Monday, August 28, 2017

The First Lyrical Song /// Music Monday #5

It's that day again! You know . . . that one! The one with the musical stuff. On a day like Monday. Capiche?

To celebrate five Music Monday posts (what an achievement!), I chose to suggest a lyrical song to you guys. Lately, I've really been into video game raps, so I picked one of my favorites.

"Hanzo vs Genji"
Composed by J.T. Machinima

So this is a rap battle between two characters from an online fighting game called Overwatch. It's been quite the popular game, and is still going strong since it released in May of last year. If you're concerned about knowing the backstory of these dudes so you understand the references in the rap, don't sweat. The song does a good job of explaining their history. But here's the official video, just in case.

I really love the Oriental feel of some of the song's instrumentation. But the main chorus of the song is my favorite part. When the music gets muffled . . . I dunno. It's just an awesome effect. Speaking of which, another cool thing that they did was, when headphones/earbuds are being used, make Hanzo's voice stronger in the left side and Genji's in the right.

According to a comment on YouTube, Hanzo's cry of "ryuu ga waga teki wo kurau" means "let the dragon consume my enemies." Genji yelling "ryuujin no ken wo kurae" is him saying "the dragon becomes me." The exact translation is a bit iffy, since people were debating it. But that seems to be a close approximation.

I actually didn't really care for rap music until I started listening to J.T. Machinima, who actually is two guys: one who does the singing and one who does most of the writing and music video making. The guy's vocal prowess is amazing, because he can do a ton of different voices. While I can't condone or recommend all of their songs, since a good number of them have swearing, I do enjoy them for the most part. I'll probably feature some of their other clean songs on my blog.

Well, I don't have anything else to say. My apologies for the short post--unless you like Music Monday posts to be shorter? Let me know! I also put the video at the beginning of the post, due to a suggestion by Tracey. Is it a good change? (It's kinda hard to say this time around, since this song actually had a video to watch with it.)

Hope you guys enjoyed the music! Do you like or dislike rap? What'd you think of this song? Do you have any suggestions for these posts? Am I asking too many questions?

Saturday, August 26, 2017

My Top 3 Favorite TV Shows

Yes, I am a day late. I apologize, for I started my new full-time job this week. Yesterday when I got home, I turned on my laptop, and stared at Blogger, waiting for a post idea to strike. But I was simply too tired, which is why I'm only posting now.

Today I'd like to talk about my top 3 favorite TV shows and why I love them. Now, I'd like to mention that I don't have cable, so I don't usually watch a lot of shows. I've seen various LEGO shows, Austin & Ally (due to the convincing of my younger sisters), and a few episodes of things like Duck Dynasty and The Clone Wars. I've even watched part of the Kirby anime series! But three shows I've viewed have stuck out to me as being my favorites, because they do a lot of things right. So why don't I stop wasting and get on with the list? (And before you ask, no, they're not in any particular order.)

No, Samsung did not sponsor me to show a picture of one of their TVs.

LEGO Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu

This is the show that got me hooked on TV shows in the first place. It's, obviously, based on the Ninjago theme. To be honest, I'm not sure if it were the toys that made me like the show, or vice versa. But when LEGO gave a teaser picture of a ninja with a skeleton in the background, I just knew this was something I'd be interested in.

So what's the plot of this show? Well, it starts off with a young man and his sister--Kai and Nya, respectively--who run a blacksmith shop in a small village. All of a sudden, an army of living skeletons (I'm refraining my nerdy side by not calling them Skulkin), led by the ferocious and four-armed Samukai, attack the village. They're looking for a special map, and their boss has ordered them to capture Nya. A mysterious stranger shows up to help in the fight, but to no avail. The skeletons get away with what they came for.

And thus, Kai meets Sensei Wu, who adds him to his small team of ninja with elemental powers. They must stop Wu's brother, Lord Garmadon, from finding four sacred weapons. This all happens in the pilot episodes! Things get even better in the next seasons, where there's stuff such as:

  • Snake people who wish to reawaken a giant serpent who will consume the entire land
  • Elemental Masters and powers like earth, lightning, nature, wind, and time
  • An ancient evil with an army of indestructible stone warriors
  • Great action sequences
  • An underground fighting tournament held by a lunatic with sinister motivations
  • Interesting characters with well-done character arcs
  • A phenomenal score (seriously, it's totally fantastic!)

