when was the last time i did something sequential like this

Little Witch (Part 3)

Pairings: Peter x reader

Word count: 3 194

Summary: The reader is raised by Hydra but manages to escape after they kill her parents. She is emotionally unstable and can’t control her powers. The Avengers rescue her and give her everything she missed form life and wanted to feel. But would her new found love be enough to extinguish her desire for revenge? What would be the side she would choose to rely on? Will she be ready to face the real her?

A/N: I am so happy how this turned out out to be. Flashback is in Italics:) I hope you like it an please, i am begging you, let me know what you think about the story ♥ Enjoy (Sorry for the mistakes) 

Part 1 // Part 2

Originally posted by misshollander1

Peter was sitting next to the closed door waiting for the mysterious girl to get clean. He had showed her his room because he had a personal bathroom and was the only option he had. He couldn’t get her face when he told her which this room was to out of his mind.

‘Fantastic, she thinks I am a fool now.’ the boy was deep in his thoughts. The usual feeling of nervousness when you think you had messed up in front of a person you wanted to impress was now taken over him. He surely had showed Tony something he didn’t want to with his behavior or the way he was looking at her, but how could he resist? He was amazed not that much from her appearance but the fact she wasn’t a cry-baby but a tough little…witch. He longed for the moment to understand more about her character, what she liked, what her dreams are now and so on without knowing why. Maybe the mysteriousness in her personality was the only thing responsible for this.

‘Come to Earth, Peter! You just met her, you can’t be head over heels about a girl you don’t even know!’

As the boy was trying to convenience himself to stop the unstoppable desires of the soul, a noise came from the bathroom. With his blurred senses he entered the room with fuss thinking about the worse that could have happened.

“Oh my god, Peter! Don’t you know how to knock?!”, the girl screamed as she tried to cover her with the towel. Peter turned around and covered his eyes “You are lucky I am wearing a bra and underwear. I didn’t think you are so pervert and creepy.”

“What, no! I-I just heard something falling. I thought you have hurt yourself, I didn’t want to- bother you or see you naked.”

‘Great! Amazing! If she didn’t think I was a fool, now she definitely does!’

“You already saw what you saw…there’s no need to hide and act innocent.”, (Y/n) retorted. Unfortunately, Peter was thrown in a serious dilemma.

‘If I turn around, this may show her I want to scan her half-naked body…but if I don’t, she will think I am acting just to impress her. What the hell am I supposed to do!?’

As every man, he had to understand the girl’s mind faster and come up with a decision. In his opinion, turning around was the better option, so he did so. As he removed his hand from his face he got stunned. (Y/n) was wearing a bra and jeans given to her from Wanda but the body wasn’t what caught his attention. It was her back.  

“Beautiful, don’t you think?” bitterness and sarcasm was read in her response. Her bare back was marked with a stranger and macabre scar. The letter ‘X’ was carved deep in her skin.

“I-I am sorry, staring at it wasn’t my intention.”

“There’s no need to apologize, Peter. I am not ashamed of it, I don’t wanna hide it.”

“Why do you have it?”, the boy came back to the reality as the girl put a t-shirt on and hide the mark.

“I got it from Hydra. Like I said I was tortured.”, Peter wasn’t able to find any word to say something. He was amazed and angry at the same time by what had been done to this girl at her young age, “Let’s go to the others and finish this.”

“If you are not okay with explaining wha-”

“Wanda and Bruce told me about what they’ve been trough. I know others weren’t in paradise either. Maybe when I tell somebody what exactly happen, it won’t be that hard to bear it on my shoulders. ”

“Here you are, we thought something happened between you two.”, Stark smirked at the teenagers as they entered in the living room. He had a drink in his hand while standing near the huge glass wall.

“Actually, it did happened. Peter stormed into the bathroom as I was changing.”, the girl had crossed her hands in front of her so tried to make a pissed expression.

“That’s not how you try to win the girl, Peter!”, Stark exclaimed.

“What were you expecting from him? He is 24/7 with you, of course he will act like you.”, Nat smiled as she waved at the girl letting her know she can feel home here.

“I-It…I thought she had hurt herself, okay?”, it caused the whole group to laugh, especially when Peter got as red as a tomato.

(Y/N) sat down between Wanda and Nat. She ran a hand through her hair showing her worry. Wanda put a hand on her shoulder saying that it will relieve her and promised that she would feel better. They all waited in silence. (Y/N) didn’t wanted to start mainly because she didn’t know from when to or how. Steve managed to spot it.

“Well (Y/N) if Peter hasn’t scared you and you haven’t change your mind yet, we would like to know how you got possessed by Hydra, and if there are other people like you who we can save.”

The girl took a deep breath and began.

“It all started ten year ago. I don’t remember the date but I all the events after are still remained in my brain. We went on a holiday in Russia to spend New Year…”

1st January, 2007. Moscow, Russia.

The sequential cold day in the enormous and scary Russia. A war had been waged since last year but that didn’t stop the people from celebrating New Year, more precisely the new beginning, the time that would give them hope, strength, and maybe the time when the bloodshed would be stopped.

The clock had gone past 00:00 an hour ago. The people were still roaming through the centre of the capital city too excited to feel fatigue. There were young Russians enjoying the holiday, soldiers protecting the nation, families with their little children playing the snow, old people smiling as seeing their heirs happy. Nobody expected that this happiness will soon be ruined by a woman screaming.

A seven-year-old girl, named (Y/N) (Y/L/N) was holding her mother’s and father’s hands while admiring the splendor view of Moscow. She was coming from a country where snow wasn’t accumulating in such huge heaps like here. She wanted to throw herself into those cold clouds and play.

“Mummy, mummy!”, the girl pulled her mother’s coat getting her attention, “Can I play in the snow?”, the lady kneeled down and smiled at her little girl.

“Of course you can, but after that we will have to go back. And please, be careful.”

The little girl nodded in excitement and ran towards the other kids to play with. The family sat in a bench looking at their precious angel. She was far away but they never left an eye from her.

“Look how happy she is.”, they both were contemplating. The man took his wife’s hand and kissed it causing them both to look at each other for a moment. And that was their mistakes.

“Mummy!”, a shouting kid made them to both look away from each other. All the mother saw was her child token from a man in back and a van that seconds later got away. The woman couldn’t figure out what was happening in the first seconds.

“No! My child! They took my child! No! Save her!”, the lady began screaming. Everything went dead for a moment. The people were staring shocked at the screaming and crying mother. She ran straight to the soldiers and tried to shake one of them. Nobody did anything. The soldiers played as though nothing had happened. The mother was dying from the inside. Her kid was gone. She fell on the ground, her agony splitting the happy atmosphere. Her heart was slowly and painfully breaking, sticking it’s sharp ends in her chest not letting her take a breath.

That night was the last time (Y/N) saw her mummy and daddy. After being put in the van she was anesthetized so no one would hear her screams and weep. The girl woke in an unfamiliar room. She didn’t want to eat. All she desired for was seeing her parents again. But it’s different with kids. They don’t have the strength to do such things till the end. After days she gave up and attacked her lunch like a lion which hadn’t eaten in weeks. This time was the first she actually left the room she woke up into. A young lady had showed her the playground where she met other kids like her.

“Where is mummy?”, the little girl asked.

“She will come sweetheart, only if you do what we tell you.”, the lady gave her a bright smile causing the girl to believe her. The next few months she did what she was told but her mother wasn’t coming.

5th June, 2011.

(Y/N) didn’t believe anymore to the lies that were told to her. She knew her mother was gone, her father no more to be seen. Although she was only eleven, somehow she knew this place was probably her grave.

Since three years the men in white, how she decided to call them, had started doing some experiments with her. At first she didn’t know why and wasn’t resisting due to believing that this was the only chance to see her mummy and daddy again. Years later she still didn’t resist. There was no point.

Her schedule was hooked up in her room. 7am – breakfast, 7:30 – studying session (Maths, Russian, History); 13:00 – lunch, 13:30 – time to understand about your physical and psychological condition (that was how they called all the experiments they did to her, all the pain she felt and the indifferent from the doctors); 19:30 – dinner.

Each day was the same. The only different things were the subject they were teaching. This way of living ended on this day.

This time the experiments were two hour long and the other time was occupied with trainings. The remained children were getting a 4-hour long infernal torture. They began with learning how to use cold weapons. The first lessons were on dummies but the next week they began practicing on each other. Nobody wanted to hurt the friend opposite them. Some of the kids refused and got punished in front of all. They had to see that not obeying leaded to pain, not doing you best was leaded to torture. Since then (Y/n) was coming to her room all in blood, bruises and a hell pain that troubled her movements in the next day. Every night she was finding a first aid kid which she used to heal the wounds. Nobody was showing the kids how to use them, they had to learn on they own. Three kids died because of losing too much blood, from exhaust, from going nuts. Even those events didn’t stop Hydra with her experiments on their ‘rabbits’.

17th October, 2014

“Everything you’ve gone through was to get you ready for the cruel world out there, for the humanity. You are the one that would change the story. You will lead the planet to a better place and will do it with the cost of your life. Wars will be won by you and your names would be taught in the books.”, a tall beautiful woman was standing in front of the 14-year-old boys and girls who were formed in a perfect position. They looked willowier that the Russian army (Y/N) had seen 7 year ago. They were more dangerous with their killing skills. They were the perfect built weapon for Hydra’s plans.

“All the tasks more of you managed to survive had to unlock your powers which we gave you when you came. Everyone has different skills and now you should show us what you are capable of!”, after a cold smile the lady went away. They were in the usual training hall that was transuded with the blood of innocent kids who had lost their self. There was a hidden room where the people were looking at them, to see how they cooperated, how better they were becoming.

In the first day of this new training almost all of them found their power. One was able to get invisible, another one had the strength to break through a wall with his bare hands. Only (Y/N) was standing there not knowing what she can do. She tried several different positions but nothing. Once she got panicked she knew the result would be zero.

Two days had passed and (Y/N) was at the same conditional – no powers found. As she was putting all her efforts in understanding her abilities three soldiers stormed into the room. Two of them caught the girl by her hands and a voice filled the room.

“Ms. (Y/L/N) why aren’t you training?”, the words were spoken slowly and cold. They sent shivers down her spine and she stuttered an answer.

