Hey, this is Alayna. Tobias is fighting some pretty nasty respiratory infection, so this morning’s post is on me. I’ve been enjoying (in a somewhat sarcastic sense) a blog written by a ‘Christian’ (using that term somewhat loosely) man detailing what a Biblical marriage looks like and what it means to be a husband/wife…with a little parenting advice thrown in for good measure. This man is in his second marriage, the first of which ended when his ex-wife had numerous affairs. However, his blog mainly details the issues he is facing in his second marriage. He and I often have the same critiques on American culture, but we have very different ideas on how to solve them. One of the issues he looks at is preserving virtue and how to best accomplish that. So your question today reflects that: is it possible to preserve virtue in another person? Should we even try? And if so, what should that look like? As always, your answer should be written in a 1000-word story.
Well, I hope that you’ve all had a great Thanksgiving (for those of you who celebrate it), and may God go with you on Black Friday. My wife loves Black Friday shopping (or not shopping but looking and searching for the perfect deal, she enjoys it even when she doesn’t buy anything), so it’s probably not always the chaos that I remember from when I worked at Walmart. Anyway, I do have a plot challenge for you today. I’m going to give you a picture and I want you to develop a part of your world based on what you see. It should be a setting that is believable in your world, and that has potential for stories in it. Here’s you’re picture:
To those in America, Happy Thanksgiving! I hope that you have a long list of things you are thankful for. I most certainly do. I try to remember every day, no matter how bad the day before was, has the opportunity for me to improve.
Next, I am published. Nothing like driving through Chicago traffic (it’s not as bad as they say as long as it’s not morning, night, or Sunday after a holiday), and you get a phone call telling you the book’s live. Two weeks before what they told you it would be.
“But Paul, that’s great!”
“But human being, you don’t get what goes into marketing!”
Today I’m going to tell you what goes into marketing before the book releases.
First, after you hand in a finished manuscript, you will need to do the cover art. Often you have the option, especially with a vanity press, to use some stock photos, or to supply your own. I appreciate the starving artist, so I often help someone out, especially people just getting into art. Simply because they’re $200 instead of $1000. I can sort of afford one of those.
There is also font to think about. You will need to note internal font (I really like minion, but garamond is pretty solid as well), external font (I literally just told them something that looks like the Aladdin title), and don’t forget to mention what scene breaks look like. While the industry standard (or what I’ve been exposed to) is to leave a space, #, space, for the publisher I used it means keep the hashtag. Awkward. Usually they have some sort of glyph bible to go off.
At this point I also highly suggest you have a platform, some teasers, and you’re looking into events. The platform is something as simple as WordPress. Get your name out there, get people interested. Understand that audience does not equate to sales. I have over 600 followers. If I get 20 sales through my WordPress, not a bad day.
On the flip side, people who read my book and like it will likely look to my WordPress. Now my WordPress is my way to keep a hooked reader coming back, since it will likely be 18 months before another novel, with a few short stories here and there.
Teasers make people interested. You have a cover release. You show the synopsis. Talk about your inspirations. Make sure to be quick to interact with your audience. If they feel they’re getting to know you, they’re more likely to want to read what you write. They feel a connection.
As for events, everything I’ve seen says this is the most important part of sales within the first six months. I will talk about events more on a later post.
This is a good precursor to preparing yourself for the news your book is live. Hopefully you have a more solid date so you can prepare for it, but either way, when you have a plan, you can enact it when required.
Next time I will talk about what happens after the book goes live! Most of this will be what I’m planning, as well as information gleaned by those already published, since I just got published yesterday.
Okay, I’ve been enjoying a beautiful time of worship with my wife this evening, so I’m going to keep this short. I have a scene challenge for you and you all should know the rules, but just in case: I provide you with specific rules for how to write a particular scene. Try to keep your scene under five hundred words, and try to keep it in the same tone as the introduction. If I give a line that is very dark and depressing, then I don’t want to see a scene about a drunken monkey in a tutu…it just doesn’t fit. If I do give you a line about a drunken monkey in a tutu, then you should probably try for a funny scene.
Your challenge: Choose one of your favorite scenes from a novel. After reading the scene a couple of times, rewrite it in your own style and voice. The characters and basic elements of the scene should remain the same, but the way it is written should reflect your voice and style of writing, rather than the original author’s. This can be very challenging, so don’t be too disappointed if you need a few tries to go it well.
