Questions are just friends you haven’t met

Yesterday when I was brushing my teeth I decided that my toothbrush was done and I would throw it away afterwards.  Then I realized that the toothpaste tube was as empty as it was going to get as well. 

I don’t know when parents start making their kids brush their teeth so I don’t know how long I’ve been brushing.  I’m going to guess to guess at least 40 years.  That has never happened before.  Brush and tube “running out” at the same time? 

Now I’ve seen it all. 

It bugs me how much toothpaste must be left in the tube no matter how much you squeeze it.  One time I tried ripping the tube open and scooping out the clinging paste but it didn’t work well.  I want there to be some way to get it all.

I follow a lot of blogs.  What I think is a lot.  One time another guy talked about all the blogs he follows and it was hundreds.  Sometimes the authors of those blogs ask for feedback.  Usually no one responds.  I feel bad about it.  But I also don’t respond. 

Some of these questions are related to my other blog.

It’s massively popular and will probably be a show on Freevee soon. 

When you enjoy fiction do you prefer for it to be fiction all the way down or do you like it when real life people pop in? 

Example, if Bessie Love the old timey actress was revealed to have been a magic monster hunter in her day would that be “cool” or “lame”? 

In that example does it matter one way or the other that Bessie Love is a fairly obscure reference?  Would you feel differently if it was say, Jennifer Lopez?

Does the inclusion of real people make things feel more real or hurt you suspension of disbelief?

Decades ago in the early times of the internet I was a writing site and I hated it when people had their characters interact with real people.  But I think that’s probably because they were shitty writers more than anything. 

If someone writes a story in a world that has well established canon do you like it if the major characters show up or would you prefer that they be absent? 

Example, if I write a Star Wars story would it be “dope” or “gross” if Darth Vader showed up? 

Scenario one – straight up murder.  Scenario two – the protagonist uses magic to unbind a spell that someone else was using to live beyond normal lifespan which makes them die of “old age”. 

Logically these two actions are the same.  The main character did something that resulted in someone else dying.  But they feel different to my feelings.  Do you have different reactions to these?

When a character doesn’t kill bad guys does it bum you out if it comes back to bite them in the ass?  Is it annoying when they talk about their conflicted feelings about it all the time?

When a storyline doesn’t have a solid conclusion does it make things feel more “real” or does it seem lazy and crummy?  Or something else?

Do you like pumpkin pie? 


  1. Oh boy. Questions. I guess if you’re brave enough to ask, I should be brave enough to answer. Here it goes…….
    My fiction preferences vary. I like fiction that goes all the way down, but I also enjoy the odd historical tale that sprinkles the real with the fictional. The Abe Lincoln, Vampire Hunter type of story for example. Now, this answer changes depending on the context of the tale. If this is a world very much like our own, then Bessie Love, Monster Slayer sounds like a rocking good time. Maybe the film The Lost World was based on her own adventures. If Jennifer Lopez is revealed to be an Amazon warrior hunting magic monsters, that would be pretty sweet too, but maybe in more of a comedic way. Like a sudden reveal at the end of a movie when she tosses her mic aside and pulls a giant glowing sword from nowhere before winking at the camera.
    Including real people works wonders for me when we’re talking historical fiction. The closer we get to present times, the more iffy the prospect becomes for me.
    A story in a world of Established Canon can totally have major characters show up, but it’s gotta be done just right. If Vader shows up in a Star Wars story, he better be FUCKING SCARY, DUDE. Otherwise it comes off as poor fan fiction. Unless that’s the goal, in which case have at it. If Vader shows up in a Lord of the Rings story, well now we’re just playing jazz, riffing it up improv style, baby.
    Murder vs Magical Fairytale Kinda Technically Murder is a great question. Functionally they are the same, but one could be interpreted as a “return to rightful nature” sort of action. A sorcerer living well beyond his years using “dark magic” or “regular magic” is a character bending the rules, making the world suit his needs and thus putting it in an unnatural state. A hero lives to put the world right again. At least, in the old sense of the word “hero”. It feels like a proper conclusion. An Act 3 tying up of loose ends. Straight up murder, on the other hand, is a character making the world wrong. It’s an Act 1 catalyst. An action which carries great karmic weight. Unless we’re talking revenge tales, but even then the act has the unnatural bent of a character choosing to end a life, of making the world wrong in a literary sense. Scenario Two is the universe balancing out, karma setting the scales right. Scenario One is heavy with consequences. I don’t know, I guess intention is what makes or breaks it for me.
    When a character doesn’t kill the bad guys and it bites them in the ass, again it comes down to context. Batman and Superman not killing bad guys (what a novel concept) is one thing because it’s the point of their characters. They choose a higher path and bad guys biting them in the ass is a test of their inner character. Now, if a hard-boiled noir detective or an action hero don’t kill the bad guys, it gets a little shakier for me. If they choose to let the bad guys live and it blows back on them and they decide to keep letting the bad guys live, it could be a great story about the price of morality in a virtue-free universe. But at the same time, I understand that these characters aren’t supposed to be superhuman and I would totally forgive Everyman Cop or Gritty Special Ops Soldier if they cap a few mofos threatening innocent lives. Letting scores of innocent people die because the hero chooses a more virtuous path is sticky ground for me. I mean, play it up for dramatic effect of course, but if our hero sticks their nose up and says “Killing is beneath me” then as a reader I can only take so much of that before I say, “Yeah, I’m sure little Timmy and Tina’s parents totally agree with you. Too bad the Communazi terrorists decided to blast them into atoms, huh?”
    I prefer if storylines have solid conclusions, but I’m fine if they don’t. Real life isn’t simple and all that jazz. But if it’s messily done then it bugs me. Like if a story were to end mid-scene without a proper wrap up then I just

