Some Thoughts on Autograph, Bad Company, Def Leppard, and “Heavy Metal”

  • by Gitabushi

I was the youngest of six kids, so I grew up listening to what my older siblings listened to.

Older sister #3 was a particularly strong influence on my musical tastes: her college roommate already had an 8-track player, so she left hers at home, and would bring me a different 8-track to swap out each time. That’s where I got my love for Styx and Queen “Jazz”. And also Foreigner, REO Speedwagon, and other late 70s/early 80s bands.

I loved (and still love) that mix of guitars and synthesizers, but with the focus on guitar riffs and guitar solos. That’s led to my enjoyment of late 90s Taiwan pop, which is exactly in the same vein.

However, as a PK (Pastor’s Kid), I felt some aversion to Heavy Metal. It wasn’t *quite* a belief that Satan was in the music, and if you listened to it, you were going to be dragged to Hell.  But even as late as 1982 or so, I thought Def Leppard and AC/DC were probably influenced by Satan.  Or, at least, I didn’t like the imagery of insanity, violence, etc., in Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, and other Heavy Metal acts of the early 80s.

The one weird exception was I had sort of inherited Kiss Destroyer from my older brother. They were certainly Satanic looking in their makeup, and from an early age I had heard that KISS stood for “Kings in Satan’s Service”, and Destroyer had some fairly evil-sounding tracks in God of Thunder and King of the Night-Time world.  That didn’t stop me from listening to it. Recognizing that most of the songs were not Satanic at all, and even the two “bad” songs didn’t cause me to do become evil didn’t really open my mind to the other Heavy Metal groups.  Then again, I had no desire to explore any other Kiss albums.  Part of that may have been that before 1982, at the age of 13 or so, all my music was received, and I wasn’t going out to seek any other albums or music I didn’t have already.

At the same time, however, I found myself drawn to the heavier songs of Queen (Let Me Entertain You, Dead on Time) and Styx (Miss America, Suite Madame Blue, Snowblind, Queen of Spades, etc.).  The heavier the guitar, the more I liked it.  But I still rejected the heavy metal bands.

Something had to give. And it did.

One guy in our lunch group had a boom box. And another guy brought Night Ranger’s “Midnight Madness”. Lots of hard rock and heavy metal guitar, no Satanic lyrics, and I liked it.

Then Def Leppard’s Foolin’ hit Friday Night videos, and was on there every week. Familiarity bred appreciation, and before too long, I obtained a copy of Pyromania and listened to the whole album a bunch of times. I somewhat reluctantly decided Def Leppard was okay.

At the same time I was sliding into heavy metal appreciation, the musical world was going synth pop.  The big acts were Pet Shop Boys, Flock of Seagulls, Howard Jones, Madonna, lots of other pop bands that guitar didn’t figure prominently in, or sometimes even appear. As popular music got more synth-y, I went more heavy. I got into Van Halen, Ratt, Night Ranger, Autograph. A friend had Ozzy’s “Bark at the Moon” and listened to it constantly, and I decided I liked that. I liked Quiet Riot’s “Metal Health” album. Heard Dokken in the school parking lot in 1985 and thought “That’s what metal should sound like!” Pretty quick after that, Dokken’s “Under Lock and Key” came out and “In My Dreams” was a top video, with a solo that captivated me.  I heard Akira Takasaki was as good as Eddie Van Halen, so I got into Loudness.  Early Stryper got into the mix. The next Ozzy album (The Ultimate Sin).

The final barrier was Metallica. They were either Satanic or a modern version of Spinal Tap using tremolo  picking or something to try and sound fast. I mean, EVH, Akira, George Lynch, the Night Ranger guys, Jake E. Lee, Warren di Martini and the other Hair Metal flashy guitarists…there were just so many good guitarists to go around, and if Metallica’s guitarist was any good, he’d have been in a Hair Metal band, right?

But the guys I hung around with my senior year liked Metallica, so their cassette was always on in the car when we went cruising. I grew to enjoy the riffs. I became a Metallica fan.

Still never got into Motley Crue, WASP, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, etc. I think I didn’t like their guitar tone/style much.

Is there a point to all this?  No.  No, there isn’t.

However, even though I listen to Chinese pop/rock 90%+ of the time, I have dug into my old American music trove to listen to some of the groups I haven’t paid much attention to lately, getting deeper into their catalogs.  This has been sporadic…I have a *crapton* of old US music .mp3s.

