On Monday, the sitcom How I Met Your Mother came to its nine season conclusion.

I have thoughts.

There will be spoilers.

You have been warned.

I have so many thoughts that it took me 4 days to marinate on them and untangle how I really felt, what is applicable, and what isn’t. I’ll skip something things, gloss over what I didn’t mind because all in all, I only have one huge sticking point.
First of all, let’s get two things out of the way.

Thing number 1: I love Robin/Barney.

Thing number 2: I HATE Ted.

I remember the exact moment I hated Ted. It was in the episode “Something Old”, where Marshal and Lily are packing up to move to Rome and want to throw away an old bean-bag chair, but Ted fights them on it for all the memories it contains. Said chair had been with them since college. But here’s the thing, Ted.

IT’S NOT YOUR CHAIR. IT WAS NEVER YOUR CHAIR. And I know it wasn’t the chair itself that was Ted’s issue, it was what the chair symbolized but to me, it just came across as yet another instance where Ted whines and complains until his friends rearrange their lives to make him feel better. From then on I decided Ted was a sentimental man-child and I just continued watching the show for his friends.

Even though I hated Ted, I still wanted to see him happy. Even cynical me likes every now and then to see love conquer all and he believed so hard in love that I wanted it for him.

While the writers and the actress might have over-written The Mother a little too perfectly, a little too on-the-nose, I did like her a lot. She was talented, caring, warm, funny without being quirky or a Manic-Pixie-Dreamgirl. I did find her perfect for Ted and the group. It was right. (“Number 31, a beautiful name, is it French?”)
And I actually didn’t mind that she died. They loved each other, they had a life, they had kids.

I also didn’t mind that Barney and Robin divorced. They tried, it didn’t work. I didn’t even mind Barney back-sliding into his womanizing ways, mostly because all the other characters pointed out how sad it was.

What I had a problem with was the last 3 minutes.

I hated how the kids basically said “Dad, go bone Robin. Psh it’s been 6 years since mom died.” and then him appearing at her window with that damn blue French Horn.

Here is why I hate it: I understand they recorded the ending to the entire series back in season 2 when they feared cancellation and wanted to put a clean ending on the series. I understand that. But by sticking to the same ending they envisioned in season 2, they invalidate all the growth any and all characters went through in the time between season 2 to season 9.

HOW many times had Ted let go of Robin or vice-versa? How many times has Ted realized crazy stunts don’t work on Robin? It was clear Robin at least wasn’t the same person she was when the stupid horn trick might have worked, and that Ted wants a version of Robin from 15 years prior.

It was sad, cheap, and did tremendous disservice to all the characters. Only Lily and Marshal came out of the finale completely unscathed.

But, the finale was something that I, personally, needed.

The night before the episode I was working on Project C’s re-write and I was pondering a character who we meet early in the story, then see again later under completely different circumstances. They are a different person. The way Project C‘s re-write is going, those circumstances will never happen, and I was reluctant to let it go.

Now, thanks to the series finale of How I Met Your Mother, I understand the true meaning of Kill Your Darlings. The creators of HIMYM had a vision, a set story they wanted to tell with a nice neat dream ending, character development be damned!

I will not do that. Project C 2009 is not Project C 2014. I will respect my characters. I will follow their personal growth. I will keep them in character without keeping them in boxes. I will burn the remains. I will learn from the past and from things that should have been better than they were.

Thank you, HIMYM. Thank you for the laughs the lessons, and the example of what not to do.

A way into the Castle…

Back in November I wrote Project 10×10 and submitted it to the publishers. It was the most difficult writing project I had ever undertaken because it meant a lot to me for various reasons which I’ll get to in a moment.

Yesterday they revealed the top 25 entries, and more importantly, the top 5 semi-finalists. Those who move to the next round. One of those five will be the author selected for the open call. I was not in the top 25.

I’ve had over 12 hours to process the disappointment and believe me I was disappointed. For the first few hours after the reveal I was in a constant state of upset. A weird numbness coupled with a stomach ache. But I can talk about it now.

I’ve been rejected before, of course. And I move on, oh well, wasn’t meant to be…

But Project 10X10 was my entry to The Dark Crystal Author Quest Open Call.

