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IWSG – 2/3/16

  • Posted on February 3, 2016 at 6:48 pm

We're here for you.Today I’d like to go into the idea of scheduling and how it can often go wrong. You see, I have fallen in love with a method called Bullet Journaling, and it’s pretty much the best thing I’ve ever had to keep me organized. (Not that even bullet journaling helps entirely, I’m an unorganized mess, and I know it.) So recently, I’ve been using this method to plan out my blog posts for the month, and it’s been… Well, sort of working.

My goal for January was in fact, SIX posts, not five. But I only managed five of them. However, I’m not counting this as any kind of loss! No, not at all. In fact, this is a major win, considering for the last six months before january, I hadn’t really posted AT ALL. You see, that can happen sometimes. Life gets in the way, and you just CAN’T sit down and write.

For those of you who are hardcore writers, people who want to make this a career, (and don’t get me wrong, I do want a career as a writer.) you know how easy it is to fall into a slump. Into that chasm and catacomb of ‘Oh, I’ll do it tomorrow.’ or ‘I can’t do it today, so maybe next week.’ And everyone’s advice is the same, WRITE IT OUT ANYWAY.

While most of the time I agree with this, I’ve also found that it can cause massive anxiety and fear for me, if I know I can’t do something, and still try to force myself to do it. Sometimes this anxiety can act as a catalyst, pushing me to greater heights. Other times, however, it can trigger something even worse. A deep depression. A ‘Woke Up Bad’ day. Or a level ten panic attack.

These sorts of things are to be avoided at all costs.

So I have given myself permission to say, ‘I can’t do this.’ Specifically, I schedule things for specific days of the week. And if it doesn’t get done? That’s okay. I don’t move it to the next day. I don’t make it follow me like some ghost rattling it’s chains of regret. I leave it. I move on to the next day’s list. Sure, I make sure it’s in next week’s list, so that it gets done EVENTUALLY. But I don’t stress over it.

Using this method, I’ve been able to keep up (mostly) not only with my writing, but also with my housecleaning. It’s a miracle, just being able to say, ‘Yeah I didn’t get to it. That’s okay.’ I never realized before how FREEING it is to just be able to say that, and move on.

So my number one tip to all you insecure writers out there? Give yourself permission to move on. Don’t let moving on turn into a slump, of course, but still. Know that you are human, and forgive yourself for your minor failures. Because honestly, only you have that power, and you should excersise it whenever possible.

The Anatomy of an Anime Mental Breakdown

  • Posted on February 17, 2015 at 11:58 pm

As defined by TV tropes, Sanity Slippage  is when it is apparent that a character is losing their edge, and slowly sliding down the slippery slope to insanity. It may be that they now have a verbal tic they didn’t before, perhaps they’re spouting a Madness Mantra. Perhaps they’re simply not sleeping, or not eating, or maybe, just maybe, they’ve gone off the deep end, and are completely different from the character they were before.

So, how does one define a Mental Breakdown of this sort? How does one describe and even characterize such a thing? After all, nothing is more interesting than the breaking and splintering of a human psyche. Nothing gets us more than the suffering of another. Perhaps it’s Schadenfruede, or perhaps it’s just a need to see how far a person can be pushed before they break.

That's one hell of a smile you got there, Shinji

See, Shinji knows what I’m talking about.

So, we’re going to break down that amazing phenomena that is the Anime Breakdown.

Step One: Stress

So, How do we take a perfectly normal character, and make them into something broken and weeping? First, we have to start with that perfectly normal character! Whether this is your villain or your hero, or both, you need a base line for them. So start them off at their normal. Perhaps they’re a normal high-school student?

Yeahhh, I'd be bored in geometry too.

Take Light Yagami here. He’s a perfectly normal, bored high school student.

Stressors would be required to remove them from this normalcy state, and into something close to the sanity slippage we mentioned earlier. In the case of our example here, Mr. Yagami is introduced to a book titled the Death Note. This Death Note provides him a literal example of how “With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility”.

Over time, the toll of his body count, as well as the things he needs to do to keep from being prosecuted, begin to take a toll on his sanity. Light grows paranoid, increasingly so, and emotionally manipulative. He hides from those who care about him, and performs actions that most would consider appalling. He meets people he’d never thought to meet, but can’t really call any of them friends. In fact, he’s withdrawn from humanity so much that he honestly begins to believe he’s a god.

These stressors cause his reactions to become more and more terrifying and odd, until we get this lovely number:

Yeahhhh….

So Stressors. But what happens once stressors take their toll?

Step Two: Symptoms

This is when we begin to show our homework. A lot of this is going to require research, because honestly, every character is going to react differently. Your stressors are different, and while there will be some crossover sometimes, you can’t just slap a sticker on it and call it good.