    1. I feel the same way about historical fiction and real people – I suppose because once someone’s been dead a long time they might as well be fictional?

  2. 1 – Sometimes it’s cool, sometimes it sucks. It’s down to the author’s skill. I reckon you could pull it off.
    2 – see point 1.
    3 – Depends on the character. If it goes against the character’s previous actions it sucks. If gun-n-run is their MO, it’s fine. If I’m missing the point, then both have a place. I find variety can be the spice of (ending) life.
    4 – If the baddy is set free as an act of mercy, causes more flack, then gets a 3rd chance, that’d be pretty annoying, but it depends on the character and the writer.
    5 – Moping about feelings? In the recurring baddie section? It’s dumb. In general? Ela’s always whining, but I’m always reading it, so that’s something.
    6 – I got lost in Vietnam once. I found my way back to civilisation and eventually got on a plane and came home. Life went on. Did the story end when I got back to civilisation, or is the same yarn playing out as I’m sitting here typing? A certain famous writer would say that the story didn’t end. I disagree. I’d say the story ends when the interesting stuff stops happening. I guess the answer is do what you feel is best and stand by that decision, just know why you made that decision.

    1. When I read this I thought Ela does complain all the time but that’s okay because you’re not suppose to like her. Then I thought maybe I shouldn’t make my main character unlikable. Then I thought, no, it’s fine.

  3. Pulling real life people into a story can be fine, if it actually fits the story. I personally tend to like the take where someone real is portrayed as an over-the-top version of themselves (or completely different from their “known” persona), like that recent Nic Cage movie that I haven’t actually seen.

    Major characters in cannon are overrated. Luke Skywalker and Captain America have their own stories. Lots of them. I’d rather read about someone lesser-known in those universes. But clearly people love this shit, judging by the number of Star Wars books starring the core cast, and Marvel books including the Avengers.

    Murder vs. pulling the plug on magical longevity seems like it’s always framed as “unnatural” life, and that the person who can’t die turns out to be a jerk. So pulling the plug resolves conflict and sets the world back to rights. Of course, if it’s a Santa-style good immortal and you “unplug” him, that’s even worse than regular murder.

    If a character doesn’t kill bad guys and they come back later, it can be fine if it fits the character. But if it keeps happening, the reader will usually get fed up. Like why the hell isn’t Batman’s top priority the security at Arkham Asylum? That place has a revolving door.

    Pumpkin pie is pretty good if it’s warm and fresh and slathered in whipped cream. 8/10 pie. If it’s three days old and cold with no whip, it’s more like a 6/10.

  4. I’m good with real people showing up in fiction if the writing is good (ex: I usually liked when Highlander did that.) However, if the fiction interferes with established history I find that annoying.

    I think the difference between murder, and removing a spell that keeps someone alive forever, is that the later represents a return to nature and the former is arguably opposed to it.

    I am renowned for my skill in extending the lifespan of a tube if toothpaste. There is always more minty goo to be mined.

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