Me According to The Internet (And My Downloads Folder)

For some reason I thought it’d be fun to describe myself using only Internet memes, videos, and the murky contents of my downloads folder. I don’t know where most of these came from, so…hopefully I don’t die of copyright infringement? This is all for you, you know.

You’re welcome.

I Am A Thoughtful Guy – Rhett and Link

Dad/Morality/Patton Sanders

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From Thomas Sander’s SanderSides

But I’m also this guy:

Prince/Roman Sanders

I am a conflicted soul.

The type of person who downloads this:

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But also this.

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I like to think I show some potential in life, as per this picture Grace Weiser put together for me:

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Thanks Grace!!!

But maybe I’m just a huge Hamilton nerd.

Of course I’m a writer.

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You can follow if you want 😀

(This board has 221 pins. I’ve hardly looked at it since it’s creation.)

Sometimes my writing is…okay?

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It was a hard-won 50,000 words, okay??

I make fun of my friends.

Alaric-!

I have no idea if he reads this blog, but just in case…hi?

Sometimes I’m serious.

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Sometimes…not so much.

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You can actually buy this on Amazon. #notsponsored

And sometimes I just go off the rails and make stupid posts like this.

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The caption of my life.

Well, thanks for reading. (I’m not sure what you’re doing with your life.) I actually think it’d be amazing to see more posts like this so if you’re reading this and have nothing to do…consider yourself tagged.

Stay crazy, friends.

How Much Impact Will Your Writing Have?

Have you ever held four or five books in your hands and suddenly gotten the impression that you were holding souls?

So as some of you may know, we’ve been rearranging bedrooms at my house, and one of the many activities involved in this is cleaning out the bookshelves in what-was-once-the-kids-room-but-now-is-the-older-girls’-room. We had so many books on those shelves. Boxes and boxes of books.

And most of them were covered in dust.

As I was grabbing fistfuls of these works and tossing them into a bin (not a trash can, for those of you who aren’t American), it suddenly occurred to me that each book I was holding had been super super special to the author at some point. Maybe it was one of many books. Maybe it was their life work. In either case, at some point they spent hours pouring their hearts and souls into these things.

And here I was packing them away possibly forever. I never read most of them.

Now, I’m sure that there are plenty of people out there who have read these books, and I guess that’s my point. Any one book is never going to reach EVERYBODY. I know writers like to imagine that we’ll be the next J.K. Rowling or maybe even J.R.R. Tolkien (if you’re ego’s really inflated), but if you think about it, there are still people who haven’t heard of Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings. No matter how famous you get, you’ll never reach everybody. And even if you reach quite a few people, there will always be some who have your books on their shelves for months and then throw them away, having never read them.

It’s a common saying that it doesn’t matter how many people you reach, as long as you reach one. Even if that one person is you. Because you’re never going to reach them all. Although a literary version of Pokemon would be pretty cool, to be honest.

That’s my thoughts for the day. Stay crazy, friends.

Broody BFF Challenge #2! (I skipped #1 because I am GOING TO SPAIN)

Well, I meant to do the first Broody BFF challenge before the deadline. Here’s my excuse.

I was working on my Visa.

WHAT!!! Yay! So as many of you know, I shall be studying abroad in SPAIN this fall, in order to fulfill my Spanish minor requirement and also because if I am offered an opportunity to travel abroad, I will take it, good sir. However, with great power comes great paperwork, and I’ve been working on that for the past several days. Hopefully by Tuesday we can get all my paperwork together for the student Visa, and then we can focus on getting me doctor appointments to prove I shall not spread disease to the masses.

Phew.

In the meantime, I’ve been doing pretty well at home, splitting my time between my grandparents’ house and my own. I should be spending much more time at home now, though, because we’re focusing on remodeling  rearranging our rooms, so I shall be sharing a bedroom with my smol sister Hope and my tol sister Grace for the rest of the summer. (I’m sure you will hear plenty about them later.) Here’s a pic. (You can see my computer in the background. #meta)

New Room

Tol sister has not moved in yet. Smol sister is doing handstands.

 

So if you came from Facebook you probably came for the personal update, but if you came from Twitter I know what you’re really here for. The Broody BFF challenge. (I know my audience.)

Today’s prompt is: What’s your favorite romance trope? Explain the feels it gives you!

Hm. This is going to be hard because I’m not really that much of a romance trope. But here goes.

I believe my favorite thing is when the guy and girl meet for the first time and the guy is completely flustered. I just find that so adorable. It’s also cute when the girl’s the one who gets flustered, but for some reason I just like it better when it’s the dude. (Possibly because I like dudes. Go figure.)

