anyway, I’d better address it, I think. The beast has questions. Am I just not taking this seriously? Am I planning on getting you hooked and charging from there out? Am I marketing something else, hoping it’ll go viral, or bacterial, or infest you with some sort of ideological amoebic encephalopathy?

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