Author has written 15 stories for Halo, StarCraft, and Mass Effect.
For convenience, (and because the former profile was a bloody eyesore) I'm cleaning up my profile. It is in the following format. (Work in progress as of 12-26-07)
(12-13-13): Computer has arrived. /Protoss voice
(12-05-13): Speaking of 'inconvenient', any guesses as to what a rear windshield sounds like when it shatters from the cold?
(11-25-13): Hmm... After four and a half years of dedicated service, my laptop has died permanently. So permanently, the guy at the shop said I'd need a necromancer with a degree in computer science to get it running again. I didn't lose anything, but it's inconvenient.
(07-1-13): So... I guess I owe my readers an explanation.
In my last update to this profile, I mentioned that I had caught the flu. Well, that morphed into pneumonia. And then there were complications, a night spent at the hospital, three liters of saline administered via IV... And during the month it took to recover, I let my grades get away from me.
Long story short (Yeah, like I'm actually good at that), I've had to withdraw from school for a semester and get a job as a mechanic, working with my dad. The job is good, the pay is good, the hours are good, but it doesn't leave much time for writing. I've sort of fallen out of the habit.
And the truth is... I'm not sure that Halo holds my interest as a universe to write in. 343i has taken something that was unique, and ruined the... you know what? This deserves its own blog post.
The writer's block is only temporary, of course. I'm currently working on a project that will get me back into the swing of things, hopefully.
(01-27-13): Down with the flu. Can barely keep from sleeping. Nausea doing what it can to keep me awake. Throat feels like I tried to sword-swallow a spike grenade.
Not sure if I'm going to make it. Ugh...
(12-27-12): Yet another year without something being posted around Christmas. And it's been seven months since I last updated this profile.
That doesn't mean that I haven't been doing anything. Hope to have something up soon.
(04-29-12): Five years ago, I posted the first chapter of Isolation. When I posted it, I updated almost monthly and expected to finish it within the year.
I'd hoped to get the last two chapters written and posted by the fifth anniversary so I could move on to something else, but there's been a lot going on in my life that's made the process of satisfactorily wrapping the story up difficult.
I would like to apologize to my loyal readers for the delay. The next chapter should be up sometime this week. As for anybody else who stumbled across my profile and hasn't read Isolation, I recommend you do so. By the time you finish, the next chapter might be up.
(03-13-12): Just finished Mass Effect 3. It was absolutely sublime.
There's never been a franchise that's had me more emotionally invested in the characters. There's never been a game that has portrayed the effects of war so well.
I dunno. I have a journal with outlines for Mass Effect fanfiction, but I think I'll give it a rest for a while.
(03-08-12): Ugh. Came down with a terrible cold during midterms. Then 343i dropped a bunch of Halo 4 info... and the Cyclops is back, ten times as large, though it thankfully doesn't seem to be anything more than multiplayer decoration.
Terrible week overall, but the weather's nice.
(01-17-12): Lessee here...
Six centimeters of snow last night, two more this afternoon, and we're slated for more.
In other news, I recently won an XBL Avatar Sword Prop in a comic contest over at HBO. Here is the winning entry.
(01-13-12): So, I guess I have some big plans this year.
-This year will see the end to Isolation, and the start of the prequel, even if it kills me. Given that I've really only got to write one more chapter, it should be doable.
(01-04-11): I'm a very traditional sort of person, always deferring toward the way things used to be done. I've always found old technology and old styling to be fascinating, and I've always found it sad to see the old things go. For example, a wooden-frame windmill that was erected in the 1920s and spent much of its life in the parking lot of a bowling alley was dismantled in my hometown, and a steam engine (The last steam engine to operate in Alaska) that has been parked where the railroad crosses Broadway was recently shipped back home. These were landmarks, things I drove past on my way to school and rarely noticed. And yet, because of their historicity, I am sorry to see them go.
So, now that I've established my bona-fides as a stick-in-the-mud, I imagine you guys will realize how much it pains me to announce that I'm breaking a tradition; this year's Christmas special isn't getting posted.
I started writing them for various reasons, but those reasons have faded away over time, and I am finding it harder to write a Christmas-themed oneshot every year. Very likely, the only person who is disappointed that I'm discontinuing this is probably me, but when writing something seems more like an obligation, that's when it's time to throw in the towel.
(12-28-11): Well, I really ought to have this year's Christmas Special up by now, but I scratched my right eye with a screwdriver early today, so I'm going to take my own sweet time updating..
(12-25-11): Well, here's a little thing I found over at HBO. Props to Pete the Duck.
(09-17-11): You know, I'm just one page away from completing the next chapter of Isolation...
Still working on that story with EmF. Looking at some of the material he's come up with, he hasn't lost his touch.
(08-06-11): Started up the Musings section, which I've been promising for a while. It's a recommended read for anybody who is new to the whole Fanfiction business, or maybe people who wonder why I'm bothering with fanfiction when I'm good enough to come up with my own ideas.
In addition, I posted a new section a while back. Basically, it's commentaries on the stories I've written and possibly stories I won't write. A lot of it will be factoids that would bog down the Author's Notes at the end of each short story or chapter I post.
Crikey, I need a blog.
(07-17-11): So, over the past four and a half years, I have been saving correspondences. E-mails, PMs, reviews, review replies...
And, in that time, a total of 1,000 plus E-mails were stored in my Hotmail account. All of them saved for posterity, because I haven't the heart to throw them away. It was worrisome, because a single bug on the Hotmail servers could wipe them all out, and Outlook Express is incompatible with Hotmail.
Well, aside from that, I guess I also did some cleaning on this profile.
