this performance was stunning

more "aliens being surprised by humans" stuff

our ability to belt out one entire three to five minute long song if we’re familiar with it like. suvi starts singing “hallelujah” to fill the quiet and is answered by liam all across the room in a p decent harmony. cora walks past and starts humming it enthusiastically even tho she can’t stay very long. gil joins in for the third refrain. ryder finishes it off with a passionate solo.

when they look around every alien is staring at them. vetra blinks and knocks her hands together. “that’s what you’re supposed to do when humans make those sounds right?” she asks kallo beside her, who mirrors her. everyone is a little stunned at the coordination and emotion in the performance and they all look equally moved. jaal might be crying. none of them know what a ‘hallelujah’ is, but they feel like they’ve come to understand it through this melody

they’re all extremely confused when all of the humans still continue on on their tasks without pause

edit; other songs include but are not limited to: bohemian rhapsody, mr. brightside, single ladies, no scrubs, and i will always love you

Everything You Need to Know About Writing Successfully - in Ten Minutes

by Stephen King
(reprinted in Sylvia K. Burack, ed. The Writer’s Handbook. Boston, MA: Writer, Inc., 1988: 3-9)

I. The First Introduction

THAT’S RIGHT. I know it sounds like an ad for some sleazy writers’ school, but I really am going to tell you everything you need to pursue a successful and financially rewarding career writing fiction, and I really am going to do it in ten minutes, which is exactly how long it took me to learn.  It will actually take you twenty minutes or so to read this essay, however, because I have to tell you a story, and then I have to write a second introduction.  But these, I argue, should not count in the ten minutes.



II. The Story, or, How Stephen King Learned to Write

When I was a sophomore in high school, I did a sophomoric thing which got me in a pot of fairly hot water, as sophomoric didoes often do.  I wrote and published a small satiric newspaper called The Village Vomit.  In this little paper I lampooned a number of teachers at Lisbon (Maine) High School, where I was under instruction.  These were not very gentle lampoons; they ranged from the scatological to the downright cruel

Eventually, a copy of this little newspaper found its way into the hands of a faculty member, and since I had been unwise enough to put my name on it (a fault, some critics argue, of which I have still not been entirely cured), I was brought into the office. The sophisticated satirist had by that time reverted to what he really was: a fourteen-year-old kid who was shaking in his boots and wondering if he was going to get a suspension … what we called “a three-day vacation” in those dim days of 1964.

I wasn’t suspended. I was forced to make a number of apologies - they were warranted, but they still tasted like dog-dirt in my mouth - and spent a week in detention hall. And the guidance counselor arranged what he no doubt thought of as a more constructive channel for my talents. This was a job - contingent upon the editor’s approval - writing sports for the Lisbon Enterprise, a twelve-page weekly of the sort with which any small-town resident will be familiar. This editor was the man who taught me everything I know about writing in ten minutes. His name was John Gould - not the famed New England humorist or the novelist who wrote The Greenleaf Fires, but a relative of both, I believe.

He told me he needed a sports writer and we could “try each other out” if I wanted.

I told him I knew more about advanced algebra than I did sports.

Gould nodded and said, “You’ll learn.”

I said I would at least try to learn. Gould gave me a huge roll of yellow paper and promised me a wage of 1/2¢ per word. The first two pieces I wrote had to do with a high school basketball game in which a member of my school team broke the Lisbon High scoring record. One of these pieces was straight reportage. The second was a feature article.

I brought them to Gould the day after the game, so he’d have them for the paper, which came out Fridays. He read the straight piece, made two minor corrections, and spiked it. Then he started in on the feature piece with a large black pen and taught me all I ever needed to know about my craft. I wish I still had the piece - it deserves to be framed, editorial corrections and all - but I can remember pretty well how it looked when he had finished with it. Here’s an example:

(note: this is before the edit marks indicated on King’s original copy)

Last night, in the well-loved gymnasium of Lisbon High School, partisans and Jay Hills fans alike were stunned by an athletic performance unequaled in school history: Bob Ransom, known as “Bullet” Bob for both his size and accuracy, scored thirty-seven points. He did it with grace and speed … and he did it with an odd courtesy as well, committing only two personal fouls in his knight-like quest for a record which has eluded Lisbon thinclads since 1953….

