I Should've Done This Long Ago....

Okay, so it's been over a year since I posted on this blog. There's a couple reasons: a) I often have trouble thinking of things to blog about and b) I started a different blog. So, I'm sorry for forgetting about this one and letting so much time pass before notifying people....

If you want to read my new blog, you can find it here.

I shan't be posting in this blog any more. Sorry for the inconvenience! (Not that there were really many people reading this who would be inconvenienced... :P )

~ Figment

Cowboy Bebop and Writing

I am back with another mostly useless post! This time, I want to discuss the anime series Cowboy Bebop, and how it relates to writing. Yes, it does relate. Well.... it's more stories in general than just writing, but since I write novels, that's what I'm relating it to.

Anyway! So Cowboy Bebop is a 26 episode anime series (if you want to watch it, you can find all the episodes here: http://www.animefreak.tv/anime/cowboy-bebop). It's about a group of bounty hunters, called "cowboys" in this future time, and their travels and adventures aboard the good ship Bebop. They get into all manner of trouble, often quite hilariously. It's an excellent show, one of my favorites. Very funny, good action, interesting characters... the only thing it lacks is a cohesive plot, which isn't bad. It's just episodic, and very well done. The main thing tying it all together is the various revelations of the pasts of the characters. Now, it does have two main flaws: one, an unsatisfactory ending, and two, a main character that isn't developed enough.

Flaw one: the ending of Cowboy Bebop is unsatisfactory largely because it brings closure for the main character, and only for the main character; and because its tone is different from the rest of the show. It was unnecessarily and surprisingly tragic. No one had a happy ending there, and this greatly weakened the series. This relates to writing because... well... it's important to remember that closure for the main character doesn't necessarily mean closure for the reader. In this case, the other characters were left hanging--you never find out what happens to them. A satisfactory reason is never really given. It makes things look very... bleak, which is not a good way to end a story that, before then, had been fairly light-hearted.

Now, flaw two: The main character that was not developed. Her name was Ed, and she was very interesting, as well as slightly annoying. But she was always in the background, except for ONE episode. I always wanted to see her with a bigger role, but she never had one. She was simply dropped in and then never did anything--and honestly, I felt that she detracted from the story and the other characters somewhat. She didn't fit, largely because she was never developed like the other characters. She's there, so you're clearly supposed to care about her. But I cared more for the dog (Ein) than I did for Edward. On reflection, I determined that the reason for this is that Ein was a far less complex character than Edward, being a dog. This brings to light an important principle of writing: the more complex the character, the more time must be spent with them for the reader to understand and care about them. This can be used both ways. For example, if you have a very complex villain, spending less time with him will make him scarier. This is a pretty well-known fact, I think, but I never really considered why before. The mistake the creators of Cowboy Bebop made was in introducing this complex, interesting character, and then leaving her in the background all the time. She was just there niggling at the edges and distracting from the main characters.

So. I'm not sure how useful that will be to anyone. :P Just my thoughts. And I thought this post would be longer. Oh well.

And now to watch Cowboy Bebop: The Movie... let's hope the ending is better than the TV series.

~ Figment

The Place Promised In Our Early Days

Okay, this post is pretty much completely useless. I just have to rave about this incredible movie I watched last night. It was sooo good... I have to talk about it.

So. I should start with plot, ne? The Place Promised In Our Early Days is a soft science fiction friendship drama. That's about the best I can sum it up in one sentence. The story goes, Japan is allied with the US and Hokkaido has split away from the rest of the country. On the island of Hokkaido is a massive tower that stretches, it seems, miles into the air--it's visible from Tokyo on a clear day. There's these two friends named Horoki and Takuya who're building an airplane, the Bella Ciella (don't quote me on spelling there), because they want to get to the tower: it's their "promised place." They meet a girl, Sayura, who soon befriends the two of them. Horoki promises to take her to the tower when they finish the Bella Ciella. Some time goes by, and everything falls apart.... and the real story continues from there. I won't say anything else 'cause it would be a shame to give it away.

