Monday, December 12, 2011

Writing a Story

So, it is almost a year to the day when the last post of this blog was uploaded. Funny how that always works, isn't it? Whatever, I'm in no position to comment on the strange fates that entwine this world.

All right, so for some reason, contrary to the history of this particular blog, this post isn't going to be about a story, but about the act of writing it. It is an opinion-based piece on what I think are important facets in storytelling, and what makes stories fun to read and "awesome" in general. What I find funny is that no one is ever going to read this blog, so an opinion-based piece on this site will never actually change or impart my oh-so-important point of view to anyone. But it is a fun little exercise and it'll probably help when I'm coming up with a story on my own.

Before we begin, there are several important aspects that, when assembled together, create a story. Note that a story does not have to comprise of all the following, but it is essential that the author focus on one or more of the following aspects so as to create a good read/watch.


Okay, so it looks like I just listed a bunch of literary devices. Well, doesn't matter, but these are the few devices that I think are incredibly important when it comes to composing a piece of fiction. I shall now examine what makes a story good when it comes to some of them (I'm not going to go in order).

When creating a story, perhaps the most important thing that a writer must pay attention to are his characters. A story without characters is a dead story - this, I believe is the greatest truth regarding creating a work of fiction. A story can do without plot (K-ON/Working), without dialogue (certain parts of Nichijou), a well-established setting (Tsukihime), or distinctive styles, but it absolutely 100% cannot do without characters. Even stories/anime that seemingly deal without characters such as She and Her Cat, are intrinsically working with their creations (in the example provided, the Cat itself) to bring across a message.

Why are characters so important? When writing a story, there are two things that must happen: 1) The reader must side with someone and 2) The reader must be rooting against someone. The answers to points 1 and 2 does not necessarily have to be the Protagonist and the Antagonist respectively. Fate/Zero has readers/watchers actively rooting against the Protagonist (Emiya Kiritsugu) depending on your point of view, whereas many consider Matou Kariya to be the character they would like to see win the Grail War. There is also a certain amount of contention about point 2: a story does not necessarily have to be clear in who you are rooting against - indeed, it could be said that when rooting for character A, you are by implication rooting against character B. Good examples of this are The Black Company and The Malazan Book of the Fallen, especially the latter, where you pretty much only want to read about the Bridgeburners and no one else.

So what does all this rooting for and rooting against have to do with anything? The key to all this wanting someone to "win" or be successful has to do with the creation of emotion within the reader. Emotion is what drives a reader to read your books and watch your shows. Why does someone want to return to a book after he reads it? He wants to find out what happens next because a) he is excited about the PLOT. Or perhaps he likes or enjoys reading about a certain character. Making sure that a reader is emotionally invested in your stories is an essential part of creating a successful work of fiction.

Now I have to do errands. Guess I'll write more later.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Academy Part 1

"So," said Dr. Forstein as he adjusted his horn-rimmed glasses, the light flickering off them like some cheap B-grade animation. "You dare challenge the Physics Department to a duel?"

I placed my head in my hands and rubbed my temples. It was an action that I had gotten used to since coming here two months ago. My scar on my right eye was getting itchy again, telling me that trouble was brewing. Except that this time, it was plainly obvious that we were in some deep shit.

Our usual ragtag gang had somehow managed to meet the reigning ESPer team from the Physics Department. Sheffield, being his normal self and wanting to show off Magari's newfound powers, immediately challenged them, much to my exasperation.

Needless to say, the physicists were more than a little annoyed.

"That is exactly the case," said my overly-optimistic colleague, Mr. Sheffield. The diminutive Professor in Neurology had taken off his lab-coat, a sure sign that he getting serious, and he was grinning from ear to ear. "With Mr. Heidfeld and Ms. Magari here, the Biology Department will finally take its rightful place as the Overlords of the Science Faculty!"

With that, he let out a distinctly evil laugh. It was an obvious taunt - after all, everyone knew that all mad scientists were physicists.

I sighed deeply. I had come to this place looking for some peace and quiet. But this place was just another battlefront, with battles between the teachers erupting at seemingly random intervals disguised as 'inter-departmental competitiveness'. I took a step back and said to Magari, "How did he drag you into this?"

