i was trying to describe you

agentsokka  asked:

Not sure if you've made posts about it before (sorry if you have!), but could you elaborate more on the alphas not 'getting' each others' main flaws? I'm really curious since I haven't heard their relationships described like that before.

Sure, let me try to articulate what I mean here. 

Basically, the alphas as a group all love each other SO MUCH, which is awesome, they’re this closeknit squad and they’re all so important to each other and their relationships all make me feel enormous sprawling feelings, but the sheer AMOUNT they all love each other sort of blinds them to some of their own needs. They all want to think the very best of each other, and the occasional thoughts they have about each other that aren’t like 100% positive get immediately suppressed and marinated in guilt juice and they try not to acknowledge it and go back to focusing on the good instead. 

So they’re all kind of bottling things up about each other, right? But it doesn’t come from any malicious place, it comes from a place of wanting to be the best they can be because they care about everyone else’s opinion so much but also knowing they aren’t always their best selves – and knowing their friends aren’t always their best selves – but if THEY know their friends sometimes are shitty, that means everyone else might know that THEY are sometimes shitty, too. 

They’re all trying so hard to downplay the bad and upjump the good, which is MUCH MUCH easier to do with online relationships. 

You throw them into physical proximity and suddenly those annoyances you all tried so hard to pretend didn’t bug you that bad and never talked about because talking about unpleasant things is, well, unpleasant, start to boil over. Put that on top of the stressful circumstances that led to several relationships starting the session OFF more strained than usual, and wow. They had no fucking chance. 

I love the alphas so much – they got shit on by a lot of the fandom because their plotline was so internal and cerebral, but that is the kind of shit I LOVE. The betas were all friends, but they never felt like ONE GROUP to me. The full four way group dynamic never crystallized. We always found them interacting one on one and rarely ABOUT one another, because the betas’ conflicts were more or less external. The betas’ story up to Collide was them vs the environment, the game, doc scratch, sburb, the horrorterrors. The alphas’ story is so much about THEM. Their relationships. Them as a group. Their interpersonal issues and foibles and there’s this element of nitty gritty real HUMAN-ness to their struggles that isn’t super present with most of the betas who feel like more fantastical figures that struggle against equally fantastical antagonists. (The betas KIND OF segue into something like this post-Collide, but it’s not expounded upon as much, they’re split into different groups, and also a lot of it got retconned - Jade and John had some interesting moments on the boat but that stuff was probably the biggest victim of the retcon.)

OKAY. 

Here’s an example of what I mean to wrap it up: 

Jane and Roxy are best friends, they love each other deeply, you can tell from their every interaction that they care tremendously about each other’s opinion of them, but. Roxy has a drinking problem. This (I think) clearly makes Jane uncomfortable sometimes, but Jane suppresses it and pushes it down because she wants to think the best of Roxy, she minimizes the issue. No one ever confronts Roxy about this very serious problem she has in any real or effective way (not just Jane, NO ONE does this) because they all want to think the best of her and oh… haha….. it’s just a little foible… just  a quirk…. it’s cool…. not a big deal …. I’m sure roxy has her life under control no big deal!!

Basically EVERY alpha relationship has something like this going on. Everyone downplays how much the AR bugs them because hey I’m sure Dirk has things under control he probably does this on purpose god Dirk you’re so silly jeez Dirk we’d really like to talk to you instead of your fucking hell robot sometimes but oh well I’m sure Dirk knows what he’s doing ho hum let’s all downplay how much this actually bothers us because we want to think the best of Dirk and can’t imagine him ever creating a situation he genuinely cannot deal with or control because well gosh he’s just so capable!

Everyone downplays how selfish Jake can be because oh well Jake is just silly he’s so nice he doesn’t MEAN to be this way I mean it’s JAKE how could Jake English ever do something as vaguely malicious as take advantage of how he KNOWS Jane never really says what she’s thinking if that thing is hard to say and use that to his advantage to give him a perfectly reasonable out on having to tell her he isn’t interested in a romantic relationship with her and then, KNOWING she actually did have a huge crush on him, constantly inundate her with his issues with his boyfriend for months thereafter. Surely Jake could never be that manipulative he’s so nice!! (NOTE: I love Jake English, specifically BECAUSE of things like this, I honestly would not like him if he were actually the way fanon paints him all the time, some weak cinnamon roll that can do no wrong.) 

etc etc etc

This is why I love the alphas! They are a group of fucked up teenagers who are all struggling so fucking bad but all need their friends to believe everything is ok, and who need to believe their friends are ok, who want so bad for each other to be happy that they sabotage themselves both individually and as a group in misguided attempts to pretend at and manufacture that happiness without actually doing the hard work of fixing the underlying issues preventing them from TRULY achieving it. 

(The one issue, as with most things in Homestuck that I have issues with, is that we are not shown the resolution to these arcs and struggles in canon, boooooooooooooooooooooo)

anonymous asked:

Hello can you tell what is going with the interview of bts with the blond journalist and the youtube thing ? Everyone is talking about that and i don't understand it (english isn't my native language) Thank you

hi i’ll try! the way the question was worded kind of belittled their achievement as internationally charting musicians and makes it sound like they are youtubers.. there was also a very very upsetting misspelling of Rap Monster in the title and description when they uploaded it that was very disrespectful. they have now edited the video to not include the ‘from youtube’ question, fixed the misspelling as well as disabled yt comments. here’s the video now 

2

Shocked.
That’s the word how you’d describe your currently feeling as Daryl yells at you.
It’s a sensation that he even talks to you, but that he raises his voice at you is a whole new level.

Your whole relationship was always difficult since he seems to avoid to talk to you or ignore your presence generally. The others already noticed that you don’t get along with each other and soon gave up to team you up.
They accepted it like you did.

