Monday, October 1, 2012

NaNoWriMo #3 - Things that help with the writing bit

NaNo on Gone Aerial Part 1
NaNo on Gone Aerial Part 2
NaNoWriMo website

Resolving to at least try and maintain some visible level of enthusiasm and punctuality, I decided to keep posting, once a week, about NaNo. I thought that maybe, it might help encourage people to get interested and get on board and try something big and different and exciting.

So I've been plugging away like there is no tomorrow. Sort of. About a month ago, I had so many big things coming up:

End of Semester
December (And visiting people in Victoria)

Now two of those things are down, and the end of Semester is beginning to register in my head. I have, like, four weeks of madness left, and an assessment due tomorrow, and have to remember how to write a catalogue essay for that. So, as an exercise to the fingers and the mind, was like yes, I should do the weekly NaNo post right now.

So, now you know where I am. And how I've already covered the basics of National Novel Writing Month, and how stories in general work a'la Joseph Campbell.

So this week, with my brain scrambling for a subject, I thought I'd share a few of the things that I did last year to make writing a fifty thousand word novel a little easier:

Start with a notebook.Last year, I grabbed a fresh notebook and started scribbling in it. I wrote most of Shift on the computer, but for days when I was out doing things and suddenly had an idea, that notebook was invaluable. I would jot down plot points, notes on names and some of the basic research that I would wiki when, for example, I realised that I had no idea how C4 actually worked. Sometimes I would feel the need to actually write old-timey style, so there's bits of the novel in there too. For those of us who do not carry Smart Phones or Tablets, a Notebook is fun. Plus, you can draw in it and stuff too. Feels good to work with your hands once in a while. Oh, this would bring us to the next bit:

Write down how the plot works before you start typing.

This can happen in your notebook, or your computer, or on your wall with lots of bits of paper and red thread everywhere. (I'm a spatial thinker, so that last suggestion doesn't seem nearly as far fetched as it sounds)
The point is, you don't start building a house by sticking bits of gyprock together before pouring a foundation. A human body can't function without bones to support the muscles, and in the same way, it's important to write down basic plot points before you get started. Things like these always begin with a basic idea, but creating a baseline plot allows you to create something that can function and be follow-able for reading later. You can be as specific or as vague as you like with those plot points, but the fine details are something that you get to fill in later. The fine details are your novel.
This is something designed to help you, the writer, first and foremost. It means you don't get lost, or hopelessly confused about the different roles of your characters. And speaking of characters:

Make sure you know who is who and what they all look like.

I'll go with Inception as a visual example for this.

(Trying to upload photos on dialup-speed internet is making me go insane. You can have photos later.)

The main character list goes something like,


If you watched the film with the sound down, and had the list of characters in front of you along with basic descriptions of appearace, you'd probably get at least four of the characters mixed up.
So is that guy with dark hair and blue eyes Dom, Eames or Fisher? Wait, Dom and Arthur are cohorts. So that scene with the brainstorming and the chair-tipping, are those guys Dom and Arthur?

Adding the roles to the character names in the list makes things a little easier. In the context of the movie,

Dom Cobb - The Extractor
Arthur - The Point ManEames - The ForgerAriadne - The ArchitectYusaf - The ChemistSaito - The TouristFisher - The MarkMal - The ShadeSo, the characters immediately have a bit more definition. They have roles now; you know what they're supposed to do and how they're supposed to behave. The person we've made watch the movie with the sound down has a little more information to work with.

Adding descriptions of the characters to their names and roles helps further that distinction between characters and how they function and interact. I draw, so drawing the characters helps for me.

Knowing that not everybody draws is something we as the MLs of NaNo for Newie have taken into account. We're sorting out a paper doll/avatar creating method currently, so you the writer can create visual aids/figure out what the character you are writing about looks like.

It's helpful because you don't end up accidentally creating a lot of characters that look the same.

Researching details, even a little, will make things kick butt better.

Do I know anything about firearms?
Not really. Most of my knowledge comes from pulling apart Nerf Guns and listening to people who know guns explain stuff. And Hollywood.

Hollywood has a bunch of things wrong about guns, but we'll leave that for later.

I got to write about guns last year. It was fun, but not really knowing model names or makes meant that I had to do a little research. I didn't do stacks, but I did do enough to be able to talk about them when I wrote. It adds a little extra to the novel on two different levels. The plebs can go 'oh, this person knows what they're talking about' and the pros can say likewise. Or at least, not throttle the writer for leaving out important things.

A few years back, I encountered a character in James Patterson's Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports. They'd had Galapagos Tortoise DNA spliced into their own genes and claimed to be over a hundred years old with the appearance of someone less than forty-five.
Which is all very well.
Until you realise that this novel is set in the present day (2007, when it was published), and that Watson and Crick first found the chemical structure of DNA in 1953. (And that's just discovering it. Mapping the human genome took about ten years, and that was only finished in the early 2000s.)

I know it's not common knowledge, but for those of us who remember trivia, it's a little frustrating.
And that's probably the trick to it: You don't have to research the heck out of these things, but enough to cover the information given in the novel will help a lot. Jargon is impressive and fun to use, but needs to be grounded enough that the people who know what you are talking about won't facepalm to the stars above.

Am I getting pedantic? Apologies. Point 5:

Show, don't tell.

Mira climbed the water tower, set up the sniper rifle and waited.


Mira adjusted the weight of her weapon against her shoulders for the climb. She pulled her hood further over her face and huffed against the biting cold that came from being awake at this altitude and time. Carefully, she scaled the freezing tower, brushing off the ice on the steel rungs with her hands before putting her weight on them. She reached the top of the tower and slid her sniper rifle from her back, assembling it for active use while looking for the best vantage point. Selecting her position, she silently moved into place, double-checking the padded coat that she'd be lying on for the next few hours. The cold here could kill a person if they were careless or foolish. Mira was neither of those things. She settled down, put her eye to the scope and began her hunt.

When writing, I have the option of telling you what happens, or showing it to you. Telling condenses what is going on. It simplifies the situation and keeps details to a minimum. Showing allows the reader to experience what is going on; to share the happening with the character and understand what is going through their heads. It's a very basic example, but the first piece of writing had me tell you what was going on. The second piece showed you. It's more interactive and (this is important when you're aiming for a word count) takes up more words to say. So have fun with adjectives; plot specific action sequences before you write them and talk about how something works rather than just it working. So much more fun.

Which in part brings us to the next bit.

Don't be afraid to use big words.

The English Teacher I had for year 12 is a fan of Westerns, Ancient China, horrendously bad puns and big words. He would do the kind of announcements in assembly that would expand your vocabulary just by listening. And in spite of him making us study John Donne and Snow Falling on Cedars, I will still nod to the Mantle. He taught us the value of using bigger or alternate words in writing (both creatively and in essays). I mean, there is certainly a feeling of achievement at being able to pronounce tergiversation but there is also more to come from it when you are able to use it in a sentence.