(06-28-11): So, I've been going through a Timothy Zahn binge, buying and reading all his Star Wars books. I've read the Thrawn Trilogy, Hand of Thrawn Duology, and Allegiance. Just as awesome as I remembered, though 'awesome is a criminal understatement. Hell, even knowing the twist ending to the Hand of Thrawn Duology didn't take away its punch. And reading Allegiance for the first time was a blast!
And so, the last two books (Outbound Flight and Survivor's Quest) arrived in the mail today, meaning I'll be caught up for Choices of One this July!
Again, worth the wait.
Finally, I was browsing through the local bookstore and noticed that K. J. Parker has a new novel out... YES!!!
*For the curious, the second-to-last dialog box in page 66 was changed to "Oh, God Bloody..."
(06-17-11): Haven't updated in two months. Guess I got to make up for that. Time for a big darn update.
Others are asking what has become of Isolation. Rest assured, I'm getting somewhat close to completing the next chapter. It's been kinda difficult because of finals and preparing to transfer to a new school. I never intended this chapter to take four months to write, but I guess stuff happens. Stuff like rewrites, omissions, and being called back to the drawing board to re-evaluate the mission statement.
As for other fics, Occupational Hazard is sidelined. It's one of those times when you have a great idea for a story, but you don't know how to wrap it up. Maybe one of these days, when I'm older and wiser, I'll know what to do with it.
As for my dad, he is back at work, on light duty. He was supposed to be reinstated this week, but the doc wasn't in town.
In other news... could the upcoming Karen Traviss novel be titled "Halo: Glasslands"?
*Guess that makes us a Pushmi-Pullyu
(4-13-11): I haven't updated in half a month. Shame on me. Truly, shame on me.
Of course, he's getting bored. Can't do much around the home, none of the big projects he's been planning. And the workplace won't take him back anytime soon.
(3-24-11): Dad's home. For the next three months, the battle is going to be keeping him OUT of the hospital.
(3-21-11): Well, my dad is up, walking, talking. Now starts the real long battle: for three months, he can't pick anything up, twist, extend arms, pull himself out of a chair. Tomorrow he comes home. In three months, I pray to God that things will be back to normal.
(3-14-11): My dad's operation is over, and the doctors think he's got a good chance of full recovery. He won't be awake enough to receive visitors until tomorrow, so that's when I'll see him. In the meantime, considering how much he's shaped my taste in music, I guess my avatar will be cycling through album art, mostly Pink Floyd. Mark Knopfler is good too, but his albums aren't quite as catchy...
Thanks to all who have sent their condolences. Truly, thank you.
(3-13-11): Some people, I am given to understand, have a difficult relationship with their fathers. I've never counted myself among them. Despite the difficulties he grew up with, my father has always been understanding, full of advice, a good person.
And just today, he's been admitted to the hospital for heart failure. I don't know how threatening it is yet, and I don't really think it's going to affect my update... er... 'schedule'.
Update: My dad is suffering from a leaking valve and two blockages of the blood vessels in the heart. Through the miracle of modern medicine, the clots have been removed, and he will undergo open heart surgery tomorrow morning. I'm at home, ready to take my finals, and... I don't know. I've got the dog right by my bed. She doesn't know what's wrong, but she knows something isn't right. Daddy isn't home to share a lap, take her out at night, sneak her a bowl of milk, spoil her rotten...
I guess it has yet to hit home for both of us.
(3-05-11): There's a lake near my house. It provided for plenty of fun when I was a kid. And right now, it looks like there's a pair of Bald Eagles fighting a pair of Red-Tailed Hawks for territory. AWESOME!
(1-11-11): I had to do an update for today. I just had to.
So, to begin, I guess I should clarify my Christmas update. Of course, the mistake is easy to make, as I have yet to do any serious fiction outside of Halo, but the webcomic I am working on is not based on Halo. Yes, boo and hiss, but I rather like what I'm writing down.
In compensation for not being part of a Halo webcomic, let me link to a comic in progress over at the HBO forum. The author/artist, Leviathan, bleeds talent when you cut him. He's the kind of artist other artists beg not to be compared to, lest their egos shatter. He is probably the best Halo fan artist I've come across, and he is doing A Fistful of Arrows.
So, some might ask, just what the Hell are you doing then? You can't honestly expect to keep doing Halo fanfiction here forever.
(12-31-10): Happy New Year!
Mentioned a webcomic in the last update, but I'm not allowed to elaborate upon it too much.
In addition, "Dead Winter" is a stylized zombie comic. Except it's really well-written, and it focuses on the survivors more than their predicament, how the various factions left over in the Zombie apocalypse are more dangerous than the zombies themselves. Check it out!
(12-25-10): Well, Merry Christmas.
Lets see here... I guess this year has been a good year, though not without a few low points. School's gone great, and my writing has gone better. I found out that I can write up a storm almost at will, and I've had a lot of ideas for oneshots this year. Even a few ideas for original fiction.
Meanwhile, a story that a fellow author has been polishing since his first year here has finally been released (Again) and appears to be updating regularly. Can't wait to finally read the conclusion to Shadows of Hope.
So, I mentioned other fiction. I'm working on outlining a webcomic with a fellow TCF member. Like so many other potential webcomics, it will probably come to naught. But I can hope. I can always hope.
(11-19-10): Know when to hold them, when to fold them.
That said, it's sidelined for next year (Yet again) and I guess I'll get started on the Christmas special...
(08-20-10): Got the re-issue of The Fall of Reach, and I am fairly disappointed. Looks like they devoted the same effort to cleaning up the mistakes as they devoted to "the Halo Encyclopedia". The new content, which will probably tie into Reach, makes up for some of it. But how 343i could screw up like this TWICE is just beyond me.