I get published next week. Or the week after. It’s surreal. It becomes more surreal when you’re told three months after final proof approval you’ll be in print. Then you send in final proof approval and they say you’ll be in print within 5-7 business days. I went to a vanity press, that’s why the dates are a little weird. I also think they’re a little slow and trying to push as much through the pipeline as possible. Being in the restaurant equipment industry, I get this sentiment.
I want to write about my experience with publishing. Despite the dates, with the whirlwind that goes into getting published, it has been surreal. I have been published already two times, but they were short stories and it just feels empty. I don’t know if that’s me or if others get that, but when I see my short story out, I’m a little like Thor.
Publishing a novel feels different. I hope and think. It may also be that I want to build a large literary empire around it. I’m ambitious. I mean, what’s the point otherwise?
Anyway, you don’t care about that. What you care about is what happens after you finish the manuscript. Not after you finish the first draft, the second or third draft, but the draft where you had a friend look at it, your mom loves it, you love it, but it’s time to thrust it into the world.
By the way, did I say this is very subjective and everyone has their own way? I’ve spoken to a lot of published authors and even publishers on how they do this, and everyone has their way. The only thing that matters for success is that you have a way, you stick to it, and you’re hardheaded. Thick-skinned. Heavy-sacked. However you want to say it. Seriously. I just know I was a little side swiped by what all goes into this.
A common trend today in writing is once you’re feeling good about the book, find beta readers. These are often friends, though usually friends with some reading and editing insight. Also preferably friends who are bought off with a signed copy in the future and maybe a hug and a lunch. Or just mutual beta reading. While I still suggest hiring an editor, this is sort of a test group.
Give the manuscript out to a half dozen or so souls you trust for their opinion. Through writing groups I’ve made friends that I trust in different areas, whether it is grammar, plot, etc. They are still friends, but writing groups are also a great way to do strategic networking.
The beta readers can give a lot of information as far as what worked, what didn’t, and where you’ve been so distracted that even though you “edited” the part five times, you missed a period. I’ve had a few correct bad grammar habits I didn’t realize I had. Apparently towards is British and toward is American. Who knew?
After this, give it a run through for the beta readers.
While beta readers were digesting the manuscript, I was also working on some information touches! I give my beta readers a month, and I don’t want to slack off.
Think of a synopsis. I know, 250 words is difficult, but tell your story in 250 words. Keep doing it until it looks succinct and awesome.
Now that that’s over, tell it in 25. I know. Some of you had your eyes bulge. Your gut clenched. You may have even vomited. It’s okay. I’m here to hold your hair back.
The 25 word synopsis is important. This is the keynote, and it’s a brief description so people can get an immediate idea of what they’re about to read. It is not so much about your story, but about what it is like.
For G’desh (though this isn’t the exact one, as it’s on another computer):
An action epic inspired by Arabian Nights, in which two armies declare a holy war. Follow an assassin, prophet, and warrior in this mystical world.
Boom. 25. I rewrote those probably a dozen times. I think this may actually be my best yet, but it’s too late for that nonsense. The more you practice the 25 word keynote/synopsis, the better you get at it. From just those 25 words, a reader knows it’s going to be Arabian, magicky, there will be war and religion, and there are three view points, or at least three central characters. Maybe they’ll read the book based on that alone. Maybe they will at least read the 250 word synopsis which is far more detailed in breaking down the conflicts and characters. At the very least they have a brief idea of the story. This can also be equated to an elevator pitch.
Don’t forget a picture and author biography. Make the biography awesome. There are plenty out there to look at to get an idea. I throw a little mission statement in there about wanting readers to look to the classics, as well as get excited to go on their own adventures. This will help people understand and relate to you. Yes, it’s on a shallow level, but I’m going to tell you now half of it is perception. So figure out the perception you want, and conjure it up in 50 to 100 words.
I also used this time to come up with keywords for Amazon. It helps people search you more easily. I’d suggest doing research on good keywords. Despite the simplicity I probably went a week on and off to figure out exactly what I wanted.
In two days I will go over getting ready for proofs and release date.
As I said, there are a dozen ways to do this, especially self publishing. Everyone’s journey is different, and I’m by no means a master, but I was definitely overwhelmed when I signed the contract for the vanity press. What do you do to get ready for publishing? Leave comments to help educate.
