so many layers to a story

“The Man Behind The Mask”

One could say that one hour and an half (which sounds familiar) can’t be that special if spent at home. But this is an evening made of a different stuff. The same stuff people of older generations used to build their hopes with. Tonight I listened to a voice that doesn’t speak my language, but actually, it does indeed. Even just in the sound of it, it was pretty clear. I could always sing and whistle and just dream at the sound of every track, but now there’s a name out there, which most of us already knew, of course, but it didn’t seem legitimate to use ‘til now. I have a name to thank, because for once I’m like those before us, who adored idols on a stage, singing, jumping and screaming. And there’s a person behind the name who is full human. Who has depths, and layers, so many layers, and a Story, a man who was so kind to share it with us.

Out of any context, and as another human being, I just want to say “I’m proud of you”. As a sister of the same race, one who loves to create, I can say I’m proud of this human being, who pours his heart out in spite of all barriers, in spite of this era, an era that is trying to cut us all out of art and communication… I’m proud of you.

It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock’n’roll, eh? You did it. You did it. YOU DID IT!

The magic is not gone. You are the man behind the mask, and I know, and I’m happy with it.

How to Attract the Signs

**Check Sun, Moon, and Venus

Aries: Don’t be timid. Compliment them, but don’t be insincere. Admire their appearance, but also their mind. They love lively discussion on current events, sports, music, politics, art—find something that clicks for you both. Don’t be afraid to go to them for advice. Never try to order them to do something or restrict them, though. Just be spontaneous, and go with the flow. 

Taurus: Be patient. Take your time really getting to know them. Make them laugh. Be sure to make the first move when the time is right. Buy them food, and they’ll love you. Money is a good topic of conversation. Feel free to show off your prized possessions and show lots of admiration and praise for theirs. Don’t monopolize the conversation. Let them speak about what they’re passionate about. 

Gemini: Be knowledgeable about current events, books, art, politics, et cetera, but never try to outdo a Gemini. They want someone who is intelligent, but not someone who is more so than them. Be honest, always. Make them laugh, or hit them with some juicy gossip. When trying to make a gemini fall for you, your words are your weapons. Don’t ever be insincere towards them, and be upfront about your intentions. 

Cancer: Don’t play hard to get, and don’t play with their emotions. Be direct about how you feel about them, and show them how much you really like them. Show them your softer side. Allow yourself to be vulnerable in front of them. Appeal to their romantic side—they love music. Be patient with them, and don’t try and make them rush into anything. 

Leo: Lay the compliments and praise on thick. Make your admiration very clear. The best thing you can do is appeal to their ego. The second best thing is to make them laugh. Impress them by showing them that they’ll have nothing but the best in your presence. Don’t skimp on the flowers, chocolates, and champagne. Give them the attention and love that they desire. 

Virgo: Make your intelligence and credentials evident, as Virgos are very attracted to intelligence. Always be a good sport. Don’t be whiny. Don’t be nosy and try to make them share more than they’re willing to. Virgos are private people. Keep the atmosphere tasteful. Avoid offensive or vulgar entertainment. Don’t be put out by their excessive worrying.

Libra: Pay them large compliments. Libras love to be admired. Let the conversation flow, as Libras are wonderful conversationalists, and they also love a good debate, so feel free to bring up controversial topics. But beware—another topic they love to talk about—themselves. Show them that you have good taste, and don’t be afraid to go all out.

Scorpio: Listen to them with full attention. Be sincere. Show them that you’re lively and interesting, with many layers for them to explore. They love to hear funny or intriguing stories and anecdotes. Don’t be afraid of their unpredictability. Always be respectful of them, even when you’re in an argument, and never, ever patronize them. 

Sagittarius: Ask them about their work, their friends, their thoughts on books, films, news, art, et cetera, but be careful not to pry into their personal lives. Don’t be put off by their sometimes very blatant honesty. Never try and control them or take away their freedom, and don’t put your emotional needs before their privacy. 

Capricorn: Don’t be afraid to take the initiative with the conversation, and be amusing. Don’t force them to show their feelings or try and breach their privacy. Show that you are interesting and intellectually stimulating. Listen when they talk. Don’t act immature. Capricorns are serious people who prefer serious topics. And always, always, be on time.

Aquarius: Talk to them about topics that are significant or important or at least interesting. They love deep conversation and debates, especially those involving books, art, politics, and science. Show them your humanitarian side. Don’t immediately hit them with your emotions and affections. Aquarians want their space. Give them time to know, trust, and depend on you, and don’t nag them about their mistakes.

Pisces: They enjoy talking about art, entertainment, books, and poetry, but to really catch their interest, discuss any topics relating to the occult, mysticism, spiritualism, conspiracies, the supernatural, and reincarnation. Feel free to ask them for advice and tell them your problems, but be sure to show them that you are strong, supportive, and have goals in life. They love flattery, so be sure to compliment them whenever you see them. Be sentimental, and always be kind. 

OFF THE CUFF HOMESTUCK THOUGHTS #3: THE SELF PILE DOESN’T STOP FROM GETTING TALLER OR: THE PROBLEM OF DEAD MARIOS

DISCLAIMER

IMPORTANT THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

[CHECK THE TAG FOR MORE THOUGHTS]

So, a long-ass time ago, Rose and Dave had a conversation like this:

TT: After you go, what do you think will happen to me?
TT: Will I just cease to exist?
TG: i dont know
TG: i mean your whole timeline will
TG: maybe
TT: Maybe?
TT: Is there a chance it’ll continue to exist, and I’ll just be here alone forever?
TT: I’m not sure which outcome is more unsettling.
TG: the thing with time travel is
TG: you cant overthink it
TG: just roll with it and see what happens
TG: and above all try not to do anything retarded
TT: What do you think I should do?
TG: try going to sleep
TG: our dream selves kind of operate outside the normal time continuum i think
TG: so if part of you from this timelines going to persist thats probably the way to make it happen
TT: Ok.
TG: and hey you might even be able to help your past dream self wake up sooner without all that fuss you went through
TT: I think the true purpose of this game is to see how many qualifiers we can get to precede the word “self” and still understand what we’re talking about.

This is the most important sentence in Homestuck.

I am dead serious.

Well, OK, I mean, it’s pretty important for understanding some major Homestuck themes and shit or something like that.

Also, I totally should have said: Pre-Retcon Doomed Timeline Non-Dreamself Rose but ultimately about to become Dreamself Rose who semi-merged with Pre-Retcon Alpha Timeline Rose and Doomed Timeline Dave aka Davesprite AKA future Davepetasprite^2 or as we all call them around the office, Davepeta, had that conversation.

Maybe you begin to see what I’m going to talk about here.

One of the major frustrations a lot of people had with the retcon was that the characters we ended up with at the end weren’t the ones we’d come to love and know throughout the story. Was it even worth it, to lose the characters we loved to the tyranny of Game Over? The victorious kids, with the exception of John and Roxy, were other people, with other histories, other goals, and other choices.

Allow me to submit that that may be the whole point.

SBURB is cruel. We’ve known that for a long time. It’s cruel not as Caliborn is cruel, but as the cosmos is cruel, as a supernova is cruel. It wants what it wants, and doesn’t care about how that intersects with the needs of humanity. It wants to make universes through a complex game-playing method, and drags hapless, vulnerable adolescents along for the ride. And most of the time it doesn’t even succeed, leaving its champions to rot in a doomed timeline or similar! Skaia’s victory is an amoral creation myth where individual human beings are just the carved pieces on the chessboard. (I mean, the other ones. Not the carapacians.)

Again, let’s consider the theme of VIDEO GAMES vs. REAL LIFE.