(07-06-10) Hmm... somebody who turned twenty today shares a birthday with George W. Bush. I'm honored.
(05-29-10): Well, the StarCraft II Beta is drawing to a close. A massive thanks to Hawki for the invite, I had a lot of fun. Hopefully, the region lock in multiplayer won't last.
(05-18-10): Well, feel like I should post something...
The bugs in the profile system are fixed! I can toggle bold and italics by pressing ctrl-b and ctrl-i again! Yay!
More seriously, the Avatar Oneshot (tentatively named "Icarus") highlighted the problems I have with writing Canon Characters. Namely, I'm not satisfied with merely getting them "Close", and I loathe changing their characters for the sake of the Plot. So, getting Augustine with the right levels of "Wiseass" and "Bitchiness" is harder work than I thought. I guess I'll concentrate on Nightmare and Isolation for now, and work on my reviews of the rest of Halo: Legends.
Anyhow, Calculus and Physics are drawing to a close, and I'm looking into returning to the Food Plant for a job, fourth year in a row. Making peas safe for the world...
(04-29-10): This day marks the third year of writing Isolation. God willing, it won't run into the fourth year.
(04-24-10): Heh, edited out a mistake in my profile. Can't say how it happened, but some text from an argument I had on the TCF about "Halo: Legends" got pasted at the very bottom of my profile.
(03-16-10): Well, oddly enough, it seems that the majority of the viewers of my profile over the past six months have been from Down Under. I can't account for them outnumbering the guys from up here, but hi Aussies!
... I severely hope I didn't commit an inter-cultural faux pas.
(03-04-10): It appears that Greg Bear's "Forerunner Trilogy" won't be published until 2011... But Frankie mentioned that they are talking with Nylund about a potential sequel to Ghosts of Onyx...
HOLY FREAKIN' YES!
(03-02-10): Yeah, remember "Nightmare"?
This does not mean I'll be browsing the Avatar section, save for authors I'm already familiar with. I'm a little too savvy for that, as the 'weirdness potential' of that particular universe is a little too high for me...
Ah, still talking when there's science to do... But more important than the science itself... results!
(02-16-10): Eh. Well, the next chapter of Isolation is 29 notebook pages long, which translates into about 18-19 pages on Word.
(02-14-10): Sigh. Saw a few trailers for Terminator: Salvation. Felt some stirrings of what I felt about a year ago, when I was eagerly anticipating it.
Why the HELL do they put so much money into CGI, and hire stock writers to write a second-rate story? GAH!
(01-28-10): Wow. I don't know what to say.
So, I guess this is a hats off to an author who managed to capture life, once in a while.
(01-20-10): Sehr unmoglich! One year ago today, I was in Washington DC, freezing my nether regions solid and watching you-know-who get sworn into office.
(01-14-10): Just got around to finishing Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: The Second Gig. I thought that, in some respects, the ending was rather similar to the end of the original season, and the symbolism got a little heavy (What was with the apples, anyways?) but overall, a good anime.
This is the kind of writing and art I was hoping for in the Halo animes. Alas...
(01-10-10): Right. Well, I have to say that Avatar was my favorite movie of 2009, having not seen Moon or The Hurt Locker. It beat out District Nine through a lack of gore, immersive visuals, and a universe that was fine-tuned to an amazing degree. It loses to District Nine on the originality of the plot, but that's what I'm here to address.
Don't get me wrong. I love originality when I can get it, and I can understand that people expected a lot more from three hundred million, but I'll also settle for 'Old idea, done well', and Avatar was done very well indeed.
But hey, my Magnum Opus is about a psychotic sniper on Alpha Halo. How original is that?
(01-05-10): I beat Portal, and my hand's mended enough to do some serious typing. But I think I'll be adding an extra scene to the new Nightmare chapter. In the meantime, I've got material for a few new Oneshots, and a debate between Montag and Major Sherman is taking a while to write...
Look at me still talking
(01-02-10): Writing of the next chapter of "Nightmare" is complete, but I sliced open my left hand, in the fleshy bit between the thumb and forefinger. So, no extensive typing at 70 words per minute for a few days.
In the meantime... I just picked up Portal and Company of Heroes for a total of fifteen bucks! I LOVE YOU, STEAM!
(12-31-09): Well, a new year and a new decade is upon us. I recommend renting 2010: The Year We Make Contact to see how short we fell behind our expectations, and what we've done that would have surprised the visionaries of yesteryear. Just think: By now, we were supposed to have mastered cyrogenic sleep and have sent manned missions to Jupiter... twice! But nobody, nobody, predicted the cell phone. Not even Gene Roddenberry, trekkies!
5:00 AM- Happy New Year to Hawki, enjoying warm weather and low pollution levels down in Australia!
I'm sorry, as there are reviewers and friends whose time zones I could not infer from my communications with them, so a happy New Year to all of you! If you're reading this, you probably know who you are! And now, back to the celebration, back to scoring 88 points on a single word at Scrabble.
(12-15-09): Guess who just won a free copy of Halo: Evolution for writing "Oh No, Not Again"!
(12-04-09): Sigh... Ja, ich have just watched "The Duel," and I wanted to do a ZeroPuncutation styled review of it, but I don't have the energy.
On the good news, Frankie stated that these are the most anime-tropic episodes... but looking at "Homecoming", I severely doubt it.
(12-03-09): Well, I got Halo: Evolutions, and I must say this...