“I-I am doing my best, mister. I-I just don’t think I have powers.”

“Bullshits! You are considered as a rebel Ms. (Y/L/N) and I am sure you know what we do to them.”

“No, no, no!”, the girl began protesting, she kicked them all down in seconds and tried to run but other five soldiers came. She was doing well, observing, kicking, showing no mercy as she was thoughts until one of them punched her in the head. For a moment she lost balance. They took her hands and chained her. One of the soldiers kicked her in the ankles so she wouldn’t be able to stand. Her body weight had to be hold only by her hands. She took a breath and looked up seeing the red symbol of the organization. As soon as she did so, she felt an indescribable anguish in her back. The sound of a whiplash tearing a skill echoed through the room. Her so called friends were looking trying to show no sorrow or empathy.

Ten whiplashing later the familiar voice spoke again.

“I hope you learnt your lesson. If not, the whiplashes will increase with each disobey from you side.”

What was said had been done. The torture had increased and (Y/N) had been whiplashed in front of everyone.

“She is going to die!”, a woman spoke in the hidden room as she and some others people were watching ‘the show’.

“No, she won’t!”, said the leader – a tall woman with short brown hair.

“But it doesn’t change anything. We observed her. She definitely shows no signs of anything supernatural in her.”

“Why the others have and she doesn’t?!”, screamed the leader.

“Her powers are probably connected with her emotions. We raised those kids teaching them to hide, to forget about having feelings. That’s the problem.”, explained one of the doctors.

“So we should provoke her?”


23th November, 2016

“Don’t you feel pain, Ms (Y/L/N)?”, the voice asked her for a hundredth time.

“No”, she asked calmly as the whip went along her back for one more time.

“Don’t you feel anger towards us for torturing you like an animal?”

“No.”, and with that the action was repeated. The girl was lying. She’s been tortured since two years. They did give her months to recover, to gain strength but two months weren’t enough for her body. The big letter ‘X’ was carved in her body, bleeding almost every night. But that wasn’t the worst. They had begun to manipulate her. Giving her pills, playing with her mind they had tried to made her show any sign of emotion. The girl thought this was some kind of a task that she had to pass. She never let them know she was suffering. She never let her anger out, not even when she was alone.

“Do it how many times you want!”, the girl spoke though her teeth as another whiplash hit her. This time she screamed. She made the mistake to let her feeling out for a moment and when she did, she couldn’t stop, “Do it! You won’t break me! YOU WON’T BREAK ME!”, she shouted and at the same time the windows in the Hall busted. She looked shocked as the people who had now been exposed.

“Finally”, said the leader with a smile on her face, “She showed her spark. Let’s see what her true power is.”

13th April, 2017

(Y/N) was led to a new premise. They made her sit on a chair and tied her tightly to it.

“We saw you have qualities for becoming the best soldier we have ever created.”, the girl didn’t answer, “But something is stopping you from revealing your full potential. Well, for you fortune we came with a decision how to remove this obstacle.”

The room had nothing else expect the chair she was tightened to. One of the walls was made by a Plexiglas or a common material. It was definitely showing another room and when the voice finished his statements a light from the other room showed what was there. The girl’s eyes widen at the view in front of her. There they were. Two well known faces the girl never forgot through her life here. They were the only thing giving her strength, courage to continue, to get through the Hell. Only the hope of seeing them is the reason she was still alive. She smiled for the first time in years.

“You missed them didn’t you?”

And then she came back to reality. Hydra wasn’t going to bring them to her so easily. They were going to do something to them and that scared her.

“Don’t hurt them!”, she screamed, “Mummy! Daddy! I am here! We will get out of here!”

“They can’t hear you.”

“What do you want from me?”

“Show me your powers. Revile them!”

“I-I can’t! Don’t you understand, I CAN’T!”, she shouted, tears rolling down her face. She didn’t want to lose them, not now.

“You don’t give us another option. Enjoy the show.”

(Y/N) tried to untie her but her body wasn’t that strong as before. The tortures had weakened her. She screamed as loud as she could in order her parents to hear her. The girl was raging by now. She had to help them, she had to save them.

“Nooooo!”,she screamed as the way her mother did 10 years ago. With those emotions the ropes fell down on the ground black. She looked at them confused. Somehow she managed to burn them but now it wasn’t important. She ran towards the Plexiglas wall and started hitting it but nothing happened. Suddenly two soldiers appeared next to her parents. Her mummy and daddy were about to ask what was happening when out of a sudden they got shot in their heads. The girl fell on the floor at the same time her parents did.

“No!”, she was soaking quietly while looking her parent’s blood spread in the floor, at their eyes, which never saw her again, “Nooo! No! NO!”

Her rage unlocked. She fell the air getting hotter. Closing her eyes she let her feeling overwhelm her.

Part 4

@thevanishedillusion @philautia-love-of-self @purplekitten30 @itscalledfandombitches @legendarydazekitten @spookymaddie @sammysgirl1997 @1akemi5 @ichbinannaaa @livegreater-loveharder @briannareneea985 @nyu-kun69 @b-orderline @lucifersimapala @fav-fan-fic @devilsdaughter1225 @coolmarvelgirl @ora-la-few 

If you want to be tagged, just ask :) 

When You Least Expect It | 04

Warnings: masturbation mention, angst

Word count: 8,638

A/N: This ended up being a 15k chapter but I wanted to keep the chapter sizes under or around 10k if possible, so here is the first part. The second part will be coming forthwith!

Originally posted by armygzb

Your hand twitched in your lap under the strain of suppressing a facepalm. “Aren’t we a little old to be playing this game?”

Hoseok scampered over, crouched low, perilously clutching a bottle of vodka and several shot glasses to his chest. Luckily, he managed to reach your group before the evening was ruined by the shattering of glass. “When can you ever be too old to hear your friends’ dirty secrets?” he posed, and you no longer had the power to withhold the inevitability of your hand meeting your face.

“I thought for sure that we already knew each other a little too intimately,” you peeked through your fingers at Yoongi, who, for some reason, was toting one of those expensive-looking crystal decanters and tipping it in your direction with a deliberate wink.

Hoseok followed your gaze to the subject of your shame. “Hey, I told you not to touch that stuff! It’s for special occasions.”

Drunker than he usually allowed himself to get, Yoongi waved the container in front of him as Hoseok advanced on him, withdrawing it cruelly out of reach whenever he stretched for it. “This is a special occasion,” he asserted. “I’m here.”

“Dude, I don’t care how good a friend you are, that stuff costs a bomb and you’re not having any now,” the taller of your two friends put the other in his place. It was always a little jarring when Hobi got serious. Like the sun setting and ushering in a darker unknown, seeing the light disappear from his face would have you scurrying for safety. If Hoseok was angry, upset or disappointed, you sure as hell better hope it wasn’t directed at you. In this case, however, he was more bemused with Yoongi’s defiance than anything. “I’ll bring a little for your party.”

Yoongi forced out his bottom lip into an uncharacteristic pout. Bewilderingly, the expression suited his small, round face a little too well. Dare you say, it was even becoming of him? “Fine.”

Keep reading

Requested by @outside-the-government Reader is having a bad week. But she always has the grumpy doctor by her side.

Warnings: Swearing

Word Count: 1,546

A/N: I made a little (okay not little, big. It’s like a couple of paragraphs) reference here. Don’t think anyone will notice it though. By the way the reader works in security.


“[Y/L/N]! Come down here for a second please?”

“Can you please sign this for me ma'am?”

“Lieutenant, you are needed in the bridge.”

Your head hit the desk of your station for probably the hundreth time. The last month’s work started to take its toll on you and it was evident by the dark circles under your eyes.

You quickly gained your posture when you heard the familiar voice of someone clearing their throat. That someone was of course, Spock.

“Lieutenant [Y/L/N]. What’s the status of your latest mission report?”

“Oh, I am almost done, Commander. You can expect it on your station in a couple of minutes or so.”

Spock raised an eyebrow. “Lieutenant, I believe that the report was due 2 weeks later. What’s the hurry?”

You let out an exhausted chuckle. “Unfortunately, this is not the only thing I have to work on, Commander. I wanted to get the report done before I need to go train the new recruits and have a look at their files. Oh and I also have to help Scotty with his new project and also there are more reports I need to write and-”

You shut your mouth when Spock knitted his eyebrows and you quickly lowered your head to your PADD. “I am so sorry for my rambling, sir.”

“I would not consider it rambling. But I would like to recommend you to take a break Lieutenant. Your pale skin and red eyes indicate this is, in fact, affecting your health.”

You would have let out an “Awww.” if you weren’t so tired, instead you let out a small smile. “I am alright, Spock.” you let the ranks drop for a moment. “Besides, we will be on shore leave next month. I think I can handle it until then.”

Spock took a moment to answer before he said. “If you say so, Lieutenant.”

After your conversation, you quickly finished your report and left the bridge to change your clothes and head out to train the recruits. You did not see the Vulcan pull out his communicator and contact a certain doctor.


“Remember that it’s not a sword that you are holding, its a foil.” your tried your best not to reflect your mood into your voice. “You’ll be learning how to use a foil. It’s the lightest of the three types of weapon we have here, an excelent choice for beginners.”

Hikaru -who decided to tag along while he was on his break- grinned widely. He was eager to help you with your fencing class.

“Remember that your strength doesn’t matter here. The intelligent and focused fencer can successfully compensate for any perceived deficiencies -such as strength or reach- into assets. In other words, you may not be as strong or as fast as your opponent, but you could be smarter or able to remain focused better, which will tip the scales in your favor. Am I clear?”

A series of nods and approvals came from the ensigns whom seemed more interested after your talk. Hikaru took his place next to you and wrapped his arm around your shoulders. You were grateful. You felt like you could drop to the ground any moment.

“Mr. Sulu is one of the most focused fencers I had the privilege to duel with. He will help us train today.”

Hikaru released you and your vision darkened. You blinked your eyes repeatedly to clear it. “For the next week me and Sulu will drill you in the opening maneuvers. Always remember, fencing requires a mastery of skills that are sequential and hierarchical in nature. If one of the skills is not acquired, subsequent skills will be very difficult to master and the fencer will be at a permanent and serious disadvantage.”

“What she means is…” Hikaru took your foil from your hands. “…don’t get discouraged or bored if we make you do the same exercise over and over.”

