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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.

IWSG – The Green Mile

  • Posted on July 1, 2015 at 8:10 pm

It’s the last bit of the book. The climax, the final battle. The most terrifying, wondrous conclusion of several years of your life, and you are shaking with excitement. Then, it creeps up on you. The fear. This is it. This is the end. You’re about to finish the last bits, and there is so much to be done after that, but it feels so… So final. You’re terrified.

That’s how I feel right now, actually. I’m at the cusp of my final victory, the triumph of finally finishing. And I can’t put fingers to keyboard without wanting to curl up in a ball and say No, it’s not done, it’ll never BE done. I think that perhaps that fear sits on me, crushing me. Worse than writer’s block, this comes right before a deadline, and locks me up.

The worst part is, it’s right at my worst writing too! An emotionally charged battle with dialogue. Yeah, I know, the bread and butter of fantasy, but I can’t help it! I’m still learning! It’s my very own green mile, the last long walk before the gallows of the public eye, and I’m sitting here terrified to take that first step.

What if it fails? What if my inability to write makes my words completely incomprehensible to anyone? What if all this time has been wasted? What if I could have spent it building models of airplanes and selling them on craigslist? What if, what if, what if?

Like many, I’m going to just have to move past it,  kick myself in the arse and go on trying. Because I can’t just let this die. Not after spending so much time and energy, so much blood and sweat on it. I won’t allow that to happen. And that’s the key. You can’t allow yourself to be your biggest enemy. There’s nothing worse than failure, except perhaps self-sabotage.

So buck up, self, and quit sabatoging! We can do this, and we are gonna knock their socks off!

Weekly Writing Update – 06/11/15

  • Posted on June 11, 2015 at 7:28 am

I’m so close, guys, I can feel it! Unfortunately, i had to add in a whole new element with the Knight of Kuryle book, which is testing my limits aMAZINGLY. Who knew I was so bad at dialogue?! But I’m doing my best to get it in there, because it’s SO important.

Word Counts: 

First Book of the Kurylian Saga: 1.5 sections rewritten –

  1. Knight of Kuryle – 18,604 words – roughly half rewritten.

Kaimi Rowe Series: Seeker Born – Rough Draft – Restarted w/new concept

  1. Snippet can be seen in Bruises and Broken Bones

An Asexual’s Guide to Dating – Outlined – one section handwritten

Blog Posts:

IWSG – Security

Books Read

None finished this week, sadly. Would love to see some reccomendations for this one!

Goals 

Finish rewriting Knight of Kuryle

Two more blog posts for this blog this week!

Read all of Wonderbook by Jeff Vandermeer

Start Revision & Self-Editing by James Scott Bell

IWSG – Security

  • Posted on June 3, 2015 at 8:09 pm

Security is a tricky thing. Some spend their entire lives chasing after it. Some are born with it, and retain it until the day they die. You can lose it, and you can gain it, as easily as the wind blows. There are a thousand factors to whether or not your are secure. Locks can help, or hinder, while hard work seems to attract and also abolish.

What I’m talking about is a complex thing. Something that everyone, I think, in their own way searches and yearns for. For some, Security can be a good paycheck and knowing where their next meal comes from. For others, Security can be the next road they intend to walk down, or the next turn on a map. For a few, security can be the end of a leash in another’s hands. For others, security is holding that leash, and knowing they could let go at any time.

It takes a long time to be able to determine what security is for ourselves. And once we do, we hold on to that definition, even after it becomes old, outdated, and chipped away. Human beings don’t enjoy change. We try to, we try to look at the bright side, and sometimes we fail. Sometimes, we push ourselves away from good change, cathartic change, in an attempt to force ourselves into a ‘security’ that no longer fits. False Security.

It takes work to define what Security means to you. It takes trying new things. It takes holding your own against those who would take your security away from you. There are steps that you can take to find and keep it. There are steps you can take to lose and break away from it. There is good security, and there is bad security.

But when security is found, when you really have it, it’s like the whole world is built just for you. You can be happy with what you have. You can set your sights on everything you don’t. You can tune out all those niggling worries, and focus on what is truly important. Security, beyond anything else, is what I crave most in my life. It’d be easier, of course, if Security weren’t as flowing as a river, and as flickering as a flame. But then, the journey for it wouldn’t be near as fun, would it?

So feel insecure. Feel downtrodden, and worry. All of that is work, towards the one thing you need above all else. Insecurity IS your security. Because you just have to let security in, to end insecurity.

Breaking Down Nemesis: Part Four

  • Posted on August 27, 2014 at 8:31 am

Welcome again, to another installment of Breaking Down Nemesis! Once again, we are here to learn and experience Miss Agatha Christie’s work, and perhaps find a link to the elusive Agatha Christie Code that I keep hearing about. Essentially, the idea is to break down and discover if an Agatha Christie novel really is addictive! For this experiment in literature, I’ve chosen a random novel from her Miss Marple series, titled Nemesis. 