Variations on this include:

  1. I just met you and you’re hot and I don’t know what to do with myself.
  2. I knew you for a long time and I haven’t really spoken to you because THIS IS HARD
  3. I have known you for a long time but my feelings have just gotten to the point where I’ve figured out what’s going on and this makes things awkward.
  4. I hated you and GOSH THIS COMPLICATES THINGS (three cheers for awkward insults)

So yeah. I’m really not one for suave pick-up lines or anything. (Sorry Broody.) More like suave dropping-ketchup-all-over-the-floor.

Wow. All this romantic talk has made ME feel awkward. So I’m going to add just one more quick thing and then we’ll be done. In real life when guys are awkward to me, I find it so adorable that I spontaneously combust into equal and opposite awkwardness. I’d love to see this in fiction as well. Mostly because I as a reader would die of butterfly-like feels and awkwardness and would probably scream into a pillow. In fact —

A JAEI FGH;HAIGHEAWHGELWAGLA

I’m gonna go now. I’ll be more intelligible next time.

Stay crazy, friends!

So in case you didn’t know, the Broody BFFs are a street team to promote the awesome upcoming book Broody YA Hero: Becoming a Main Character (Almost) As Awesome As Me. If you don’t follow Broody McHottiepants on Twitter, you totally should. Go do that. Now. 

Shock

I’ve never done a post about my personal life before, so I might as well do one now, when my life is as crazy and abnormal as it’s been so far.

I’ll give you the spoiler first. I’m at home right now — my grandparents’ house, to be exact. I’m not supposed to be here. I’m supposed to be working at my college’s dining hall for the next three months.

Why am I here?

Well, time for some tragic backstory, my friends.

About three years ago, at the end of my senior year of high school, my dad left our family to marry the girl who happened to be my best friend. It was a really messed up situation (although great for writing inspiration) and although over the past three years life has settled into a steady rhythm again, it isn’t exactly the type of thing you can get over. I struggled through my first year of college, then worked at the dining hall over the summer. Although difficult, it was great — just the kind of space I needed from home. So I thought, “Why not do that again this year?”

Back up again to this past Spring semester. My classes went well, with the exception of one — Writing For Social Change — that seemed to trigger every bad feeling within me. It didn’t even make sense. The issues we were discussing were LGBT equality and race relations, not anything to do with families falling apart or anything I’d really struggled with personally. And yet for some reason, I couldn’t write anything for that class without descending into pain I hadn’t felt since my parents were in the midst of their breakup.

I went to my school counselor about it, and she and my professor decided that I could extend the deadline for my coursework and finish it when I didn’t have my other classes pressing down on me. “Great,” I thought. “That’ll fix the problem.” Except…it didn’t. A few days after school ended, I went back to my old essays, and descended into the same panic I’d felt before.

We worked it out and I ended up finishing the class with a B, but I’m still not sure what happened. I thought life would be better after this class was finished and I just had work to worry about. But lo and behold — nothing changed. Maybe it had to do with the fact that I’d been scheduled 8 days in a row, working 6am every morning; maybe it was because I hadn’t gotten enough sleep since before finals week. But I started to hate work, even though I loved the people I worked with. And I started returning to damaging thoughts of self-harm that I’d been having ever since my first year in school.

Yesterday, I had a follow-up appointment with my counselor at school, and decided it was time to come clean about these thoughts. She decided that it was no longer safe for me to work at school, mostly because the school has no health facilities open during the summer. In fact, she waived the two-week notice I was supposed to give my supervisors, walked with me over to the office, and explained my situation to the supervisor present. We also called my mom and my grandmother, explaining why I needed to come home as soon as possible. All this resulted in me learning I should leave my job and subsequently packing up and moving home in the same afternoon.

Unfortunately, my head boss was not there when we explained my situation to my supervisor, so he e-mailed me last night asking me to return in a week. I understand completely — it’s hard enough over the summer with eight people, and when someone leaves suddenly that makes it harder for everyone — but I didn’t know how to respond. I don’t think I can go back. And even if I could, I would be very unhappy. So I spent most of last night thinking about it and crying. I even called the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, not because I was in any immediate danger, but because I needed someone detached from the situation to tell me their opinion. They told me what my friends had been telling me; that I needed to take a break for my own mental health, but it’s still hard to wrap my head around.

I think I might be in shock, if you can be in shock from leaving work. Sitting at home typing this is so unreal. I should be at work right now. I don’t really know what to do.

So yeah, that’s my personal story for the week. I suppose I could have started off with something a little less depressing, but oh well. Thanks for reading — I’ll be back soon with the first Broody BFF challenge entry that you may have heard about on Twitter. (Total change of pace, I know.)

Stay crazy, my friends.