The quiet, shy little girl looked at me with eyes that were about to burst into tears and whispered into my ear, "He offered me a new centrifuge. And a carrier gene."

Ah, Magari. The Professor of Genetic Engineering was so easy to manipulate.

"Tch...getting a little over our heads, aren't we?" said Mrs. Khrushchev, licking her signature blood red lipstick. Her eyes - tinted red by her contact lenses - were staring sharply at Sheffield, who flinched. The Professor of Optics had always cut a very intimidating appearance. "Do you really think that you can challenge us, the same team that demolished the Chemistry Department's A-Team?"

"Ha," said Sheffield, drawing himself up and puffing his chest out. "We aren't as weak as those fogies who do nothing but sit in their labs mixing rainbow coloured substances like they're playing an online game."

Sheffield was interrupted by a cry of dissent from somewhere down the corridor, but the perpetrator was quickly silenced and dragged back into his office, lest he get caught in this extra-curricular battle.

"So what do you propose," asked Mr. Anastasios, the most amiable of the lot. The Greek Professor of Kinetics was dressed in his usual vest and jeans, and his hair today was waxed back into some outrageous style that was reminiscent of a recently discovered ancient Japanese literature. "Would you like to engage us in an informal battle, right here, right now?"

"A three on three, to be exact," replied Sheffield, smiling like a kid about get candy. "It'll be me, Heidfeld and Magari versus you, Forstein and Khrushchev. Heh, consider yourselves lucky that I didn't bring the rest of the Biology Department down on you. Filthy cowards!"

More like they've washed their hands of us and can't be bothered to put up with your antics anymore.

"Hmph." Forstein snorted. "What impudence. To think that you, members of the Biology Department, would dare to challenge us? Prepare to receive a lesson in pain!"

"I'm looking forward to it!" Sheffield turned to me and said, "Okay, Heidfeld. Time for you to go get him!"

"Me? Since when was I participating in this battle?!"

"What? You mean you're not?"

"Of course not. Unlike you, I treasure my lifespan, thank you very much."

"Aww, come on, it's just a little..."

Forstein interrupted our little conversation. "This is a waste of my time. I'll end this quickly." And with that, he began to charge five million volts worth of electricity in his arms. A split second later, he discharged it in an arc that was aimed directly at Sheffield.

"Get out of the way, you idiot!" I kicked him to the side, and not a second too late - the lightning bolt crashed down on the floor where Sheffield had been standing, leaving a charred burn mark where he had been standing a moment ago. I groaned inwardly. More things for me to clean.

Forstein looked surprised. "Quick reflexes indeed. But as fast as they are, it's nowhere close to 148,800 km/s, is it?" And with that, Forstein transformed into pure lightning, essentially teleporting behind Sheffield. The only reason why Sheffield was left standing was because Forstein missed the follow-through, the resulting bolt of lightning coursing through the air and landing next to Magari. The young girl screamed and cowered next to the wall, and despite everything that Sheffield tried, wouldn't budge.

"Change of plans!" yelled Sheffield, who whipped around just in time to dodge yet another electrical missile. "We'll whack Khrushchev instead! Knock that bloody witch out of the sky! Charge!"

And with that, Sheffield ran headlong into a wall, completely knocking himself out.

"Well, that was easy," remarked Khrushchev, who was surprised that her attack worked so well.

"Optical manipulation...he should have known that from the beginning," I muttered under my breath. I could expect no less from the Red Lady, who was busy polishing her nails (also blood red).

"Indeed," replied Khrushchev. "I'll leave my Nuclear physicist of a sister to handle the big guns. I like my victories a little more subtle."

Forstein was irate. "You fools called us out here for a duel, and this is all you have to offer? What a disgrace. I knew the Biology Department was pitiful, I didn't know that the truth was this shocking."

I had to agree with him. Our spokesman was already down, and Magari was still huddled up in a corner. It was essentially a three versus one, and although I had already analysed the extent of Forstein and Khrushchev's powers, Anastasios remained a mystery to me.

