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E – Ergo Proxy

  • Posted on April 6, 2017 at 1:29 pm

In the fifth day of our twenty-six-day journey, I come to a great classic of the anime world, Ergo Proxy. A dazzling Science Fiction tale, Ergo Proxy digs deep into psychology, film noir, and mindscrews. One of the best parts of this series is that it follows two protagonists, Re-L and Vincent Law. Between the two of them, we explore the rich world and slowly put together the dark, deep well of that world. 

Why I recommend it for writers: The solid narrative, as well as the absolutely masterful use of unreliable narrators just tickles me.

Warnings: Murders. Lots of murders.

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!

 

D – Death Parade

  • Posted on April 5, 2017 at 5:50 pm

The illustrious D in our list is not Vampire Hunter D, as one might think, but a newer series called Death Parade!

There’s just something about this loving romp through games and challenges to face the trials of life and death.

Why I recommend it for Writers: The final reveal. Honestly, I didn’t see it coming, and the fact that there was foreshadowing before hand made my day. Please, watch this show and apply techniques from it to your own stories. My favorite story was the married couple from the first episode. The bowling episode is adorable too.

Warnings: Death, Gore, maiming.

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!

B – Berserk

  • Posted on April 3, 2017 at 5:19 pm

The next letter on our list is B, which in this case stands for Berserk. A dark fantasy series, this series focuses on main character Guts, and his bloody path to salvation and vengeance. I would recommend the old version, rather than the new remake, if only for the quality of animation.

Why Writers should watch it: Between the badass villain and the main character, this show is a wonderful combination of characterisation and dark gore. The reason I recommend it to writers, however, is because, in the flashback arc, there is a lovely fall-to-darkness by a main character that the best writers should attempt to emulate.

Warnings: nudity, rape, gore, torture.

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

Click the picture to go to the TVTropes 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 – Abenobashi mahou Shoutengai

  • Posted on April 1, 2017 at 11:05 am

To start off the A to Z blogging challenge, we’ll be reviewing 26 anime that I think every writer should  watch to better their own craft.

 Abenobashi Mahou Shoutengai (or Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, for those of us who speak English.) is a comedic romp through alternate universes, starring a young boy and girl. The story begins in summer, and the entirety of it is a character exploration of the main character.

 Why Writers should watch this show:  The sheer amount of plot that goes into this story is amazing. Watch it multiple times, and each time you’ll see some new bit of foreshadowing, some new plot point that you didn’t know in the first viewing.

Warnings:  Fanservice, Multiple universes, String theory, Preteen crushes, and adorable hijinks.

The rest of the articles in this series will be posted on this page. Sign up for email subscription so that you dont miss out on the next awesome anime!

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!

 

 

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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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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.

Writing Anime: Pokemon Go

  • Posted on July 23, 2016 at 5:13 pm

So, like most others, my life has been taken over by Pokemon Go, an altered reality game where you catch cute as hell pokemon and run around like a crazy person. Altered Reality Games are defined as ” an interactive networked narrative that uses the real world as a platform and uses transmedia storytelling to deliver a story that may be altered by players’ ideas or actions.” What this means is, it’s interactive and fully user-based. In this case, it involves walking and jogging around town to different landmarks, collecting items from those landmarks, and catching cute pokemon that spawn through out town.

Now, what does this have to do with Writing? Well, it explains a lot about fandom and how interacting with it works. We’ve seen a lot of examples of fandom interactions between those of us who create, and those who consume. Often times, those that interact with their fans generally make more sales, and also have more material with which to work. After all, what better engine of creation than several hundred rabid fans all coming up with theories like breathing?

In fact, some artists interact with their fandoms solely for this reason. Others, however, have fun with it, and generally just interact with their fans for entertainment. Then there are those who fuck it up royally while interacting, and somehow get accused of being predatory towards their fanbase (here’s looking at you, John Greene).

