Major Influences #3: Anime (アニメ)

Yes, I can type in katakana. Overly enthusiastic anime thumbs up for everyone.

Anime Thumbs Up - Luffy, Goku, and Rock Lee

I’m not sure how many people will relate to this set of influences (compared to my posts on influence from some 80’s–90’s TV shows, and TGIF Sitcoms + the Wayans Bros.), but Japanese animation was a big deal to me for years.

Ronin Warriors, Sailor Moon, RobotechDubbed Stuff

For a long time, the only anime I watched was over-the-air. Everything was dubbed in English and began with shows I didn’t even know was anime, like Voltron. By the time I moved on to Ronin WarriorsDragon Ball Z, and Sailor Moon, however, I realized these shows weren’t originally in English.

That’s right, I’m the world’s greatest detective.

When my siblings and I started renting videos, we stuck to dubbed versions of Ranma 1/2 and Cowboy Bebop. I also watched all of Robotech in English on PBS (which I’m glad for, because the latter of the original three Japanese series combined to create Robotech are not as good on their own).

Subbed Anime: Hardcore Otaku $@#! (not that kind of hardcore)

One day, my brother and I rented The Record of Lodoss War and accidentally got the subtitled version. “All these fools are speaking Japanese and we have to read? Unacceptable!” Or was it? Continue reading

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Divergent – Movie Review

Divergent Movie Poster-PromoBeatrice Prior must choose between working in the soup kitchen all her life or jumping out of trains while cheering like a twelve-year-old. She chooses trains.

Sorry, let’s try this again:

Based on Veronica Roth’s bestselling YA novel of the same name, Divergent (2014) is set in a dystopia where the city’s sixteen-year-olds undergo a test to determine which “faction” of society they are suited for. Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley) is told that her results show her as Divergent, meaning she has inclinations toward more than one faction. This, however, puts her in life in danger and she’s told to keep her Divergent-ness a secret.

As if that didn’t suck enough, Beatrice also has to choose between staying with her family in the boring, philanthropic Abnegation faction; or switching to a faction in which she might actually fit in. Beatrice chooses to move to Dauntless, the security and peacekeeping faction, and quickly takes a new name: Tris (she is brave, rational, and compassionate—not creative).

Little does Tris know, her move to Dauntless would throw her into a spiral of conspiracies and face-punching.
Continue reading

PS4 Exclusive, Bloodborne Gameplay Trailer

Bloodborne Promo ImageIt looks so creepy. Maybe too creepy.

The Action-RPG Bloodborne is being developed by From Software, the creators of the infamously “challenging” Demon’s Souls  and Dark Souls. The game is being published by Sony Computer Entertainment as an exclusive for the Playstation 4.

I kind of wish I could play something with Souls-like gameplay that isn’t horror-themed (not a huge fan of being scared out of my pants), but as is obvious from the name of this game and the gruesome trailer, that’s not going to happen any time soon. Continue reading

Novel Revisions – Substantive Changes and Proper Planning

Photograph by Tomasz Sienicki, distributed under CC BY 3.0.

Photograph by Tomasz Sienicki, distributed under CC BY 3.0.

It’s 7:42 PM on a Sunday, and we all know what that means: It’s time for another writing-related post to bore and alienate people.

On my first WordPress post ever, I was starting on draft six of my novel which was a little over 75,000 words (and the title to my first post was misspelled, as evidenced by the perma-link—I’m awesome). I’m currently halfway through draft seven and the word count has gone up to 79,000. Still fluctuating.

[UPDATE/NOTE: Check the comments for other WordPressers’ thoughts on planning out your novel.]

Substantive Changes in Later Drafts

Since I started this novel, I knew that I would immediately have to make huge substantive changes when I started editing: adding, removing, and changing entire characters and events. This was somewhat anticipated because I wrote my novel in a don’t-look-back method where I would avoid editing my chapters too much as I went. My priority was to reach my word count goal. So, it was a given that I would need to make important changes to the novel.

However, I didn’t expect that I would still be making major substantive changes while working on draft seven. Really, I thought by the time I got this far, I’d simply be tweaking prose and correcting grammar and spelling mistakes.

This problem likely resulted from not starting with a detailed outline; I just created the world and a few characters with certain psychological profiles, and nudged them forward to do whatever they wanted. This resulted in a whole lot of mundane crap that had to be cut and altered.

Benefits of “Proper” Planning

I don’t think there’s absolutely correct way to plan a novel. Between the many successful authors out there, I’m sure they’ve used just about every method conceivable. That being said, I think there are a few things I could’ve done to help me write a better novel and avoid making substantive edits so late in the game: Continue reading

One Month of Blogging – Obligatory Anniversary Post

Accueil Scribe Public Domain ImageIt’s been a month since I started my WordPress blog to get my name out on the internet. You know, ’cause I’m a novelist trying to get a book published, and that’s what we do. I think it’s been going pretty well.

I’d like to thank the 362 people I’ve tricked into following me, 2 or 3 of whom who may actually enjoy my posts. Also, I’d like to preemptively thank all my future followers so I won’t have to bother with that it later.

Thanks!

Now, I’d like to commemorate this auspicious day with a short list of crap I’ve learned since I started blogging.

1. Blogging is addicting! WordPress really utilized flow theory and addiction with notifications on likes, follows, comments, and their little milestones. Those evil geniuses.

2. A post that’s basically a link to an Adventure Time video on Youtube will get you no likes, comments, or followers. Yeah, you need to actually create some original content or make some sort of commentary. Earn those clicks. Continue reading

Major Influences #2: TGIF Sitcoms

90's Sitcoms - Full House - Family Matters - Step by Step - Boy Meets World - Wayans Bros

Like many since the dawn of television, the core of my moral code is derived from TV sitcoms. A long, long time ago there was something known as the TGIF Lineup which aired on the ABC network. The shows on the lineup changed every once in a while, but a certain few were particularly influential to me and my generation. Here they are, in the order of earliest-aired:

Who can resist a dude serenading a toddler?

Who can resist a dude serenading a toddler?

Full House

A show about three grown men who live with three young girls, Full House aired from 1987 to 1995. My ridiculous description of the premise aside, Full House was an anchor show for TGIF and taught traditional American values which Captain America would approve of. From what I recall, though, most lessons on the show are aimed at kids, including: sometimes bad stuff happens to good people; alcohol is bad; don’t be a jerk; and it’s easy to get a date if you’re a Greek dude with awesome hair.

Later in life, I saw the Quantum Leap episode guest starring Bob Saget. I was shocked by his use of foul language. Then, I heard his stand up routine.

Childhood ruined.
Continue reading

Snowpiercer – Movie Review

Snowpiercer - Chris Evans Tilda Swinton Song Kang Ho Jamie Bell Octavia Spencer John Hurt Ed HarrisHow did I not hear about this movie until last month?

Premise:

After scientists inadvertently cause an apocalyptic ice age, the last of humanity are forced to live out their lives on the Snowpiercer, a train which perpetually circles the globe. Well, it sort of runs over five continents or so, and never crosses the Pacific, but yeah—a train which perpetually circles the globe!

Snowpiercer (2013) follows Curtis (Chris Evans), a passenger who leads the mistreated poor from the tail end of the train in a rebellion to get to the front.

What’s awesome about the film:

There’s a whole lot of gritty, satisfying violence in this movie, if you like that sort of thing. It doesn’t get overly gory, as Continue reading