All posts by Justin G.

Closing Time, Part 1

Well, looks like I just about made it to the finish line. I still have a few more pages to write before everything is all said and done, and what better way to begin by explaining my presentation for the Spring Symposium?

My project is divided into two major points: explaining Godreign, the novel that came as a result of my research and discovery, and explaining my research, which explains my thought process in greater detail.

Since I know that the people at the symposium were probably educated, but likely not as well-read in the same areas that I had covered for my thesis project, I wanted to keep things as straightforward and understandable for the average person. This included (against my own judgement) the usage of Marvel and DC character images to further push my explanation forward. It feels awkward a little, essentially promoting a book that hasn’t been published yet. But it’s my project darn it, and I’m gonna consider it a practice in marketing, if anything.

I tried to take an approach that was less focused on the “how” behind my thesis; save that stuff for the actual written paper. Instead, I wanted to use a lot of time explaining the “why”. Why I feel this needed to exist, why I felt this was a worthwhile endeavor. I never, ever thought I’d be writing a book as part of my academic process, so I think it’s important to explain things to the average person with that in mind.

I’ll be trying to present the promotional materials with the website that is serving as a portfolio for my work. There is a bunch of materials related to both my research and my novel that I would like to share on it, and so I’ll be putting a decent amount of time on the website as well, which should have its own domain name by next week.

I always admired Apple keynotes for their layers of presenting a new product or service, so I studied some of their keynotes as a basis for my own presentation. In particular, the way they set a background for the product or service before they reveal it. While I am not selling anything here, I do want to introduce my story in the same method, using the research to set a background for my actual story, and then proceeding to explain the story that resulted from my research. Public speaking is no stranger to me, but I will be timed to an extent, so I will be keeping that in mind when I present everything next week.

I don’t plan on having any sort of script to stick to however. Nothing ever goes as planned in life, but I feel this is one of those times where staying off the script is going to result in a more organic, more honest presentation. Hopefully those 5-10 minutes will be spent on speaking on what I know best, which is my thesis project, and the novel that came from it as a result.

 

The Divine Duality

Every once in a while, you get a revolutionary type of presentation in a pre-existing format. Movies have been on the “Part 1 and Part 2” train since Harry Potter first proved it was feasible back in 2010. Most recently, Avengers: Endgame is the “Part 2” to Infinity War’s “Part 1”. But while many stories have told the beginning and end in two parts, what about telling the story simultaneously with two parts?

I have to be careful with this, because it wouldn’t take much to consider it nothing more than a method to cash in on an existing trend. But as I drafted and outlined novels past my first one (Grand Contingency), it soon became clear that I would need to reconsider the way I tell the next story, or I would have an Order of the Phoenix sized doorstop for a book.

Nothing is replacing my Dobby doorstop, anyway.

So, I can’t exactly explain why I feel this would be necessary without elaborating on my story a little bit, so here’s that.

The next story in the Godreign series, set in the modern era 130 years after the events of Grand Contingency. Despite being the second and third installments, these novels take place almost entirely at the same time, chronologically.

Sometime in the 20th century, the Godreign was found, and neither Zach Edwards or Annabelle d’Armientieres were around to prevent the successful summon of the Neutral Weapon, a living being said to rival the Higher Powers in terms of divine energy. This triggered The Fall; an era of calculated attacks that not only left death and destruction in its wake, but left many countries in states of helplessness. This went on for seven years, after which the Neutral Weapon became dormant. Not wanting to waste any time before it returned, the most brilliant minds of the world began planning to rebuild, recover, and prepare a strategy in case the Neutral Weapon ever returned.

Dynatronic Energy Solutions, was at the helm of this recovery effort, and soon became a monopoly on the PowerPotential Energy that proved vital to rebuilding efforts in many countries. When protests of their mistreatment began to grow, a terrorist organization known as the Assembly began staging terorrist acts. Dynatronic formed a private army, known as the Task Force to protect their investments.

