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U – Uchuu no Stellvia (Stellvia of the Universe)

  • Posted on April 25, 2017 at 1:55 pm

Another anime that is on this list in order to excite those senses of yours, Stellvia of the Universe is a wondrous Science Fiction romp through adolescence. The main character, Shima Katase, is going to a new school. IN SPACE! Stellvia turns out to be a miraculous space station, and the more we learn about it, the more we wonder what exactly is going on in the universe of this show.

Why I recommend it to Writers: Because this show is an excellent example of world building and functional character interaction. I adore the characters.

Warnings: None! This show is sweet and fascinating. Enjoy!

For the rest of the articles in this series, please visit this page.

Have you seen this anime? What about it made you want to be a better writer? Do you intend to go shotgun this anime now that I’ve shown it to you? Comment below and tell me what you think!

S – Seirei no Moribito (Moribito)

  • Posted on April 22, 2017 at 1:53 pm

My friends and I joke that this series is about an adoptive mother taking her teenage son to give birth to his unwanted baby. However, Moribito is about so much more than that. The arching themes of this series combine with the characters and the setting to make for an enchanting tale about a young woman trying to atone for her sins and a young boy just trying to survive.

Why I recommend it to Writers: If you want a lesson in how to work a theme into a story, this is the anime for you. If you want to know how to write badass female characters, this is the story for you. If you want to cry tears of joy at the end, this is the story for you.

Warnings: Teenage pregnancy. Just kidding.

For the rest of the articles in this series, please visit this page.

Have you seen this anime? What about it made you want to be a better writer? Do you intend to go shotgun this anime now that I’ve shown it to you? Comment below and tell me what you think!

R – reLIFE

  • Posted on April 21, 2017 at 1:52 pm

reLIFE is on here as an answer to the question, ‘would you do it all over again if you could?’ I include it because the main character is a 29 year old loser who gets the chance to go back and do his last year of highschool all over again. This anime is a real heartjerker, and it made me feel refreshed and ready to make my life better.

Why I recommend it to Writers: Because of how refreshing and inspiring it is, I feel like we cynical writer types need this sort of thing every now and again. Plus, the series is just downright full of twists and turns. See if you can guess them!

Warnings: A 29 year old guy perving on some highschool girls. Other than that, this is a really tame anime.

For the rest of the articles in this series, please visit this page.

Have you seen this anime? What about it made you want to be a better writer? Do you intend to go shotgun this anime now that I’ve shown it to you? Comment below and tell me what you think!

Q – Q-chan (Petshop of Horrors)

  • Posted on April 20, 2017 at 1:50 pm

Since I’ve only seen one anime that starts with Q (Qwasar of the Stigmata), and it was awful, I decided to bend the rules a little bit. Q-chan is a character from a wonderful anime/manga series called Petshop of Horrors. The stories are all centered around Count D and his petshop. The series follows him and the pets he sells to his customers.

Why I recommend it to writers: Because it’s a very good representation of how to have a villain as the main character and still make them very sympathetic. One might want to read the manga a little to understand the series better, depending on your preference.

Warnings: Death. Murder. Gore.

For the rest of the articles in this series, please visit this page.

Have you seen this anime? What about it made you want to be a better writer? Do you intend to go shotgun this anime now that I’ve shown it to you? Comment below and tell me what you think!

Q-chan in all his glory

P – Paranoia Agent (Mousou Dairinin)

  • Posted on April 19, 2017 at 1:40 pm

Written by the god of Mindscrews, Satoshi Kon, the famous Paranoia Agent is one of those anime that you either love or hate. Mostly I adore it. I’ve seen it six times now, and the story just keeps on giving. A huge cast of characters, all interconnected through the introduction of Li’l Slugger (Shounen Bat), a paranormal young boy who rides on golden inline skates and provides deliverance at the end of a twisted golden bat.

Why I recommend it for Writers:  The series is a masterful art of connecting interwoven storylines and character archs. Watch if you want to learn from one of the best.

Warnings: This anime is kind of fucked up. Suicide, incestuous fantasies, murder, and assault.

For the rest of the articles in this series, please visit this page.

Have you seen this anime? What about it made you want to be a better writer? Do you intend to go shotgun this anime now that I’ve shown it to you? Comment below and tell me what you think!