So, first, take into account the exact stressors. Is your character being spoken to by the whispering voices of dark gods, dreaming in the beyond? Well then, maybe they’d start listening to music, accidentally yell at their friends, maybe they would end up gouging out their ears? Oh, wait. We’ aren’t there yet, are we…

Here are some common symptoms and examples:

Madness Mantra – A character begins to repeat over and over something that was said to them, something they heard, something they thought, some small phrase that means a lot. This could also double as arch words, if the author is thoughtful about it!

Room Full of Crazy – Perhaps the character begins posting pictures of the victims on their walls, writing the connecting facts between them? Perhaps they start carving out a calender, representing all the times they’d lost time. Or maybe they simply don’t control their room any more. Things go missing, they can’t find something, and then it turns up in places they didn’t put it.

Paranoia – They may begin to grow distrustful of those they once loved, and those they cared about. Maybe they don’t quite know who they can trust. Maybe they worry that someone they don’t know at all will turn out to be their downfall? Who knows.

That’s right Shinji, You listen to Evenescence. That’ll fix everything.

Running Away from Responsibilities – That’s right. When a person is pushed to the limit, they often try to escape from the pressures restraining them. In this case, that means they refuse to fight, they hide. There might be a scene in which they lay about, while others do important things, or perhaps the character hides under blankets.

Now these are just a few symptoms, and to be honest, there are as many symptoms as there are characters. Each one is going to have it’s own reaction. But now you have a general idea of what to do.

Step three: The Catalyst

On  TvTropes, this is referred to as The Despair Event Horizon, which basically just means, the thing that pushes them over the edge into complete and utter breakdown. My favorite culmination for this is into what is known as a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds. Which is basically a character who has undergone such a life of misery and woe, that they have decided the only way to end it is to kill themselves and everyone else along with them. It’s a great trope, give it a read!

Anyway, so the Catalyst can be just about anything. From a Woman in the Fridge to a Kick the Dog moment, it really depends. Basically, the final straw that breaks the camels back. This is the thing that will finally cause that “Everything is over” moment that shatters the character’s (and if you did it right, your reader’s) hearts. This should be your climax, the high point in your story, and the culmination of this character’s arc. After this, it’s all downhill, and healing.

So congratulations! Those are the three big ingredients to writing an Anime Mental Breakdown. There are of course other tropes you can invoke, or even revoke, in order to make it more interesting, and more unique, however, these are the three main things you need. I would recommend reading through those pages, if only so that you can get an idea of what’s already been done. You don’t wanna accidentally overlap, after all.

New Years Resolution BlogHop 2015

  • Posted on December 26, 2014 at 10:51 pm

So, I missed my chance to update for Christmas, and I thought that was a damn shame. So! Instead, I’m  going to be writing up my new years resolutions for you guys! Because I plan on turning 2015 into something AMAZING. <3

Oh, and for those of you who are curious, I had a fantastic christmas! I got a heater, and new knives for my kitchen, and tupperware. And yes, I realize I sound like a horribly old adult for thinking these are amazing gifts, but they really are! ALSO, in a move that absolutely astounded me, my friend Chris Votey gave me a special copy of his book, Terran Psychosis with a special dedication to me inside, and I just about sobbed my heart out. It meant so much to me what he said in there. I won’t share it, because it was private between two friends, but let’s just say, I’ve never felt so loved.

So! Here I go, setting goals for 2015.

Health:

  1. Eat two meals a day, every day. NO FORGETTING
  2. Wash face every day.
  3. Take a hot, relaxing bath, once a week.

Wealth:

  1. Save back $50 or more from EVERY CHECK. No exceptions.
  2. Eat out only ONCE a check. Yes, that includes little meals that only cost $10.
  3. Read/listen to an hour long of personal finance information each day.

Growth:

  1. Publish a book on Amazon by June.
  2. Publish a blog post every week.
  3. Write every day.
  4. Work on Panic-Attack-Helpful-Things
  5. Start a Garden Outside

So, these are my goals for the year 2015! Join me this year in checking these off the list, and I challenge you to post your own New Years Resolutions on your goal! Make them as extensive or as short as you can! Show me your resolve, and your power! I can’t wait to read them, and cheer along with you as we make these goals come true! Consider this the start of a New Years Resolution Bloghop! Post the link to your own post in the comments below, and as I see them, I’ll add your link to the Links on this page! <3

BlogHop Participators:
Write Accountable

Breaking Down Nemesis: Part Five

  • Posted on September 4, 2014 at 4:36 pm

Welcome to Part Five of Breaking Down Nemesis! In Part Four, we discovered that Miss Marple’s original idea, of meeting Mrs. Anderson and asking her about the deceased Mister Rafiel, turns out to be a bunk. In fact, we are no closer at all to finding out the mystery that Mister Rafiel wanted us to find, nor are we actually anywhere closer to the actual plot! It turns out that from what we’ve found out, Mrs. Anderson doesn’t have anything to do with it at all!