So, on to why I liked it so much... well, for one thing, it's completely beautiful! The animation is phenomenal. The settings are bursting with detail, the lighting effects are soft and lovely... it's almost dreamlike in a few parts. The music, too, is lovely, with some nice piano pieces and very pretty main theme on the violin. What truly makes this movie beautiful, though, is the story and the characters. Each character, but especially Takuya, Sayura, and Horoki, is very real and very special, and I really cared for them. Their struggles, hopes, dreams, fears--they put me on the edge of my seat, moved me to tears, made me smile wide. I fell in love with those characters. The story itself is very well-told: unexpected and emotional, it makes sense and is all tied off beautifully in the end. The story draws you in, and the characters sink hooks into your heart. This movie wouldn't let me go until the very last line of the credits, the final image that went onscreen. When it was over, I just laid back my head and sighed. It was that good.

Ah, this movie was so beautiful... so incredible.... I absolutely must watch it again at some point. It's one of the best movies I've ever seen, hands down. Now, if you actually want to read a real review of it, look here: http://animeworld.com/reviews/placepromisedinourearlydays.html

Well... I could go on... but I'm sure you're tired of me saying how wonderful this movie is. *laugh*

~ Figment

I'm baaaaack!

Henceforth, I shall make more valiant efforts to keep this blog up and running. In case anyone was wondering why I didn't post for so long (doubtful, I know) I had other things on my mind and I forgot about it. But recently there has been a spate of blog activity amongst my friends, and thus my blog was brought to the forefront of my attention. I should be coming out with a new post within the next few days, and will forthwith be more diligent.

On another note, it occurred to me that the title of my blog might be seen as a leetle bit pretentious. Deal with it. :P

~ Figment

On Werewolves and Werecats

Werewolves and werecats are two different subspecies of humans. Werewolves are humans that can turn into wolves; werecats are humans who become panther-like cats. Both species can accomplish their transformations at will, whenever and wherever they desire, with no restrictions. Both are marked, in their human form, by unusually bright eyes, enhanced senses, and an unnatural grace of movement. In animal form, there is little visible evidence of their true natures. However, there are two things: one, the pelts of both werecats and werewolves are the same color as their hair in human form, and two, werecats and werewolves may be bigger or smaller than a true wolf or panther, based on their size as a human--they can change shape, but not size.

There are two ways to become a werecat or werewolf: to be bitten by one, or to be born one. When a person is bitten, the werewolf or werecat’s saliva must enter his bloodstream for transformation to occur. Once bitten, the transformation usually takes about one month. During this time, a person undergoes numerous physical and mental changes, until the final transformation at the end of the changing period, in which he becomes fully a cat or wolf. After this, the person may change shapes at will.

To be born a werewolf, either a person’s mother or both his parents must already be a werewolf. For werecats it is the father or both parents who must already be werecats. If one parent is a werewolf and the other is a werecat, the child will be purely human; werecat blood “cancels out” werewolf blood, and vice versa.

The strength of a werecat or werewolf’s abilities is tied to hormonal cycles which follow the phases of the moon. When the moon is new, a werecat or werewolf is at his weakest. When it is full, he is strongest. In fact, werecats and werewolves are forced to remain in animal form for three days at the time of the full moon; there is no way around this.

A werewolf or werecat can be killed by anything that would kill a human, except for disease. Werewolves can only be affected by diseases that affect wolves, and werecats by cat diseases. Because of this, werecats and werewolves often live longer than humans. On an interesting side note, if a werecat or werewolf loses part of his body while in animal form, he will automatically revert to human form. It is not known why this is so. In addition, injuries sustained by a werecat or werewolf in animal form will persist into human form; they cannot switch forms to heal themselves.

It is unknown if there is a way for a werecat or werewolf to become human again. Most believe it is impossible; however, some scholars have postulated that it might be possible to make a special ointment which would reverse the werecat/werewolf transformation. The ingredients for such an ointment would be difficult to find, of course, but many believe that it can be done.

