2016 Wrap Up

The arbitrary unit of time we know as 2016 has come to an end to much celebration for many.  I am a bit more reserved in my exuberance, since the future bleeds from the past, and the past twelve months have been less than fortuitous.  I try not to be a Morbid Mary, but my hopes for the future are…guarded at best.  Be that as it may, our little wet rock has taken another trip around its star.  Here I present what I’ve accomplished in that time, and what I’d like to accomplish before the next trip comes to a close.


The Question of the Week

This was a fun, little, weekly foray, and I greatly enjoyed coming up with questions and seeing all of your answers, but I’ve decided to end it.  Formulating a query and answering it took much longer than many would think, and I desperately need to dedicate my time to other things.  You can find all of the questions at the end of the above link.  Please feel free to answer any that strike your fancy!  I’m always up for a good discussion.


Books

2016 Goodreads Book Challenge: 20
Books “Completed” Per Goodreads: 21

Number of Books Finished: 18

  1. The Ghost of Buxton Manor
  2. The World of Ice and Fire
  3. The Tales of Yagath
  4. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
  5. Sigil
  6. The Mystical Qabalah
  7. The Red Rose
  8. The Tales of Beedle the Bard
  9. The Invisible Library
  10. The Rape of Lucrece
  11. Spectrum
  12. The Slow Regard of Silent Things
  13. Paradise Lost
  14. Windhaven
  15. Dreamsongs Volume II
  16. Taggerung
  17. The Light of the Fireflies
  18. Dreamsongs Volume I
  19. The Jade Dragon
  20. Magonia
  21. Chained

Links go to my reviews.  The review for The Ghost of Buxton Manor is pending, as I just finished that this past week. I’m planning audio (potentially video) reviews for Paradise Lost and The Rape of Lucrece, which is why they don’t have reviews.

I technically only completed 18 books, since The Invisible Library and Magonia were both DNF, but I guess because I put an end date, Goodreads counts them.

Favorite Book: The Ghost of Buxton Manor by Jonathon L. Ferrara – I haven’t reviewed this yet, but I’ll have a glowing one for your perusal before the year is much older.  At initial rating I gave it four stars, but I just upped that to five because it deserves it.  The novel is an utter delight, and I highly recommend it.

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Stranger Things – Not Really a Review

This is less a review and more of what I hope will become an open discussion.  I had absolutely no idea that going into Stranger Things, I’d come out with so many other narratives on my mind, but it was not only chock full of 80s aesthetic without being the least bit campy, but it also reminded me of many other stores of not just that decade but others prior and since.

Stranger Things Cover

While this is not a review, it will still spoil the entirety of the first season, as I’ll be discussing all aspects of the show in regards to other stories, and the discussion will spoil those narratives as well.

All of the doors are about to be opened Dustin, don’t worry!  Also, I love Gaten Matarazzo.

***Spoilers for Stranger Things and every single narrative in bold.***


Stand by Me – We’ll get this one and The Goonies out of the way since Stranger Things was heralded as being reminiscent of the adaptation of Stephen King’s novel The Body and that classic 80s treasure hunt/coming of age tale, though ST was quite a bit darker and more horrifying than them both.  Also, oddly enough, in looking up the Wikipedia links for both movies, I discovered they both take place in small towns in Oregon.

E.T. There’s a picture of all of the kids on their bikes with Eleven in a hoodie with the hood up.  I can’t find it right now, but I recall the scene from one of the latter episodes.  If I knew exactly where it was (and I wasn’t being lazy), I’d screenshot it from my Netflix app, though…maybe it’s better I don’t since I don’t want to get in trouble.  Anyway, that was a definite visual reference to E.T., but just the idea of government officials hunting down a special entity set in the 80s, and the children the entity befriended trying to keep them safe has E.T. all over it.  Now El’s not an alien…or so it might seem, but the Demogorgon certainly is.  We’ll talk more about aliens and special children’s connections to them in a later entry.

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The State of the Writer: 9/3/16

<–The State of the Writer: 8/27/16          The State of the Writer: 9/10/16–>

A weekly post updated every Saturday discussing my current writing projects and where I stand with them.  This will include any and all work(s) in progress (WIP) be they creative writing, essays/analyses, or reviews of any type.

Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 272,701
Prior Word Count: 272,761
Word Difference: -60
Status: Editing
Progress: Organizing notes for new Chapter 4

The Blood Dimmed Tide Is Loosed

I use a great many poems in this fanfiction as opposed to the one recurring usage of TS Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock in Northern Lights.  I not only loved that poem so much, but I loved the idea of poetry that I decided I’d increase it manifold in this work.  Yeats is another one of my favorite poets, in fact I believe I declare him to be my favorite here with the above as my favorite poem.  Unsurprisingly, I’m a fan of dark advent poetry.  Who knew?