Homestuck, let’s be real, is basically some postmodern horror timey-wimey Jumanji. For a generation way more familiar with pixels than cute little tokens It’s easy for teenagers and in fact, basically everyone, to fantasize about escaping their life and slipping into some game world forever, where they get to do awesome things and be a heroic person.

Homestuck makes that literal. Congratulations, everything you ever knew is dead. You will never see it again, except your internet friends, who turn out also to be your family and other important people. I mean, from a distance, SBURB sounds like an awesome game, right? You figure out who you are and get to wear a cool costume displaying that identity. You get to make anything you want and enjoy this hyperflexible mythology tailored to YOUR CHOICES. HS fans talk all the time about how cool it would be to play a real version of SBURB. That’s a big part of the appeal of SBURB fan adventures. They put you and your friends in the story. Or your favorite characters! It sounds like a fantasy come true.

The thing is, as fantastical as it is, it’s also really fucked up, and ultimately you and your friends are being used. By a giant frog to let it have its babies. By the universe. By a smug blue cloud thing that doesn’t care about you at all.

SBURB does not care about you at all.

The funny thing, SBURB features a mythology with so many layers and nuances and seemingly human motifs about growth and self that you might search for some grand ultimate meaning behind it, but it’s not even human enough to have a personality, to be something you can argue with or fight. It just is. It’s all the cruelty and power of a god without any of the dazzling personality. It’s empty. It just wants to make universes all day long, or fail trying. It is a great, weird tadpole-making machine that eats children.

One of the big ways it doesn’t care about you is its attitude toward the self. Humans and trolls and whatnot prefer not to be relentlessly duplicated. SBURB says, oh yeah, let’s make tons of copies of the player characters and use them for a lot of different purposes.

There’s the dreamself, an essential bifurcation of identity (you are now and were always the dream moon princex) that sometimes gets merged into god tier but sometimes doesn’t. There’s doomed timeline selves, who exist ultimately to augment an Alpha timeline whose Alphaness is decided very arbitrarily and frequently by Lord English. There’s the you who exists before a scratched session and the you who exists afterward, who are two different people but started as one baby in an act of ectobaby meteor duplication, your player self and your guardian self. Dead timeline yous fill up the dreambubbles made by the horrorterrors and get endlessly confused with each other. Any one of these could be the you experience being at any given moment, and which one it is entirely arbitrary. Don’t like being Dead Nepeta #47? Tough hoofbeast leavings, kiddo.

To top it all off, in Terezi: Remember, we learn that every single time we thought someone changed from one self to another, was resurrected or something like that, it was another act of duplication. For every time someone’s died, there’s another version of them waiting in the Dream Bubbles, surprised that they’re not the main character anymore. And we have no way of knowing which is which. Even John, good old everyman John, may or may not be the person who died three or four times. It’s really impossible to say whether we’ve been following the same person throughout our story, or just the illusion of the same person, like a horrifying cosmic flipbook.

The retcon is a return to this same theme. Ultimately, there’s very little new in the changes John makes to reality except that they drive the point home.

John’s friends all died. John and his friends won the game. These things are both true at the same time, except those things may not have happened to the same people. There was a happy ending. Hooray! For, um, some folks who may or may not be the ones we care about. In fact, it’s very confusing, because from Rose’s perspective, Roxy is dead but came back to life, and from Roxy’s perspective Rose is dead but came back to life, except also she came back to life as a weird tentacle catgirl of pure id and self –indulgence. So there’s that. Um. Which Rose are we rooting for again?

Or wait: is it none of them, because the first Rose died in a doomed timeline, hundreds of panels and a number of years ago?

There’s a tension here which one experiences between saying it’s okay because it’s still the same people, and saying it’s not okay, because it’s not the same people at all. This tension is exactly what we’re meant to wrestle with. To put it another way, Homestuck asks if identity can work in aggregate. Are all Johns John, all Roses Rose, and do they all share in what they accomplish? Or are the final victors only accidents created by the whims and needs of the frog baby machine?

What I’m saying, basically, is that the retcon, in the sense that it pointed out our confused relationship with these characters, was already here.

In interviews and questions put to him over the years, Hussie constantly compares HS and SBURB to other video games, particularly Mario, which he frequently returns to as a baseline of comparison that most of his readers will know. One answer, from a recent Hiveswap interview, is particularly revelatory. To the question of “Why do you kill off all your characters?” Hussie replies:

[…]HS is supposedly a story that is also a game. In games, the characters die all the time. How many times did you let Mario fall in the pit before he saved the princess? Who weeps for these Marios. In games your characters die, but you keep trying and trying and rebooting and resetting until finally they make it. When you play a game this process is all very impersonal. Once you finally win, when all is said and done those deaths didn’t “count”, only the linear path of the final victorious version of the character is considered “real”. Mario never actually died, did he? Except the omniscient player knows better. HS seems to combine all the meaningless deaths of a trial-and-error game journey with the way death is treated dramatically in other media, where unlike our oblivious Mario, the characters are aware and afraid of the many deaths they must experience before finally winning the game.

The big man hass the answer.

Homestuck is the story of those dead Marios.

Other works, like Undertale, have engaged with this topic as well. But one of the major differences between Undertale and Homestuck is that in Undertale, between “lives,” one’s consciousness is preserved. In Homestuck, it’s discontinuous, and the value of the overall trial-error process is called into question by the fact that you, the player, may not even get to experience the victory. What meaning does victory hold if that is the case?

So, to put it in a nice thesis format:

One of the central themes of Homestuck is the challenge of reconciling an arbitrary and destructive pattern of growth and victory with the death and suffering you experienced along the way. Homestuck asks: is victory worthwhile if you’re not you anymore? And would you be able to know?

What even is the self? Is there such a thing?

If you were left feeling somewhat disconcerted by our heroes’ tidy victory and departure to their cosmic prize, or by how which Rose gets the spotlight is so deeply, deeply arbitrary, there’s a good reason for that. You’re supposed to be.

The philosophical problem of Wacky Cat Rose is insignificant next to the bullshit of SBURB.

And don’t forget—John and Roxy’s denizens helped them achieve the retcon. Ultimately, the victory they achieved was mediated by the same amoral system of SBURB, and was a victory over an enemy, Caliborn, whose power was created, perpetuated, and ended by that same system.

Okay, so here’s where it gets contentious. There’s an argument to be made, which I’m not sure how I feel about, that some of the character development that could have been in post-retcon Act 6 was left out precisely to push this feeling and play up this tension. Note that this is not the same thing as saying that they were deliberately badly written, but that they’re deliberately written to make us uneasy.That Hussie deliberately played with the balance between making these retconned characters feel familiar and making them feel eerily different to leave us feeling uneasy with the result.

I’m not sure I like that idea. It smacks a little too much of that “everything is perfect” thinking that comes sometimes from the far Metastuck camp. Some of the differences may also be the result of flawed writing. (See: Jane and Jake’s character arcs, which I might talk about later.) And I want to be able to critique those flaws. Ultimately, I think we still needed more time and development to figure out who these new people were—even if our goal was ultimately to compare them to their earlier selves. And again, more conscious acknowledgement of the problem from our heroes—especially John, the linchpin in this last and biggest act of duplication—might have helped drive this theme home.

Still, I think the Problem of Dead Marios is one of the most fundamental questions of Homestuck, maybe THE biggest question. It’s essential to understand it to understand what Hussie’s doing—or attempting to do— in the retcon and the ending.

