Topical Tuesday: Year in Review

Before I get into this likely to be short and sweet post, I’d like to apologize again for not being steady with my posts. I intend to adjust my posting themes/schedule for the next year, though I’m still brainstorming right now. If you have any ideas for daily themes, please share them with me in the comments so I can use them as reference. Topics in general are also well appreciated. 🙂

Anyhow… Hello, my friends! Can you believe today is the last day of 2019? On my youtube channel, I do a week in review each Sunday… But today, I’d like to do a year in review here. I admit, I can’t remember a lot of things, but there were a number of memorable moments that touched to my very core.

For starters, I won NaNoWriMo for my second or third time in a decade! That’s a pretty amazing feat if you ask me. Considering I was totally burnt out early in the year, it shocks me how much I got done on various projects since November started. I think focusing on world building may really be a huge aid to me, so I’m doing more of that now.

A memory from before NaNoWriMo would be my trip to Arizona in August. It was my second time there staying at my boyfriend’s place, and my first chance to be there for his birthday. It’s honestly a miracle I was able to afford it, but the biggest miracle, to me, was how sweet his family was towards me. I mean, they were nice last time too, but this time was different:

We were all watching Scare Tactics while eating dinner, and I was a little (okay, a lot) scared. I told him never to do that to me, and one of his family members said, “If he does, just tell one of us and we’ll beat him up for you.” I’m not a fan of violence, but it was the thought that counted, right?

I’ve had a number of other small events happen over the course of the year. I entered (and lost) my first short story contest. I just recently also entered my first pay-to-enter poetry contest with a notable cash prize of $500. It wasn’t insanely expensive- well, it sort of was. If you were just entering one poem, you had to pay $4.50, but if you donated $5.00 or more, you got three free entries. So, naturally, I paid the extra fifty cents to get myself three entrees, which were fun and difficult to choose/write. I don’t actually know when the winner is to be announced, but I’m feeling at least a little confident in my work, so that’s a good thing, isn’t it?

A problematic thing that happened, however, is my weight: I gained enough to reach over 200lbs. However, dad and I got really into Pokemon Go together this year, so we’ve been taking more walks. I hope to take even more next year! But that’s not the point of this post. Tomorrow, I’ll be doing a video about my goals and resolutions for the year on my youtube channel. I plan to link it here, so please come back when the time comes! 🙂

Other notable things: I changed the layout, as you can clearly see. Hopefully this one has comments working better. I wanted a fresh look for the new year. I might adjust the colors some more, but I liked the dark mode look. This is just one of many changes I’m hoping to make. I intend to make new banners for my posts, and I’m also in the midst of looking at huge lists of prompts for blog posts and videos so I can help avoid my recent tendency to have no idea what to write and skip days at a time.

So, how was 2019 for you? I hope there were some good memories to be had, and I hope you’ll share them with me in the comments! Look forward to the future changes- I promise to do my best to make this blog even better in 2020… Because I know it can be!

Topical Tuesday: Apologies and Stuff

Hey everyone, sorry for skipping Saturday’s post! I had no idea what to write and have been having really severe migraines the past week or so. My migraine is more manageable now that I’ve properly taken my specialty medication just for them- I thought they could be other forms of headache and didn’t want to take my migraine meds if it was potentially the wrong type. Triptans are heavy duty and lower your blood pressure, which is a natural cause of worry for me, since, well… I already have low blood pressure. That said, dad got me to take it and kept an eye on me and I didn’t seem to have any problems with it, so all is well with the world! Well, maybe not all of it, but… my migraines are better. So yay!

A few life updates for now. First off, I completed the main storyline of My Time at Portia. I decided to make a third save (my second save is for streaming) and made the character the hero from my primary writing project, Kieran. I was even able to give him purple skin to match his reality in my story! It really is fun to play games as one of your characters. It’s a great way to experience different play styles and just get to know them better. So yeah, that’s been happening the past couple days now.