Gryphons tells the story of the titicular Gryphons, an international unit of special forces operators who are under contract with the DES Task Force due to unclear circumstances. With their advanced flight suits and mastery of both Tempest and Acquiescent Artes, they lead the fight against the Assembly through various missions that strike at the heart of their operation. But when they are hunted down by the Task Force after discovering the true reason behind The Fall, they set off on a personal campaign to not only prove their innocence, but to ensure a future where the Godreign never returns.

Cairdrys is an android, or at least she thinks she is. She doesn’t remember much of her origins before becoming the latest member of the Gryphons, and the only being ever capable of using both Tempest and Acquiescent Artes. After waking up years after her last mission nearly destroyed her internals, she finds her internal memory being occupied by an unknown set of tasks, leaving her unable to access the set of abilities that defined her. As she slowly recovers her abilities, she also regains memories of the past, and as the Gryphons fight against the Assembly, her past may prove vital to a future without the Neutral Weapon.

Guardians tells the simultaneous story of the Praetorian Guard, a highly disciplined unit of bodyguards who protect the leader of the DES Task Force; the mysterious Imperator Commandalia, and their Praefector second-in-command, Cecelia Silvestre.

When Task Force newcomer “Wolf” Albrecht saves the Praefector’s niece from assassination, he finds himself as the newest member of the Guard. It is a position that he is not interested in accepting, does so to ensure the continued safety of his blind sister Sieglinde, a prodigy in the medical Acquiescent Artes. After accidentally discovering the identity of the Imperator, he becomes thrust into a battle on two fronts; one to stop the terrorist Assembly from activating the Neutral Weapon once more, and to investigate the sudden betrayal of the legendary Gryphon Unit, and if it’s even a defection at all.

So now that I have all of that out of the way, I feel I can explain it a little more.

Gryphons is recommended to be read first by newcomers who have not read Grand Contingency, you’ll learn about the Grand Experiment alongside the Gryphons. I’m writing this story with an action tilt; while both sides have several shares of action as well as exploration into the bigger picture within Grand Contingency, Gryphons focuses on a group of supersoldiers from several different agencies around the world, and therefore will feature a greater emphasis on discovery. The Gryphons are not nearly as well-documented on the Godreign as much as the main characters in Guardians, so they’ll be learning more as they go along. To a potential new reader, I feel this is an organic method of exposing them to the world.

Guardians builds on characters and background story from Grand Contingency, and while it can be read before Gryphons, it is recommended to be read first by those who have read Grand Contingency, in order to fully understand the connections both stories have with the overall lore.

Compared to Gryphons, which introduces the story from the outside looking in, the majority of the characters in Guardians are familiar with both the Godreign and the Grand Experiment. This is to represent the reader who has read Grand Contingency better, and to spend less time on exposition regarding it. It also goes into the history of both the Godreign and the Higher Powers That Be a little more, although that is not the focus for either story…yet.

So what’s the purpose behind this method of storytelling? Why couldn’t I just condense this into a single book, with multiple perspectives? Well, apart from the aforementioned doorstop of a book I’m trying to avoid, I feel like a sequel should only be done if there’s some opportunity to improve on some aspect of the narrative. After all, by the time Grand Contingency is ready to publish, I feel I can would have gone through a lot that had advanced me as a writer. But at the same time, I feel this method is still linear in a sense; both books would end up advancing the plot whether you read only one or both, so there is still a sense of progression despite the extra pages from both.

Most importantly, I’m excited to see the continuity that readers will recognize from reading one book then the other; there will be characters you recognize, references you understood, and reasons for characters doing something that may seem unclear at first, then you read it from their perspective and suddenly it all makes a little more sense. It’s a narrative approach that I wish was explored more, and one I hope to advance in some form with this duality in the storytelling.

How I hope someone feels reading Gryphons /Guardians then reading the other one.

Quitting While You’re Ahead

If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.