Depression can be rough. It’s something that I’ve struggled with at several points in the past, to the point of contemplating and even attempting suicide (death by highway in my case, though I never actually got hit by a car… pretty sure I caused a few accidents unfortunately). Simply put, it’s difficult to feel good when nothing feels good, or to believe that life will get better when all you can see is everything that’s bad. For some people (for many people) this is a matter of perspective. What we tell ourselves about our lives matters about as much as what actually happens in our lives. In academia this is clearly expressed in imposter syndrome, or the overwhelming feeling that all of one’s success to this point has been a fluke and that one doesn’t actually belong in the program/professorship that one is in and soon the rest of the world will catch on to the fact that one has really just been faking it this whole time. A similar feeling is possible in just about any life situation, and there are many other perspectives that can lead to depression. However, for some people there is a deeper physical root to their depression, and this needs medical treatment. Today, I want you to tap into the concept of depression. So, this is what I want you to write about today: ‘it never gets better’. You know the rules. Take your subject and run with it. Write me a story of 1000 words or less and stay on topic. As before, if it’s in any way applicable, you should use this to try to develop your world a little more :).
Your Challenge: Write me a story about depression. This could be a story that seeks to express the kind of hopelessness that depression is characterized by, or about the struggle of overcoming depression. You could focus on describing the melange of negativity that a depressed person wades through on a daily basis, or the long-term life-shaping impact that succumbing to or overcoming depression can have. In some way though, your story needs to have a strong focus on this concept.
If you’re, like me, an obsessive-compulsive writer who gets stressed out by not finishing things, taking a break can be difficult. This is especially true during November, or as most of you know it, NaNoWriMo. I have never participated in this insane push to write a novel from start to finish in one month, partially because the past six years of my life have been stressful enough without trying to write a whole book in such a condensed period of time, but also because the pressure I put on myself is enough to make me crack without additional external pressure. I seriously hate taking a longer than anticipated time to finish my projects; it’s stressing me beyond belief right now that I haven’t done much with my novel in two months, despite the fact that said lack of progress is due to moving to another continent and taking up a new job. Y’know, normal adult stuff that is naturally going to get in the way of side tasks in general. But something I’m learning right now is the benefit of taking a break from my writing. Not just one project, mind you. I’m talking all of my non-RPG projects. As of today, I’m on a complete writing break for a week. I find that when I’m having trouble writing and am unable to put words to paper, taking time off for a bit, even if it’s just a day or two, helps me re-exert control over the process. Suddenly it’s not that I *can’t* write at that time; I’m *choosing* not to write. That simple act of controlling the situation actually helps me with the writer’s block when I return to my work because then I’m in the mindset of “I chose to rest; now I can go back.” This only works if I take a sabbatical from writing altogether. No idea why, but that’s the tru9h of it. It also relaxes me by taking my brain out of freak-out mode and allows me to redirect my creative energies elsewhere, such as into dancing or learning Polish. If I try writing another project during a mental freak out, I end up just stressing out about how much I should be working on the other project and how annoying it is that I can’t progress any further. Sometimes, you really do just need to take a break. It’s okay to take time off (though maybe not this week, if you’re doing NaNoWriMo). Just make sure that you set parameters for yourself: how long the sabbatical will last, what other hobbies/projects you’ll work on during that time, and what you’ll start work on when the break is over. If you’re exhausted and haven’t gotten much writing done lately, take a break. Have a Kit-Kat. Listen to a Dalek Relaxation Tape. Your stories will thank you for it.