“I don’t know why you’re so angry.” You give him a half smile, trying to play down the situation.
“Do ya like him?” He asks and you narrow your eyebrows in confusion.
“Who?”
“That Jesus guy!” Furious he gestures with his arms and your confusion rises until it makes ‘click’ in your head.
Quietly you chuckle amused. “Oh don’t you worry, you still have chances.”
“I-I have?” His eyes widen and he stumbles back, looking almost shyly through his hair.
“Sure. The start was maybe not the best, but yes, I think.”
He’s still surprised in the same way you are, only that the reasons are different.
“Do the others know?” You ask and he shakes his head.
Well, at least it could be an explanation why he acted so… strange.
“Don’t worry about them.” You pat his shoulder, even when it’s leave a sour taste. “I’m glad that you opened to me. When do you tell Jesus?”
“Tell him what?” He furrows his brows.
“That you like him.” You shrug. “Or that you, uh, are also gay.”
For a moment he stares at you in disbelief before he snorts, half amused. “‘was talking about ya.”
Oh…OH.
Embarrassed by the misunderstanding you look away and blush, giving him wrong signals.
“I shouldn’t have tell ya.” He turns around to leave your house as you stop him by taking his hand.
“Wait Daryl. I like you too. I always did.” You mumble. “Maybe we can go on a hunt together soon.”
“Yeah.. yeah ok.” He smiles.

Styles & Co. Part 9

Authors Note: The italic paragraph is Harry describing Elise an event in his point of view. (Sorry if it is confusing, but it will make sense once you reach it).
Thank you so much for reading my work!!
Previous parts found HERE Xx


When Harry told me to pack a bag for the weekend I did not take him seriously one bit, I assumed he was just trying to be cheeky and make up for our previous disagreement; turns out, he was serious about the weekend. He — presumably with the help of Anastasia — Planned a small getaway just for the two of us, promising that his phone would be used at a minimum and I was *all* his for the whole weekend, no interruptions, no business talk, no business problems, or even clients that need to be seen. He is absolutely, one-hundred percent mine for at least the next forty-eight hours.
Oh, how so much can be done in forty-eight hours without interruptions…

Despite having a splendid cabin to relax in and partake in various activities with my boyfriend, I find myself hand in hand with Harry while we stroll along a hiking trail he specifically selected.

A walk within nature is refreshing; the rich air fills my lungs with a sense of clarity.
The worn trail leads a route through a chirr of insects sounding while within the terrain of old decayed logs, some softened by rot, along with many forest-y like shrubs, towering trees, and tussock grass.
Thick grass carpets contoured lines as a border for the narrow pathway we travel on— between the rich verdant woodlands on either side of us. The further I advance the more of a lush scent radiates from the various grasses that line the channels, the dips and curves of the uneven terrain. 

“Harry, are you sure there are no snakes?” I challenge while I continue to gaze over the region, feeling as if I have been undividedly swallowed by a viridian forest of chaparral.

“Elle, you’re in the heart of nature. Just relax and enjoy the walk.” Harry responds, appearing to appreciate the calmness of the trail and the greenery it contains. I have never really been fond of walking trails, I find them rather boring, in my eyes all I see is greenery and random shrubs that may or may not be poisonous, but, Harry seems to appreciate the walk in nature, the least I can do is smile and breathe in the fresh air. After all, there have been things over the years he has done for me that he has thoroughly despised, such as attending a few theatre productions with me, and not complaining through the Nut-Cracker — that he found to be unquestionably tedious and torturous.

We subsequently reach the top end of the trail, the peak of the trail allowing us to appreciate a promising landscape. My eyes set themselves among the breathtaking panoramas over the edge — it’s almost as if the whole world is at the edge of my feet, — Rugged Alpine mountains line the distance where the snow caps peak the skyline, the mountains accompanied by a thick mist at the base where rolling land dip and curve in the spaces between the hilly mountains and the valleys.

“It seems so peaceful out there.” My eyes continue to gaze over the view thoroughly, taking in the beautiful detail and picturesque scenery offered, from the rigid cerulean mountains to the shadow the mountains cast over the scattered villages — almost as though the mountains are nature’s shielding casings for the settlements before them. 

Harry’s arm benevolently encloses itself around my waist, a small kiss becoming pressed to my cheek. 

“It does, it’s a lovely view, I love the colour variations between the landscapes, how the colours elegantly dip and transition. It is remarkable.” He agrees with the sense of peacefulness the distance emits. “Tell you what else is lovely?” He begins with a slight chuckle, 

“You’re about to say something incredibly cheesy and cute, aren’t you?” I smile, my eyes turning to gaze at him, his view being one of my all time favourites. I can never get enough of his features, his blue-green eyes that sometimes turn to grey, his pink lips, or even the way his nose crinkles at times.

He shrugs, his eyes moving back towards the landscape before us, “I was,” he nods, “But since you just outed me, I will refrain from my comment.” He continues as I lean into him, his arm becoming tighter.

“I want to hear it,” I gently poke at him, 

“Nope, are you ready to go back down the trail?” He questions and I nod, taking one last look at the view before I move from Harrys embrace and begin to step away from the edge. 

“You coming?” I turn to smile at Harry, holding out my hand. I observe as he timidly nods, his hand fidgeting in his pocket. “Harry?” I narrow my eyes onto him and he catches onto my glare, he makes his way closer to me and takes my hand, his fidgeting making me curious. “Why are you fidgety?” I softly question as we begin to walk back down the trail.

“Uhm,” ..“Sorry, love. I couldn’t help myself and quickly checked my phone.” he clears his throat, seeming a little apprehensive and nervous. I shrug it off and kiss his cheek, assuring him I am not mad — if that is what is making him timid and nervous. 

My eyes stay focused on the rocky trail while I continue to admire the surroundings I missed on the way up the trail.
Harry’s voice distracts me at a distance and it takes me a moment to realise he isn’t right beside me, again.

“Elise, wait a second.” He affectionately calls,

“This is the third time-” I begin as I stop in my tracks and turn around, immediately freezing when my eyes coincide with his. He returns to me a grinning smile, his eyes glistening a penetrating bluish-green from the rays of sunlight radiating down on us. I stand speechless, a tiny box in his hand, a diamond shining radiantly from the sun. 

