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L – Log Horizon

  • Posted on April 14, 2017 at 4:13 pm

Another entry in this list that started out as light novels and got turned into an amazing anime series, Log Horizon is one of my favorites. Technically a Sci-fi, it manages to seem almost high fantasy, if only because of the premise. Suddenly transported to the world of an MMORPG, the main characters must not only survive. They must also rebuild society as a whole, to make the life they have in this world worth living again.

Why I recommend it to Writers: The intricacies of the plot is only outpaced by the characters’ growth throughout the story. Each arc has a definitive character arc as well, and it makes me so happy to watch.

Warnings: Brief child slavery, perverted humor.

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!

Examples of Diversity in Writing

  • Posted on December 10, 2016 at 8:31 am

With the advent of recent shows in diversity, and to combat the fear of that diversity leaving in the face of certain leaders, let’s rehash some recent boons in Diverse writing! I’ll be linking to several good articles on each section, as well as writing up my own experiences with it.

We can learn something from these giants, and we absolutely should!

Hamilton – Race in Theatre

Ever since Hamilton received a record 16 nominations for Tony Awards, it’s been clear that the diverse cast had something to do with it. Telling a story about white individuals using black individuals as the actors has turned out to be an outstanding way to support people of color and impoverished communities as well. It proves that no matter what the source material, ability should dictate who gets a part, not race or body shape or anything else.

  1. Hamilton Fans Flock
  2. Hamilton Cast – “We are the Diverse America”
  3. What does Hamilton tell us about Race in Casting?
  4. No, Hamilton’s casting call is not Reverse Racism.

Legend of Korra – Bisexuality

Legend of Korra is the hit sequel to Avatar the Last Airbender, and boy howdy, did it hit hard on the radar of all the sites I frequent. In fact, the final couple, Korrasami (Korra+Asami), seems to be a warning for conservative television. That is, your days of heteronormative television are over. Now, I personally didn’t make it tot he end of that series (Mako made me want to throw something at my television in the hopes it would hit him) but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t. It’s a masterpiece of writing, and I think you should absolutely watch it, if you want to be an author.

  1. Korra goes beyond bisexual representation
  2. Thinking of watching Korra?
  3. And the Korra Wiki

Undertale – Gender Diversity

(Spoilers ahead)
In Undertale, the main character, Frisk, is always referred to as They. Not only that but all of the children are referred to as they as well, except the Prince, Asriel. The ghosts are referred to as They. This use of the third pronoun, They/Them, is very unique, in that it was clearly a premeditated choice on the part of the writer, and yet it appears as easy as breathing air to the main characters and their cohorts. This sort of gender inclusivity is rare. Not only that, but there is a character that clearly represents the transgender struggle. If you’re familiar with Mettaton, try looking up the Meta (Get it?!) around his creation. Beyond even that, you have Undyne, who slays gender roles, Papyrus, who shows us it’s okay to be effeminate and cook and still be a badass bone brother.

  1. Undertale Science Lays it out for us
  2. An interview with Toby Fox
  3. Gender Identity in Undertale via Reddit

Yuri on Ice – Homophobia and the Lack thereof

One of the greatest shows in the Fall 2016 lineup, Yuri!!! on Ice is a sports anime about figure skaters. Yuri, Victor and Yurio are the three main characters, but even Yurio falls away when compared to the wonderful love story unfolding before us. Victuri (Victor+Yuri) is a healthy romance for the years ahead, and one for the storybooks, in my opinion. But what is incredibly vibrant about the show isn’t just the love between it’s two leads, but the fact that NO ONE IS SHAMED FOR IT. There is no homophobia in sight! It’s proof that one CAN write a healthy, happy romance, without having to include the icky awfulness that our everyday reality pushes onto it.