Most recently, that meant Autograph. I liked “Turn up the Radio”, and so I got that album. I also got “That’s the Stuff.” I liked them okay, but wasn’t overly excited about them, wasn’t waiting eagerly for their next album, and originally missed “Loud & Clear”. Decades later, I notice I have all 3 of their albums in .mp3. I remember “Turn Up the Radio” and “Deep End” has a guitar riff I like. I made a commute playlist that included all three albums. I read up on their Wikipedia. Why weren’t they more popular?  Their drummer was good friends with David Lee Roth, which was how they got their break. They had a huge hit, top 100 all time by most countdowns. They were playing live all over the US, opening for the biggest bands. They had an innovative lead guitarist (Steve Lynch). The lead singer was a prolific song-writer, wrote a bunch of songs for other people, and his songs have literally been in hundreds of TV shows. But, as a band, after their big debut, they were disappointed with slumping sales on their second album. What happened?

I listened, and found out.

Steve Plunkett, the lead singer, might be a prolific songwriter, but he’s not a very good one. For a heavy metal or Hair Metal band, the songs had almost no memorable riffs. The aforementioned “Deep End” has one, but that’s about it for the first album. Think about “Turn up the Radio”. It builds tension and excitement with driving 8th notes in a drone in the bass, guitar, and bass drums. Then it has a simple 8th note walking pattern on the turnaround. That’s it.

The rest of the album is the same way. The next album is the same way.  There’s very little memorable about any of them.  It’s light pop. There’s nothing an aspiring guitarist would want to learn to play. If he learned to play it and played it for his friends, they would have no idea what song it was (except for Turn Up the Radio and maybe Deep End). The sung melody is never very distinctive. Despite Plunkett being a guitarist, they never take advantage of having two guitarists in the band. Despite Steve Lynch a “guitar hero”, he never contributed any cool guitar riffs. The songs are formulaic, and show no character. There is rarely a guitar fill or guitar lick outside of the solo. The drummer seems incapable of playing an fill with anything faster than 8th notes. His favorite technique seems to be hitting the snare and the high-hat at the same time.  There’s never a bass solo or a bass fill. It’s like, “Here’s the intro, maybe with a driving 8th note bass/guitar/bass drum motif. Here’s the first verse, second verse, chorus, solo, chorus, done.” None of their songs take chances. None break new ground. There’s little variation.

There’s more character in *one* Bad Company song than all three Autograph albums. That’s true of pretty much any of their songs, but I’m thinking especially of “One Night”, where the drummer hits the kick/bass drum in a double 32nd note. That alone has more surprising character than anything Autograph ever did.

Autograph isn’t bad.  They’re just not good.

Bad Company, on the other hand, is pretty good. Paul Rodgers is one of the greats, and he writes some great songs. It is interesting that among their 10 From 6 songs (which was pretty much their greatest hits), there is cowboy imagery in several songs, and several other songs are about the life of a touring musician. But unlike the 80s groups that complain about how tough it is to be on the road all the time, Bad Company’s songs are about how great it is.  Refreshing, in retrospect.

Also, Bad Company pretty much became a totally different band just by changing lead singers to Brian Howe. After an initial keyboards-laden disappointment I don’t think I ever heard of, “Dangerous Age” was (and still is) one of my favorite albums of all time. I had heard “One Night” on the radio a few times, but I could never hear the ann

ouncer say what band it was. I loved the vocals, I loved the guitar parts. It was (and still is) one of my Top 5 favorite songs, all time.  Lots of research and a friend’s input later, I found out it was Bad Company. I initially rejected that, because it sounded nothing like Bad Company. Not just the lead singer, but the drums and guitar styles.

I found out later that this was likely due to being produced by Terry Thomas. He wrote most of the songs, even played some rhythm guitar.

I know that their next album “Holy Water” was bigger, but I couldn’t get into it as much. It seemed like they just re-did “Dangerous Age” again, and it felt like it was done by rote.

Incidentally, Terry Thomas also produced and co-wrote a bunch of songs for Tommy Shaw’s “Ambitious”, which is also one of my favorite albums.

HOLY CRAP. Doing a search on Terry Thomas, I just found out he produced Giant’s “Last of the Runaways”, which is *also* one of my Top 10 all-time favorite albums.  Maybe Top 5.

Terry Thomas was the lead guitarist for the English band Charlie, which I had never heard of before I searched his name on Wikipedia. It looks like I need to get their entire catalog. I bet I’ll like it.

He also produced some Foreigner and Tesla. But none of those left much of an impression on me.

