StoryHack

Bryce A Beattie's website blog thing

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The Christmas Spirit

Well, it’s that time of year again. Time for me to sit down with the kids and watch a bunch of Christmas favorites. The trouble is we started a bit early this year, and already watched them all. Now we have to crawl through netflix and the like searching for Christmas-themed entertainment. Needless to say, we have watched some real stinkers.

Often, the plot revolves around a curmudgeon who has “lost the Christmas Spirit.” Occasionally, spirits and angels get involved. Rarely does any character ever state exactly what the Christmas spirit is.

If you ask me, I say the Christmas spirit is love. Love for family, love for friends, love for neighbors, love for everybody. Why love? Well, Christmas is the time of year we remember Christ’s birth, and thus we remember His life. And his life was all about love. He served the downtrodden and forgave the worst of sinners. He taught that we are all neighbors, and we should love our neighbors as ourself.

And you know what? That’s a great message, even if you’re not Christian. Even if you don’t believe that Jesus really walked the earth, or that He was truly the Son of God. Even if He’s just a story in the Bible. There is still power and learning in a positive story, and what could be better than messages of love and forgiveness as taught by the life and parables of Christ.

So, dear movie and tv writers everywhere: don’t be afraid to mention the story of Christ, even if your work is mostly about Santa Claus. Isn’t more love really what we need most in the world?

The State is our Church

We treat the government like a religion. We might as well own up to it.

The Most Important Survival Skill

Seriously, learn it or die.

The Real Election Winner

You’ll never guess who it was. From way back in 2012.

Ghost Stories

I remember eight or ten years ago there was the “Ghost in a Jar” phenomenon. If you don’t know what that was all about, I’ll give you a synopsis. A guy screen-named teajay101 posted an add on Ebay, saying that he was selling a “Ghost in a Jar”, and in the description he told the […]

A Bulletproof Plan To Preserve Gun Rights

Sorry about the bad pun.

4 Lies your Parents told you about the Inevitable Zombie Apocalypse

Sorry you had to hear this from me.

Haven’t I seen this before?

Over the next few days I’ll be moving some articles here that were originally posted a while ago on my other blog. As I have mentioned somewhere, I decided I only needed one site, so I’m merging the two. In other words, if you see articles that you’ve read before pop up in your rss reader, then I […]

New Theme is Enabled

Okay, I still have some post sorting to do, but this is the new theme. As you can tell, I’m a big fan of simplicity.

New theme is done.

Ok, so I have some stuff rearranging to do first, but I finished building a new theme for this site. Typography wise it is similar to the theme on my other site (BryceABeattie.com). And speaking of that other site, I am going to merge all of it’s content here and then redirect it here. I […]

Merry Christmas! Have a Bedtime Book.

Merry Christmas, everybody! For Christmas I wrote my son a ridiculous bedtime book. Don’t tell him and ruin the surprise, please. I thought I’d go ahead and share it. Download a free pdf version by clicking the cover below. Alexander Adam Astronaut free pdf download. ~11mb A paperback version is available on Amazon, too. In other news, […]

I’m (Still) Alive.

Just in case anyone was wondering, I’m still alive. I’ve been pretty busy off the blog, though. I’ve been working hard on my latest book(s). I have one chapter and a half left to edit on my first fairy tale novel. I’m preparing things so I can migrate blogging platforms (because I’m insane). I’m 85% done […]

Ramblings on Christian Fiction and Movies.

These thoughts were all sparked by a post on my buddy Dane’s blog called The Christian Fiction Tightrope. I would have left it as a comment, but it just seemed far too long and rambling. I may throw some text from Dane’s original post in blockquotes. Here’s one now:

I’m a Christian, and I’m not shy about that, or ashamed of that in any way.

Like Dane, it’s no secret I’m Christian. Heck, I have a whole podcast filled with topics for Christian men. And yet no fiction I’ve ever written has action taking place in a church or deals with coming to God. I doubt there is anybody out there that would shelve my novels under “Christian fiction.”

…they don’t want a book with an altar call at the climax…

I wonder what people actually consider to be requirements for Christian fiction. Does it have to have an overtly Christian message? Does is just need Christian characters? Does it only need to have some kind of message supporting Christian values? As Dane sort of suggested, just done by a Christian author?

This is one thing Christian books – and movies, I suppose – do that ensures they stay locked into the subculture of believers only, and sit on the shelves of Christian bookstores without finding a wider audience: they preach to the choir.

As long as a story shies away from a ridiculous Deus Ex Machina ending (Deus Ex Caelum?) where God just solves the protagonist’s problems, I’m usually fine with a little preaching. I just wish the makers of Christian movies would be a little less heavy handed about it (See Kevin Sorbo’s deathbed repentance scene in God’s Not Dead) A little subtlety could be much more powerful. But I am grateful somebody is out there trying to make art with overt Christian themes.