  1. Yuri!!! On Ice! is the Skating Anime for Everyone
  2. Yes, Yuri!!! On Ice is as Gay as you Think
  3. Gender in YOI

 

In conclusion, go educate yourself, and have fun writing your diverse cast! There’s no reason to stick to straight white protagonists anymore, and certainly no reason to limit yourself. Dream big!

Researching Mystery

  • Posted on August 11, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Today, I have a guest blog published over on Cindy Grigg’s website. We’ve swapped guestblogs, and her post, 9 ways to fix your Stereotyped Character is informative and fun to read! Go take a look at it! Also, take a look at the article, Researching mystery which you can find here:

If you’re curious, here’s the first two paragraphs of the article, for your perusal.

To begin with, I’m not normally a mystery author. To be specific, when I was younger, I only ever wrote fantasy novels, or romance. Now, however, I’m trying my hand at mystery novels, which means quite a bit of strife. I have a natural instinct when it comes to fantasy, so I find it easy to fall into. With Romance, I have my years as a fanfiction writer and fandom roleplayer to fall back on, which can both enhance and detract from my writing. (No one likes reading author’s notes, I’ve since learned.)

I came to mystery as a genre because I love the tense atmosphere. Maybe it’s less mystery and more suspense that I enjoy. But recently, I’ve found that I want a challenge. And the best way to challenge yourself is to write something you’ve never in a million years written before. But how can you write something you’ve never written before? How can you make sure that you don’t slip back into writing what you know? And worst of all, how do you manage to make it a GOOD manuscript when you know nothing about your genre?

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Friendship Blooms

  • Posted on June 18, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Dirk had been polishing his boots when it happened. The courtyard had been open and wide, and the breeze was nice, so he’d decided to clean his armor and check it over for damage there, instead of in the armory. Perhaps a bit of a foolish thing to do, but how could he say no to the bright sunshine? Sitting outside helped clear his head, as well, so that he could review the lessons that Althalos had beaten into him today.  His ribs still stung from the great wallop he’d received when his attention had swayed towards gods only know what earlier during their bouts together.

The incident that is being referred to turned out to only be the start of something horrible and rather humiliating for all parties involved. However, the best learning experiences, in Dirk’s limited view, tended to be just that. A little horrible, and very humiliating.  The only good thing that came of it, was that he learned a little more about his princess, and a little more about himself as well.

So if the bottom of his stomach dropped out at the sight of Second Princess Eamon storming towards him, it could be blamed on the fact that it wasn’t very often he was confronted with such a fearsome sight. Just last week, he’d watched her take an entire band of fifty some odd men down with only seven knights and a good plan. She’d waded into the battle herself, sword swinging as fast and as hard as any man, and he respected her for it. He was also mildly terrified of her for her ruthlessness when it came to battle itself. Her smile was that of a demon when she engaged an enemy, and worse if she knew she’d win. He wasn’t looking forward to whatever was making her grimace like that at him. “Sir Strausson!” She called, and his bones snapped into ready position before he had time to think about it, a muscle memory instilled through many hard raps to the shins by Althalos and all of his other teachers.

“You are to accompany me into the city today! Dress respectably, and be prepared to engage in wooing!”

Now, that threw him off, simply because he had no idea what she meant. “…Forgive me, your royal highness, but I don’t understand.”

“You’re going to woo me, Sir Strausson.” She declared, and Dirk felt his stomach shrivel into dust. He’d just broken up with Lady Ameliah last week, and he honestly wasn’t interested in going through that particular cycle with Princess Eamon as well. “I expect nothing less than your very best romantic endeavors, and I will not allow you to back down.”

“I-” Realizing that he had no chance of getting out of this was roughly the same as pulling teeth. “Yes, ma’am.”

Finding his way back inside, in a daze, he began getting ready. Wearing the same white shirt, the blue vest that Lady Ameliah had said brought out the blue in his eyes and the dark coal of his skin, he sighed, realizing that this was going to be a thorough, unmitigated disaster. Although… Well, to tell the truth, Eamon was so terrifyingly in control all the time, that most of the knights and lords called her “Lady Ironheart”. None of them would approach her. And since Dirk had apparently scared away every person who had professed interest in him, he thought that perhaps this was what his circumstances lead to. As Lady Ameliah said when she had declared their relationship over, Dirk was just too uptight.