Shout-out to Maggie @ Maggie’s Musings for teaching me how to make better title images. 

If you or someone you know is in danger of harming themself, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. They’re very nice and not scary at all, and it will help.

Writing Lessons from Death Note

Spoiler Warning: I’m assuming that if you’re nerdy enough to have clicked on this post, you’ve either (a) watched Death Note to completion or (b) just love to read everything I write. For the sake of those who fall under (b), if they exist, I will try to keep spoilers to a minimum because YOU SHOULD WATCH THIS SHOW. However, it’s hard to discuss Death Note at all without giving away minor spoilers about certain episodes, so You Have Been Warned.

I have recently fallen into the black hole known as Death Note. For those of you who aren’t aware, this anime’s about Light Yagami, a brilliant student who discovers a notebook with the power to kill anyone whose name is written inside it. He decides to use it to judge the criminals of the world, quickly attracting the attention of the police force and a mysterious detective known as L. Infuriating mind games ensue.

While watching this show, I felt alternatively disgusted, angry, depressed, awed…and yes, in the end I was satisfied. (I suppose that’s a minor spoiler but really if a show isn’t going to leave you feeling satisfied in some way…why bother?) You may notice that most of those emotions are negative. Why would I watch — and furthermore, recommend — a show that made me feel this way? Well, that brings me to the first writing lesson from the unique storytelling style within Death Note.

  1. Writing must produce emotions. Any emotions. But they must be STRONG.

That doesn’t mean you should have your readers weeping in despair or dying of laughter at every scene. But in my experience, the stronger the emotions a story produces — even if those emotions are negative — the greater my drive to finish the story. And, if the story pays off in the end and leaves me satisfied, I’m much more likely to proclaim its brilliance to the world, even if while I’m watching/reading I feel like this most of the time:

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My response to pretty much everything Light does

A common pitfall when trying to achieve this goal is melodrama. Never once did I feel like the creators of Death Note were trying to FORCE me to feel something. The feelings arose naturally from the situations the characters were in. In fact, that leads me to point number two…

  1. Your protagonist DOESN’T have to be likable.

WHAT? Faith!! You’re contradicting the oldest writing rule known to humankind! Well I’m SORRY, but when I spend the majority of the show flat-out hating the protagonist and yet still loving the show as a whole, I’ve got to investigate.

Yes, it’s true. Light is arrogant, narcissistic, manipulative, has a godhood complex, and considers human life to be of no value once that human has broken the law or opposed him. His only winning features are his intelligence and his good looks (which I think was a devilishly clever choice on the part of the artists — gives him points for both types of fangirls). And yet I love this show.

Be warned with this piece of advice: it can backfire. There actually was a point where I considered stopping watching the show because he was making me so angry, but at the same time I knew I had to continue. The plot was so gripping that I HAD to find out what happened. I took a short break from the show to cool down, but unlike most shows that I take “breaks” from, I remembered to come back.

The key to this is control. The writers were fully aware Light would turn some (most) people off at some point. My hate of him actually spurred me to keep watching, because I needed to know if he got what was coming to him. (Did he? I’ll never tell.) It also made me feel deeply conflicted, because as a protagonist I had initially bonded with him, then recoiled when he started murdering. It made me ask: would I do the same in this situation? Who would I kill?

When a writer wants their character to be likeable but they aren’t, that’s a problem. When you know that most readers will probably hate your protagonist, and this decision is purposeful on your part, you can really twist this to your advantage.

However, I really might have stopped watching the show if it hadn’t been for this next piece…

  1. Write boss minor characters.

I ADORED so many of the minor characters, from Light’s family members to L himself to the adorkable police force member Matsuda…even Light’s self-proclaimed girlfriend Misa, although the “fangirl” characters aren’t usually my favorite. With the exception of Light’s mother and sister, each character had a well-rounded personality and backstory. Even without that, I didn’t feel Mrs. Yagami and Sayu Yagami were lacking. They had the amount of development they needed…nothing more.

I think we need to talk about Matsuda, even though his role is downplayed throughout most of the series. While everyone else is super intense, Matsuda is more laid-back and plays the part of comic relief extremely well. He also has a real need to prove himself, a motive which (in my opinion) makes him even more adorable. And of course, because of this, he gets into shenanigans. My favorite. (I also may have a fan crush on him but shhh.)

If you decide to go with an anger-inspiring protagonist like Light, make sure your supporting cast is extremely strong, and that at least one of them is likable to some extent. There should be balance between intense characters and people who are good for a laugh…and don’t be afraid to switch things up, either. L has his comic moments while Matsuda has his serious ones.

  1. Then kill those boss minor characters.

I absolutely refuse in any circumstance to tell you which of these characters die. Some do. That is all you’re getting. After all, a show about a notebook with the power to kill anyone wouldn’t make any sense if, you know, it didn’t kill someone we CARE about.