-Orson Welles

I always found the concept of long-running TV shows to be fascinating to me. Apart from shows that rely on comedical elements like The Simpsons, these are shows with plots that must accompany the long-running nature of the show. This is more common in anime than anything else; Fairy Tail is in its final season and will finish with 321 episodes. In comparison, the average anime series only has about 26 episodes, or even 12. But even this pales in comparison to One Piece, which currently has roughly 875 episodes and only recently had announced a conclusion in the near future. Sure, these series are immensely popular and therefore can be allowed to last as long as they do…but if popularity wasn’t a factor in the run length….at what point do you decide to stop?
I’ve noticed that over time, a lot of authors either fall out of love with a former project of theirs, or even worse, actively speaking out against the projects. Don’t expect Stephanie Meyer to do another Twilight book, and JK Rowling will change the Harry Potter continuity if it means getting another headline out of it.
I’m having a lot of fun writing this book for my thesis, one that I hope to become a successful series. However, I do recognize that eventually I will have to, and will want to, write something else. Hopefully people will want to see more, and I’d be happy to keep people posted if so. But the last thing I would hope to do, is to write a novel for profit.

It seems to be a trap that even the greatest of authors have found themselves in. Arthur Conan Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes, only to bring him back in after a publisher threw a copious amount of money his way. Money talks. And solves crimes.

Holmes is dead and damned! I have had such an overdose of him that I feel towards him as I do towards paté de foie gras, of which I once ate too much, so that the name of it gives me a sickly feeling to this day.

-Arthur Conan Doyle on his feelings on Sherlock Holmes, shortly after killing him off (temporarily) in “The Final Problem”.

I’m having a lot of fun writing this book for my thesis, one that I hope to become a successful series. However, I do recognize that eventually I will have to, and will want to, write something else. Hopefully people will want to see more, and I’d be happy to keep people posted if so. But the last thing I would hope to do, is to write a novel for profit. The one book I’m writing now, is the first in a planned series of 5, maybe 6 if I split the final story into two parts (remember when that was a trend with movies?) . However, I fully intend to complete the story at 4. Why is that? I feel that the best projects don’t pack everything conclusive regarding their plot in the very last book, at least in a coherent fashion. A fifth and final book would give a sense of finality and bridge the gap between the two large time gaps in my story (late 19th/early 20th century and the present day), but it would also answer some lingering questions that may have been overlooked in concluding the story with book 4. With this type of presentation, the tension surrounding the main story would be alleviated, but there would be room to introduce some new tension with the plot. It’s the stress that keeps on stressing!

This all isn’t to say that I don’t have plans beyond the planned books. I even have a forbidden high school setting for all my relatively adult characters to be de-aged and then interact in, and oh boy will that probably be a story that will either completely alienate my reader base or bring in an entirely new set of readers to my stories. But I think that I would like to eventually take a step back, and look at all my projects in retrospect, and leave enough time to think “hmm, am I satisfied with this”? It’s a little more flexible with writing I’d imagine than other arts; da Vinci couldn’t exactly tweak the Mona Lisa once it dried, you know? But I don’t want to be left wondering, or even worse, realize something needed work when it is too late to do anything. Douglas Adams was so irate by his fanbase wanting more Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy books, that he with “Mostly Harmless”, he basically tried ending the series on a final, depressing note. When he regretted this and set upon making another book that was way more pleasant, he kinda passed away before he could finish it. Guess life is also mostly harmless too. Mostly.
I’ll go a deeper into my thought process in having multiple books tell a simultaneously story in another blog post, but to sum up my thoughts on this whole thing; authors should always write what they feel like writing. However, if people tend to enjoy a certain book, I feel an author should think twice before burning the bridge on it, or at least consider engaging readers in active conversation if it is brought up. Some authors have thought they were done with a project only to go right back to it sometime later, or at the very least, have regrets about the way it ended. Others (that includes you, JK Rowling) either don’t know when to give it up, and oversaturate their series as a result, losing some potential value it may have with the reader. There’s a fine balance here when it comes to knowing when a series is complete or not, and it’s one that authors have been struggling to balance for ages now.

Quitting While You’re Ahead

If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.