And sometimes it's an odd combination of cheating at scrabble and just finding alternate words.
For example, said.
Said means 'someone has spoken. Has - therefore it's past tense'
But how many different ways can someone have said something?

I think Mum has a poster of that kind of thing up on her classroom wall. It has stuff like 'whispered', 'shouted', 'grated', 'yelled', 'whimpered', 'cried', 'laughed', 'giggled', 'roared', 'grunted', 'asked', 'mumbled', 'uttered' and half a dozen others.
Using any one of those immediately attaches emotion to whatever the person is saying. It adds an extra dimension and allows the reader to experience it more completely.

This can be added to more than just how someone speaks. You can describe how they walk, move and do things. Sometimes it's word padding, but it does add to the novel regardless. Using bigger words is exciting. Just make sure you know what they mean first. (So, Gambit sounds gnarly, but make sure it's in the right context or things get odd pretty quickly).

Have fun.

When I was small, I had dolls. I didn't have very many of them, and they all pretty much ended their lives in the same manner; covered in pen and dirt and food. I never had a doll house, although I did at one stage have a castle smothered in glitter (like every seven year old girl should). Point is, I wasn't really into tea parties or shoes or playing house. Adventures into caves and giant trees was more my thing, complete with actual trees, sand, and my mother yelling at me to get off the shed roof before it collapsed or I got tetanus or something.

Have fun when you write your novel. You're constructing a story; a whole world, with characters that you've made and scenarios that you get to enact. Immerse your mind in it and write about the feel of things rather than just the happenings. Get emotional. Ingest too much caffeine and write 5000 words in one day. Look over to the clock and be surprised at the time.

Because soon it will be November, and I will get to have adventures like the ones I had when I was seven. Minus the glitter.

Monday, September 24, 2012

National Novel Writing Month #2: How to write a plot

The protagonist begins in their home; their world. Things might be a bit boring, but they're normal. One day, something odd occurs. It provides the protagonist with the opportunity to be different or to have their world changed. They'll refuse at first, but once they take it on, they'll be accompanied by a guide to show them the ropes of the new world. The protagonist follows the guide into this new world, where the limits and rules are not yet understood. This world will be dangerous or exciting, and shortly after crossing into it, the protagonist will have to farewell their old world, separating the self from it.

From here the protagonist undergoes a series of trials. Failure at one more more is common. During these trials the protagonist encounters some factor that will cause them to shift to non-dualistic thinking - they will align themselves with one cause or another, either for reasons of self or for another. They will be tempted to leave this path but ultimately will continue forward. From there they will be confirmed and initiated by the greatest power in the new world known. The power named will then either step down or be 'killed off', forcing the protagonist to assume the expectations given them. It is now that they realise what they are needed for and begin to strive to meet that cause. They achieve the beginnings of the cause and level up.

The protagonist is given the opportunity to return to their old world, and refuses; the new world has become their home. They will have to flee from the trials endured to gain the cause, often becoming incapacitated in the process. As a result, the protagonist is bailed out by allies and brought back to their home. They learn to pass back and forth from the old world and new, whilst keeping that cause or level up intact, and are granted the 'freedom to live'.

Quick - what story did I just tell you? Was is Star Wars (The original trilogy), The Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, Harry Potter or The Chronicles of Narnia?

That chunk above is a brief overview of something called The Monomyth, which was a theory developed in the early 20th Century by a guy named Joseph Campbell. I agree with him on most things with relation to story (except for one big one). This theory is one thing we are in accord with though; the idea that all stories we write have basically the same makeup. And not just me and Campbell. All of those big name stories up there have basically the same plot when you start looking at how they function. Things might get interesting if you swapped Ben Kenobi for Hagrid, but hey; they're both guides. Same with Yoda and Morpheus; they mentor the main character until they step down; either because the hero has surpassed their abilities or because death is a bit of a stopper in teaching surferboy how to pick up things with his mind.

The relevance between this and NaNo, is that I am a big spoilerbug when it comes to how stories work. Even now, unless you manage to get the brain bleach out immediately, you know that this is true. It means that every time you watch something and we're all like 'is the hero dead?' and you can be all like 'nope. Can't be dead because then the story won't progress. Cheers, Brooke.'

To which I will reply; 'No worries'.

One of the things I find is a bit of a block in people's heads when it comes to writing a story is that they don't know what to do with regards to a plot. Well, if all plots follow the same formula, this should make things a bit easier, shouldn't it? You would still have to invent characters, but to a degree, their roles have already been determined. It makes things quite a bit easier in that respect.
And there are always twists and turns with all this. In last year's novel, the Time Traveller was my guide, but he's also the one who validates the protagonist's role. Which is different, because he's not the father figure for the protagonist at all.

Things are getting convoluted.

Oh yeah; so there's a bunch of different things that you could try with writing novels; using the Monomyth for a base is just one. I got to chat to a mate last week who wanted to write for NaNo this year, who'd had a couple of knots in terms of how he wanted the layout to be. We figured that it might be fun to write a Choose Your Own Adventure novel, because it's written in Second Person. (Like how I'm writing in second person to you now)

It means that he has to do some preplanning, so that the plot goes where it should, but at the same time, has probably made his job a little easier. It's more to do with planning sections of plot and writing them.

And a few more weeks than that back, I wondered what it would be like to buddy up with someone on a novel; write exactly the same story from perspectives of different characters. This in part was going to be done with the Twilight series, actually. (And let's just get this straight right now: Meyer isn't my cup of tea. I think her plot could have done with some work. A lot of work. But she knows how to write something that will sell.) Midnight Sun was supposed to recount the events of Twilight from Edward's perspective. Do I care about Twilight? Nope. But the concept; the idea has merits. It'd mean that you could co-ordinate with a mate on writing a story; decide the plot points together and then write from two different characters. And having two authors for two characters would give said characters much more individual voices. Could be fun.

I guess another way you could go entirely would be to lampshade the concept of the hero; deliberately play with the plot. Another friend of mine was talking about how she'd lose the plot while writing a story if she tried. So we invented a world called The Lost Plot Office. Like the Dead Letter Office, but for plots of different stories.

Terry Pratchett, one of my favourite authors, does something similar to that; his Discworld series overtly plays with the tropes and archetypes and because you know how that part of the story is supposed to work, it's absolute gold. Its a story about a flat world supported on the back of four elephants standing on top of a turtle flying thorough space. And all the stories are true. That's in short the premise of his world, and it works something fierce.

So, if you click here, you'll end up being able to read more about Joseph Campbell's Journey of the Hero.
If you click here, you'll head over to National Novel Writing Month's website, where you can check out more of the project.
If you click here, you can read my last blog post on NaNo.
And if you click here, I'll redirect it to something vaguely interesting. Hopefully.


November is still a little bit off; there's plenty of time for brainstorming. Get to it!