Which brings me to this: don’t be afraid to kill characters. Be ruthless. As a contrast, I’m going to pick on the Star Wars prequels for a moment. (I know, I know, they have it rough already. I’m sorry.) When the famous Order 66 comes along, no one we care about die. It’s like George Lucas is screaming “LOOK AT THE BIG BAD KILLING THINGS!!! ISN’T IT SAD??” But unless you’ve watched Clone Wars (which, may I add, was made after the prequels) and recognize a few of the deceased…it’s hardest to care. The worst part is when (spoiler) Anakin kills the younglings, and that’s only because they’re children. We don’t KNOW anyone. Not even that kid that manages to hold his own against a stormtrooper for several minutes. Seriously, who is that guy?

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Spoiler: It’s Zett Jukassa. Can we just have a moment of silence to appreciate that Star Wars has a name for every. Single. Minor. Character?

Oh right, this is about Death Note. Sorry.

The Death Note kills people. Obviously. And when it kills people that we actually care about, we know that literally anyone could die, which ups the stakes dramatically. And, it makes us angrier at Light and more anxious to see his demise.

Do we get to see that? I’ll never tell…

  1. Don’t be afraid to pull out the big guns whenever you want.

After the first few episodes, I thought I had a pretty good idea of where the show was going; how it was going to end, who would die, etc. Why would I think I could know such a thing? Well…I do have a writing blog. It’s kind of my thing to try to find stereotypical plot points and predict what happens next.

Well, Death Note didn’t let me do that. There were several elements I had been sure would come at the show’s climax that showed up before the show was halfway over. I was flabbergasted. If this is happening NOW…what will happen NEXT?

Death Note is also a pro at giving you just enough info to let you THINK you know what’s going on, but do you? Bwahahahaha! NO!

The danger with this, of course, is that if you pull out the big guns too early, you might not have anything left for the climax. On the whole, I think Death Note did well with this, although I was a bit skeptical of a few characters who showed up to fill voids left by our deceased friends. If you choose to use this element, make sure you’ve planned everything out to a T. Or to an L, I suppose. (What? I tried.)

Finally, Number 6.

  1. Let your readers make their own choices.

When I watch Light Yagami heartlessly write hundreds of names in the Death Note, I feel slightly sick, but I’m not sure if everyone watching feels the same. I’ve seen evidence on the Internet — whether it’s a ‘would you rather’ style button asking if you’d murder someone for immortality or a quiz on if you’d side with L or Light, there’s always a percentage of people who choose Light’s side. True, usually the minority, but they’re out there. Personally I find that scary, but the anime doesn’t discourage this behavior. In fact, I think it encourages it.

Although Light is the protagonist, the other characters — particularly the police force — get a lot of screen time. More than your average minor character and even more than your average villain. I think the writers did this on purpose in order to give the audience a fair chance to choose between Light and L. And even after the climactic ending (which I will not reveal), the show never announces its own opinion on the subject. Sure, we know what the CHARACTERS think, but it’s what many of them have been saying all along. The show doesn’t come with a clear-cut message. And while that may seem like a downfall, I prefer it.

So many stories, especially Christian fiction, come prepared with anvils to smack their viewers/readers over the head. While this might be enough to convince some people, I think it’s more effective to let your reader actively think about your story. This will provoke deeper consideration of your story question than if you just whacked them with your prescribed answer.

The risk, of course, is that they might not come to the same conclusion you have.

While I know I’ve been pushing y’all to watch Death Note like there’s no tomorrow, I admit the show might not be for everyone. Because it’s so intense and doesn’t have a clear “good guy,” it would be very hard for children to watch…or even teens who don’t yet have firm-set beliefs. (Who does that remind me of? Oh, right. Me.) In my opinion, Death Note definitely falls under the psychological horror category, and you’ve got to be ready for that. In particular, Light starts proclaiming that he is god, and numerous characters begin to follow him, which I found very disturbing. Also (this one is a spoiler, so quickly skip to the next paragraph if you don’t want it), the story world does begin to improve due to Light’s actions — crime rates dropping and such — which makes the watcher question if Light’s philosophy might actually be beneficial.

Definitely a challenging show, but worth watching. The writing, art, and voice acting are all phenomenal. I haven’t read the manga, but I’d like to someday.

Oh, I almost forgot #7!

7. Cake.

Faith out.

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Taking Writing Seriously

Hello, friends! It has certainly been a long time. I apologize for abandoning you, but I had school, and about three internal crises. But I’m back now.