The ensigns gave out a few chuckles and the class officially began. You tried your best to stay on your foot as you showed the class the basic moves. It went on for an hour and you were surprised at how you were still awake.

“Hey [Y/N]! All that fun made me hungry!” you heard Hikaru whine. “Wanna grab something to eat?”

You were going to accept the offer but when you remembered all the reports you had to go over and write, you smacked yourself on the forehead, making Hikaru shoot you a confused glance.

“I’m so sorry Hikaru. But I meed to work on my reports.”

Hikaru’s expression turned into a worried one. “Alright, but don’t push yourself too hard.”


After cleaning up, you found yourself back on your station in the bridge. Just as you flopped down onto your chair a voice made you jump.

“What the hell are you still doing here?”

Leonard looked as grumpy as ever and you could see Spock looking at your direction from the corner of his eye. “Sneaky bastard.” you thought but smiled at Leonard.

“I am working here, Len. Why wouldn’t I be here?” you tried to sound as happy as possible but with your eyes struggling stay open and your voice lower than usual, it was not convincing at all.

Leonard scoffed and you could feel that he was about to pull out his tricorder before he actually did it. “You know that I am talking about the fact that you had not been sleeping, overworking yourself and were staring at the screen of your PADD more than you should.”

“You know, I feel like you love that tricorder more than you love any of us. Sometimes I even think that you take it with you to snuggle it when you go to bed.” you tried change the subject.

He was about to make a snarky comment when he saw the readings in his tricorder and his eyes widened. You knew nothing good would come from this.

“Jesus Christ woman! When was the last time you ate?!” his voice increased greatly in volume, making the captain turn to your direction.

Not wanting to attract any attention you said “Leonard, I’m fine.” and stood up from your chair. But the moment you did that, your vision turned dark and your legs could not support you anymore.

“Dammit, [Y/N]!” was the last thing you heard before you felt your consciousness slip away.


You did not wake up to the sound of the biobed but someone petting your hair.

“You are the stupidest person I have ever met.”

“Is that even a word?” you gave out a weak chuckle even though you were feeling better. “And I think you are forgetting that James Tiberius Kirk exists.”

When you looked at your surroundings you realised that you were not in the sickbay but your own quarters.

“I knew you wouldn’t want to stay in medbay.” Leonard said and slipped a tray into your hands.

“Your favorite. Now eat up and you better drink that water too.”

Leonard stayed with you while you ate. You were the one who did the talking, mostly complaining about work.

“I mean, I totally forgot that I promised Scotty that I will help him but I can’t back out. He is my friend. And I also need to help the recruits settle down. I’m the Chief of Security for fuck’s sake-”

“Okay, darling. I need you to calm down.” Leonard took the tray from your hands and disappeared into your kitchen. “I’m sure that Spock can help you with the reports.” he kept talking. “You will have more time to help Scotty and the recruits. I’ll talk to the green blooded hobgoblin, he cares about your health more than you do.” he came back with his famous grumpy expression.

“And here I thought he called you in because my work performance was dropping.” you joked but Leonard wasn’t laughing. He sat down next to you and knitted his eyebrows.

“This isn’t a laughing matter [Y/N]! What were you even thinking? You are human. You have your limits. What would have happened if you passed out elsewhere and hit your head on something?” the volume of his voice dropped as he talked and he traced his fingers on the dark rings under your eye.

You smiled at how sweet he was being. “Thank you for caring, Len and I’m sorry. I promise that I will take care of myself better from now on.”

Leonard scoffed and crossed his arms but you could still see the pink that dusted his cheeks.

“You better go to sleep. You are on sick leave for tomorrow. I’ll come and check on you.” he pushed your shoulders until you were on your back and he pulled the blanket so you were fully covered. When he tried to get up to leave your quarters, you grabbed his hand.

“You aren’t leaving me now, are you Len?” you grinned and gave his hand a sharp tug, making him fall on top of you.

“Dammit woman! If you wanted to cuddle you could have just asked?!”

You laughed while he took off his boots and got into the covers next to you. When your head found his chest and his arms your waist, you finally closed your burning eyes.

Searching...for a better writer.

The recent Overwatch comic, Searching…is badly written. I’m not even surprised, given how this is a Zarya comic (given that she has the worst skins) and it’s OW, writing ain’t their forte. It’s got good art by @kate-n-bd, but that doesn’t help when compared to all of the lazy writing and a lack of continuity featured in Searching.

Much like how the Binary comic made Torbjorn jump away from his Anti-Omnic stance in four panels:

Yes sir, that’s a turning point. Bastion holding a bundle at sticks is enough to convince a anti-AI man like Tor (Who has a history of dealing with violent Omnics) to change his mind about the Omnic who used to be a minigun sniper when the game first launched.

Searching…kinda ignores Zarya’s anti-robot stance. It mentions it, but doesn’t really address it in a proper way. We get Zarya telling a robot to shut up, her dislike of Numbani’s more open-minded society,

And this is the best moment; background characters. Ugh, Ana got TWO comics dedicated to her, Sombra got her own ‘Meet The Hero’ vid, and Doomfist got his own animated trailer and comic, but these two got a simple trailer. 

But then we get this:

Notice her reaction in the last panel. The ‘How could this get any worse’ joke…and her face is utterly blank. Like she’s waiting in line at a grocery store.

Those two panels are sequential, meaning this is more of a writing error than a artist one. The writer INTENDED to put those two together. But then again, Kate didn’t exactly put much emotion in Zarya’s face in this moment where Zarya must work alongside something she hates.

And more sequential failure comes with these two panels. Not one after the other, there’s a bit with Guillermo Portero of Lumerico in-between that’s pointless.

(sorry about the blurriness of the last panel)

They set up a Gilligan Cut, and don’t follow through with it. No mention of how Lynx (The Omnic’s name) convinced Zarya to tag long. As far as we know, he followed her to Mexico. And now they’re relaxing by the fountain, like they just got off work and are about to hit up a few bars like co-workers.

Page Eight I think is the worst page out of the whole damn thing. It’s just banter and exposition. It’s poorly paced.

Panel One: Zarya and Lynx are standing outside of Sombra’s hideout. Banter, and then suddenly Lynx asks: “Hey, how many Omnics have you murdered?” Time and place, dude! (or more seriously, why ask that question now?)

Panel Two: Zarya blows up door and gives off her backstory. OW sure loves repeating character’s backstories, aint’ that right ‘Rise and Shine’?

Panel Three: The best panel out of Page Eight, only because there isn’t text boxes and speech balloons crammed into it. A big problem of the comic on the whole actually. Actual humanity from the dialogue.

Panel Four: Tripe. It’s meant to be a moment of understanding, but I think the biggest problem of Searching is the lack of emotion. I don’t feel anything from this moment, it’s just crammed in. 

Then we get to the Sombra fight. It’s all fine and good, but…

Zarya somehow didn’t see that. The over-the-head baseball throw. Gawd, you’re stupid. She really does fall for it too when Sombra teleports:

(…is that the same face as the one on the card…?)

So Zarya wins (Funny, given the fact that Sombra usually is a better choice for taking down a Zarya) and interrogates Sombra. And as a reminder that Sombra is the worst spy in the world (As seen in the Masquerades comic, Sombra’s plans are well-known to Talon and she wears bells in a disguise) we get her real name:

…despite her backstory saying that she deleted all traces of her former identity. Guess she isn’t really that great of a hacker. 

And my favorite funny moment:

Lynx on the ground, having been hacked ‘back in Numbani.’ So Sombra just let Zarya and Lynx get that far? Zarya nearly captured/killer her. Why not just make the Ominic explode? “Nobody tracks me and gets away with it?” THEY DID TRACK YOU DOWN AND ALMOST WON UNTIL YOU PULLED OUT A DEUS EX MACHINA. (Good story-telling!)

Our comic ends with Zarya taking Lynx out of the hideout and proceeding to go back to Russia, ending with this:

We have resolved nothing. Zarya isn’t really over her Anti-Ominic slant and is only suspicious of Volskaya. This doesn’t seem to be a turning point for her characters (Way too damn early for that), it’s just a bunch of stuff that happened. 

Good artwork will not hide bad writing. (in fact, the former usually bolds the latter.)

Stop all the Clocks (1/6)

Set in a semi-AU post season 5 world where they actually make it home before Killian gets sucked into the Land of Untold Stories. Because they deserved some slack after going through the Underworld. Chapters are sequential but for the most part can be stand-alone.

Warnings: Sexual content. (Like, I’m warning you away and I write smut sort of thing.) Vague, non-clinical descriptions of PTSD. 

Read on FF.net here

She’s shaking by the time they reach the house.

His Swan: his beautiful, strong, saviour of towns and slayer of demons, is shaking in his arms.

Keep reading

septembercrypt  asked:

one sentence: Promptis- "I thought...I thought you loved me..." Noctis choked out, staring into the barrel of the gun, the finger on the trigger.

I’m so sorry I held onto this for so long! It’s just that I knew when I got it that this was going to be long, and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it and when I wanted to post it. 

So this is what I’m kicking off the Celebration of Episode Prompto with!

Warnings: dark, AU, manipulation, death, mentions of blood. 

Word count: 1670

“I thought…I thought you loved me…” Noctis choked out, staring into the barrel of the gun, the finger on the trigger. The gun shook, and Prompto heaved a sob, but he had to do this in order for the nightmare to end, because this is exactly what it had to be. In no reality was it possible for the world to be this cruel. All he had to do was pull the trigger and he would wake up. That’s how this game worked.

“Oh, Noct, I do.”


Noctis’s body fell limp in the snow, and Prompto bit his lips, futilely holding back tears. How many times had he shot him now, but still he cried. There was no way to ever get used to seeing the love of his life bleed out, or fall to his death, or kiss him until he was too weak to stop his hands from choking him. This torture never ended.

When would he ever find the real Noctis?

Snow crunched beneath his boots and he knelt down, wiping the bangs from his dead eyes and tracing that forever familiar jawline. He distantly wondered if when he found the real Noctis he would be able to tell; he had fallen into the trap before, of thinking he had finally found him, but every time it was just another mirage. Standing again, he shouldered his gun.

“Ardyn!” Prompto shouted into the chill wind, “You won’t win this! I will find him!”