(after edit marks)

Last night, in the Lisbon High School gymnasium, partisans and Jay Hills fans alike were stunned by an athletic performance unequaled in school history: Bob Ransom scored thirty-seven points. He did it with grace and speed … and he did it with an odd courtesy as well, committing only two personal fouls in his quest for a record which has eluded Lisbon’s basketball team since 1953….

When Gould finished marking up my copy in the manner I have indicated above, he looked up and must have seen something on my face. I think he must have thought it was horror, but it was not: it was revelation.

“I only took out the bad parts, you know,” he said. “Most of it’s pretty good.”

“I know,” I said, meaning both things: yes, most of it was good, and yes, he had only taken out the bad parts. “I won’t do it again.”

“If that’s true,” he said, “you’ll never have to work again. You can do this for a living.” Then he threw back his head and laughed.

And he was right; I am doing this for a living, and as long as I can keep on, I don’t expect ever to have to work again.



III. The Second Introduction

All of what follows has been said before. If you are interested enough in writing to be a purchaser of this magazine, you will have either heard or read all (or almost all) of it before. Thousands of writing courses are taught across the United States each year; seminars are convened; guest lecturers talk, then answer questions, then drink as many gin and tonics as their expense-fees will allow, and it all boils down to what follows.

I am going to tell you these things again because often people will only listen - really listen - to someone who makes a lot of money doing the thing he’s talking about. This is sad but true. And I told you the story above not to make myself sound like a character out of a Horatio Alger novel but to make a point: I saw, I listened, and I learned. Until that day in John Gould’s little office, I had been writing first drafts of stories which might run 2,500 words. The second drafts were apt to run 3,300 words. Following that day, my 2,500-word first drafts became 2,200-word second drafts. And two years after that, I sold the first one.

So here it is, with all the bark stripped off. It’ll take ten minutes to read, and you can apply it right away…if you listen.



IV. Everything You Need to Know About Writing Successfully

1.  BE TALENTED
This, of course, is the killer.  What is talent?  I can hear someone shouting, and here we are, ready to get into a discussion right up there with “what is the meaning of life?” for weighty pronouncements and total uselessness.  For the purposes of the beginning writer, talent may as well be defined as eventual success - publication and money.  If you wrote something for which someone sent you a check, if you cashed the check and it didn’t bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.

Now some of you are really hollering.  Some of you are calling me one crass money-fixated creep.  And some of you are calling me bad names.  Are you calling Harold Robbins talented?  someone in one of the Great English Departments of America is screeching.  V.C. Andrews?  Theodore Dreiser?  Or what about you, you dyslexic moron?

Nonsense.  Worse than nonsense, off the subject.  We’re not talking about good or bad here.  I’m interested in telling you how to get your stuff published, not in critical judgments of who’s good or bad.  As a rule the critical judgments come after the check’s been spent, anyway.  I have my own opinions, but most times I keep them to myself.  People who are published steadily and are paid for what they are writing may be either saints or trollops, but they are clearly reaching a great many someones who want what they have.  Ergo, they are communicating.  Ergo, they are talented.  The biggest part of writing successfully is being talented, and in the context of marketing, the only bad writer is one who doesn’t get paid.  If you’re not talented, you won’t succeed.  And if you’re not succeeding, you should know when to quit.

When is that?  I don’t know.  It’s different for each writer.  Not after six rejection slips, certainly, nor after sixty.  But after six hundred?  Maybe.  After six thousand?  My friend, after six thousand pinks, it’s time you tried painting or computer programming.

Further, almost every aspiring writer knows when he is getting warmer - you start getting little jotted notes on your rejection slips, or personal letters…maybe a commiserating phone call.  It’s lonely out there in the cold, but there are encouraging voices…unless there is nothing in your words which warrants encouragement.  I think you owe it to yourself to skip as much of the self-illusion as possible.  If your eyes are open, you’ll know which way to go…or when to turn back.