So what have I been doing over the past two or three weeks? (How long has it been? Even I don’t remember.) Well, I went home for Easter break and visited my family for the first time since Christmas…that was fun. I’ve also struggled VERY MUCH to write a short story by mixing a modern day family crisis with the fall of the Aztec empire (sadly no time travel involved, sorry). I’m getting feedback on that today from my professor, so we’ll see how that goes. And I went to a job fair. And at that job fair I had an Epic Realization (TM). I need to start…

(Yes, that is my realization-face. Why do you ask?)

I don’t treat writing like it’s an actual job option. Of all the recruiters who asked me what I wanted to do after college, I didn’t tell one of them my actual current dream, which is to live in a tiny apartment with a moderately nice roommate and work a nice day job editing or something, while hiding under the covers and writing novels in my free time.

Partially because I’m salty that I didn’t realize this was my dream until AFTER I spent two years and $60,000 in loans at college. What is life. Why does my brain work this way.

But seriously. Why didn’t I tell anyone? Maybe I’m afraid that they’ll laugh at me, or give me a weird look like “what are you doing at a job fair then,” or a sad look like “ah yes, there goes another delusional millennial down the moldy drain of debt and tears.” Which is probably true. But don’t ruin this for me yet.

The thing is, I’ve never treated novel writing as a viable career option, which is 80% of the reason I went to college in the first place. I understand that yes, I will need a second job (see apartment dream above), but I believe novel-writing can be and is a viable career path in itself and I SHALL BRAVELY FOLLOW.

So as the last two weeks of school wrap up (amen hallelujah), I’m thinking about plans for this summer. Hopefully plans that will send me on my way to making novel-writing my career. And because I know you’re all extremely interested, here they are.

  1. Build a better blogging schedule. I want to try for at least once a week (which I was already kind of doing until Giant Final Projects hit), and since I won’t have as much to do, I might even try to post twice a week. (Gasp!) Of course, summer includes me forgetting what day of the week it is 90% of the time, so we’ll see how this goes.
  2. Take a REALLY good look at my Nano/Camp Nano novel. So my Camp Nano has been a total flop this year, mostly because I wrote 2500 words, got super discouraged, and have not worked on that story since. (Not a normally recommended writing strategy, but we all need breaks sometimes…right?) I was on the verge of scrapping it, but when I went to my Camp Nano page to delete the project and replace it w/ the short story I’m writing for English, something inside of me said… “Look at this one more time. It’s still kinda cool.” So this goal might involve a lot of tears, but hopefully it’ll be worth it.
  3. Write something NEW! Faith, don’t you have 5 or 6 projects you could edit? Yeeees…why would you bring that up? Anyway, what I have in mind isn’t technically completely new. For Camp Nano July 2016, I started writing a time-travel story that I didn’t get very far on because time travel is a butt and I didn’t have the timeline mapped out. But, I still really like the idea so I’ll be going at it again. Screams to follow.
  4. Write something ELSE new!!! Okay Faith stop it! You’re going to die! Look, I have justification for this one. I’ve been wanting to write a fantasy novel for a while BUT I don’t really know how, so I’ll mostly just be worldbuilding. Not writing. You hear that, brain? NOT WRITING YET. Honestly, the amount of energy it takes to keep these brain cells in line…
  5. Reading quite a bit. I have a lot of books on my TBR (most of which are currently eluding me in the void of my memory), and as long as I can get to the good library a few miles from here, I’ll be set. (My school library is quite good for research but very lacking in the novel department.) As anyone who follows me on Goodreads knows, I’ve fallen behind on my 2017 Reading Goal of 52 books, so hopefully I’ll catch up in the months after finals.
  6. Watch Netflix. IT’S NOT PROCRASTINATING IF IT’S ON MY TO-DO LIST, IS IT? I actually just got Netflix and would like to catch up on some shows my friends have been watching so I can be Educated. So it’s a real goal. Really, guys. I’m serious.

Of course, I’ll also be working 40 hours a week at my school’s dining hall, and socializing when I have the chance. (I do that. I’m an ambivert. Sue me.) Not to mention planning my trip to Spain this fall, and who knows what will happen to my goals when I’m abroad. But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

TL;DR: I wanna start treating my writing like an actual career. So this summer I’m gonna woman up. Hopefully.

(Inspiration for this post comes from Hannah Heath’s recent post that inspired me to give up and then un-give up on my NaNo novel, and from Nate Philbrick’s resolution to write 500 words a day before work. Maybe I’ll do this too. Even if it means getting up at 5 am…)

 

Stay crazy, friends.

Worldbuilding According to Sims 4

I have fallen, my friends. I have been sucked into the all-consuming world of Sims. They warned me that it would tear my world apart, but I never imagined it would be like this.