“Since the day I met you, I knew I wanted to one day marry you.” He stammers, appearing nervous, a tone I barely ever catch. 

A stuttering Harry is scarcely every detected. He’s always calm and confident when speaking, it’s how he tends to make his territory. The only other times I have seen him seeming timid or nervous was for a few major business settlements, and a wedding toast he was terrified as hell to make. It took him two glasses of strong liquor to calm him down and convince him that his speech was perfect and that he, in fact, did not need to prepare an expeditious getaway.
“For almost five years I have looked into your beautiful eyes, witnessed your adoring smile, and have had the privilege to wake up beside you for the last two years we have lived together. I have fallen in love with you, every inch of your personality, your body, and soul; your witty comments, and your touch. I love you,” he continues, gaining a little confidence as his hand shakes a little. “I have come to realise that you have put up with a lot of my shit that my business throws at us; you have been one of the only ones to stick by me, even when things go south, you are there… you are the girl that my Mum used to tell me about, she told me that I would find a girl that starts a wildfire in my soul, a girl that is captivating in every way, talented, caring, loving, and most of all a girl that will stand by me even when things get tough…” ..“She told me to marry the girl that I wouldn’t want any other man to be with, the girl I want to dance with it at random hours, to marry the girl that stays even when she has seen me at my worst….., and I was wondering if you’d take the next step with me and marry me?” The proposal makes my heart skip a beat. A question I didn’t think he’d ask me, at least not for a while. 

We’ve never discussed marriage, I honestly did not expect to hear this speech for a while; I thought he would drop hints, or I would have to drop the hints by bringing it up or leaving my laptop open on a wedding dress page for him to find and freak out over, but none of that seemed to have happened… Neither of us has dropped hints. But here he is on one knee with a beautiful diamond ring cushioned within the box. 

 I stare down at him, lost for words, lost in my own thoughts. 

This, this is really happening.

“Really?” My voice comes out as more of a squawk rather than a regular tone, my own nerves beginning to rapidly pulsate.
He nods, a smile spread across his face, his dimples becoming exhibited. I stare into his eyes, bewildered and clouded. 

This explains why he was timid before we started walking down the trail again, why he was fidgeting his hand in his pocket, blaming it on him just wanting to check his phone… 
Was he wanting to pop the question with a stunning view in the background? Was he just too nervous to do it?


I open my mouth, promptly closing it as a sense of nerves takes control of my body, I can’t tell if I’m incredibly dismayed by the sudden question or if I’m about to throw up from being put on the spot.

His eyes soften as they do their best to interpret my own, “Elise?” a delicate film begins to cover his eyes —  a covering that looks as though a tear is threatening to spill from his gorgeous eyes. 

Without much more consideration I find my head nodding, a “yes,” slipping from my lips. The moment the word escapes my tongue my lungs fill with fresh air, a smile embroidering itself across my lips.
His smile stretches wide, his agile fingers taking the delicate ring from the box, gingerly sliding the ring onto my finger before I’m kissing him ever so sincerely. We pull away, still smiling at each before he breaks the silence, 

“For a minute I thought you were going to turn me down.” He clears his throat, placing the ring box back into his pocket. 

“I uhm.. I stopped breathing for a moment.” I chuckle, 

“Yeah I thought so, you just looked at me with a stunned expression.“ 

"Well, you did just out of the blue propose to me,” I remind him, wondering just how much thought he put into this. 

“It wasn’t entirely out of the blue.” He shakes his head while we begin to continue to walk down the trail. 

“We have never discussed marriage." 

"Well… true, but we have been dating nearly five years.” He acknowledges my point, reminding me that our five year anniversary is swiftly approaching, along with his twenty-sixth birthday.
Damn, how time goes by moderately quickly.


Harry catches me admiring my ring while I sit relaxed in the bed, the comforter draped over my legs. He leans on the doorframe, a smirk coated cutely across his face, a mug cupped in his hand. I bite my lip and give him an innocent smile, blushing at the fact he caught me watching my ring glisten in the lighting. 

“Is it real or fake, darling?” He questions, seeming to be amused by the fact I am delighted with the diamond on my finger. 

“Oh ha-ha,” I roll my eyes, “It is extraordinarily beautiful, you have a good eye,” I confess, rather surprised that he chose so well and selected something that suits my style.

“Mhm,” he hums, stepping into the room, leaning over the bed and handing me the mug he was previously cupping in his large hand, “Here, sweetheart.” I take the mug and press my lips to the rim, relishing in the aftertaste of the tea he graciously made for me.

“So, can I know the details?” I reference to the whole proposal, curious of his thoughts and planning involved. He crawls onto the bed and lays himself down beside me, 

“What details?”

“How you asked my Dad and stuff.”

“I have had the ring for six months sitting at the jeweller, I had both your parents look at it before I bought it. I was going to propose on the trip, but I had to go back and deal with my bloody business, then I thought of doing it on our anniversary in a few weeks, but I thought it would be far too typical and public at a restaurant.. it has been in my pocket waiting for the right moment.” He explains, once again surprising me with the fact that he had the ring six months ago and never dropped a hint about it. Not one. “As for asking your Dad, that was the hard part.” He admits with a low voice.