And besides, I put up with all sorts of consequence-less immorality in the other media that I watch. And that’s basically just preaching for the other team. I can be “open minded” enough to enjoy fiction that has a strong political (either right or left) slant. I can even enjoy a show with a strong atheist character (Captain Malcolm Reynolds…) or two. I’d think others could still enjoy a comedy wherein Trace Adkins in biker’s leathers says, “It’s beautiful to watch one of God’s creations just doing what it was made to do.”

That’s not to say I think all Christian authors/creators should make art that always has a religious message.

That’s why I don’t write Christian fiction. If I get the theology right, the book probably will lose something fictionally. If I don’t get the theology right, I’m not going to want it to see the light of day.

For some reason when I read this, I thought of The Shack. That book played fast and loose with biblical doctrine, yet still sold like crazy. Not that I really think somebody should purposefully write false doctrine just to stir up controversy and sales. I don’t remember what my point here was.

I may post again on this if I have more thoughts.

Building a (Programming) Computer Lab with Edubuntu

I’ll be teaching a programming class at a local school again this year, and for *reasons* I had to rebuild their computer lab. The school had a bunch of donated equipment, but no really nice computers. Last year I set up the lab with an edubuntu server and a bunch of thin clients. When there […]

Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar

It is no secret that I love audio theater. One of my favorite programs of all time is Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar. My favorite part of the overall series are the five part serials on weekdays. Most of the run of the show was put up on archive.org by a group called the Old Time Radio […]

DIY Yeti Balaclava, Version 1

I often play with sound recording equipment. I wish I would actually spend more time recording stuff, but I don’t. A while back I found out about a deliciously cool product call the Kaotica Eyeball. It’s a sound isolation shield that fits directly on a microphone. If you visit the site, please ignore the tragically […]

Yeah, I’d ghostwrite…

I came across an interesting (at least to me) article about the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series of books. Specifically, it talks about the business of writing those books. They are all written by ghostwriters under a house name. Authors are given a flat fee, and no royalties.

The thing that jumped out at me was the parts where it talks about the money. Yes, I love the idea of royalties, but I think it’s still perfectly fair for a company to work out for-hire flat fees to authors. I don’t know what would make creative work fundamentally different from other kinds of work. No construction worker complains if he doesn’t get a slice of a building’s revenue. I’d totally jump at the chance to write a YA novel or two in an established series. I’d run laughing to the bank with my flat fee, and I’d frame copies of the books.

I’m not sure why this thought deserves a post, but I’m trying to write something, be it fiction or not, every day.

Some of my Favorite Procedural Tropes

I don’t know why I like these shows so much. I just do.

Max E Stone Stops by for a Chat

Tell me three things about yourself that you think everyone should know. I’m not perfect. I’m learning my craft as I go in this wonderful world of writing and publishing. My first stories at 9 years old were anything but child’s play. I impressed and also concerned and even scared many of the adults around […]

The Last Hero, I had to write it (Guest Post by Nathaniel Danes)

This is a guest post from Nathaniel Danes. He can be found at: Facebook, Twitter, Blogspot, and his official website. I never thought I’d write a book. Heck, for most of my life, getting beyond page three of any school writing project felt like a Herculean task. I think the difference between now and then, […]

A Quick Publishing Story

Publishing a hardcover of a CC-licenced ebook.

*Sigh* Yet Another Attempted Scam

So I’ve given up on implementing a couple of projects. Not ones that I’ve mentioned here. Other stuff. I got domains for them a long time ago. Now, I can either let the domains expire, or I can try to sell the domains. I figure, “What the heck? Why not try to sell them?” So […]

What I’ve been up to.

Okay, so I just launched yet another piece of software. It’s for Markdown nerds like myself. It is a previewer / exporter. I wrote it because the preview screens in most markdown editors suck. It’s commercial this time unlike the many freebies I’ve put out. That’s mostly because I’m still paying off the 9 week […]

Yesterday, a SMS Conversation With My Wife

Wife: Wait till you see the mess I just found.

Wife:

mess

Me: Yikes. Is that diaper creme?

Wife: Xander is in so much trouble when I find him.

Me: What makes you think it was Xander?

5 minutes pass.

Wife: Found him.

Wife:

xander

Me: Whoa.

Wife: He just told me that he is Santa Claus.

Stone Patrick

What are three things about you that you want everybody to know? 1. My interest in writing a novel started late in life, when I was in my 40’s, as I resisted putting words to paper for the longest time. Only when I realized that I enjoyed telling stories did I think about creating a […]