Finally: Def Leppard.

They, too, have more character in any one song than Autograph has in all three first albums put together.

Reading about their history on Wikipedia, I’m struck by how Pete Willis was fired from the band due to his drinking, but long-time guitarist Steve Clark died from being unable to conquer his drinking.  They fired Willis for his drinking getting in the way of his recording on Pyromania, but were much more tolerant of the same thing for Clark on “Adrenalize”. I wonder if it is because they hadn’t hit it big yet on Pyromania so they felt more was at stake, or if Willis’ drinking brought other issues other than just guitar performance, or if the band was just more mature about dealing with Clark’s problem. But you’d think Clark would have learned something from seeing Willis brought down by alcohol.

I also wonder how much of what I liked about Def Leppard was Willis.  I liked Hysteria enough to buy it and listen to it quite a bit, but it also seemed to kill off my interest in further Def Leppard songs/albums. I was vaguely aware of Adrenalize and a few other pop hits, but never made any attempt to acquire any.  I do still think Pyromania was their peak, and Willis contributed quite a number of songs to that album.

Reading through Def Leppard’s history, it is said they influenced Metallica. I would have scoffed at that idea if I’d been told it earlier, but re-listening to High ‘N’ Dry and Pyromania a few times recently, it doesn’t seem so far-fetched anymore.  Def Leppard had some pretty good basic riffs, and would combine different riffs into one song, changing the feel of a song slightly as it went on.  Metallica was known for doing the same thing, often having as many as 7 or 8 riffs in a single song.  I guess it reached its peak on “And Justice for All”, which I don’t like much, so they toned it down and sometimes had just one riff in a song starting with their Black Album. And while I liked that album at the time, I don’t see much reason to listen to it anymore. For me, Metallica will always be their first three albums.

Okay, retrospective over. Return to your lives, citizens.

 

 

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My favorite Liam Neeson deaths

 

I can’t remember what thought process lead to this, but I was going to attempt a list of all the movies in which Liam Neeson dies.

It’s been done already, though. Of course it has.

liam neeson

So instead, here are my favorite Neeson deaths, of the ones I’ve seen:

1. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: Voiced by Liam Neeson, I’m not totally sure if Aslan’s death counts here, since there wasn’t really much (any?) voice work during the scene in question. However, it was probably the most affecting death on the list. Because Aslan is a good lion.

 

2. Krull: He was almost a no-name character here, but after having seen Krull so many times now, I can more deeply appreciate Kegan’s sacrifice.

Good start, Liam, to the years of deaths to follow.

 

3. Gangs of New York: Not everyone likes this movie, but I find it quite entertaining. What’s not to like about brutal hand-to-hand gang warfare in the streets of early New York? We don’t get to know Priest Vallon very well, but he’s painted as a good leader, a beloved father, and I guess a decent man (as decent as these street warriors can be?). Good death, Liam.

 

4. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace: Maybe not a great movie, maybe not a great performance, but when I was younger watching this, Qui Gon’s death was the highlight of the film. Not that I was glad he died, but it was exciting.

 

5. Batman Begins: I remember this being a pretty good movie, but honestly neither the film nor the Neeson death here were that memorable for me. But there are worse ways to go than in a runaway train crash, right?

 

6. Excalibur: Off-screen, so not really sure how much this counts. But Gawain was kind of a dick, so serves him right. Awesome flick, for what it’s worth.

 

7. Schindler’s List: Another off-screen, just mentioned at the end of the film, I believe. Good movie, though.

-Bushi

bushi

 

 

Hey, Nick Sandmann

  • by Gitabushi

To the tune of “Mr. Sandman” by the Chordettes.

The original:

And the Karaoke version:

dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb

dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb

(dumb)

dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb

dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb

Hey, Nick Sandmann, You’re gonna get reamed
The Left’s as rabid as I’ve ever seen (dumb dumb dumb)
You didn’t give in to a Leftist takeover,
So blue checks swarmin’ and your life is over!

Nick Sandmann, you’re not alone
The Left destroys any thing it can’t own
So please keep on your MAGA hat.
And keep smiling, they don’t like that!

Hey Nick Sandmann, you did just fine:
The Left is scrambling, and starting to whine.
You were calm and you kept your composure,
The Left is freaked, risking overexposure!

Nick Sandmann, you’re not alone
The Left destroys any thing it can’t own
So Please keep on your MAGA hat.
And keep smiling like that,
with your red hat
Ignore them, they don’t like that!