In other news, I finally wrote a poem I like enough to have three to enter into the poetry contest I’ve been excited for for weeks. I made my donation to get my three free entries, and am now waiting for an email from the company to tell me how to enter my three poems and whatnot. I’m a little worried since it’s the holiday weeks now, and waiting for the email is making me fairly impatient, but I’m just so excited! I ended up not on the short list for the short story contest I entered, but I’m trying, and that’s what counts… for now.

I intend to start writing my goals for next year over the next week. I also need to start setting my binder up for the new year. I haven’t decided what to do with old months yet- I may keep them or throw them away. But my first goal is to make a nice cover for it, and then start setting up the front section that’ll have things like my year in pixels mood tracker, amongst other things. I’m doing a total readjustment. It’s gonna take time, but it’ll be fun!

What are your goals for the coming new year? I know for mine, I want to enter more writing contests, find an IRL DnD game I can take part in, and maybe attend more writing groups throughout the year. I also want to work on my hygiene and general health. I want a lot of things, basically. It’s gonna take a lot of work, but I’ll manage to get through it somehow! I just… Haven’t planned it all out yet.

That’s all for now. Comment with your plans for the holidays, your goals for the new year, and some tips and tricks you might have that can help people (namely me) conquer their barriers and fulfill their great desires. Or, just share your desires you’ve made into reality yourself- sometimes, an anecdote is just what we need to learn from!

I’ll still be posting throughout the holiday season, but for now… Take care!

P.S.: Should I change up the look of the blog for the new year?

Topical Tuesday: ComiPo Conundrum

Season’s greetings, everyone! Can you believe it’s getting so close to the end of the year? I was thinking about how much I’ve changed over the past year, and I realized something… the most major change, I’ve found, is that I’m using ComiPo a lot less than I used to.

Now, It’s not like I never use it at this stage. I still play around with it, mostly to make backgrounds for my computer based on projects I have… But it’s not my only comic making program anymore. During a sale, I ended up buying Kuma Kuma. Each program has its perks and downfalls, but this isn’t a review or comparison post by any means. I’m here today to talk about why I’ve grown to use ComiPo less and less… And why I don’t consider myself necessarily part of the community anymore.

You see, the ComiPo community was strong for a long while. I felt comfortable there, and I was using ComiPo so much that it felt only reasonable that I take part in the community. But, when I had a major case of burnout from writing, my comic work also plummeted. I began to use ComiPo less and less. And, the less I used it, the less I felt a connection to the community.

Of course, there are other reasons I left the majority of the ComiPo community. There was a lot of drama and stress in it after a certain point. I’ll spare you the details, but the basic point is that certain members showed different kinds of quirks that weren’t exactly comfortable for me to be around. And, as the ‘quirks’ led to drama, I became more and more stressed just watching from the sidelines. So, I basically left to preserve my limited sanity.

I’m not completely outside the ComiPo community, however. I have high hopes for a trip to Canada in 2020 to do a panel about the program with some friends that use it as well. I have no idea if it’ll come to fruition yet, of course. If it does work out, I’ll have a lot of preparations to do, including getting myself a passport, making my part of the presentation, etc.

Now, I’m totally looking forward to the panel assuming it happens. If not, a friend said she’s trying for an artist alley booth that we can share, too. That said, I haven’t really been sharing much of my ComiPo work on my deviantART or here. And the reason for that, besides not really having much to share, is my anxiety. I’m honestly scared of returning to the community- I’ve vanished for so long, and I can’t help but have doubts about whether I’d be welcomed back or come back to a new set of stressful scenarios. And, it’s not like my focus is on ComiPo- though I do have some stories I want to make into comics again, but I don’t feel I have remotely enough skill or planning to make it work well.