M – Mujin Wakusei Survive (Uninhabited Planet Survive)

  • Posted on April 15, 2017 at 3:31 pm

An oldie, but a goodie. Uninhabited Planet Survive is what would happen if you took Lord of the Flies, added girls, science fiction, and a whole new planet. I won’t spoil it for you, but the twist towards the end is absolutely amazing.

Why I recommend it to Writers: Because of the excellent way it portrays adolescent children, as well as the great twist towards the ending. It’ll teach you how to write a survival series very well.

Warnings: violence against children.

For the rest of the articles in this series, please visit this page.

Have you seen this anime? What about it made you want to be a better writer? Do you intend to go shotgun this anime now that I’ve shown it to you? Comment below and tell me what you think!

A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal!

  • Posted on March 20, 2017 at 7:01 am

This year, I’ll be participating in the A-To-Z-Challenge. Which, if you don’t know, is a huge blog-hop where everyone participating posts daily during the month of April. These posts have to be titled from A to Z, and go along with a theme chosen before the month begins! Normally, people choose themes that work well for them, as it’s a very tough thing to maintain a post a day.

I’ve decided to do small posts of only about a hundred words each, in order to make sure that my writing stamina remains pure for my lovely books. But that doesn’t mean my reveal isn’t worthwhile, oh no! If you are a writer yourself, or maybe just a nerd/geek/dork, you’ll jump for joy at the theme I’ve chosen!

 

Official Image – Not Mine

ANIME!

That is to say, I’ll be reviewing animes that all writers should watch. I’ll give a short blurb about what the anime is about, and then about why I’m recommending it to writers specifically. After that, I’ll be providing a short list of warnings, if necessary, for the anime itself. This way you can avoid unpleasantness if you don’t want to see it.

I’ve had a love of anime and manga ever since I was introduced at the tender age of nine to Sailor Moon, Digimon, and Pokemon. After that, the love affair continued with Cowboy Bebop and Outlaw Star, both of which are great space operas. You should try them out! (No they aren’t on my list! You’ll have to wait and see what anime made the Alphabet!)

The anime I’ve watched and the manga I’ve read have really shaped who I am as a person and what I write. So I want to share this list with everyone so that anime can continue to improve the world! Join me, and we’ll learn together!

Have you ever watched an anime and thought to yourself ‘this is a great story! How did they do it?’ Are you new to the anime scene? Do you have a favorite anime you think should be on the list?  Comment below and let us know!

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IWSG – 03/01/17

  • Posted on March 1, 2017 at 12:15 am

There’s a lovely group of people who listen to my woes and comfort me every month, and this month I have the honor of giving back by co-hosting the lovely Insecure Writer’s Support Group. If you don’t know about this group or are relatively new, here’s how it works:

  1. Click on the picture
  2. Sign up
  3. Post a post every first Wednesday about your struggles as a writer, your triumphs as an author, and any encouragement you have to give others. (prompts are provided, most times.)
  4. Go and read about other’s struggles and comment with support!

When I was fourteen years old, I had a dream. To this day the only thing I can remember about the dream was that there was a sorcerer and a swordsman, and the swordsman ran the sorcerer through with his sword. He caught the dying sorcerer, and the sorcerer said to him, “You never could save me.”

That’s how two of the main characters of the Kurylian Saga were born. Others came afterward, but Yumil and Dirk were the ones who stuck around the most. I drew comics of them, I wrote short stories to myself. I even considered making a full-blown manga out of their adventure.

In the end, I settled on a book, and with the encouragement of my then-boyfriend, in 2013, I wrote the first draft of the Kurylian saga. The characters were wonky, the settings were forgettable, and the action was… well… inactive. I met my mentor, Chris Votey, and began work on the second draft. And then the third. And then I put it away for almost a full year, while I was homeless and running around my town trying to get my feet back under me.

Most recently, I’ve been struggling with a feeling of dejection. That the story I was telling was either not good enough, or that I, as a writer, didn’t have the skill to tell it. I absolutely drove myself mad over it to the point where I considered whether or not to scrap the book entirely and just move on.

I tried to do just that. I opened rough draft after rough draft. I tried different genres. I tried everything. But I always came back to Dirk and Yumil. The two of them needed their story told, and my fourteen-year-old-self was still in love with the way their world worked.

So I went to Chris and I asked him for help. As always, he gave me lovely lessons on world building, and how to use what I was learning in college in my writing. Then he set me the challenge of writing short fiction. Just real quick 500-750 word drabbles centered around one of the other characters in the story named Eamon.