Perhaps he needed someone just as uptight as he was, that way he would be matched. Eamon was a brilliant person, and a lovely woman. If it weren’t for her overbearing need to be the best, perhaps she’d have more suitors. Pulling on his best boots, he laced them thoughtfully . Honestly, he thought that Lady Eamon was just fine as she was. But perhaps she was lonely?

Well, anyone would be lonely, after seeing their twin so happily engaged. Ever since the letter with her ring had come, First Princess Lette had been walking on air. Perhaps Princess Eamon was simply jealous of her sister? Oh, who was he to speculate anyway. He knew next to nothing of the ways of other’s hearts. He was clueless, himself, and if he felt an itch occasionally to have another next to him, the warmth of another person sharing his life, he usually found ways to ignore it. Usually by reading, or studying, or riding. Or sometimes, by speaking with Jorgan in the kitchens. The boy was surprisingly good at clearing Dirk’s head, and it was nice. Although that brought him to the thought of what he should do to please Lady Ironheart during their outing. Was she expecting him to take the lead in this? Most of the other ladies he’d been with had expected as such. Some, however, had always lead him around like he was some small dog on a leash. That had been about as annoying as the expectations, actually. He gave another sigh, heading out.

Stopping by the kitchen, he gave Jorgan a quick squeeze. The russet haired apprentice grumbled, and shoved him, but smiled a little more, which made Dirk’s day. Packing a basket full of food, just in case, he gave the sleeping cook a small glare, before heading out. Picking a good horse, he started saddling it up.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” The princess’s voice called from behind him, and he bit back a groan, and turned around. And had to stare for a few moments, because… She was wearing a DRESS. He’d been under the impression that Eamon HATED dresses. He’d never seen her in one. Not really. It… didn’t really look right on her. She looked out of place, and rather uncomfortable, although he had to admit, the curled ringlets of her hair made her face look quite more ladylike than usual. That was nice. He supposed.

“I’m preparing our outing? I thought perhaps a picnic at the top of the hill leading to the Temple?” He offered, knowing it to be the most beautiful and supposedly romantic place in the entire city. Several of the others whom had asked him to court them had demanded he take them there. He’d recently just started taking everyone there on the first outing. Easier that way.

“No! You’re going to take me to the theater. And then, we are going to the Tree of Bloom.” She declared, one finger in the air, as if ticking off boxes on a list. “After that, you will take me to my rooms, and we will have a kiss.” Her face turned a deep red and he felt his own cheeks heat in response. Kissing was never his favorite thing. Ever. Too wet, and too… well, close. Plus, the smell of another’s breath tended to make him just a little ill. But he couldn’t argue with a Princess.

“As you wish.” And that was how he found himself strolling along the venues of the city, the crowds of people pressing around them. Eamon strode through, her skirts just as sure as her armor for keeping people out of her way. Dirk felt like he was her bodyguard instead of her date, and it was legitimately humbling. The set of her shoulders was the same as when she was waging war, and Dirk respected her for it. So when she stopped in front of a building, and held out her arm in an odd angle, he was puzzled as to what exactly she wanted.

“Well? Go on! Take my arm, and let’s go inside!” Doing exactly that lead him into a room filled with hushed whispers and draping curtains, with people spread out all over, and chairs everywhere. The Princess strode forward and into the best seats in the house. Ignoring the protests of the people who had been moving towards them, she sat, fiddling with her skirts as if they were in the way. He sat down next to her, the chair rough and badly made. Clearly this was not a royal theater in any way. The candles around them flickered with everyone’s movement, and Dirk wondered if this is what it feels like to be smothered in bad taste.