I don’t know that Homestuck offers us a clear answer to that question. There are some confusions around the issue, too. Where do merged selves fit in, exactly? Clearly they’re a big part of the discussion, because Hussie spends some time in Act 6, especially near the end bringing the identity-merging powers of the Sprites to the forefront. (See also: the identity-merged nightmare that is Lord English.)  Can we even come up with a clear answer to what it means when a dead Mario returns to life grotesquely fused with Toad? How does he beat the game? Does he tell himself that the princess is in another castle? Or what if he merges with Peach? Are they their own princess? How do they know if they’re in the right castle?

Um. Anyway—

Interestingly, it’s not all grotesque—spritesplosions suggest that personalities that are too different don’t stay together long, so a fusion might rely on some inherent compatibility between the two players. Erisol’s self-loathing, sure, but also Fefeta’s cheerfulness. Davepeta seems to be a way of bringing out the best in their players, a way of getting Davesprite past his angst and Nepeta past her fear. Honestly, I know a lot of people don’t like Davepeta as the ending of these two characters’ arcs, but I can’t help but love it. They’re the ultimate coolkid. Cool enough to know they don’t have to be cool. Regular Dave got there, too, of course. But was his retcon assist from John ultimately any different?

Then, of course, we come to Davepeta’s speech to Jade in one of the last few updates before Collide. Davepeta suggests that there is such a thing as an ultimate self beyond the many different selves one piles up throughout the cosmos. A set of principles that describes who you are that’s larger than any individual instance of you. Your inherent Mariohood. (Maybe this is comparable to your Classpect identity, which attempts to describe who you are?) Davepeta even tells Jade, strikingly, that one might learn to see beyond the barriers between selves. Be the ur-self, in practice, rather than theory. This would be incredible news for Jade, who wrestles with the issue of different selves perhaps more than any other character. (There’s a lot to say about Jade.)

Honestly, I wish this ur-self idea had been developed more, and I honestly expected it to be. It doesn’t fully come to fruition, I feel. (Same goes for Davepeta’s character. Ohhhh, ZING!) I’m not sure it entirely makes philosophical sense, especially with fusion—I mean, doesn’t Davepeta themself disprove it? Or at least complicate it? Like, are they part of the ur-Dave or the ur-Nepeta? They seem to imply they’re BOTH? Does that even work? Does that mean that Marieach is all the Peaches and Marios at once?

(In fact, Bowser/Peach/Mario are but the three manifestations of one eternal principle. Also, Bowser/Peach are the true power couple. Read my fanfiction plz.)

And what, say, of Dirk, who ultimately ends up rejecting aspects of his other selves? It feels like there’s a lot more you could say here, and I wonder if Hussie would have said more, if he’d had time. What’s weird is, none of our victorious kids never reach an ur-self (though to their descendants, they become archetypal to some degree), which one might have expected. They’re just individual selves who happened to get lucky. Does that make them representative of the whole? It feels like something’s missing here, or like something got dropped at the last minute.

Same goes for the idea of the Ultimate Riddle. You’d be forgiven for missing it, but there’s been this riddle in the background lore of SBURB that seems to have something to do with personal agency in this overwhelming, overarching system. Karkat called it predestination, saying something like “ANY HOPE YOU HAD OF DOING THINGS OTHERWISE WAS JUST A RUSE.” But others have interpreted it more positively. My favorite interpretation, from bladekindeyewear: the answer to the Riddle is that YOU shape the timeline through your existence, personality, and choices, even when it looks like it’s all predestination. Ultimately it’s your predestination, your set of events, based deeply on your nature, that you are creating. Someone like Caliborn can use his innate personality to achieve power; someone like John might be able to use it to achieve freedom.

I definitely expected something like that to be expressed more explicitly. Like, a big ah-ha moment that helps John or Jade or whoever understand how to escape Caliborn’s system. Something like that would have been very helpful for a lot of our heroes, actually, who’ve been pushed around by Skaia and SBURB together, in finding a cathartic ending.  Once again, I wonder if something was dropped or rushed because there wasn’t time to put it all in. There’s places where you can see hints of that Answer being implied, maybe? But it’s kind of ambiguous.

You can see how the Answer to the Ultimate Riddle ties into some of Davepeta’s ideas. If your personality, the rules of your behavior are a fundamental archetype that goes beyond each individual self, then the answer to whether it matters if one self of yours makes it through to victory is an emphatic YES. You are all of those people, and by winning one round with Skaia, you’ve won the whole game, despite all the arbitrary challenges and deaths it heaps upon you along the way.

This may strike some as too positive for Skaia’s brutality, or again, some way of excusing flaws in many characters’ arcs, or unfair things that happen to them. To be fair, I don’t know that Davepeta’s necessarily meant to be taken as authoritative or the voice of Hussie. They may simply be offering a purrspective.

Hussie not choosing to come right out and engage with the Ultimate Riddle leaves the question of Dead Marios and what they mean for the victorious versions of our cast very open. I like that in some ways—let the reader decide—but I can’t help but wish we had more to work with in making that decision. Plus, it might have brought the thematic messages of Homestuck all the way home to tie them more closely to our characters and their experiences—character development being one of the things most people found most lacking in the ending.

NEXT TIME: All that wacky gnostic stuff probably

Questions for developing the biology of a new species or race

Something to remember when developing your new species or races: always remember that your unique race/alien race should not distract from the narrative. It is always fun to experience new and different peoples that can be so similar to humanity while being so different. But you don’t want to create a main species that is so utterly alien that it distracts from your narrative. The details of your race should enhance your story, not needlessly complicate it.

So! With that in mind…

Starting from scratch:

  • What about them says “other”?
  • How are their environmental conditions reflected in their biology?
  • What texture/color is their skin or outer layer? Why?
  • Do they have hair? If so, where and what color(s)? What texture(s)?
  • How many biological sexes are there? How many genders?
  • How many cones do their eyes have?
  • How many limbs do they have? How are they used?
  • How many fingers/toes do they have? How has this altered their number system?
  • Were they the only race on their home planet that evolved to “intelligent?”

For further development:

  • How would it describe its setting?
  • Do they have physical traits specific to their class or caste?
  • What traits do others of their species find attractive? Why?
  • Do they use special tools to enhance or repair damaged/failing physical traits or senses (glasses/contacts, prosthetics, wheelchairs)?
  • What unifying characteristics set them apart from humans? What do they have in common?
  • What dietary needs do they have?
  • Do they use special ornamentation (clothing, jewelry, tattoos) to show rank, occupation, heritage, etc.?
  • How do they relate to temperature or climate?
  • Do they have joints or tendons that move in a way that would seem unnatural to humans?
  • What is their sexual biology like? Is it analogous to ours, or something entirely different?
  • What recreational activities are healthy/positive for their biology?
  • How does their body respond to various types of excitement or emotion?

Creative exercises for species/racial development:

  • If someone were write a wanted poster for a criminal of this race, what features would the notice highlight? Why?
  • What are (or hypothetically would be) the most popular plastic surgeries among people of this species?
  • What is their average morning routine? How do their care for themselves, physically, on a daily basis?
  • Write a short story in which someone of your new species/race attempts to put on a set of human clothes or visa versa. 
  • What is the most popular sport and how is it played? How do the species’ unique traits play into the game, if at all?

Check out the rest of the Brainstorming Series!
Magic Systems, Part One
Magic Systems, Part Two
New Worlds
Cultures
Civilizations
Map Making
Politics and Government
Belief Systems & Religion
Guilds, Factions, & Groups
War & Conflict
Science & Technology

How yoi plays with sports story scheme

I was wondering recently why Yuri on Ice seemed to be so different and fresh to me and why so many people get so emotionally engaged with it. There is definitely a nice animation and great characters and representation and such a beautiful love story but I felt like there was something in the narration layer that I couldn’t name until I compared yoi storyline to the most common schemes.