2.  BE NEAT
Type.  Double-space.  Use a nice heavy white paper, never that erasable onion-skin stuff.  If you’ve marked up your manuscript a lot, do another draft.

3.  BE SELF-CRITICAL
If you haven’t marked up your manuscript a lot, you did a lazy job.  Only God gets things right the first time.  Don’t be a slob.

4.  REMOVE EVERY EXTRANEOUS WORD
You want to get up on a soapbox and preach?  Fine.  Get one and try your local park.  You want to write for money?  Get to the point.  And if you remove all the excess garbage and discover you can’t find the point, tear up what you wrote and start all over again…or try something new.

5.  NEVER LOOK AT A REFERENCE BOOK WHILE DOING A FIRST DRAFT You want to write a story?  Fine.  Put away your dictionary, your encyclopedias, your World Almanac, and your thesaurus.  Better yet, throw your thesaurus into the wastebasket.  The only things creepier than a thesaurus are those little paperbacks college students too lazy to read the assigned novels buy around exam time.  Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word.  There are no exceptions to this rule.  You think you might have misspelled a word?  O.K., so here is your choice: either look it up in the dictionary, thereby making sure you have it right - and breaking your train of thought and the writer’s trance in the bargain - or just spell it phonetically and correct it later.  Why not?  Did you think it was going to go somewhere?  And if you need to know the largest city in Brazil and you find you don’t have it in your head, why not write in Miami, or Cleveland?  You can check it…but laterWhen you sit down to write, write.  Don’t do anything else except go to the bathroom, and only do that if it absolutely cannot be put off.

6.  KNOW THE MARKETS
Only a dimwit would send a story about giant vampire bats surrounding a high school to McCall’s.  Only a dimwit would send a tender story about a mother and daughter making up their differences on Christmas Eve to Playboy…but people do it all the time.  I’m not exaggerating; I have seen such stories in the slush piles of the actual magazines.  If you write a good story, why send it out in an ignorant fashion?  Would you send your kid out in a snowstorm dressed in Bermuda shorts and a tank top?  If you like science fiction, read the magazines.  If you want to write confession stories, read the magazines.  And so on.  It isn’t just a matter of knowing what’s right for the present story; you can begin to catch on, after awhile, to overall rhythms, editorial likes and dislikes, a magazine’s entire slant.  Sometimes your reading can influence the next story, and create a sale.

7.  WRITE TO ENTERTAIN
Does this mean you can’t write “serious fiction”?  It does not.  Somewhere along the line pernicious critics have invested the American reading and writing public with the idea that entertaining fiction and serious ideas do not overlap.  This would have surprised Charles Dickens, not to mention Jane Austen, John Steinbeck, William Faulkner, Bernard Malamud, and hundreds of others.  But your serious ideas must always serve your story, not the other way around.  I repeat: if you want to preach, get a soapbox.

8.  ASK YOURSELF FREQUENTLY, AM I HAVING FUN?”
The answer needn’t always be yes.  But if it’s always no, it’s time for a new project or a new career.

9.  HOW TO EVALUATE CRITICISM
Show your piece to a number of people - ten, let us say.  Listen carefully to what they tell you.  Smile and nod a lot.  Then review what was said very carefully.  If your critics are all telling you the same thing about some facet of your story - a plot twist that doesn’t work, a character who rings false, stilted narrative, or half a dozen other possibles - change that facet.  It doesn’t matter if you really liked that twist of that character; if a lot of people are telling you something is wrong with you piece, it is.  If seven or eight of them are hitting on that same thing, I’d still suggest changing it.  But if everyone - or even most everyone - is criticizing something different, you can safely disregard what all of them say.