-Orson Welles

I always found the concept of long-running TV shows to be fascinating to me. Apart from shows that rely on comedical elements like The Simpsons, these are shows with plots that must accompany the long-running nature of the show. This is more common in anime than anything else; Fairy Tail is in its final season and will finish with 321 episodes. In comparison, the average anime series only has about 26 episodes, or even 12. But even this pales in comparison to One Piece, which currently has roughly 875 episodes and only recently had announced a conclusion in the near future. Sure, these series are immensely popular and therefore can be allowed to last as long as they do…but if popularity wasn’t a factor in the run length….at what point do you decide to stop?
I’ve noticed that over time, a lot of authors either fall out of love with a former project of theirs, or even worse, actively speaking out against the projects. Don’t expect Stephanie Meyer to do another Twilight book, and JK Rowling will change the Harry Potter continuity if it means getting another headline out of it.
I’m having a lot of fun writing this book for my thesis, one that I hope to become a successful series. However, I do recognize that eventually I will have to, and will want to, write something else. Hopefully people will want to see more, and I’d be happy to keep people posted if so. But the last thing I would hope to do, is to write a novel for profit.

It seems to be a trap that even the greatest of authors have found themselves in. Arthur Conan Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes, only to bring him back in after a publisher threw a copious amount of money his way. Money talks. And solves crimes.

Holmes is dead and damned! I have had such an overdose of him that I feel towards him as I do towards paté de foie gras, of which I once ate too much, so that the name of it gives me a sickly feeling to this day.

-Arthur Conan Doyle on his feelings on Sherlock Holmes, shortly after killing him off (temporarily) in “The Final Problem”.

I’m having a lot of fun writing this book for my thesis, one that I hope to become a successful series. However, I do recognize that eventually I will have to, and will want to, write something else. Hopefully people will want to see more, and I’d be happy to keep people posted if so. But the last thing I would hope to do, is to write a novel for profit. The one book I’m writing now, is the first in a planned series of 5, maybe 6 if I split the final story into two parts (remember when that was a trend with movies?) . However, I fully intend to complete the story at 4. Why is that? I feel that the best projects don’t pack everything conclusive regarding their plot in the very last book, at least in a coherent fashion. A fifth and final book would give a sense of finality and bridge the gap between the two large time gaps in my story (late 19th/early 20th century and the present day), but it would also answer some lingering questions that may have been overlooked in concluding the story with book 4. With this type of presentation, the tension surrounding the main story would be alleviated, but there would be room to introduce some new tension with the plot. It’s the stress that keeps on stressing!

This all isn’t to say that I don’t have plans beyond the planned books. I even have a forbidden high school setting for all my relatively adult characters to be de-aged and then interact in, and oh boy will that probably be a story that will either completely alienate my reader base or bring in an entirely new set of readers to my stories. But I think that I would like to eventually take a step back, and look at all my projects in retrospect, and leave enough time to think “hmm, am I satisfied with this”? It’s a little more flexible with writing I’d imagine than other arts; da Vinci couldn’t exactly tweak the Mona Lisa once it dried, you know? But I don’t want to be left wondering, or even worse, realize something needed work when it is too late to do anything. Douglas Adams was so irate by his fanbase wanting more Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy books, that he with “Mostly Harmless”, he basically tried ending the series on a final, depressing note. When he regretted this and set upon making another book that was way more pleasant, he kinda passed away before he could finish it. Guess life is also mostly harmless too. Mostly.
I’ll go a deeper into my thought process in having multiple books tell a simultaneously story in another blog post, but to sum up my thoughts on this whole thing; authors should always write what they feel like writing. However, if people tend to enjoy a certain book, I feel an author should think twice before burning the bridge on it, or at least consider engaging readers in active conversation if it is brought up. Some authors have thought they were done with a project only to go right back to it sometime later, or at the very least, have regrets about the way it ended. Others (that includes you, JK Rowling) either don’t know when to give it up, and oversaturate their series as a result, losing some potential value it may have with the reader. There’s a fine balance here when it comes to knowing when a series is complete or not, and it’s one that authors have been struggling to balance for ages now.