The show isn't perfect. In the first couple of seasons, there are several instances where the one character is saying a line in the voice of a different character. (No idea how that happened.) Occasionally, there are plot holes and whatnot, but I still love Masters of Spinjitzu to pieces--pun intended. If you haven't seen this show yet, go do so. I get annoyed when people call it a kid's show. Just like its source, it's timeless and can be enjoyed by any age.

In fact, I think the writers eventually caught on that their audience included older viewers, because they started adding darker or more mature elements, if you will, though not in a bad way. Character deaths have become a thing; season 4's plot is actually one of my favorites because of the intrigue and suspense involved.

Did I mention the show's humor? Because that's awesome as well. One of my favorite bits is in the first episode of season 4. One character, upon arriving at an island, says, "I swore never to return to this place." Another character quips, "You know, you should never swear. It's a sign of weak verbal skills."

Do it. Watch the show. I know you can find at least some of the episodes online; all of the seasons are available on Amazon. It's a show that's worth your time.


Once Upon a Time

This was a show that I thought I'd never watch, much less love. My sisters would fangirl over it constantly, and to be honest, it turned me off. Then I found out that, for one of my media classes in college, I had to watch an episode of Once.

Now, saying that I had to is actually not true. We could choose whether or not we wanted to watch the movies they suggested, though they recommended that we did. I had already seen the others, and I wanted to be a good student. With an unhappy heart, I told my sisters I was watching the first episode.

You should've seen me during those 45 minutes. I sat there with my arms folded, grouchy look etched on my face like I had sucked on a lemon for at least a few centuries. I was unimpressed to the extreme. But afterwards, I felt so bad. I knew I had reacted wrongly, so I apologized and told them I would continue watching because they liked it. But after a while, I actually began enjoying it.

If you don't know the plot, here's the long and short of it. Emma is a no-nonsense bail bond agent who has an unexpected guest one night. A young boy named Henry claims to be her son, and he carries with him a book of fairy tales--which he says are all real. There's another world where the Evil Queen set in motion a curse that brought everyone to Earth, where they live false lives in a town known as Storybrooke. Emma is to come and break said curse to give everyone their happy endings.

Obviously, things get a lot more convoluted as the show progresses. One thing remains truly constant: family. It's the biggest emphasis of the series. Characters will go great lengths to ensure that they get their family back, or so that their family is safe. It's an interesting plot point to choose to repeat throughout the show's numerous episodes.

I will mention that most of the CGI I've seen so far (I'm almost done the second season) is not very good. And there are some really cheesy/cliché moments. Not to mention the lesbian couple in season 5, and the frequent low-cut female tops. But despite its flaws, I still thoroughly enjoy the show.

Wanna guess who my favorite character is? It's Rumpelstiltskin, AKA Mr. Gold. I think it's his quirky-yet-sinister nature that intrigued me the most. He's a very complicated man, one reason for that being his representation of multiple fairy tale characters. There's just something oddly appealing about him, odd as that may sound. I also really love Charming and Hook--Charming because of his heroic nature and devotion to his wife, and Hook because he's a devious pirate and rogue. No further reason necessary.

If you enjoy fairy tales, you'd probably enjoy Once Upon a Time as well. I recommend you watch it ASAP, before it gets even more seasons and you make the excuse that you don't have time for it. As Nike would say, "Just do it."


The Flash

I did say that this list was in no particular order, but I think this show might be my all-time favorite. What DC lacks in their movies, they made up for in their TV shows, or at least this one.

I don't know how we got to it, but one of my best online friends mentioned how he and his sister were watching The Flash and really enjoying it. I trusted his opinion, so I looked into it a bit, then took a risk: I ordered the first season off of Amazon. I figured that since I liked superhero movies, the show would be right up in my alley. Little did I know just how much I would fall in love with the series and its amazing characters.

The plot goes like this: Barry Allen is a CSI investigator for Central City's police department. His main reason for joining, though, involves a tragic incident in his life: the murder of his mom and accusation of his dad several years ago. Taken in by his father's cop friend, Joe West, Barry is determined to catch the killer.

Then one night, an explosion at the city's big lab grants Barry super-speed. He joins forces with the lab's tiny crew to take on metahumans and figure out the mystery behind the murder of his mother. But deep, dark, and deadly secrets abound everywhere, and things might be more complicated than Barry originally thought.

I love everything about the show, from the well-written plots to the intense action to the amusing banter to the emotional moments. And just as Once focuses heavily on family, The Flash places its emphasis hugely on relationships. I think that's one reason I love the show so much. It's not just about the typical superhero elements; it gets you invested in the characters and their interactions, so that the peril and tension is heightened. The music also adds a lot to the episodes. Blake Neely, who's composed for all of DC's shows if I'm not mistaken, knows how to create memorable themes and use them at all the right moments.