10.  OBSERVE ALL RULES FOR PROPER SUBMISSION
Return postage, self-addressed envelope, all of that.

11.  AN AGENT?  FORGET IT.  FOR NOW
Agents get 10% of monies earned by their clients.  10% of nothing is nothing.  Agents also have to pay the rent.  Beginning writers do not contribute to that or any other necessity of life.  Flog your stories around yourself.  If you’ve done a novel, send around query letters to publishers, one by one, and follow up with sample chapters and/or the manuscript complete.  And remember Stephen King’s First Rule of Writers and Agents, learned by bitter personal experience: You don’t need one until you’re making enough for someone to steal…and if you’re making that much, you’ll be able to take your pick of good agents.

12.  IF IT’S BAD, KILL IT
When it comes to people, mercy killing is against the law.  When it comes to fiction, it is the law.



That’s everything you need to know.  And if you listened, you can write everything and anything you want.  Now I believe I will wish you a pleasant day and sign off.

My ten minutes are up.

Tired of your character’s style being limited by their Spellcasting Ability?

Try asking your Dungeon Master if you can switch it up!

Bard
Intellect: Study world lore and the chronicle current and past events.
Wisdom: Use compassion and empathy to hit just the right note.
Charisma: Create stunning performances that enthral and inspire.

Cleric
Intellect: Study religious lore and follow your deity’s tenets as written.
Wisdom: Interpret your deity’s will and act as an extension of it.
Charisma: Become a beacon of inspiration and lead the faithful.

Druid and Ranger
Intellect: Catalogue the natural world and apply this knowledge.
Wisdom: Feel in-tune with the land and anticipate its needs.
Charisma: Mimic creatures of the wild and become a part of nature.

Paladin
Intellect: Study your Order’s tenets and follow them as written.
Wisdom: Interpret your Order’s tenets and act as an extension of it.
Charisma: Inspire and lead those around you.

Sorcerer
Intellect: Learn to control your innate magic through study and practice.
Wisdom: Guide your innate magic through passion and instinct.
Charisma: Project your innate magic through intricate performance and gesture.

Warlock
Intellect: Learn magic by studying and practising forbidden lore.
Wisdom: Gain an innate understanding of your Patron’s magic.
Charisma: Barter for power with your otherworldly Patron.

Wizard
Intellect: Become a master of the arcane through diligent study & practice.

Sorry Wizards ~ No alts for you. This is just who you are!

The stage door is a privilege.

When I was in NYC last month I had the amazing opportunity to see Ben Platt in Dear Evan Hansen. I knew it would be a good show, I knew his performance would be incredible. And it was an absolutely stunning experience to watch him bare his entire soul on stage. I left in a daze, thinking about how emotionally draining doing that EIGHT times a week must be. It was a matinee on a two show and not a single member of the cast came out the stage door. I didn’t blame them at all—it was the fourth show in a five show weekend.

I was lucky enough to catch him after the show that night. I could tell he was exhausted, visibly run down, and he was also on vocal rest so he couldn’t even speak. But he still made his way through the crowd of people, signing programs, offering shy smiles. 

I got there early enough to be at the very front and let me just say… the fans were out of control. There was pushing and yelling and screaming and I felt a little overwhelmed by the attention of it all, especially when Ben came out the stage door. Everyone was pushing on the metal grate so hard that it was dragging forward. Of course everyone was excited that he came out, but I just made sure to just thank him over and over again for coming out to say hello, something he definitely did not have to do, especially when he has to take care of himself. That should be his priority.

Then today, this is what he tweeted.

Which was a very kind and patient response to something that’s become a huge issue in the theater community, and that’s the sense of entitlement from fans for an actor’s time after the show.

This may have been the tweet in question, I’m not sure. Either way, this is the entitled attitude that’s going to ruin the stage door for everyone if people can’t get their act together. Don’t mob actors at the stage door. The stage door is an incredibly unique experience, it’s a chance to connect with artists who give 110% every night. What they do is rewarding yes, but it’s also exhausting! Eight shows a week, you guys, that’s not easy.

It breaks my heart that people have been giving Ben crap about not coming to the stage door. To be honest, after my experience at the DEH stage door, I wouldn’t blame him if he NEVER came out after the show. It really has turned into a madhouse, especially with the popularity and fandom of the show. So please, please, PLEASE remember to respect the actors! And I’ll repeat it again.