I’m sure it’s all clicked into place for you now, hasn’t it? Why this project was so intense?

If you know anything about me you know my fanaticism regarding The Dark Crystal. I have been writing Dark Crystal Fanfiction since 2000. I hosted the fanfiction archive, I was an active RPer in original tDC RPs on Y!Groups, I have been to the Jim Henson Exhibit twice. I have seen skekZok in person. I own Dark Crystal books, comics, novels, artbooks. I am the Dark Crystal expert in my circle. The Dark Crystal was my first and oldest fandom.

So it was difficult to write because the pressure was enormous. I was so keenly aware of not only how many other people were writing, but what this story meant. It was a chance to contribute and give back to a legacy that has given me so much joy and hope and reason to keep going.

I was over the freakin’ moon to learn it was a request to write a prequel and not that weird “Oh no the crystal cracked again everyone’s back gotta heal the crystal again!” sequel that just didn’t seem to want to die. Apparently it had indeed died? Good.

Instead, we were asked to write about “The Gathering of the Gelfling”, when the 7 clans meet up, learn of the prophecy and carve the Wall of Destiny. I could get behind that. And how!

For a brief moment I was a little concerned that participating in this conflicted with my fandom ethics. I hate it when people make money off of fanart and generally money from fanfiction is frowned upon. But the Hensons were asking the people to do it so, other than the idle worry I’d be labelled a hypocrite, I waved the worry aside.

People chided that it was a rights grab and idea mining but that didn’t bother me because essentially it’s fanfiction. If I wrote it I’d never be able to get money from it anyway. Besides, the Jim Henson Company is the one entity that I will say “Shut up and take my ideas!”

Likely my ideas were too dark. Dark like a garthim’s carapace.

So, that was Project 10X10. It was one heck of a ride. I want to thank my proof-readers: Monday, Raphael and Marissa, Dopp, Ruari, Ali and Kippur for all your help! Thank you all so much!

I have posted my submission on my blog and you can read it here. Enjoy my take on the world of Thra.

ETA: For ease of use, here’s a PDF version.

(There will be some foul language. He does that a lot.)

 

Holy shit. HOLY SHIT! I have free reign over this place? FUCK YEAH! Ok, ok, let me just get myself grounded and focused for a second. Besides, you’re probly fuckin confused about what’s goin on right? Yeah, thought so.

I’m Drow Konran, one of Q’s older characters and, the way she tells it, the first to ‘talk’ or ‘wake up’ or whateverthefuck she calls it. I’m here cuz Q did that whole Absolute Write thing again. This time, the character gets to write about the author.

Not sure why she gave me the keys to the kingdom. I ain’t even in any of her books. Probly the whole first to talk deal.

So, I’m sposed to talk, er, write about Q. Ha!!!!! She’ll probly start to regret this. Considering all the shit she puts us through, I could go on and on about shitloads of embarrassing shit. Kinda tempted to test the boundries of this whole freedom thing…….

But I guess I’m getting off topic. So, let’s see….

How am I sposed to do this anyway? Is it sposed to be like a book or do I describe her or what?

It was a dark and stormy night and an isolated geek called Q was staring into the screen of her laptop or e-reader or the tv or FUCK THIS IS HARD! I never said I was a writer!!!! Specially not with such a fuckin’ dull subject. My problem is that I love to talk about myself, and Q doesn’t do much. So that’s why I keep getting bored.

She’s way too much of a loner for my liking, the girl barely does ANYTHING but whatever. Not me missin out on stuff.

You know what? Fuck this. The lust for power has worn off. I need a fuckin’ cigarette and LOVELACE is on my Netflix queue.

OK FINE! I’ll at least see if I can find a replacement. Hang on a sec.

I’m back. With a cigarette.

And nope. No takers. Ain’t that pathetic?

C’mon, c’mon I can do this. Just 100 words about Q….

…50…50 words….

or letters. Yeah, Tweet about Q.

Actually now that I think about it. I think I know why I’m the one doing this. Outta everyone in her little red headed skull, I’m one of the ones who gets this whole fourth wall thing better than most. Which is kinda fucked up when you think about it. Not like I’m on the Q-Niverse-Defense-Force. Not really.