One of my favorite examples of an author who interacts with their fanbase is Andrew Hussie, creator of modern day Illiad Homestuck and Problem Sleuth. This is a man whose work has garnered him a fanbase capable of pulling together 1.2 million dollars in TWO. WEEKS. I saw the kickstarter (and donated to it myself) go from 0 dollars to $500,000 in 24 hours, all in anticipation of a videogame.

How did he do it? In-jokes. Good writing. MASSIVE character base. He opened his twitter and several other places for questions to his fanbase. He allowed them to interact with him, and they did. It was massive. In fact, there’s an entire in-joke within the fandom (Fat Vriska, for anyone who knows it) that was started when someone on Formspring asked him about the weight of one of his characters. Eventually, he was asked about Vriska. Which concluded in this glorious manner:

In one of the most glorious fuck-you’s I’ve ever seen, he declared this, and the fandom ran with it.

For more of these absolutely hilarious happenings, you can, of course go to Knowyourmeme.com, and read up on all of them. Or, you can attempt to track them all down. That could be a fun scavenger hunt!

Speaking of scavenger hunts, have you heard of CipherHunt? Well, the fandom of Gravity Falls has. You see, Gravity Falls is a disney show that made it’s fandom massive through the use of ciphers, mysteries and the sorts of things that make those particular fans go crazy. That is, an omniscient Dorito demon who makes bad deals. CipherHunt is creator Alex Hirsch‘s way of making his fans happy one last time. Even though the series has ended, he’s provided them a series of clues, and told them, go on, get hunting.

At the end of each clue is a souvenir/next clue. Now, this isn’t possible for ALL authors, obviously, especially if you don’t have DISNEY backing you. But the fact that he allows it, even though his series is over, shows you what kind of person ends up with a fandom that large. Playful people who love what they’re doing.

Rebecca Sugar, creator of Steven Universe, is another playful person who loves what she’s doing, and in so doing, interacts with her fandom. But she does it quite a bit less than the others on this list. Honestly, she just keeps an eye on what her fandom creates and says, and then sometimes makes nods to it in her show. This is the bare minimum, but because of the way her show works, it does wonders.

So, you might be asking, how can I become this sort of creator? What do I need to do to woo my fandom beast? Well, first of all, find the fans. If you have work out already, look at who bought it, and who likes it. Encourage these people to talk to you. Encourage them to create, whether fanfiction, fanart, or fanmusic. Encourage creation, and it’ll create itself around you.

Then, remember, no matter what you do, it’s not going to be perfect. Laugh about your mistakes with those who point them out. Or, like Hussie does, make them into injokes. Have a sense of humour, and openly enjoy the community growing around your works. Even if it’s only a few people.

And finally, be accessible. Don’t hide yourself away, because while that may work for people like Steven King, or George R.R. Martin, when you’re writing for the sort of demographic that likes Anime and Manga, you really can’t afford to.

Who knows, if you succeed, you just might end up like Ishida-sensei, the creator of Tokyo Ghoul, who got to share his joy at his new Pokemon with the fans of his work.

 

IWSG – 03/02/16

  • Posted on March 2, 2016 at 3:52 pm

A lot of writers will discuss ‘finding your niche’ as if this is some magical journey. As if that mythical ‘niche’ for which you search will set you on the track for results. As if that long-awaited niche will answer all your questions, and make it easier to understand yourself. A lot of authors attribute their success to finding their niche, and sticking to it, learning the trade entirely and devoting themselves to that long-awaited god named Niche.

I’m here to tell you that’s bullshit. It’s a lot like in real life. A lot of the problems that people have is that we’re all pressured to find that one thing we’re good at. That one ‘passion’ we have, that one great joy in our lives, is what we’re expected to cultivate and then unleash upon the world like an unholy tide of pleasantness. The thing is, and a lot of people are beginning to learn that now, that’s all a crock of horseshit.