So, last night Alayna and I watched the movie Inside Out, which is an excellent addition to the Pixar collection if you haven’t seen it. The movie had me thinking about emotions, and specifically the way the emotions impact our reasoning and moral outlook. One of the things that the movie showed well is that our emotions grow as we grow, and balancing them effectively can be very difficult. There have been various approaches to emotion ranging from some modern ethical outlooks that glorify emotion and set it over against reason, essentially arguing that man’s reason is cold, stilted, and draconian while his emotions bring light and life to an otherwise dark world. Contrast this with an Aristotelian outlook that essentially argues that the emotions are childish obstacles to achieving true fulfillment and satisfaction in life and you will have a fair sense of the range of views in modern moral thought. However, there have been several attempts in the history of moral thought to develop a more balanced understanding of the interplay between emotion and reason, and Thomism presents, in my opinion, one of the best of these. In the thought of Thomas Aquinas emotions are fundamental to life. They do form, in many ways, the core of who we are. The passions express our innate desires and aversions, likes and dislikes, fears, hopes, dreams, and ambitions. However, they are also generally wild, reckless, often at odds with one another, and always vying for control. On one reading Thomistic virtue ethics is simply a method for training the emotions to interact in a balanced and effective way: to get angry when one should and to the degree that one should, and the same with sorrow, desire, disgust, hope, etc. Aquinas pairs the emotions and show how they can stand at odds with one another, anger against fear, joy against sorrow, hope against despair, etc. Then he presents his virtues, each keyed to control one side of these paired emotions. For instance, Fortitude is the virtue of the irascible part as it stands against depressive emotions, and thus Fortitude is rightly aligned to control fear, sorrow, despair, etc. On the other had, temperance is the virtue of that stands against the opposite side of these emotions with relation to our inner world, and thus keeps anger, hope, etc from overreaching their hand and leading the individual into destruction. Similarly, Justice balances the emotions in the social sphere, and Prudence is the virtue of knowing just how far is far enough in any given situation. So, here is your question for the day: what are the emotions and how do they interact with one another well and/or poorly? Pixar’s Inside Out is an example of one answer to this question that was turned into a two hour movie. So, give it some thought and share your answer with us.
Remember, you should answer this question in the form of a 1000 word story.
Well, welcome to Friday! I hope that you’ve all had a wonderful week. We’ve had a fairly productive week thus far, especially when it comes to getting our apartment cleaned up, which is a good thing because it needed it pretty badly. Anyway, I have a plot challenge for you, and it’s something a little bit different. In this challenge I want you to work on plotting out a particular chapter or set of scenes. I’ve given you some exercises concerning metanarrative, but now I want you to focus in on the micronarratives of the story. So, I’m going to give you a couple of characters, a setting, and a grand plot, and I want you to plot out one chapter of a metanarrative involving them.
Metanarrative: The work as a whole is a work of science fiction. The story follows a traveler/explorer/merchant/soldier named Simon, a kind of jack of all trades who wanders through the solar system of the near future doing whatever he needs to in order to get by. Simon served on the winning side of the Jupiter Colony Wars, but in the fight to secure the independence of the moons of Jupiter from the Terran federation he did things that haunt him to this day. Because of this Simon has a strong, but warped, sense of morality and the story as a whole is about his quest to find his way back to a moral center. Simon realizes that the war is still with him in many ways, and he realizes that he is far to willing to do some things that should clearly revolt and disturb him, especially when it comes to citizens or defenders of the federation. By the middle of the story Simon has met Lorelai, a terran who has spent her life counseling terran soldiers who were left broken by the way, and who has developed an interest in helping Simon come to terms with his actions during the war, and in his quest to become a better person. By the end of the story Simon has developed a strong sense of virtue and justice, and has begun to shape himself into the defender of the innocent that he wanted to be when he first joined the Jupiter Colony militia.
This chapter: This chapter falls near the end of Simon’s story. He has been traveling with Lorelai for several months and has begun to develop what will become his strong sense of virtue and justice. However, in this chapter that burgeoning understanding of moral limits is sorely tested when his new employer (a recent contract that he picked up from a contact on Ganymede) turns out to be a former special forces officer in the Colony militia who hasn’t left the war behind. Simon’s job is simply to deliver a batch of medicine to the his employer on Phoebos–the moon of Mars. Phoebos was initially part of the Jupiter uprising, but was quickly conquered by Terran forces and has since been devastated by high taxes and draconian import restrictions. Phoebians has become a byword for the poor, oppressed, and distraught, and the moon is desperately in need of medical supplies. However, many of the needed supplies are banned by the Terran government, including the drugs and surgical equipment that Simon is to deliver. However, in the last chapter Simon discovered that his employer doesn’t intend this equipment for any humanitarian purpose, but instead that the drugs and surgical equipment are necessary operating components for the implantation of various cybernetic and biological weapons into willing (or unwilling) recipients in order to create a force of insurgent soldiers capable of destroying the Terran forces on Phoebos and possibly starting the war anew. In this chapter Simon will determine that such a move is morally wrong, not because the Terran forces are undeserving, but because it risks reigniting a devastating war that can only cause further damage to the people of Phoebos.