Sunday, September 23, 2012


In August, I went and posted an entry that I'd written way back at the start of the year. The post in question was ambiguous, and odd, and unfocused, but I thought that it might deserve a little bit of clarification/closure now that Animania has finished for this year. The post in question concerned the fictional monsters called Hollow from Manga and Anime series Bleach.

Because I've posted so many times about it, I don't see a need to explain the plot. Maybe a little bit about how the monsters work, but that's all.

The post I'd written was a reflection on how I had tried to cope with losing something valuable at the start of 2011 by giving up on trying to feel things. On having emotional responses and instead just doing things because instinct told me to.

This had upsides and downsides. It meant that I didn't really feel the fallout of the loss until a couple months after everything had gone down (which isn't to say it hurt less; it was only delaying the inevitable), and it meant that I was able to keep functioning at nearly the same level as before. Or at least, to a level where I wouldn't be a drag on other people.
The downside of not allowing yourself to think or feel, and instead to run on instinct, is that humans are inherently selfish and broken people. We're not perfect. We mess up and if I was to follow my instinct all of the time, it would have just spiraled into this out-of-control, self-serving mess and I would have hurt a lot of friends in the process.

So in short, allowing myself to be hollow for most of last year was something that was do-able, but ultimately wouldn't hold out. It was this big ball of lucid, angry emptiness and as enticing as it was, I'm kind of glad that I don't have to be there any more.

See? This is what happens when you put the wrong focus in your heart and it gets ripped out.
One big ol' hole and something you have to hide behind.

It's taken a while, but I'm getting better.

So, that's kind of a recap on that post. A little more focused, a little less ambiguous. I'm trying to leave it as ambiguous because when this blog got started, I didn't want it to turn into a 'Dear Diary' shermozzle. So it's a matter of figuring out what personal things are okay to talk about and which are not necessary, so you still get cool posts that have more than just cats in them.

Where are we going?

Oh yes. Animania is done, and now I'm trying to figure out how much it's okay to have my friends freak out over me dressing up as a monster on Saturday and having the photos turn up on social networking sites with my name attached to them.

Because my costume was kind of freaky. I did go as a Hollow.


Because it's how I face the things I get scared of. Infiltrate and disarm from the inside out. It's why I did Weeping Angels with my mates earlier in the year. Yes, those critters are hella scary. Yes, I have been scared of them. Yes, they still give me chills.

But I know what goes into them now. I don't have to be afraid of that anymore.

I suppose that this is where people would normally go "But Brooke, it's a fictional thing. You don't have to be afraid of it at all."

What, so you've never watched a scary movie and then left all the lights on in the house?

Most people get less scared of things by forgetting them. I'm not good at forgetting.

So when I've dressed as something scary, it's my way of coping. It's my way of disarming it. It's also how I remind myself that as a fallen being, I could actually become this if I don't watch myself. And not 'become' as in, dress up as one. I mean "put on a mask and be unable to take it off because you've assumed too many characteristics of the thing you're portraying".

And that can happen. It does happen. Maybe not with literally turning into a critter with big teeth, but socially? It's much easier to gossip when you are around other people who gossip. It's much easier to let your standards slip if you have mates who don't care about the occasional laspe.

Manifesting the scary into something that I can put on is one part of it. But being able to get to the end of the day and taking that mask off is probably the more important thing. You feel like a weight has been lifted.

(Both metaphorically and literally. Saturday's mask was heavy.)

So, my friends; to those who understand my cosplay and those who don't. Please don't freak out if or when you see me dressed up in the scariest mask you can think of. I'm just sabotaging the cool-looking things that I'm scared of.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

National Novel Writing Month 2012 (The first)

Hey folks.

Life has quickly turned into something terrifying and exhilarating as of late; Uni semester is heating up, I'm two weeks (barely) from a big Anime convention and three weeks from turning 21. (WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN?). And People make life interesting along the way. But it's good, I think. According to the breakdown of Relativity, time slows down the faster you go. Maybe that's why I'm always so temporally confused.


September is screaming by, and October is only going to be louder. And then:

There is Novemeber.

And November will be best month, because it's the month where I get to be a big shut in and do NaNo.

What is NaNo, I hear you all ask?

National Novel Writing Month is a project that happens online, every November. The project is simple: write a 50,000 word novel in thirty days.

And now I'm about to tell you why you should try it.

NaNo was something I had heard not a whimper of until a couple of days into November last year, where I had attended a birthday party for a friend. The theme for the birthday party was 'cool hats'.
So, with top hat attached to head, I attended. There was only one other top hat present at the party, and the owner and I engaged in light conversation until he mentioned NaNo.

And the rest was quite an interesting story.

Not a fifty-thousand word one. It was basically 'hey you should do this it's stacks of fun'

I had half an idea sitting in the back of my head from a dream earlier that year and started a week late.

It was only half an idea, but it was enough. Ideas are like fires. You get a small spark, and then feed it enough coffee, and suddenly you have this raging inferno of metaphor and concept bearing down on your keyboard like a truck with no brakes.

It's not that difficult to start a novel either.

Like I said, my novel from last year (Which ended up being called Shift) was about a guy with no memory and a time traveller. The time traveller sends the man with no memory to different points in time to stop events from taking place, in a bid to unmake the accident that destroyed the man's memory.

There was a lot more that unfolded from it, but the little thing got a lot bigger. I reached the goal of fifty thousand about half a week early, and then stopped writing, finishing the novel off later.

At this point in time, I've had people tell me that it's impossible; that they don't have time, or that they can't write.


I'll be posting up more exciting and helpful things on writing in a bit, as well as details on all the exciting things the Municipal Liasons in Newcastle are doing this year (That's me and my top hat-wearing mate Jo)


Why not at least consider it?

NaNo novels function differently to how a lot of people write. It's a self-driven project, and is about the word count. You don't have to write a Stephen King (And believe me, you won't unless you are Stephen King). The same would go for Dan Brown, James Patterson or Matthew Reilley.

By the way, most of the novels those authors churn out are enormous. 50,000 words is roughly the same length as, say, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Great Gatsby, Fight Club, The Notebook, The Invisible Man, Of Mice and Men and Brave New World. And odds are you have probably read one of these, for, like, school or something. They're not that big.

Comma explosion.

My point is, the word count is not that big. It's possible. It actually equates to 1,667 words a day in November. Which might sound scary initially until you realise that it's creative writing. It could be drivel. Doesn't have to be, but could be.

And because the MLs for Newcastle are going to be Wizzards this year, there will be a stack of things to do if you want to hang out with other people who are likewise tanked up on coffee. Or tea. Or chocolate.

Mmm. Chocolate.

Another thing that scares a lot of people is self editing. Coincedentally, it's the same reason why a lot of people I meet tell me they can't draw.

The conversation usually starts like that, and then goes "Oh, but you're an art student, of course you can draw".

hahaha. nah man.