What's wrong with the show? Well, the first season featured a gay couple, who thankfully did nothing more than hug. Occasionally females don't wear shirts, and there's two scenes with (mostly) clothed characters making out. Season two removes virtually all of those problems, so good on the writers. Again, like the other two, I still love the show despite its flaws. The good points far outweigh the bad.

I could go on and on about this show, but I feel like I might accidentally spoil stuff. Suffice it to say that the first season was epic, and the second season took things up a few notches. I cannot wait for season 3. I pre-ordered it, and it's coming out on September 5th. (Yay!) You'll fall in love with all the characters and become emotionally involved in their struggles.

Could I pick a favorite character? Eh . . . no. You can't make me choose just one. For example, I really love Barry because he wants to be a noble hero, yet he has just enough awkwardness to make him relatable. Plus, his struggles are ones that you can easily get caught up in. But then I also someone like, say, Cisco, because he brings a lot of comic relief with his wit and pop culture references. Don't let that fool you. He's a deeper character than you might think.

And do I even want to start how many times I've cried/almost cried while watching this show?! It just brings on the feels like you wouldn't believe it. No other movie or TV show has done this to me. I am not ashamed to say that the waterworks have flown at least a few times. Even when I'm rewatching episodes, my throat still tightens up, and tears threaten to be released.

If you decide to watch only one of the shows I suggested, WATCH THIS ONE. I'm not joking. You may not even care for superhero stories all that much, and I would still tell you to see it. It has plenty of elements that allow for a broader audience than your typical action-packed hero flick. So stop wasting time and watch The Flash. You may just become a devoted fan yourself.


There you have it! I apologize again for being late, but I hope the post was worth it. Have you seen any of these shows before? If not, are you now interested? Are there any shows you'd recommend to me? Tell all in the comments!

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Horror Continues /// Humble Beginnings, Part 2

You may recall the first Humble Beginnings post I did. It's actually my third most popular post (the Sunshine Blogger Award just a wee bit higher), and you guys seemed to really love it. I just knew I had to do roast my old story even more, because things get even worse.

Enough chitchat! Let's jump straight into and see how horrible things are this time around. (And this gif shows me when I'm done with this story.)


No one in the city of Suez took notice of [the biplane]. In fact, no one was even suspicious of it's destination: a US aircraft carrier with a variety of different planes, helicopters, and land vehicles.

Are we seriously doing this right now? No one is suspicious of any of this? As of 2012, the city had a population of over half a million people. I'm sure not a single person was like, "You know, there's a foreign vessel in our waters, and it seems to be pretty busy, but no matter. I'm sure it isn't worth acknowledging. And when did aircraft carriers start transporting land vehicles? Plus, I'm triggered by the wrong use of "it's."

The two men handed [their ID cards] to the guard. He snorted. "Portal guardians, eh?" He turned to his friend. "I bet it was Stuart's idea to come back and 'report' to the big man. I always knew Stewy was a chicken." They both laughed.

Well, it seems the villainous dude has a weird choice in hiring people. I would that portal guardians would be a big deal, so why are these guards giving them such flak? Are they really so low on the food chain here?

Carl gritted his teeth. The guffaws of these baboons was really getting to him. "Listen, you jokers," he snapped. The two stared at the brawny, deeply tanned man. "We are bringing urgent news to the boss, and he's impatient. Plus, he sorely dislikes anyone delaying the portal guardians." He leaned in close and hissed, "Ever wonder what happened to the guards who delayed Dirk when he was going to tell Tarquin that the portal was moving from Lima?"

Baboons? Jokers? These are the best insults you have? Based on Carl's description--which we got while in his head, mind you--we can deduce he's the long-lost twin of Dwayne Johnson. Shouldn't the guards already know this stuff about their boss, though? And we don't actually get to hear what happened to the other guards? I guess hinting at violent stuff works really well on simple guards like these. (But I'd like to mention that Tarquin is actually a pretty cool name for a villain; it was actually the name of an Etruscan king way back when.)

The lights had been placed in human skulls, so the hall was ill-lit.

This is also pretty cool, albeit slightly morbid.

I'll spare you guys the details, because then we'd be here way too long, but I devoted one and a half pages of telling Tarquin's backstory. We're only thirteen pages in and we already know more about him than we do the main characters! The way I tell the backstory makes it even less interesting. It's just not executed well.