So, what am I working on lately? I’m glad you asked (no, I know you didn’t, but I’m pretending you did anyway). I got a nifty new program for planning out stories and have been using its worldbuilding pack quite a lot. I’m making languages, fleshing out cultures and religions, and many more things. I’m also doing a tiny bit of game dev every day, as dad said he’d like to work on it with me at some point, and I’ve met people on Twitter who are thinking of making a group that I’m invited to join. I’m still working on my novels, but they’re mostly in the planning stages again, as I try to figure out if they’d make better scripts than novels.

And, finally, I’ve been entering writing contests again. I have a paid one I want to join, but I can’t seem to come up with a third poem right now. I’m going to keep working extra hard on poetry until I write one I think sits well- and I hope to spend a lot more time on writing contests in the next year.

What kind of creative projects are you up to, guys? Do you prefer to write or draw, and no matter which, what’s your favorite medium for it? I want to hear more about you guys- I want to become a part of your community, as you are part of mine. I hope you’ll comment to share your thoughts- I love to hear them!

Topical Tuesday: NaNo is Over! Time for Project Updates!

Hey everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve written a post, hasn’t it? And I mean actually written a post. It may be the last day of November when I’m writing this, but I have so much to share from the past month that I’m not sure of where to start.

Well, for one thing, I WON! I finished writing 50k words in record time, all thanks to my working on multiple projects at once. I can’t fully believe I managed to finish, though none of my projects are done. I think that’s one thing I’d like to talk about today, in fact… The projects I’m working on, how, and what I hope they’ll do if I publish them.

So, my first project I’m going to share is Pure Blood, a supernatural romance that was my original focus. I wrote a few chapters, but I got stuck and was basically bouncing all over the place. I’m not going to give up on it, but I’m taking some time from it until I feel I have more direction… Apparently I didn’t plan enough.

The second project, which has become my main project, is Luna Blue. This story is a sci-fi, quasi dystopian story about the world humans left behind due to destroying it with radiation and pollution, only to return to it once it seems the chaos has died down. The story has a lot of characters, because the colony it focuses on will be growing as the story goes on. There will be bizarre creatures due to the destruction of the gene pools and such, and a war between the mutated humans that’d been left behind and the colonists trying to start a new life for themselves. I’m recently working on a beastiary for it- and I gotta say, it’s pretty hard, but a lot of fun.

Another story I worked on for a short stint is Monochromatic Secret, another sci-fi, but this time focused on modern or maybe futuristic times. In this story, a girl can see up to the molecular level due to mutations done to her as a fetus. It follows her story of the loner moving up to be a friendly, confident woman.

I honestly don’t remember much else that I’ve written this month. I wrote a few paragraphs of a Pokemon fanfic, but that’s just for me at this time, and it will stay that way either way. I want to test more writing styles and programs, so more stories will help with that… But I hope to focus enough to finish one one of these days!

A lot has happened on the non-writing front too. I went to a few write-ins (okay, so those are writing related. Shush.) I got some neat prizes over the course of them, including a couple notebooks, a signed book by a fellow WriMo that I really like, and some other nifty knick knacks and stickers to go with the theme. I also went to a party upstairs this past Wednesday. They called it ‘Friendsgiving’. It was basically a small group of people hanging out, snacking, and a fair bit of alcohol. I woke up Thursday a bit hungover, but it was a fun night, and I’m glad I went. I should spend more time with the neighbors- they’re nice people.

Now that NaNoWriMo is officially over, I have a couple plans to put into place. I’m still going to write, but it won’t be my focus as much as it has been the last month. I also plan to work hard to motivate myself to declutter, as well as work on other art/development projects, namely game dev, a bit a day. With ComiPo having an update recently, I may use it to make a visual novel at some point- I have software for it, I just haven’t really played with it yet. I may start with just a kinetic novel… Honestly, I’m not sure.