The Q-Niverse-Defense-Force by the way is what keeps Q sane and all that good shit. The …what’s that word…the thing you do that makes you feel better, when you work out your shit…? CATHARSIS! Thank you Dictonary! Yeah, well, anyway, some of us are a bit more…pro-active about the whole thing. I ain’t.

C’mon brain, think of one nice thing about Q.

uhhhhh…

She has good taste in entertainment. Video games and comics and movies and shit. We’re both reading all the Game of Thrones books. We both want Dani on the Iron Throne.

She gives me things. Thanks to her imagination, my apartment has shitloads of cool shit. You should see my entertainment system! So she keeps most of us comfortable. Sure it shuts me up and keeps me from complaining,but whatever. I have swords. She gives me swords. Because she’s a responsible parent.

Damnit, dunno what to say anymore. I’m not exactly Shakespeare, but I guess you figured that out on your own, right?

Bottom line is she’s not all bad and I’m fully aware that I wouldn’t exist without her.

I wonder if other characters had as much trouble with this as I did. I think I’ll go find out. No one said I wasn’t allowed to reply to this chain.

Participants:
orion_mk3 – http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com (link to post)
Sneaky Devil – http://fantasywriterwannabe.wordpress.com/ (link to post)
Anarchic Q – http://anarchicq.com/ (link to post)
ishtar’sgate – http://chickenscratchbc.blogspot.ca/ (link to post)
Sixpence – http://orlawritesthings.com/ (link to post)
pyrosama – http://matrix-hole.blogspot.com/ (link to post)
Angyl78 – http://jelyzabeth.wordpress.com/ (link to post)
meowzbark – http://www.lizzylessard.com/ (link to post)
MsLaylaCakes – http://www.taraquan.com/ (link to post)
SamanthaLehane – http://samanthalehane.blogspot.com/ (link to post)

A Guardian of InnocentsA Guardian of Innocents by Jeff Orton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was the first self-published book I purchased for my Kindle. I found it on the AbsoluteWrite forums.

The premise intrigued me and I liked the first 3/4ths of the book a lot. Other than some formatting and spelling hiccups, I was right there along for the ride. Some of the graphic torture was just so brutal and visceral. I winced, I cringed, I re-read the descriptions because I’m a little bit sick like that.

Then the story took a sharp derail into…I don’t even know what. It pulled real-life tragedies into it that, while I understand this story takes place “in our world”, I raised an eyebrow at this particular development. And when said development was expanded upon, I just burst out laughing and I groaned. Then I told everyone who would listen (Room mate, best friend, nephew) “You would not believe what happens in this book!”

But by that point I was almost finished the book, so I kept with it.

And yet, there’s room for a sequel which I kind of want to see. I want to see the final resolution to this all. There’s potential for the conclusion to be absolutely epic, and I want to read a worthy last act.




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Hopscotch & Hummingbirds.

I hadn’t really written anything since October 2013, or November 2013 if you consider the editing of Project 10×10. Sure, I’ve been whining about how I should write something, but I hadn’t been writing. At first I figured I was just decompressing from the tribulation that was Project 10×10 but 2.5 to 3 months isn’t decompression, it’s laziness and avoidance.

“Oh, I should work on that thingy…”

“I should start that re-write of Project C…

“I haven’t touched Amethyst Breed in months…”

“I should look into self-publishing Blood in the Water…”

“…something, something…Necropolis…?”

“….Ehhhh.”

While I’m not one of those people who believes a writer should write every day or else they’re not a writer, my lack of gumption was causing me to question my dedication.

Then, last week, out of absolutely nowhere I decided to put pencil to paper aaaaaaand…

Redesign ShadowWolf, the (arguably) main character of that weird stuck-in-limbo story Elven Lacryment. Every few years, it seems ShadowWolf pops up with a slightly new look. Nothing drastic, just a new outfit.

Then I began evaluating some narration glitches and plot holes, patched a few of them up, and wrote a few pages worth of the manuscript. What I didn’t write, I planned out to be expanded upon later.

Riding high from long overdue progress I emailed my editor and we worked out that there needs to be a thorough scrub of Next to Godliness, so she is working on going through it, slashing out unnecessary subplots.