Anyhow, the highs and the lows of the book are as follows:
And so, I say thanks to 343 Industries for not screwing this one up, and hope they start managing the Halo Franchise as well as they did here.
(11-13-09): Heh, a documentary about the making of Babysitter will be aired Saturday. Don't have a friend's Xbox this time around, so I will be depending on my friends at TCF for information.
Hopefully, it will be a lot more informative than Frankie was here.
Anyhow... WILL the mysteries of Babysitter be unraveled? WILL HTML give me the power to remake my profile as I see fit? WILL I finally get around to updating Nightmare and Isolation?
(11-09-09): Well, I hate to sound pessimistic and anal, but "Babysitter" really deserves it. This'll take the form of an open letter, so be forewarned...
There were two problems with this OVA, and I'll start with the one specific to this extension of the Halo Franchise.
In short, the Anime hair, the decaying Japanese structures, and the Samurai Elites should not have made it into Babysitter, regardless of the origin.
The next problem is more general: You are not worth a ret-con.
The whole point behind Spartans is that they are invulnerable tincans that have survived to the end of the war, taking only three known casualties. The whole point of ODSTs is that they are elite stormtroopers that know how to assault a position without elephantine footsteps and twig snapping. So, if this is representative of how the other OVAs are going to turn out, I will be severely disappointed.
I sincerely hope it gets better from here on out.
(11-07-09): Heh, the bees in my house are dying out. They aren't honeybees, but some breed of hairy wasp...
My mother, by the way, hates me. She told me to get a screwdriver and come to her bathroom, where she's heard some funny scratching sounds from behind the wall outlet...
So, sorry about the content-less post, but I'll be posting what I think of "Babysitter" soon.
(11-05-09): Well, something called the "Halo Encyclopedia" has been released, and I have browsed through it at Hastings.
So, I'd wait for another re-issue done by people who actually care.
On the positive side, not a single mention of the Fanwankatron 9000, also known as 'Teh CYCLOPZ!"
(10-30-09): Cold weather is rolling in, and my living room is being invaded by... honey bees? Neat little critters, but I prefer wasps.
So, I went down to Hastings and saw three books. The first one was "And Another Thing," the next book in the Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, written by Eion Colfer. Then, I saw "The Company", by K. J. Parker, my favorite author. And then there was the Halo Encyclopedia, newly released.
For various reasons (Not sure of Eion Colfer's writing style/abilities, Halo Encyclopedia would draw comments from my brother) I ended up buying "The Company", and look forward to a very good read... after I finish "Catcher in the Rye".
(10-27-09): Heh. Just finished Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Season One. Pretty darn good for anime, and I'd recommend it to anyone with an interest in science fiction. I might even hunt down the mangas.
(10-19-09): And so, Quirel gets out of his cage, to free-roam around my room again. Unlike usual, where he ends up in the upper parts of my closet, he's used me as a boost to get onto my shelves and then onto my windowsill.
(10-13-09): Just watched RvB: Reconstruction for the first time.
Aw, hell. It's just funny. Go see it!
(10-07-09): Doing some research in preparation for the upcoming Halo anime...
"Ghost in the Shell", despite a ton of nudity on the part of the main character, turned out to be pretty good. And GitS: Stand Alone Complex episodes are free on the interwebs...
(10-04-09): 'Twas reading comments on a certain Pink song, "Dear Mr. President", where she attacks Bush for his policies. The general reaction was "Pink is so great, Bush is so bad" and "If Bush heard this, Pink would be out of a job/I hope Bush hears this and thinks".
The truth is, I hate protest songs. Some of them are funny as hell, like "Vietnam" by Country Joe (And the Fish). But the ones that take themselves seriously, like "Dear Mr. President" and "Sold as Freedom", are just a waste of time. Little punk rockers of questionable sexual orientation singing about the USA being a police state, how the American flag brainwashes people...
Makes me wish that the US was fascist, sometimes. Just for the satisfaction of seeing these wanabe protesters abandon their guitars and step back in line as soon as they realize that their lives really are in danger...
(10-02-09): Hmm, found a new addiction. In addition to XKCD and CAD, a certain comic called "Looking For Group" has turned out to be pretty good. Check it out.
(9-16-09): WHOO! First day of college was a blast!
(9-12-09): I will be splitting the next chapter of Isolation up, in order to keep it at a readable length. The last chapter was, apparently, way to long.
(8-25-09): Well, the next chapter of Isolation is going to be delayed for an extra day. While typing up a fight scene, my pet snake Quirel (My username is named after him, not the other way around) got a little antsy. When I tried to pick him up and put him back into his cage, he bit my finger.
He's alright, but he's now on double rations, if only temporarily. In addition, he apparently tied himself into a knot called a "Constructor Hitch," around my hand...
(8-19-09): I saw District Nine.
What are you waiting for! Go see it!
(7-22-09): Was convinced to try out the Men of War demo. It's nice enough for an RPG, but I don't really like it. Especially since it's supposed to be an RTS.
(7-10-09): Company of Heroes. I just got the demo, and I LOVE IT. You can play as the German Wehrmarcht...
Oh, yeah, you can also play as the Allies. Eh, go Allies.
(7-4-09): Well, I found what I was looking for in the Cole Protocol. A date. A way to find out when it took place.
(6-25-09): NOW I remember why I hated the Cole Protocol. The way the Aliens are written makes you want to tear their scenes out of the book.
(6-24-09): Decided to start re-reading The Cole Protocol, as research for a future fic. It's better than I remember, although Tobias really skimped on the characterization of Delgado and Diego.
(6-21-09): I can take my laptop to Hastings, giving me free access to wireless internet. Anybody up to beating and humiliating one of your favorite authors on Halo 2 Vista, give me a PM.