“The show is called ‘Pan in Darkness’.” Eamon explained, and her voice this low made it hard to remember that she commanded armies with that voice. “It’s a love story about a fae child and the local prince’s bride to be. Lette says that it’s a must-see.”

“Ah. She recommended it then?” He asked, a little curious. Since he’d been assigned to guard one or the other of the princesses every once in a while, it was a little odd to see them together. Mostly due to their different obligations. Lette being a Priestess of Vell and Eamon a Knight of the Realm, they didn’t exactly coincide very often. He wondered if it was because they were sisters that they found time to spend together. He wondered, if he’d had any siblings, would he have worked so hard to spend time with them? He felt as if he was forgetting something… But the curtain rose, drawing his attention.

Eamon was right. The play was rather heartfelt. But Dirk really could have done without the awkward make-outs in the middle of the scene that was supposed to be romantic. He wasn’t happy really with it, but then again, who was he to say what was right in this sort of thing. He noticed Eamon looked just as bored as he was, really, rolling her eyes and huffing more sighs than a sleepy dog. Not that he would ever compare his Princess to a dog. That… wouldn’t end well.

On the way out, however, he caught her mumbling to herself, “About time.” He paused, and nodded, and agreed with her, which sent her cheeks red again. She stormed off towards the palace garden, and Dirk followed, a little confused as to what the point of all of this was. Was Princess Eamon really interested in having a relationship with him? He didn’t think so… At least she wasn’t asking him to hold her hand or anything. He didn’t mind holding hands, in fact, it was kind of nice. But he was wary. Holding hands usually meant they wanted him to kiss them, and he really, really just didn’t want to deal with that.

The gardens were verdant and green, and they smelled lovely like fresh rain. He wondered if that was because of rain-spells, or if it had rained while they were in the theater. He found that Lady Eamon slowed down quite a bit, when on the garden paths. She contemplated the flowers slowly as they moved, her skirts brushing the leaves. He had to admit, she was lovely, in a way different from her sister, or even from her mother. The faint silver lines of scars along her arms, the firm muscle of them in the silk sleeves. He knew he’d find callouses similar to his own on her fingers, were he to look.

If he were honest, he really admired her. She trained as hard as he ever had, and she had become someone irreplaceable to the people of Theon, and to Kuryle itself. But Dirk would prefer to have her as a friend, as a fellow knight, than to lose her, like he inevitably did whenever he courted someone. He should put a stop to this… Ah. Wait, she’d stopped.

The Tree of Bloom rose over their heads, limbs heavy with leaves that stayed green all year round. The wood pulsed with beautiful light, rainbowed and dizzying up the trunk. He couldn’t stop gazing at it. The Tree was very famous. Couples from all over the country pilgrimage to this place, to stand before the tree. Only four times has the blossoms ever opened, the blooms always tightly shut. It is said that when they do open, they shine a beautiful light, different each time. The most famous of times this happened is said to be whenever Priest-Queen Lishtaire and her Knight Templar Althalos visit the garden together. As such, it has become the norm to say that the tree identifies and shines in the presence of soul mates. Ones who were meant to be together forever are blessed by the tree.

It wasn’t as if it was the end all be all, of course. Just a romantic rumor. And as Eamon stood, staring up at the branches, he wondered if he was supposed to do or say something.

“It’s beautiful.” He offered, an olive branch of conversation.

“Yes.” She sighed, “More so when it blooms.” Ah, he’d forgotten. She would have seen that, wouldn’t she? After all, it was her mother and father the tree bloomed for. He smiled, and took a step forward, to her side.

“I don’t think… that this is a good idea.” He started, trying to make this less awkward. He didn’t get the chance to finish, however, because she reached up, and with hands as strong as his own, fisted his shirt, and yanked. Her lips met his, and it was a kiss. Just as wet and foul and thick as he was used to, a pressing of lips to lips, and that was it. It meant nothing, and he barely had time to get the disgust off his face before she pulled back.

