Weekend Edition Part 8: Those Characters That Stick With You…

I read some comics during my youth.  I never really got into them on account of the cost and the fact that I was one of those kids who did not really get an “allowance”.  The reason I mention this is because I think a lot of people who find interest in the fantasy fiction genre kind of get their start with comic books.

For me, it was something else entirely.  Right around the time High School began for me a collectible card game called Legend of the Five Rings came about.  It’s a game about samurai and feudal civil war with a strong mix of the fantastic thrown in.  Players take on the various factions and the decisions the players make over the course of the game’s life have ramifications on the characters within.

With some urging from a friend of mine, I took up the Crane Clan, a group based on politics and art…in a game where brutal military force was the best option early on.  Well, the champion of this faction was a character named Doji Hoturi.  He was a samurai of refinement, arrogance, culture, and ultimately…a force for good.

Because the majority of other players disliked the Crane and especially Hoturi, the game itself turned on him.  Hoturi was cast down, vilified, and hunted.  Those who represented the Crane knew that Hoturi was a character who was getting a bad shake.

For three years we watched and waited.  The story and the game played out and still we waited.  In that time we learned the reasons why this plot had been hatchet against him and it made the character and story all the more tragic.  The truth of the matter was that he had been made to suffer for inadvertently killing his own son, whom he was entirely unaware of.

The end of Hoturi’s story results in his death, but not before accounts are settled, relationships reconciled, and his story is concluded.

Conclusion.

It’s the difference for me.  It’s the finalized story.  The punctuation that makes the character relevant.  I mentioned comics at the beginning of this.  I actually loved the X-Men cartoon during middle school and later on during college I would eventually read all those comics I missed out on.  In some ways they were very relevant still.

The difference is that those stories never really end.  They drag on.  They re-boot.  They find a way to continue with the status quo and in doing so, nothing you read really has any lasting impact.

Hoturi’s story mattered to me.  It stuck with me far longer than any other exploit of a character because it was final, real, and the time invested reading and following mattered for something.

I think this has been something of a guiding principal for me over the course of writing and creating my own characters and story.  There has to be a willingness to let characters go, to fail, to die because that’s what makes them stay in your mind after they’re story is gone or done.

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Weekend Edition Part 7: Something Entirely Different

I mentioned previously (I think) that I collect a variety of toys.  Just for a little something different and a bit of spring time color, this is a review of Lorna Murasame from Shining Hearts.

I haven’t played Shining Hearts and I was not familiar with Lorna prior to seeing this figure up for pre-order. Lorna’s dynamic pose and mix of class/tease really caught my attention. Now, I really try to limit my fixed-pose figure purchases to franchises I love. So, to purchase a figure of something I am not invested in, it had better be really well done to get my money. How does Lorna hold up in-hand? Let’s take a look…

A full look at Lorna here shows what we’re working with: fox girl, in a maid costume, brandishing knives. Excellent. Lorna is 1/8th scale and is set atop a simple (but sturdy) white base. She’s screwed into the base, which is something I am coming to favor. One thing you see here is that Lorna is presented in someone simple colors in large patches. Don’t worry, I’ll show the surprising extent of detail that this figure contains as we go forward…

…but not just yet. Her hair is done simply and does not have significant flaws to comment on nor is there anything outstanding to look for. The back of Lorna’s costume shows her full length skirt. It’s simple and flowing. One thing I’d comment on is that this part of the figure is sturdy. When I pick her up, it’s by this portion of the figure (or the base). The material is firm and is anything but fragile. Kotobukiya should get a nod for this. Lastly, what you see here is a nice large uniform color part of the figure, but you don’t see any flaws, right? No smudges, swirls or anything of the sort are present. Stuff like that goes a long way towards a good review from me.

Rotate around 90 degrees and wow…things get busy. Lorna has a fist full of knives and is pulling her skirt aside to access more. You can see that the hem of her skirt carries detail all the way around and her boots have small ribbon details on them. Am I ignoring those amazing fishnet stockings? Not at all.

This took me by surprise. I thought these stockings were molded detail but this figure is actually done in mixed media and the stockings are lace. A perfect seam runs up the back of the stockings and the fishnet material was implemented properly. Now, the knives on her thigh and in her hand are simple and perhaps a little boring. There is sculpted detail but the paint choice for these seems a little heavy and I think they suffer for that.

Still talking about the defining characteristic of this figure, we can see here how the movement Lorna makes to wield her weapons affects her skirt. Her right hand pulls the skirt aside for her left hand to grab a fist full of knives.

You can really see here how the concept translated to reality. The material bunches with her hand and shows the weight of her costume

I’m not posting this picture to get a laugh or to throw out a shot of her cleavage. Lorna is actually pretty well covered up. I show this picture here because the same lace material used on her stockings is used here across her chest. I think that’s amazing. Kotobukiya could have easily used molded material here but they went the distance to match material and accurately reflect her costume. I suppose I’m surprised because the area is so small and difficult to access.

Lastly, let’s take a look at her face. As you can see, she’s lovely. In contrast to her very stark costume, Lorna’s hair and face use soft muted tones, especially where her hair is concerned. In fact, it almost bothered me that the color was not more saturated. I did not know the character well and having her hair the same color as her tail fur bothered me a little. Seeing the game art changed my opinion and after a little time with the figure, I came to appreciate the way it looks in person.

For her price at Amiami of 7940Y, is she worth it? I…don’t know. I like this figure immensely. She hits all the right points for me but at this scale, that price before shipping seems too high. Happily, I purchased her from BBTS for $77 and at that price, I would recommend her without a second thought. Funny how that works, isn’t it? On merits alone, this is a great figure, well done from head to toe. Lorna is amazing in that she can look so different depending on what angle you observer her from.