(6-17-09): Halo 2 Vista. It's actually pretty good. I went in with very low expectations, and they were exceeded. Story is good, visuals were very good, but the combat system leaves something to be desired. I realize that the Halo: CE handgun is gone now, unable to exist in the world of plasma pistols and dual-wielding. But... the shotgun... was nixed very bad. And dual-wielding SMGs and Plasma Rifles just cut down on what you can do...
(6-06-09): Remember what I said about not being lucky, but being blessed? Despite the current state of American lifestyle, I have two loving parents, a functional family, and an extended family that actually cares.
So, they all came for the graduation party at my house. I got my family from all over, sending me cards and coming by to say hello, we knew you'd make it. My Grandmother even got me a laptop... with Windows Vista! It's actually not all that bad. Way better than the Apple OS.
So, I can lie in bed at night, typing away, updating Isolation... when I'm not playing Oblivion or Halo 2 Vista. Sad face.
(6-05-09): Graduation today. I am now a free man, except I need to write thank-you letters to scholarships, keep a job (easy) and get enrolled in the local community college. I went to the Senior Frolic afterwards, which was a party thrown by parents who want to keep the kids off the street and off the booze for that night. They were giving away a Wii (Eugh) a laptop, a microwave, one thousand dollars in cash, and a Hell of a lot of Arizona tea. Drawings were held every fifteen minutes. I don't count myself lucky, but I know I'm blessed. There's a difference, so I was very surprised to get drawn for 50, fifteen minutes before the 1000 dollar grand prize. Held at two thirty in the morning.
It's a great day for freedom. Which was a pretty good song, IMO.
(4-24-09): Early this month, I had to face a rather ugly truth.
So, it is with a heavy heart that I am announcing that Isolation and Nightmare will be postponed for a month or two, long enough for me to get things sorted out. I repeat, this is postponed, not discontinued.
Thanks for the understanding. Expect something on the twenty second of May...
(4-08-09): One quick trip to the school's high-speed internet connection, and my computer is right as rain. The mouse is having hardware problems, but the keyboard is BACK!
(4-03-09): A virus has taken out my keyboard. Fics and correspondences will be delayed, as I refuse to type more than one paragraph at a time using the on-screen keyboard.
(03-10-09): Updated, check out "Projects" as well as "Writing".
(12-28-08): Browsing through the books section... Harry Potter has 383,618 fics written... Twilight has 52,840 stories written for it... More than the rest of Fanfiction.net COMBINED, or so it seems... Does anybody else see anything wrong with this?
(5-24-08): Progress has been made. Still an eyesore, but the font tools I DON'T have to work with is kind of a hindrance. Have been 'borrowing' some formatting ideas from some of the better profiles I've seen... Curiously enough, these generally belong to the better authors I've read.
Hmm... What to tell you, and what not to tell you...
I live in the Pacific Northwest, in the U.S. of A. That should be general enough. You'll occasionally hear me refer to farmland and corn on the various forums I participate in, but let's not get too specific.
My future... I'm in college right now. After that, it's on to a career as a mechanical engineer, hopefully working for a defense contractor. I might write, and I might join the Air Force or Navy, but I might end up designing their "toys". But more recently, I've been thinking about other applications of my education. Irrigation, perhaps?
My politics... we don't want to go there. Not getting too specific, I alternate between moderate and extreme conservatism. My ironic sense of humor does not complement this situation, and I've been called everything from Communist to Anarchist to Fascist. Currently, I probably best fit into the category of "bitterly libertarian", due to Barrack Obama's sad mishandling of the economy and the Republican's sad mishandling of everything else.
Favorites? Well, when it comes to the media I follow, I don't really have favorites. Ask me what my favorite movie is, or what my favorite book is, and I'll shrug and say that I'm not really interested in picking one movie out of the dozens I love and placing it above all the rest.
So, I'm not really going to post a list of favorites here, because that's one of the things that irk me when I'm browsing other people's profiles. I call it the "Myspace-ification", where somebody's profile is just a list of favorite movies or songs or song lyrics. Or perhaps there'll be pages of quotes.
And then there's the 'bumper stickers'. Don't get me wrong, I can't help but stop and read a bumper sticker in a parking lot, and if it's humorous, I'll crack a smile. But I can't stand the political stickers. I thin that a lot of the division in modern politics comes from people hacking down policies and positions until they can be expressed on a 4"x10" patch, or a picket sign. And when you've removed all the reasoning from that position, a bumper sticker will make it worse. It's a statement that can't be argued with. It doesn't promote discussion or spread ideals.
OK, now that I've got that out of my system, I guess the favorites lists and song lyrics aren't as bad as an empty profile atop a favorite stories list that numbers in the hundreds or thousands. If somebody wants to be anonymous save for the name and the profile picture, go for it. But the favorites spam, I think, comes from mistaking the "Add to favorites" button for a facebook "Like" button.
For me, if I like a story, I'll leave a review. If I like a story enough to make it recommended reading for everyone who visits my profile, I'll add it to the favorites list. And if an author makes it to my favorite authors list, then they usually produce fics of good quality, and are pretty cool guys or gals in the first place.
Origin: I've always been an imaginative person. I loved stories, and I loved being in them. That is, I would imagine myself as being in Star Wars, Indiana Jones, or as a Cowboy in the Wild West. I'd be a main character, THE main character. Inventor, tinkerer, crack shot, hero, villain, whatever. That's how all authors start out, I guess. Anyone creative enough to imagine new stories and egotistic enough to publish them for other people to read is going to start out by imagining themselves in the place of one of the characters. They're going to want all the cool powers, they're going to want the attention and admiration of the characters they think are 'cool'. It's human nature.