There is arguably even more poetry reading in The Broken Rose than Northern Lights, at the very least there are more poems read, but “The Second Coming” was the first one.  I absolutely love irony, with it and meta being my two favorite literary devices.  It amuses me greatly that a fallen angel is reading a dark advent poem in order to comfort the woman he once killed.  Creating situations like this is one of the best parts of writing.

I am currently at the end of my second edit of Chapter 3, and I’m now organizing my notes to write a new Chapter 4.  I’m not replacing the current Chapter 4; that’s going to become Chapter 5, and all the other following chapters will be bumped up a number.  The new Chapter 4 is entitled “Helpless,” and I’m hoping it won’t take me too long to write.  After I’m done, I’ll do a third edit on Chapter 3 (since I did some heavy editing the second time around) and go right into my edit of Chapter 4.  My goal is to write and edit the latest chapter before the end of my two week vacation.  My even more ambitious goal is to finish editing the first five chapters so I can begin posting the work.

Quote: Sephiroth carried both book and maid back upstairs to her welcoming room.  He turned out the light because he needed none and let the volume choose its page.

*“…The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity…” *

The general glanced down in frowning concern for such blood soaked verse, but the little Cetra was smiling so bright in his arms with her lids lightly shut.  Her tiny hands were no more clenched, but curled resting against the black coat.  His low voice so soothing could put her to sleep and made even dark words shine so bright.


Project: Story
Title:
The Threads of Sorrow
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Retold Fairy Tale
Type: Original Short Story
Prior Word Count: 6825
Current Word Count: 6787
Word Difference: +38
Status: Editing
Progress: First Edit Complete

I finished the first edit of Threads last week and now need to do a second edit.  I’ll probably work on that today.  I’m hoping it will be just a smooth read-through.  Afterwards, I’m not sure what my plan is.  I feel like I should find some beta readers, but I’ve already discussed my trepidation with the last weekly update.


Project: Vacation Essays
Genre: Various
Status: Planning

Since I’m on vacation for the next two weeks I want to use this time to catch up and post things I might otherwise have trouble finding the time to do.  Some of the things on the list have been featured here before.

  • Character Analyses – Since I’m hoping to also finish Final Fantasy IV, I may be able to finally get back to my character analyses posts with one for Cecil Harvey, the main character of the fore mentioned game.  Other contenders are Brienne of Tarth from ASOIAF/GOT, since I haven’t written about that series in a while.
  • The Printed Copy of Northern Lights – I’d like to discuss my NL printing project, because as I was doing it, a bittersweet and quite meta memory came clear.  I hope I can properly impart the feelings to you.
  • Blogger Tags – Over the course of the year (possibly the last one as well), I collected a number of blogger tag posts from various sites I follow.  These are fun, but quite time consuming.  I’ve already done the Alphabet Book Tag, and I thought up more alphabet tag posts for other media like games and movies that I’d like to start spreading around.  There’s also the Book Blogger Memory Tag, the Music Tag, and the Goodreads Book Tag I’d like to complete.  When I do, I’ll give credit/links to those bloggers from whom I found them!
  • The Stringer Bell Paradox Test – This was another “tag” from a blogger.  I found it quite fascinating, especially since I had an immediate pair of characters to test it out on.  I included the link now in case you wanted to check it out before I post.
  • “Half a Tragedy Is Worse Than None” – This is an essay about how Final Fantasy VII in many ways parallels a Greek tragedy. I initially was going to make this part of “Seventh Is the Darkest” essay, but the idea grew big enough to stand on its own.  I would love to have this written by 9/7/16 for 19th anniversary of FFVII’s release in North America, but I highly doubt that’s going to happen.  I have something else planned for that day though.
  • 30 Day Challenge – This is a Game of Thrones Challenge!  I forget where I found it.  I think one of the YouTubers I follow made a video about it, but I was able to google the picture easily.  I will probably answer them all at once and not day by day.
  • “Wide Awake” – It’s been several months since I’ve made a slideshow, and I’ve been thinking a lot of Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake,” since the lyrics put me in the mind of a fallen angel.  I really want to start making AMVs, but I’m a picky perfectionist, and I don’t know what footage I want yet for the AMV I want to make.  If I were more prepared, I’d definitely work on that during this vacation, but the slideshow will be easier.
  • Stranger Things Review – I’ll get this completed within the two weeks.  I think I have it on my planner to do today, but we’ll see about that.
  • A Song of FFVIIs – I started organizing all of the notes on this last night.  Ideally I’d love to write and post at least one essay before my two weeks is up.  More ideally, I’d love to have an essay ready to post on 9/7/16, but I don’t think it’s going to happen

What are you currently working on?  Is it a creative writing project, essay, review, or something else?  Have you just started something new or are you wrapping up a long term project?