As for physical appearance, to say Tarquin was no Tom Cruise was an understatement. Besides being about seven feet high, he was bald and covered with scars.

I'm not sure if I find the celebrity reference absolutely hilarious or totally out of place. And it's tall, not high.

The regular soldiers made way for the elite [portal guardians] and lowered the ramp. The commander and commander-in-training got on one and led the squad toward the portal.

See? The portal guardians are indeed higher up, so why in heaven's name were the guards giving them such a hard time, especially when said guards are protecting the corridor to Tarquin's room? So if Carl and Stuart are really that much in charge, did they have to fly back to the ship? Couldn't they just make a judgement call and radio for backup?

Major David Sanders walked through the U.S. military base, looking for Brigadier General Lester Jackson's office. He had just gotten a call from Lester, who had wanted him in his office right away.

Finally! After fourteen pages and three chapters, we actually are introduced to one of the main characters, who decides to share his full name and rank, along with that of his superior. But was it really necessary to mention the call? And I'm also triggered by the inconsistent formatting of U.S., because not that long ago, it was simply US.

David was thirty-two years old, with dark brown hair and shining green eyes. Not only was he loyal to his country, he was a devoted Christian. He would openly show God's love through his actions and words, which most people appreciated.

No, no, no. This is not how character descriptions are supposed to go. It's as if I'm getting punched in the face by them while I'm reading, and then they're like, "Carry on." According to David's description, he's perfect and has no flaws whatsoever. I feel like I had to mention the "most people appreciated" line because of jerks like Alex.

David took a tack from the general's desk, drew his arm back, then launched it at the map. It soared through the air and landed dead center on [city I won't name because it's close to where I live and I apparently knew of no other cities when I wrote this]'s circle. "Right there," he said and sat back down.
Warren's jaw dropped and a flabbergasted look spread across Mark's face. "How did you do that?" Mark asked.
David shrugged. He didn't know how himself. All he basically knew was that his throwing ability was a God-given gift.

Is it even possible for someone to hit the dead center of those teeny-tiny little dots? I'm skeptical about its feasibility. (But remember it, because it's important later! Why else would I include this scene?) And of course David would only know that his gift was from God. This is a Christian story, after all! Now that I think of it, this meeting is far too casual for the military.

"So, David," Warren said, "were you ever a football quarterback? You got the arm for it."
"I've considered it many a time, but God called me to other things."
"So you're a Christian?" Mark asked. When David nodded, he exclaimed, "So am I!"
Warren was silent. The others guessed he wasn't a believer.

This conversation is so cringy. I can't even form words to properly describe how much I distaste these on-the-nose discussions. And that last sentence . . . that's a good thing to assume. "Oh, Warren's not talking? Ah, he must be a heathen." Obligatory "secular" character is obligatory.

David decided to change the topic for now. "You must work out, Warren. You got pretty muscular arms," he commented.
Warren grinned impishly. "I have once or twice." He rolled up his sleeves and flexed his biceps. David whistled.
 "I can do that, too," Mark said. He did, although there were no very noticeable effects.

Save me from the cringe, please! These guys are adults! They were specifically chosen to go find out what happened to the missing soldiers (which seems like a really small group for something kinda important). Why, then, are they talking about muscles like a bunch of teenagers? I'll tell you why: that's who they're supposed to be! No teen book that I've ever read featured main characters who are adults.

Suddenly, the radio crackled. "Alert, alert!" a soldier said. "We're under attack!"
Mark paused, frozen with fear.

Lester boasted how good you were, and yet here you are, afraid because the others are being attacked? This really shouldn't be too new for you.

Then someone spoke through the radio. "You still there, Mark?"
Mark didn't recognize the voice. None of the soldiers had a British accent. "Who are you, and how do you know my name?"

"I'm not going to answer either of those questions right now. I'm simply here to give you some convenient info because I'm in with the bad guys. None of them will notice this conversation I'm having with you. You'll trust me and, in the end, won't doubt a thing I say, even though I could be leading you into a trap."

All of a sudden, fury swelled in Mark's chest. "Then how do you explain the ambush on the deminers? You were amongst the shooters."
"I threw my shots off. Trust me."
The anger subsided. "Alright. So, how are we in the wrong place?"

First, NO! Not this garbage about sudden emotion. No one gets angry for, like, five seconds and then is cool. Second, did the other guardians not notice this dude suffering from the Stormtrooper effect?

"Look closely for particles of moving air. It will appear to be a mirage, but if you're the Chosen Ones, you will truly know if it's the portal."