I think I usually reply to that with, "It's more about not telling yourself that you suck"

See, when you write anything (or draw anything, for that matter), it's easy to immediately compare it to the other people you are interested in in that area (So, let's go back to Patterson for writing and, say, Rembrandt for drawing). Upon the immediate comparison that your work is not exactly like a Rembrandt, there is desk-flipping and walking away.

I think we tend to write ourselves off to quickly with regards to that.

The other thing about NaNo writing is that you simply don't have time to go back and edit everything; you could spend time making your grammar shiny and your sentances pretty, but in the end, it's too much time to go back and look at stuff. It's very easy to get self-critical, until the novel gets chucked out in frustration or anger.

Lemme tell you, I picked Time Travel last year. Didn't think through the mechanics of it. Had to decide halfway through the novel whether or not to kill someone because I couldn't remember whether or not time was linear or branching in nature.
(It's linear)
But at the time, I didn't think things through clearly enough. I could have spent ages going back and fixing things, but there simply wasn't time.

That's okay though, because the feeling of accomplishment at the end of the novel was great. It's the sensation of setting out to do something and achieveing it and getting to share that achievement with a whole bunch of people. Which is grand.

So. What do we have at the end of this post-with-no-pictures?

Try NaNoWriMo.
It's stacks of fun.
50,000 words in November.
You don't have to write a masterpiece.
Newcastle will have some really fun MLs this year.
It's achievable.
Lots of caffiene.
Stop telling yourself you suck.
Write like crazy and don't get caught up in re-reading or editing.
It's a big challenge with a proportionate amount of joy at completion.

Click here to check out the NaNo website. There's still plenty of time to consider giving it a whirl.

And I can promise you, if you do it, you'll never be scared of wordcounts again.

Friday, August 24, 2012


January, 2012:

Hey guys. Did you miss me?

I missed you too. Unless that answer was a 'no' and then I'm not sure why exactly you're continuing reading. But carry on.

I could spend an outrageous amount of time explaining why it is I've been missing out on blogging, or we could save that for another time. It doesn't make very good material. Either way, I am now finding that my world has a little bit more time, so I'll try and blog more.

Pathetic excuses aside, I thought I might try and yak a little bit about something that immediately identifies my nerd-dom but will hopefully make decent blog material.

Have your seen/read/heard of Bleach before?

It's a manga series (there's an anime about it too) - so, a Japanese comic/cartoon/blah - about a schoolkid who can see ghosts.

Odds are, you've already heard me talk about if before if you've read the blog, or met me in person. Anyway.

The gist of the story is, the schoolkid acquires supernatural powers from the other main character - a female 'reaper', and then they and a bunch of other characters do what all the Reapers (I'm going to stick with the Japanese term for the job from now: Shinigami) do in a bunch of adventures. They send the ghosts of people to the afterlife and kill the bad spirits (called Hollows).

A Hollow is a ghost with no heart. They turn into monsters and eat other ghosts, people, Shinigami, blah blah blah. The point is that it's a Shonen manga so there's a truckload of fighting and drama and explosions and infrequent fanservice, which is frankly embarrassing even at the best of times.

But rather then spend my long preamble telling you about the Boob Lady, I kinda wanted to bring up the idea of the Hollow.

Hollows, or the theory of a Hollow, was something that I checked out earlier in the year, because I based a uni project around the idea of the mask, which relates to Hollows and the such.

Pictures explain better.

So, there is the hollow. It has a hole where the heart used to be and a mask that shields what is left of the ghost. What is left exactly? According to Kubo, the writer of the series, 'a heap of instincts'.

Hollows get to be more fun later in the series, because the main character, Ichigo, has some fairly close encounters with one particular one. I'm deliberately being vague.

What does this have to do with anything?

At the start of 2011, I had a bit of a 'life priority reshuffle'. It was needed, but it was hella painful, and for a while there, things got...interesting.

So, because the brain and the heart were playing up, I spent a lot of the year playing with and tinkering on the concept of instinct.

I did more things based on it. I allowed it to become a little more rampant, at the cost of a bit of sanity, and probably part of my reputation with my housemate. But then, housemates are spared the tediousness of interacting with the mask instead of what exactly is underneath it.

(You see what I did there?)

What I am saying is, there is no point to a mask with a housemate. Anyway, I'm drafting this when I ought to be in bed, so I hope that there's some quality still intact.

Rambling aside, this year got to be very different. And spending bits of it as a Hollow was...

...I want to and at the same time don't want to say worth it. Do you want to spend half your time running on instinct?

That's up to you.

What I found was that it was almost exactly like Ichigo's experience in dealing with...yeah. I mean, it's useful for getting out of tight spots, and berserkering is great, but a lot of the time got spent either trying to rein it in or trying to regain control.

And truth be told, there's no way that people are able to hide behind a mask for too long. The harder you try, the harder the repercussions are later. Things just...don't work.

But then, this world is fallen. Things don't ever work. And I know that choosing to live by instinct won't ever work well because eventually it just rolls around and turns into self-serving desire before biting you in the bum. Not productive.

Did I enjoy my year as a Hollow?

Some bits. The bits where I got to sit down and draw, and that was what was required for uni work, then instinct was great. Especially in an art school that pushes Abstract so much (I should put that in Comic Sans to make you understand how I feel about being told to stick to blobs all the time). You sit down, tell your brain to shut up about how much you suck, and get down to whatever it is you're working on. Good times.

Would I choose to keep living as a Hollow?

I don't think so. It's handy, but kinda messes up the psyche a lot.

Is this post one that needed a filter?


I'm going to save this as a draft and show you tomorrow.

*Eight months later*

Gilligan-style cuts are amazing, no?

I came home for this weekend. Partly to see the folks, partly to rub my face on the owl some more, and partly to prep for Animania in September.

Anyway. I do a lot more driving by myself now. Was going to get people to come with, and then I left Newie before any of that could get organised. So I got to spend three hours yelling at myself and singing/yowling along with the Hume brothers and Florence Welch. Small cars are amazing.

I'm sorry, we'll get back on track shortly.

So, Animania. And I suddenly realised the Batman take I was having this year on making of costumes. Because earlier in the year I got to be a Weeping Angel with some mates. And in a month, have a guess at what I'm going to be?

Covered in white paint, that's what.

Tomorrow will be sit down and Handicrafts day, where I will sew my sister a trenchcoat, and she will cast a Hollow mask on my head. It will be grand.

But the concept of the Hollow, as I mentioned earlier/ages ago, is something I find intriguing. And more than a bit scary, for a variety of reasons. I think it's a reminder of what we could be if we didn't keep stuff in check.

Vague stuff FTW.

Batman? You know, dress as what frightens you. And what looks gnarly.

I've got a bit more to go before I can give a convincing Hollow scream though.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Catching what doesn't exist

Well, folks. One last push. Tomorrow is the date of my final assessment, so naturally I'm scrabbling like an idiot to get everything done in time. Because, you know, I didn't burn out from my last two assessments or anything.

(That was a lie. I've been pretty useless the last 18 hours.)