When you look at most of the pop cultural stories, especially those where main plot focuses on sport, you’ll see that there is that one scheme they all follow - you have a hero who has talent but lacks something (like a good mentor or hard work or confidence), he finds a motivation to win (it may be anything from parent’s death to wish to impress a girl) and he finds a dedicated coach, he trains, he loses, he learns something about himself, he wins, he gets an award. This is the basic way of constructing such stories and it’s catchy because we all want to believe that we are able to fight our weaknesses and win by ourselves. You may modify this scheme to a large extent but the main core will always be a single hero who needs to grow in order to win and actually I think that this scheme is present in Yuri on Ice but in Yurio’s not Yuuri’s story. Yurio has talent, lacks hard work and needs to learn something about himself, his skate-off with Yuuri gives him a motivation to win, he trains hard, he loses, he grows, he wins. This doesn’t make his story or his character less interesting but I wanted to give you an example of what am I talking about so I could compare it to Yuuri’s story.

So now, where is Yuuri’s plot different you could say. Well, in a way you could find all those elements in Yuuri’s story too but his development is where it all turns to be innovative. You see in the basic scheme the hero needs to learn to win by himself while Yuuri has got to that point a long time ago. He had all of that: his motivation, his hard work, most of his abilities, his own strength before he met Victor. He was fighting by himself for five years before and even if his anxiety makes him look like a weak loser it is obvious he is already beyond that “learning about myself” phase. Even this confidence Victor helps him to find he already had just hidden. Yuuri knows his emotions and some of his strengths and most of the weak points himself and either he wins or loses those minor competitions it doesn’t change him too deeply. But what Victor gives him is the belief that he doesn’t have to fight by himself anymore. Not in a “you can learn from other people” or “teamwork is important” kind of way (’cause they are still used in most of the stories) but in acknowledging that you may become better if you let someone close to you (this lesson applies to Victor to btw but he is not the main hero so I’ll skip this part). 

I won’t say this reverses the scheme completely as this is still some kind of personal development that helps to win (though the fact that Yuuri does not finally win is interesting by itself) but it definitely changes the subtext of the whole story.  We like stories about heroes fighting by themselves because we often struggle with our problems alone and we need to believe me can do it. But Yuri on Ice gives us the idea that thought you are strong enough to fight maybe you don’t have to fight alone at all. I guess this is why it has such a great emotional impact because in a world that tells you all the time that it’s only for you to win the story of someone who still needed help even if he already was strong and beautiful is really hopeful, positive and in a way more realistic then the basic “hero can only win by himself” scheme. 

There is also the whole layer of how Victor doesn’t fit to the standard portrayal of a mentor figure but I think this is quite easy to spot and maybe let’s not make this longer than it has to be but the last quick reflection I had is that the most common way of portraying romantic relationships in the sports stories is either when the hero needs to sacrifice his relationship in order to focus (which is the trope I personally hate) or when he wins the attention of his love interest by winning the final competition (so the love is somehow a reward then). What is great in Yuuri and Victor’s relationship is how Yuuri doesn’t have to win to prove his worth to Victor. Almost from the beginning, Victor knows Yuuri’s flaws and he falls for him anyway. So Yuuri is not only given support that helps him to become better but also he doesn’t need to earn that support. Which I think again is quite moving because everyone dreams of this kind of relationship. We are all scared that we are not good enough to let someone help us in the first place and this is where yoi tells us it doesn’t have to be this way.

I’m sure there are much more tropes that are reversed in yoi and there is the whole narration layer that is also quite original but as storytelling is what I have the most experience with I decided to focus on this aspect only. And I may be wrong I just like to find and discuss narration schemes so please argue if you disagree but I love the fact that even when yoi takes those basic narration schemes it uses it to send a very positive message across and for me it could be a reason why there is such an enthusiastic fandom around it - because this anime exchanges the story of fighting alone for a story about growing in a relationship though it does not change a sports story for a cheaply romantic one.

How to Attract the Signs

**Check Sun, Moon, and Venus

Aries: Don’t be timid. Compliment them, but don’t be insincere. Admire their appearance, but also their mind. They love lively discussion on current events, sports, music, politics, art—find something that clicks for you both. Don’t be afraid to go to them for advice. Never try to order them to do something or restrict them, though. Just be spontaneous, and go with the flow.

Taurus: Be patient. Take your time really getting to know them. Make them laugh. Be sure to make the first move when the time is right. Buy them food, and they’ll love you. Money is a good topic of conversation. Feel free to show off your prized possessions and show lots of admiration and praise for theirs. Don’t monopolize the conversation. Let them speak about what they’re passionate about.

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anonymous asked:

SHOULD I WATCH GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

okay listen. 

listen. 

idk if u have seen the first film. 

and u need to watch the first film to understand the second, which is, arguably, the better story of the two.

now, the first film. it’s. its a film, okay. its a movie. its ur typical bad guy is gonna destroy the world protagonists enter in STAGE LEFT & whilst they have a couple bumps at first they TEAM TOGETHER and SAVE THE WORLD bc they are Good Folks despite their questionably legal professions!

great!

like, it’s a decent film. it’s funny, it’s action packed, there’s a lot of heart to the characters. it SETS THE STAGE real well.

but the thing is it leaves u feeling kind of “eh whatever” UNLESS U FOLLOW IT UP WITH THE SECOND MOVIE.

film 1 is genuinely very good for worldbuilding and character setup, and, imo, not that great if you’re looking for a film with powerful emotional heart and a strong narrative message. like dont get me wrong, it’s good. it’s fun, it’s entertaining, and u get some warm fuzzies at the end. it’s originality is decent, considering the inherent originality of the setting of the film, but in terms of “wow, that was so creative, i never saw that coming” content … it’s average. like, “wow, that movie changed my life, i’ve got so much to think about now”, it’s …. okay. like it’s good, but it’s not genius, u know? it ain’t art.

vol.2, on the other hand? KNOCKS THAT STUFF OUT OF THE BALL PARK.

this film is ART.

u got character-centric storytelling. u got powerful narrative metaphors w strong and Good life messages. u got excellent character relationship growth, u got genius in the creativity department, u got originality, u got unique and complex villains, u got some TOP NOTCH JOKES, u got bammin’ slammin’ action sequences, u got GORGEOUS visuals, u got the most incredibly incorporation of song into story that i have EVER SEEN.

and. AND. on top of that, it takes so many of the vague attempts at subversion of Generic Superhero Tropes in film one and REALLY GOES TO TOWN WITH THEM, in that it is one big Think Outside The Box. the whole story subverts, deconstructs, and rebuilds some of the most problematic trends in superhero – or in fact, most generic action-y – storytelling.

PLUS, on top of all that, it explicitly shows characters on screen engaging in some really healthy behaviours. it has three separate female characters with three separate independent arcs, none of whom are sexualized. it allows male characters to be emotional and vulnerable and it delves into complicated heavy issues like breaking the cycle of abuse, or the many insidious layers and effects of toxic masculinity.

the entire story is about deconstructing and subverting toxic masculinity. and it is told so well.

and, on top of all of that Excellent Content, u literally, my friend, feel as though u are immersed in a particularly colourful gotg comic book for 2 and a half hours of your life.