You know, the "Chosen Ones" trope feels really disjointed in this story. I don't really pull it off all that well.

Warren looked ahead and gasped. A dead end was coming up fast. He made an one hundred eighty degree turn and slipped pas the jeep. The driver barely slammed on the brakes soon enough to avoid hitting the wall.

So I know this street was full of potholes and everything, but did the gunner seriously not shoot Warren or his dirtbike? And how narrow was this road? If it was narrow enough, the driver could've smashed the jeep into the bike. I think Tarquin needs to seriously re-evaluate his men.

As the light found [David], bullets soared through the darkness. One managed to puncture his shoulder blade. He swallowed the pain.

Well, at least we know one of the baddies has a decent aim. I expected the three heroes to be a lot more hurt by now.

"What happened to you?" Warren asked in a concerned tone, referring to the wound on David's shoulder. Blood had soaked into his uniform.
"Just a little bite from a bullet. Nothing serious," David informed, touching the hole and wincing. "I don't think it was a big gun. I'm pretty sure it was a machine gun."
"Thank goodness. A bullet from a big gun would've shattered your shoulder blade. In fact, you probably would've lost your arm," Warren stated. With that, their dirtbikes roared into the desert.

. . . Excuse me? What exactly did I just witness? I don't think I would say having a hole in your shoulder is a small matter. And then Warren rattles off a random fact he probably read on the Internet in a cool, professional manner. Then they just drive away. I just . . . I can't even.

[The jeep] rammed into [Mark's bike]. Instead of sending him over the side of the cliff, as the driver had anticipated, it propelled him forward.

Well, I guess common physics got the day off.

"Blast!" Carl snarled. The soldiers had discovered the portal, it had moved away, and his boss would not be pleased. What could be worse?

You could be a character in a terrible story filled with tons of mistakes. Oh, too late for you, I guess. Saying "blast" doesn't suit your character, by the way. Plus, if you hadn't wanted the portal to move away, Steward shouldn't have been given dynamite to throw at the ground near the portal in case someone was trying to go through. Why didn't you just shoot David before he got there? *covers my face with hand and shakes my head at the ridiculousness of this story*

That'll be the end of this post. Are you guys still enjoying this? If you are, let me know, and I'll make it a monthly series.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Music Monday #4

Iiiitttt'ssss Monday! And you know what that means?

How did you guess so easily?! Oh, wait, maybe it's because there's the giant, obvious banner thing. My bad.

So the track I have for you guys today is actually from the second soundtrack I ever bought. You'll be listening to . . .

"If You Love These People" from Man of Steel
Composed by Hans Zimmer

This song is one of my favorites from the soundtrack. It's used in the conclusion to the final battle between Superman and General Zod, so it's interesting that it's the fifth track on the album. I decided to one day arrange all the songs in their chronological order, and I quickly discovered why the songs were arranged the way they were. When I put them in their proper order, most of the initial tracks were quieter, and the ones later on were intense. To give a good balance, they were scattered from the original order.

Also, the reason why I bought this soundtrack was to have some Superman music for when I wrote the sequel to The Attack on Gotham, titled The Metropolis Siege. Never wrote much of the story, but I don't regret purchasing the CD--though I should've bought the deluxe edition instead of buying the bonus songs on iTunes later.

Now, as for the actual music, it's awesome. I'd describe as emotionally intense, which makes for an interesting final confrontation track. But it suits the scene well, especially the end. I'd like to actually comment on that, so SPOILER ALERT (although this movie is four years old, so if you haven't seen it by now, chances are you probably heard or read what I'm about to talk about)!

A lot of people have complained about how Superman kills Zod by snapping his neck, because it's out of character for Superman. But I honestly think it adds depth to this version of the hero. He always seemed way too perfect: few weaknesses, many strengths. In this scene, though, Superman was forced to make a choice. Would he let an innocent family die, when he possessed the power to stop that from happening? Or would he finish off Zod, who, although he was an evil murderer, at heart just wanted his people to survive and be protected? Now Zod's the last of Superman's kind.

In that split second, Superman made the heroic choice.

But no one ever said the heroic choices were the easy--or even the best--ones.

Personally, I wished they had followed up more on Superman's regret in Dawn of Justice, but they were already trying to do too much as it was. Whatever the case, I enjoyed the dilemma Supes faced, if that doesn't weird at all. But enough of me ranting.