Silence greeted him initially, then, just like the wind, Ardyn’s voice brushed against the shell of his ear, cold and harsh.

“You’re getting better at this, my dear Prompto. Very well. Onto the next one. Who knows? It might really be him this time.”

His very voice made Prompto’s skin crawl, but he wouldn’t give up. Not now. He had been at this for so long that he had started carving into his arm how many times he had killed Noctis Lucis Caelum. Rolling his eyes, he pulled his sleeve up and flicked the blade of his pocket knife out.

“Whatever. Just do it already,” he scoffed and etched another tick in his forearm.


Prompto was used to the magic that Ardyn had used on him by now to transport him from reality to reality, or, as he referred to it, from nightmare to nightmare. He couldn’t be sure what was real anymore, but Prompto held onto the faith that he would know his Noctis when he found him.

And he was going to find him.

Sleep overcame him and he collapsed beside Not Noctis’s corpse. Even if it wasn’t truly his prince, he had made it a habit of making him the last thing he saw before he left in search for his real love once more.

When he woke again he was someplace new. Tropical sunshine beat down on him and he quickly shed the coat he wore. There was a familiar laugh behind him, and Prompto turned. Noctis smiled back at him with a tilt to his head as he reached out and twirled a finger into his hair.


Noctis stepped closer and brushed noses with him before they kissed. It was always bittersweet, knowing that he might not be kissing his Noctis, but he always hoped that it was. This Noctis was forward, it seemed, and didn’t want much from him in the ways of talking as he quickly slid his hands up his tank top. Just as hastily Prompto pushed him away, and Noctis smirked.

“You’ve got to be kidding me. Are you even fucking trying anymore, Ardyn?” Prompto growled and whipped his pistol out from the holster on his leg.


“…too easy,” he uttered tiredly, sheathing his gun and pulling out his pocket knife once more.


Prompto crawled out of the cave and pulled himself next to Noctis’s body. It had taken him a while to find this one, but he managed it after some time. This Noctis was a treasure hunter, the finest in the land, he claimed, but not even jewels bigger than his eyes and sneaky kisses had fooled Prompto.


He was growing bored. It was always the same, but the details were slightly different. He found Noctis. Sometimes he’d give him chase and they’d talk like they hadn’t talked in years. Sometimes it felt right, but most times it just left him emptier than he thought he was physically, mentally, and emotionally capable of.


Even Ardyn had progressively sounded like he was tiring of his own mind tricks as he whisked him away from one augmented reality to the next.


This one had been convincing. Noctis knew just what to say, how to hold him, knew all there was to know about their past. Their kisses were hot but sweet, and Prompto had even cried to him about how much he had been through, how long it had felt like they were apart. Noctis just held him and reassured him that it was really him this time, bum leg and all.

Three years. For three years Ardyn had him fooled, and because he had believed for so long, each sequential time after would only seem more and more real. How stupid could he had been to realize so late into the game that he was feeding him information to make it harder on him all along?

Prompto watched as Noctis slept soundly in their bed in Lestallum. It hadn’t been much, but they had made a home of their little apartment, gotten jobs, reestablished themselves in society. For a brief moment, as he held his gun in his hand for the first time in over one thousand days, he wondered if he should give up. Things were nice like this, even if this Noctis wasn’t the real one. He could live with him not remembering something as simple as their first real date. It was so long ago, but it had meant the world to them, at least, it had to Prompto, and it was true that even though they had been out on “dates” before, they hadn’t done something so formally together until final year of school.

Was giving this up worth one date? He would have to start all over again if he did. Tears slid down his cheeks and he gripped the gun tightly.


The blond jumped, but he kept his hands steady, finger on the trigger. Noctis sat up and put his hands up, shaking his head slowly.

“No…Prompto, please.”

“I wanted you to be him,” Prompto choked. “More than anything, I wanted this to be over.”

“It is! Prompto, you have to believe me…!”

“What day was the wedding?!” Saliva felt like knives as Prompto swallowed thickly, lip trembling. “We set a date, just in case we ever made it back to Insomnia. What day was it?”

The reply was too quick, and Prompto’s heart shattered. It was his last-ditch effort, and he had wasted it on a fake.

“We didn’t set a date.”



This time when Prompto woke it, things were different. He knew exactly where he was; he would know it anywhere.

Noctis’s apartment. Insomnia.

He took several tentative steps in. Everything was dusty and slightly misplaced, but it was still almost just as they left it when they began this road trip. His heart pounded in his chest, still able to hear the memories they made here together playing back to him like a beat up, well-loved record.

“I am sorry, Prompto.”

Prompto’s eyes shot and up and whipped his pistol out on reflex, aiming straight at Ardyn’s head. Anger flared up in his features and he grit his teeth.

“It’s a little late for that.”

“Oh, you don’t know how right you are,” Ardyn cooed, then blinked, looking away. “However, the sentiment remains the same.” Prompto faltered.

“I tried to keep you from this for as long as I could.”

“Keep me from what?” Prompto growled. “Noctis? Because you’ve done a damn good job of that! Where is he?!”

“It seems your prince went off the deep end looking for you. I couldn’t very well lose both of my favorite toys, so I tried to keep you entertained.”

A cold chill settled in Prompto’s bones and he nearly dropped his gun as shook his head in disbelief. All this time he had been chasing Noctis, and he wasn’t even really there to chase.

“You’re lying. YOU’RE LYING!” Prompto screeched and fell to his knees. “I’ll do anything! Just bring me back to Noctis! Please!”

“Ah,” Ardyn sighed, and knelt before him, “I tried to give you everything I could with that last reality. I really thought I had nailed it that time. It seems as though that wasn’t good enough for you, though, and I’m all spent out of realities.”

Prompto’s stomach lurched, tears streaming hot down his cheeks as he tried to find words, breath, anything. Noctis was gone, but he could still recall the scent of him on his pillows, the feel of his lips on his skin…this wasn’t real. Noctis had to be here somewhere.

“I brought you here because it felt like this was where the two of you were the happiest.” Ardyn frowned, solemn as sobs tore through the blond. There was a piercing scream that shook him, formed from pure agony.

“Kill me, Ardyn! Just end this already! Let me be with him!”

Prompto distantly heard the scrape of his gun being picked up from the floor, followed by Noctis’s voice.

“What was the date?” he asked, as raised the gun. It was a sick twist of fate, how he had been killing Noctis after Noctis after Noctis for so long, only to be staring down the barrel of his own gun, Noctis’s finger on the trigger. Prompto closed his eyes for a moment, preparing himself, then stared into his eyes one last time.

“…September 27th,” he uttered finally, and Noctis’s face twisted with emotion.

“Happy Anniversary, Prompto.”


BONUS: Inspiration track.

Send me a pairing and the first sentence and I’ll write you a drabble. 

Current turnaround time: 2 weeks

First Sentence Drabble Master List

Celebration of Episode Prompto Release Fics

Even Nightwing Isn’t Safe?

Y’know, I ranted and raved about what Marvel did to Captain America and (potentially) Magneto (I don’t care if it’s just a cover or whatever; it’s tasteless bullshit and Marvel deserves all the crap they get).  And fuck it all, I’ve gotta do it again.

Fuck, I feel drained.

I can’t even work up rage like I did for the last two.  I am worn as hell from all this shit.  First Marvel takes a character created by two Jewish men (two Jewish men who served in World War II no less) and makes him into a Nazi.  Make all the excuses you want for Hydra; they’re fucking Nazis.  Then they tease that Magneto might be joining Hydra as well.  Magneto.  Probably the most famous Jewish holocaust survivor in all of fiction.  With two children who also have Rromani heritage (who ALSO joined Hydra in the MCU because WHAT THE HELL MARVEL).

And now DC, oh why DC.  Marvel’s sales are going down the drain because of their shit and you had the chance to merrily spring ahead by learning lessons and doing the opposite.  Rebirth was going so well.  You cleared out the muck from the New52 and fans rejoiced.  I personally love Greg Rucka’s Wonder Woman.  You had the chance to be a light in the darkness.  But alas, you had to fuck it up.

I don’t care if it’s just an Elseworlds miniseries.  I don’t care if it’s “exploring moral grayness” (really?  if there was ever a black and white issue it’s fucking fascism; fascism is bad; done).  You take one of the purest, nicest heroes in comics, you take one of the most well-known Rromani characters in fiction, you take one of the most popular and beloved superheroes of all time, and you make him a murderous fascist for a cheap attention ploy.

Have you not been on the internet once since May of last year?

I wish I could appeal more to your sense of morality, but I doubt that’ll work since nothing any of us has screamed at Marvel’s had much of an effect (it just seems to have made a certain writer smugger than ever), so let’s just stick to money because I know for certain you care about that.  People are pissed at Marvel, and rightfully so.  Their sales are going down.  And no, it’s not because of “forced diversity.”  Their diverse comics like Ms. Marvel and so on are some of their comics that are still doing well, because the fans LIKE those books.  They don’t like all of Marvel’s bullshit.

And you, just when you were looking up, pull this shit.  This is not going to go well.  Oh, sure, you’ll get a few buys from the people who eat up controversy, but this is not going to end well.  We are sick of all the “give it a chance” shit that only ends up biting us in the ass and our money’s already gone.  Barely anyone can afford to buy that many comics anymore, especially ones we’re wary are gonna piss us off.  This is why so many just wait for the trades.  Comics are, what, four bucks a pop?  For like twenty pages of content?  In an age where you can buy a full-length novel online or in a thrift shop for 99 cents?  If I’m going to be shelling out that much, you can bet your ass I’m only shelling it out for something I want to do well.  No one can buy the entire product of a company on allowance money anymore.  No one can do that with actual money-from-a-steady-job money anymore.  We can only get what we really want, and we’re not going to support shit product out of brand loyalty.  We’re only going to support, and we can only afford to support, what we actually want.  And sure, a few people want to support controversy and internet firestorms, but most want good stories that respect their favorite characters and their histories.  The New52 spat on loved characters and wrecked their histories, and it went down in flames.  Don’t ruin your fresh start.