However, as I got older, I would actually imagine my own stories, with characters who weren't me or the main characters in the books/movie. In essence, stories based on a universe like Harry Potter (Sadly) and Star Wars, but with their own plot.
Arguably, the actual writing all began because of Runescape.
I was a member, back in 2005, and I often stayed up till three o'clock while playing. While playing, I would either browse the Runescape Forums, or I would go on an 'information trawl' through Wikipedia. One night, in August if I remember correctly, I stumbled across a thread where you were supposed to take two characters out of popular fiction and write out a fight between them. People were coming up with crap like 'Freddy vs It' and 'Batman vs Spiderman,' but they were just saying who would win, and the thread was degenerating into a fight over whether the Green Goblin could take on Optimus Prime.
I spent thirty minutes writing out an actual fight between Predator and Anaconda, and blew everybody out of the water. It was primitive, and not very well written, but it was better than anything else people had posted. The point was, that was the first story I'd ever written that was worth the pixels it was displayed on.
After that, I was still thinking of stories like before, but I was wondering if I would ever get around to typing them out. And then I discovered Fanfiction.net.
I can't remember HOW I got here, but the most likely reason is that I was looking up Harry Potter on Wikipedia. It was just a laugh, but then I read about the copious amount of Harry Potter Fanon floating around. I always knew those fanboys were nutters, with the death threats and pilfering of the soon-to-be-released books, but a FF.net section with 200,000 stories is simply mind-boggling.
In any case, I'm sure there was a link to Fanfiction.net, and I'm sure that I clicked it around October of 2006. I checked the Aliens section and left disappointed. I learned for the first time that 99 percent of fanfiction is crap, arguably because 99 percent of everything is crap..
I must have come back about a month later and checked out the Halo and StarCraft sections. I can't really remember the stuff I read first, but I can find it by checking the reviews section. Early on, without a profile, I posted reviews under my actual name. Not that you'll be able to find said name from the swarm of unsigned reviews.
I do believe that actually writing "Isolation" started in December of '06, but I know for a fact that planning the story had been going on for months beforehand. It would have been a few chapters about a Marine sniper (More like a SC Terran Ghost ripoff) and several fights he fought on Alpha Halo. Not nearly canon, not nearly worth reading. But by the time I started typing it out, it was shaped up into something with potential.
Then after four months of writing out "Isolation", I finally decide to post it. I go to Fanfiction.net, upload the first chapter, read it five times to weed out as many mistakes as possible, and try to post it as a story. Only to find out that I don't have a title for it. I wanted to name it after the main character's main feature; that he was a loner, that he'd built up a wall around himself. I came up with the title "Alone", only to find out that some other bugger had taken the title already. (Turned out to be a pretty good story written by a very good author)
Perhaps the only reason I called "Isolation" that is because I was listening to Pink Floyd at the time... Whether it was "The Wall" or "Division Bell", I can't remember. And yes, that would make a difference.
The Writing Process
During this phase, many plots are generated, but many also get the ax, usually due to plot holes or inconsistency with established Canon. The worst thing that can happen to a story at this point is that it could pass the 'Plot Thickness Event Horizon', where the whole story gets too complicated, too overblown, or just tries to suspend too much belief, and therefore undergoes a structural collapse. In other words, the plot thickens... and then it congeals. This has happened quite a few times, actually, and some of those stories were interesting to begin with.
At the other end of the spectrum, plot ideas I like (Such as an ONI Section Two campaign to 'win the hearts and minds of the civilians' in a insurrectionist-heavy area, which results in Scorpions being painted a light, friendly shade of blue, and a 'cash for clunkers' campaign set up to replace civilian cars damaged in Innie-UNSC shootouts getting abused by Marines and Innies alike) fail to gather enough substance (Read: Story) around them to get anywhere, and are shelved in the back of my mind. Maybe these will get resurrected sometime later, with a flash of inspiration or combining with elements from another failed story.
Should they get past Scylla and Charybdis, as it were, the stories will still get radically changed by the time I start typing them out. For example, Isolation started out as a collection of stories about a certain sniper's engagements on Halo. The sniper was closer to a Terran Ghost than to the current Gui Montag, and the story barely followed canon. Slowly, the story morphed into what it is now, and items are being revised even in the later chapters, despite being on my mind for four years.
Finally, the chapter is uploaded onto FF.net, edited one last time, and then added to the story.
-As I pointed out earlier, most of the work is done in my head. For example, Gui Montag was originally an (American) StarCraft Ghost-like character who led a small band of troops on Alpha Halo. When I started writing the story, he had his present armor and HMD, and was angsty and despondent from all the death he had seen. He was from the colony of Haven, which was American. By the third chapter, he had been changed again to a Russian from Siberia Prime, numbed by the death that surrounded him, and imbued with a burning hatred for the Covenant. Again, this was changed during later chapters, so his motives were more... refined.
-In a PM with Xeno Major, he mentioned the use of a Chekov's gun. In short, this is a device that is mentioned in the story, and becomes important later. Strictly speaking, Chekov meant that ANY prop on the stage had to become useful later. If a gun was hanging on the wall, it had better be used in a later act. I take an opposite policy. If something is important at some point in time, then it had better be mentioned earlier in the story. Montag's Pyromania? Check. Jonesy talking about the reactor on the Pillar of Autumn? Check. The second entrance into Beta Base? Check.