What did you guys think of not only the music, but the conclusion of Superman and Zod's fight? Did Superman make the right choice? Are people justified in protesting against the bold character choice? Do tell all in your comments!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Swarm of Doubt /// A Misdiagnosis Follow-Up

Before I get to the main point of this post, there's two things I'd like to say. First off, hi, I'm back! Then again, maybe you didn't notice I was missing. I actually went on vacation with my family for a week. It was a lot of fun, and very good to get away and relax. I've seen your comments, and I will respond to them as soon as possible, so don't worry about that.

Secondly, I'd like to address and clarify something several of you commented on in my post, A Misdiagnosis. I did not mean to come across as saying that doubt is the only reason for writer's block. I understand that there are many reasons for it, such as hitting a roadblock in your story or just not feeling it at your current stage in life. What I was saying is that, when we are attacked by doubt, we tend to label it as "writer's block," when it's actually something a little more . . . sinister, if you will. We underestimate how big of a deal doubt really is.

That's what I wanted to clear up. I hope you better see where I'm coming from now. And since that's out of the way, let's jump right into the thick of it: what makes up the swarm of doubt we face?

There's never just "one doubt." There are multiple kinds, and branches leading off the main ones. For example, say you doubt your ability to write. That'll look different for you than it does for me. But this won't be an exhaustive list. What I want to hone in on are a few of the major doubts writers--and people in general--face. Without further ado, let's begin.


1. You doubt that you are good enough.

Everyone has these moments in life, where they stop and question if they are good enough at what they do. They too easily see their imperfections and toy with the idea of quitting. Often, this doesn't really have to do with their skill in their craft. It's their self-worth that's being pondered.

Let me tell you that are already good enough. There's nothing you can do that will make you either better or worse. As a person designed in the very likeness of God, you have incredible worth. The DNA of the universe's Creator is programmed into you.

A song, called "Made," by Hawk Nelson comes to mind. In the chorus of the song, it says, "And you'd believe if you could see the smile on His face the moment you were made." Never forget that God deemed you to be valuable enough that He'd die for you. And if He says you have worth, what does it matter what other people say, or what that little, nagging voice in your head spews? You are good enough right here, right now.

And nothing will ever change that.

2. No one will want to read what you write.

This is a huge doubt for us, because if nobody reads our stories, then why are we writing in the first place? That's a very good question, thank you for asking that. Here's my two cents on the subject. While it's always great to have people reading your projects, it honestly shouldn't be your main focus.

I know that probably sounds weird. I mean, my top love language (I actually have two, but that's not important right now) is words of affirmation. So this sounds like a bizarre concept to me as well. I love getting feedback and hearing what others have to say about what I've written. But even if no one would ever pick up one of my books, I'd still write.

I'm like Eric Liddell in the way that I feel God's pleasure when I write. I've found that, when I haven't written for an extended period of time, I feel kind of . . . lost. Drifting aimlessly. Each day purposeless. But when I get back into it, that all changes. And I know I'm doing what I'm called to do. That's why I would never quit.

3. You'll never get published.

Another big struggle for us is wondering if we'll ever see our books on store shelves. We think our story will be lost among all the others, or that we won't even get a chance to show the world what we're passionate about.

I think that's actually one of the greatest keys to being published: passion. See, it's a contagious thing. If you're deeply excited about something, the way you'll talk and act about it will stand out. People will notice. I'm not saying passion alone will get you published, but I think it's pretty important.

In the end, though, when you're dealing with this doubt, there's only a few things you can really do about it. First, do your homework. Make sure you do all that you can to make your story ready for publishing. Secondly, pray about it and just let go of the situation. There comes a point when it's out of your hands, so the best thing to do is allow God to take care of it. Lastly, start envisioning yourself getting published. Your mind is a powerful thing. If you keep imagining yourself having a book published, you start to establish that belief inside you. Before you know it, you'll be drawn into a situation where that becomes possible.

Well, I don't really have time for more doubts today. As I said, this is definitely not a complete list. When I asked her about these, Tracey mentioned that all of these doubts are interconnected. I think I covered a few of the major ones, so I think I'll leave--

Wait a minute. There's another connection I see here. If I'm not mistaken, while doubt may a lumbering beast, it draws its energy from another source. A fouler, darker source. One that has plagued humanity since Eden. It's a simple word with huge ramifications.


It looks this isn't quite over yet. One more post will wrap up this series in the near future. In the meantime, which doubt do you struggle with the most?

Friday, August 04, 2017

My Great Project Juggle

I've had my blog up for a month now, and I realized the other day that I have said nothing about any of my current stories that I'm working on. I figured I might as well do it now, since there's no time like the present.