Please.  Comic fans have had enough.  We’re not just being pedantic assholes.  We do want you to do well, if only so that we can see more of the characters we love.  We just don’t want to spend our money on comics that insult us and the characters we relate to.  We don’t want to be called ungrateful jerks for not wanting to give money to works that insult us and the characters we relate to.  We don’t want to see our favorite characters turned into the antithesis of all that they are and all that they were created to represent.

Come on.  Richard Grayson, the most famous Rromani hero in the DC roster, the adopted son of Bruce Wayne, the first Robin, the first leader of the Teen Titans, the protector of Bludhaven, the older brother to Jason Todd and Tim Drake and Cassandra Caine and Stephanie Brown and Damien Wayne, the guy who idolizes Superman, Nightwing is not someone that fans want to see made into a fascist murderer.  If we want to see fascism, we will watch the news, there’s more than enough to go around.  That’s not what we come to superheroes for.  We don’t come to see our heroes become the awfulness we see in the world everyday.  We come to see our heroes look that awfulness straight in the eye and punch it in the face.  For just a moment, for twenty pages of sequential art, we can feel some relief from the stress of something we feel we can’t fight ourselves, not yet.  We feel that there is something to be done, that awfulness can be fought, so long as there are people willing to do it.

Just let us have one moment of peace.

Haul Away Bro


Fluffstravaganza commission for @garrulousgibberish! Their prompt was “sea shanties”

Thanks to @thesnadger for providing most of Stan’s jokes :) 

“Well,” said Stan. “That didn’t work.”

Beside him, Ford groaned and rolled over onto his back.

“Brilliant observation, Stanley,” he grumbled. “Truly enlightening.”

Stan shrugged. “Nah, if it was enlightening we’d be able to see better.”

He couldn’t see his brother’s expression in the dark, but the tenor of the groaning beside him changed.

“Besides, you’re the one who’s always going on about the importance of negative results.”

“Ah, yes,” said Ford. “Scientific query: Can we get out of this hole? Preliminary results: No. I’m sure all the big journals are just dying to read the abstract.”

“Oh, I don’t know,” said Stan, grinning preemptively. “A research paper about holes sounds pretty … deep to me!”

Keep reading

6 College Textbook Tips! to Save You Money

College Textbook Tips 

by slutgarden.tumblr.com

1. Never buy your textbooks. Technically, this is true like 9/10 times. It would be more correct to say “never buy your textbooks at the campus bookstore.” Some books you may need for sequential classes, like A&P 1 and 2, for example. In that case, Amazon is a great place if you need to buy them (renting, too!). Prime shipping ($50 for college students) means you can get them, usually, in 2 days. Chegg is another place you can check out, but I’ve always found the prices to be cheapest on Amazon. You can also try BookFinder, TextSurf, or BigWords for comparisons on good deals.

2. Always go for the penultimate edition, when possible. Grab the 6th instead of the 7th. Cheaper, usually the same material. Sometimes, they’ll move things around or add in pictures. Maybe they clarified a few sentences. Generally, they don’t change and the textbooks companies are looking to get more money. You can also look up lists of what has changed between the editions with some creative Googling. Always ask your professor or instructor if the older edition is OK. Never hurts to be sorry! I would also advise getting a used copy whenever possible. 

3. Grab the e-book when you can. 99% of the time these are cheaper, and you don’t have to carry a huge textbook, or multiple textbooks, to class! Slap them into your laptop, Kindle, iPad, tablet, or even your phone. Whatever you’ve got. I recommend Amazon again. Ask your professor about their technology policy and if e-books are OK. Most of the time, yes. I don’t think I have had any professors tell me they would not allow e-books. 

4. If you have to buy, see if a classmate or friend will go 50/50 with you, or let you borrow their old copy. Friend (you have one or two, right?!) took the class last semester? Did they buy their book? Ask if you can “rent” or buy it from them! Maybe someone else in the class is having trouble paying for their books, too. Offer to pay for half the book and work out a schedule for when you both can use it. Or, if it comes with online access, one person can take the e-book and one person can take the physical book. 

5. If you absolutely must buy a book by yourself, sell it as soon as you can. Textbook editions change from year to year (because the companies suck! and everyone wants your money). Think of it as a hot potato as soon as you’re finished with it. If the bookstore won’t buy it back - which happens when they have too many or it’s an old edition - try posting a flyer, dropping by old professors’ offices or classes, and even asking if they’ll see if any of their students are looking to buy the textbook at a reduced rate. Try Craigslist (be careful) or even Facebook groups for your area/school.

6. Finally, “magic!" I call this "magic.” Although I will not give you the exact means on where to find pirated books (because I don’t know where they are, and I don’t do that at all…of course not! ;) .) there are resources out there. This is the cheapest option, obviously. Sometimes there are problems, or so I’ve heard…“.PDFs suck, or there are no seeders. Or maybe an e-book just doesn’t exist (check Amazon if you’re looking to see if there is an e-book - they will most likely have it)." 

Additionally: for the love of god, please wait until you have your first class before you go and rent/buy a textbook. Sometimes you won’t even need it, and, although the professor can’t or really shouldn’t tell you that (money-grubbing colleges don’t particularly like that, as I’m sure you can tell), they may hint to it. If they don’t explicitly state you need the textbook, you may be fine without it. Never hesitate to reach out to them if you are having financial trouble (unless they are total assholes!). They may have a solution or could let you borrow a book. 

To give you an example of what these tips have done, I spent about $500 my first semester of college buying my books. For 4 classes. Never again. This semester, I paid a whopping $58 for a book that was not in e-book form. I could have gotten the 8th edition for cheaper, but "all the page numbers were different,” according to my professor. I figured I could spare the expense. ;)

By the way, I just sold back 2 of those books I bought - 1 from the first semester and 1 from another time when I had to get the book, for about $60 bucks on Amazon. At least I made something from it. If you have any textbooks sitting around your house, and they’re not too old, you may be able to sell them back to Amazon, provided they’re in good condition. 

Summary: never buy, always rent. E-books, e-books, e-books. Penultimate editions. Amazon.

anonymous asked:

Kurt, Alex, and Peter's reaction to fireworks w/ their significant others?

Kurt Wagner: 

Originally posted by claracivry

  • Probably really excited. Like, little kid excited. He’s seen fireworks before, but not in the extent that you explained and that gets him really eager. 
  • Imagine sitting in front of the pond at Xavier’s, your feet dug into the grass below, and Kurt’s hand resting on your knee. It’s dark outside, and makes it hard to see his face, but you manage and give him a warm smile. The grass begins to tickle at your legs, and Kurt is humming a tune inside of his chest, trying to relax himself before the show starts. 
    • Kurt giving you his jacket when he notices you shivering slightly. You return this gesture with a warm kiss to his lips.
      • Imagine the look in his face as the first firework is shot into the sky.
        • He looks like a little kid, and it warms your heart.
          • Pats your arm excitedly and says, “(NAME) LOOK OH! WOAH!” 
            • Probably starts teleporting and bothers Peter, Scott, Jean and everyone to tell them about how cool the fireworks are.
              • Comes back to you and presses a kiss against your lips with a very soft, and gentle, “I really like fireworks.” and you just give him a cheesy smile and reply with, “Kissing you feels like a firework.”
  • Giving him a sparkler, and having him flip his lid because it’s so amazing and he just loves it and he ends up asking you for the entire box of sparklers(So he can use them any time he wants, which he does. He’s saving the last two for your birthday).

Alex Summers:

  • Is not particularly fond of fireworks. They trigger his PTSD, though he’s slowly learning ways to perhaps contain his outburst from the sound of fireworks.
    • This is something you completely understand and are supportive of. If, and when he’s triggered, you like to sing to him because the sound of your voice will bring him back to reality.
      • Though many people see the fireworks as celebration for freedom, which they are and Alex acknowledges that, he thinks that there should be an alternative, especially for those who have fought for that freedom, and do suffer from PTSD, and are sequentially triggered by the loud noises.
        • Tends to spend his Fourth of July, especially after 8 when the sun goes down, inside with you, maybe watching T.V, or snuggling, or taking a bath.
          • Really basking in the freedom that he has, and is thankful enough that he has you in his life to support him through things like this.

Peter Maximoff:

Originally posted by imaginessforall

  • Let’s admit it here, he’s probably wearing leather pants that have the US flag printed on them(And he’s rocking them).
  • Really likes fireworks, and remembers going to see them with his mom and little sister before sticking around Xavier’s for a while.
  • Laying back in the grass in front of Xavier’s, his legs sprawled out and his head in your lap as you wait for the fireworks to start up. He gives you a cheeky grin, and shuts his eyes as your fingers run through his soft, silver hair.
    • The moment that the fireworks start though, Peter is wide-eyed looking at the sky.
      • Points out the shapes and colors to you, even though he knows you’re seeing everything he is. It’s a habit he has, for he did that with his little sister.
        • By the end of the show, he’s either A)Asleep with his head in your lap. or B)Kissing you and trying to entice you into a make-out session in the grass.
  • Lighting off your own fireworks.
    • Which he stole.
      • But, wouldn’t tell you that because you’d freak out.
        • You end up finding out any way and his excuse was, “WHY LIGHT OUR OWN MONEY ON FIRE?! THAT MAKES NO SENSE!” He’s shouting over the firework he just lit, giving you a cheeky grin.
          • This results in you threatening to shove a sparkler where the sun don’t shine.
            • His face is priceless.
Destiel and editing

@obsessionisaperfume here’s the Kuleshov Effect post I talked about. Hopefully it is sufficient.

TL;DR: Editing is probably the most powerful tool film has and how it’s used tells the story. Literally. In the case of SPN, there is a lot of instances that can be read as destiel riding in on a giant brick.

Ok, so preamble for those who don’t know what it is: The Kuleshov Effect was named for Soviet filmmaker Lev Kuleshov. It deals with a “mental phenomenon by which viewers derive more meaning from the interaction of two sequential shots than from a single shot in isolation.”

The original test that coined the name was a short series of clips showing an actor in a black and white film with a stoic expression, intercut with various images. It’s about 50 seconds, have a looksie.

The short was built to see what meaning people would give to the man’s expression and as Kuleshov expected, they reacted accordingly based on what shots were intercut. So the stoic face was read as hungry, lustful, sad, whatever by most people even though it was all the same expression.