Doing this unlocked something in me, and I found myself starting to get excited about the book again.

However, those doubts started niggling again. I couldn’t possibly be writing this right. I was obviously doing something wrong. Why was Eamon acting this way, when I had thought she was a more simple character?!

Chris came to me again and offered me the chance to analyze Dirk and Eamon, to see how they really ticked. I jumped on it, thinking that, as always, Chris must have some kind of reasoning behind it. And to be honest, I’m not the greatest at Character Profiling. Or world building. Or prose. Or, well you get the drift.

The first thing we did was sit down over voice chat, and he started asking me questions. I was instructed to answer the question three times. Once for Dirk, Once for Eamon, and Once for myself. I recognized the questions as being similar to an MBTI test I took and abandoned halfway through a long time ago.

For those who don’t know, MBTI stands for Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which is a psychological profiling system. It’s become very fashionable lately to know what your MBTI is on Tumblr, so I’ve kind of been rolling my eyes at it as any kind of diagnostic tool. However, Chris is on the verge of something wonderful, so I went along with it.

Going through the questions made me think about things I’d never considered before. Was Eamon organized? Did Dirk like being in the center of crowds? Did either of them enjoy spending time outdoors or indoors more? The questions were thorough and difficult to answer.

Over the course of the questions, however, the two of them started to form more solidly in my head. These were real people I was talking about suddenly. Not characters in my mind, but people I knew more intimately (apparently) than I knew myself!

It got me to thinking, however, about the characters and how they were and what they were doing. I started asking myself questions about my other characters, like Yumil and Jorgan and Anelace. Were any of them wallflowers? Did any of them answer emails promptly? It made me feel more connected to the story, which suddenly made me want to write more on this behemoth that had already taken up four years of my life.

And then, a few days later, Chris said he had the results. And when we went over them, something amazing happened. It was more than just a confirmation of who the characters were. It was like Chris was reading to me a manual on the characters that I had dreamt up, loved, and written for years. They came alive on the paper, and their actions suddenly made SENSE.

Dirk adopted Jorgan because his emotions thrive on love and care, and children are love and care incarnate. Eamon feels pressure to be like her father because it’s difficult for her to be original because of her personality. Everything made sense. I wasn’t crazy. These characters really were like real live people.

More than anything, by getting to know these characters, by learning how they think, how they feel, and what their rich inner lives were like, I knew that I was doing the right thing. That I was the writer to tell their story. After all, if I could make a complex character that fit into a personality profile used by psychiatrists, how could I possibly be doing my story injustice? I hadn’t known that these profiles existed when I made Dirk. So I wasn’t copying.

I had known Chris was doing research on personality typing for character creation, and he had mentioned MBTI types as well as astrology. Now I couldn’t help but wonder if his research for that project was what he used to help me. He confirmed it, of course, when I asked him. I felt so privileged that he would share such a thing with me.

I was so giddy with elation I rushed out of our voice chat, leaving poor Chris behind,  just to write all of this down. So let me tell you, fellow writers. If you are lacking motivation, or if you feel like you aren’t good enough… Sit down with your characters. Get to know them. Learn their inner lives. Do these things, and you’ll find that you ARE a writer, you are a good one, and you can do this.

After all, they chose you to tell their story.

So get out there, and tell it.

By the way, the test Chris recommended I use to find out the other characters MBTI profiles is right HERE, so feel free to use it! I also recommend THIS WEBSITE for getting to know each MBTI type.

As an aside, next month I will be joining the Blogging A to Z Challenge, co-hosted by IWSG’s Alex Cavenaugh! Follow me now for awesome articles every day in april!

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Writing Anime: An Interview

  • Posted on August 21, 2016 at 11:35 pm

Today, instead of lecturing you on what to cherry-pick from certain animes, I’ve met with and interviewed an individual who knows his stuff. Cuchallain has a long career of analysing and reviewing anime, manga and video games. So much so in fact that I greatly respect his opinions on most of the review videos I’ve watched. He also happens to have my favorite Let’s Play of Tales of Zestiria on the entirety of the internet, so let’s put that out there too.