I sighed deeply. And I had just had a bath, too!

Oh well. I guess I'll just have to beat the lot of them without breaking a sweat.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

My Results

So. I have finally come to terms with my results after nearly four days. Or a little more/less than that.

I got the answer to life the universe and everything minus the number of horns on a unicorn.

A disappointing result, to be sure.

But infinitely better than the number of legs on a sphinx multiplied tenfold.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Monday, January 4, 2010

Countdown: 3

Okay, so it seems that results are going to come out in three days.

Hang on, let's think about that statement again.

Results. Are. Going. To. Come. Out. In. Three. Days.

Wait...WHAT?!? Holy crap! NO GODDAMNED WAY! What's happening here? How is this possible? *cue random screaming and crazy antics like head-banging against the floor just before grandma comes in and then quickly pretending you're doing push-ups*


Okay, okay. So it is false. Here's the true statement.

Results are going to come out in less than three days.

Goddamnit. *#&^$*(%!@^$(*&^$(*&^*&(*&@!#**^!*!%!*!@&4512435


All right. So I am going to ignore the fact that I haven't been posting on this blog since the dinosaurs went extinct. I'm going to ignore the fact that half the people in the world have been rejected by Oxford. I'm going to ignore the fact that results are going to come out in three days - or less than that, if you're really looking forward to it.


Actually, I'm going to focus on quite a number of different things. Because being ignorant is extremely difficult, I was forced to employ several different techniques in order to make sure that I had no time to think about the results. And when I say no time, I mean NO TIME WHATSOEVER. And considering that I have a lot of time, it has proved to be very difficult.

Okay, so one of the most time wasting, most engrossing things on the planet would probably be the Final Fantasy series. Yep, complete time waster. According to the final timer at the end of the game, I have wasted a total of 62 hours on the game. Excellent for my purposes, and it usually has a good story, too.

Unfortunately, Final Fantasy 3 is one of those FFs with no story. And I mean, NO STORY WHATSOEVER. Gosh, even I could write a better story than that. Although I must give them credit - it was made during the time when RPGs were only just getting popular. As far as I know, Final Fantasy 4 was the one which actually featured an engaging storyline.

Oh well, it was still quite fun lah. I mean, it was better than SOME games I've tried. And the final boss is very fun. And by very fun, I mean "WHAT THE FREAK WHY IS THIS BOSS SO BLOODY IMBA GOOD GOD WTF THIS ISN"T POSSIBLE HOLY SHIT ARGHARGHARGH".

Like, seriously. Picture this. I beat the pre-Final Boss in two turns. Mostly because my characters are seriously imbalanced and do about 33000 damage per turn, with the pre-Final Boss having about 35000HP. Hip-hip-hooray-God-damn-it-why-is-he-worth-so-few-EXP. And then the FINAL BOSS SHOWS UP.


Okay, calm down. Maybe this is like...I don't know, some defense phase or something. Yeah, like for Poseidon in Golden Sun 2. You had to use the Trident to destroy Poseidon's watery shield, or else you'd do single digit damage to the guy. Yeah, maybe that's what's happening here. Maybe I have to use the four fangs in succession to blow this guy to pieces. Mmhmm, yeah, that sounds about right. Uh-huh. Okay, so next turn, I will have to...



Okay...okay. Calm down. So where was the last save point again? *Finds out it was at least 10 levels ago.* Ragequit.

So I didn't actually finish playing Final Fantasy 3. You can't really blame me. I mean, wouldn't you have done the same thing? Seriously, just seeing something like that makes my blood boil. IT MAKES MY SKIN SUBLIMATE OH GOD. Okay, maybe not. Oh well, on to Final Fantasy 4. I'm kind of looking forward to Final Fantasy 4, especially because I read the comments section on the online forum, and the first three posts were essentially the same thing.

"I don't remember dying this much."

Oh yeah. Fun.


Yet another thing that I have used to take up my free time: Umineko no Naku Koro ni. Or, literal English translation, "When the Seacats Cry". Doesn't that sound like the most awesome story you've ever read? Booyah!