Time Is The Enemy…..Or Is It?

One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.

-Jack Kerouac

Oh look, a meme that encompasses everything I feel about writing and what time of day to do so.

I read a wonderful post on Reddit the other day. The post creator wanted to go back to school to earn his degree, but was not keen on the idea that he would be 40 by the time he finished. Another Redditor put it simply: “You’re still gonna be 40”.

I’m the type of guy who hates hates HATES waiting for something to come in the mail. And yet, when it inevitably does, the duration I’ve waited never really seemed all that excessive to me. I eagerly await the next entry in the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series this year, but when I stop and think about how much has changed since the last one released in 2011, it doesn’t feel all that long ago.

This isn’t a blog about reminiscing about the past and how it relates to the future, no I’m pretty sure I know how it relates. Rather, I’ve been contemplating as to whether or not my writing is as time-sensitive as I originally believed it to be. Sure, we write primarily what we know and I’ve certainly know a lot more now than I might have when I originally conceived the idea back in 2011, but the important thing to me is whether or not the story is meant to release when it’s finished, or is that just the procrastination talking?

If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.

-Stephen King

Oh, Stephen. I want to agree with you wholeheartedly on this, but when I think of your $400 million net worth and copious time spent migrating between your three houses, I suddenly feel less inclined to do so.

Okay, my petty jealousy aside, I do believe part of my issue with my writing being as trickled down as it has is partially due to my disinterest in reading anything meaningful lately. Part of that is intentional; the last thing I hope to do is end up with a novel that reads a little too much like the last one I read. But at the same time, there’s also that sense of building experiences, developing vocabulary and writing prose that just doesn’t suddenly come out of the blue.

But the references that come from them (Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy) are eternal to time.

I’m always the first person to say “It’s a marathon, not a sprint” when it comes to lengthy things, but I can’t help but feel that the inverse could apply to my writing, even though it is probably one of the biggest time-consuming things around. I’ve scrapped many passages that I felt either didn’t flow right or weren’t what I felt was needed at the time, and despite that being part of the writing process, I get just a tad bit jealous when writers younger than me put out anything sooner, and to great acclaim. The acclaim part isn’t because I necessarily fear negative reception (there’s bound to be some for any work regardless of the scale), but rather if the amount of time I put into something is truly my best work, and if the time spent reflects that.

There’s a long-standing rumor that Lawrence of Arabia had burned the first manuscript of Seven Pillars of Wisdom instead of lost it, solely because he was finding it unsatisfactory, and decided to rewrite it. And I figure that if someone with significantly less writing efficiency could find the courage to start over again and rewrite solely from memory, I can appreciate the fact that I had a little more patience with writing my own work. I guess it’s just a little shocking to see the end finally in sight, my big project finally coming to light.

Also, nothing of what I said applies to George R.R. Martin. That man has been enjoying the fruits of his labors for nearly a decade now.

Once Upon A Ride

It’s probably my worst kept secret that I do Uber driving as one of my sources of income. I don’t mind either; I’m grateful for the opportunity and anything keeping me from working retail again. But BOY, does that not make the hardships I run into with the rideshare experience any more pleasant.

This job is very simple; take people where they’re going and don’t hit anything on the way there. So why does such a simple job run into so many problems? I can talk all day about my laundry list of Uber gripes, but I might want to come back to this topic once or twice again, so I’ll talk about two for now.

1. “English *insert trademark Samuel L. Jackson swear here*! Do you speak it?!”

Look, this isn’t one of those “This is MERICA, we only speak ENGLISH here” rants. Uber is inheritly a visual application and therefore anyone can use it. But when a problem arises? I suddenly can’t learn Spanish (or Portuguese, or Creole, regular French is okay though) to address the situation. This typically combines with another Uber issue to create a massive headache, but sometimes it can be a real pain all on its own too.

