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)

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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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