WHAT an icon, tbh 

and so u see, anon, guardians vol.2 takes all the excellent premise content that vol.1 set up – rag tag gang of criminal losers accidentally become a family and save the world bc they’re Good people – and really expands on that beautifully. it takes the universe its built for itself and it tells a genuinely Good and complex and emotional story within that universe, about the characters that it’s set up for itself. 

and it is, truly, in every sense of the word, an ensemble superhero film. every character has their own individual arc, which are simultaneously independent of each other but also strongly interrelated bc the whole point of the story is that they’re a family whom loves each other. EVERYONE has an arc. and they’re all satisfying. they’re all important. they’re all powerful, even if they’re humorous or cute or kind of ridiculous at times.

and then, u know what happens, anon? u know what u get when u have a whole film, a whole 2 hours, that explores its characters in such depth?

u get a whole new perspective on vol.1, on that first, mostly decent generic-ish superhero film, and then u have the TIME OF YOUR LIFE re-watching the first one. bc u are invested in these characters now! u know where they’re going! how much they’re gonna love each other! how much they’ve dealt with in their lives! u have so much emotional context. so that first movie? it becomes important. it becomes relevant and poignant, when juxtaposed to the narrative of the second one, to the arcs in the second one.

truly? truly? what a way to write a story. what a WAY. i wanna do that someday.

so.

SO.

u should., ,,,, imho … in my humblest onion ….. Please Watch Guardians of the Galaxy. bc if u havent seen the first one, u cant understand the second one, and personally, i think that guardians of the galaxy volume 2 is genuinely one of the most important films that marvel studios has produced to date.

I listened to the audio of the EWP’s production of N2N and I love how much having an all Asian cast adds so many little nuances to the story without having to actually change anything, particularly with:

  • the stigma regarding mental illness in a lot of Asian cultures and how much more painful that makes Diana’s story.
    • This also adds a whole new layer to the fact that Dan tries to ignore his depression for so many years, in favour of helping Diana.
  • the whole “all Asians are smart” stereotype in relation to Natalie’s stress over her grades and academic future. It sheds a whole new light on to why she would stress about Yale as much as she does, especially with the fact that a lot of Asian households do value academic success very highly.
  • the neglect towards Natalie and the focus on Gabe in relation to the elephant in the room about how a lot of Asian cultures still value sons over daughters. This adds an entirely new layer to Natalie’s pain regarding being ignored by her mother and so many lines in Superboy and the Invisible Girl
    • “He’s a hero, a lover, a prince/She’s not there”
    • “He’s the one you wish would appear/He’s your hero, forever your son”
    • “I love you as much as I can

This show works so wonderfully with an all Asian cast and manages to address so many harmful stereotypes/sheds light on a lot of issues within Asian communities without having to change ANY aspect of the show and just… this is why diversity is important. A diverse cast can add a whole new interpretation to a show that might have never otherwise addressed it because it wouldn’t have originally been written with that kind of narrative in mind. I doubt Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey were attempting to make statements regarding the stigma of mental illness, pressure of academic success, and gender inequality in Asian cultures when they first wrote Feeling Electric, but thats what an all Asian cast contributes to the show. Diverse casting can help a show as much as it can help the actors.

2

“ With Maria, there is that option of her falling in love with him, right? Her husband is a crook; he beats her. I’m sure if Hamilton was like, "I want to be with you, let’s run away,” she would grab her baby and do it. But that doesn’t happen. Then the Reynolds Pamphlets came out, and everyone knew about her business. So instead of playing it like a villain, I feel bad for her. There’s always another side to the story, and in this case, you don’t know exactly what was the truth. This affair happened for three years, and he’s a powerful man. I tried to find as many layers as possible. Even if it just comes out in a smirk, those little details make her more than a vixen in a red dress.“

bluecrysto-blog  asked:

You have such a wonderful touch with color! Where do you get your inspiration for these super fun palettes? Any tips on How to Color Good©?

AHH thank you!!   I’m really bad about using smart correct ART terms for what I do lol so idk how useful any advice I give would be but

Main source of inspiration is just.. I really love colors lol.  Colors make me SO HAPPY and I guess using more = more happy lmao, that’s why most of my stuff is so saturated.

As far as character palettes go, what I do is figure out 3-4 dominant colors that fit the character and then make every other color compliment those colors.  For in-game characters I’ll eyeball the palette straight off the models and then alter each color so they work together a little better.  

In Photoshop I put every color on it’s own separate layer and then mess with the sliders in Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation on each individual color until I like it.  I might find one color I really like and alter the colors around it to compliment it. 

90% of what I do is push those sliders around until I like what I see. \o/  If you do this enough you’ll start to passively learn what colors feel best together and against each other.  I’ve been doing it for yeeears. 

Sometimes even if I like a color it’s good to slide it around anyway to see if I can make a stronger or more interesting palette.

Most of my stuff is very saturated and rainbowy because I LIKE EVERY COLOR and every color can work together if you mess around with it enough lol

(WIPs lol)

Design is important but the colors you use should be part of the story too.  Color should always make you feel something because color speaks!  Sometimes it’s very soft and sometimes it’s very loud, but it’s like the music that goes along with the narration.  It sets the atmosphere of a piece. 

I LOVE using limited palettes too, though.  Limiting my colors to just 3-4 forces me to tell the story more clearly because I can’t rely on colors to make certain things obvious.  Makes me think a lil different because layers and opacity can turn few colors into many.  

I usually only use limited palettes for comic/storytelling stuff, otherwise I make everything rainbow lol COLOR MAKES ME SO HAPPY and I wanna share that happiness!

kemmlerthekitschmaster  asked:

Can you elaborate more on how the Alys-Sigorn wedding was awesome and its like a baby that conquered the world? I just really like Alys/Sigorn and want to hear more about it.

Whew, where to begin? The Alys-Sigorn wedding is IMO a strong candidate for “best scene in the series,” and it’s probably exhibit A in the case for ADWD as the best book in that series (give or take Dany X and the dragontaming). It’s the surest sign that GRRM still knows what he’s doing and that the sedimentary layers of story are producing more powerful moments as he goes. It’s such a narratively dense event with so many resonances that you could spend days teasing it apart. Here’s just a brief overview.  

At one level, the wedding symbolizes and enacts the alliance between the Stark North and the Free Folk, presided over by the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch (himself having been raised in Winterfell, but also having ridden with the wildlings). It’s very ceremonial and ritualistic, GRRM taking his time setting it up and lingering on every detail so you really get what a momentous deal this is: a powerful wildling leader and the daughter of a significant Northern house joining to forge something new. This carries such weight with us because we’ve been living with this bitter divide and the knowledge of how longstanding and entrenched it is for multiple books. Climbing this hill seemed nigh-impossible back in ASOS when Stannis proposed it; now, we see a real ray of hope. And of course, this dovetails so beautifully with what happens at chapter’s end: the horn blast announcing Tormund Giantsbane’s arrival to cement that pact. 

This sense of harmonic resolution wouldn’t mean much, though, if it didn’t also extend to the bride and groom specifically. Alys coming to Jon (specifically as Ned’s son) and securing his help against Cregan and Arnolf marks a symbolic reconciliation between Houses Stark and Karstark. Instead of the latter house as an enemy, as they’ve been since early in ASOS, we now see them as a complex family riven by internal conflict, and there’s a chance to set things right. It helps, of course, that Alys is immediately one of the most lovable characters in the story: “Let him be scared of me.” As for Sigorn, his father died at Castle Black thanks to Jon’s defenses, and earlier in ADWD, Sigorn himself opposed assimilation to the point of threatening Jon’s life. Here, however, he brings the Thenns into the larger realm and makes a very moving peace–and of course he, too, is written to encourage empathy in the wedding scene, coming off nervous, awkward, and ultimately good-hearted. 

