Replaying Xena: Season 4 – Death in its Many Different Forms

Xena and Gabrielle are following different spiritual paths

Xena and Gabrielle are following opposite spiritual paths

Season 4 of Xena Warrior Princess was one marked by both growth and death.

Part of that growth was external.  By season 4, the show had gained widespread popularity and started tell stories that demonstrated this.  The sets were more complex, the costumes more elaborate.

The Xenaverse itself expanded: moving beyond just Ancient Greece and the gods and heroes of Greek mythology, Xena and Gabrielle travel to an entirely different country and have encounters with the gods of a different culture.

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The Day(s) I Became a Writer

Minions birthday

As far as months go, I can’t say I care much for February.

This isn’t for the reason most might expect.  It’s not the weather.  For most of Canada, February is dark, cheerless, and frigid – the furthest thing from the festive winter wonderland of a couple months prior.

I experienced 30 straight years of that.  But now, living on the west coast in Vancouver, February days are noticeably longer, the temperatures rest well above zero (some winters, it never even goes below freezing), and although it rains for days and weeks on end, at least you don’t have to shovel.

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Thoughts on Reading Through My Novel’s First Draft

My first draft chapters, bottom to top, colour coded by their revision needs

My first draft chapters, bottom to top, colour coded by their revision needs

It was like grading the world’s longest midterm paper.

Coming in at 402 pages and with all but the last two chapters having been written some ten years ago, I really had no idea what I was in for when, upon completing my first novel ever (technically my first trilogy, but I count it as one completed story), the time came to read through the entire first draft.

The age of the thing alone terrified me, for how well could a ten-year-old story possibly hold up?  I already knew going in that I’d have a fair amount of rewriting ahead of me, but the question was how much?

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Replaying Xena: Season 3 – Camp, Comedy & Secondary Character Development

Will the real Warrior Princess please step forward?

Will the real Warrior Princess please step forward?

I originally started my replay of the seasons of Xena Warrior Princess to help me in re-conceiving an old, shelved novel of mine that I want to rewrite set in Ancient Greece.

Of course, I recognize that what will help me most in this endeavour is a thorough study of actual Ancient Greek history since Xena, although a rollicking good time to watch, is historical-ish at best – a work of historical fantasy that’s at times quite heavy on the fantasy, straining the linearity of the historical timeline to the limit.

(This season alone, Xena has dealings with legendary Celtic queen Boudicca, with Egyptian queen Cleopatra, in ancient China, and against the Persian army on their way to the Hot Gates at Thermopylae.)

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Getting Ready for Revision (for the Very First Time)

First draft manuscript

If I were to equate the current stage of my writer’s journey with that of the classic Hero’s Journey, I’d now find myself at stage sometimes referred to as “The Belly of the Whale”.

Which, in my opinion, is perhaps the most perilous of all the stages – even more so than the main confrontation of the story’s climax – for at this stage, the hero still doesn’t have a complete sense of what s/he is up against; a true, Rumsfeldian “unknown unknown”.

That is to say, I’m getting ready to revise my first completed novel.

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Replaying Xena: Season 2 – I’m in love with a Warrior Princess

Xena, stern and steely-eyed after her bath.

Xena looking stern and steely-eyed after a bath.

It was with season 2 of Xena Warrior Princess, I now recall, that I fell in love with the show.

Thinking back on it, season 2 may well have been the first season I actually saw.  My memory of  it all is rather cloudy.  While watching season 1, I remembered every episode, but for some reason don’t recall having viewed them on TV, at least not from the beginning.

In any case, I do remember that it was also season 2 that made me want to be an adventurer – to roam far and wide meeting people, solving problems, battling evil, and having fun.

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Diverse Characters Don’t Have to Earn Their Keep

Glenn from TVs The Walking Dead

Glenn from TV’s The Walking Dead

Although I’ve never watched the show The Walking Dead, it recently became the subject of lengthy conversation in my writers’ group.

The discussion had to do with two specific characters: Michonne (whom I’m told I should consider cosplaying for Halloween) and Glenn, who is Korean-American.

That is to say, the discussion had to do with diverse characters.

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Replaying Xena: Season 1 – The adventure (and my binge-watching adventure) begins

Xena - Sins of the Past

One season down, five more to go!

My decision to re-watch all six seasons of the show Xena Warrior Princess – which is set in Ancient Greece – corresponded with my decision to someday rewrite my shelved first fantasy novel as historical fiction, also set in Ancient Greece.

That and because Xena is such a thrilling character – my favourite fictional character, in truth – whom I hadn’t watched since the show ended in 2001.

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Who Anchors Your Artistic Chain of Influence?

Anchor chain

As writers, we often believe we were born to write.

I certainly have early memories of my writing life.  My first “novel” – a masterpiece inspired by the cartoon Jem and the Holograms – was “published” in grade three.  I haven’t really stopped writing since.

“It’s in my blood,” I’ve heard writers claim.  “I couldn’t not do it.”  And I find, for the most part, that I agree.

However, I’ve never been one to champion Nature as the sole determinant of anything.  Especially after reading a recent blog post by literary marketing expert Dan Blank about an artist’s chain of influence, which led me to examine my own early writing influences.

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Replaying Xena: Reflections on my favourite fictional character

Xena from opening credits

Xena of Amphipolis, aka the Warrior Princess, is indeed my favourite fictional character.

(For the record, her character wasn’t actually a princess, which I like better now that I’m well past the age of 5 and its pervasive draw to all things “princess”.)

The show Xena Warrior Princess aired while I was in high school and university, from 1995-2001.

I’m not sure how it was I came to discover it or its two companion shows, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and The Adventures of Sinbad, but all three quickly became part of my Saturday afternoon routine.  Xena was always my favourite.

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