Then I took a good, hard look at Project C.

The problems with Project C are legion. It’s overwrought and needlessly dramatic in its prose, I was in constant pain and bed-ridden when I wrote it so my judgement might have been more than a little off. Things didn’t click right, I didn’t like whole swaths of it in the middle. It was my first novel, and I wrote it in something like 4 months or so, but hey, I couldn’t get out of bed so what else was I going to do? I’ve grown as a writer, maybe I should just give up on this story, even though I still feel I owe it to the characters for getting me through tough times? Or maybe it’s just a stupid story that will never ring true.

Finally, after weeks and weeks of self-torment, doubt, two false starts and retooling, and with heavy guidance and blunt discussion with a friend, I finally began Project C 2014. I am only on the third page, or 742 words in, but already I can feel a massive change. The protagonist alone seems like a wholly different character, much more malleable, far less arrogant and metaphorically bullet-proof. He’s not as show-boating. The first time, he’s an idealist who slowly became broken because he let the world corrupt him. I think in this version, he starts out broken and rebuilds himself. Does he rebuild himself for the better? I don’t know yet.

I’m concerned though, that I’ll still cannibalize parts of the old draft and that this might be a mistake.  So I sort of want to put the old draft, with it’s old premise, on my external hard drive, then delete all the copies off my laptop. Because I know I’ll be too lazy to constantly have to fetch my external. Of course, there’s a flaw with this plan as I also have backups resting comfortably in several email accounts so I can access them from any place with an internet connection.

So between cutting up Next to Godliness, giving ShadowWolf a new outfit which better suits her disposition, and Project C 2014, it seems now is a rather transformative time for my stories.

This post is part of the January 2014 Blog Chain at Absolute Write. This month’s prompt is “Retro Gaming Icons”

This month’s prompt:
Retro Gaming Icons

Whatever your definition of retro, gaming, or icons, now is the time to get your classic game on. Super Mario, Shigeru Miyamoto, the Atari 2600, Tim Schafer, Baldur’s Gate…any game or gaming-related icon is up for grabs! Or, if you like, invent your own! Entries may be of any genre so long as they are 1000 words or less.

DooM.

Up until then, I had played Commander Keen, Jazz Jackrabbit, Mario Bros 1-3, BattleToads, Cosmo’s Cosmic Adventure, Dino Hunter, Tappers, Sneakers, Jill of the Jungle, and various arcade games. DooM was so unlike anything I had played before, except of course for Wolfenstein, which I didn’t like as much because you had to kill dogs.

When I was a kid, DooM was my heroin.

DooM brought my family together. Neighborhood kids came to our house because we had DooM. Family came from the States and we played DooM.  I was scared playing alone so I would listen to Weird Al and play DooM. The sun would glare into the screen so we’d throw a bed-sheet over the monitor and ourselves and play DooM.

I get the full version of DooM and after encountering my first Cacodeamon, I scream, manage to kill it, then pause and run out the room. Clearly I wasn’t expecting that.

Dad got sick with cancer and upgraded the hell out of his computer and we played DooM. Dad’s second to last Christmas, and he buys me DooM II and the Strategy Guide. (The last three games he got me, for the curious, were Primal Rage, DooM II and Warcraft II). I still have that guide, with all the levels of Arch Viles bookmarked.

I would spend hours going through levels trying to make monsters fight each other. I would warp specifically to Arch Vile levels.

When DooM III came out, I dragged a small child all through the mall just so I could find a copy, then I plunked down 80 dollars for the special edition. I have never done that for any game before or since. I don’t think I ever will again.

DooM helped to inspire my sprite comic which I had for a time. Good times.

I saw the movie in theaters and it was one of the worst things I had ever seen. But at least the sets were not bad.

I read two of the novels and found them terrible, but in such an enjoyable way. I started reading the third one, but I’m currently preoccupied with books that are actually good.

It’s A Soup…no really, it’s a soup!

 

I lent my nephew 20 bucks, he pays me back by buying the DooM III BFG Edition. It’s so much more difficult when you can’t IDKFA & IDDQD all over the place.