But what really makes this scene shine, undergirding and emphasizing all of the above, is the imagery. It…glows. 

And Melisandre said, “Let them come forth, who would be joined.” The flames cast her shadow on the Wall behind her, and her ruby gleamed against the paleness of her throat.

Jon turned to Alys Karstark. “My lady. Are you ready?”

“Yes. Oh, yes.”

“You’re not scared?”

The girl smiled in a way that reminded Jon so much of his little sister that it almost broke his heart. “Let him be scared of me.”The snowflakes were melting on her cheeks, but her hair was wrapped in a swirl of lace that Satin had found somewhere, and the snow had begun to collect there, giving her a frosty crown. Her cheeks were flushed and red, and her eyes sparkled.

“Winter’s lady.” Jon squeezed her hand.

The Magnar of Thenn stood waiting by the fire, clad as if for battle, in fur and leather and bronze scales, a bronze sword at his hip. His receding hair made him look older than his years, but as he turned to watch his bride approach, Jon could see the boy in him. His eyes were big as walnuts, though whether it was the fire, the priestess, or the woman that had put the fear in him Jon could not say. Alys was more right than she knew.

“Who brings this woman to be wed?” asked Melisandre.

“I do,” said Jon. “Now comes Alys of House Karstark, a woman grown and flowered, of noble blood and birth.” He gave her hand one last squeeze and stepped back to join the others.

“Who comes forth to claim this woman?” asked Melisandre.

“Me.” Sigorn slapped his chest. “Magnar of Thenn.”

“Sigorn,” asked Melisandre, “will you share your fire with Alys, and warm her when the night is dark and full of terrors?”

“I swear me.” The Magnar’s promise was a white cloud in the air. Snow dappled his shoulders. His ears were red. “By the red god’s flames, I warm her all her days.”

“Alys, do you swear to share your fire with Sigorn, and warm him when the night is dark and full of terrors?”

“Till his blood is boiling.” Her maiden’s cloak was the black wool of the Night’s Watch. The Karstark sunburst sewn on its back was made of the same white fur that lined it.

Melisandre’s eyes shone as bright as the ruby at her throat. “Then come to me and be as one.” As she beckoned, a wall of flames roared upward, licking at the snowflakes with hot orange tongues. Alys Karstark took her Magnar by the hand.

Side by side they leapt the ditch.

“Two went into the flames.” A gust of wind lifted the red woman’s scarlet skirts till she pressed them down again. “One emerges.” Her coppery hair danced about her head. “What fire joins, none may put asunder.”

This is hope rendered in radiant red and gold; this is what endgame looks like. We saw it, just a flash of it, as their leap (like Theon and Jeyne’s, several chapters later) reached its apex. This leap over the flames and everything that goes with it exists in defiance of the Long Night, in spite of the army of the dead. It’s a fire to circle around, a well from which to draw strength, and a foundation for what comes next. House Thenn’s sigil is appropriate; they represent the Dawn.

The Skaters Silly (not-so) Secrets

For the second part of @atelerixe requests for headcanons, I have decided to make a list of “little known” secrets about our favorite skaters. (Some of these could easily turn into drabbles or ficlets if anyone wants to see them!)

Leo – can line dance and taught Guang Hong how to do so as well. Sometimes when they are at the same competition, they have line dancing dance parties in one of their hotel rooms

JJ – has a series of really innocent things he does with Isabella. They read series of books together, taking turns reading chapters out loud (including all of Harry Potter and the Wrinkle in Time series). They have a long time running score for Rummy 500 and a travel set for checkers.

Emil – can play the guitar and sing. He mostly sings love songs and has a YouTube channel. Everyone wants to know who he is singing to and why there is always a Mickey Mouse plushie sitting on the top of this guitar.

Mickey – secretly loves Emil (oh look here, it is another ship!) But he doesn’t even realize that it is love. It starts out trying to shove Emil away, but slowly, he starts watching every one of Emil’s YouTube videos and leaving comments (great range, man!). Sometimes, he will text Emil with song suggestions that fit with the love theme (he is also slowly killing Emil and does not realize this either)

Mila – sometimes shaves shapes into her undercut. After she starts dating Sara (yes I ship them) she has her hair dresser shave Sara surrounded by a heart into her undercut. She purposely wears her hair up around Mickey

Sara – can break dance. If it hadn’t been for the dress she was wearing at the Sochi banquet, she would have challenged Yuuri then and there. She also took a pole dancing class and was part of an online group who posted their pole dancing performances on YouTube while wearing masks (Mila was personally responsible for the videos going viral)

Seung-gil –obsessively follows dog blogs and donates to animal rescue efforts in multiple countries (his dog is a rescue animal). He has a t-shirt that says “I rescue animals, what’s your super power?” and a water bottle that says “my child as four paws”

Phichit – has practiced his ice show with his actual hamster. He even made them a stage. It is the single cutest thing that has ever happened

Chris – has days of the week underwear with sexual innuendos on them. (HUMP Day Wednesday, Thirsty Thursday, Scream My Name Saturday)

Georgi – has a collection of first addition story books. When he is feeling happy, he will go to the stories with happily ever afters. When he is upset he reads nothing by The Brothers Grim

Minami – has a Disney obsession. He knows every movie, every D-Com, and can sign every song. He has a bed full of plushies, and collects Disney snowglobes. His dream is to be a part of Disney on Ice one day

Yuri – watches YouTube videos to learn how to do his hair. He also owns so many hair products that Yakov mutters about Yuri’s responsibility for the hole in the ozone layer. Sometimes when he is messing with his hair, he will angrily whisper about how it must be better than Victor’s

Otabek – is a huge nerd (again… I don’t want to spoil my plot for my catfishprompt fic… but trust me HUGE NERD)

Victor – collects anything poodle related. The bathroom hand towels are covered in poodles, and they have them in seven different colors. The waffle maker makes poodle shaped waffles. There is a pancake mold and high thread count pillow cases with pillows on them (when Yuuri moves in, Victor has a pillow case printed of Yuuri and Vicchan – there are some very sweet, appreciative tears). As Yuuri starts to run out of poodle themed ideas (the poodle shaped clock now hanging in their kitchen was a last stroke of luck), the gifts start becoming even more random. Poodle salt and pepper shakers, poodle underwear, poodle pajama pants… Victor has it all.

Yuuri – cheats at Just Dance. The dance calls for a hip twirl? Yuuri is grinding, “accidentally” brushing against Victor’s hip as he does it. Every move is deliberate and if Victor somehow manages to cling to his self-control, Yuuri steps slightly forward making sure that he is in Victor’s line of vision while dancing. One night, when Victor was really on his game, Yuuri stripped while playing, without missing a beat. The game was abandoned

Yakov – has broken stress dolls by throwing them. Mila gave him one that was supposed to be indestructible but after Georgi’s third meltdown of the day, Victor and Yuuri’s seventh attempt to sneak off the ice to make out, and Yuri and Mila’s ninth wrestling match, he throws it against the wall so hard it explodes. All the skaters run.

anonymous asked:

So I have a question. I feel like I am not the target audience for Dream Daddy because I'm a gay woman, so I haven't planned on playing it. But I feel like people who talk to me about it are judging me when I say I hadn't planned on playing it because of that reason. So I was wondering what you think? I'm glad my other gay friends have a game for them so I don't want it to be like I'm taking their spotlight sort of thing.

Okay, honestly, just because you are not the target audience doesn’t mean you can’t play or enjoy Dream Daddy. Supporting a thing by buying and playing it is an okay thing to do, whether you are a lesbian, straight, or just not a man. Like half the guys that play it aren’t even dads and yet there is a ton of commentary targeted at things like being a trans man with a child, being a single dad after the death of a partner, being divorced and trying to raise a child; while feeling like your ex is undermining your parenting, or having a friendly relationship with your ex, while raising your children, and still finding a new partner.