So I guess that this is the final comment on acutal uni work on the blog for this semester. Shall we do it?

This is the concept for my other Photography subject, Light. My other, 3000-level, third-year elective. (Brooke is an idiot.)

The theme for this project was Fabrication.

Because Light was all about using light (in its many forms) to fabricate a composition. Funny that. Anyway. I really can't remember where exactly this started to crystallise into something solid.

I guess it was when I started breaking down the concept of Fabrication by writing things and sticking them to my wardrobe doors. I love this wardrobe. Not just because it's a giant IKEA monstrosity that I built when I was sixteen, but because it's really good for spatial thinking, and for taking photos against.

That aside. Somehow I arrived at an interesting conclusion. Depict and create a recurring character on film.

The character in question I refer to as the Girl in the Blue Dress. She doesn't have a name. I don't want to give her one either - I've named too many separate pieces of personality, anyway.

But this one; she is odd. She doesn't exist properly; always outside of the action and the noise. Unable to speak or touch. Removed from reality but for one thin point of contact, and she's always wanted in, but can't. She's made out of the wrong stuff.

Admittedly, that 'wrong stuff' allows her to float around, and blend, and interact with the world like a whisper. Busy looking cool and slightly frustrated by the alienation.

I draw her a lot. That's how I know her. And she's probably my most successful fabrication. Moreso than Beech, or Rowan or Joey or Kara or Aeon or Caspian or Xander (who are all characters in stories I've written over the last ten years or so). I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I didn't give her a name. It's allowed her to keep growing because she's not defined by it.

And then I was going to try and take photos of something that didn't exist, with a device that is designed to pin down reality. The indexical qualities that we give the photograph means that even when we know it was 'shopped, there was something that this was taken from that existed first.

It's an odd concept, but it's also something that's almost exclusive to the realm of photo and video. It's much more difficult to alter a photo than a picture or a painting. Not in a technical sense, but there's a bit in your head that still goes 'this is a part of that person'.


So, camera dictates that the photo has to have stemmed from life, somewhere. Photo also dictates that something has to be there to create the subject matter.

Because explaining Girl in the Blue Dress to people was a bit difficult while I was working in the classroom, I had to simplify it a bit.

"It's about the things you invent in the back of your head that don't exist properly"

Well, sort of. The manifestation that we got to see through my project was just her.

There were two parts to how the project was executed.

The first was in camera (and I work with film because I enjoy a nice simple life).
Because I wanted to take photos of something that didn't exist, or at least didn't exist properly, the project got pushed in the way of ghost photography and long exposures. I would leave the shutter open for a while and let light and the girl walk across the film before closing it and advancing the film. The results always varied from horribly overexposed to difficult compositions. Good photos were few and far between. It wasn't until I was almost finished that I had another tutor talk to me about how the photos were taken.

"So you're taking all of these in camera?"


"On 35mm film?"


"That's actually really difficult,"

"I know."

Oh. For those who aren't familiar and have not gotten info from context. In Camera means that the composition or special effect was applied when the photo was taken. There was no post-production work done to get the effect.

(Which is still possible in a film camera. If you don't believe me check out Jerry Uelsmann. The guy is a nut and a genius.)

Manual Photoshop.

Having the subject move around in camera was good, because I got these blurry half-defined images of something which definitely didn't exist on the same plane as everything else.

And then, in Silver, we learned how to tone images by dunking them in more chemicals. Some of which were very smelly. But that was how I got introduced to the sepia bleach, and after seeing what it did to the images, decided that it was needed for the project.

This is a little bit funny. Because it was Bleach and it was working, because of the other Bleach with the swords and the ghost people and such.

This is a tiny bit deeper, I promise.

I haven't read much of the early manga, as I watched the anime and then started reading when I ran out of it. But the early anime had some interesting lighting effects, and they may have gotten incorporated a bit in the process.

See, this is what the environment looks like when the characters are interacting with the normal world:

Which is a fairly normal colour palette for an anime. And then a couple of seconds later Rukia literally knocks Ichigo's soul out of his body so she can take his Soul Reaper butt to the park to take out a Hollow.

Screencapping level: novice.
I like how all the highlights are blown out and everything seems more ethereal. Well, ethereal for an anime. It's like...the light is harder, and infiltrates even the darkest corner. The small details are lost to the eye and even the air has tactile qualities, like the edge on the breeze of an autumn evening...

Ah. Yes. I think that in the anime this might have had a twofold purpose; 1. It let the audience know when the characters were interacting with spirits and 2. There were less details. Easier to animate. I've heard it said that 'Bleach has no backgrounds.'

I'll pay that.

Have another gander. Ichigo's first encounter with Rukia. And she looks back at him...

And then walks away. Ichigo realises that she's not part of the material world as the noises of everyone else who did not see the chick in samurai gear dispose of a giant mantis filter into his perceptions.

Screencapping level: should not be screencapping.

See the difference in the background? The contrast is heightened and the highlights are so overblown it feels like when I walk out of the darkroom to check stuff in white light.

Blinks Owlishly.

And I love it.

So, applied Bleach to prints to make the compositions feel less real. Or, less tied to flesh and blood reality, anyway. Dawg.

Oh. The toning was the second part of making-the-images-feel-like-they-weren't-tied-to-reality.

And then:

we came full circle. Scurrying to think of how to present the story, the Girl in the Blue Dress invented someone else without a name. An Observer.

I found it disturbingly easy to write like a crazy person.

I wrote a series of letters from the perspective of someone who'd sighted the Girl and had been unsure of what they were seeing, but decided to document it anyway. Eventually, they convince themselves of her existence only to find that she was a projection of themselves all along. Which explains the fabricated evidence and drawings, but not necessarily the photos.

Because those photos have to come from somewhere.

The idea of the submitted project was to leave that one open to the reader. To have it not-completely-resolved because it allows the viewer to draw their own conclusions about who and what the Girl is. Because even though she was fabricated by me, I believe that it's not too much to a stretch to see others with the same small existence, scratching at the wall of reality, desiring to be let in but unable to interact with the world that does not see them, because it's warmer on the inside.

That's about as profound as I can get for now. Talk to you later.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

4th wall? Pfft.

I know, right. Two posts in a week? What, is the sky falling?
Maybe. It's been pretty wet and cold in Newcastle of late. I have to dress for snow weather in order to approach the Darkrooms at Uni, and required dunking in hot water to defrost when I got home. But still.

I guess that the upping has been a little to do with Uni. This is both work and procrastination for me; Work because I'm blogging about Uni, and procrastination because it is a more fun method than simply typing things out in Word and printing it off. What can I say? Tactile thinking is just more fun. Anyway. Here goes with the next concept I'm working with.

This is project #2 for Fibres. Being out of sequence is fun because it confuses everyone, and I feel that brings us all down to my level.

'Do you know what's going on? No? Ok. Me neither.'