The Setting: Your settings are Simon’s ship, the Cantilever, and the moon of Phoebos itself. The Cantilever is a relatively small transport vessel with significant stealth and speed capabilities along with some hidden defensive, and very illegal, weaponry. Phoebos is a rathole of a colony that offers little in the way of comfort or luxury outside of the Terran garrison. The moon produces significant amounts of minerals, but the miners operate on a quota system and the Terran government seizes the vast majority of what they produce. What little they are allowed to sell on the open market, and what little they can hide in order to sell on the black market, must serve to provide for all of their needs. Soren’s lab is hidden under a burnt out hospital complex that used to serve the majority of the colony before the war, and it is a ramshackle facility with a mishmash of new and old equipment, some scavenged equipment, and some piecemeal equipment that has been cobbled together by Soren and his techs.
Characters: I’m going to give you several characters. You don’t need to use all of them in your chapter. In fact, you only could use all of them if you were bouncing back and forth between several points of view. So, if you want to plot out the chapter entirely from Wilem’s point of view, that’s fine, just ignore the characters that don’t fit.
Simon: The hero of the story and a man at a moral impasse. You should have what you need from the above.
Lorelai: Simon’s companion, friend, counselor, confidant, and sometimes conscience. She is soft-spoken and easy to get along with, but cursed with a very plain appearance. Lorelai is kind and has a strong moral center, though she sometimes comes across as idealistic and naive, she is actually very intelligent, experienced, and cunning.
Soren: A former officer in the Jupiter Colony militia’s insurgent and recon forces, he specialized in bio-terrorism, counter-insurgency tactics, infiltration, battlefield technology, and medical operations. Soren could be a skilled chemist or physician, but instead he turns his skills towards ‘destroying the Terran menace once and for all.’
Pask: Soren’s second in command and chief technical officer, Pask combines a significant skill in electrical, chemical, and computer engineering with a broad expertise in weaponry and hand-to-hand combat.
Lesley: a high-ranking Terran officer in the locak garrison, he is slightly overweight and has expensive and often sordid tastes.
Henry: one of Lesley’s subordinates, he is a man of honor and dignity who is disgusted by the excesses of his superiors. He has requested to be transferred off of Phoebos several times, but thus far all such requests have been denied.
Meagan: A Phoebian woman who is searching for her child, a 13 year old girl who has been missing for three days, and fears the worst.
Kazik: a Phoebian merchant who deals on the black market, selling ore for Phoebian citizens and bringing in a marginal profit for himself. Some believe that he is a good-hearted man simply trying to help and survive at the same time, others believe that he is a brigand who takes advantage of his neighbors.
Your job today is to use what I’ve given you here and your imagination to plot out the chapter step by step. Figure out the major events that need to happen, in what order, and how to make them interesting and fun.
ALERT: THIS POST CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS FOR THE JAMES BOND FILM SPECTRE. IF YOU HAVE YET TO SEE THIS MOVIE, FLY, YOU FOOLS!
A couple weeks ago, my boyfriend and I went to see Spectre. I’d never seen a James Bond film in theaters, so the experience was quite exciting for me. Said excitement was also enhanced by the fact that even though the movie was in English, it had Polish subtitles, so I spent part of the movie comparing the dialogue to the subtitles and figuring out what the differences were (For example, one character said “Go ahead,” but the subtitle read “słucham,” which means “I’m listening”). Anyway, the film had some great elements, but it also had some pretty awful ones, particularly from a story perspective. Read at your own peril…
The Good Elements
Music: One of the defining characteristics of every Bond film is the opening credits and the song, which has something to do with a theme or event that takes place in the movie. While some thought that Sam Smith’s theme, “Writing’s on the Wall,” was overwrought or trying too hard, I actually loved it. Granted, no one can live up to the truly sublime Adele and her incredibly powerful Skyfall theme, but Smith does an excellent job with some beautiful emoting and vocals (even though I will admit to rolling my eyes at the literal writing on the wall near the end of the film). The opening credits are also bizarre and gothic in a wonderful way; they’re unlike any opening credits I’ve seen in a Bond film, and I think they really work here. I wish there was video of the song with the credits, but I’ll just give you Smith’s music video for the song. The song itself is still stuck in my head, two weeks later. I can’t escape it.