Way back when, I got it into my head that, should you ever get stuck on one writing project, you should try working on another. Then when you come back to the first, you'll be more likely to look at it through a fresh pair of eyes. Now, believe me when I say this is fine advice! It doesn't necessarily work for everyone. But if you feel like you need to get away from your current story, yet you still feel like writing, I'd say go for it!

I, on the other hand, have a different sort of problem. I've started multiple projects . . . and I haven't finished many of them. This has left me with five unfinished stories, as well as a sixth that I want to start in the near future.

Trust me, I don't know what I was--or am--thinking either. But it's now my plan to whittle down these list until I'm no longer juggling so many stories. But before I get into the plan, here's some info about each of these tales.

An Old Face, a New Game

So I don't remember if I've mentioned this before, but I used to post a lot on LEGO's social media site, the LEGO Message Boards. Writing stories on here was a big thing, so, after trying my hand at a superhero novella and a sitcom, I wanted to write a story that was original and had a regular format (as the sitcom was written like a script). This was the result. I asked other MBs users to be main characters in the story, so that was quite fun.

Plot: They all thought he was gone. After the Tribulation of Spam, he was banned. But he's hacked back in, and his army of spambots outnumbers the users and Mods.

His name? Cheatcodes.

After announcing that he's inserted a virus to lock everyone into the virtual LEGO World, he chooses twenty users to pair up and find items of power for him. These users adventure all over the map in search of said items, while getting into scrapes of their own. Meanwhile, back home, a rebellion is being planned. But Cheatcodes is anticipating it, and his plot might have far worse consequences than anyone thought possible.

For he has more than just the LEGO World in his sights.

Before you ask, yes, Cheatcodes was a real user who was banned only a few months before I joined. He was infamous for breaking numerous rules, far more than any other person.

But here's the thing: I started this story back in fall of 2013, and I'm still only one-third of the way through the plot. And this was going to be the first story of my Servants of Entropy Trilogy. The reason that this has taken so long to write is because I had a couple of long breaks from it. Now I wish I had just plowed ahead and finished it . . . though I do actually still love this story.

The Tournament of Convicts

This story is a fanfiction for a LEGO TV show, called Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu. I absolutely love this show, and I'm super excited about season 8 coming out. On the MBs, there were a ton of Ninjago fanfictions, many of them quite good. I just had to write my own, and as it turns out, this story has one of my deepest dilemmas.

Plot: Kayne is a normal guy with a normal life. He dreams of starting a family of his own, making great friends, and meeting his heroes, the Ninja who protect the land. But none of his dreams have come to pass, and he's losing hope. To top it off, he's framed for robbery, kidnapped, and brought to a mysterious island, where nothing is as it seems.

Master Chen is hosting an underground fighting tournament, where twenty convicts are pitted against each other in fights that can happen at any time and any place. If Kayne wants to survive, he'll have to choose his friends wisely, watch his back, and reach for the winner's prize of freedom. All the while, he wrestles with one heavy question:

What do you do when nothing in your life goes right?

Kayne has quickly earned his place as one of my favorite characters, the reason being his similarity to me, exaggerated as it may be at times. I relate to this guy, and I feel sorry for him, because I know how the story ends.

Season 4 of the show did something similar in the fact that Chen hosts a tournament on an island where the Elemental Masters fight one another. With my story, I asked, "What if Chen had to test the whole idea out before he hosted the Tournament of Elements?" That's how this story came to be. I actually know pretty much all of the events that happen; I just need to write them out.


This story is different from the others due to the fact that I may be publishing it as my debut novel. Originally started for the MBs, its progress halted when college life began. The shutting down of the MBs didn't help either. Now I have to decide whether this story will be my first to share with the world, or if my sixth project will take that honor.

Plot: Captain Brixton is the proud leader of a treasure hunting crew. They've seen much, accomplished more . . . but it's time for something bigger. Something more spectacular.

Something like stealing a diamond from one of the empire's governors.

Things go awry, and Brixton has underestimated the determination of the governor to get his diamond back. The crew flees, but they soon encounter more enemies, all of whom are gunning for the prize. On top of that, a mysterious entity known as the Maelstrom is stirring. Should it awaken, the empire is doomed.

In the end, the treasure hunters will need to decide if they'll look out only for themselves, or if the world is more important than the diamond.