There is no one end all, be all, of your creativity. You may never find that one job that you love forever. You may never find that one calling that you were ‘put on this earth for’. Your calling might be sitting in your pjs and making diagrams of buildings out of toothpicks. No one is really going to recognise you for your ability to eat an entire bag of potato chips without having to take a sip of something because of how salty they are. And I know for a fact that my odd ability to find and then binge watch anime and manga is not even remotely going to earn me money.

Or is it?

See that’s another thing a lot of people don’t tell you. Often times, niches, callings, and that one great passion, come out of a lot of practice and thought. It comes from writing those BILLION articles that mean almost nothing, and sound like an incoherent child’s scrawlings. It comes with time, and effort and energy. And yeah, you may never realize what your niche is. You may never realize that when you put those words to paper and out comes YET ANOTHER STUPID FAIRY TALE, that that is in fact your niche.

I recently had a sort of revelation. You see, ever since middle school, I had the uncanny ability to pick out interesting things to read out of the school library. And then, in highschool, I managed to find one interesting manga, or anime, or book, after another. I had, for a long while, lapsed in that talent. I focused on work, on trying to maintain school, on trying to focus. I focused on everything but this one talent that makes me happy. This consumption of stories. This absorption of plots and characters.

Recently, however, I have found a way to turn that odd talent, into something that motivates me to write here on this blog. That motivates me to do more with my life. I started my Writing Anime series. I meant it just to explore some of the lessons of writing that Anime have taught ME over the years. I meant it as a way to make use of the hundreds of hours I spend watching cartoons as a grown adult.

So it’s not an instantaneous thing, realizing that you’ve found your one thing. It’s not something that comes immediately. It’s honestly not even something I can see coming with thought or contemplation. I can only see the finding of your niche happening with massive work and effort. With a natural move that you barely even think about, that pushes you to work harder. So keep writing. You’ll find it eventually.

And when you do, it’ll feel like coming home, changing into sweats and putting on fuzzy socks after a long hard day. Difficult to do, but oh, so, worth it.

Monthly Writing Update – Feb 2016

  • Posted on February 7, 2016 at 11:19 am

So, I’ve decided that, since I have trouble keeping up with one post a week, much less two, I’m going to switch to a Monthly Writing Update, which will generally be published on the 5th or so of every month. As always, this will include my writing progress, writing goals, reading goals, and various other goals that I feel like sharing with you guys. I hope you don’t mind the change in format, but honestly, I feel like this is a bit more… uh. Honest.

Writing Progress:

The Knight of Kuryle – Rewrite – 5,605 words – five chapters re-written

All other writing projects are on hold until I can get this done.

Posts written:

Weekly Writing Update – 1/11/16

Ab Ovo – A Review of a Literary Term

Writing Anime: Colorful – About POV changes mid-story

Writing Anime: Land of Gods and Monsters – About Magic Systems

IWSG – 2/3/16 – About Giving yourself a break.

Books Read:

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

February Goals:

Do Taxes

File Fafsa

Four more Blogposts this month

Rewrite 5k more words on book

Read another book – Not sure which one yet.

Writing Anime: Land of Gods and Monsters

  • Posted on January 31, 2016 at 10:50 am

Noragami is a sensational series that gives whole new definition to Gods and Demons. Or rather, in this case, Kami and Ayakashi (Phantoms). The series follows Yato, a down-on-his-luck god, who in general seems to have no real power. In fact, he’s honestly a god-for-hire, who will “Grant any wish for just 5 yen!” as he so cheerfully exclaims all over media networks. Seriously, this guy has a TWITTER.

Poor guy only has two followers though.

Along with him are Yukine, a spirit that he has allowed second life to serve him as a Regalia (a system that will be explained later), and Yatori, a human girl whom made a wish, and Yato is having trouble granting it. All in all a beautiful story with great characters and a lovely, multi-faceted protagonist.

So why is it so interesting? Well, because of the fact that the WORLD in which it is built is so very interesting. As normal humans, this world isn’t something WE would be able to see, but none the less, might exist along side us anyway.