What do you guys think I should focus on? I mean besides writing and my health. Yesterday (or what will be yesterday when you’re reading this) I went for an eye exam and to get some new glasses. So, hopefully, I’ll be seeing properly very soon! But besides my focus on writing and health, what should be my primary goal? And what projects do you think I should work on (both type of project and details if you have any)?

I need your help, my wonderful readers. How do you make a decision on what to work on? And what do you do to motivate yourself? Please leave a comment below to share with me your two cents. Also, if you have ideas for future blog topics or videos you’d like to see, let me know! I need all the brainstorming I can get!

NaNo Special: Writer’s Block

Good morning, my special friends! It’s time for another NaNo Special! Today, I’m going to talk about probably the most frustrating thing a writer can go through (in my opinion, at least). Yep, we’re talking about Writer’s Block.

I like to envision writing a bit like driving… Which is funny since I can’t drive. And yet, in my mind, I’m driving with my characters along the road that is the story’s plot. Sometimes they take the wheel and drag me through detours, while other times they just sit back and let me work. But sometimes, the road leads to a dead end. And, upon that dead end, I imagine a massive stone monument: a slab of Writer’s Block.

I try to keep my toolbox full of things to break the block down, naturally. Sometimes it requires a hammer, sometimes it needs to be set aflame. Many times, though, the only way I can get past a writer’s block is another detour. That, or take a trip to another story that has less blocks on its course.

See, I find detours and changes in direction the best methods for me to deal with writer’s block. If I don’t do those, I just end up sitting and staring at the block for an hour with absolutely no progress. By either jumping to a different road in the story or taking a route to a different story for a while, I manage to give the block time to sink into quicksand on the road, and return to it later with much clearer ideas and abilities to conquer it.

Another helpful thing is to have creative snacks. I remember reading once that someone recommended blue ice cream as a good writing food, but there’s a lot of options to get some sugary goodness that’ll get your motors going. For some reason, sugar is helpful for creative projects like this. Whether it’s blue ice cream or interestingly shaped cookies, there’s all sorts of snacks out there just waiting to be devoured for your writerly pleasure.

If you’re really hitting the wall with a hammer and having no luck, sometimes it’s good to take a break from writing altogether. Take some time for self care- go take a soothing bath or do a facial mask. Take a nice walk outside if the weather permits, or maybe just chat with a friend. Relaxation is a good way to help ease out of writer’s block and avoid burn out. Don’t forget it’s good to take a break once in a while either way, both for your stress levels and your eyes!

I know this isn’t much, but it’s all I can think of that might help. These are things that help me a lot, but they may not help you. Still, they’re things to try. If you have any tips for writer’s block of your own, share them in the comments so I can try them! If we all work together, we can all get a lot more done, don’t you think?

NaNo Special: World Building

It’s that time again today. That’s right- it’s time for a NaNo Special! Today, I felt like talking about something I worked on for a good chunk of September and October in preparation for this year’s NaNo: world building. It’s a difficult and tedious task depending on how you go about it, but in my experience, it can feel so worth the time and effort!

One of the first things I worked on, personally, was religions. I only knew one religion on the world my story takes place in, but I also knew that my characters followed something different. So, I had to come up with a new religion or two. With that responsibility comes the requirement to note down things like their myths, their holidays, their rituals- and to be honest, I didn’t finish as much as I intended to. It can be pretty hard to come up with all those details! But as of this moment, the world I’m writing in has three religions. I hope to use all of them in the stories I write someday!

The next task, to me, was to make a calendar. You see, my stories take place on another (made up) planet. Time moves differently there. And naturally, the religions and countries have their own holidays and things to celebrate throughout the year. So, I made a calendar. A calendar full of the world’s important dates highlighted.

That calendar was a pain in the ass to make, however. It was tediously daunting, and I had issues with my local spreadsheet programs eating and just deleting the calendar after I finally got it all prepared. In the end, it’s on my google sheets, and will eventually be put in my writing planner when I feel it’s filled to the brim with important information.

