A 26-year-old Minnesota native attending college for the second time. With a pen in one hand and a sword in the other, CyborgSamurai cuts his way through writer's block and enemies alike.
Ugh. This chapter... · 8:37am
...has been the hardest one BY FAR to write. I had to re-read all of Five Score to make sure I got all the characters right, and then I spent days thinking about the best way to handle the interactions between TS's characters and mine. I'm a little over 3k words in right now, which I know doesn't seem like much, but the hardest part is done, so things should move a little faster now. The way things are looking I'll get it out by this weekend as planned.
In other news, I FINALLY GOT A JOB! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!
It's just a shit part-time job working front desk night shifts at my dorm, but STILL! IT'S A GODAMN JOB! Thirteen months of unemployment, and finally I'm back in the workforce! Albeit in a very small, kind of pathetic way, BUT STILL!
Today was a good day.
Schedule for TLC Chapter 10 · 7:38am
I hadn't watched it up to this point because someone (I can't even remember who, ironically) told me that it was trash. I knew it was the source of several memes, though, and I'd seen a few snippets of it at Bronycon, so I decided to give it a shot.
I absolutely loved it.
It is, by far, the best voiceover parody of FiM I've seen to date. It reminded me in many ways of Dragonball Z Abridged, which is about the highest praise I can give. I can see why the series has gotten some hate, as Twilight and Rainbow Dash's character portrayals in particular are less than flattering, but it's still enjoyable overall.
Also, Sweetie Bot. Omg, Sweetie Bot. I'd seen the fan art, I knew of the meme, but actually seeing the character in the episodes was adorably hilarious. She stole the show, hands down. I about died when she said 'set phasers to hug.' Even if the rest of the parody was trash (which it isn't) I'd watch it for Sweetie Bot alone.
I leave you with this.
Why We Write. · 2:52am
Most of us know and understand that favorite and follower counts on this site don't really mean anything, and yet, we strive to advertise our works to get those numbers as high as we can. I'm no exception to this. I put my stories in groups, put them up on other sites like deviantart and fanfiction.net, and watch to see where my stories are being linked so I can possibly advertise them more.
In short, I'm a shameless attention whore.
It's not something I'm particularly proud of, but what it comes down to is that, like most writers, I'm very proud of the stories I've written. I want to share them with as many people as I can, to get feedback on what I can do better. I've said it before, I'll say it again: Everything I write is practice. I may have a good handle on grammar, punctuation, and style, but the content of my stories need work.
There's no shame in admitting you get a small surge of excitement or gratification when someone likes or favorites your stories. It's okay to associate watcher count or popularity with some kind of virtual success. Do you want to know why? Because it gives you a feeling of involvement and appreciation. Your mind interprets those likes and upvotes as approval by your peers, and combined with the comments they leave, it creates a sustainable source of social interaction.
I try to get as many favorites as I can on my stories because I want your approval. I attach meaning to follower count and upvote-downvote ratio because I want some form of confirmation that I've entertained you. I want to know that you, the reader, have appreciated my work, and will continue to do so as long as I continue to produce stories at the same level of quality or higher.
Is that so wrong? To be concerned with what readers think and how they receive your stories? Is it some sort of detriment to my character that I keep in mind the desires of my readers when creating new content? I sure as hell don't think so, but I've met others that do.
I got into a conversation with a few guys at Bronycon. We were talking about why we enjoy writing so much. Is it the process of getting your thoughts out on a transferable medium? Is it the idea of telling a story? Is it because you're passionate about writing in general? We traded some ideas around, and while there was a lot of good things said, one thing in particular stuck with me. I was talking about the importance of the desires and approval of readers, and one guy responded (rather indignantly, I might add) with this:
'I don't write for you. I don't write for them [the readers.] I don't write for anyone but myself. If I ever find myself doing otherwise, I'll stop writing.'
Now, let's analyze this statement before I rip it apart, because there's some merit to it. It's true that writing is almost entirely a solitary activity. It's hard, it takes time, and if you're not enjoying the process, then it's tedious as all hell. Writing is something that you're supposed to enjoy and do as a leisure activity, right? Why would you do something in your free time that you hate? I agreed with those points, but I didn't give a rebuttal at that time because I was ten days out from surgery, and didn't feel like arguing with a complete stranger while hopped up on Percocet.
He didn't feel much like arguing with me either when I showed him the very red, very icky-looking 4-inch scar on my neck.
However, now that I'm not on narcotics, I can give my rebuttal.
My good sir, I regret to inform you that writing doesn't love you. It's not a conscious, thinking entity, it doesn't give a shit about your passion, the sacrifices you make, the effort you put in, nothing. The words you write are selfish little bastards, and they aren't going to give you a damn thing back.
But guess who will?
That's right, your READERS.