The name of the module is called 'The Fabric of Myth' and relates directly to the role of fibres and textiles in myth. Golden fleeces, windbags, shrouds and string-operated GPS systems (wait. Did I just double-state something?) all relate heavily to myth and the use of textiles, and Greek myths, which are the basis for 'classical' mythology, are a bag of fun. I think I just lost my thought train.


I was originally going to create a spin on the story of Icarus and Daedalus, and make some wearable art that was wings. This got changed slightly a lot when I went to Ironfest in...wait. When was that? April. I think.
Ironfest is in Lithgow, and after trying to explain it to a few people who had no idea what I was babbling about, got simplified to 'something like a produce fair for Medieval enthusiasts'

Pictured: Sparta. Source

Ironfest is a bucketful of things more than that, because the medieval enthusiasts happen to usually be interested in things like Steampunk and Doctor Who. This fact is important. Save it for later. The fact that the festival is also held in Lithgow (which is somewhere in the Blue Mountains, in the freezing bit) means that they behave a bit different around pointy objects than the guys who run Anime conventions in the city. Go to Animania and your props need to be made from foam, cardboard or balsa wood. Go to Ironfest and people are walking around with legit swords and machetes and selling said swords and machetes and assorted pointy things.

They had things to look at and things to do, and my friends and I took great interest in Archery (that you could partake in), Horseback Archery (Which spectators could spectate but not try out (understandably)), Jousting (see above), Falconry (Also just a viewing) and the Gran Melee (guys in chainmail and half-plate armour hitting each other with swords. Do the mathematics on audience participation yourself).

All of these things were excellent, and most of them we took care to check out in detail on the Saturday rather than the Sunday.

See, for the last month, and in frightening concentration over the last three days, we had been constructing our own costumes for wearing at Ironfest. Dressing up was not mandatory but there were a lot of people at the event in varying degrees of anachronistic wear. And a gimp. And a lady with no pants.

Those last two bits are not important.

So, our group had been constructing costumes because there are only so many places where it is acceptable to wear something spun entirely from fiction.

This is where the story begins to track back to it's origin and away from tangents involving Brooke's first experience of Dutch Pancakes.

We'd made Weeping Angel costumes.

Weeping Angels are one of the monsters that grace the screen of Doctor Who. They are...wait. Mister Tennant? Care to explain?

This is going to be fun for my Tutor who actually gets to mark the work and finds just the video link.

Hi Brett!

The basic concept behind the Weeping Angels is that they can't move while you're looking at them. When you blink, they can move (frightfully quickly) and if they touch you, they send you back in time (if you're lucky) and consume the energy you would have expended in the present. If you're not so lucky they'll just kill you.

Also, we find another excellent easter egg later in the Canon of Doctor Who. Anything that takes the image of an Angel becomes itself an Angel. Photographs; videos. Don't look at one in the eyes or it'll plant a seed of one in your mind. Weeping Angels seem to in general possess the same 'screw the 4th wall' tendencies that Costumers and Cosplayers display when creating.

Oh. Cosplay?
I mentioned it a while ago in this post. I guess I'll keep adding to it over time.

Cosplay = Costume Play.

Recreating a character from fiction into the real world. There's usually some degree of role play involved in there too. But why do we do it?

I think there's a combination of factors.

Retelling the myth (story)
Becoming the protagonist/character
Enjoying some kind of escape through whimsy-
Taking part in an adventure beyond desks and paper and computers.

"Can't work. Busy fighting Angels."

There may also be some identifying factor between the individual and the character portrayed (which is why I pick my cosplays carefully) or maybe the character is just very good at wiping the floor with the faces of his enemies.

That aside, I think the adventure factor is fairly prominent. In the same way that you watch a Die Hard film for the amount of things John McClane can improbably explode, people interested in the realm of Costume and Character love a good suspension of disbelief.

Ran out of bullets? You just fired 20 shots from that one magazine!

This is especially relevant in our case, because when my mates and I rocked up at Ironfest decked from head to toe in grey paint and foam wings, we got to experience the other end of the stick. We were the characters spun from fiction. The walking myth. And it was a lot of fun.

See, a good cosplay is accurate.
A great cosplay is where the wearer is willing to behave like the character.
A brilliant cosplay is when the audience completes the myth and responds appropriately to the thing being portrayed.

We had people for a radius of ten metres staring at us, murmuring 'don't blink' and the like, staring us down. Small kids followed in our wake clamouring at how we weren't supposed to move because they were looking at us.

I may have been reading too much in the last week.

Far from it being that they thought we were legit; the people we met that day were willing to play along because we all knew the rules to this imaginary game, and it allowed us to spin fiction into reality with quite amusing results.

When we were finishing the costumes (on the vacant lot next to Jo's relative's house), panicking and trying to remember to eat before heading out, Jo stated that he would be happy if we had one person ask for a photo.

We left on Sunday evening as very happy people.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Silver in the City

I guess that this blog post, rather than be dedicated to the many many things I've got sitting on the backburner and have been eyeball-deep-in-uni-so-could-not-post might be a bit of a letdown. After all, it's really just more uni work. But it's also the core concept behind one of my photography subjects; specifically, Silver.

Silver is a third-year photography elective. Which means that next semester when I go to pick subjects, I won't give myself three ones that are a year up from my current level. Stupidhead. Anyway. Third year elective specific to film photography. Films and negatives and darkrooms and stuff. It's quite a bit of fun, and I enjoy the process and concept behind this type of photography more than others. I guess that's because there's a much smaller margin for error when creating photos. They're harder to fix when you get to developing the negs, and in general, you have to know what you're doing.

So. Concepts and stuff.

The course, as always, gives us a theme to work to and start with and the theme for Silver was 'Investigating the Shadow'

This sounded quite dark and intimidating to begin with, and in the first couple of weeks, I continued with printing photos from negs I had taken last year, along with stuff I'd taken for 'getting my eye back in'.

The only other thing you probably need to know at this stage is how I operate in the darkroom. This is pretty similar to how I used to work in TAFE. Don't feel like chatting while working. Stick headphones in and go. And the waiting period that you have to have while waiting for test strips to develop and then fix allows you to think in between working on things. So while the music is going, I don't always pay full attention to it.

This particular afternoon, I was walking out of the darkroom with Switchfoot in my ears. It was this song.

"we are
crooked souls trying to stay up straight
dry eyes in the pouring rain,
the Shadow proves the Sunshine
the Shadow proves the Sunshine"

And like a bolt from the blue, there was the core idea. Sort of. I was going to talk about depression and hope in the brief. Shadow and Sunshine.

This initially was thought out as a series of constructed studio photographs, a bit like what I had done in the previous year with photography, where myself and some friends got to sit down and play with masks and stuff.

And stuff.

And then I went to Sydney three times during March. Each time I had a camera, and each time I took photos of the city. 

There were a lot of skyline photos, but there were some odd ones that cropped up too - tiny observations that kept crawling into my lens. I couldn't stop taking photos of them. 