-As Hawki noted in "To Sell a War", most of my fics in a given universe are connected in some way. Sometimes the same fanon planet is mentioned, sometimes a secondary character from one story will pop up in another. It's kind of an easter egg hunt, although I intend to branch out by making some secondary characters leads in their own fics.
Of course, whether humor like "Match Made In Hell" or "Oh No, Not Again" fits into the chronology is rather hazy.
As a fanfiction writer who is interested in staying somewhat close to the established canon, I guess a policy on what I consider to be canon is in order. The truth is, though, I don't really have such a policy. Although I do have three 'tiers' of personal canon, there's not really a pattern as to which entries into a franchise go where.
I suppose the best way to sum up my approach to canon is that I'm pretty opinionated on what makes for a good story, but I'm rarely willing to completely go against established canon in my fanfiction. If I can just avoid an issue altogether, I will.
-Canon: Exactly what it says on the tin.
-Apocryphal Canon: This is where I say "Yeah, it probably happened, but not like that."
-Non-canon: Again, self-explanatory. What usually ends up here is fluff that was produced for marketing, or entries into a franchise which piss me off to the point where I'm perfectly happy pretending that they don't exist. It doesn't happen as often as one might expect, and I don't necessarily hate what I consider to be non-canon. iluvbees, the ARG used to promote Halo 2, is not something I consider canon. I'm merely indifferent towards it, as opposed to Halo Wars, which I consider to be apocryphal even though... well, the less said about it, the better.
When I read, I review each chapter and try to give constructive criticism, a habit I picked up from Hawki.
As for review requests, go ahead. If you think that your story is in a universe I might be interested in, shoot me a PM and ask for constructive criticism. I'd be happy to oblige.
I haven't quite received any story requests as of yet, but I feel that I should probably put this up in my profile.
The other side of requests, namely being PMed and asked to do a oneshot about such-and-such a subject with the possible reward of a nice Bavarian chocolate cake with fudge frosting, is much more likely to succeed. Some of my best ideas have been honed from discussions with other people, and if you can get the gears grinding, you never know what might come out.
Just be prepared to wait, oh... half a year. XD
These are going to be notes, reflections, and insights about the stories I have written and posted. More in-depth than the Authors Notes that go with every short and every chapter, more like the DVD commentary that comes with the director's cuts of your favorite movies.
This section might even get its own sub-section dealing with the fics that didn't quite run the whole distance. Oddly enough, there's about as much to be learned from the failures as there is to learn from the successes. Or maybe not oddly enough. There is, after all, an entire branch of engineering called 'Failure Analysis'.
-Conscientious Objection: One of the worst defenses a fan or an author can resort to is "Let's see you do better!" Not only is it a signal of desperation, but it's not a valid argument in the first place. I do not need to artistic talent with the paintbrush to say that I think the Mona Lisa is overrated. I don't need to build a better sculpture to say that I don't see anything particularly special about the Statue of David. Some critics are good at criticizing, some critics need a proctologist and a team of professional spelunkers to recover their heads, and most zigzag between the two camps. But their ability to create the kind of art they critique has zero correlation with their ability to point out the strengths and weaknesses of another person's art.
I can draft, but I can't draw. Making an anime is beyond my abilities. But I am still qualified to say that Halo: Legends was terrible as an anime, terrible as stand-alone stories, and terrible as entries into the Haloverse. When an acquaintance challenged me to 'do better', I decided to focus on the last two points.
While busy at work, processing frozen peas (or corn, maybe) I tried to create a story that would succeed as a stand-alone Halo anime short. Since the anime episodes seemed to be aimed at newcomers, I wanted to do something you couldn't find in the games. I wanted to touch on the Insurrectionist problem.
The first attempt grew out of an attempt to make fun of some Japanese tropes I really can't stand. A man would be approached by ONI after an industrial accident, grafted into a 'suit' that was really more of an exoskeleton or mech, and turned loose to find the Innies who had bombed the factory he worked at. In increasingly paranoiac revelations, he would trace the Innie activity to his co-workers, then his friends, and eventually turn upon the ONI agents when he realized that the bombing was a red-flag operation. And at the end of the story, it would be revealed that these were the daydreams of a crippled factory worker, his way of escaping the fact that he'd been severely injured in an accident, and likely wouldn't ever live outside of a wheelchair with life support.
Yeah. It was episode two of GitS:SAC:2nd GIG, with three additional shots of Phillip K. Dick.
As I recall, the planning for that story took place in the first quarter of my shift at the food plant, which started at 7:00 AM. By the time I got back from my first break, I was completely awake and decided to start from scratch. I still wanted to focus on the Insurrectionist problem. Whats more, I wanted to make this a 'good Halo stand-alone story', which meant that it had to introduce a new aspect to the backstory of Halo. When planning Isolation: A Space Odyssey, I planned to touch upon a plot to deliver a Nav database to the Covenant. This would contain directions to a number of Insurrectionist and URF hideouts and get the Covenant to deal with the 'Backdoor Problem'.
So, how would a similar plot, perhaps orchestrated by the same group ten years prior, be carried out? Well, it made sense to stage it on a deep-space station, where contact is limited...
Just to stay true to its origins, I went back and added a few terms from GitS:SAC, such as the reference to the frigate running in "autistic mode".
-The StarCraft Trilogy: Surprisingly, I find Real Time Strategies to be the hardest genre to write fanfiction for. With FPSs, it's somewhat easy to read into the universe, delve into the backstory and craft side stories. RTSs are an abstract representation of a universe (and some will always be more abstract than others) where the problems of supply, logistics, navigation, etc are simplified into game mechanics. I mean, taken at face value, a battle between the UED and a Terran/Zerg/Protoss alliance on Korhol took place in an area perhaps three square kilometers in area.