The hole in this guy's argument was something I learned to spot from my studies in game development. It's like this: Okay, cool, you've made a game for YOU. You've created something that YOU like, and YOU had a lot of fun doing it.
But unless YOU'RE gonna buy 5 million copies of your own game, you're not gonna be making games anymore.
This concept, while largely hinging on money, is still translatable to writing. Think of it in broader terms: You just spent a considerable amount of resources writing your story that YOU like and enjoy, but unless your story is SELF-FULFILLING and gives you SUFFICIENT GRATIFICATION, you're not gonna have the motivation to continue.
With that in mind, here's my rebuttal: If you've written a story that YOU like, and YOU only did it for YOURSELF, why the ever-loving FUCK are you posting it on the Internet?
If this story was for YOU and YOU alone, then you shouldn't need anyone else to see it! You should just be content to leave it on your computer and pull it open to read at your leisure. Maybe one day you'll look at it and say, "Whelp, that was fun! Time to start over!" and then delete the thing, or just leave it in your hard drive to be forgotten!
I'm probably gonna piss people off by saying this, but it's really how I feel. Anyone who says 'I only made this art for myself' and then posts their work on the Internet is a fucking hypocrite. Of course you want to show it off your shit for others to see! We all do! If we didn't, we wouldn't have put the shit up in the first place! Don't you get it?! We want other people to see our work so we can hear what they think and gain their approval!
And oh my fucking god, dat approval. Take it from someone who's tasted only the barest sliver of fame, to have COMPLETE STRANGERS walk up to me at Bronycon and tell me how much they liked TPOH?
It. Felt. Fucking. AMAZING.
THAT'S the reason why we write. We want to experience that feeling of approval and gratification again and again because it's like a drug you can't get enough of. We love hearing that our hard work and effort was APPRECIATED, and anyone who says otherwise is a godamn liar.
Tycho from Penny Arcade once said, 'Writers are artists that paint with words.' He said it in jest, but I think there's a level of truth to that statement. It's no secret that I'm passionate about writing. Why else would I push myself to write chapters upon chapters of content while my hands felt like they were on fire? For what other reason would I use a clunky dictation program to write instead of going out and doing other things? To me, writing is both an outlet of creativity, and a necessary means of social interaction. I'm a shy, introverted, self-conscious guy, and I don't make friends easily. I always worry that I'm being intrusive, annoying, or an elitist douche, so I purposefully minimize my interactions with others. I understand that a 26 year-old failure with medical problems isn't going to fit in with a bunch of healthy, naive 18-20 year-olds here at the U, so I don't even try.
Basically, I'm socially starved. My only means of interacting or doing, well... anything really, has to be done through my writing. I've found that my mental state LITERALLY begins to deteriorate if I go more than two days without doing something socially stimulating, and the best means of preventing this is by banging away on the keys. Reading other stories helps too, and that's primarily what I did when my left arm was FUBAR. I NEED to express myself in some way, and as I happen to have a moderate understanding of the written word, I use it as an outlet.
Writing stories and blogs and then posting them for others to read is how I stay sane. It makes me happy to know there are others out there who read my shit and had a better day because of it. I love it when I see little things pop up here and there on other sites, and I see my work get analyzed through discussion.
It's FUN. It makes me feel INCLUDED, and that feeling of participation, however minor, fills the void that I can't fill any other way.
And that, my friends, is why I write.
Writing means something different to everybody. I'm not saying that the ONLY reason we write is to gain approval from our peers, but it's a damn BIG reason, and you'd have to be blind not to see that. To say that 'I only write for me' is a flat-out lie. If that were true, you wouldn't post your work. We're social creatures, we love attention and appreciation from others, it's how we tick. There's nothing wrong with it at all. In fact, if you really DIDN'T care about other people's approval, that'd be a sign of a mental disorder, and you should probably seek medical attention.
Not that I'm saying any of you are crazy or anything. I'm sure you're all nice, normal, peaceful individuals.
Please don't stab me.
Adorkable · 6:33pm
Garden of Shadows, 2013 Edition · 11:35pm
So this has been bugging me for a while.
Garden of Shadows is easily my weakest fic, both in terms of writing and popularity. The reasons why are obvious: the beginning's an info dump, it barely has any character interaction, and the cover description is weak. I've been meaning to shore it up for some time now, but circumstances have always prevented me from getting to it.
This week I finally bit the bullet and tackled the damn thing. It took quite a bit of work to shore up, but the result is something I'm happy with. It's almost a completely different story now. Even if you've already read GoS, I'd recommend giving it a second pass.
Here are the changes that have been made.
-Twilight has been added to the story's cast.
-Fleshed out the story's long and short cover description.
-The cover art has been changed. (Placeholder. A new piece is being commissioned. The artist of the current art has been credited.)