The acting: Let me admit up front that Daniel Craig is my favorite James Bond (and I’ve seen all of them but Dalton). I never really cared for Connery’s Bond; ever since Casino Royale, I’ve held that Craig is the best, and I think Spectre is a great example of why. He’s got the suave sex appeal of the character, combined with the ice-cold killer that I never quite saw in any of the previous portrayals. Christoph Waltz chews the scenery with an incredible menace, as he always does; Lea Seydoux’s Madeleine, while no Vesper Lynd, was cool and competent; and Andrew Scott (Sherlock‘s Moriarty) was sublimely chilling, though criminally underused. Overall, I have no complaints with the casting. It was spot-on.
The pre-title scene: The absolute best part of the whole film was the stunning pre-title scene. All the reviews I’ve read agree: those 5 minutes are some of the best in modern film history, with the choreography, scenery, camera angles, and directing. The Dia de los Muertos setting, with the eerie, Gothic parade is the perfect setting for a darker, scarier Bond. It also has just the right amount of whimsy for a Bond film, with Bond in his skeleton’s attire, accompanied by a beautiful girl in a skull mask, weaving their way through the macabre revelers in the dance of the dead. It took my breath away with its sheer perfection. The transition into classic Bond was seamless, as he rips off his costume to reveal the flawless suit and walks along the narrow ledge in a gorgeous panning shot that got my heart racing with excitement. The assassination, the helicopter fight, and the requisite explosion, were pure James Bond with a modern edge. I loved every moment of it.
The Tragic Flaw
Spectre suffers not so much from an Achilles Heel as it does an Achilles Circulatory System. Other than the abysmal Quantum of Solace, one of the hallmarks of the new Bond films has been an attention to plot-craft that earlier Bond films neglected. Casino Royale and the truly incredible Skyfall had well-crafted, intriguing, detailed plots that went beyond “shadowy organization wants to take over the world for some inexplicable reason.” Spectre, alas, missed the memo in this area. The plot, which is the heart and lifeblood of a film, went into cardiac arrest after the opening credits and never fully recovered. I think the major issue in this regard is character motivation. Madeleine, who starts off as a strong and competent woman who can hold her own and rebuffs Bond’s advances, inexplicably throws herself into Bond’s arms in a whiplash-inducing character reversal; after she does so, she instantly becomes the usual helpless sex object, down to the kidnapping and eventual race-against-time to rescue her from certain death. *sigh* C’s motivations for treachery are never fully explained, nor do they make sense (though of course C was going to be a villain; the moment Scott was cast, we all knew it to be true). The vendetta against the Pale King is also baffling…it’s set up as very mysterious and threatening, something Blofeld considers to be of utmost importance, and turns out to be just because he left Spectre some years ago. No actual threat, just an annoyance.
I think the biggest problem in regards to motivation comes from Blofeld and Spectre themselves. One of the reasons Skyfall was so good was that the villain’s motivations were personal and believable: a burned agent out to destroy M because of being abandoned by her. Everything he does streams from a very real grudge against one person for believable reasons. Blofeld, on the other hand, has set out to destroy Bond’s life because…er…he thought his dad liked James better? Huh? That makes no sense. At that revelation, in tandem with the “every woman in your life is dead because I somehow inexplicably had something to do with it” line, it was all I could do not to burst out laughing in the middle of the theater. It’s not believable at all, and the story suffers for it.
Then there’s Spectre itself. Another big shadowy organization that wants to dominate the world, and they never really explain why, or what their plan is, or really anything. It also didn’t have nearly enough buildup to be a credible threat. They had to shoehorn in references to earlier films (don’t even get me started on that ridiculous McGuffin, the ring) and throwaway lines to try to explain how big of a problem Spectre should be and why we should be afraid of it. As my astute significant other pointed out, if the filmmakers had planned better, they could have started building up Spectre back in Casino Royale and then seeded references to it in the other two films so that by this one, we’d know it was a big deal, and we’d have much more information to go on. Instead, we don’t know enough about the organization to really consider it a threat, and the motivations are just as much in shadow as Spectre itself.
Perhaps with a lighter tone, this film would work as a classic Bond film: sexy, lots of violence, villains with ridiculous names and motivations, and not much else. But the precedent of Casino Royale and Skyfall has given us a taste of a different, more complicated Bond, and we’ve come to expect more of the franchise. Now, we tend to like our Bond films shaken, not stirred, and Spectre just doesn’t meet the mark.