Another major task was getting to know the countries of this little world of mine. I had to know not just their names, but their layouts, governments, and other details relating to local vs broad spectrum holidays and such. I drew really crappy maps, set up the sections with numbers, colored the maps with a key for the different terrain, etc. I set up holidays for single countries and the world as a whole. I set up a monarchy, and two distinct forms of democracy of sorts. I laid out some of their laws, and up to 400 years of history depending on how far back I felt I’d need to deal with my immortal heroine in this year’s NaNo project.

With all that said, there’s still a lot of things I need to do. I need to adjust character birthdays, which are currently set on the Gregorian calendar. I need to finish fleshing out rituals and holidays, and write more lore of the land in detail. I haven’t plotted out the resources that are abundant or lacking yet, and while I’ve named all the primary politicians and capitals, I haven’t laid out where on each map the stories are set when they’re not capitals or anything of the sort.

As you can see, world building has a lot of details it can include. I think it really depends on the writer as to what details to focus on and how to go about planning things out. I put so much work into it the past months because I felt having the world better set up would give me more to work with when I write my stories in it. I get stuck with a lot of plot holes and writing blocks when I’m working on a story- but I think maybe, just maybe, better knowing the world will give me ideas of what could happen, or at least become good dialogue.

So today I have questions separate for my readers and writers out there. Readers, what do you consider the most interesting or important information to have about the world you’re reading about? And writers, how do you prepare details about your world? Do you use spreadsheets, make maps, or a number of different things? I want to hear this topic from different perspectives. Please share anything you’d like or can, so that I can learn it from you!

NaNo Special: Me and My Characters

Hey there everyone! Having a good November so far? I’m writing a number of these NaNo Special posts in advance, to give myself more time to write during NaNoWriMo… But I’m sure I’m having a lot of fun and frustration in your present and my future. “But wait, Jaluna, why are you so certain you’d be frustrated today?” Well, writing is hard… Especially if your characters seem to have a life of their own. You’d think that’s a good thing, but it’s not that great when they go off script and lead you in a direction that’s interesting, but blocks you from getting to what you needed.

To me, my characters are like my children- and I have a LOT of children in this case. They love to take me down alleys I wouldn’t have thought t, as if they’re trying to find a shortcut to their conclusion. Sometimes, my kids from another story idea start to whine about not getting enough attention. Basically, I feel a lot like a parent with many children, perhaps like my doctor whom has eight of his own. And yet, I’m not a parent. I’m only a writer- a writer with childishly defiant characters that won’t accept the rules I enforce on them.

I think this way often, however. I remember that my characters are my kids- and some of my kids have kids of their own already. I ended up becoming a fan of parenting blogs and following twitter accounts that talk about their kids a lot. I always make it clear when I respond to them that I’m not a parent, and most of them are totally understanding when I describe my characters the way I do, surprisingly. Some of them give me advice on behaviors I can do for myself that will improve my connection with them, in fact. I’m lucky parents can be so understanding- just like my father is.

Of course, another big issue when writing about a character is generally knowing as much as possible about them. When is their birthday? What makes them tic? What color was their favorite when they were 5 compared to when they were 25? No matter what inane piece of information, I want to know it all with my ‘children’. I want to know their life story and then some. I want to know their goals in life outside the plot. I want to know what led them to the plot, and what the plot means to them compared to me.

For me, the built in template for character development in Scrivener works great- but there’s always a sense that something’s missing. I can edit it as I please, luckily, but I often just keep a separate character form I can fill out for each character that’s more extensive. I’ve seen character charts that are a hundred questions, and others that are two-hundred fifty. What I like to do is take one of the larger forms and crop it, taking only the questions that fit my needs. I’m not likely to need to know anything about magic if it’s a fictional world without it (though this is just an example- my work always has some fantasy and sci-fi inside it!).