If you’re lost already, please see Part One, Part Two, and Part Three for the previous installments, that way you can keep up with the mystery as it unravels! And don’t forget to subscribe to see future installments, as well!

In the beginning of this chapter, we are introduced to Miss Marple’s sneaky side. In chapter three, we get to see her be sneaky when she asks Cherry, her assistant, to phone Mrs. Anderson, in order to find out if she’s at home, or out and about. This plan included a caveat that was to have Cherry inform Miss Anderson that she, Cherry, was Mr. Broadribb (Mr. Rafiel’s lawyer)’s secretary, and that she was to meet him at his office, but only if Miss Anderson was out and not to be back today.

The brilliance of that plan still makes me giggle. Honestly, it sounds a little like something I’d have done when playing Dungeons and Dragons, and setting up a trap for someone! Unluckily for us, we don’t get to see how that might have played out. I’d like to point out that this sort of organic thinking is coming a bit more often now. Or maybe we’re beginning to understand Miss Marple’s thought process a lot clearer, now that we’re actually involved in her investigation? Miss Christie certainly has me by the ear.

It turns out that Mrs. Anderson was out shopping at the supermarket. And who should she collide with, but Miss Marple herself! And as if the old codger wasn’t planning the whole thing, the two of them talk as if they’ve just run into each other. Instead of having the conversation she wants to have right there, Miss Marple instead arranges to visit Mrs. Anderson at home, instead.

Now, this might seem odd, but if you think about it, honestly, Miss Marple has the right idea. Mrs. Anderson will be more comfortable at home, and we might get to see what it was that the two of them are so at-arms with each other about. I can’t wait to find out myself!

The two exchange pleasantries for a little bit, and then Miss Marple seems to try to slide small questions in there, to find out more about Mr. Rafiel’s supposed request. She also takes a moment to notice that the oppulence of Mrs. Anderson’s new home, and connected it with a possible inheritance by Mrs. Anderson from Mr. Rafiel. Miss Marple asks if he left anything to the Nurse-Attendant Jackson, and finds out no he did not, and Mrs. Anderson hasn’t even seen the gentleman since they worked together.

Another series of questions by Miss Marple, and I’m beginning to see that she has a bit of a built in camouflage.

“…I was thinking it only the other day, after I’d seen the notice of his death. I wished I could know a little more. Where he was born, you know, and his parents. What they were like. Whether he had any children, or nephews or cousins or any family. I would so like to know.”

Esther Anderson smiled slightly. She looked at Miss Marple and her expression seemed to say “Yes, I’m sure you always want to know everything of that kind about everyone you meet.”

We’re getting more hints as to how people see her. Mrs. Anderson clearly thinks of Miss Marple as someone who is overly curious. But it’s tempered by the old-woman camouflage I was talking about. Everyone expects her to be nosy, because that’s how old women are! Take this lesson to heart. Let your characters use their own camouflages. If a woman wears glasses, let her put her hair in a bun, and pretend seriousness, despite her real personality. If a man has a raspy voice, let him pretend that he is dark and dangerous, when necessary. And when a person looks younger than they really are, let them use that childishness to their advantage to make others underestimate them! Remind yourself constantly of who they appear to be to others, so that this can be turned one-eighty and used against them!

The two go on to discuss more information, specifically about how Mr. Rafiel lost his wife long ago, but had three living children. Two daughters, and a son. One of the daughters married, and now lives in america, and the other daughter died, very young. It turns out there was trouble between father and son!

Picture Courtesy of bildungblog.blogspot.com

Picture Courtesy of bildungblog.blogspot.com

Apparently, the son was a scandalous sort, and died a few years ago. Mr. Rafiel never spoke of him. Odd that a deceased son, who was involved in scandals shows up just as Miss Marple is looking for a mystery, don’t you think? However, the two of them quickly come to a derailment, as the events at St. Honore get brought up again! And it turns out that Mrs. Anderson is still upset with something Miss Marple did in the Caribbean, but instead of actually discussing it, Mrs. Anderson stares coldly at Miss Marple, who takes her leave.

After leaving Mrs. Anderson’s home, Miss Marple determines that maybe, just maybe she was wrong to visit Mrs. Anderson, and thinks that perhaps there’s nothing to do with her at all in this mystery. I’m not quite so sure, but I think Miss Christie wrote it that way. I still can’t tell if this is a red-herring, or if I’m honestly right when I think that Mrs. Anderson is going to have something to do with it.