Recently, I picked up from Jersey Gardens mall, which has about half a dozen different entrances. My passenger naturally put just the actual mall as the pickup spot, so I had to call and confirm the location. Great, a confused voice speaking in Spanish answers the phone. Thankfully Uber has a message system that I was able to see her text with; it was a message saying her English wasn’t very good. Well, I appreciate the honesty, at least. A quick message through Google Translate told me they were at the food court, as I figured, by the location of their pin. Thankfully, the actual family were just glad to see me. I’m just glad there was no confusion. as to the destination.

No, I’m not kidnapping you. Or taking you to Flavortown.

2. Did you hear about this guy doing this thing with that girl and their friend?

The second, is drunk discussion. I like driving late at night, so I’m no stranger for the bar crowd. But the discussions that happen in the back of my car (which is a public space when passengers are in the car and therefore I can be as nosy as I please), whoa. They have beginnings, middles, and ends, and enough exposition for all people in the stories for me to have some sort of opinion at the end of it all. Yeah, Janet sounds like a real bitch. I usually get asked for my input anyway, so I have to have an opinion either way.

But the absolute craziness of some of these stories, and the people telling them. Do you know that the average Hoboken pasttime for those living in those lovely riverside penthouses, is cocaine done off of glass tables? I don’t think I was supposed to know that, but I heard it anyway.

Happens more than you think.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, but these are two that really are more common than you think. They don’t really hinder me from doing the actual driving job, and sometimes it keeps things interesting, but overall it’s stuff I’d rather deal without, you know? As long as everyone gets where they’re going and I get paid, it’s all groovy. And no, that doesn’t mean I’m kidnapping anyone who has a bad payment method. I’m sure someone has though, and that’s why pepperspray is quintessential. Thanks for hearing my TED Talk.

Choice vs. The Right Things To Do

It’s not easy, to consider every little detail about a character from the very beginning, that much I’m sure anyone who has attempted writing a story would agree with that. But occasionally you run across a moral dilemma, that’s less of a dilemma and more “do I let the character do what I expect them to do, or do I have them do what’s expected of them”?

Image result for red pill blue pill

For instance, I expect Lawrence Fishburne to only offer me the truth, nothing more.

 As I belt away at my story having completed my literature review, I had experienced this very engagement as I work around the climax of the story. To elaborate at this point, the main character finds the artifact that virtually everyone had been trying to get their hands on for the entire book (and then some). His enemies want it, his companion wants it, and he wants nothing to do with it…..at least he initially thought. However, he slowly begins to witness the impact this artifact could have on society if it’s left in the hands of the enemies, and not the gods who created it. Naturally, he resolves to give it back to the gods……until he finds out that there’s an ancient conspiracy going on with them, and suddenly the villain doesn’t seem so villainous for opposing them. Huh.

Image result for the problem is choice

 And I wish it didn’t take 10 straight minutes for the Matrix Reloaded to recognize this.

 But this is where I believe most writing soon becomes organic, depending on the type on the conflict at play. There is an inherent loss I feel, in making a plot revolve around a character acting a certain way. Cause let’s be real, people are people and will make impulsive decisions and regret it immensely. That’s just how life goes at times. I considered that my main character, while not a selfish individual by any means, would rather keep himself out of as much conflict as possible, regardless of the repercussions. That’s not a fatal character flaw, or even a negative trait. It’s simply how I believe the character would respond to a situation, and that makes the story almost as much of a surprise to me as I feel it will a reader, even though I’m the one writing it.

I have an idea of how my story will end, but it’s not necessarily up to me to decide it. Sure, I’m the one writing it and have the most creative control as a result, but the interactions of my characters, including their thoughts and feelings throughout the story, are ultimately the biggest factors behind the things they do, and whether it’s in the name of the right thing, or the freedom of choice, it’s the conflict that’s what makes people keep reading.

Image result for the problem is choice

Wouldn’t be much of a writer if I couldn’t.

Writing & Technology & I Couldn’t Think Of A Clever Title

I feel that technology has a very unique place in the world of both reading and writing: whereas most people could make an argument that technology has been detrimental in some areas where it is prominent (communication for instance), it has been nothing short of beneficial to the way books are both written and consumed. Anyone who knows me will know that I am a big advocate of the Kindle e-reader (partially driven by my return to using Amazon after 3 years) and the very concept of it still blows me away to this day, even though it has become so rudimentary by now. Read your entire book collection on a screen that looks like paper, with a battery that lasts for weeks? How could anyone not like that?