The stage door is a PRIVILEGE, not a right, and it’s a privilege that’s going to be taken away if we in the theater community don’t hold people responsible for respecting that, and respecting the actors who share their time and their talent with us.

10

“satisfied as of august 6th”: Karen Olivo leaves the chicago production of Hamilton tomorrow and that’s honestly so heartbreaking because her performance was so emotional and i was stunned. like, yeah satisfied is sad but she made it S A D and she was actually crying during quiet uptown. anyways, her birthday is also august 7th so let’s celebrate the icon that is Karen Olivo, and her legendary career as a performer.

2

When Harry Styles stepped on the stage set up at Rockefeller Plaza Tuesday morning (May 9), dressed in a black shirt and richly colored pink suit (that Matt Lauer said he was jealous of), it was pure pandemonium – some fans had been waiting for days for this moment.

“Our line started to form on Saturday afternoon,” Alex Ficquette, TODAY’s plaza producer, tells Billboard. “They were in sleeping bags, the line hit six city blocks this morning. I haven’t seen it this crazy since Justin Bieber last year.”

Styles was not only kicking off the Citi Concert Series on TODAY’s summer lineup, but also delivering his second-ever live performance (his first being on Saturday Night Live weeks prior). During his SNL performance, he debuted the track “Ever Since New York,” and though the song has yet to see an official release, that didn’t prevent the young, primarily female, crowd from singing every lyric.

This morning, Styles performed that track again as well as his hit “Sign of the Times” (he released the music video yesterday), and also debuted a new song: the bluesy, rock-driven “Carolina” that features a catchy chorus of “la la la’s” while Styles repeatedly sings, “She’s a good girl.”

While Ficquette says, “There’s a distinct energy here of people who are excited to hear the solo material,” that didn’t stop Styles from dipping his toes into an old One Direction song.

Before leaving the stage – it was specially built to be in the middle and lower to the ground than TODAY’s normal stage, “so he could be completely surrounded by his fans, he wanted that,” says Ficquette – Styles had one final surprise. “I’ve never performed this before,” he said with his signature smirk. “Let’s see how it goes. I wrote this four years ago.” He then led fans through a sing-along of “Stockholm Syndrome,” off the 2014 1D album Four.

As Styles sang his opening verse, he brought new meaning to the lyrical question, “Who’s this whisper telling me that I’m never gonna get away?” Considering that on the chorus of “Sign of the Times” he sings over and over again, “We got to get away,” it’s clear Styles isn’t done chasing whatever he’s after… but following the stunning solo performance he delivered on TODAY, he appears to be headed in the right direction. - Billboard

“Chris Pine was a rare and special casting. We wanted a man who was the true parallel to Diana. A giant spirit who is the kind of man one aspires to be, but isn’t afraid to be complex and leave room for and even compliment another. He is the kind of man women want to believe is out there. He’s also one of the best actors I’ve ever worked with.”


“He is so skilled, wonderful and funny. He’s such a talented guy. He came alive in this environment where he genuinely experienced the dynamic. He actually brought a performance that is so stunning to this film because he did something so tricky where he brought all the comic relief. Chris has those skills to call upon him when we needed it. We were able to go somewhere pretty incredible with him.”


“I cannot believe how perfect Chris was, from the moment we thought of him to the moment he played every second in this movie. Chris is one of the most talented actors I’ve ever worked with in my life. But also, he’s a real man, very comfortable with his masculinity, so much so that he’s not sexiest at all. He completely takes other people on their own face value and is willing to leave space for them, and as a result he’s the perfect boyfriend for Wonder Woman because it’s someone who could actually look at her and admire her and appreciate her and it didn’t take anything away from him. And then he just made us all laugh all the time.”


“Chris is such a gift to this movie because he gave integrity to Steve Trevor. Steve Trevor is intrinsic to her story line. So, we needed to find the perfect guy. Chris is so honorable, hilarious and charming.”

- Patty Jenkins. Director, Wonder Woman.