The Way the World Works, Pt 1: Three Tiers of Organization

  • by Gitabushi

Okay, I realize there’s more than a little hubris in the title.

I guess I have wanted to be a kind of Jordan Peterson since long before Jordan Peterson was a thing. My goal is to do my best to understand life, to figure out what the most basic rules of human nature and human interaction are, and then write them down and share them, for others to evaluate, and use or reject as they see fit.

I relish the idea of helping others.  I want to help everyone have a better life, to the best of my ability. I hope others can learn from my mistakes, and what I’ve learned from my mistakes, without having to make those mistakes themselves. My intent is to help make the world a better place to some degree.  And, of course, my ability to analyze and reason is, to some degree, validated by those who are helped by my writings.

So there’s some ego involved. But I hope you can ignore that and find something helpful in my posts.

I think the main points of this topic should be pretty obvious to anyone who spends any time thinking about it at all.  Pessimistically, that means it isn’t obvious to most people.

[sigh]

Here is the point:

Every organization has three main tiers: crew, crew chiefs, and leadership.

man holding clipboard inside room
Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

Crew could also be called labor, or workforce.  These are the people doing the work.  There often isn’t much thought involved in this.  The work doesn’t require much ability.  It is a skill that can be taught to sufficient competence to just about anybody.  This is where the value of what they are selling or providing is actually created.

two man standing near golf clubs
Photo by Jopwell x PGA on Pexels.com

Crew chiefs could also be called middle management, and I’m sure there are other terms, as well.  Crew Chiefs are leadership, but still distinct from leadership.  This tier is often made up of senior crew/labor individuals who have been promoted, but not always.  They are in charge of the labor.  They resolve disputes, enforce rules, ensure quotas are being met, oversee quality, train the new employees, and handle welfare of the labor force.

group of people in a meeting
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

The leadership tier comprises those who make decisions.  When an organization grows to any size at all and obtains a geographic spread of any kind, there are also usually three tiers of leadership: Local/unit leaders, regional/group leaders, and executive leaders.  The executive leaders set the direction for the organization.

Digression: I figured this out when I became an officer in the US military.  There is a great deal of resentment among the enlisted in the US military against officers, for multiple reasons.  The enlisted see that their lives are more at risk, that they do all the hard work, but officers get paid so much more.  They see that junior officers often seem incompetent and depend on senior enlisted to avoid basic blunders, yet still get paid as much or more than senior enlisted.  They also get the impression that officers get away with things that enlisted get punished for.

Some of these things are true.  Being me, I had to analyze why.

The answer isn’t simple, though. To some extent, the resentment that officers get away with things enlisted get punished for can be correct.  But it is also true that if the offense is serious, the same act that will ruin an enlisted individual’s career will put the officer in jail. And that the same offense that will delay a promotion for an enlisted member will get an officer thrown out of the military.  The level of responsibility between the tiers is different.

The thing is, as I pointed out, the labor tier is easily replaceable.  Training isn’t that difficult, the tasks aren’t that difficult.  95% of the world, or more, can do it.  The separation of tiers into labor, middle management, and leadership isn’t intelligence, it isn’t ability, and it isn’t even education.  It’s about effort, risk, and preparation.

Anyone can enter the labor force.  Just show up and ask.  They always need labor.

To get to middle management, though, you have to work for a number of years and be the best of the labor.  You are chosen by the leaders to be a crew chief based on standing out.  That means you need to put in some extra effort, and you risk having that extra effort wasted if you aren’t chosen, but that’s about it.

Labor gets paid for what they do. They do the work, they make the goods, but how well they do really doesn’t have a huge impact on the future of the organization. If someone does their job badly, they will be replaced.  But they’ll be given a bunch of chances to fix their issues first.

And the laborer can screw around for years before deciding to try for middle management, and then they are judged based on what they do at that point.  Admittedly, for the most part…there are times where egregious past behavior will carry over, but most of the time, if you make a change, you are judged based on having made the change.

The leadership tier, however, is different.

First, you must apply to join the leadership tier, and they don’t accept everyone.  That means you have to first figure out they are looking for, and then acquire those attributes early, while the labor tier is taking it easy and enjoying their paycheck on the weekend.  Then, if accepted, you are being watched from the beginning. As more people have recognized leadership tier is the way to a good life (and as the quality of life at the labor level has, if not actually declined, then at least fallen behind the leadership tier), competition has increased and the Zero Tolerance for Screw-ups factor has increased.  In leadership, you are held responsible for everything those under you do, good and bad.  You are expected to lead, and fix problems before anyone above you in the leadership tier hears about it.