Today, we’ll be exploring that world in detail, as well as the various ways we could use these details in our own writing.

In the world of Noragami, there are approximately four types of spirits. Gods known as Kami, Humans from the Near Shore, which are just regular people like you and me, Spirits which can be either human shaped or corrupted into Ayakashi, and Regalia (or Shinki) which are used by gods to cleanse and purify Ayakashi.

Of the various classes, Kami are perhaps the oddly vulnerable powerhouses of the series. One of the major arc-words of the series is “A god can do no wrong.” An article by Martin Wisse explains why this might not be such a good thing. Gods are unchangeable, eternal beings. So much so in fact that when one dies, if they have followers, they are immediately reborn, sans memories and in a childlike form. If they do not have followers… Well.

To that end, Gods are tasked with removing Ayakashi from existence, cleansing them sometimes, or destroying them others. Ayakashi are what happens when a soul stays too long on the Near Side (I.E. Our world) and gets corrupted by negative emotion, fear, doubt, or by other Ayakashi. These spirits turn into giant monstrous beasts that cause misfortune, unrest, and negative emotions in humans. If one were strong enough, it might even cause a human to fall into such deep depression that they could decide to kill themselves, thus feeding the Ayakashi following them.

Before an Ayakashi forms, however, it is most likely a Near Side Soul, or basically, a ghost. These are spirits that linger, and these are the spirits that can be turned into Shinki, or Regalia. Regalia are the most important thing for a god to have, when dealing with Ayakashi. As gods will become corrupted and suffer blight if they touch or get near an Ayakashi for too long, Shinki allow the gods to combat and purify the phantoms. Shinki act as weapons, or sometimes objects, that are intermediaries between the gods and the world around them. In fact, Regalia are so important that THEY themselves choose what their god can strike at.

If a god can get to a Near-Side Soul before it turns into Ayakashi, they can choose to send it on to the next life, or take it on as a Regalia. Shinki, however, are not easy to maintain. They are essentially human, and so each negative emotion they have affects their God. Lying, stealing, cheating, all of it physically HURTS the god they are tied to. In fact, if it goes on long enough and the human doesn’t repent, it can actually cause the god so much illness that the god has to die to be set arights. But again, a god with followers has nothing to fear from being killed, except that they would lose their current selves and start over as a child.

What we, as writers, can take from this is that magic systems are sometimes extremely complex. If your magic system is as complex as this, it MUST impact not just the plot, but the characters entirely! Yato is entirely absorbed in his role as a God. In fact, it’s what DRIVES him as the main character, and what drives him to change. The problem is, as a Kami, Yato CANNOT change on his own. He requires external forces to enact change in him. There comes in Yukine and Hiyori. But it is the Magic System that requires such measures.

To enact this sort of magic system, however, you have to think of it as a sort of ecosystem. If there is one section of the ecosystem, it must serve another, as the Kami serve the humans to get prayers and worship, and the shinki serve the Kami as a way to gain a second life. Generally, however, your story won’t work unless this ecosystem IS the central plot, when tied into the characters. A few tips for implementing it:

  • Have one character from each section of the ecosystem, so as to show how they interact.
  • Make sure that each section has drawbacks as well as gains from the other sections.
  • Clearly delineate how this ecosystem would fall apart if one part were removed.
    • For example, if the Kami are removed, the Ayakashi overrun humanity, and if the Shinki are removed, the Gods would fall to blight.
  • Show how the ecosystem works even when one or more of the pieces is missing. Don’t just leave it to chance, work it into your plot.
  • Make it a part of the characters. Don’t SAY the character is in this part of the ecosystem, SHOW it in their actions.

If you were to adapt this to another culture, say, norse gods, it could still work on the fundamental basis. Change ‘Shinki’ to Valkyries. Change gods to Aesir. Change Ayakashi to Giants, or Aelfs, or any other number of norse nasties. You could easily tell the story of Noragami with Loki instead of Yato. Just be careful, because that could be copyright infringement.

 

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