And for the most part, thankfully, most people do seem to embrace it. While I thought I would be at odds with most of the English department over this, there seems to be a consensus where the most controversial opinion was that everyone has their own preference and as long as reading is being done, it should be done on any method. Yep, such a hot take. But still, it’s interesting to see how much of a divide there can be on this subject, particularly on the internet. There’s even a few advocates for the traditional books, citing things like unlimited “battery” and the “feel” of reading paper from a page (but not the potential of getting books wet, rotted, or having the print fade away depending on age, interesting).

the-ebook-reader-home.jpg

Pictured: My precious.

I don’t know my typing speed off the top of my head, but I know for a fact that I tend to be way more productive with writing when it comes to typing. And I know, typewriters have been a thing for the better part of the last century, but backspacing on a keyboard is several measures more convenient than retyping over a spelling error done on a ink ribbon. Several. I don’t write as frequently as I probably should, so I’m glad that my proficiency with a keyboard allows me to get out as many words as I had hoped, so I can reflect over the actual written text with greater efficiency. It feels weird, praising a keyboard when these things have been around since before I was even born, but I know for a fact that I probably wouldn’t have had as much of a fondness for writing, or even English in general, without its presence. I learned cursive the hard way in 4th grade and for some reason I prefer writing it that way all these years later.

1200px-Cursive.png

The PTSD is still very real. Also, those numbers aren’t even cursive, the hell.

Writing is writing, but sometimes software really makes the experience that much more pleasant and more efficient. Scrivener is a word that is synonymous with a scribe, clerk, or notary. It’s also a nifty mobile and desktop app that I’ve been using to work on my story and other narrative projects. The app itself is no more than a bunch of organization menus that you can freely tweak to your liking, but I believe that good organization is half the battle when it comes to good writing, and Scrivener is very much worth the entry fee. Was that an advertisement? Probably.

Where the magic happens.

Overall, I feel that we are in a great place in regards to technology and writing. The technology compliments the writing instead of hinders it, and the consumption of the media has been more accessible and pleasant than ever before. It’s fascinating to see how much has changed in the last few decades in how we write and read, but also how little it has changed from the standard paper and pencil. The more things change, the more they stay the same, and writing is perhaps one of the best examples in recent memory of this.

Writing & Technology & I Couldn’t Think Of A Clever Title

I feel that technology has a very unique place in the world of both reading and writing: whereas most people could make an argument that technology has been detrimental in some areas where it is prominent (communication for instance), it has been nothing short of beneficial to the way books are both written and consumed. Anyone who knows me will know that I am a big advocate of the Kindle e-reader (partially driven by my return to using Amazon after 3 years) and the very concept of it still blows me away to this day, even though it has become so rudimentary by now. Read your entire book collection on a screen that looks like paper, with a battery that lasts for weeks? How could anyone not like that?

And for the most part, thankfully, most people do seem to embrace it. While I thought I would be at odds with most of the English department over this, there seems to be a consensus where the most controversial opinion was that everyone has their own preference and as long as reading is being done, it should be done on any method. Yep, such a hot take. But still, it’s interesting to see how much of a divide there can be on this subject, particularly on the internet. There’s even a few advocates for the traditional books, citing things like unlimited “battery” and the “feel” of reading paper from a page (but not the potential of getting books wet, rotted, or having the print fade away depending on age, interesting).

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Pictured: My precious.

I don’t know my typing speed off the top of my head, but I know for a fact that I tend to be way more productive with writing when it comes to typing. And I know, typewriters have been a thing for the better part of the last century, but backspacing on a keyboard is several measures more convenient than retyping over a spelling error done on a ink ribbon. Several. I don’t write as frequently as I probably should, so I’m glad that my proficiency with a keyboard allows me to get out as many words as I had hoped, so I can reflect over the actual written text with greater efficiency. It feels weird, praising a keyboard when these things have been around since before I was even born, but I know for a fact that I probably wouldn’t have had as much of a fondness for writing, or even English in general, without its presence. I learned cursive the hard way in 4th grade and for some reason I prefer writing it that way all these years later.