My family plays a game sometimes where we take sticky notes and put words from a category on them and stick them to our forehead, and we have to guess what we are. It was my turn, and the category was “Things Q likes.” (it’s harder than it sounds.). Among the choices were Valtiel, Pepsi, Game of Thrones, and of course, DooM. The person who got DooM was having an impossible time guessing it. They knew it was a video game and kept guessing “Silent Hill”. We all told them “You’re going to feel really stupid when you see what it is.” and I said “I’ve played a lot of games in my life.” We both played this game when I was a kid so I thought for sure they would get it.
They didn’t, and you could see their disappointment in themselves. They knew they should have known that.

Bottom line is, DooM will always have my love and respect. Even if you don’t consider how much it did for gaming, for me alone, DooM was like another parent. It was always there when I wanted it to be there.
IDCLIP is for cowards. IDSPISPOPD all the way.

IDSPISPOPD! (Now I can Walk Through Walls!) Yes you want this shirt. You want it so hard.

 

Participants:
orion_mk3 – http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com (link to post)
Ralph Pines – http://ralfast.wordpress.com (link to post)
meowzbark – http://www.lizzylessard.com (link to post)
pyrosama – http://matrix-hole.blogspot.com/ (link to post)
Anarchic Q – http://anarchicq.com/ You Are Here!
AndreF – http://lounge1506.blogspot.com/ (link to post)

 

Holy crap, 6 days into the new year and I actually made art!


Dvorak Seti – Gelfling Jedi in Training by AnarchicQ on deviantART

2013 In Review

2012 was a year of being proactive. I wrote, I traveled, I saw people I’ve never met in person, or haven’t seen in years.

2013 was the year of waiting.
Sitting around, waiting for things to happen.
For editors and publishers to get back to me, for inevitable tragedy.

Sadly we lost two close family members this year, my very loved aunt Leah-Rae lost her life to her second bout with cancer, surrounded by loved ones, and my grandfather succumbed to age with dignity, to be with my grandmother.

It was also a year of re-arrangement.
My grandfather and grandmother’s belongings were brought from Seattle to here in Vancouver, Canada and we now have a lot of their antiques, giving them a loving home. We cleaned out a lot of clutter, and in general made our house more comfortable. More of my own furniture matches now.

I spent this year waiting for publishers to get back to me. I kept trying to tell myself I was going to re-write Project C but I still haven’t even attempted it. I poked at Elven Lacryment with little progress. I didn’t write a lot, but I did submit a lot. However, in July I started Project 10X10. I completed it, got feedback, re-edited it, submitted it, now more waiting.

I heard back from Harper Voyager, receiving a rejection on Dec 17th. Over a year and 2 months since my submission.

I submitted to Strange Chemistry, and am still waiting.

I barely drew. I have dozens of half-finished sketches in my sketchbooks, just waiting to be inked, scanned and coloured, but I can’t seem to find the motivation.

I read books, then I read more books. Then I got a Kindle and my personal library has grown at a pace I didn’t even know was possible. Then I read more books.

I put away most of my fandom obsessions for good. I no longer have the time, energy or inclination for it that I once had I closed down the fanfiction archives I used to own. The snark that used to be fun and funny is now just ultra-PC, weak and no longer entertaining. I have not updated FRIENDS 4 EVER!!!! in…a long time, but that might change. Also don’t be surprised if there’s the occasional fanart. There are some things I will always be a fan of.
I tweaked AnarchicQ.com, but there are still some problems.

I attended the wedding of two women in what was the most politically correct, inclusive ceremony I have ever witnessed. It featured Wiccan, First Nations customs, a hand-binding ceremony, and a lot of ‘by the law’ and ‘spirit’. It was rather fascinating, actually. It was very them and both brides looked beautiful and happy.

Christmas happened, and I got a new HD TV, an upgrade from my old boxy SD Insignia TV. I can actually read the menus on the video games I play now.

I played video games, for hours and hours.

Speaking of which, video game milestones included Deadpool, Infamous 2, The Mass Effect Trilogy along with finally beating BrÜtal Legend.

As you can see, 2013 was…just another year. It’s annoying. I was medically stable all year and got nothing done. Here’s hoping 2014 has more to offer.

I Have Been Digitized.