<–The State of the Writer: 8/27/16          The State of the Writer: 9/10/16–>

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The State of the Writer: 8/27/16

<–The State of the Writer: 8/20/16          The State of the Writer: 9/3/16–>

A weekly post updated every Saturday discussing my current writing projects and where I stand with them.  This will include any and all work(s) in progress (WIP) be they creative writing, essays/analyses, or reviews of any type.

Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 272,761
Prior Word Count: 273,620
Word Difference: -852
Status: Editing
Progress: 2nd edit of Chapter 3

House By the Sea

I’m honestly can’t believe I haven’t used the above picture yet.  It’s almost exactly how I picture the house save for some minor details.  There’s no garage; it faces the sea; and the staircase is slightly different, being split at the top not at a lower landing, but the extensive veranda is dead on, and the luxury is exquisite, though I would not want to have Aeris’s history in this story in order to live here.

The little Cetra gets a brief glimpse of where she now resides, but there’s a much better one in Chapter 5 where she (and the readers) also find out the name of the estate.  When I do my (hopefully) light reedit of Northern Lights, I’m going to use the same name for their abode.  It’s…sad but fitting, and Sephiroth finds it achingly ironic.

I’m making good progress on the second edit.  I was worried it was going to be tedious and nitpicky as the first, but I only had some trouble with the initial paragraph or so.  I’ve mostly been doing a read through with minor edits, which is what I wish all editing could be.  Granted I haven’t yet reached the part where I’ve done extensive additions, so I’ll have to get back to you when I do.

This chapter amps up the sweetness even amongst the heartache.  At the end of it since Aeris is completely bereft of clothing, Sephiroth orders her a multitude of them in addition to jewelry and shoes.  I debated using a picture of the former, but there will be plenty of time for that when it arrives.

Quote: “Her coloring?  Fairer than the mist with the first blush of dawn on her cheeks.  She resembles a tiny porcelain doll with large, deep, summer blessed eyes.  Her hair is chestnut waves down to her knees with bangs similar to mine.  Yes, she’s lovely, beyond so.  Beautiful’s the word I would use.”


Project: Story
Title:
The Threads of Sorrow
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Retold Fairy Tale
Type: Original Short Story
Prior Word Count: 6887
Current Word Count: 6825
Word Difference: -42
Status: Editing
Progress: First Edit 5/6 Complete

I only edited one page last week, and I’m not sure I’m going to get to this tonight.  Since I went to my friend’s book signing, I’m exhausted as is the case whenever I do anything.  I’d need a nap before any editing took place, and I have so much still on my planner to accomplish.  I would love to finish the first edit this weekend, but it may have to happen during my two week vacation, which starts the first full week of September.

I’m also starting to get weird about submitting this for publishing.  That’s all I’m going to say about that for now :\

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The State of the Writer: 8/20/16

<–The State of the Writer: 8/13/16          The State of the Writer: 8/27/16–>

A weekly post updated every Saturday discussing my current writing projects and where I stand with them.  This will include any and all work(s) in progress (WIP) be they creative writing, essays/analyses, or reviews of any type.

Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 273,620
Prior Word Count: 273,244
Word Difference: +376
Status: Editing
Progress: 1st edit of Chapter 3

Dream House Living Room

There has been a great deal of revision in this portion of the edit, since I’m prepping to add a new chapter.  It’s been equal parts editing, equal parts writing, but I’m happy I’m doing it in the first edit.

The above picture shares similarities to how I imagine the living room, though the view would of course be the sea, and the window is more like a bay.  It’s obviously near impossible to find perfect pictures for the images in my head.  I was trying to locate a good dining room since that’s where I am right now, but I suppose you’ll just have to rely on my descriptive skills…as they are I suppose.

Quote: The great glass lights above ornate steps were now lit like a calm holiday.  Black boots made no sound on their scattered dance in display upon marble veins.  He carried her through the living room that dwelled off the stairs’ right side.  The carpet here looked just as soft to what crinkled her toes in her room. 