You can invoke this effect without both pieces ever seeing each other. You can create a vast head space for a character that the actor may never see by intercutting the actor with something like… war stock footage. We can understand what the character is going through without it ever being spoken and without the actor saying or sometimes really doing anything in relation to it.

That isn’t to say that actors aren’t important, of course they are. But a lot of understanding a filmed work look to the editing. The same way books look at word choice, sentence structure, etc. Editing is the last stand of “authorial intent” (as a nebulous term. Not by a single person) between the production and the audience. It’s the syuzhet, the filter of bias that sets the tone and the pace and the narrative and almost no one is truly privy to it until all of production is over.

Now, directors, producers, various others depending on the work often help dictate the editing to an extent. They decide what version of shots to leave in and give an idea of what they’re going for. Some take a much more active role and are part of the editing process to a great extent. Sometimes it’s just the director helping, sometimes it’s like… 8 other people in production. Sometimes a film studio drops all their footage for their several million dollar property off at a trailer house and says “panic number’s on the fridge, I’ll be back in the morning.” and expects the final edit not to suck.

Editors exist for a reason and it’s not just to cut the film to an edible size, set pace and presentation. “When to cut” and “how to think like an editor” are important to the process on their own and they are their own people.

Authorial intent is honestly kind of hilarious. Especially in works with multiple “intenders”

But let’s poke the intent bear anyway, shall we? ‘Bunch of examples under the cut.

Keep reading

TDB Glee 1x03 Rewatch: Meta Monday

The premise of this episode is thrown in our face several times during this episode. Confidence! Guts! And because this is Glee, this premise is framed by the connecting the idea of confidence to being a man. There are references to “growing a pair”, Emma states that there is nothing sexier in a man than confidence and when Will supposedly loses his confidence, it is because Rachel had “kicked him the nads.” The episode puts Will and his quest for confidence front and centre, but the question, who is is that we learn more from?

The idea of confidence is introduced when Will’s father tells him that to be a man is to have guts. His father makes a comment about him not being a great father, that he was “too strict” etc. However, the relationship that we see between them does not seem to be too damaged. Will does not seem to hold any grudges against him, and they appear to have a healthy relationship (we can also infer some serious concerns with Will’s mum and her behaviour. It seems strange that the show would set up this premise with what they were anticipating to be their central character and never follow it up in any way. There has got to be some connection here with his parental units and sun sequential adult dysfunction). Will himself is concerned about the type of father he will be for his own son. His lack of confidence in regards to this is exacerbated when Rachel bruises his ego, and thus starts his journey to find some kind of validation through performance, rather than educating. 

All of the men in this group have had a confidence hit for some reason or another, so them gravitating to this activity makes sense. The response they get would boost your confidence (but, poor Will thinking that Terri’s renewed interest in their sex life is because of his little boy band…ps. that scene was gross), but the nature of their song choices just seems desperate- like they are trying to be the people they wish they were, rather than embracing their actually pretty solid talent. I mean, seriously, who actually thought that it would be a good idea for a group comprising of teachers and students to sing ‘I Wanna Sex You Up” at a PTA meeting? Yes, the nature of the song is very similar to ‘Push It’ from the last episode, but the whole tone of their performance here is just so completely wrong.

By the end of the episode, Will supposedly gets a renewed sense of being happy as a teacher (but not necessarily confidence), but we know his desire to perform will return again.

Like she did in the last episode, Rachel showed more that she was more of a leader for the Glee club than Will. She recognised that they needed help, she went about finding that help, and when it turned out that that decision was not right for the group, she stepped up and spoke out. In all of these situations she had the confidence in herself to do something. In addition to this, she would not let Finn put the blame of Schue abandoning the group on her, and calling him out on what had gone down between them in the previous episode. This Rachel is the Rachel that I am here for.

Kurt and Mercedes
Their narrative is the MVP of this episode. Mercedes is finding confidence in herself as a result of the supposed affections of Kurt. Yes, he does care for her, but not in the way that she had cruelly been lead to believe by Quinn and Santana. When Tina and Rachel confront her about this, with Tina telling her that she can do better (which I take as meaning somebody who can return Mercedes romantic intentions, as let’s face it, who is better than Mr Kurt Elizabeth Hummel? Choose your words better next time, Tina. Also, both Tina and Rachel, can I say two little words to both of you: “Blaine Anderson”…), Mercedes responds that she “likes the way I feel with him” and that that was “enough”. While this could be interpreted as settling, I like to think of this as the foundation of Mercedes and Kurt’s relationship. They do care for each other, they will grow to love one another. Love doesn’t necessarily need to be romantic, and I think that Mercedes is able to recognise this at this point. This can also be seen as a reflection of Mercedes herself. She is a character who brings out the best in people. We all know that Kurt can be prickly, standoffish, but because he is around Mercedes, she is bringing out a sweeter side to him, a side that is kind and caring towards her, which is then resulting in these confused feelings on her behalf.

When this confidence that Mercedes has been getting from this relationship is hurt, she does not retreat like Will, she confronts it (with a giant rock, and an incredible performance). After this, she is able to gather her pride, approach Kurt and tell her she is happy for him and Rachel. I don’t know about you, but that takes guts. There is a parallel here with Rachel- when they realise that they may not have made the best choice, they have the confidence within themselves to rectify that.

And Kurt, oh Kurt. He shows such incredible bravery when he decides to come out to Mercedes. He is terrified. You can hear it in his voice and see it in his face, and yet he speak out. This is such a quiet, little scene (which will be further paralleled in his scene with Burt next episode), yet it says so much. Mercedes tells Kurt that he should not be ashamed of who he is, and that he should tell everyone. Kurt’s response is that he can’t because “I’m just not that confident, I guess.”

Now leading up to this moment, we get the first mentions of Burt Hummel, from Kurt’s perspective. There were a couple of throw away lines- Burt gave Kurt a car when he promised to stop wearing form-fitting sweaters that finish at the knee, and then took that car away when he found Kurt’s tiara collection. Now this is obviously setting the seed for how Kurt and Burt’s narrative will play out in the next episode, yet it can also be seen an interesting interpretation of how Kurt see his relationship with his father. At this stage, Kurt does not have the confidence in himself, or the confidence in his and Burt’s relationship to open up.

But while Kurt feels in himself that he is not confident (which is a direct contrast to the persona he has shown to other characters in these first three episodes), he has actually demonstrated the opposite. 

So, even though the episode was trying to tell us that being a man is all about confidence, true confidence was demonstrated by two female characters, and a male not considered ‘masculine’ at this point of the narrative, by the writers and other characters (which we all know is bullshit, of course). Mercedes, Rachel and most of all, Kurt are the ones in this episode that we should be looking at for an example of how to be brave, how to show guts and how to be confident, even when you might not always feel like you are.


Go inside the dieselpunk-inspired world of Ru Xu’s ‘NewsPrints’

Comics may be home to young detectives, but now they’re also home to newsgirls.

Ru Xu’s NewsPrints follows the story of Blue, a girl who disguises herself as a newsboy in order to sell The Bugle, her hometown newspaper — the only one that tells the truth — because only boys are allowed to be newspaper sellers. But things soon get complicated when the young newsgirl befriends Jack, a reclusive inventor, and a mysterious boy named Crow. Blue soon finds herself involved in the war going on between her country of Goswing and the neighboring country, Grimmaea.

“I wanted to encourage readers to keep seeking truth where they can,” explains Ru Xu, “and to help those who can’t protect themselves because their voices aren’t being covered or being magnified.”

With NewsPrints hitting bookstands today, EW caught up with Xu to discuss the dieselpunk world she brings to life in her first big comic.

What inspired this idea?Anytime I learned something new, I just put it at the back of my brain to possibly use the information in a future story. So NewsPrints is a culmination of a lot of my childhood interests in historical fiction, girls who dress as boys, and birds. 

Was Blue always a girl pretending to be a newsboy or did that change as the story developed?I came up with the character first. Blue’s always been this sort of androgynous character. The gender changed depending on the story I was working on. Because when I started working with these characters in my freshman year of college, Blue was a gender neutral character for viewers to interact with in a PC game for children. But then in the next version of the story, which was completely different, Blue became a boy. In the next version of the story, it just kept changing depending on what kind of story it was. I finally ended up with the story that I pitched Scholastic. In that case, Blue was a girl who was disguised as a newsboy. 

How did you make the jump from Blue being a PC game character to another medium, like comics?Originally the idea, in terms of characters, is that even if they stay the same, I really wanted to play with different media in college. So it made a lot of sense for me to bounce around until I finally decided on what kind of story I wanted and what medium I felt would best serve this story. I’ve always loved stories. I went to to study comics and sequential arts, so it made a lot of sense for me to just to do this in comic format. 

What do you think that format added to this story?What I love about the comic format is that the readers can control their pace in reading and consume the story. As the author, I’ve laid it out in the way that I think it should be presented and paced. The readers can always put it down and reprocess it or just go back three panels and reread that page or something like that. I just love the amount of control it gives me and the audience. 

What does it mean for Blue to have to keep this secret from her friends and family?
All of us are trapped in this persona that we always feel we have to keep up in order to be accepted by the people we love. For Blue, it just happens to be this particular thing, because she was told, “Only boys can be newsies,” so Blue thought, “Okay. Quick fix, I’ll just be a boy for a little while.” But that never went away and now she has to deal with the consequences of it. It wouldn’t be a problem for her if she really identified that way, but as she goes further into this persona, she realises that this isn’t what she wanted and it’s getting harder and harder to untangle herself from it, especially when everyone around her is growing up, and will figure it out eventually. So for Blue, it’s a matter of deciding who she is and presenting herself and who she believes she is on her own terms.

One of the big themes in the comic is war and how people write and report on it. What made you want to explore that aspect of the story?As a kid you would often hear adults withholding information from us when we asked questions. They’d respond with phrases like, “You’ll understand when you’re older.” As we grow older we start to complacently accept those kinds of messages as we just move on from our lives, especially from news sources we rely on. We’ll say, “Oh that’s none of my business. There’s nothing I can do.” So NewsPrints was a way for me to explore those feelings and the frustrations and helplessness I felt growing up when I was blocked by these kinds of phrases when I was curious about things. 