Eventually, after doubting herself a little bit, she comes to the same conclusion I have, which is that her old-lady-camouflage is a wonderful trait to have, and that she comes to recognize what people are like, based on who they remind her of. After that, she goes to sleep, thinking that it is entirely up to Mr. Rafiel to give her some sort of sign as to what exactly she is supposed to be doing.

This chapter in general, I think, was to show us more of Miss Marple’s character. I’m not sure anything really got done, other than, perhaps, clearing Mrs. Anderson of suspicion, and refusing to hand us any real clues as to what it is that Miss Marple is really supposed to be doing. Another point towards the Agatha Christie Code, as I was told that there was to be a lot of description, and slowness getting to the main plot. Which this chapter seems to embody quite a bit.

I find myself, however, instead of growing intrigued, growing a little bit bored of it. I’m starting to wonder, just like Miss Marple, if there really is any mystery to be solving at all! Which, I’m not sure if that’s a good way for a mystery novel to begin. However, dear reader, I will slog on, in order to find out! Just for you!

Please, however, do me a favor! In the comments, give me an idea or two of what you think the mystery is going to be! Do you think it’s Mr. Rafiel’s deceased son? Do you think Mrs. Anderson perhaps murdered someone? Do you think something entirely different is going to happen? Let me know!

A Review of ‘Eat That Frog!’ by Brian Tracy

  • Posted on August 21, 2014 at 12:29 pm

In Brian Tracy’s book, Eat That Frog!, you are given a set of rules/suggestions to follow to increase productivity and reduce procrastination. I read this book, cover to cover, hoping for some guru secrets. Unfortunately, it was a little underwhelming. Not that I didn’t enjoy it, as I enjoy most self-help books. However, I felt a lot of what he was talking about was common sense. Plus, he really pushed that frog-eating thing a little too hard in my opinion.

Here are the suggestions/rules that really stuck with me:

3) Apply the 80/20 rule to everything. – This means 20 percent of your activities will account for 80 percent of your results. So always concentrate your efforts on the 20% of activities that will yield good things.

This particular rule was news to me before this book. I had never thought of this as fact. I had always just assumed that putting in one hundred percent meant that the universe HAD to match you. But he’s correct. When I set three appointments at work for a special event, only one showed. And he didn’t even buy anything! So, focusing on that 20% tends to be a good idea.

This works in writing as well. Focus on finishing the 20% that helps you succeed later on. Outline, research, get involved, and that will help produce 80% of your writing for you! One article I read mentioned that when you have the energy to get things done, do the hard things, so that the easy things can be done when you are down.

8) The Law of Three. – Identify the three things you do in your work that account for 90 percent of your contribution and focus on getting them done before anything else. You will then have more time for your family and personal life. 

This goes along with the rule above. Identifying the three key things you do that make your work more profitable, more easily done, and more plentiful, then allows you to finish that 20% we were talking about earlier. My three things for writing are: Research, Outline, and Revise. These are the three things I do that contribute to finishing and polishing my manuscripts. At work, they are: Sell, Get Repairs, and Invite to Events.

13) Identify your key constraints. – Determine the bottle necks or choke points, internal or external, that set the speed at which you acheive your most important goals, and focus on alleviating them.

I learned a hard lesson last night at work. I work in a jewelry store, and I’d just sold a $3400 ring, to a couple who had walked in just to look. I thought I had worked very hard, and I was very proud of myself. I even split the sale with a coworker, so that she might benefit from it too, since it had been a slow night and she hadn’t had any sales that month.

Instead of celebrating with me, and acknowledging that I’d worked hard with the sale, she continued a rant she’d had earlier that day, saying that the only reason I had got the sale was because they had come in to buy. Now, this seemed really wrong to me. And I realised that her key constraint was most likely her negative attitude. Since in the last three days I have forced myself to repeatedly tell myself that I can make that sale, I have had three $1500+ days in a row. Clearly, my positive reinforcement of my own mental state has had some effect! This is only made clearer by the fact that before my reaffirmation, I had NO large sales, and in fact, had bombed a big event.

This rule resonates with me because, honestly, I think if she read this book, she might begin to understand how her negative attitude almost brought me down. So yes, despite it’s mediocre common sense, I do reccoment Eat That Frog! if only because, sometimes Common Sense is just what the doctor ordered.

Moping Strategy (TW: depression, suicide, molestation)

  • Posted on March 24, 2014 at 6:50 pm

With a title like that, I wouldn’t put it past you to think this post is going to be all negative-nelly whining and teenage angst. Unfortunately for you, that’s only partly correct. Oh, don’t worry, I know why you came. To get the skinny on another person’s woes, their thought process. Did you know that there is an actual word for that? Well, there is, and the three hours I spent scouring google to try and find it, should tell you something about my state of mind right now. But honestly, I wouldn’t blame you if you skip this particular entry in my lovely slice of wordery here.

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