Where do these creatures live? Are they dangerous to humans? Can we coexist? The answer to the first question: everywhere. They can be found all over the world, however they keep themselves secret. They are not numerous, and their discovery would result in discrimination and strife. Please, do not reveal a werewolf or werecat's true nature! The answer to the second question: no more dangerous than other humans. If sufficiently provoked, they can and will kill, as all men and women will do. The third question: only if minds are opened. Those of us with the best interests of weres at heart are working hard to get them accepted, and one day, we will succeed. Weres and humans will live openly side by side.

Will we live to see this day? I certainly hope so. The future, as of now, is bright.


P.S. Do you know any werewolves or werecats? If so, please email this address: awesomefaerie@gmail.com Ignore the reply, as it is simply an automated reply designed to throw official snoopers off the scent.

How to Turn a Third World Nation Into a World Power

Have you ever wanted to take a poor, starving African country and turn it into the next great power? We all have, haven't we? But knowing where to start and how to go about this is quite another matter. So, I have decided to put forward this simple, eight-step plan. I can't guarantee you'll be able to put it into effect, but that's beside the point.

So how does one go about achieving this lofty goal?

Step one: Money. You'll need a large, steady supply of it, because your nation won't be self-sufficient for a long time. How to get this money? Use your imagination. Start a major fast-food chain, play the stock market, rob banks, con rich dummies into sponsoring you. While you're waiting for the money to come in, move on to steps two and three.

Step two: Begin training a successor. You must always think on the long term.

Step three: While you're waiting for funds to accumulate, choose a country and build a team. When choosing a country to take over, location is very important. Anything in Central America is a no-no, because of the USA. South America is safer, but still not advisable. Similarly, Asia is a difficult proposition because of China. The Middle East is dangerous because of the constant violence, but certainly doable--and the oil will give you a powerful resource. Eastern Europe is a definite possibility: there isn't much to get in your way there, although Russia and the EU might present problems eventually. However, the best option is probably Africa. Constant turmoil, people in need of a benefactor, plentiful natural resources, and a lack of caring from all world powers make African nations perfect targets. Now that you've chosen a country, build your team. You'll need a small group of loyal, skilled followers, although it is possible to achieve this goal on your own. My suggestion when it comes to followers is to find an expert computer hacker, someone with lots of money and no particular skills (heiresses are nice), someone with a strong knowledge of current economies, a military tactician and strategist, a charismatic administrator (to be your right hand), a thief, and three or four experienced body guards. This should give you all you need for step four.

Step four A: For those with a more peaceful outlook. Hack into your chosen nation's computer systems and begin bribing government officials. These bribes, along with discreet assassinations, should allow you to build a strong power base. Once this base has been constructed, rig an election and put yourself in power.

Step four B: For warmongers, or if your chosen nation is controlled by a dictator. Viva la revolucion! Move in with your team and begin spreading propaganda among the people. Your aim is to get them to join your guerilla army. You'll need to make heavy use of the funds you've acquired to equip this army--it is imperative that it outclass the government's forces. Once you're strong enough, launch a coup and place yourself in the position of dictator.

Step five: A propaganda campaign. Make sure everyone knows you're their new best friend. Use the power of stories to manipulate the population--this is a time where it is money well spent to hire a skillful storyteller. Through very careful, almost subliminal manipulation, you can build approval for your new state. Once the people see your promises beginning to come true, you can back off on this.

Step six: You have, through peaceful or not-so-peaceful means, gained control of your chosen nation. Now you must reform it, and construct your platform for world domination. The first reform you must make is to the economy: ban inflation and remove all government controls on buying and selling. Establish a flat tax, and promise never to raise it. Establish a gold standard--this is very important. A total free market is your only option here. The economy may seem to fail at first, but it will recover. In the meantime, support yourself and your endeavors with the funds you acquired in step one. The next reform you must make is to the system of law. Most third world countries have a Civil Law system in place--you must replace it with Natural Law. Recognize that the government's job is not to create laws, but to enforce them. The basic foundation of this system of law is this: do all you have agreed to do, and do not encroach on other persons or their property. All other laws will follow from this. Your goal, remember, is to have as few laws and regulations as possible. Abolish lawyers. Impose swift, harsh penalties for infractions. The death penalty is a must, but don't use it too liberally. The third reform you must make is to the government. A republic is not a good option at this stage, because bureaucracy will rule. A constitutional monarchy is my preference--it places a significant amount of power in your hands, yet it also allows the people to feel as if they have influence. This establishment of government should be done within the nation's existing laws, and you may have to make new laws before you can change the government. This, however, should be easy if you have the money for bribes or the muscle for assassinations.