The thought of marriage lingered in my mind for a while, in fact, it was March of last year when I decided that I wanted to propose to you. The moment I knew I wanted to marry you is a whole other story that will have to wait for another time. Anyway, when the idea arose, I began to ponder on different things, whether you would say yes, whether your parents would give me their blessings, I even had to think about whether the two of us would be better off staying the way that we were — happily in a relationship as we had just crossed the four year mark. I sat at my desk trying to think of a way to ask your Father, preferably in a way that he would give me a yes. I wondered about it for quite a while, it wasn’t until mid-May that I gathered up the courage to speak to your Father about marrying you. It worked out kind of perfectly, it just happened your Dad asked if I could have a car organised to pick him up at the airport, so I did, but I decided to accompany him. Your Dad played along perfectly into my plan, inviting me in once we arrived at his house —  we spoke about business, his trip to Chicago, the stock market, all that nitty-gritty stuff you hate discussing with me. It was nerve-wracking, sitting in front of your Dad while he sipped on a glass of bourbon, explaining to me his own business things. It was in the moment that your Mum walked in with the lovely smile that you got for her, that I realised it was now or never. Well, it was also in that moment you began to call me and interrupt my process, making me even more nervous and uneasy. I managed to calm myself down after getting off the phone with you and I looked over at your Dad.. with a nervous breath I politely asked your mother to join our conversation, that is when I proceeded my speech, and yes, I remember it all like it was yesterday. “For a while, I have been thinking about what I am about to ask, I have put a lot of thought into this and think it is the right thing to do. I love Elise, it has been evident since the first time she introduced me to you two as her parents. Your daughter… your daughter is the girl that I would go to the ends of the world for, there is nothing I wouldn’t do for her. We have been together for four years, and I would like to vow to her to stay with her for another seventy-four or for how many more years I live. I am asking for your blessing to marry Elise.” I am pretty sure I stuttered through the whole damn thing, and I remember staring at your Dad as he gave me his answer,
“no.”
I was devastated, I kinda just looked at him, unsure of why he turned me down, and that is when your Mum burst into laughter, making me feel even worse about myself. I thought she was laughing at me. turns out that wasn’t the case. “You should see your face,” Your Dad chuckled, extremely amused by my lack of words and expression. 

“Put him out of his misery, you had your fun.” Your Mum piped in, giving me a grinning smile.
“We actually spoke about this the other week and wondered when you would finally ask us. Yes, you can marry Elise… It is about damn time you bloody ask, thought it would never happen.” Your Dad smiled, giving me his blessing to marry you, along with a fucking heart attack.
“Even asked while in a suit and tie, how could we say no?” Your Mum continued, settling the situation and assuring me that they would not have said no and that it was purely a joke. So, that is how that went…..


What should I write?

I have, like, a million WIPs right now and I am not sure what I should focus on. 

So I figured I would ask you folks!

So, these are the options:

1. DJWifi adventure fic, as described here.

2. Ladybug thinks Chat is an underaged stripper due to comical misunderstanding, as described here

3.  Chloe vs Adrien! Fight!  (Chloe and Adrien friendship fic where they fight over Ladybug. Currently 2 chapters)

4. Too Close for Comfort (NSFW, currently 2 chapters)

5. Ladybug and Chat Noir are both bi and come out to each other and it is cute.

6. A bunch of drabble requests, generally awkward NSFW.

7. Gay Chicken AU (Ninoir)

But yeah, let me known which one you would like to see and I will try to focus on that one. I want to write all of these eventually but my mind is in Dragon Age Inquisition land, so my focus is limited. 

bethanyactually  asked:

Random thing: every time I see your URL in a post as I'm scrolling through my dash, I do a double-take because I always misread it as 'menstruation' at first glance.😆

AHAHAHAAAAAA omg, that is beautiful.

Another amusing thing: When I was trying to make the Twitter handle, I discovered that themetastation was already taken by someone who sells “custom conjures and entities,” by which they seem to mean anime characters that are actually spirit-guide sorta thingies that you can purchase a connection to? And some of them are wolves?? I DON’T EVEN KNOW HOW TO DESCRIBE IT, IT’S JUST SO BIZARRE, YOU HAVE TO CHECK IT OUT YOURSELF

In conclusion, the internet is land of contrasts.

-Erin

Notes for a young character designer

Dear E. 

Thanks for your email.

I don’t work at Cartoon Network any more. But I’m going to give you a very quick portfolio review in hopes that you find it helpful! Here are some things I noticed when looking at your stuff - lessons I learned from brilliant people while working on AT for two years: 

 1) AVOID SYMMETRY. Humans are organic, randomly shaped animals. Perfect symmetry rarely exists in nature and if it does, it’s conspicuous - it’s the exception rather than the rule. Find interesting ways to throw your characters off-balance. 

Don’t repeat objects in twos - (buttons or rips or whatever) - it feels prescribed - cluster things in threes or fives if necessary. 

 2) AVOID CONCAVITY - I don’t know what else to call this. But it’s those lines that go “in” rather than “out”. You are using inward sloping lines to describe many of your characters. As an exercise, try using outward, rounded, voluminous lines to draw EVERYTHING. Humans are fleshy lumps connected together by other fleshy lumps. Each mass is either in front of or behind other masses and as a designer, it’s your job to tell the animator where it is. As a designer, you are providing a technical blueprint for the location of masses. 

Only occasionally allow a concavity to connect two convexities. Look at the work of Robert Ryan Cory (spongebob), Tom Herpich (Adventure Time) or Phil Rynda (AT / Gravity Falls) - master character designers - for examples of this. If you need to, trace a couple of their drawings and you will see what I mean. 

 3) AVOID GRAPHIC DETAILS - Some shows use a graphic style; it’s very appealing and looks clever when done right. But in animation, everything needs to move in space - so if you use a graphic element - it needs to correspond with an actual 3D thing that can move. Therefore it is better to start with a voluminous style and then revert to graphic elements where appropriate. Art directors will look for this. Do not jump straight to graphic representation if you do not yet know what you are representing.

Look at the work of Tiffany Ford and Jasmin Lai for amazing examples of volume expressed graphically.

 4) STUDY JAMES MCMULLEN - To truly understand volume, and fully respect your subject, you should read very carefully High Focus Figure Drawing by James McMullen. Slow down and think about drawing “around” your subjects. It’s a truly meditative experience when you get there. Think about the weight and mass that your characters, props and effects are experiencing. Many students from SVA - Tomer Hanuka, Becky Cloonan, Rebecca Sugar, James Jean - studied under McMullen’s philosophy and you can see this common richness in their work. 