As the first interview I ever conducted, Cu and I started with just a few questions, and while he didn’t exactly consider himself an expert to start with, it quickly became apparent to me that he was, in fact, quite knowledgeable. An avid anime fan since the age of ten years old, a convention-goer on the regular, and now the personality behind a youtube channel with over five thousand subscribers, Cu is also incredibly humble.

When asked what goes into his writing for his typical reviews, he explained that he’s actually very unscripted with them. At most, he takes a few notes, generally about the speech of the characters and the themes behind the videos. He in fact, doesn’t even script his theory videos. Then, unfortunately, we devolved into a discussion about his online name, and then that devolved into a conversation on fanfiction and the wonders of Inuyasha as a gateway drug.

Now Write! Exercise Two – Genre Breakdown

  • Posted on June 16, 2016 at 4:03 pm

In Jule Selbo’s article “Choosing your Speculative Genre”, We learn how to pick apart and use genre and subgenre in order to build up and expand our plot-points and characters. She gives a few examples of how an overarching genre is good to have as a standing foundation, but that keeping in mind subgenres as well is  important for the overall structure of the story and the narratives contained within. One such example that she gives is Pixar’s Toy Story.

TOY STORY lives in a fantastical world where toys have full lives outside of humans’ interaction with them as objects of play. TOY STORY employs:

  • comedy (based in incongruity);
  • buddy (the ar of Woody and Buzz Lightyear as they go from adversaries to friends);
  • adventure (Woody’s goal of geting Buzz back into the fold before moving day is over); and
  • action.

Jule Selbo, “Choosing Your Speculative Genre”, Now Write

Her chosen exercise, after that, has four parts.

1)Decide your overarching narrative genre. Is it based in science or solely the author’s imagination? Is there a truly EVIL component to it, or is it a “scary” story that builds anxiety? These questions will help decide your main genre.

2) Construct a scene or situation set in the overarching genre so that the audience realizes they’re ‘getting what they paid for’. At the same time, weave in one or two of the main characters. People like to get to know characters.

3) List possible supporting genres. Consider how each genre would affect the story and characters. Which ones would ramp the plot up and which would make it fall flat on it’s face?

4)Frame the story in the overarchng genre. Build that scene at the beginning, and then Book End  it with a scene at the end, closing out that overarching theme. Do the same for each scene in the story. Make sure the audience feels connected with the genre they chose to experience.

For example, the build of my first novel, A Knight of Kuryle would go something like this:

  • Overarching genre: Fantasy (Magic is possible, creatures exist that don’t in our world, and the Moon God grants all wishes his followers pray for.)
  • Side Genres:
    • Coming of Age (Dirk’s journey from farmer’s son/child of immigrants to respected knight)
    • Adventure (Dirk has to find the murderer who burnt his village, and avenge the people of his village)
    • Buddy (Dirk has to win the trust of Jorgan, an orphan from his village, while the boy works through the emotions the destruction caused.)
    • Action (Dirk must confront and fight the enemy when they come for his new home as well.)

The first chapter of the novel introduces magic in an evil sorcerer who slays all the adults of his village, and then burns the village to the ground. Likewise, it is bookended by that sorcerer attacking Dirk’s new home, the capital of his country, and Dirk’s desperate fight against the powerful magic this sorcerer wields. Fantasy is woven throughout the rest of the story as well. From the always-prosperous city of Theon’s “Starlight Road”, to the matriarchal royalty of Kuryle’s religion-saturated nobility, fantasy lays in every part of the novel, and it’s subsequent sequels.

It’s easily applied to stories as-yet unwritten, too. My most recent labor of love, which has been tentatively named A Deeper Love, is a historical era regency  novel that I’m basing (loosely) after my own life. If I were to break it down, it would go like this:

  • Overarching Genre: Historical Fantasy (Regency Era specifically)
  • Side Genres:
    • Coming of Age (The main character, Dinah, leaves her small family, and the influence of her off-putting mother, for the bustling high life of london, and in so-doing, learns more about herself, and settles into a woman.)
    • Romance (I haven’t quite figured this particular subplot out, but it’s important, as I want to write the first asexual regency romance novel)
    • Slice of Life (Showing the lifestyles in Regency London)

Sadly, there aren’t many more genres in there. I might add in a comedy subgenre, but I’m not sure how yet. So there’s that. However, playing with the subgenres definitely helps define how the story is meant to go, and with what sort of inclination. I really do enjoy this particular assignment, so it’s definitely something I’m going to be doing more and more often.

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