As you rise, you are able to take credit for your increasing middle management and labor force output, but you are also held responsible for any of their problems.  And you are sometimes scape-goated for even normal or unavoidable failures.

If you do everything correct, avoid any blunders at all, work extra hours beyond the 40 hours/week (minus break time) that is all that is demanded of labor, you might get promoted to the middle tier of leadership, and even the executive tier.

At the executive tier, you are held responsible for the performance of the organization, regardless of competition, government, the strength of the economy, the declining of the market, etc.

That’s why CEOs get paid so much: there are so few people who can qualify, because too many people have one stain or another on their record that means they are an unacceptable choice to be in the executive tier.  And so the stress and pressures make that level of pay necessary.

Sure, you’re saying right now, I’ll take that pressure for half that kind of money.

I’m sure you would.  But were you prescient enough to make the sacrifices and choices early enough in life to be on an Executive Leadership track?

And that’s where most people disqualify themselves.  To them, it was more important to have freedom, to have weekends off, to get paid for overtime and/or to not work overtime in the first place.

By “them”, of course, I include me.  As a young officer, already behind the 8-ball for executive leadership by being more than a decade older than other officers of the same rank, I was unwilling to “play the game” of getting face time with the commander, or of picking my assignments based on what would work best for my career.  No, I had to think about what jobs were interesting, or where I wanted to live.

I’d call myself stupid for that, but it isn’t, really. It was just a choice.  Because (write this down): There are always more qualified people for a job/position then there are jobs/positions available.

It is exhausting to put your career first.  You have to sacrifice so much to do it. Most people don’t even realize when they are self-eliminating for top-tier life opportunities. I think this is because I think there is little to no effort made in our “education” system to teach people how the world really works.  We tell kids “you can be anything you want to be” and then we don’t take even the first step in teaching them how to achieve those dreams.

We can tell kids they can be anything they want to be by holding up role models, and ignoring (or even concealing) the survivorship bias aspect of who gets to be an astronaut, or CEO of Citibank.

All this may seem obvious, but too few really understand this, and my evidence for that “too few” assertion is not just the resentment of enlisted for officers, but also in the continued existence of Socialism (and Democratic Socialism) as a philosophy.

Socialism recognizes that the tangible value is created in the labor tier, but then concludes that this gives the labor tier power that they are forgoing or being cheated out of.

Which is stupid.  The minute you being making decisions about labor, product, etc., you aren’t in the labor tier anymore, you’re leadership.  And you there’s a broad pyramid there: it’s easy for 3-4 people to make decisions about the number, color, and type of widget you’re making, or if the style of service provided needs to go after a different market share.  It is impossible for the 300, or 3,000, or 300,000 labor tier individuals to make a decision on that without it being a 300,001-legged sack race.

The only thing Socialism accomplishes is letting its advocates jump to leadership tier without the experience or ability to be good at it.

Anyway, if you already knew the basics of the three tiers, I hope I at least gave you some new implications to think about on this topic.

 

The Bully Pulpit

  • by Gitabushi

I think Trump taking his case to the people regarding The Wall and illegal immigration was a good move. When you’ve got the Bully Pulpit, use it.

800px-president_theodore_roosevelt_delivering_a_speech_at_biddeford,_maine_(15074715720)
By SMU Central University Libraries – https://www.flickr.com/photos/smu_cul_digitalcollections/15074715720/, No restrictions, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53268199

I wish he’d do it more, tho. He should give a speech how the Left uses Lawfare in a despicable manner. He should call out SPLC’s disgustingly partisan exploitation of “hate group” designations, and the ACLU’s hypocrisy.  Then explain in clear terms how the Left used dishonest Lawfare to unfairly convict Ted Stevens (govt withheld and ignored evidence it had that he was innocent) and Tom DeLay (prosecuted for actions that weren’t criminal, conviction overturned), fraudulently costing them both their office. Then explain how the left used lawfare to drive Sarah Palin out of office.  As well as the corrupt lawfare against Scott Walker.

And from there, explain exactly how Mueller’s investigation is that exact same tactic. Explain how it started to investigate collusion with Russia, discovered it in Hillary’s campaign, and ignored it.  Trump can, and should, explain clearly that the Democrats are pushing a double standard, that their objections are purely to the person, not to the actions.