Jeffrey Smith, a top student of McMullen’s now teaches life drawing at Art Center. These are two of the best illustration schools in North America - anyone who is interested in drawing living things, should probably read his book. Also look at the work of Andy Ristaino or Danny Hynes - two other character designers’ whose work is seething with volume. 

I hope this is useful and I hope you have a wonderful career. 

Warmest,

Matt

The Element EVERYTHING in Your Story Needs

To all the writers who have ever felt lost, alone, and completely confused during the labyrinthine journey that is writing anything, and felt like screaming this at your story …

There’s hope.

There’s a light at the end of that darn tunnel. First, let me describe how I used to fight my way out of these periods of confusion and hopelessness. 

Usually, I would try to force myself to get back into the groove of the story. I would reread it, and be yelling at myself in my head, “Remember why you love it! LOVE your book again! Keep reading and FALL IN LOVE, damn it!” I’d go over descriptions, bits of dialogue, banter between the characters. I’d go over settings and imagery, and try to make myself remember how much they’d once excited me. I’d read things that had made me laugh when I typed them, sentences that I was particularly proud of, paragraphs that made me feel particularly clever. But the thing was, it didn’t work. 

I didn’t care.  

What was the problem? The problem was some of those descriptions, settings, images, and witty episodes of bantering had no Story Reason to be there. They were just there because they amused me. Just because I found the imagery beautiful. Just because I found a sentence or joke really clever and wanted to share my wit with the world. But the world didn’t care about my wit. Because the world (the people reading my book) knew subconsciously that there was no story to give that so-called witty sentence substance and meaning. I could create the most breath-taking images, I could make the most well-rounded living and breathing character, I could make a setting that you wanted to run away from home and live inside … and it didn’t matter. If the thing didn’t have a purpose for being there within the narrative, nobody cared. And I didn’t either. 

So what is a Story Reason? 

Everything in a story exists to support one of three things. 

1. The A-story: The surface plot, the quest of the main character to achieve a specific tangible goal. What the story is about on the surface. 

2. The B-Story: The love story, or relationship of the thing. Usually this relationship is instrumental in causing the third element, which is …  

3. The Character Arc. The theme of the story, the purpose, the piece of truth the story seeks to prove to the main character and the audience. 

If something in a story doesn’t contribute to the progress of these three, there’s no reason we should care about it. It has no point. Because in the end, all we care about is the story!

When it comes to scenes, story reason means continuity. It means the way the story unfolds logically. If every scene is there for a darn good reason, the scenes after and before will make total sense, they’ll connect seamlessly, a steady progression of events. Every scene’s turn triggers the next scene. 

And to do this, every scene must be able to be linked with three words: Because of that.

Because of the turn of one scene … 

The next scene happens. 

And because of the turn of that scene the next scene happens.

To illustrate how this works, let’s look at a small movie you might have heard about called Zootopia. (Thanks to @inked-withlove for the movie suggestion!)

So let’s start at this point, the turn of the scene with Clawhauser and Judy searching the file on Emmitt Otterton. 

Turn: “I have a lead." 

Because of that …

Judy has to get Nick to tell her what he knows about Otterton.

Turn: It all goes poorly, and now Nick and Judy are stuck together by an incriminating adorable carrot recorder. (The B Story, the relationship, has intertwined with the A Story.)


Because of that …

Nick takes Judy to the place he saw Otterton go, a place he thinks will cause her to give up. 

Turn: She doesn’t quit, she marches right in. (B Story: Nick sounds surprised, and a little impressed, that she didn’t back down.)

Because of that … 

She has to question a rude yoga-performing elephant. 

Turn: Though the elephant is absolutely no help, the seemingly addled yak is more than helpful – he even remembers the license plate number of the car Emmitt left in. 

Because of that …

Nick thinks his part in this endeavor is complete. But Judy remembers that she’s not in the system yet, and thus can’t run a plate. Nick, however, can. And he’s going to, or else. 

Turn: It just so happens that he has a pal at the DMV. 

Because of that …

Sloths. He takes her to a DMV run by sloths and wastes as much of her precious dwindling time as he can.

Turn: “It’s night?!”

Because of that …

Legitimate Enterprise Car Service (at least that’s what it’s called in the screenplay) is closed. Judy doesn’t have a warrant and Nick is enjoying her suffering tremendously. After a spat, she tosses the carrot over the fence instead of handing it to him.

Turn: Because she has now seen a shifty low-life climbing the fence, she has probable cause, and doesn’t need a warrant. She can go in. (B Story: Nick is looking at her with more respect.)

Because of that …

They find the car and begin investigating. The car is a crime scene; claw marks everywhere, the missing otter’s wallet … and a cocktail glass etched with a "B”.

Turn: And it all adds up for Nick. This car belongs to Mr Big, a notorious crime boss. And his polar bear henchman are right outside. They grab Judy and Nick and yank them off screen. 

Because of that  …

Judy and Nick are wedged between the bear henchman, on their way to face Mr Big. 

Turn: Nick sold him a very expensive rug that happened to be made from the fur of a skunk’s butt. Or in other words, Mr Big really doesn’t like Nick.

Because of that …

They wait fearfully for Mr Big to appear, and even when he’s revealed to be a tiny shrew, Nick still launches into obsequious and panicked mode. He tries talking his way out of it, but Mr Big really REALLY doesn’t like him. And when Judy shouts at him that she’s a cop and she has evidence on him –

Turn: “Ice ‘em.”

Because of that …

“No icing anyone at my wedding!” Fru Fru Shrew is not a happy camper. Father and daughter bicker about his promise of no murder on her wedding day, and the fact that “I have to, baby. Daddy has to.” Until – 

Turn: “She’s the bunny who saved my life yesterday. From that giant doughnut!” Well, Judy is now in Mr Big’s good books. He’s going to pay her kindness forward. Nick is floored. 

I’m gonna stop there.

