Monday, August 20, 2012

Beautiful Blogger and Reader Appreciation Awards

The very lovely Kat tagged me with 2 blog awards: the Beautiful Blogger Award and Reader Appreciation Award. Thanks Kat!

The rules say I'm supposed to tell you 7 random things about myself. Kind of like Kat's TMI Monday, so I'll put it up now.

  1. Everything I write will be in some way influenced by Sailor Moon. That show got to me right around age 11 and implanted itself in my mind and it will never, ever come out.
  2. I do not understand what it would be like to be straight or gay. It's like asking me to forever choose between cheesecake and chocolate. How could I ever choose????? (I'm married so in a sense I've limited myself, but it's not to men, it's to one person who I love who happens to incidentally be a man, which is a different concept, to me. But my brain still works the same way. And I still enjoy writing f/f romances. ;) )
  3. Japanese: I have lived in Japan twice and been there four times. I can watch most anime without subtitles, it generally has to have a lot of jargon or business lingo for me to need the subs. I sing karaoke both in English and in Japanese.
  4. I love to draw. I have had two different webcomics, but they are SO time consuming that I always quit. I often draw pictures of my friends or their characters.
  5. As my blog title says, coffee and music are my biggest source of fuel for writing, I have difficulty writing if I lose access to either one.
  6. I play the bass in an amateur rock band. We write our own songs, as well as practice with covers of things as widely ranging as "Dreams" by the Cranberries, "One more soul to the call" from Silent Hill, and "The Royal We" by Silversun Pickups. We are planning on playing a short set list at the Halloween party this year. Our first performance in front of more than 2 people. o_o
  7. I played the violin for years in school and I am self teaching myself to play the electric cello.
Tagging people with these awards! They are:
Have fun!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Awesome Characters: The Doctor

I've decided to make Thursdays my Awesome Characters day. Today I'm going to talk about the Doctor from the BBC TV show Doctor Who. Specifically, the Ninth and Tenth Doctors. (You might be thinking "but there are a million people out there who've already talked about the Doctor," and you're probably right, but I'm going to anyways :D ) As usual, Awesome Characters includes spoilers.

The Doctor is the epitome of a complex character. He's a scientist, he's a romantic, he's a hero, he's someone who carries a deep pain that never really goes away. One of the Doctor Who spinoff novels put it well when they described the Doctor as having a Tigger side and an Eeyore side. Add in a righteous fury side and you've got a basic description already.

In the new 2005+ series, the Time Lords have been sealed away in a "time lock" so that their war and all the crazy shit that had come down on their home planet couldn't destroy the rest of the universe (see the last Ten special for details). The Doctor is the one who did this. This gives him a lot of mixed emotions, to say the least. On the one hand, he saved the universe, on the other hand, he essentially destroyed his race. So you might think he'd be Eeyore-Doctor all the time, but he's not, he copes and he moves on to the best of his ability. His profound sadness comes out from time to time and reminds us that he cares so deeply about people.

One of the best attributes of the Doctor, for me, is his ability to see the universe with wonder and joy, even though he has already seen so much of it and already knows so much about it, and has a lot of good reasons to hate everything, he is still able to revel in the beauty of life. It isn't limited to conventional beauty either, he sees a werewolf and thinks "you beauty," he sees a crazy clockwork robot and thinks "you beauty," he's the quintessential joyful nerd. This is his truer Tigger side. He has another Tigger side which is more his version of a misdirection attack on whoever he's dealing with. He acts sort of crazy to distract the person from whatever he's actually doing. This also comes out in his tendency to act like he is in charge of everything which gets people used to taking orders to do what he says.

Righteous fury Doctor is just what you'd expect: he's a hero. He won't put up with aliens endangering the Earth, or cruelty, he doesn't like to kill and he's ready to sacrifice himself to save the day. He's also a nerd hero in that he saves the day with science-y shenanigans instead of combat (most of the time).

Another interesting facet to the Doctor is that he needs people. This is where Nine and Ten are mirror images in a way. Nine is born alone at the end of the war and he becomes happier when he takes on Rose. He dies happy saving her. Ten, on the other hand, is born happy, surrounded by people who care about him. But Ten walks a path of loss and the more alone he becomes the more unbalanced he becomes. He dies unhappy and alone. (Don't worry that's not the end, there's still an Eleventh Doctor after all :) )

The Doctor is so multifaceted that even this description is just the beginning. I can't recommend enough that anyone who wants to write awesome, complex characters, especially in genre fiction, should watch the 2005+ Doctor Who.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Awesome Characters: Naruto and Sasuke

I decided my blog was too boring with just random status updates about how my writing is going, so I'm going to try to implement some other segments to spice it up. One of those segments is Awesome Characters, where I will discuss, well, characters who I think are awesome. :)

Today's characters will be: Uzumaki Naruto and Uchiha Sasuke. (That's surnames first, for those not into Japanese) from the anime Naruto. A google image search will show you plenty of examples of what they look like. Note that the series has a time skip, so there's a kid version and a teen version of both.