I love pirate stories. The Golden Age of Piracy is actually one of my favorite historical eras, and thus, I based this story on that. I wanted to write a story that has all the epicness and action of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, yet has more meat to it. If it's a story that gives readers a book hangover, then I know I accomplished that. While I don't want to disclose too much about the story, let's just say it deals with some really important issues to me.

A Totally Epic Pirate Story

On the subject of pirates, I started this story earlier this year when I was in college. As a goodbye gift, I had hoped to write a comedy that featured all of us students, as well as our teachers, in it. While it was hilarious to write and read aloud to them, I didn't have enough time to finish it.

Plot: Vile Veronica and her EMO Gang have attacked the Perfectly Normal Town. The council hires Captain Joanne, head of J to the Fourth Power, to track down these pirates and bring them to justice. Veronica, however, intends to awaken the Dark Entity to get her revenge. These two teams will clash with each other and various foes along the way, but little do they know that they are all being played . . .

This story was a hoot to write when I was in college. Now that I've graduated, however, my passion for it has died majorly. I'd rather be spending my writing time working on projects that will one day benefit me, or that I'm more passionate about. However, I promised some people this story, so I guess I'll see what I do with it.

Man and Machine

This story, tentatively titled, is a sci-fi superhero mystery story for the Five Poisoned Apples contest. I haven't written a whole lot yet, but I'm enjoying the whole experience. I've never written a sci-fi before, save for a writing dare. My characters are also really different from others that I've written.

Plot: Ryder is a superhero, but not by choice. As protector of Prince Edward Island, the world's largest technological center, he keeps to himself most of the time. There is, however, one android unlike the rest, named Ceinwen. She seems more human than the others do.

Then a heinous gang shows up, led by a figure of the past. They capture Ceinwen for an unknown reason, but Ryder is determined to find her and bring her home. There's just one problem.

He has a horrifying disease, one that'll be the death of him if he can't bring it under control.

I want to keep details for this story under wraps for a number of reasons. One, it's for the contest, and I'm not sure how much I should reveal at this point. Second, I wouldn't my idea to be stolen. That's not to say I think you guys would, because I know you wouldn't. I just want to be cautious, that's all.

(I would've added a picture here, but I found nothing that suited the story. Sorry about that!)

Darkened Slumber

This final project is different, because technically I've already written it. This was my pseudo-feudal-Japan fantasy I wrote for the Five Magic Spindles contest. The feudal age of Japan is also one of my favorites, because samurai and ninja and other cool stuff. What I want to do now is extend it into a novel and eventually publish. I don't know if it'll my first story to get published or not, because, while it could be considered a stand-alone, it'd actually be the first of seven books in my fairy tale retelling series.

Plot: There is a great celebration afoot in Yashan. Princess Emiko is turning sixteen, entering womanhood. All princes have been invited to come and bless her.

There is also great danger afoot. A weapon most dangerous has fallen into the capable hands of a ronin, who was rejected by the emperor years ago. Now he's back, and with him is a curse that puts the princess to sleep. One prince vows to wake her back up.

Takeshi, a childhood friend of Emiko, sets out with a loyal companion in order to find the cure. But time is ticking, as Emiko encounters a vicious dimension hidden within Yashan, and their enemy becomes more powerful by the day. It will take great sacrifice and true love to save the land, but even that may not be enough in the end.

This story is actually one of my favorites that I've written. I was so proud of it at the time. Re-reading it not long ago showed me there were many flaws, but I anticipate adding depth to the whole story. It shall definitely be a lot of fun!

Now here comes the juggling side of things. Which story do I work on first? Well, I've determined that Man and Machine takes the highest priority right now. After all, it does have a deadline. If I hope to finish writing and editing by fall, I need to get myself in gear.

The extension of Darkened Slumber and the completion of Maelstrom come next. Because they're vying for the position of "first published book," they're both a pretty big deal. And while The Tournament of Convicts isn't something that can get published, I still want to get this project done because I know how it plays out.

An Old Face, a New Game is a story that gets done when it gets done. If it's been going for almost four years now, I think it has some patience. Though I also know a lot of what happens in this story, so this'll probably my go-to for when I need a break from my current project.

Lastly, we have A Totally Epic Pirate Story. Like I said, my passion for this story has fizzled over the last couple of months. There are just better things I could work on. I'll have to think on it and decide what this project's fate shall be.

Well, that's that! I know this was a long post, but I felt like sharing some of my writing journey with you guys. I hope you enjoyed!

How many projects do you have going right now? If you could choose, which story would you pick for me to publish first: Maelstrom or Darkened Slumber? Are you entering the Five Poisoned Apples contest? Do tell all in a comment!