Packed with fetish, well sculpted, and very well presented, I think anyone with a slight urge to pick this piece up will not be disappointed.

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Weekend Edition Part 6

Updates have been slow(ish) the past few days and into this weekend because I have been working on concepts for my new book.

I find the process of drafting and writing to be really easy and something that I can split my attention from.  When it comes down to planning, plotting, and creating concepts…I get mentally burned out.

I’ve made my way through the first 25% of my latest work and am now that the point that I really have to plan out the rising action, villains, and links to further work.  Like I told one of my buddies lately, I don’t think I’ve ever gone back and re-written so much material at once.  Having been through the process once now, I’m looking ahead to curtail future problems with a little planning.

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Weekend Edition Part 5

This weekend is a bit of forced time off for me.  Our 6 month old puppy was spayed on Thursday so my attention is split entirely while trying to attend to her.

Work on my second book has moved along very well after just one week of work.  I have fifty or so pages put together which is more than double my usual output for a week.  It’s not as impressive as it might sound though.  I had a tremendous amount of short story work completed that is being infused into this new book.  I think about a third of the new pages I have put down are from pre-prepared material I finally get to make use of.

I’ve spent a lot of time reading, re-reading, and revising these old short stories to make use of them.  Looking at how my writing has evolved (and improved) is somewhat gratifying.  Working on Master of the House was much more of a task in writing.  This new book has been far more about planning and plotting from the start.

I will try and explain the basic plot line for my follow up work tomorrow.  For now, back to tending to the puppy.

 

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Weekend Edition Part 4

Unexpectedly last night I sat down and put together another chapter for my new work.  I had intended for its placement to fall before some of the things I had written up to this point but as I read it and then re-read it…I think it’s working better as a natural progression.

Not much to say for now, so I’m going to challenge myself to have a fist full of content for this coming Friday’s short story entry.  I may look to put up the first chapter or the first five chapters of this next book.

The only problem at hand is figuring out the damn name for my main male protagonist…

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Weekend Edition Part 3

I began work on my second novel yesterday.  It is set to be a work of much larger scope than Master of the House was and because of that I have decided to break it up into smaller but more detailed books.

I’ve also decided to alter the chapter format for this follow up piece, which will be a direct sequel to Master of the House.  Honestly, if this ever takes off, this will be the first of the books I recommend people to read.  Kind of like how if you’re going to recommend Star Wars to someone, you start them on Episode 4.  But yea, back to chapters.  Master of the House used a long chapter format that followed a theme all the way through.  That really won’t work with this piece so as settings or character focus changes, the chapters will move forward.

The cast of characters will stand at four, three males, one female as hinted at by Dori at the end of Master of the House.  Thus far, three of them have been named:  Vavian, Dempsy, and LeLehilani (be sure humans will shorten that to Lani or Le’Lani).  My central male protagonist had yet to have his name solidified in my mind.  I’m almost certain of what it will be but I don’t want to commit just yet…

In my way of thinking about books and their openings, there has to be something striking about them.  Last night I found my entrance hook for this upcoming work.  I’m eager to get on this.  It’s always frustrating when your fingers can’t keep up the typing speed to match the flow of ideas coming forth.

More tomorrow.

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Weekend Edition Part 2

The moment I started to take this writing stuff seriously something interesting happened in my own mind.  I began to think about work on the weekend.  It’s always in the back of my mind, what I want to do, what I need to do, am I doing enough?  This is interesting for me because throughout school and even into my career as a Planner, work never took weekend trips with me.

I have the clear and concise ability to shut out and shut down thought processes.  Weekends were “My” time.  Work and school never really got to interfere.  I take it as a positive sign that these thoughts are creeping in now.  I’ve never been adverse to work or even to working hard.  It’s just that there’s never been a reason to carry that stuff into my free time as I define it.  In the office setting, I worked hard and kept on schedule specifically to grant myself this leverage.

But now that the goals and timing of things is my own…there’s no task completed check off.  There could always be more; there could always be better.  The way it’s always been explained to me, that’s the clue that you’re on the right path both spiritually and in regard to a work life.

One last note, I actually watched TV for more than 45 minutes last night.  We got the Transformers Prime Blu-Ray set and cruised through the first five episodes all at once.  Seeing animation like that in true HD is amazing.  Lazy.  I know.

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Weekend Edition Part 1

This being the first weekend of this blog’s existence, it falls to me to set the tone going forward.  I could very well pass on doing anything for Saturday and Sunday, but even if no one reads this thing the important part is for me to keep on track.

So, the weekends will be less focused on my writing process and more about whatever is going on in my mind right now.  It just so happens that this particular day has me thinking about writing.

Ah!  Before I go on, yesterday served me with my forth rejection for my manuscript.  A Mr. Jack Byrne of Sternig & Byrne Literary Agency passed on the work.  In all honesty, I did not have great expectations that he would be interested in the project.  His stated client load was already full and I had some question as to whether the project was properly aligned with his interests.  It never hurts to try.  On a more positive note, none of my top rated agents in terms of project suitability have turned me down yet.  So, they’re either carefully reading my material or are going to never respond.  Such is the way of things right now.

I should add, I plan to mention by name the agents and agencies that reject my work (and of course the ones that show interest).  It’s not to call them out or anything like that, but it’s just a matter of fact.  Perhaps one or two of them will Google their own name, find it here and then reconsider.  ^_^

Anyway, I fell asleep planning out my next work last night.  One thing that writing Master of the House has made me cautious to is the length of a manuscript.  When I finally sit to write up the central book in the Legacy of Shadow series, I’m going to approach it as a multi-book story.  Breaking it up into definable sections will seemingly make it more marketable.

I plan to finish up the explanations of the City States this weekend and begin a character section in earnest next week.  The plan is to launch this site to my friends and media connections next Wednesday.

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