Holding Pattern

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Well, I finished my book.

Actually, I finished it about a month ago.

Yup.

Yeah, I know, I’m not exactly jumping up and down with joy. If anything, I’ve been rather subdued about it. Not sure why. I mean, Courting the Moon is the culmination of two years of work. That’s nothing to sneeze at. But while I feel a certain amount of satisfaction, I’m not experiencing anything close to “joy.”  Maybe it’s because the worry about not finishing was gone by the time April rolled around, and without that tension, it was a forgone conclusion. Maybe it’s because I know I still have plenty of other projects waiting in the wings, namely Ravens and Roses. Or maybe I’m mentally burnt out and just don’t want to think about it anymore.

I haven’t written anything for weeks.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. I reread my draft of Ravens and Roses, which pleased me because what I had still held up after being neglected for so long, but it also made me sigh because now I can see just how far I have to go for it to be finished. And I suppose I have been writing a little bit. I’ve started writing down scenes for the Star Wars fanfic that’s been circulating in my head literally since I was thirteen. But that’s about it.

Some random news pieces:

–  I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 and liked it.
–  I got to go to Free Comic Book Day for the first time, albeit in the evening so most of the events were over, but that was fine with me; I don’t care much for crowds.
–  But these days, most of my brain has been consumed with watching The Clone Wars in chronological order in the hopes of actually finishing the series this time. (When I started watching it a year or two ago, I stopped midway through Season 3, and for some inexplicable reason never went back to it until now.)

While part of me feels a little guilty for not working on the synopsis for Courting the Moon, or researching agents, or continuing work on Ravens and Roses… another part of me says, “To hell with it; I’m going to veg.” (Being stricken with allergies doesn’t help with the brain-fog either.) Of course, a writer’s mind is never truly still. Even when we seem to be passively engaged with something like television or a movie, we are absorbing more story ideas and elements, adding them to the primordial ooze that is our brains.

So I think for now I will go ahead and gorge myself on Star Wars until I feel ready to tackle writing again.

Inferior Origins

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Kira at the Gelfling Wall of Destiny (screenshot from The Dark Crystal)

Kira at the Wall of Destiny

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Who doesn’t love a good origin story?

Whenever I get into a fictional universe, be it books, movies, TV shows, or video games, I dig deep.  Those characters with shady or mysterious pasts are the most intriguing; we want to know how they became the person we know now.  If you’ve read (and enjoyed) The Symphony of Ages series by Elizabeth Haydon, you probably want to know Achmed’s full backstory more than anything else.  We get tantalizing hints, but no more.  Tolkien’s book The Silmarillion explores the history of the elves and Middle-Earth in almost excruciating detail.  People clamored so much for more stories about Drizzt Do’Urden that R.A. Salvatore gave them the drow ranger’s backstory in the form of The Dark Elf Trilogy.  Amazing RPGs like Mass Effect and Dragon Age cover the history of their worlds, the aspects of the places explored there, and the characters you encounter.  And isn’t that what a lot of modern RPGs are all about?  Exploration?  How was this world created?  What happened before the story that we see?  A good origin story is a fascinating and rewarding journey.

Of course, the key word here is “good.”  Not knowing parts of a universe’s history or the origins of a character leads to all kinds of juicy speculation, head canon, and fan fiction.  Sometimes the creators even deign to answer those burning questions for us.  That’s fine and dandy, but there is a dark side to it.  No matter how much I may want to know, “What happened?!” a part of me is always a bit wary when official works drop in to fill the gaps.

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2015: The Year in Review

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Okay, seriously, who keeps making off with all this time?  Feels like the year just got started and we’re already on the cusp of 2016!  (And from what I’ve heard, this sense of time distortion only gets worse… ugh.)

I am definitely in a better place at the end of 2015 than I was last year.  Many of my 2014 goals have been reached, and it feels like I’ve got a better handle on life in general, which is a massive relief!  I want to give a huge thank-you to all of my friends, readers, subscribers, and followers.  You make this all worth-while.