Moreover, he should hold another talk at some point to explain a POTUS limitations in his role in managing the economy. That no one can control economic cycles, but taxing, regulation, and debt policy are boosts or drags on the economy. He could thoroughly explain, with examples, that we should focus on policy and policy outcome rather than Cult of Personality views. And he should do it now while the economy is good and he can still take credit for creating the current excellent business environment with the tax cuts and de-regulation.

That way, when/if Democrats gain enough power to raise taxes and impose regulations, and the economy suffers, some people (only some, but that’s better than what’s going on now) will connect the dots and weaken their support for Democrat politicians.

In short, he should give more public addresses like this most recent one, and promulgate the conservative argument, daring the MSN to challenge it. They’ll stumble just like Schumer & Pelosi did.

And it would be the first time 30% of America has heard a conservative argument.

Further Thoughts on Character Development in Writing & Life

  • by Gitabushi

Recently, I wrote this piece to praise a book that I found to be extremely useful in both writing and life.

I’ve been thinking about it more, and I think the book misses on two points, when it comes to writing.

First, it insists that the misbelief your character is clinging to should be the cause of an imminent problem that the main character can no longer ignore.  Having thought about it a few more days in the context of my own planned story, I think this might not be necessary.

In my own case, the main character wants to gain some local fame for another talent, in hopes that he will then be popular, and being popular, he will get his friends back.  This is a misbelief, but I think he could actually go his whole life without this being a crippling misunderstanding.  Moreover, I want this story to start when he’s 16, for a number of reasons, and I just don’t see how this misbelief could be a crisis at that age.

Instead, the talent that he finds (magic-based martial arts) is going to cause the crisis, as he catches the attention of powers that guard the magic jealously.

Likewise, Luke’s belief that he is stuck in a backwater of the Galaxy and that an exciting adventure is what he wants is what actually kinda keeps him from dying immediately at the hands of the Empire. It is a misbelief, but it drives the story and it is actually his hubris (in combination with a friend realizing that Friendship is Magic) that saves the Rebellion from destruction.

OMG. Star Wars is a My Little Pony movie.

I’m going to forget I ever said that.

The second problem is perhaps not a real problem.

The assertion of the book is that every story should be a character story on some level. On first reading, I found that compelling, and embraced it.  But with another few days’ of thought and trying out this hypothesis on books and movies I’ve enjoyed, I think I’ve thought of at least one exception:

“13 Hours: the Secret Soldiers of Benghazi”

13 hours poster
“13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” Promotional Poster

This was a very compelling and moving story, and not just because it was a visual spectacle.  We *knew* the outcome, and it was still worth watching.

But there wasn’t any misbelief on display by the main character.

In fact, I could point out that the movie has some significant problems in its storytelling.  In retrospect, the main character isn’t the main character, and really isn’t much of a protagonist.  He does his job, but he never really makes any choices (the main character should be the person who has the most freedom to choose/act, and has the most impact from his choices/actions).  That story would probably have been even more compelling if told from Rone’s perspective, or even Tonto’s.  Or the CIA Mission Chief.

And maybe it is still a good story because it is a true story. Dunno. I need to think on it a little more.

Another exception is “10 Cloverfield Lane”.  I think that is a good story, but the misbelief that drives the story is not the main character’s.  But the main character *is* the one whose choices and actions drive the story.  It’s a very good story.

Interestingly, “Orcs!” (2011) *is* a story where a main character has to confront a misbelief that has been holding him back his entire life to that point.  This thought is going to inspire another post.  Just sayin’

Anyway, if the point of the writing book was not that everyone story must be a character story, but rather that it is just one excellent and time-tested way to develop a compelling and memorable story, well, I can’t argue with that.

So to the extent that I said that every story *is* a character story, I’m wrong. There are plenty of good stories that don’t focus on character development.

However, if your story idea is just “meh”, or if, like me, you find your stories bogging down and lacking in drive, you should still consider using the character development elements of “misbelief” and “resistance to change until forced by life to do it” to supercharge your writing.  Making your story a character story can’t be wrong, it just might not be 100% necessary.

But in life, I think the point is character development: yours. The point of the writing book is that people usually don’t change until circumstances in life force them into a costly re-evaluation of their paradigms, and that we tell stories to give people a chance to make changes in their lives *before* their misbeliefs force a crisis.  So as you read the book to help your writing, consider your own beliefs, and your own troubles in life, and try to identify which are the misbeliefs causing your troubles.  You might be able to make a change and have a better life before the troubles become disasters.