I think the things I often find myself cropping are things like specific body parts that don’t fit, such as scales, tails and all that fun stuff. I do have occasional characters that need those parts, but for the most part my characters tend to be humanoid, so I’ve yet to need those particular sections.

That’s all I can really say about my characters. They’re the proof of a lot of things: my love of children, my dark side, my inquisitive side and my thirst for control that I still can’t seem to get right. Writers, tell me about yourself: what do you think of your characters as? Are they just characters, or are they something more special? I’d love to hear how others plan out their characters and think about them in general. I could use some new tips to get to know mine even better, that’s for sure!

Until next time! Happy NaNo!

NaNo Special: My Writing Style

It’s the second day of NaNoWriMo, and my first November blog! I figured since it’s the first NaNo Special, I’d talk about something unique to me: my writing style, particularly how it varies between chatting applications and story writing. You see, I write very differently depending on what I’m writing. A message to a friend will often include a lot of typed out smilies and tildes at the end of sentences. You won’t find those in my fiction, however, except occasionally in author notes I include, including placeholders.

But did you know? There’s a method to my madness. I change my writing style drastically based on situations for a number of reasons. That’s what I primarily want to share with you today.

For those of you that don’t know me, I think it’s best to start out by telling you this: I’m an editor. I have severe OCD when it comes to writing and reading- any spelling errors I see, any awkward punctuation, it all makes me stuck when I’m reading something. When I say stuck, I mean my focus is glued to it, and cannot be unglued until the issue is fixed. It’s gotten me into a lot of trouble with all sorts of people: teachers, therapists, doctors offices- I’d notice their errors and start correcting them just to get out of the quicksand I felt myself engulfed in.

So, when I chat, I started doing something therapeutic: I started purposely making spelling errors of my own, altered my grammar to be something far from perfect, and used chatting with friends as a form of shock therapy on my own side of it. I still have trouble with forms when there’s errors, but I can at least hold back a little bit now. I still stop and stare, but I don’t feel like I’m going to miss every detail from getting glued to a page with problems.

And that’s why I chat the way I do. I find the tilde endings cute for some reason, too, though. It wasn’t just for therapy- it was to feel cuter, because my self-esteem sucks, and it was just getting worse with each day that I sat unable to take in anything people talked about around me because of a missing comma or the wrong use of there, their, or they’re.

But, there’s something else that I didn’t think of when I first started using this method of finding some self control: I didn’t think of how it would effect others that I wrote that way with. I had an ex who absolutely hated it. He sarcastically called me his tilde princess, but I didn’t realize he was demeaning me at the time. I thought it sounded sweet. It’s not that surprising though- I mean, I’m sure plenty of people find it irritating, but I would’ve liked it if he said it plainly rather than giving me what I thought was a cute pet name in his irritation.

Actually, it makes me worry sometimes that people may just be being nice for not calling me out for my somewhat weird writing methods. However, there are also people who do think it’s cute, which encourages me to continue doing it, as I feel my best and most like myself when I do this therapeutic facade. I know better than to use it when doing work of some sort, of course. But still, there’s some times where it’s okay not to be perfect. That’s what editors are for!

Well, that’s all for today’s ramblings. Do you find your writing methods change when you’re chatting versus writing fiction? How do you find yours differ from one another? What are some similarities? I’d love to hear your viewpoint and experience on the matter. Well, until next time! Take care~!

Throwback Thursday: NaNoWriMo

Welcome to the last post of October! It feels like time’s blown away quite quickly, doesn’t it? It’s already Halloween- and that means one thing to me: Tomorrow starts the craziest writing time I have each year: National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo.

If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, it’s a challenge for writers to write 50,000 words of fiction within just the 30 days of November. This requires writing almost 2k a day, which is surprisingly difficult at times. I’ve been a participant in NaNoWriMo since my school days.