And then I talked to the tutor about it. Very quickly, the project evolved into something else.

Depression and Hope in the City.

I have to admit, I liked where this was going; a take on the city which, while certainly investigated before, could have something added to it. Ack. Too many pronouns.

The city.

There was probably still stuff left over in Brooke's head from last year, where this clip got used for the Mask unit. Can't remember why it was relevant specifically. I think it got included because it's a beautiful clip.

But this got to pull the project more and more into that view of the city and the black and white and the soul in something so large and grey and paradoxical.

Add to that the fact that Anberlin, who have been mentioned earlier on this blog, are popular with me, and the album that the above song is called 'Cities'

Look at that album artwork. That is some beast work. It even looks like a city.

This album, which I've probably mentioned before, is my favourite out of all the work they've produced so far. It...ah.

It explores so many large themes and manages to do it with some kind of deep understanding that I love. And there's the music and the lyrics and the yes. It just feels like the city; at times peaceful or sunny, but also rushing along at the breakneck speed that comes with life and construct and all-of-the-things-I've-been-trying-to-express-this-afternoon.

Look. Just go and buy a copy of the CD. I was a muffinhead and bought the CD/DVD copy, so it was pretty expensive, but the standard twelve-track wasn't too pricy.

I guess that the song I explored more than the others in the making of this project (which is slowly turning into another 'Brooke really loves Anberlin' post) was actually the seventh track on the album, 'Hello Alone'.

From a lesser known, I'm here. And there's hope. There's hope.

I'm going to decide later whether making this was work or procrastination.

Hope is such a powerful thing. It keeps us going in the darkest of times. It gives us something to look forward to - My phone dictionary, as sad as it is, says '(any reason or encouragement for) the state of feeling that what one wants will or might happen.'
It's a pretty soggy definition, but it'll have to do for now. The point that the above definition is missing (I think) is that in order for there to be hope, there has to be some pretty unfun business going on first. We never hope when we're in a good patch. It's like a little candle, and it serves its greatest purpose at night, when we have little else to guide our steps.

Considering the emotions I have encountered in myself and others since moving to the metropolis of Newcastle, and the feel of the city in the first place, this seemed like a good place to start. Buildings and pavements and arriving here with the smell of London still on my shoes, used to the beat of a thousand floors - cobbles, gravel, pavement, bitumen - always hard and unforgiving.

(Pretty sure tears came to my eyes when I went for a walk through Hyde Park on the grass.)

Right about then.

But that's what the city is; it's rough and big and scary and it doesn't give a rats arse about you. It's grey and smelly and there's people everywhere but none of them see you. Not the real you, anyway. It sounds kind of unfun.

Through the project, I just really wanted to be able to show that; the simple play of dark and light in the city across all of it's artificiality. That as unforgiving and dark the city appeared, that there could also be something worth hoping in as well. Something outside of the grey stones and grey skies.

Something with promise. Because there's hope.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cheap Dessert and a general update


Uni season has begun again, and things move from one end of the fun spectrum to the other as this week has gone by. But of most of the things that have happened this week, I think I would start with Saturday's activities.

On Sunday I travelled back to the big smoke. So, with Saturday being my last full day to go and do fun things, the Old Guard from my home church headed out to a waterhole that us and a handful of other people in the local area know about. It's a spot you need a four-wheel-drive car to get to, and judging by the small jungle that we had to push through to get to the parking area, it would seem that the last time the track was used was when we last went down there.

It's also been raining quite a bit since the start of the holidays, so our trek down was something of a giant mad-toboggan ride. We got out okay, but there was a lot of mud stuck to the back of the car at the end of it.

I have a couple photos from this outing. I've gone with the group twice before and both times forgot to grab clothes for swimming in. Which was an error. This time that fact got fixed, so I was spending more time in the water than taking photos of everyone jumping around and chasing a butterfly.

So, Documentational footage.

Podiatry-based puns aside, I think also half the reason why the photos were less this time was because I spent more time being dunked in freezing cold water and generally having fun; looking at the tiny details in the moss and rotting wood chilling up on the top of the waterfall with us, poking weird stuff, and laughing when the lads fed one of the tiny ponds of tadpoles sunkist.

It's the little things in life.

The little, glorious things. I really like this waterhole, freezingness aside.

The other, slightly important (well, it's important now) thing that happened when we were out there was that I fell over. It sounds short and concise and that's really what it is. Some of those bits of rock were really slippery. I walked on one of those slippery bits without traction control engaged and the hardest rock in the world hi-fived my body.

I was a bit busy trying not to let it hi-five my head on the way down, so I didn't have any idea on what happened to my big toe. Still don't have any idea at the moment, but I've got roughly the same stride length as my grandfather, and he only has one knee.

At the moment? Visited the doctor yesterday. She thinks it might be fractured. My toe, that is. Not Grandpa's knee. I have to go somewhere and let them do science to my foot to find out. I'll show you the results when I get back from it. Anyway, it hurts, and I tend to whinge a lot when I bust something. So there you are. My whinging. Moving on.

We spent the rest of the arvo chilling out, watching Zombieland, until finally darkness fell and the last bits of the plan were put into place. Steel Wool, it turns out, you can set on fire if you rub it with a battery. By putting together a simple rig, we made sparks and took photos of them.

Also, I'll probably include details for that in a pyro-related post. I've still got to tell you all about fireball. It will be fun, and also disclaimer-riddled. Comes with the job description.

Does it? hrm.

Okay. Fast-forward to at the moment. Uni is about to start, there is food in the fridge and I'm going to try and write a doujinshi this year. (A doujinshi is a fanfiction in manga format. Last time I checked.)
It's as much an exercise in drawing as it is in storytelling. And as a writer, I'm so hyper-aware of Mary Sue that staying away from them is something that happens all the time. I hope.

(Although, I did plan to write a send-up for the concept a while back. One day...)

So, the present. It's a bit scary, but I'm not too worried. Everything happens according to Someone Else's plan, and that Someone Else has my best interests at heart. Yours too.

What else should I yammer on about for ages?

Oh yeah. The other part of the title.

I've got a few more friends from home moving down to Newie this year. They're already here, and I've caught glimpses of one or two about campus.

That said, I kind-of decided to start posting recipes to cheaply-made, good unifood. So, the first one is:

Caramelised Apples.
(Stuff you, American Spellcheck! I'm going to spell it with an 'S' whether you like it or not!)

This is possibly the simplest dessert I've ever made, aside from Jelly. It got rolled into the food-book when part of the Old Guard went to Queensland to visit more of the Old Guard mid last year. You need.

~1 Apple per person. (Juicy is best, but whatever is in season is pretty good)
Something to fry in/with. A saucepan will do the trick, but a frying pan has more surface area. Bec and I don't have a cooktop, so we'd use a skillet instead.
Ice-cream. Uni Students tend to prefer Homebrand for some reason.