Thankfully, while I’m getting my soul sucked out, I’ve been able to notice some nice worldbuilding tips for y’all.

In case you don’t know, Sims is a virtual reality game in which you create animated characters to inhabit a small town (or a city, if you have the right expansion pack). There isn’t a stated goal, but I think it’s to live the “ideal life,” whatever that is.

Now, the Sims games are owned by Electronic Arts, an American company located in California. For the most part, the in-game culture reflects American styles, values, etc. However, there are a few notable differences, and this is what I think we writers can learn from.

  1. No personal space.

This was the first thing I noticed. Your Simmy friends will just walk right into your house, eat your food, use your stove, play your video games, and sleep in your bed, and no one bats an eye. The first time this happened to me, I’d made a lovely plate of hamburgers in the park, and another Sim just waltzed up and started eating my food. What’s up with that, bro?

A logically minded person might argue that because the Sims are automations they can’t be expected to comply to social rules, but I say nay! The programmers could have put this in if they wanted! The Sims society seems to be a strange mix of pluralism and individualism — although each Sim is pursuing their own goals, friends are quite open with each other and expect all houses to be open spaces.

Notable exception: Bathrooms. Apparently they’re still not okay with undressing in front of each other, even family members.

What writers can learn: When designing a new culture, you’ll unconsciously model the social rules after your own. Think about bending this, even though the results may seem inappropriate or offensive at first.

  1. Lax parenting.

I’d really like to get the Sims 4 City Living expansion pack to see if this holds in that environment. (Someone tell me please.) It’s not unusual to see kids walking around the neighborhood with no parent in sight. Sim parents don’t seem concerned if the toddler wanders out the front door naked. (This did happen. I am not making this up.)

From a creator’s standpoint, I wonder if this is supposed to hearken back to the “good old days” when kids could run all over town without fear of muggings or alien abductions. (Oh wait. Alien abduction is a thing in the Sims. Never mind.) But no matter what they were thinking over at EA, it seems that Sims expect their children to be much more independent than your average American child.

What writers can learn: Think about how safe your society is, or how safe it’s perceived to be. Think about familial expectations. Do the kids do chores? Do they wake themselves up in the morning? Who gets them to school? Who stays home with them? Do both parents work? Do they hire a nanny? The possibilities are endless.

  1. Time has no meaning.

The last two cultural quirks I suspect were borrowed from other cultures. After all, if Sims is going to be played internationally, it’d be nice if the “ideal life” isn’t exclusively American. However, I don’t just think this one’s borrowed. I know it is.

Being late isn’t a problem in the Sims. If your job is set to start at 8:00am, you can head out the door around 8:15. Same with school. There doesn’t really seem to be a standardized bussing system. (This may have something to do with the fact that Sims just teleport from place to place, but shh.)

In America, we tend to be pretty uptight when it comes to time, but I know that some cultures are not. It seems that Sims Culture is one of these.

What writers can learn: How does time factor into your society? Must you arrive early? Late? Have futuristic teleportation devices affected the way your society sees time? What about stories set in the past? What about before clocks were invented?

  1. Goodbyes are optional.

This one I find particularly interesting. Occasionally the Sims will say good-bye to each other, but the majority of the time they just leave. As an American, this seems incredibly rude to me. However, my good friend Maggie recently told me that in France people don’t say “you’re welcome,” and my Chinese professor told me that in China you don’t say “excuse me” if you bump into someone. So every culture’s different.

What writers can learn: Don’t be afraid to remove components of conversation that you think are crucial! On the other hand, you could add a component that you don’t generally have. What if every conversation had to be preceded by remarking on the color of each others’ clothes?

Well, who’d have thought I’d make a whole blogpost based around the Sims 4 game? I guess the purchase was worth it after all. Now to go procrastinate some more…

Stay crazy, friends.

Beautiful People ~ March 2017

Well. Here we are. I knew it would come to this one day.

I have finally decided to take part in the Beautiful People linkup.

Beautiful People March 2017.png

Now, if you’re not sure what that is, let me give you a quick rundown. Beautiful People is hosted every month by PaperFury and Sky. They ask a series of questions to help us get to know our characters better. Isn’t that nice of them?

I’m simultaneously excited and scared to share my character with you. She originated in my NaNo novel (although she was male at the time; I gender-swapped her during the Months of Edits), and is now making a full comeback in my Camp NaNo rewrite. Exciting stuff. However, she’s also my first LGBTQA+ character. I and most people I know are still just getting to know that topic, and it comes with its own questions and concerns. I’m really concerned about portraying the community well and also figuring out my own thoughts on the issue. Prayers and helpful comments are appreciated.

So without further to do…please welcome…(drumroll)…Dan Scott!