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I’m Still Alive!

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Hey.

Do you know what day it is?

Yes, it’s a Tuesday.  What else?

Okay, the date is October 13th.  What happens on October 13th?

Why, the birthday of one of my favorite fictional characters:

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Long time, no see

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Um… hi?

*waves*

Wow.  I… haven’t written an entry in a while.  In fact, I haven’t really posted anything online for at least a month.  No blog entries, no Audio Editions, no #ThrowbackThursdays, no new fanfic chapters… I regret that last one, especially since I’d made a point to say I wouldn’t make my readers wait years for the completion of a fanfic.

But, obviously, I haven’t kept up with much of anything online.  Because reasons:

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Throwback Thursday is coming!

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Hi everyone!

I wanted to announce that I have started converting older entries from The Cat’s Cradle into Audio Editions.  Every other Thursday, one of these older entries will be uploaded to The Cat’s Cradle‘s YouTube channel.  I have created a separate page on my website called “Audio Editions” which compiles a list of links to those recordings so you don’t have to scroll through the entire blog looking for a particular entry.  You can find it next to my “Editing Services” page on the top right hand side of my blog.  At the same time, I will also add the link to the respective text entry, and post a link on Twitter with the hashtag #ThrowbackThursday.  You can expect the first of the #ThrowbackThursday Audio Editions to be released on January 15th.

Also, I am taking a break from writing fan fiction in January.  However, I have asked my readers and watchers from Fanfiction.net to vote on which story they would like me to work on next.  I have several fan fics that have been languishing as “works in progress” for years, and I would like to complete them before I start posting up any new projects.  All of those stories will be completed; the only question is in what order? Should I work on my Inuyasha fan fic  first, or continue with Naruto or maybe Fullmetal Alchemist… you get the picture.  If any of my blog readers would like to take a vote, there are a few ways you can do so.  If you have an account on Fanfiction.net, go to my Starsister12 profile and vote in the poll or send me a PM.  You can also send me a tweet @kvclements or leave a comment below.  Voting is open until January 31st.

That’s all the updates for now, and I hope you’ll tune in next Monday for a more substantial post!

 

 

Quick Update (and placeholder)

Sorry everyone; there isn’t going to be a more substantial update this week because I’m finally indulging in a vacation.  However, I wanted to give a quick update (which will hopefully post on Monday automatically like it’s supposed to) on some things that are going on:

1)  On Friday, August 8, 2014, my first autonomous article for the online magazine Scoop was published!  It’s called “A Brief History of Steampunk” and I had a blast writing it.  Steampunk is such a rich and fairly new genre, and I hope I managed to interest both newcomers and experts alike.  Many thanks go to Mark and Jeff for giving me this opportunity.

2)  Since “Okami Amaterasu” is complete, I’ve chosen a new fanfic project to work on.  My Final Fantasy VII story, “Hidden Light,” has been languishing for several years while I puttered around with other projects.  But now I’m ready to get back to it and complete the story.  (The rest of it was already mapped out back in 2009…I just needed to write it!)  It features Vincent Valentine, one of my first bishonen crushes, and my FC Hikari, who was originally designed as a prototype for my Mariner Sequence character, Marella.  Thankfully Hikari and Marella have evolved into different people, but they share a lot of traits, and was my first experiment with writing a mentally damaged character.  Chapter 10 is already up, and you can expect Chapter 11 to be posted Monday, August 18!

3)  I’m hoping to feel more relaxed and recharged from my vacation.  The last few weeks have been a bit of a struggle.  Time to regain some equilibrium.

Milestones & Updates

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Hello, world!  It seems like writers spend a lot of time soul-searching in Angst-ville (myself included) so I wanted to share some good news!

 

1) ARTICLES!