I always thought that, with the exception of textbooks, nothing could beat a real paper book so I had little interest in e-books except for books that were impossible to find, (i.e. The Dark Crystal novelization.) which I had been reading on my iPhone. I figured that if I went to get an e-reader I’d just get an iPad, because it’s an all-in-one device.

I received a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas.

It was quite an unexpected gift and I was grateful, but I admit I approached it with some trepidation. It wasn’t overly fancy, with a simple grey-scale display. I moved my books that I had on my phone onto my new Kindle. After 10 minutes of playing with my new Kindle the day I got it, I have been converted to the wonder of e-readers.

I plowed through my Goodreads to read list and my Amazon wishlist and bought books! I bought so many books! I even bought some books from writers who spend time on Absolute Write. I think I even read faster. I devoured the disappointing A Child Called ‘It’ in about a day and a half.

Yesterday I made my first note regarding the book I was reading. While on the bus.

But I have to draw the line somewhere.

There are books that I refuse to have digitally. There are books that, if you’ve only read the e-book version, I truly feel you’re missing something. I will list them now.

First and foremost, the number one book that you absolutely cannot read the e-book version and authentically say you’ve read this book is HOUSE of Leaves. This book is interactive. If you can’t see the pages that are slightly bigger than the cover, or feel the labyrinth embossed on the cover, or see the shocking bright red text, or the purple text, or the little green check mark, or turn the book upside down, or notice that page numbers are missing, or flip rapid-fire through the pages during the climax, you haven’t experienced this novel. You simply haven’t. Don’t waste your time. Invest in the amazing full colour soft-cover kick-ass version, or just pass the story by.

The second is Clive Barker’s Mister B. Gone. I can’t really describe why that is without giving spoilers, but the whole conceit of the book works only in paper and binding form.

World War Z by Max Brook. Now, I’m kind of on the fence about this one. One thing I loved about WWZ was that it felt like a history text book. I read the hard-cover version and I felt like I was reading a possible history. However, if there really was a zombie outbreak, e-books would probably be easier to produce and need less resources than actual books. So this one is 50/50. Both options work.

John Dies At the End by David Wong. I’m biased with this one. I just love my copy of JDatE so much. I love the way the paperback feels. It’s light and airy and malleable. It’s just such a well-produced book. I can completely imagine reading this as an e-book but it feels like it would miss some atmospheric awesomeness. But that’s probably just my take on it.

But I’m dead serious about HOUSE of Leaves.

A Child Called A Child Called “It” by Dave Pelzer

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Just as an aside, for the purposes of this review, I’m going to presume this book was indeed truthful, a fact that has been disputed for a long time. I have my doubts, but for now let’s just say it was.

Oh, boy…

I’ve wanted to read this book for years, ever since I saw it on TV. Probably Oprah or something like that. It wasn’t worth the wait.

This book had no follow-through. It was a laundry list of facts about his alleged abuse. “One day mom slapped me and punched me and kicked me until my nose bled twice. Once after school she made me lay in a bath tub filled with freezing cold water for hours. Then she made me sit on my hands in the garage. Once there were rocks on the step when I had to sit for hours.”

“One night mom went into labour.”

Wait, she was pregnant? Who’s the father? When did this happen? What? She’s making chlorine gas while pregnant?! Yes it’s the 70′s but come on!

“One day my dad didn’t stick up for me and I hated him forever after that. One day my dad let me play with my baby brother. One day dad just left us and I felt betrayed. One day dad helped me with the dishes.”

Was that before or after he didn’t stick up for you?

This happened then this happened then this happened then this happened.

We never understand or are given a reason as to why Mom suddenly snapped. There was no progression. One day she was perfect doting mother, and the next she was a sadistic, abusive drunk. I know that this was all through the eyes of a child but you’re an adult now, Pelzer! You have tools like comprehension of mental sickness, hide-sight, analysis. I’m not saying forgive, or excuse, but Pelzer, you don’t have a 11 year old’s mindset anymore. Wouldn’t you want to know why?

I was born with several birth defects, and I wrote a still unfinished comic about it as a way to cope. I never finished it because it was written like this book.

This happened then this happened then this happened then this happened…

That’s not the way to tell an evocative story like this. We need to know the characters, we don’t need a fact sheet.

I’m probably not going to read the next book.

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