1. What’s their favourite book/movie/play/etc.?

Dan is a big fan of anything Marvel. Her favorite character is Iron Man (because who doesn’t have plans to attain Tony Stark levels of wit and awesomeness someday…let’s be honest), but Black Widow is a close second. However, her favorite movie is actually Captain America: The First Avenger. When Civil War came out she was honestly at a loss for who to root for. She ended up siding with Tony Stark because that’s who her friends were rooting for, but she kinda felt bad the whole time. Fan problems.

2. Is there anything they regret doing?

This one’s hard, because once Dan’s done something, she sticks to her guns and refuses to admit it was a bad idea. Even if it involves many sick and wounded. (Okay, not that bad.) She more regrets what she hasn’t done. She went to an inner city Catholic school from K-7, and there was a lot of bullying and other things that went under the radar. She knew people who were being victimized, but she didn’t say anything about them until she came out in seventh grade (and thusly got kicked out of school), and then she became much more vocal. She regrets letting people get hurt in the past.

3. If they were sick or wounded, who would take care of them and how?

Well, up until the beginning of the story, it would be her wonderful mother, Angela. Angela has put up with so much crap from Dan, whether it’s driving her to the E.R., waiting up for her to come home at night, bandaging her wounds, etc. Unfortunately, as our story begins, Angela dies, and Dan is left in the care of her unmarried, reclusive uncle Harold. So we’ll see how that goes.

4. Is there an object they can’t bear to part with and why?

Dan isn’t really affectionate towards inanimate objects. Probably this would be her phone or her laptop.

5. What are 5 ways to win their heart (or friendship)?

One. Know who you are and what you stand for.

Two. Always defend the underdog.

Three. Have a quirky/clever/morbid sense of humor that you execute with a smile.

Four. Be flexible and open to rapidly changing plans.

Five. Defend chocolate with your life.

Five and a half. Defend Marvel with your life. (The lack of this one’s not a deal breaker, but it does give you a serious disadvantage.)

Five and three quarters. Never seriously disparage Captain America. (This one does not appear to be a dealbreaker but inwardly she smites you every time she sees you.

6. Describe a typical outfit for them from top to bottom.

First, there’s her hair, which her mom has always said is somewhat of a statement. Dan’s hair is short and curly, and she rarely does anything to rid it of frizz. Occasionally she wears a faded baseball cap she stole from Jared. She has a stud in her nose and in her lower lip, both plastic but imitation diamonds. She has small gold hoop earrings. In the summer, she wears jean shorts and a tank top, occasionally with a jean vest. In the fall and winter, she wears jeans or sweatpants and T-shirts with a sweater overtop — generally and old, baggy grey or blue sweater. She always wears tennis shoes. When she’s skateboarding or doing other vaguely dangerous things, she doesn’t tend to wear safety equipment, but instead wears long pants or something like that to absorb some of the damage if she falls. (Most of her pants are ripped at the knees because of this.)

7. What’s their favorite type of weather?

She actually likes beating hot weather when the miserableness is pretty much oozing up from the pavement.

8. What’s the worst fight they’ve ever been in?

Probably during the month she came out as lesbian. She was attending a Catholic program for a very low price, because of their programs for kids far under the poverty line. (She has a single mom, and her family was struggling even before her dad suddenly left.) When she came out in seventh grade, the school threatened to kick her out if she didn’t take it back. Her mom was raised Catholic and hadn’t thought much about the LGBT issue until this moment, and she wanted Dan to stay quiet about it so she could stay out of inner-city schools. Dan refused, and in the process lost most of her “friends” and got her girlfriend kicked out as well. Because of that, her girlfriend broke up with her (she had wanted to keep things quiet). Her uncle Harold, who lived nearby, tried to convince her to recant her sexuality as well, which resulted in a huge fight as Angela finally sided with her daughter. Dan is tough when it comes to fights and actually finds yelling therapeutic — when fights are one-on-one they resolve quickly, usually with both participants happier than before. During this time, she felt like everyone was yelling at her, and no one was letting her yell back. She transferred to public school where she was also discriminated against and fought with nearly everyone, until she met her current friends.

9. What names or nicknames have they been called throughout their life?

Her full name is Danielle, but she prefers Dan. As a child her mom and some of her teachers called her Dani, but now it exists solely as a pet name and sounds very strange to her if someone she doesn’t know well uses it. Angela was the only person allowed to call her Danielle, and only when she was in big trouble. (She’s heard “Danielle Yolanda Scott!” quite a bit in her lifetime.) Sometimes when her friends are joking around they’ll call her Ella, Ellie, or Yelp. (She has many opinions, which is where Yelp comes from.)