So, when I write a StarCraft story, I have to decide how to work around those mechanics. If I drop them completely, there's a strange sort of disconnect between the fic and the game, because I have to journey through completely new territory. If I try to keep the mechanics, then the story devolved into pure cheese, as Kevin J. Anderson so thoroughly proved.
Similarly, the little details that helps immerse me in the writing and the reader in the story are few and far between. It's hard to determine what the kick on a C-14 is, or what the spray pattern of a Hydralisk's needles are, or what the soldiers eat in between firefights with aliens. The tie-in novels fill in details, as do the cenimatics, but the information is paltry compared to what a rich FPS can offer.
While I would like to write a more serious StarCraft fic, my solution so far has been to take the game mechanics and play them as straight as possible. Instant humor.
Fairly long updates that really don't center upon what's been happening to me. More like my opinion on recent events, or on writing. Hopefully, I can tidy up this section with some hyperlinking...
In light of a recent article in Time Magazine, which is recommended reading for every single fanfiction author and reader, I thought I'd post some of my own reactions.
And I hesitate.
Fanfiction isn't something you can get published, unless it's good and the original work is Public Domain. Or if you can find a particularly sleazy Vanity Publisher. So, admitting that I'm writing something that has no chance of getting published is hard. It's like admitting that I'm polishing and prepping a car for a coat of paint it will never recieve, or... well, just doing work that won't pay off. Except it's not work. If it's fun, and nobody is paying you, it's a hobby.
So, if I'm spending hundreds of hours writing stuff that only people I've never met will read, why bother?
It's fun. Ask a guitar player why he strums away with Jimi Hendrix songs instead of writing his own material. Ask an artist why she draws characters from her favorite anime instead of making her own characters.
But there's a deeper reason. It's like boot camp.
I'd like to write for Halo, yes. I'd like to write for StarCraft and Star Wars as well. Maybe, someday I will. But that will be a bonus.
Yeah, there's a story there. No, I'm not going to elaborate.
-Purity of Essence And Purity of Form
Fellow StarCraft fans will recognize those terms from the first game, where "Purity of Form" referred to psionic potential and "Purity of Essence" referred to genetic mutability. I'm not even sure if it was explained in-game, or if you had to look for the definitions in the manual. Alas, my version of StarCraft shipped without one.
Anyhow, a few years back, I was discussing what makes a 'good' alien race and, lacking pre-existing terms, appropriated the ones used in StarCraft.
Later, I noted that nothing had changed. Sure, telepathy isn't such a big deal, but Marvel and DC are still pushing out rubber-forehead aliens, when even Star Trek has moved on to expensive prosthetics. To me, it was a complete failure of the imagination.
There was a lot wrong with it, but I was hard pressed to explain it at the time. To me, a good alien is alien. Where Marvel and DC and bad science fiction writers failed is where they took a human culture, selected a trait from a list (Telepathy, super strength, super speed, x-ray vision, super intelligence, burning desire to lord their superiority over Humanity, all of the above...) and called it a day. Those aliens were still human, because the writers and artists had started with a human culture, and because they had not thought about how that trait would affect the alien culture and make them fundamentally different from Humans. They might as well have written humans to begin with.
John W. Campbell, before he went off the deep end (I mean, seriously. Dianetics? The Dean Drive?) formulated what has been known as the Campbell Dictum.
Purity of Form is drawn from my other beef with comic book aliens: They all look like humans.
The Humanoid form is one that people have trouble venturing beyond, and it's one I have trouble arguing against. Hell, some of the best aliens are humanoid: Chirpsithra, Xenomorphs, Yautja, Sangheili, all the major Mass Effect races, and those are just the ones that came to mind at one o'clock in the morning.
So, I can't say that the humanoid aliens trope is bad, but I'd like to see more diversity. Look at the Pierson's Puppeteers: Quadrupedal, with two heads/arms, one eye per head, and a brain stuck all the way back under the 'shoulders'. Look at the Hunters: a gestalt of eels forming a collective consciousness, given shape by their armor, forced into a humanoid (and other) forms by outsiders. Look at the Forhilnor, a race of horseshoe-shaped octopedes with multiple mouths and two brains that need to work in conjunction.
But there's one thing I will hold as inexcusable. Can we, for the love of God Almighty, PLEASE STOP TACKING BREASTS ONTO FEMALE ALIENS?!
Yeah, you know all those little things that carry on from story to story, but there's never enough time to get in-depth with them? Expect to see them here, with notes on Siberian shorthand, factory sign language, and musings on the UNSC's R&D policies.
Isolation- a multi-chaptered fic in the Halo section, taking place on Alpha Halo. Follows OCs, with a prequel planned.
Nightmare- My next multi-chaptered Halo fic, currently in release. Will be written alongside Isolation. Interestingly enough, it was supposed to be a part of the prequel to Isolation, using the same main character, but I dropped it when I decided to make Isolation conform to canon as closely as possible.
Match Made In Hell- A oneshot, mostly a humorous crossover, but still within the boundaries of one of the universes. Will involve Halo.
Occupational Hazard- What happens to your soul when everything is taken away from you? What happens when you are bound to a wheelchair, your life dependent upon nurses and medication? Are you destined to become an old man, dying alone, unable to come to terms with the fate that was decided for you?
Take A Breath- Oneshot, to be released when Blizzard releases Heart of the Swarm.
Isolation: A Space Odyssey- Planned prequel to Isolation. Name is final, story is mostly in the first stage of writing.
The TTP Project- Halo fanon, as it were. I'm broadening my horizons.