Diego Ramos – Artist

Diego Ramos was originally schooled in illustration at the California College of the Arts, and has always enjoyed writing fantasy and science-fiction stories. Rebel Hearts, the first part in his upcoming trilogy, is a sweeping New Age fantasy/steampunk adventure about a thief, an ancient soldier, and a rebellion to topple an empire. He has a blog at WritingFiction.co and these are his good things.

Good things to read.

Einstein Intersection by Samuel R. Delany.  The book is a fantastic sci-fi. It’s set in a future earth where humans are no more, and other beings have taken over. As the beings evolved, they’ve adopted humanity’s legends and myths, reliving them. The way its written can be a little confusing at first, but once you dive into it, its a work of art. It was one of the most breathtaking experiences I’ve had reading. The way Delany wields words is masterful. It was like seeing a master paint before my eyes. This is one of his earlier works, and more controversial ones. You either really love it, or really hate it. But I love mind-bending, lush, abstract narrative experiences, so this book was perfect. When I dream about how I’d like to write someday, I think about Einstein Intersection.

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson.  What can I say about Sanderson that hasn’t been said before? The man is a writing machine, and his book Steelheart is a blast! I loved the concept of “Epics” (super-powered people) taking over cities and enslaving humanity. The story is about a young man who is on a mission to kill the strongest Epic, Steelheart. It’s such a cool twist on the superhero genre. The writing is fast-paced, action -packed, and smooth. Your eyes just roll from one sentence to another. You just can’t put the dang book down!

Any comic by Alan Moore. The Swamp Thing, Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Batman: The Killing Joke. These are some of my favorites of his. Moore’s graphic novels are graphic novels in the purest sense of the word; they are novels, that happen to have pictures assisting. His stories are raw, dark, heart-wrenching, awe-inspiring, I could go on. The perfect blend of words and illustrations are never better represented than in an Allan Moore graphic novel. Many writers may dismiss comics as unrefined compared to novels, but I would challenge people to give them a shot. Moore’s creations are masterpieces, and can teach a writer a thing or two about telling an amazing story.

Good things to watch.

Dark City. One of the first movies that I could point to and say “In my top ten!” Dark City was made in 1998 but still holds up really well. Its a dark, sci-fi noir. The visuals are great, but its the story and psychological twists and turns that Murdock (the mc) goes though in the strange, hallucinatory Dark City that I love. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and check it out. You won’t be disappointing.

Beasts of the Southern Wild. This film is just all beauty and atmosphere. If the music of a child’s imagine could be seen, it would this movie. Set in a southern delta community, Wink, a little girl lives with her father. Her journey is filled with wonder, exploration, pain, and fantastical beasts. It’s hard to describe why I like this film. There is no definite plot, but sharing the experiences Wink has in the film, takes me into this other realm — something akin to being a child and seeing everything in wide-eyed wonder. Also, I love anything in the bayou. I love the geographical beauty of swamps and deltas (one of the reasons why I set my novel in one.)

Battlestar Galactica. I can safely say that Battlestar is one of the greatest sci-fi shows ever made. The story is epic and personal, the visuals are stunning, the characters real, and the music is to die for. The show is about humanity being attacked by Cylons (AI robots) and pushing the last fraction of survivors onto the Battlestar Galactica, a giant spaceship, to find a new home.

Good things to use.

F.Lux.  I’ve installed this great little program on my desktop and laptop. It takes the blue out of your screen steadily as the day passes, adjusting your device’s color to that of natural light. The blue in screens has been shown to create eye strain and activate the body’s impulse to stay away (the color mimics daylight). So F.Lux gradually fades that blue through the day, tinting the screen naturally, providing a relaxing viewing, and helping to regulate your sleeping patterns better! I love it. It helps me sleep and gives my eyes a break.

Springpad. This is the app I use to jot down all my ideas and notes. You can create different notebooks, write notes, catch webpages, images, articles, videos and more. Its simple and intuitive. I like it better than evernote, which confused me the second I started the app.

Chillingvibes.com.  This site has it going on! The site basically a giant music player, no installation is needed. It plays a random set of songs continuously, in browser! The songs are chill electronic/orchestral/vocal stuff. I love being surprised with each new song. The music gets me in the mood for writing, and is great ambient background music.

Connect with Diego on Twitter, @WritingFictionC.

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