In terms of NewsPrints‘ art style, was this always how you saw the story?How I draw is just kind of like that. Sailor Moon was my first influence on my art style. But I also watched a lot of anime and cartoons growing up. More than anything, I think it’s more of my influences on storytelling that I can actually trace back to sources. Like Studio Ghibli, Iron Giant, and Avatar the Last Airbender. In terms of art, it feels like I’ve been influenced by so many different things as I’ve grown up in media and kind of just came to this style. 

In the comic, there are certain types of technology and not others. Were you looking at periods in history for inspiration?A lot of what this book is inspired by is what I learned in history classes in middle school and high school. There was a lot of focus on the early 20th century. So this is sort of what the world of NewsPrints is set in. And I was also influenced by quite a bit of dieselpunk work, at least in the aesthetics of it. The world of NewsPrints is sort of in a transitional period where they’re going from steam to diesel. And they focus on different technologies, so they didn’t even have flight at this period of time in their world. So it’s definitely an alternate world and the technology reflects on what their society thought was important to advance at the time. 

NewsPrints is currently available for purchase. You can see more exclusive pages below.

on art schooling

Hello, readers! My name is Gale Galligan, and I’m an MFA student in SCAD’s Sequential Art department - for, like, another week and a half. And then I’m outta here! As my time comes to a close, and I pretend I don’t still have a ton of packing to do, I’ve been taking some time to reflect on my experiences.

One of my favorite learning opportunities came from teaching - as a graduate mentor, I got to sit down with undergrads and help them figure stuff out. Life advice, balloon placement, planning out weekly schedules, the whole package. And that helped me figure out some of my own stuff, too! What I’m saying is, I enjoy finding opportunities to throw advice at people. And what better place than this, my personal blog?

Prospective art students, current art students, people looking for a long read: this might be the post for you! Today, I’m going to talk a little bit about Art School Success Strategies (cobbled together from my experiences as well as the experiences of my peers and mentees), with a focus on comics-making programs (because that is the thing I did). I have also included some GIFs from the Internet, as the cool kids do, to make this a fun and exciting read. Let nobody say I didn’t try.

Let’s go!

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Year of the Magical Girl | A Lifetime of Thoughts

Pretear isn’t a series I feel is well represented or known in the magical girl sphere, but it isn’t what I’d describe as obscure. Mostly it is over shadowed by franchises that are much grander than it, from the number of episodes and manga volumes to the ideas and depiction of the feminine - and I don’t disagree. Junichi Sato’s big magical girl title is Princess Tutu working with designs and ideas by the lovely Ikuko Itoh; Sato’s personal project, Pretear, understandably get’s less recognition.  

But I like Pretear, particularly the manga, so here is a blab about it:

Pretear was a comic I read entirely in store between 2004 and 2005 - meaning I’d go to Borders when it existed and read a volume then wait for the next one to come out and only recently bought the series from a used book store many years later (eek, sorry Borders). 

Towards the end of high school the influx of manga due to it’s growth in popularity made me weary of titles for a while, as is typical with contrary high schoolers. I did keep a pulse on magical girl and older titles though with Pretear becoming one of my last hurrahs before I dipped into Western/European comics exclusively for a while, as such the series is a benchmark one for my personal mapping of sequential art consumption.

Pretear is supposedly a loose, uber fantasy, retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs but really there is not a lot to read into with the comparison. The series isn’t a “reverse harem” title, but there are more male characters than female (which is unusual for a magical girl title) and the series does rely on a few ONCE UPON A TIME characteristics; such as the broken home and step mother complete with step sisters.

What is borderline shocking is that while the male characters certainly revolve around the Pretear, a wonderful heroine named Himeno Awayuki, they are not used in such a way that they are ultimately what defines the female lead (which actually is true of a lot of harem anime; where a bunch of female characters give a totally unimpressive male character depth simply due to their desire for him) and the stereotypical fairy tale aspects of the story start to fall into realistic portrayals of shared home conflicts and emotional abuse. 

An example of these ideals setting up to be disappointing but end up being refreshing:

Himeno’s disgruntled step sister Mayune at one point hires a bunch of boys to harrass Himeno on her way home. One of the male dwarf-substitute characters (known in-story as a Leafe Knight) are trailing Himeno so as to protect her because Himeno is the Pretear and the Pretear is their mission to protect so she can protect the earth and blahblah. Basically the set up looks like the evil step sister has sent some jerks in to be awful to Himeno and the Knight is going to jump in and save the day - but he gets detained explaining his presence stalking around a school campus and Himeno beats up her and her friend’s harassers herself and tells them being mean to girls is sad behavior. Little gems like that litter the basic plot of Pretear and once in a while are elevated to big story and character moments.

One such moment is one of my favorites in the series and in magical girl manga overall. Hayate is a bishonen Leafe Knight whose overzealous approach to the knight’s mission turned disastrous for him and the others in the past and as a result he carries around a lot of baggage and misunderstanding of Himeno’s personality (and women in general). Frustrated, Himeno tells him:

“Stupid Hayate. You really don’t understand other people’s feelings at all. You’re here because you want to protect me right? … But Hayate, did you know? Girls, in order to protect something important to them, can become as strong as they need to be? I became the Pretear because I also want to protect."  

The choice aspect of Pretear gives the story a lot of it’s power, along with the series active role in smearing Himeno’s real life with her magical life with the two complicating each other in ways most fairy tales never seem to really get right. Himeno rises her decisions and puts the knights, like Hayate, in their place when they try to withhold information for "her own good” and coddle her when she wants the ability to help out as best as she can.

With only four volumes, Pretear is a short ride but surprisingly poignant for getting lost in the magical girl shuffle. 

Gravity Falls - Mabel’s Mind Palace

I read somewhere on Tumblr that Mabel and Dipper are technically geniuses for their age, as Dipper was doing complicated math and Mabel could make amazing art sculptures. So I have this headcanon that Mabel is actually really good at using memory techniques, as creativity is actually a big part of these techniques, which would make her just as smart if not better than Dipper at retaining information, as I’d imagine Dipper takes rote learning very seriously. Also this would be future Pines twins going to the same college and taking the same upper-division Psychology course. [Somewhat of a BBC Sherlock reference]

Most information and quotes either come from my own experience and research or from Kevin Horsley’s UNLIMITED MEMORY: How to Use Advanced Learning Strategies to Learn Faster, Remember More and be More Productive.

[ Chapter 1 ] || [ Chapter 2 ] || [ Chapter 3 ] || [ Chapter 4 ] || [ Chapter 5 ] || [ Chapter 6 ] || [ Chapter 7 ] || [ Chapter 8 ] || [Chapter 9 - FINAL CHAPTER]

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The BBA: Past and Future

Hey everybody!

First off I’d like to say thank you very much for following - you are my very first blog followers, and I am flattered that you are interested in what I might have to post on here.

One of the reasons I never had a blog before (besides being inherently terrible at keeping up with stuff, even basic human tasks like laundry and dishes) is that I was never quite sure what I’d say.

I think the majority of people know my name with its connection to The Blackblood Alliance, so maybe it makes sense for my first post If I explain a little why I discontinued the project in the first place, and now why I think it’s worth picking back up again to run in a new direction with it.

The first book I ever bought for myself was White Fang. I read the shit out of that book. And I always was a fan of sequential art. Calvin and Hobbes was an enormous influence on me (I mean wasn’t it for everyone?) and one day, around 17 years ago I started drawing my own adventure comic. I didn’t have any “real life” friends, but I had internet friends (yeah, i was on the net super young) and so I brought us together on the page. And oh yeah we were dogs. Because dogs.

Notice that this is page 92. Every day I would sit there and just draw whatever came into my head. No planning, no “plot”. I eventually started to bore myself with coming up with “ok who pops out at them after they spend a few panels walking and shooting the shit?” and dropped it to entertain myself with god knows what other weird passion struck me at the moment.

I spent a few years doing “funnies” for small local publications, like the highschool newsletter and the Newsletter of the dogsledding organisation I was involved with.

“Stumpet and Meep” was about an obsessive white pomeranian with a dark imagination who was in love with her owner. “Kaltag” was about friendless, clumsy sleddog who is terrible at his job and collects Last Place trophies because Hey It’s Something.

The vast majority of these were 3 to 4 panel strips and are lost to the ages (probably for the best, I have always been terribly unfunny) but here are a couple that I still have.

In the one above, I found that I quite enjoyed the more “serious” panels of Meep’s world as a wolf. So I thought maybe I should explore that.

I grabbed stack of printer paper and a pencil and sat on the bed and again, no plot or ideas or plan, drew this:

At this point I had a Deviantart account so started posting this up for my (again internet) friends who played Furcadia and were also interested in wolves, and the rest is history.

A while later, a reader did some fanart for me. I liked it so much (especially her beautiful environment painting) that I asked her if she would like to team up with me. Together we redid my old pages to make some prettier stuff. For comparison, here is one of the last pages we produced:

We were definitely producing something that looked pretty good, if I may say so myself. I was never ashamed at how our work looked. But as we went along I became aware of a fatal flaw in the work: I was still writing page-to-page, flying by the seat of my pants. No real plan for anything that was happening. No arcs for any of the characters. Readers waited for sometimes MONTHS for the next page, most patiently, some not, because I was wringing my hands trying to decide what was going to happen on that page.

At this age - I think I was around 17 or 18, I was really impatient with fans and critics alike. I snarked at people who copied my designs too closely and I’d react defensively to criticism. I’d also be outright rude to people I thought were stupid. My public persona stirred up enough dirt that a small pocket of vocal haters cropped up, and then grew. Someone made an Encyclopedia Dramatica page about me, someone went through and altered all the speech bubbles in the comic in a parody, and people were trolling my Deviantart daily, telling me how terrible I was and wishing cancer upon me, etc etc. Amidst all this though, there was always a large number of people who just straight up liked the work and just wanted to see the next page, but somehow I tuned that out and only seemed to notice the hatred.

Offline I was dealing with social anxiety, bad relationships, an eating disorder, and dropped out of college. When my mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer I left my job too. The online pressure on top of all that was getting to be just too much - I was avoiding facing the internet - didnt check email or deviantart or my forum that I’d started where hundreds of members roleplayed in my fantasy wolf universe. People were trying to get a hold of me saying the moderators I had in place were doing crazy stuff to eachother, not to mention just tons of member drama I didnt understand, didnt know how to solve, and just didnt want to deal with.

