Will iconic images recorded in the grooves of an ancient vase unite the Holy Land or rip it further apart?

THE VASE

A novel by Mark M. DeRobertis

Muhsin Muhabi is a Palestinian potter, descended from a long line of potters. His business is run from the same shop owned by his ancestors since the day his forebears moved to Nazareth. The region's conflict saw the death of his oldest son, and rogue terrorists are in the process of recruiting his youngest in their plot to assassinate the Pope and Israeli prime minister.

Professor Hiram Weiss is an art historian at Nazareth’s Bethel University. He is also a Shin Bet operative on special assignment. With the help of fellow agent, Captain Benny Mathias, he plans to destroy the gang responsible for the death of his wife and only child. He puts a bomb in the ancient vase he takes on loan from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.

Mary Levin, the charming assistant to the director of Shin Bet, has lost a husband and most of her extended family to recurring wars and never-ending terrorism. She dedicates her life to the preservation of Israel, but to whom will she dedicate her heart - the brilliant professor from Bethel University - or the gallant captain who now leads Kidon?

Harvey Holmes, the Sherlock of Haunted Houses, is a Hollywood TV host whose reality show just flopped. When a Lebanese restaurant owner requests his ghost-hunting services, he believes the opportunity will resurrect his career. All he has to do is exorcise the ghosts that are haunting the restaurant. It happens to be located right across the street from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.



Monday, March 23, 2015

When Stories Take a Turn for the Worse

Have you ever been watching a movie, TV show, or even reading a book, and you were enjoying the story for a good part of the show, even most of it, and then something happens that makes you say, "No, no, that's not right!"

I mean, the story takes a twist, but instead of being a great twist, indicative of great writing, it makes you change your mind from liking or even loving the story to actually disliking or even hating the story. And that, to me, is indicative of BAD writing. Real bad writing.

Look at it this way. A writer has you hooked. You love the story. Then the writer, thinking he or she is a genius or something, takes the story in a completely different direction, and you just totally disagree with that direction because, well, for one thing it's not what you wanted to see happen. For another, it's not what you would have written. And bottom line, it's not what SHOULD have happened in that story.

This has happened to me more times than I can count. It's happened to me recently, too, with two of my favorite TV shows that are being aired right now. I won't mention them by name, but one of them seemed to fall in line with what seems to be "chic" with Hollywood these days, and that's all I'll say about that other than the fact that it just didn't work for this show or this type of story.

And  the other one had the main character behave in a completely different way than we have come to know that character to behave and then on top of that, in this story anyway, the character is betrayed by a fellow character who would never have betrayed him or her.

You don't change a character's character, so to speak, and you don't force the current trend of what's "chic" onto a story that has no business having that particular trend in this particular storyline. It's just fake. Both things are fake. And for me both ruined those respective stories.

Btw, there's something else that can ruin a story for me. And that's giving it a bad ending. You can have a great story, a great build up, a great climax even, and then all of a sudden the end totally sucks. I don't want to watch a movie or read a book and then feel like crap when it's over. I'd rather feel good, and be glad I took the time to read or watch a story. If it's a bad ending, or a sad ending that didn't have to be a sad ending, then I feel ripped off.

One example of a great story that ended sadly that didn't have to end sadly was the movie Gladiator. Russell Crowe did not have to die in the end. I mean what was that all about? Why did they write it like that? He should have killed the emperor like he did, and then fade away into obscurity like Stephen Boyd did in The Fall of the Roman Empire.  But they killed Russell Crowe for no reason. That was a lousy ending, imo.

Oh well. That's why I'm writing my own stories now. If you are a reader or a potential reader of any of my books, I can promise you this: you won't feel like crap at the ending of any of my stories. They will be uplifting and positive. That's what a story should be. imo.

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