So. Slice the apples into six-eight pieces. Take the seeds and funk in the middle out.
Heat up the pan to a low-medium temperature.
Throw le apples in. Throw le sugar on top. Don't actually le throw literally otherwise you'll have a buttload of stuff to clean up later.
Add a little bit of water too.

Thing is, when you heat up the apples, the juice begins to heat up. Caramelises them, with the help of the sugar. So, if everything goes alright, the apples turn a slightly-mushy golden brown, and sit in their own juices and the melted sugar and water. Reduce the liquid in the pan.

Apply Ice-cream to bowls, then apply apples and caramelly goodness to the ice-cream. Get as much of the juice out of the pan as possible before it cools.

Makes Kitchen smell like apple-themed awesome.
Melted Sugar requires really hot water to clean up once it hardens. So try and wash out the pan before it cools.

Also, sugar can be easy to burn if you use a temperature too hot. The water acts as a buffer, so it's a little bit harder to mess up, but if you begin to smell burning, get that food off the heat immediately. Hot sugar redefines what you understand as 'hot'. But it's good. Be liberal with your sugar application.


I put this together for my Bible study group last year. It fed twelve people and cost me about eight bucks.

It's really rich and sugar laden. I was astonished when Babs went back for seconds.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Life lessons from Video Games and Anime.

I probably need to start this post by presenting you, the reader, with some important things. They aren't by themselves and of themselves of great importance, but they will make sense shortly.

It goes without saying that I am an avid gamer. It's pretty evident for my face-to-face mates, and probably traceable from the blog posts that exist so far. I'm into RPGs and puzzle games, but also a lot of the culture that comes with it. So, while I play games like Zelda and Final Fantasy, I also follow Red vs. Blue and understand a lot of the terminology that comes with the territory.

Like the bit where you don't give Caboose anything pointy, ever.

That aside, I actually spent a lot of my childhood during Christmas holidays playing Zelda. But not any other time of year, because it was our Aunts who lived in Queensland who owned the game.

By leaps and bounds and walkthroughs, we made it, and seven years after we started fiddling with the '64, we beat Ganon.

Well, Jack's file beat Ganon. It was a joint effort between him and myself.

So yeah. Ocarina of Time was kind of instrumental in how I see stories and the world and the characters. It was a little weird back in January when I realised the list of similarities between reality and Hyrule.

That can be saved for later.

But then.

Part of the whole Zelda thing is the fact that you, the protagonist, have to save the Princess and the Kingdom from the Evil Socerer and obtain the Triforce (magical thing that lets you do whatever the heck you want). But the push behind your character obtaining the Triforce, and the reason why the bad guy can't hold it, is because he is out of balance (and also evil.).

The Triforce splits and then he gets the third devoted to Power, which is what he has.

You, the player, get the bit that is for the guy with the most Courage, because obviously you have to be crazy brave or crazy stupid to fight giant spiders, dinosaurs, jellyfish, ghosts, dragons, more jelly creatures, more ghosts, witches and Big Bad himself.

The Princess (your girlfriend (or your sister, according to Jack)) gets the bit of the triforce with Wisdom. Probably because they need another thing to tie you and Big Bad and the Legend of Zelda, even though your character's name is Link.

So, Ganon just wants his Power bit and Zelda's Wisdom bit. And somehow you and Zelda beat him. Courage and Wisdom.

Courage and Wisdom.

Slightly monumental in how I see things. Because, well, not just the Triforce.

It takes Courage to go out and do something gutsy. But Wisdom kind of helps in making sure that you don't behave like a complete idiot when you do keep going. Power? Pfft. Power is good in getting you places. But I have found over time that, in keeping with Japanese RPGs and mute fairy boys, if you know what to do, all you need to do is be willing to stick your neck out and try.

And that's something that I wish I saw more of in the real world.

To keep trying. To pick yourself up and stand, even when everything else tells you that you should just lie down and die. To keep your heart in the centre of the maelstrom because there's every chance that if you stay, you can fix it.

This is especially important, because I spent a lot of my teenage years hiding mine and running away. When I wasn't trying to figure out how to interact with people who'd learned those skills back when they were eight.

Homeschooling has its ups and downs.

So yeah. Courage. Need it.

Wisdom. Need that too. I spend a lot of time with my feet in my mouth. Maybe not literally, but figuratively? Dude, if you want figurative I have three feet. It's ridiculous, and there's no excuse for it. So. Get Wisdom. It does miles of good.

What else?

Not Power.


I learned Resolve a little bit later down the track.

I mentioned Bleach a while back. You can read the synopsis there if you really want.

Part of the whole Bleach thing that I didn't mention in the post about the Giant Black Butterfly From Hell was how the protagonist has to go and rescue the girl and fight the Big Bad.

Sound familiar?

There's more drama and action and yelling in Bleach. And more blood. But, the thing that the protagonist has to learn before he saddles up and storms the fortress is that he would face up against things determined to bring him down. To kill him. And he had a duty there; to protect her. Save the girl from an execution, because she had saved him before. Protect her with the ability she'd given him.

I understand if it reads a little weird, or if it doesn't immediately make sense where all this is going just yet. I'll get there.

The guy who trains the protagonist teaches him the value of Resolve. Of deciding something and deciding it so strongly that your eyes glow and you gain the will to see this thing through.

So, it takes a certain setup to make one's eyes glow, and an even more careful one to make a human's eyes glow without causing permanent damage to them. But that's not really the point.

The point, and the value in learning Resolve, is that Ichigo, the protagonist, takes on an army of enemies. I'm including Squad 11 in there, for those who follow the series and want to get nitpicky. On just about every occasion he is only just able to defeat them; partially because it makes for a good story, partially because the Anime producers want you to tune in next week, and partially because he decides to get off his rear and do this thing.

Sometimes it's because Shiro rocks up. But Shiro will get a blog post later.

So, the series teaches the viewer/reader the importance of protecting what you hold dear (in Ichigo's case, it's pretty much always his friends. Unless he's sparring with his Dad.), and the value in Resolving to see something through. Because otherwise, nothing will change.

Like I mentioned in the other Post, Bleach didn't get discovered until I was in my final year of High School. But the idea of Resolve stuck, and stuck as well and as truly as the aforementioned Courage and Wisdom combo.

Because, when I started thinking about it, it takes Courage to stand up and grab your sword/item of a catalyst nature. It takes Wisdom to know what to do with that Sword. But it takes Resolve to hang onto it.

So go out. Be willing to do something, even when the odds seem poor. Don't do a half-assed job with something because you couldn't be bothered, or if it didn't resonate with you the way you wanted. Talk to people, whether or not you think that they're mad. Treasure what's around you, because chances are that you'll have to defend it at some point in time and not only will you want that thing you're protecting to be solid, but you'll want to be solid when you stand up. Start properly, and finish properly.

Be Courageous.

Be Wise with that Courage.

Be Resolute when you're being Wise with that Courage.

And something worthwhile might just happen.