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I got some articles published!  Fellow writer Mark Squirek is a columnist for the online newsletter Scoop.  He asked me to do a pair of articles for his column, “Cover Story,” which discusses the cover art of various comic books.  I got to pick any two covers I wanted and write about them!  I chose Space Family Robinson #23: “Menace from Uranus!” from 1967 and The Chronicles of Arcea #1: “The Athame” by Vyrhelle.  Many thanks to Mark for asking me to write for Scoop and to Mr. J.C. Vaughn, editor at Gemstone Publishing, for taking a chance on a new writer.  Also, my deepest gratitude to my friend Karen; editing all of those art papers paid off!  Working with Scoop has been a lot of fun, and I hope I’ll be able to continue writing for them.

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FCs vs. OCs

In the world of writing on the internet, there are two terms that are often used interchangeably but are actually quite different.  Those two terms are “FCs” and “OCs.”

“FC” stands for “fan character.”  A fan character is a character that is created for fan fiction.  The character itself may be a completely new creation on the part of the fan fic writer, but the universe that this character is being placed in was NOT created by that writer.  For example, in my Fruits Basket fan fic “Crane Dancer,” I have an FC named Tsuru Odoriko.  She is not part of the Fruits Basket canon, or even a side character.  She is entirely my own creation, but the universe and other characters she interacts with were made by Natsuki Takaya, the author of Fruits Basket, not me.  Thus, Tsuru is an FC.  An FC can be well-developed and able to stand proudly or it could be a blatant self-insert or overly-perfect Mary Sue.  A Mary Sue is a specific kind of FC, a character that is so overly perfect or powerful that they do not feel like a real, flawed human being.  I know that some of my own FCs like Lyra Whitefall Palgrave started out as Mary Sues, but I’ve been working to correct that, to make FCs like her less powerful and perfect and more like real people.  Self-inserts can be over-idealized versions of the author dropped into the story.  Many amateur fan fic writers do this because they lack practice creating characters.   (“Mary Sue, Mary Schmue” by Birde Williams is an excellent article about the proliferation of Mary Sue characters in fan fiction.)

“OC” stands for “original character.”  A lot of times FCs are incorrectly referred to as OCs since the FCs themselves are “original” within the context of the fan fic.  However, there is a distinction.  OCs are characters created for a world that the authors has also had a hand in creating.  For example, Irene and Matthias are OCs because they were created by me for my own story Astral Rain.  Any character that you create for your own worlds are your OCs.  Obviously OCs can run the gambit of cardboard to three dimensional with their own mix of Mary Sues and author-self-inserts.  A writer has a lot more work to do with OCs since they have to create the world as well as the characters and be sure that everything makes sense.  Sometimes FCs can even become OCs.  In my Harry Potter fan fic “Sundered Blood,” I have an FC named Samantha Halfward.  Right now she is an FC because I created her for the Harry Potter universe.  However, since I like Samantha, her background, and other creations that I made for her story so much that I’m planning on eventually giving Samantha her own universe to play in.  If I do it right, Samantha will transition from a fan character to an original character.

Regardless if your character is an FC or an OC, equal care should be taken in their creation and execution throughout your story.  One is not inherently better or worse than the other, although keep in mind that the tales of OCs can be published for money but the tales of FCs cannot.

 

The Benefits of Fan Fiction

Fan fiction has a bad reputation on the Internet.  It’s usually looked down upon as a pass-time of rabid fangirls living out their fantasies with or between their favorite characters.  Poor spelling, poorer grammar, Mary Sues, and slash abound.

I’m not saying that fan fiction doesn’t have these elements because I’ve seen enough to know it exists.  What I am saying is there is a lot more to fan fiction than just that.

I used to think that fan fiction was the last resort for people who couldn’t write.  A cop-out for people who weren’t original enough, creative enough, or talented enough to be “real writers.”  Ironically, no one had defined fan fiction or even explained it to me at that point, so I had only the vague image of teenagers with no lives mangling someone’s characters because they couldn’t make their own.  What I didn’t realize was that I had been creating fan fiction ever since I could read.  I just didn’t know that’s what I’d been doing.

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