I don't know how I could possibly talk about them without including some spoilers (no ending spoilers however--it's not over!), so if you've decided you want to check it out without knowing anything more about it, leave now.

Ok then. Naruto is the main character of the show which is about ninjas. He starts out as a little brat who staves off his loneliness by pranking the village by doing things like painting goofy doodles onto the Mount Rushmore-like carvings that hang above the village. Really, he's just a lonely kid who's not that great in ninja school and for reasons he doesn't understand yet, he's an orphan and no one in the village wants anything to do with him. Even his homeroom teacher initially treats him with coldness. However, the reason for this is because on the day that Naruto was born, the Nine-tailed Fox was unleashed on the village and the people suffered great losses, including Naruto's teacher, who lost his parents that day. The Nine-tailed Fox was sealed up inside of Naruto, so he is what's known as a jinchuriki, a carrier of a tailed beast. This is basically like being a walking weapon of mass destruction, so the villagers are forbidden to talk about it, so they end up just giving Naruto the cold shoulder constantly and he has no idea why.

However, his homeroom teacher sees that Naruto has a good heart and is really just an ordinary kid, and warms to him. This sets Naruto on a happier path, he still deals with feelings of resentment toward the villagers who treated him so badly, but he channels his feelings into a positive goal: he's going to become Hokage (leader of the village) one day, and make all of the villagers recognize him as a great person. Little does he know at first, but his father was actually Hokage, and his parents sacrificed their lives to save him and the village on that fateful day, his mother was the Nine-tails jinchuriki before him, and they sealed the Nine-tails inside of him not as a curse but because they had faith that he'd be able to handle it, and they are right. Throughout the series, Naruto matures from being a brat to a real hero. His personality is so complex and real that sometimes I get this odd feeling like I KNOW him, like he's a real friend of mine somewhere out there. Like, his personality doesn't shift unbelievably far, he continues to be something of an airhead in some ways, but his heart and spirit just grow stronger and he strives for peace in situations where anyone else would not be able to resist taking revenge.

Speaking of revenge: enter Sasuke. Naruto and Sasuke are paired up in a three-man-cell along with a girl named Sakura after they graduate from the ninja school. Sasuke is the opposite of Naruto, he has excellent grades and a cold personality. He was created to be Naruto's foil and rival. Naruto is blond, Sasuke has black hair, Naruto wears orange, Sasuke wears blue. Naruto is energetic and loud, Sasuke is aloof and laconic. There's one thing they have in common: they both lost their parents. The difference is, Sasuke wasn't an infant, he was a child who remembers having a family, and they didn't die defending the village, his brother slaughtered his entire clan and left Sasuke alive, claiming that he "wasn't worth killing" and that Sasuke should "hate him and come and find him if he wants revenge." Sasuke latches onto revenge so hard that it consumes him. Instead of something like Naruto's dream to become Hokage, Sasuke's only intention in his ninja training is to become strong enough to kill his brother.

The thing that makes Sasuke's story so tragic (up until now at least, like I said, the series isn't over, I don't know his ultimate ending) is that he almost finds happiness with his team. The pivotal episode comes when they are confronted with his brother too early, Sasuke's still just a kid, and yet his complete and utter failure when he attacks his brother shatters his happiness. That, combined with his jealousy when he sees Naruto is starting to become stronger than him, convinces him that he'll never achieve his goal if he stays with them, and when another enemy presents him with an opportunity to desert his village and become powerful, he takes it.

Even then, Sasuke isn't completely evil. We see him on team evil, but he doesn't kill his enemies, he just incapacitates them. He claims it's because his brother is the only person he wants to kill. However, he descends into real evil territory after he makes a shocking discovery. His clan had been planning a coup against their village, and his brother was given the choice to slaughter his entire clan (with some help from someone you meet later) for the good of the village and he took it. Peace at any cost. Sasuke is enraged at the village for forcing such a choice onto his brother, and once his fury is redirected at his home village, he loses the mercy he had been holding onto, and starts killing (or at least trying to kill) even people he considered his closest friends.

Meanwhile, Naruto is the opposite. His compassion for Sasuke is absolute, even after Sasuke tries twice to kill Sakura (their third team mate) Naruto is still convinced he's going to save his friend, or at the very least, die with him and be friends with him in the after life, because Naruto so easily could have gone the way Sasuke did if he hadn't had positive influences in his life.

I'm unsure where the author is going with them, and a lot of my feelings still hang in the balance, wondering how he's going to resolve things. (Are they really both going to die at the end??) But the fact that I care so intensely about the outcome just shows how well crafted they both are.

Did you read my little talk about Naruto and Sasuke? Was it interesting? Leave me a comment and I'll write about more awesome characters that I love. :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Changing POV

Wow, it has been over a month since I started this MS. I've now gotten to a point where I realize first person isn't going to work for this MS. Though I really wanted to give first person a try since I've read some fabulous books written that way, ultimately this story is developing into a plot where the MC may not be present or conscious during events that would be better shown on camera. Therefore, third person multiple seems the way to go.