Step seven: The government, economy, and law system have been reformed. The people are behind you. The nation is ready to stretch its muscles. Encourage people to set up factories and mines, in order to take advantage of your resources. Employment will skyrocket, and people will begin to have the money to buy advancements in technology. As your nation becomes more and more industrialized, increase the size of your military. Spare no expense in training and equipping. Launch major recruitment drives. Then, once the army is large enough and your industrial base powerful enough, unleash yourself upon the nations around you. Conquer outright the first two, then give all others a chance to surrender and join your regime. If they do not surrender, fight them until they do. If the war drags too long, carpet bomb them until no one is left alive. Ruthlessness is the key. At this time, the propaganda campaign must be designed to convince your citizens of their superiority, and their duty to liberate the peoples of surrounding nations.

Step eight: Create alliances with major nations, especially the US. Refuse to join the UN. Continue expanding your empire, but be careful not to grow too large--inevitably, your regime will fall apart. However, if you keep it small enough, it can last indefinitely. Stay out of major wars not started by yourself. Export your products all over the world, with the goal of making nations everywhere dependent on you. As your trading and military influence grows, so will your cultural influence. This is important--when people admire your culture, they will be less likely to hate you. At this point, your goal has been achieved. You are a major world power, able to dominate. But remember--DO NOT OVERACHIEVE!!! If you attempt to fully conquer the world, you will fail. Your nation will fall apart before you manage it. You can control the world just fine without conquering it. Peaceful trade is the key. You will never fully dominate the world, because that is not the nature of human society. Let other nations continue to exist, to keep your own nation strong through competition. In this way, you can leave a legacy to last through the ages....

So, that is how it's done. None of this is proof against bad luck, of course.... You must be very, very careful. Have one person you can trust implicitly--it looks good to the people, as well as being beneficial to yourself. But trust no one else. Make sure you have a strong security force and military. Hire the best tacticians and planners. And always remember....


There are countless small nations this plan would be suitable for. Don't give up if you fail with your first target. Good luck, I wish you all the best in your efforts.

~ Figment

Three Kinds of Writers

So, now to build on my previous post. I'm a writer. So are lots of people I know. There are thousands of writers in the world, and writing is a highly individualized art. What is it that ties all of them together? Is it a technique? A mindset? Techniques and mindsets common to writers certainly do exist, but that's not what I'm discussing here. What really ties all these writers together is what sort of writer they are. There are three basic types of writers: heart, mind, and soul.

The heart writer has a strong emotional connection with the characters, and interest and conflict in the story is generated primarily by emotion. Heart writers are almost exclusive to fiction; how many reports or history books have you read that were propelled by emotion?

The mind writer focuses on events and information, and the characters are often seen as pawns. Stories written by this type of writer are fueled by pacing, plot, twists. However, they often seem cold or flat; a classic example of this is your typical spy thriller. This sort of writer is typical of the authors of "informative non-fiction" like history books and the like.

The soul writer's story is driven by characters and general "feeling": the feeling that this will happen next, or that must happen. It's rather amorphous, but perhaps the best way to describe it is "vibes." The soul writer makes use of these vibes to direct his writing, as well as to pull people into and through the story. Soul writers typically plan little, and let the story unfold as it will.

So those are the three basic kinds. Every writer's style, process, and understanding of writing is made up of combinations of those three traits. I'm about even on the three, with soul being a little stronger than the other two. One of my best friends is a heart-soul writer, focusing on emotion and characters above all. Another friend of mine is a mind-soul writer; his stories tend to emotion that is muted or nonexistent, but unfold in complex and interesting ways.

Most everyone knows this about themselves and their writing on an instinctual level, but it's interesting to think about no?

~ Figment


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