Evening was falling behind the bay window that framed his dining room.  Though the kitchen had a table, this was fancier.  *She deserves that,* Sephiroth thought, setting Aeris down.  She sank in soft cushion, her head still a-whirl for the arms were upholstered and soft.  Undoing his coat with the pin back in place, he swung it from broad to frail shoulders.  The Cetra caught her breath to keep back tears for the velvet warmth shielding her now.


Project: Story
Title:
The Threads of Sorrow
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Retold Fairy Tale
Type: Original Short Story
Prior Word Count: 6940
Current Word Count: 6887
Word Difference: +53
Status: Editing
Progress: First Edit 3/4 Complete

I have three more pages left to edit so I’m near the climax of the tale.  I’m starting to get anxious about this, because after I edit and polish it, I’ll have to submit it, and submitting stories sucks.  I just…sucks.  That’s all I can really say about it.  It contorts my stomach like a twisted sheet.  I hate the threat of failure, and it always falls, it always falls, ironically without fail.  My last resort is just posted it here on my own social media, but I would like some validation that I’m a halfway decent writer.  We’ll see what happens.

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Game of Thrones – Season 6 Finale Predictions

Spoilers for Game of Thrones Season up to Season 6 Episode 9 below.

Spoilers


Content Warning: Very brief mention of rape.

I have purposely avoided any prediction videos since last Sunday’s amazing episode.

Yass slay! Queen of the North!

It was by far the best episode of the season.

I agree with all of this. Sansa may be Queen of the North, but Lady Lyanna is the baddest bitch.

And is a possible contender for the best penultimate episode of all time.

I ship it. Danara forever ♥♥♥

This season saw a grand take back for many of the primary female characters, and by the old gods and the new it was both necessary and satisfying.  It is also exhilarating to note that I did not count a single, solitary rape in the entirety of season either. While I do feel that the story has gone downhill quite a bit, that is one aspect I do not believe is the cause of the decline.

This post is meant to (briefly…gods I hope) go through finale predictions.  As always, I will give credit where its due and where I can find it.  I believe these things will happen in the season ender, but I can not claim to have come up with them myself.  Where I can recall, I will provide links to the source.  So without further ado…

The Mad Queen

There is quite an abundance of textual hints that Cersei Lannister may truly be Aerys, the Mad King’s daughter, instead of being the child of the late Lord Tywin Lannister.  There are many, many theorists who believe this could be true, so I can’t just credit one.  You can search the interwebs to yield quite a few results on forums and YouTube, so I’ll leave you to that work if you so wish.

I can give credit for the prediction that Cersei will burn down King’s Landing in either desperation to avoid punishment for her crimes, rage at her dispossession, disrespect, and need to endure the judgment of “those beneath her,” or a combination of all and others.  Charlie in Westeros discusses it in nearly all of his videos concerning Season 6 so I can’t pinpoint just one.  I’m certain it’s brought up in his latest endeavor, but I haven’t watched that (or any other) video yet so as not to taint my mind with what’s not already in it.  Whether Cersei will burn the city because Tommen is killed or kill him in the process of avoiding judgment, I can’t say, but that may spark the fulfillment of the valonqar prophecy with the “little brother” being Jaime who strangles her to death upon his return.

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The Element of Surprise – Musings on Death and Betrayal in Various Media of Storytelling

I consider myself to be a skeptic and a cynic (along with holding the lofty title of Shameful Narcissist), but I still secretly carry an ember of gullibility in my heart. The former means it is quite hard to surprise me, where the latter can still light my way to delightful shock. In real life I abhor surprises, as I always wish to be prepared for any contingency, but in the world of fantasy and fiction I revel in it.

Here I give you the times I was surprised by a story in the various types of media I have consumed. I’m just going to use the one paragon example in each medium I present. Obviously as I am showcasing times I was shocked by a narrative, there are spoilers galore for everything mentioned/tagged in this post.  I’ll still throw up an official warning and give anyone who needs it time to skedaddle.

***UNMARKED SPOILERS FOR FROZEN, ASOIAF/GOT, FFVII AND HARRY POTTER***

 

 

 

 

Film
Frozen

I had no idea how they were going to resolve the fact that the heroine had two love interests (more on how you take care of that particular paradigm in the next entry. At least Hans gets to live…even if he might not deserve it.) Throughout the entire movie he gave no overt displays of devious ambition, but like any well told story, they were most certainly there. The fact that he always wears gloves (conceal don’t feel…) and only takes them off once after he reveals his true nature to Anna in the heartbreaking scene used above, and them almost immediately puts them back on while declaring “I’m the hero that’s going to save Arendelle” to once again don the mask and hide his true nature, but the movie had been giving hints to it all along.

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