Like there are a ton of different perspectives in the game and so the target audience is already a wide cast net (as far as being gay/bisexual/mlm/etc., just a dad, or both), but like I was saying, not being the target audience is okay too. Dream Daddy does a great job of normalizing mlm relationships in everyday and giving the perspective of the target audience. (side note for the picky: yes there are flaws, but overall it was Great).

As for the whole spotlight thing? Buying and enjoying the game is not taking the spotlight away from it’s target audience, talking about and celebrating is not taking it away either. In fact, it just offers a bigger space for enjoyment and fandom of the game.

Taking the game is making it about You, for instance (not at you but something I saw) there were a few wlw who were attacking this game, and I mean ATTACKING this game because there wasn’t an equivalent of it for them. Which fair, but why undermine the game for mlm??? Why not plan to make your own wlw game based off of it??? There was even some official talk about making that a thing.

Another thing taking it away from the men it is for, is excluding them from the fandom. Talking over them when they are so excited about this game. Some (thankfully from what I’ve seen so few) straight women have been taking the dads and doing what if their cis woman oc was the main character instead…which phases out the men this game was made for. Especially since some of the dads are in fact not bisexual or unknown as bisexual.

SO yeah, I don’t care who you are. If you think you’d like this game or don’t know if you’d like this game, or Whatever. Play the game, support the game, enjoy the game. It’s really cool, really sweet, the characters are varied and wonderful (except for HIM), it is overall realistic, lovely, and just so great to see mlm in a not overly sexual, normalized, wholesome, and satisfying filter.

Who Is Prometheus?

It’s been awhile since I’ve done this, but I thought I’d dive back into the world of spec. Bear with me. We might be rusty, but this is a natural byproduct of talking Arrow with @callistawolf​ for over an hour. The brain swims with possibilities.

I’ve made no secret about my frustration over the Prometheus storyline. 

Primarily because A) we didn’t get a reveal in the midseason finale and B) the back story on Prometheus was, in my opinion, spectacularly lame.

My reasons are thus: The Big Bad is always a crucial element in Arrow’s season arc. He/She is the dark half of Oliver’s hero’s journey for that season. It is monumentally important that the audience connect to the Big Bad. It is monumentally important that we are allowed to get to know him or her, so we can understand his or her motivations. This ultimately leads to a greater understanding of where Oliver needs to go in his overall evolution.

Not revealing who Prometheus is essentially keeps a wall between him and the audience. His more of an archetype. A voice box, with a skill level to match Oliver, who’s more of an omnipresent figure than an actual “face to face” opponent. He’s the Arrow equivalent of the Boogey Man. We saw some of this with Ra’s Al Ghul in Season 3 and Slade in Season 2, but Arrow revealed their characters in both mid seasons finale to allow the audience to connect to the them and move beyond the omnipresent archetype.  They have not done that with Prometheus us and failing to reveal his identity simply prolongs this disconnect.

Arrow then tries to temper this disconnect by providing us with some information about Prometheus. He is the son of  Claybourne, a man who was on Robert Queen’s list. A villain Oliver killed in Season 1. I had both my mother and husband, both ardent casual viewers, ask me if Claybourne was someone we knew about in Season 1. Nope. Never heard of him. They just plucked a name from obscurity. The connection to Season 1 is… thin. Even, Diggle’s “you’re killing can lead to unforeseen consequences” statement was so heavy handed it was cringe worthy. This all just feels plopped in.

And that’s my beef. We’ve been told over and over and over again how Prometheus is a villain they had to wait FIVE YEARS to do. This places some mythological like level to S5′s Big Bad, like he’s been lying in wait and Arrow has just been waiting for the right time to pull the trigger.  So this all boils down to Prometheus needed five years to train? Eh.

Then, of course, there’s how Team Arrow discovered Prometheus was Claybourne’s son. They only discovered this information because Prometheus wanted them to. 

It was like a play. He set up the scene and Oliver was merely an actor in the show Prometheus was directing. None of it felt real and yet… Oliver and team believed it hook line and sinker. Prometheus reenacts a kill from Season 1. He provides a baby photo and Claybourne’s ashes and TA DA! We have the identity of our bad guy. There wasn’t a lot of critical thinking from Team Arrow. This was all handed to them at a very specific time and in a very specific way.  And everyone’s just all, “Cool. Makes sense.”

WHAT??? Where’s my beloved Scooby Gang? Where’s the examination? WHERE’S THE DISTRUST OLIVER? At the very least I’d expect that from you, but homeboy is “Prometheus is, above all things, an honest foe.”

MADNESS I TELLL YOU. MADNESS. Hence the screaming and throwing things at my television.  Then there’s the overly dramatic, almost Greek like tragedy way, Prometheus orchestrated Billy’s death.  

True to his name! Dude is a Drama Queen. He’s not particularly concerned with killing Oliver at the moment, but he’s going to make his life a soap opera. Why? THE FUN.

So, I’m calm now. We’ve watched the aftermath of Billy’s death. We’re seeing the path Felicity is going down. 

There’s been some incredibly telling things revealed about that journey. So, instead of accepting Prometheus at face value (as Arrow so desperately wants us to do), I decided to actually acknowledge the man for who he is… a Puppet Master.  This is all one, big, massive misdirect. It is elegant. It is cunning. It is twisted. And it will touch everyone in Oliver’s life.

The reason why Arrow didn’t reveal Prometheus’ identity is because this is the season long mystery.  The identity reveal is their big card. It’s the “Who’s in the grave?” reveal. It’s the “What is the Undertaking?” reveal. They aren’t letting us connect to the Big Bad because WE ALREADY KNOW HIM. And when he is revealed it will be a light bulb moment. A moment worth five years waiting for.

A lot of this has been theorized by many other people for many other months. I’ve seen so many specs I can’t remember them all, but this was the most recent. Added a layer to the Prometheus myth I missed and I loved it. However, I think Calli and I have pieced together a couple of the holes that were hanging us up on a few items. So, let’s dig in…

Keep reading

Let me tell you about Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a show about growing up. Starting with the romantic view on life which later evolves into the harsh reality of exactly how shitty this world really is.

There’s so many reasons to praise this show. It’s got intense, interesting, and extremely layered character developments. Endless amounts of metaphors with very powerful messages. Epic writing (grave understatement). Detailed foreshadowing and call backs. Every story is told for a reason with the proper amount of consequences. And oh so much self reflection. In so many ways this is a very ambitious drama show that evolves beautifully. Which it deserves a lot of praise for.

But people like to ignore what gives this show it’s heart. Why all these things work so wonderfully and create such emotional resonance. Why we end up sincerely falling in love with this show instead of just finding it interesting.

It’s the parts that people tend to find shameful, and why it gets so underrated and discredited. The fact that it is downright ridiculous. And I need every part of it. Down to the bad 2000~ CGI snakes, gimmicky monsters, every last stupid pun, the “sunnydale syndrome”, etc etc. This show wouldn’t be half as great without these things. It makes us go on an emotional roller coaster that takes us from laughing to crying in less than 30 seconds.

This show doesn’t take itself too seriously. It lets all these things exist in the same space beautifully and brings it to life. It catches you off guard. It slaps you in the face with reality when you least expect it. Just like life, it’s full of horrible and hilarious moments.

Because really, underneath all the ridiculousness it’s an extremely dark story. Too dark to properly absorb without the light that the silliness and jokes offer.

“Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, but then, for the love of God, tell a joke.” - Joss Whedon

now to scream about The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner, mostly The King of Attolia

  • Notes about the books:
    - they are standalone-ish stories that share a cast and world
    - The Thief reads like a quaint middle grade novel that is tonally completely different from the rest of the series, which reads like classic YA fantasy with adult characters; the real action begins with The Queen of Attolia. Both books are much better on reread–the foreshadowing will likely fly by you the first time, and as these are more “setup” books, I think they can be difficult to appreciate on their own.
    - The King of Attolia, ho boy, I wasn’t expecting much from the summary and now here I am screaming; this is the one that goes on my all-time favorites.
    - EDIT: I HAVE NOW READ A Conspiracy of Kings AND AM CONSUMED BY EMOTION. MY SOVEREIGN BBS. Thick as Thieves releases in May!!
  • you must first understand: I have no interest in methodical political intrigue. This series is only methodical political intrigue and here I am.
  • it is subtle, unlike me, and every scene is so carefully crafted; concise, deliberate prose that knows exactly what it’s doing and revealing
  • or not revealing
  • VERY SMART PROTAGONISTS whose strength and cunning are balanced by having to make VERY DIFFICULT DECISIONS.
  • the QUEENS. Literal (multiple!) queens are at the forefront of the politics, with unquestioned strength and ferocity even when they may not have the most tenuous hold on their power. They come into the story seasoned rulers, not novices. One is a favorite anti-heroine, cold and cruel and YET.
  • I liked the titular character until The King of Attolia, now I LOVE HIM. All things in the world should star Eugenides.
  • the dash of romance in the series is so unique, so unexpectedly romantic; easily on my list of all-time fav couples
  • the stories build so much: many-layered cast with multiple PoVs, domestic and foreign politics, complicated relationships that have you constantly looking over the characters’ shoulders, a wry humor on top of that, and it is so satisfying to see it all weave together like an elaborate rug
  • a beautiful, elaborate rug that winks at you before pulling itself out from under your feet
The Force Awakens and fairytales, part one: Snow Queen and Snoke

Thank you @ewa-a-nie-chce-spac​ for your encouragement and @shadowlass​ for inspiration :) I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a year, but recently few things happened that motivated me to do it:

Finally I had a chance to watch “Beauty and the Beast”. Well, I saw the animated version before but watching the new one only made me realize why I disagree so strongly with the conclusions of this fairytale. I was never a fan of this theory which highlights the parallels between Kylo and the Beast. Of course, there is some similarity in the outer layer and symbolism but the core of the story is totally different: while Beast is a proud and vain man and so his task in the story is to learn how to love another human being, Kylo is full of self-hatred and doubt and his main goal in this trilogy is learn how to love himself.

What is more, there are many fairytales that reflect more accurately the main motives visible in the Force Awakens. The two that, in my opinion, are the most fitting here are “Snow Queen” and “Prince Lindworm”. But let me say this: since I’ve become a part of this fandom I admired all those talented people who were creating amazing stores, drawing beautiful fanarts and those who put their extensive knowledge (from fabulously varied fields!) into use, writing metas. I also wanted to contribute and share those bits and pieces that I’ve collected during my studies. I decided to divide this post into two parts: the first one will be about the Snow Queen and I will discuss the similarities between the fairytale and TFA on the level of the plot and its symbolism. This one will be more like a summary. In the second part I will write about Prince Lindwom and more psychological stuff, like trauma, dissociation and archetypal defenses of personal spirit. However, I will focus on Kylo’s relation with Snoke in both parts, because I feel that there are still some things that need to be said.

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anonymous asked:

Do you have any advice for critiquing a friend's writing? I don't want to discourage their enthusiasm, I think I may just be in a negative mindset but I can't think of much positive feedback. They have a lot they need to work on, and I want to help, I just don't know how to do it without coming accross shitty. I feel like I'm very lacking in my critiquing ability and I won't be able to help them the way they need to grow, but neither of us know anyone else who could help.

Hey, anon! I have a few suggestions, so bear with me for a slightly longer response than usual!

Originally posted by veryfunstuff

First, I want to say that it’s okay not to give your friend critiques, especially if you don’t feel comfortable doing it! Stick to positive feedback (I have a few ideas for that!) until you come across something you feel comfortable suggesting to them. I have a few friends who I tell, “Look, I’m not going to critique you. I can give you a suggestion and totally be excited for what you write, of course, but I don’t think my way of critiquing is going to help you.”

It’s better to be honest up front rather than try to tell them what they want to hear!

1) What is positive feedback? Positive feedback is anything that you like about someone’s story. It doesn’t have to be the way it was written! Maybe you like the plot, maybe you like the characters, maybe they did description particularly well! Just because someone’s writing skill level isn’t as high as they’d like doesn’t mean there’s nothing good about their work!

“Oh, I like the setting a lot. The tall, red brick buildings are perfect for the apocalyptic thing you’ve got going on.”

“I really like how brave Character A is! It takes a lot to stand up to Character B.”

“I love Sci-fi, so I was really excited to see your story going in that direction!”

“This sentence here, the one about X, I really like this turn of phrase!”

These are all examples of positive feedback! There are so many layers in story-telling, there’s always something good to comment on! 

2) Use AND not BUT.  A lot of times, “but” can feel invalidating. “I really liked X, but y needs work.” That makes the author feel like all the reader will see is Y. They totally miss out on how great X is! Think of it as improv! You can’t keep building the scene (or story!) without “and!” 

“I really like X and I feel like the reader will feel it even more if Y really focuses on…”

“You’ve got the beginnings of a great character here and I think you can continue that by adding a flashback or something similar.”

“I love the direction this is taking and think it’ll really bring it all together if you vary your sentence structure here…”

You’re working with the writer to bring their story to life, you’re not judging their writing. When I started thinking about it like improv, I actually improved my relationships with my writing friends because they knew I was on their side!

3) There’s a lot to fix. The simple truth of the matter is that the only way to get better at writing is to read, write, and edit. There’s no way around that! So don’t try to make a new writer’s work look like Hemingway, it takes forever and it’s super discouraging!

Try to offer two suggestions per piece someone shows you! (The number of suggestions will be up to you, but for new writers, I’d suggest two!) Try to make each suggestion different. Maybe one will be about sentence structure and another will be about pacing. Or one could be about characterization and another could be keeping an eye out for dialogue formatting!

There’s nothing wrong with having a lot to work on and as much as we’d all love to tackle every problem at once, we can’t! So just giving a few suggestions until next time is much better since it lets the author just focus on those in edits!

It also helps to give the author context for your suggestions. 

“I think this needs to be slower, but that’s based on my personal taste.”

 “This sounds awkward to me and I don’t know why. I really liked how this author did it in their book. Maybe take a look when you have time for ideas?”

“I’m having trouble with this too! Recently I’ve tried X, Y, and Z. Maybe you could try?”

4) What are they asking? If you don’t know where to start with suggestions, ask them! Ask them if they want you to pay attention to this character or pacing or description. Writers will, a lot of the time, already know what they’re struggling with or what they want to work on next. Ask for parameters so that you’re both on the same page in the critique!

“Could you keep an eye out for awkward phrasing?”

“Sure!”

“And also, Character A is supposed to be angry with Character B. If you have any suggestions on how to show that, please let me know.”

“Of course!”

It’s also the writer’s job to work with you, especially if you’re friends! 

5) Who else can help? That sucks that there aren’t many writers around you! I’d try Scribophile (X) if you’d like some reviews from strangers! It’s a site I use fairly often!


Hope this helps anon! If you have any other questions, feel free to ask!