SO! After going through that analysis of how the scenes are linked together, let’s abandon the “everything needs a story reason to be in there” rule, and see what happens. 

After the scene where Judy and Nick reluctantly join forces, we could add a scene where Nick is trying to remember the name of the place, and where it is. Then we could have them asking around, searching the city, refusing to ask for directions, lots of banter. THEN we can finally get to The Mystic Springs Oasis.

And after they get the plate number, maybe Nick grabs the carrot pen and makes a run for it. Then we can have a chase scene, but he gets away. Then we can have Judy trying to run the plate on her own, before realizing she isn’t in the system, and failing. Then we can have a scene where she has to track down Nick again. Then a scene where she figures out how to blackmail him into it. THEN they finally get to the DMV. 

And you know what would have happened then?

Zootopia would have made everyone bored. 

All of these inserted scenes are unnecessary. Sure, they might add conflict, add complications to Judy’s quest, but they’re ultimately just filler. They’re just there for the sake of bulking out the story. This is why that tip I hear so often in writing circles always perplexes me: “Figure out the worst possible thing that can happen to your character, then do that.” If people went with this rule, they’d just keep throwing terrible things at the characters for no apparent reason, one after another, and the reader or audience would be expected to be entertained by it (but wouldn’t be). It would be like cartoons before Mickey Mouse came along and applied story to animation: before, cartoons were just gag after gag, slapstick situations mashed together like a funny video compilation. Except with books and movies, it would just be conflict-heavy situations strung together, taking an inordinate amount of time to make any actual progress.  

Once you make sure everything has a purpose within the narrative, things get so much better.  And I find, when I reread my work I don’t have to scream at myself to “love your book or else” if everything has a reason for being there. And instead of feeling like yelling at my story like an angry overworked crab, I feel a lot more like this gif.

I hope it works for you too.

Writing daily-life stuff in Japan: Food

Considering how much fanfiction gets written set in Japan. I thought I might just share some daily life details that may or may not be useful. 

This comes from my own experiences of living in a bicultural household and living in the country for about a month every year of my life. Admittedly, I’ve only lived in a deep rural area and visited cities, but some of the pointers will still be relevant.

The first thing that come to mind when you’re trying to describe another place is to get to grips with the food culture.You know the saying, ‘To know a people, know the food that they’d willingly consume’? So, for this post, I’m going to talk about food details.

1. Food that you might have in the fridge: Old rice if you made rice in bulk + various rice toppings. Think of rice as the bread, and the fridge being full of the spreads you could put on it. 

Pickles: Might not be so popular with the younger generation, but if they live with their parents, there will bound to be at least one kind of pickle in the fridge, because there are speciality pickles for almost every prefecture and you cannot escape them. In the same way as spreads, they usually taste very strong and its rare to eat them as they are, unless they’re just that tasty and you like pickles that much (think of somebody eating peanut butter with a spoon straight out of the jar). You would eat pickles with white rice. Here are three examples: Umeboshi - pickled plum, and it is sour and very salty! You can suck on stone for minutes afterwards, just savouring the salt taste. Usually one plum is sufficient for one bowl of rice. Takuwan - a smelly, giant horseradish pickle, which might look a bit yellow with age. When you see giant horseradishes drying in the sun around the back of the house, this is probably what they’re going to be made into. Rakkyo - little pickled onions. 

Other toppings: Shirasu - tiny little white fish, each fish is about two centimetres long, and you sprinkle (or heap them, if you really like them) over rice. Delicious. Again, may not be popular with the younger generations who have grown up accustomed to more Western flavours.  Gohandesuyo - seaweed paste in a jar. It’s salty like Marmite and like Marmite the name of the food is the name of the brand. You put a tablespoon or so on one bowl of rice. 

Spring onions. We are never out of spring onions. Ever. Chopped up fine.

Sauces: Soy sauce, mirin, su (rice wine vinegar), yakiniku sauce (sauce specifically for yakiniku), mayonnaise, yakisoba sauce, ketchup, mustard in a tube, wasabi in a tube.

A tub of miso: of which there are red and white variants, and there is constant family clash over which tastes better!

If the household eats bread, you’re more likely to get a vegetable oil spread than butter. I think a few years ago there was a butter shortage. It was just too expensive to buy or not on the shelves, but there were so many different brands of vegetable spread made from different flower seeds! 

Egg is a fridge staple. If you’re in doubt and you need a quick breakfast or lunch, you could crack an egg raw over hot rice, spritz a dash of soy sauce on top, shovel it down and go.

Natto - fermented beans, its sticky and when you pull it apart it stretches with sticky web-like strands just like melted cheese. It’s famously an acquired taste but I love it on rice, in curry and in miso soup. Sold in wee cups, with sachets of sauce and mustard.

Also in the pantry: Katsuobushi - tuna flakes, often used to make tuna stock; Stick dashi - powdered stock, usually seaweed or tuna; wakame - seaweed; ginger; taka no tsume - dried hot chilli peppers, prettily named ‘hawk talons’; sesame seeds; sesame oil. Furikake - literally, ‘sprinkles’ for rice, when you have no other option. Maybe tofu. Panko for frying things. Golden curry roux blocks. Cream stew insta-kits.

Instant foods: Cup ramen, cup noodles, instant ramen, instant yakisoba, freeze-dried instant soups, instant corn soup.

The primary oil used for cooking is so-called ‘salad oil’: I don’t actually know what it’s made of, but it’s a vegetable oil of some kind.

2. Where I might buy food: Supermarkets for the fruit, veg, meat and fish, but for the best read-made fare, drinks and snack foods (kashi pan, onigiri, yoghurt, and depending on where you go there might be salads and bentos), you would head to a 24/7 open convenience store (e.g. Seven-Eleven, Lawsons’), where they also might do hot steamed pork buns and, lately, really good coffee to go. If you want to buy somebody a nice cake or box of tea-time sweets as an omiyage you might go to the basement floor of a department store. 