“…” She sighed, and let him go, which was a relief to him. “…I thought perhaps that, since father likes you, and you’re a very kind man, we could make it work.” Her tongue licks her lips, “But that kiss was just…”

“Sort of horrible?” He prompted, his lips quirking into a bit of amusement. “That’s how my kisses usually go. If you’d asked any of my previous paramours, you’d know. Lady Ameliah grew angry enough to break out courting simply because I can’t kiss well.” Well, it was more complicated than that, but that was the basic point of it, he thought.

“…I think it has more to do with your being male.” She explained. “I had no problems kissing Lady Nonna last week. I…I think I enjoy the company of ladies more.”

He wondered if this was true, or if she was just saying it to try and make him feel better. Honestly, he didn’t really care. He was just relieved he wouldn’t have to deal with the cycle of abject disappointment again, only this time with someone he respected. He smiled, and set his hand on her shoulder.

“If that’s the case, then I would still like to offer my friendship. I see no reason why we can’t get along.” He offered. And when she smiled up at him, he could see her mother in her. It warmed his heart, and he found yet another person he would do just about anything for.

Tristan and Ysolde

  • Posted on April 24, 2014 at 12:54 pm

“I thought you said he was your dad!” He cried, ducking under a tree branch. Her hand was sweaty and slick in his, and honestly, Tristan thought he was dying. The shotgun went off once more, and he ducked instinctively, nearly sending both of them careening into a tree. She yanked on his arm and he twisted, ankle sliding in the mud, and sending him into her arms.

“NO, I said he was LIKE my dad!” She corrected, yanking him upright, and then ducking under a different tree and tugging him along. She’d always been a bit stronger than he was, and now he was grateful for it, because the beacon of her wheat-gold hair in the moonlight was enough for him to follow through the woods.

Another shot rang out, and the tree next to his head exploded, and Tristan yelped. His heart pounded, his chest ached for breath as his feet tried to keep up with hers. Over a rock, under a tree, around an oddly shaped shed that honestly wouldn’t have hidden them at all. He was glad when she jumped down into a gulch, at least until his leg went out from under him and he landed ass-first in mud. He had to bite his tongue not to curse out loud, and scrambled to his feet, the mud sucking at his shoes like a  child taking a toy.

“What do you MEAN, like your dad?! He’s not even related to you!” He hissed, surprised she could be that graceful at three months pregnant. With his kid. Oh god, that was his child in there, being shot at by her creepy caretaker.

“He adopted me when I was little, okay?! I never thought anything of it until he started taking me to look at wedding dresses when I turned fifteen, okay?!” Her voice grew higher, terrified, as another blast blew through the little shed behind them. “Then I met YOU!”

Yeah, him. The odd twenty something hiking through town with nothing but a backpack, and some odd jobs. He’d managed to win her heart, because she’d won his the moment he’d seen her. He could still see the smile she’d given him in the farmer’s market, and wow, was it beautiful. She threw a strained version of it over her shoulder at him and he saw the glint of moonlight off her teeth.

They burst out of the brush and into the highway leading out of town. He stopped, because if they could get a ride before he caught up… She tugged impatiently on his hand, desperate to get him to follow her into the woods on the other side. But there was a truck coming, he could see it, maybe they could get a ride out into the next city, where he could get a job, and she wouldn’t have to marry some crazed sixty year old man.

Pain. Blinding, absolute agony, ripping through his thigh, and he went down, knee buckling. The concrete beneath him was hard, and he could feel a pebble pushing into his face. He thought he might have taken Isolde down with him, and he wasn’t sure, but the boots on the blacktop were his, the old man’s, and oh god. Oh god, there was a shotgun in his face.

“NO! Please, don’t, I’ll never run again, please just DO-” He could hear her shrieking, and then the sound of the trigger. He never heard the boom of the gun, just saw a flash of light.

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