Luckily enough, this chapter is entitled Instructions From Beyond, so I don’t doubt we’ll finally get some directions! It starts out with a letter that arrives three or four days after the confrontation with Mrs. Anderson. I’ve copied it here, for your perusal as well!

Dear Miss Marple,

By the time you read this I shall be dead and also buried. Not cremated, I am glad to think. It has always seemed to me unlikely that one would manage to rise up from one’s handsome bronze vase full of ashes and haunt anyone if one wanted so to do! Whereas the idea of rising from one’s grave and haunting anyone is quite possible. Shall I want to do that? Who knows. I might even want to communicate with you.

By now my solicitors will have communicated with you and will have put a certain proposition before you. I hope you will have accepted it. If you have not accepted it, don’t feel in the least remorseful. It will be your choice.

This should reach you, if my solicitors have done what they were told to do, and if the posts have done the duty they are expected to perform, on the 11th of the month. In communication from a travel bureau in London. I hope what it proposes will not be distasteful to you. I needn’t say more. I want you to have an open mind. Take care of yourself. I think you will manage to do that. You are a very shrewd person. The best of luck and may your gaurdian angel be at your side looking after you. You may need on.

Your affectionate friend,

J. B. Rafielmr.rafielgrave

My fangirl instincts are beginning to really enjoy the idea of these two in a romance.  However, putting that aside, Miss Marple is quickly contacted, again in two days time, by the Famous Houses and Gardens of Great Brittain. I won’t type up their whole letter, it basically states that she’s been given a free tour around London, and after checking with a few of her friends to make sure the company wasn’t a scam, she made arrangements.

Once again, we are treated to a scene with Cherry. She’s worried that Miss Marple might not be up to the long amounts of walking involved with the group tour. In the end, Cherry decides that so long as Miss Marple doesn’t “Fall down with a heart attack, even if you are looking at a particularly sumptuous fountain or something”, that she’s fine with it.

Another two days later, and Miss Marple carries her small overnight bag as well as her new suitcase onto a very nice new bus. Another bit of her genius shows through, as she studies the Passenger list, along with the daily itenerary. Apperantly, the itenerary was quite well arranged, with two seperate tours, one for those fleet of foot, and one for the elderly who can’t really move that well. Miss Marple then began guessing who each name on the passenger lists belonged to.

Now, during this particular strain of thought, Miss Marple uses that term again, that I took exception to in the second chapter. “Old Pussies” is a bit… Well, problematic nowadays. So, we’ll not be going over that too much. I’m attempting to take this book as the time period it was written in.

To be quite honest, this chapter really didn’t interest me all that much during my first read through. It was mostly descriptions of what people looked like, and how they struck Miss Marple, which while normally quite interesting, was, in this case, quite boring. Of the fifteen passengers, she determined quite a few things. Unfortunately, with the way it is written, and how tangled it all is, I honestly can’t begin to untangle it.

However, this does bring credit to our Agatha Christie Code theory. Miss Christie just added sixteen new characters to the story, and gave them all very in depth descriptions, and as noted, my brain basically just GAVE UP. Luckily, in the next chapter, we get slowly introduced to them a little easier, so I’m not really going to lay them out now. However, I am going to note a few bits of good writing.

Once again, we’re treated to a very organic thought process from Miss Marple. She goes from thinking about the four other old women, which is realistic mostly due to the fact that people generally note those similar to themselves. I know that I tend to look at young women on the bus before I look at old men, or older women. We see again, how she compares others to those that she knows. Specifically, she compares an old woman to someone called “Dame Emily Waldron”, a notable scientist, and a Principal of an Oxford College.

Perhaps we should learn from this. The next chance you get, take a moment and categorize your own thinking. Take notes on what you notice first, and follow along to your next thought. When you read books, note the thought processes of the characters that you’re reading.

The first day of the trip passes, without Miss Marple determining if anyone was involved in a murder, and she goes to bed, hoping that she might find something out the next day. Before bed, she spends a few moments, noting things down in her notebook. Which, honestly, is a wonderful way to bring us into re-thinking the things she’d discovered today as well. A wonderful narrative device, in fact.

So what have we learned today? Having an organic thought process for your character, as well as showing creative narrative devices to re-iterate information that may have been hard to understand in the first place, are keys to salvaging a rather horrid chapter.

For those of you following along, what did you think of this chapter? For those of you who aren’t, Share your experiences in the comments, with books that start slow and boring, and then pick up?

 

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