Vending machines - there is a vending machine everywhere. I am not kidding. Even in the deep countryside, I found a couple of vending machines up a mountain which smelled as if they had been scent-marked by raccoon dogs and bears. And at these vending machines, you can not only buy cold juice, but several different kinds of hot and cold Japanese teas, a very sweet milk tea, several different brands of hot and cold coffees, corn soup, potato chowder, hot shiruko (a sweet azuki drink), hot chocolate, hot and cold lemon…You’d honestly never go thirsty.

For sushi, we’d call up a sushi restaurant. The same goes for ramen. Unless you’re using an instant ramen kit, making ramen broth is hard. The tonkotsu variant is pretty much impossible at home. Likewise, you just can’t make good sushi at home. It’s not really a family meal or something that can be casually made. Typically sushi is brought out for celebrations or special occasions as it can be quite pricey but conveyor belt sushi places are more accessible.  

3. Bread: You will find white bread (fluffy, gorgeous, pillowy white bread, that’s basically like cake) but it’s really difficult to find brown bread. In the rural supermarket, it was non-existent and for bread with a crust, you’d have to go to the little street-corner artisan bakeries.

On the topic of bread and kashipan, I’ve often seen references in fanfiction of characters baking kashipan for each other, or kashipan just like their grandmother made it (e.g. anpan, melonpan, creampan). As much I like the sentiment behind these scenes, I’m not saying they’re impossible, but in most cases they are a little jarring. 

Our grandmother’s generation were not bakers. Most of the houses that our grandmothers grew up in did not have ovens, since Japan doesn’t have a tradition of domestic baking, and even now, a lot of houses still don’t have ovens aside from a nifty little oven toaster, Cakes and kashipan were seen as Western and trendy luxuries to be eaten at cafes (a Western import in itself) or bought from specialist shops which had the equipment to make them. They weren’t ‘casual home-cooking’ so to speak, even if the history of the anpan and the castella date pretty far back into the past now. 

Even now, unless you are a massive kashipan fanatic and dessert-making enthusiast, you probably wouldn’t bake a tray of kashipan at home when you could buy them perfectly made from a nearby convenience store. 

Having said that, I have tried making anpan in an oven toaster. I made six, since that was all that could fit on the little toaster tray. They were each about 6cm in diameters, and my grandmother complained that it was a waste of perfectly good azuki. 

You can, if you’re really into dessert making, make lots of things in an oven toaster, but if you’re looking to make something sentimental just like your grandmother made them, mochi might be a better option (e.g. warabimochi or ohagi), or maybe since sweet things historically tended to be more often bought from a specialist than made at home, quote a favourite wagashi that grandmother might have enjoyed from a particular shop e.g. the anko dama and imo youkan from Funawa; the chestnut manju from the shop by the station.   

4. Omiyage: If you go away on a trip and you’re inconveniencing work colleagues with your absence (which you are), this is the souvenir that you buy to take back and share at your work place, often a food item, so boxes of sweets are often packaged in such a way that the sweets inside are individually wrapped for ease of splitting distribution. 

This is also the word used for the gifts you bring back for family, either when you’re visiting relatives and you know that you will be encroaching upon their hospitality, potentially inconveniencing them, or if you’re coming back to the family and, in a way, again, it’s to make up for any inconveniences that might have been caused by absence  -although largely for family, it’s also about the joy of giving to those you care about!

Likewise, students who go away on holiday on a trip might bring back omiyage for fellow members of their club, if they’re involved in club activities. If you think of club activities as training children up for work place social structure and customs, it makes some sense. 

Not omiyage but an example of gift-giving, but if you move into a new neighbourhood, it’s usually expected that you visit your neighbours and take round gifts, as a gesture of courtesy and goodwill. There is, again, an element of asking forgiveness for inconvenience, because moving into the new home would have made a lot of noise and possibly caused a disturbance. 

With omiyage in mind, each prefecture tends to advertise certain foods/sweets that are ‘unique’ to it that would make suitable omiyage. A famous example would be ‘Tokyo Banana’ and anything matcha from the Uji area in Kyoto. 

5. Food is seasonal: Japan is hyperconscious of its seasons, so the fridge will likely contain seasonal fruits and veg. In a lot of Japanese poems, it was traditional to include a ‘kigo’, a word that encodes a season to set the poem in without explicitly saying ‘It is winter’, and some fruits are kigo. The persimmon is a kigo for autumn, peaches and cherries and plums for spring, and more recently the watermelon is a definite kigo for summer! Seasonal fruits also make good gifts for visiting friends’ houses, especially if you’re bringing them back from the countryside after visiting relatives. 

Autumn’s a great time for food. Now is the time when all of the mushrooms are coming out - shiitake, matsutake, enoki, shimeji - and they’re dried and preserved for the year. People who cook might have dried shiitake in the pantry for rehydrating and eating or using in stock. 

Foreign brands, aware of the seasonal sensitivity of their Japanese, often produce Japan only seasonal limited products. My favourite example of this is the Haagen-Daaz flavours. One autumn there was a pumpkin and cinnamon, and I’m pretty sure I saw a cherry blossom latte at Starbucks.

6. Food you might see at festival stalls: Taiyaki - fish-shaped pastries made with a pancake-like batter and filled with custard or azuki. Yakisoba - fried noodles. Yakitori - chicken skewers. Takoyaki - octopus batter balls. Hot dogs…With a shout-out to very rare diversity my local festival had a Turkish kebab stall last year. Kakikoori for the summer festivals - sweet ice, with typical syrups being red, green and yellow (strawberry, melon and lemon flavours respectively).

 …..and that’s enough for now I think. (21/9/2016)

PET PLAY - which animal do you best identify as?

A lot of people messaged me asking which animal would best fit them; they’ll describe their personality to me and I try to make my best decision. But I am not the one who can choose for you. You have to choose. Here are some characteristics of different pets to possibly help you narrow down and choose which pet would best fit you. (This list does not have every pet and these are not the only pets you can be. Be whatever you want and do whatever you want; no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.)