It’s called ‘national’, but the challenge is spread across the globe nowadays. NaNoWriMo has a very social part to it, both online and off. Online, there’s forums and the ability to chat with your writing buddies. Offline, home regions (in my case Northeast New Jersey) have write-ins where you meet up at a library, cafe or some other institution to sit, have word wars, and quite a few other activities to help boost your word count.

It took me until about three years ago for me to really get to enjoy the socializing offline, when I finally found someone who could drive me to them since my dad often was sick and couldn’t. The next year, a different person drove me. Last year, I skipped NaNoWriMo due to mental health issues… And this year, I found out someone in my own town is going to be taking part, so they agreed to pick me up and go with them to the write-ins they plan to go to. For write-ins that this new friend isn’t going to, I have a secret weapon to get there.

See, my aunt is finding joy through writing recently. She’s always encouraged my writing, but finding a writing group made her realize just how good the social aspect could be for me. She gave me a prepaid card I can use to get Lyft rides to writing-based events. And you know what? I’ll do that if I need to, because it’s an amazing feeling to be surrounded by other writers working vigorously on their craft. It just makes me want to work harder!

However, while this is a quick trip down memory lane, this blog post is also an announcement: I’ll be cutting back my posts to every Saturday only. The posts will be about my writing process and things of that sort. I won’t have much time to blog, but I’ll try to check in on sporadic days to update you on how I’m doing, maybe share some pictures of things going on.

I’m sorry to announce this so late, but I hope you’ll cheer me on. By announcing my participation to you, my readers… I’m certain it will improve my chances of finishing this novel. Having people to check in on me and encourage me is a great feeling, and it just makes me want to finish harder knowing I’ve made a promise to do my best.

Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo? Do you just want to send your support? No matter what it is you have to say, please comment! I want to hear everything you have to say!

Throwback Thursday: The Characters Who Raised Me

Hey there everyone! How are you doing today? The week’s almost over, can you believe it? I got a request from one of my loyal readers recently: a post about fictional characters, whether mine or someone elses, and how they’ve helped me grow into who I am now. Honestly, I find this topic super interesting, and the fact I can use any number of characters is pretty awesome. So, shall we jump right in?

When I was young, Cardcaptor Sakura was a big part of my life. It inspired me to let my imagination go wild, sure, but that’s not why I’m noting it here. No, I’m here to note a specific line I always heard Syaoran Li say: Expect the Unexpected.

This quote has lived in my heart for over a decade. I try my best to prepare for all situations, and am never as shocked when something goes awry as others might be. I’m certainly not patient, but I did learn to take a look at the bigger picture to see what things are unlikely, but could happen. To Syaoran, I send my thanks. This was a really good life lesson.

Another character that really inspired me was a game character- namely Linear Cannon from Evolution Worlds. Her gentility and gentle mannerisms intrigued me greatly, but what it really boosted was my love for music. See, Linear’s got two primary skill sets- one with a frying pan she can hit you with, the other being her ocarina. The music from her ocarina was always beautiful, and it even made me want my own. I do have one, but I can’t play. Still, Linear warmed my heart- and she opened me up to just how music can affect the world in different ways.

Those are just characters that affected me early in my life, however. There’s some that in recent years have helped teach me a variety of lessons and inspired me in a variety of ways. I’d like to give them some time in the spotlight too!

First, Natsume Yuujinchou’s title character, Natsume Takashi. To me, Natsume’s usually soft tone and gentle demeanor are quite nice- but what I really like about him is that he’s learned to balance life dealing with yokai and dealing with people. It takes time for him to adjust to this lifestyle- but that he’s always trying to help people and yokai alike is really moving, and the fact that he can balance those two worlds he lives in is remarkable. It makes me want to work hard to balance my life too. God knows I need it!

Another character that inspired me is Uru from Shiawase Kissa Sanchoume. Uru, the heroine, is a very strong girl- physically and mentally. She causes a lot of ruckus in life, but she tries hard to be helpful to anyone she can. I consider Uru a great role model- she’s creative, she sees the best in people (which I try to, and try harder now that I’ve seen Uru in action)… And she always makes up for her blunders, which I still need to learn to do more.