A typical artist, my greatest fear is of failure. Things weren’t looking too good, I hate myself, everyone hates me, my work is headed nowhere, so why try? Failure is embarrassing. Better not to try and no one see your face, no one know your name, no one see your ugly messy attempts than to try and fall short and be shamed.

When my mother passed away, I lost any stability I had in my life and just broke. I was stuck in a deep mire of depression and never touched comic work again.

Blah blah ok enough life story bullshit. Im not writing any of this stuff to be felt sorry for by the way. I think a lot of people experience things like that - it isn’t anything special. I just want you to know why I suddenly stopped a project that a lot of you I presume had some sort of interest in. So there is all is, the honest truth about it.

In short though Ive spent the 5 years getting my shit together. I think I’m finally there, in a good place.

So what does one ideally do when youve found a good place? Do what you love, I think. And I really love making comics.

I considered starting an entirely different universe, in a different time period with different characters that were different animals. And yeah, I still want to make animal comics, not people comics, because I like talking animals and there aren’t enough of them in comics and graphic novels. Superheroes still dominate.

But even if I didn’t like the story details, I always liked the Blackblood Alliance world, and I think thats what other people liked too. Abandoning that forever seemed sad. So I decided that it needed to be what I worked on next.

I can’t just pick up BBA where I left off because I want to make something that lives up to the high standards I hold myself and my work to. I see clearly now that The Blackblood Alliance’s production was flawed, and I can’t unsee that. It needed direction. I’ll spare you the details but I learned a lot about the value of planning, organization and direction from my last job. I think I can apply what I’ve learned to a new approach for The Blackblood Alliance. 

And I’m not gonna lie, the constant outpouring of support from lovers of the BBA is where I draw a lot of my confidence, inspiration and motivation to continue its development.

I am very flattered that after all these years, you are following me and still have interest in seeing what happens next.

On my DA I will be chronicling the visual concepts and storyboards for BBA production. I will put those things on this blog as well, but I will also include more in-depth writing regarding planning and development process. I will always be open to questions, criticism and feedback, so feel free to contact me through DA. 

Thanks again for your continued support. I dont know where’d I’d be without it!


Stephen Russell Answers Questions from His Fans!

Hello, everyone! These are the questions that my friend and I gathered from all of you here on Tumblr and sent to Stephen Russell.  If your question is not on the list below, please do not take it personally.  It just means that your question didn’t make it to us before I had to close the post.  I apologize.

Much to my friend’s and my admiration, he answered every singlequestion we sent.  He even apologized for the delay and said he appreciated the questions and our patience.  This went far beyond what we expected.  He is a very busy man, yet he took time out of his busy schedule for us– his fans.

Even if you didn’t ask a question, if anyone who reads this would like to leave a comment thanking Stephen Russell for his time, and for the genuine thoughtfulness that went into his answers, I will gather them up and send them his way.  I think that would be a nice surprise for him.  My words alone cannot do our gratitude justice, so I ask that you lend me your support.  Thank you and enjoy! :)

1) You have such a range vocally, going from rough to soft and also a range of accents.  Did you have specialized training, or was it down to years of mimicry/trial and error?

Thanks for your kind words! It was a combination of the two, really, but far more of the latter.  A lot of listening, a lot of imitation, a lot of experimenting with my voice to see what it could do.  The training part I got mostly through singing in choruses and choirs, taking individual voice lessons and singing with bands and as a solo act for many years.

2) How did you get into voice acting?  I know you’re a stage/film actor as well, but I’m told that voice acting is quite different.  What sparked your interest?

I had been doing voice work for commercials, narrations, industrials, radio drama, etc. for quite some time.  In May of 1997 I answered a casting call and went to an audition for something that turned out to be Thief, The Dark Project, for Looking Glass.  So my initial interest was really just about landing another job. However, once I started actually doing this work I became fascinated by the storytelling possibilities.  That’s what it all comes down to for me, no matter what the medium - stories.

3) How do you feel about the characters you portray?  How deeply do you get to know them before you voice them?

a) You can’t have a great story without great characters and I’ve been really fortunate to get to work with smart, witty writers who know how to create memorable characters, each with a distinct worldview, and then give them dialogue that brings out those subtle quirks of personality through which character is revealed.  It’s fun to slip into those characters and I’m always glad when I get to revisit a character I’ve worked on before.

b) One of the challenges about this work is that there’s often not a lot of time to get to know a character before an initial recording session, so you discover nuances of said character over multiple sessions.

4) How hard is it to break into the voice acting business?  What is some good advice you would give to a beginner?

Giving career advice to strangers is really difficult because it all depends on the individual and there’s no one single path that works for everyone.  It can be quite challenging to break into any aspect of the acting business, and anything you can do to gain experience or training as an actor is going to be of help in the long run.

5) Is there a character out there that you would like to portray in the future?

No one in particular. Creating from the ground up is always the most fun for me, taking on a character that allows me to stretch, that challenges me to learn something new, to find a new place in my voice that I haven’t used before.

6) Have you ever considered getting into animation; outside of video games?

Love to!  Happy to entertain any and all offers, provided they’re union jobs, of course.

Game-related questions:

1) How long were the recording sessions for Fallout 4?  What’s the longest recording session you’ve ever had?

Union contracts specify that sessions can last no longer than four hours, so no Fallout 4 session went over that time limit.  I can’t remember exactly how many days in total I worked on Fallout 4, but I know there were a lot of sessions over several years, usually three or four days back to back every four months or so.

2) If you have one, who is your favourite character? Who did you enjoy voicing the most?  Which character was the most fun to portray?

My favourite character is always the one I’m working on at the moment and they all have unique challenges and pleasures.  Voicing Codsworth was hilarious because Emil Pagliarulo and the other writers at Bethesda gave me so many good jokes to play with.  I always welcome a bit of humor.  I find that characters who take themselves too seriously are as tedious in games as they are in real life.

3) Who do you enjoy playing more in games: protagonists or antagonists?

Antagonists are fun because they’re usually bigger, broader characters.  Protagonists require more subtlety to bring out emotion.  Again, different challenges, both enjoyable in their own way.

4) What is it like to record interactions between two characters you portray?  For example; Barbas and Clavicus Vile or Nick Valentine and DiMA?

Lines are recorded individually by character, not sequentially or by scene, so we might do all of Barbas’ lines in one session and then Clavicus Vile’s dialogue in another, sometimes months later.  So, in general, I treat those lines where I know I’m talking to a character I’ve already voiced or will be voicing no differently than any others.  It is fun to hear them together later, though.

5) Do you interact with the rest of the Bethesda team at all?  Or is your work mainly separate from the rest of the game’s development?

Sadly, I don’t get to interact with the rest of the Bethesda team much at all, other than as disembodied voices in my headphones.  I have such respect for the work they do, that it would be fun to get to meet more of the team.  For that reason, going to E3 in 2015 was an enormous pleasure, as I got to say hello to Todd Howard, Emil Pagliarulo and others whose work I’ve long admired.

6) DiMA’s voice is so unique. How did you develop it? Did you get a lot of direction from the writers, or were you mostly free to create it yourself?

It’s always a collaborative effort.

7) What is your overall opinion of the Far Harbor DLC?  Did you enjoy working on it?

I think it’s brilliant and I loved working on it!!

8) Did it take time to discover the voice of the Mr. Handy robots, or did it come to you naturally?

It was shockingly easy. Codsworth may be my alter ego.

9) Was DiMA’s voice scripted or accidental?

The dialogue was scripted, certainly.  As for the tone and the specific vocal quality, again, a collaborative effort.

10) What do you think of your Valentine fanbase? Especially in the case of the fan girls who really want Nick to be romancable?

I think the Valentine fans are the nicest, kindest, most wonderful human beings pretty much ever. Now, by romancable, do you mean flowers and chocolate and long walks on the beach?  I do happen to know that Nick is singularly disinterested in flowers or consumables of any kind, though he does like a good shot of WD-40 every now and again, and, given the state of the beaches in Far Harbor, walking there might not be the most prudent course of action.

11) Are you excited for Dishonoured 2?  We are!

November can’t come soon enough!

12) Was Nick Valentine fashioned after you specifically?

I have been known to wear a rain coat, particularly during inclement weather, and I did own a fedora at one time.  (I wonder what ever happened to that?  Must remember to look in the attic.)  That’s about as far as the resemblance goes.

13) Dishonoured took a lot of inspiration from the original “Thief” games. Did the team seem excited to have the original Master Thief on board to VA for Corvo?

Everyone was very kind, yes.

14) What was your favourite Nick Valentine line/scene to perform?

That’s a tough one. He has so many great lines.  I could probably choose a different one every day.

15) How did Bethesda first describe Nick Valentine at the beginning of game production, and did they make any changes in Nick’s personality/back story/role later on?

I think we’ll just let the mystery be on that one.

16) For the role as Nick Valentine, who did you use for inspiration/ reference to develop the voice/tone?

We’ll let the mystery be on that one, too.

17) What was it like to voice act as Codsworth live at E3 and PAX Prime?  I didn’t realize you were improvising until I saw videos showing you were interacting and sharing dad jokes with fans.

Nothing but fun! First of all, it was great just to be there and to get to see that incredible animatronic Mr. Handy created for the event.  And then I just loved improv-ing and riffing on all the people walking by.  Is there anything better than getting an adult to sing “I’m A Little Teapot” in front of a crowd of strangers?  I don’t think so.

18) How do you feel about the fans creating and posting online artworks of the characters you voice?

I’m really impressed by both the quality and the quantity of creative efforts that these characters have inspired.  Some of the artwork is truly stunning and the fan fiction is often highly imaginative and well written. Keep up the good work, folks!

19) What is it like to bring these characters to life?

Challenging, in the best possible way, and rewarding like nothing else I’ve ever done. It’s such an honor to get to work with all the incredibly talented, smart, funny and creative women and men who create these games and these characters and I feel really fortunate that I get to do this work and they keep asking me back.

20) If given the chance, would you voice Garrett again?

As I mentioned earlier, I’m always glad when I get to revisit a character I’ve worked on before. But somehow it feels more natural to want to see what’s ahead rather than always looking back.

Finally, a big thanks for all these thoughtful and intelligent questions.  I really appreciate all the interest in my work.
Best, Stephen.