-The links now point to the actual Children of the Night video instead of the animatic.
-Added four new scenes, which has almost doubled the word count.
-Rewrote both of Celestia and Luna's conversations.
-Deleted many of the info dumps and changed them to actual events in the story.
To elaborate on the cover art. It's being commissioned by Conicer, but he's got a queue and won't be able to get to it for a few weeks. I was almost going to wait redoing the story until he finished it, but I didn't want to procrastinate anymore. I'll make a blog post when finishes it.
I've also resubmitted this story to EQD. I submitted it once already a year ago, but it was rejected for obvious reasons. I'm hoping that it will be approved now with the new changes.
Hope you enjoy, and happy Nightmare Night!
Why The Last Crusade is on EQD · 5:05am
tl;dr: Five Score can't go on EQD because of its Mature version. TwistedSpectrum and I agreed that since the original story is ineligible, a side-story is the next best thing.
TS feels that the Mane Six are the most important characters, and while he could make a shout-out or reference to a side fic here and there, he doesn't want to expand the plot beyond what he's got.
The only thing that might change that is if one of the side fics was somehow approved on say, Equestria Daily or something, and that exposure dictated that the story would now have to coincide with Five Score so as to not confuse readers. Of course, doing such a thing would need to be approved by TS, as just going ahead and submitting it without his knowledge would be borderline plagiarism, even if you credited him in your description. It would also be what we call a 'dick move.'
For those of you who don't know, the above quote was something I said a few weeks back. I'd done my best not to allude or hint that I'd done the very thing I'd suggested, and before you even ask, yes, I got TS's permission. We had a misunderstanding in the beginning, but it got straightened out and we've been collaborating since then.
Yes, I said 'collaborating'. I've been waiting to announce this for a few weeks now, but I've been holding off until I got the final word from EQD: The Cutie Mark Crusaders are going to make an appearance in Five Score, and their characters will be based off of The Last Crusade. The CMC's involvement will be minimal, as TS has a pretty full roster to begin with, but they'll still have a part to play in the grand scheme of things. Not to worry, though, the Mane Six are still the stars of the show. The CMC are just helping from the wings, and that story will be handled by yours truly.
Some of you may be wondering why TS would let me submit a side story to Five Score when the original isn't there. There's actually a reason for this. EQD has a strict policy when it comes to stories with Mature-rated content, and even if said content is listed in a separate story, it can't go up on the blog. I asked a few EQD pre-readers about this to be sure, and they confirmed that Five Score is ineligible on these grounds.
This is the main reason why TS and I started collaborating. There's now going to be a significant amount of traffic exposed to Five Score through TLC, and while this is a good thing for all Five Score stories, because TLC is the catalyst, it needs to match up with the original. As you might've guessed, this means that I know how Five Score's going to end, but honestly, would you rather have me be shooting in the dark and hoping that the two stories are gonna line up? That would be a massive hit to my motivation and writing speed, and I'm updating bi-weekly as it is.
I understand if some people see this as favoritism or special treatment. I didn't want it to be seen as such, which is why I waited until the EQD feature. I was the one who approached TS about this, so if you're gonna spew venomous hate at one of us, let it be me. You won't offend me even if you try; five years of WoW and a year of professional raiding have given me thicker Internet skin than most breeds of rhino. I've enjoyed contributing to this universe, and I'm looking forward to the rest of I'm going to create, but I understand I'm not the only one who feels that way. People tend to get heated about things that they're passionate about, so I'm prepared for that.
In other words... COME AT ME, BROS
That being said, strap-in and enjoy the rides, gents (still convinced you're all gents). It's gonna be a hell of a ride.
The Last Crusade Cover Art · 6:15pm
Let it never be said that I don't take my horse words seriously.
Shiny, isn't it? Gotta say, Sonson-Sensei is pretty good at what he does. I felt a little bad when I sent him a three page document describing what I wanted for this, but he took it as a challenge and delivered. I feel this accurately describes the focal points of the story, and I'm happy with the way it turned out.
If you haven't checked out The Last Crusade, I recommend you give it a shot. It's a side story to Five Score, Divided by Four, but you don't need to read that in order to understand what's going on. It's also nowhere near as long as TPOH, nor is it going to be. I anticipate TLC to be around the 80k word range, give or take, which means I'm about halfway done with it.
You're probably then wondering when the next chapter of TLC is going to be out! I'm shooting for next weekend. I've got some schoolwork I've gotta finish up, but if I split up my time I should be able to hammer it out. Maybe I'll get a response from EQD by then? Who knows!
Enjoy the art!
Can't Choose Your Family Cover Art · 1:44am
Well, isn't that shiny! I absolutely love it, it captures the feel of the story so well. Thanks a ton to Sonson-Sensei for making this for me. Now to contact EQD and see if they can update it there!