• BAT: negative, wants people to fear them, isolated, quirky, loves fruit, independent, “vampire-like”, possibly nocturnal

• BEAR: shy, closed off, not really clingy, playful, internally energetic, slow-moving

• BIG CAT: certain, stoic, secretly playful, appearance is important (grooming, stance, etc.), authority, elegance, sleek, seduction

• BUNNY: very cuddly, oral fixation, likes to hide under and paw at things, very childish, daydreamer, emotional, ditzy, headbutts others as a form of communication, needs attention

• DRAGON: asks for a lot, is not to be commanded, prideful, doesn’t like collars/restraints, headstrong, stubborn, protective, collects/hoards things

• FAWN: timid, shy, playful, adventurous, silly, klutzy, wary, enjoys being outdoors, better with an owner

• FERRET: fun, bouncy, can annoy others for amusement, equally active and lazy, likes to dig, hides things

• FOX: clever, playful, tricksters, doesn’t mind being around others, curious, fast, enjoys being in small spaces, excitable

• KITTEN: incredibly cuddly most of the time, will occasionally need space, very playful, needs a lot of petting, could get along without an owner but doesn’t want to, lazy with weird bouts of energy, likes to play hunt and pounce, likes toys

• LAMB: very quiet, meek, likes physical attention, likes soft things, likes getting dolled up, very submissive, obedient, lower energy, conservative

• PIG: loves to be coddled, sticks close to others, loves being given snacks, minimizes movement

• PONY: strong, proud, a little bit skittish, gentle, wants to work with others, curious, likes to have a job/responsibility, likes learning, curious

• PUPPY: playful, energetic, enjoys company, affectionate, enjoys physical contact, silly, plays with toys, curious, immature, better with an owner, loyal

• RAT: can be aggressive/feral or friendly and loving, greedy with food/items, likes to test bite/lick their owner, loves on and sleeps on others

• WOLF: independent but uses their pack for safety and comfort, strong, reserved initially, observant, grown-up, smart, self-sufficient, can get along without an owner, follows instincts, pack-mentality

dan and phil are both pretty. but like. in different ways.

dan’s very soft and curvy with dimples; he’s like a small animal that you want to protect; he’s like a flower opening to the warmth of spring; he has endless brown eyes and a smile that makes your heart feel warm and lovely.

in contrast, phil is sharp and carved as though from porcelain; his eyes are two separate universes in themselves; his hands are lean and strong; he’s graceful and captivating, and you can imagine him in a Greek god’s tunic standing in a field of flowers.

6

have you heard the rumours about my rapping?
i have, actually!
come at me with a beat.
okay, yeah.

Tempting Fate

Or, the proof that we have the most patient DM in the world…or the most merciful. Because NOBODY died from any of these lines.

DM: I don’t care what you play next, Jordan, but I swear if I have to swerve my plans around your common sense one more time–

-

DM: That’s it. There will be NO more memes at this table.

Rogue: You don’t like memes?

DM: I don’t!

Rogue: MmMMMMMmmm wHy yOu LyInG why you FUCKING LYING.

Cleric: (trying to persuade Paladin to an unlawful course of action) My dear, holy friend. Have I ever told you that I love you?

Paladin: If you did, I certainly wasn’t interested in hearing it.

Wizard: How’s THAT for fire damage.

DM: *describing her favorite NPC*

Cleric: You could’ve just told us you were importing He-Man.

DM: He is NOTHING like He-Man!

Wizard: Yeah, she didn’t import He-Man! … *singing* BUT MY GOD DID SHE TRY.

Cleric: *makes a drawing of his favorite NPC and puts it in a folder labeled “Reasons to Live”; proceeds to open it and looks at the picture every time the rogue does anything borderline masochistic*

2

It’s been so long since I fumbled around in Photoshop trying to put ugly text layovers on my art that I figured it’s time for raffle number 8!

What you get:

A portrait! Any character/race/gender from any world or universe. OCs/RP characters, fanart of a character you love, anything you’d like. If you can describe it I can try to paint it. Above are examples of my work so you know my skill level and limitations but I will give anything a go!

What you need to do:

Like and/or reblog this post to enter.
Be following this tumblr.

That’s it!

A winner will be picked on the 21st November 2016 and has a day to reply or I’ll re-raffle the prize!

Good luck and thanks <3

I have one last request for you, as you continue on your path of life: don’t fall in love with a writer. Please, don’t let them torment themselves at 2am thinking of how to describe the expression on your face at the first snow of the season. Whatever you do, don’t let them get distracted in the middle of the day because they’re trying to write up the perfect reply to your vague text. If you can ever control it, please don’t make them stay awake hours on end trying to hand-write you a letter to explain how they feel, when vocal words just aren’t enough. If at all possible, don’t tell them you love them, as they’ll think of a thousand and one ways to tell it back to you. I’m asking you this because it happened. To me. From you. And it sucked all the life out of me. Not in the sense that I didn’t write. But in the sense that all I did was write. Poems, stories, small journal entries. And it didn’t hit me until I heard your voice across that little coffee shop that my poem was about you. I realized you were the soft melody flowing through my head that I couldn’t get out, much like a favorite song. You were the glimmer of hope in the darkness of the night when my thoughts consumed me and I wrote until my hand hurt and my paper stained with tears. You were all of those, and so much more. So I ask that you please spare another writer’s heart, not to keep them from inspiration, but to keep them from hurting the way I did.
—  Excerpt from a book I will never write #1169 
What if MAMAMOO became guys?

What if!! You became a guy?

Solar: I’m going to live as a girl ㅎㅎ

Moonbyul: I want to date a lot

Whee In: I want to try becoming a mother’s friend’s son*
(*term used to describe someone who is perfect and good at everything. The term developed as Korean moms often compare their own kids with their friend’s son/daughters.)

Hwasa: I will have to pee while standing up then


— From MAMAMOO 2017 Season’s Greetings
Trans by tgc.