10. What makes their heart feel alive?

Standing up for people results in an adrenaline rush that she doesn’t always enjoy, but which definitely sustains her. And if someone stands up for her — not in a patronizing way, but in an instinctive way that shows she’s intimately important to them — that makes her happy like nothing else in the world.
Welp. There you go. Don’t forget to check out Paperfury’s and Sky’s blogs. Stay crazy, my friends!

Lessons in Faithese

I haven’t posted for awhile and my brain is shot, so let’s do something fun today, shall we? I thought so.

In my childhood, I lived in many different locations. I was born in Virginia, then moved to Massachusetts. My earliest memory is from Pennsylvania, where we lived for five or six years before moving to Louisiana. Then we went to South Carolina, and finally returned to the mountainous state of PA. For good. Or so we think anyway.

Because of this, my dialect is…quirky. Not to mention that my family has a tendency to make up its own words for things. So today’s blog post is all about teaching you to talk like me, because who wouldn’t want to know that? Let’s start with the fun stuff.

Expletives

  1. Meep!

I think I got this from an episode of Phineas and Ferb, where an alien named Meep landed in their backyard. All this alien ever says is Meep. I picked it up because I like languages, obviously. It’s also a really easy non-offensive sound to make whenever anything unexpected and slightly devastating happens, from stubbing my toe to dropping my pencil or homework behind the bed. It also displays distress much better than a traditional swear, I think.

  1. Mark!

See Meep. I have no idea where I got this one. I don’t even know a Mark.

  1. Ow!

Contrary to what you might think, I do not say this when I get hurt. Okay, sometimes I do, but mostly it’s an expression of surprise.

  1. Hello!

I got this one from British books. Uttered upon encountering something (or someone) unexpected.

  1. AKF EAFEH IEAGELA (or gutteral screams that sound like Dark Speech)

THIS one is for when I get hurt. Or am just very upset. Sometimes I will howl. Most of the time I sound like I’m trying to call demons down upon the earth. (I’m not, I promise.)

Nouns

  1. Chippie

A chip. Or, if you’re from Britain, a crisp. This one comes from my younger siblings.

  1. Loopie.

A hair tie. I was legitimately surprised when I learned no one else says this.

  1. Delicious

Ham. This also hearkens from the children of my family

  1. Snail.

The hand motion in which the middle and ring finger touch the top of the thumb, while the fore and little finger are raised. Many people call this a llama. I have met one individual who calls this a slug.

Verbs

  1. Any noun with -ing at the end. Or any noun, period.

See fooding, storying, and verbing. Oftentimes a legitimate verb exists for this, but shh.

Adjectives/Adverbs

  1. Monstrously

I picked this up from Paperfury. I’m sure she would be monstrously pleased.

  1. Delicious/deliciously

Basically synonymous with “extreme/ly.” Deliciously frustrating, deliciously good, deliciously bad, deliciously hard… Don’t ask me when I starting wanting to eat everything. I have no idea. I don’t usually say this one out loud for obvious reasons.

So there you go! Tidbits from the Faithian dialect. Hopefully y’all enjoyed this…and of course, don’t forget to stay crazy.

 

I’m In Michigan!!!

Hey guys. I know I’ve gone AWOL for a bit, so here’s what’s going on.

I’m in Michigan!!!

Yeah, big surprise, I know. The title says it all. Okay, so Spring Break has finally sprung, and while I have a few homework assignments to complete, I’ll finally have time to get back to writing and beta-reading (and hopefully, blogging). So I should be more visible this week.

As for what I’m doing in Michigan (I’m normally a PA girl)…I’m visiting my roommate’s family. We split the 10-hour drive into two parts, stopping overnight in Ohio. To keep ourselves from boredom, we compiled a giant Spotify playlist comprised of songs from Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods, Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Hamilton, and In The Heights. And we put it on shuffle. It was HILARIOUS. You haven’t heard anything until you’ve heard these songs juxtaposed…

“Silence! A message from the King! A message from the Kiiiiiing!”

“He means to marry me Monday! What shall I do? I’d rather die!”

Okay, King George. 😀 (The songs, respectively, are “Farmer Refuted” from Hamilton and “Kiss Me (Part 1)” from Sweeney Todd. If you get these references, you win everything.)

We visited some friends who own 20+ animals and gave me all sorts of story ideas. Then we made the trip up here. And here I am, experiencing suburban life again. (I’ve lived in the country the past seven or eight years of my life, and let me tell you, it’s nice to be five minutes from the store.)

As of now, I’ve just finished watching Revenge of the Sith, during which my friends and I discussed fan theories and made many hilarious jokes. It’s nice to be living with the Star Wars crowd.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I’ll keep y’all updated. Stay crazy, friends.