The fifth character from other fiction that’s helped me grow as a person is Hades-sensei from Hokenshitsu no Shinigami. What lesson did I learn from someone named after a death god, you might be asking. The answer is quite simple: Hades-sensei is an amazingly hard worker, and will do his best to take care of people even if they’ve harmed him, physically or mentally, or just in general are rude. He’s patient and hard working, things I most certainly am not. He knows his face is a bit scary, but he tries his best to ignore that factor, because it’s all just superficial anyway. To me, this is all a great lesson in personal growth. His determination is truly admirable.

I’ve talked about five characters from fiction of others- but now, I think it’d be fun to tell you about the lessons my own characters have given me over time. So who’s going to be first? To my surprise, it’s Alien Irony’s Lily Hawkins!

Lily has taught me more about the beauty of being honest than anything or anyone else in the world. She’s a lesbian, and she doesn’t hide it, nor does she try to hide who she likes. No matter how many times Sakura rejects her, Lily continues to cling on and believe in a future together. I find her determination and ability to be as bold as she is quite admirable, and want to better learn how to be a bit bolder.

Another character of mine from Alien Irony that really speaks to me and teaches me things is none-other than the head of covert operations, Walter Graile. Walter is an interesting person. He goes with the flow and acts as if he doesn’t think things through, when really he’s calculating any information remotely related to what he’s working on at a given time. In a way, he reminds me of that old line to ‘expect the unexpected’, but the way he does it and the way it’s worked out for him is remarkable. He found a place to belong even if he didn’t get into acting quite the way he wanted. He reminds me to be less laser-focused, and to accept alternatives.

Next up is Kana Carina, an old roleplay character I had for a while that turned into the heroine of one of my WIPs, Luna Blue. Kana is a strong-willed girl wit her priorities pretty straight in her head. She’s not weak against change, and in fact thrives in it- something I am still learning to do. She may have a few bad habits, but what shines through the most when I write her is her devotion to those around her, as well as her need to keep promises even if they were made only to herself. I think it’s really admirable, and I think I’d like to be half the woman she is considering those traits. Maybe not her tendency to work until she collapses, though.

Speaking of Luna Blue, I can’t help thinking Kieran fits the topic of characters that teach me. Kieran is from a species similar but not akin to humans- and, for the most part, his kind hate humans! Kieran, however, tries to find the good in them, and lives among them to make an educated decision about how he thinks of them. His optimism and idealism rival my own in a way I can’t explain- but the fact that he works so hard to come up with his own decisions is quite nice. It’s a skill I have a lot of work to do with!

And finally, the fifth of my own characters that raised me sends us back to Alien Irony. Should I be worried only two series of mine got included in this post? Anyway, the fifth character to inspire me, raise me, and motivate me is Sayaku. Sayaku is an alien that’s come to my version of Earth to be near his sister, who moved there due to health reasons. Sayaku has been hurt many times by women he loved (and by hurt I mean beaten up)… But he never once blamed them for his wounds, and he still tried to be there for them even if the love went stale from the pain. Sayaku teaches me the importance of family, but his biggest lesson for me is to move on from painful things. To be honest, I never really realized until now that Sayaku did this for me. I always say it’s my dad’s phrase, “this too shall pass”… But I think Sayaku growing past the blame game and trying to show empathy to the people who’ve hurt him… It’s amazingly beautiful, and I want to be able to do that someday.

Well, that’s a wrap for today, guys! I really hope you enjoyed reading this, because I enjoyed writing it quite a bit! Tell me, though: what characters have been role models for you throughout your life. Are any ones you made yourself? This topic is of peak interest to me- I might have to write more on this subject another time. I’m sure I’m missing a thousand characters or two! I already know some of them, but that’s not until next time. Take care, guys!