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The PTSD is still very real. Also, those numbers aren’t even cursive, the hell.

Writing is writing, but sometimes software really makes the experience that much more pleasant and more efficient. Scrivener is a word that is synonymous with a scribe, clerk, or notary. It’s also a nifty mobile and desktop app that I’ve been using to work on my story and other narrative projects. The app itself is no more than a bunch of organization menus that you can freely tweak to your liking, but I believe that good organization is half the battle when it comes to good writing, and Scrivener is very much worth the entry fee. Was that an advertisement? Probably.

Where the magic happens.

Overall, I feel that we are in a great place in regards to technology and writing. The technology compliments the writing instead of hinders it, and the consumption of the media has been more accessible and pleasant than ever before. It’s fascinating to see how much has changed in the last few decades in how we write and read, but also how little it has changed from the standard paper and pencil. The more things change, the more they stay the same, and writing is perhaps one of the best examples in recent memory of this.

Killing Your Role Models

Over the past week I’ve had a conflict of epic proportions, one that kinda sorta went at odds with everything that I had believed up until recently. I thought voice actors were untouchable role models, someone that everyone should look up to. They come in all shapes and sizes, had a range of voices that could be sorted almost into a rolodex, and having met many of them in person, it’s no surprise that I could see them as people to look up to, and for the most part that had not changed…until this month.

Sexual harassment claims fly around Twitter, which had now been turned into a minefield of toxic Tweeting and allegations, and everyone who dared to step into it had gotten blown up. The lines had been drawn and I was forced to choose one, and choose it fast.

Sometimes silence is a valid option.

maxresdefault.jpgTelltale Games told me so, but now they no longer exist, so your mileage may vary.

That isn’t to say, I don’t have an opinion on the matter. But rather, it feels and even becomes irrelevant in the face of the thoughts expressed by the voice actors that I once considered role models. The amount of contempt, hatred, and unprofessionalism all around; can it be justified, given the context? Justified, given the lack of actual evidence given and the amount of false evidence generated? I’m not quite sure, but I do know it doesn’t feel right. No matter who may be right or wrong in this case, I do feel a little shaken up by the revelation that people who I looked up to, could be as hateful and mean as I had seen in this past month.

This begs the question, where do I separate the art from the artist? I’ll admit, the volume of the hostile opinions coming from many of my favorite voice actors has begged me to question as to whether my opinion on them should extend to the work they are featured in as well. The rational part of mean is saying that of course, they are separate. Bill Cosby’s (mis)deeds doesn’t take away from my fond memories of Little Bill, why should my opinion on a show or character change because of the actor? But deep down, I’m still coming to terms with the degrees of separation that I should be giving this situation. Nice actors play mean actors all the time in movies and films. So why does this feel so different? I believe this comes from the fact that voice actors give a character much of their personality that can’t be expressed from physical appearance. Sure, they have written lines and scripted actions, but you can never really take away that feeling that the voice actor delivers a performance that gives a character a life of their own, and therefore you typically associate a character’s strengths and flaws as an extension of the actor playing them.

But I digress. If there is anything that I’ve learned from this entire real-life anime, is that you don’t have to actually meet your role models to follow the rule of “never meet your role models”. Ironically, every single voice actor I have met (including the ones involved in this incident) have been nothing but pleasant and gracious in my interactions with them, and I hope that will never change in the future. But I did learn how to “kill” your role models as a result; recognizing that they are not without flaw or opinion and therefore you should not take it too personal if they do something that goes against your own thoughts. I’ve had a few broken pedestals since this happened, but I feel this is even more inspiration to work on my own projects; nothing would flatter me more to be a role model one day to someone, and hopefully I’ll do nothing that’ll change that too.