Okay, so maybe not. The actual English translation is "When the Seagulls Cry". And holy shit it is some epic thriller, fantasy, mystery, troll (is this even a genre? I think it should be), anti-fantasy and anti-mystery all rolled up into one. You won't understand the last two genres until you actually read the novel, because it's just too difficult for me to do it justice.

Recently (and by that I mean 2 weeks ago), I finally read the 5th installment of the Umineko series. And by the gods, was it awesome. I mean, Demel kept spoiling me as to what the story was about (ERIKA IS A GODDAMNED STALKER) and all that jazz, but it was still a great (if short) read!

It comes with whole new troll characters and shit, with terrible drawings and the most screwed up facial expressions I've ever seen. Dlanor A. Knox is one crazy crazy crazy demon. Or angel, depending on how you look at it. I shall take the time to quote her in this small space.

Die the Death!
Sentence to Death!
Great Equaliser is the Death!

Hooyah! That is some epic shit if I ever saw it. I mean, I don't even what that means! That's how epic it is!

The Courtroom scene was one of the most epic battles I've ever seen, the only problem being that it is the place where you learn that ERIKA IS A GODDAMNED STALKER. Battler jumping out the third storey window was also awesome, as was the swordfight at the end of the whole thing. And of course, the newest addition to the list of truths can you throw around.

The only problem that I can find with this particular addition to the Umineko series is...the LACK OF RONOVE AND GAAP AND THE STAKES OF PURGATORY. Seriously, they're the most awesome characters, even if they are made in the USA. T_T


Well...I think that's it for today. I will have to do another post tomorrow so that I can take my mind of my stupid incoming results. For now though, it's back to listening to trollmusic and Final Fantasy 4.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Back to Reality!

So exams have finally ended! Hooray~

I swear, that was one heck of a roller-coaster ride - pretty fun, yet pretty vomit inducing as well. I mean seriously, there were some golden moments which were laugh out loud hilarious, and some holy-freaking-shit moments - it was pretty hair-raising at some points. One thing I can say for sure, though - it was not good for my heart. At all. Jeez.

Still, there were a couple of moments that I clearly remember, such as:

1. 3-5 DNPH and Specific Heat Capacity being J per kg per mol.
2. Praying during the Math exam, especially during the graph question.
3. Panicking on the day before Math Paper 2, when I was making mistakes like 4 + 2 + 1 = 9
4. Losing my head over English Paper 1.
5. Drooling over my English Paper 1.
6. Losing my head over Geography
7. Accurately predicting every single question except for the topic that I was best at for Geography. (I swear it's a miracle)
8. Freaking out because I misread and careless'd my way to a near 6 for Physics
9. Doing Math Paper 3 without thinking

Well, all in all, this is kind of a meh post, just getting all the obligatory "this is how I felt about the exams and shit, you know, because you all actually care" - soon, I SHALL BE BACK WITH MORE INTERESTING STUFF.

Like Starcraft! Hell yeah, shit is finally starting to happen! got updated, and my gosh, the new Battlecruiser artwork is UNBELIEVABLE. As per Cherilyn, it looks like a freaking Star Destroyer now! Can you tell how much I'm drooling over this? Can you? Can you?

Anyway, I think this particular baby is the Hyperion, Jim Raynor's flagship, equipped with Plasma Torpedoes, the Yamato Cannon and the on-board Defensive Matrix, not to mention that upgrade which grants it rapid fire AtG lasers. Still think it'd be vulnerable to Vikings, Void Rays and all that jazz though. Oh well, it looks bloody cool still, and I think everyone else would just die by looking at it. Yep, that's right!

On a related and yet not-so-related note, the MSL and the OSL groups have been finalized, with really interesting matches coming up. The MSL looks by far the more interesting competition, although the OSL has more tradition behind it - can't really think of a proper sports analogy, but it'll come to me eventually. But hell yeah, both groups look to have some epic games coming up! Stork vs. Flash, Bisu vs. Savior - AND HOLY SHIT, THIS WEEK'S PROLEAGUE EVEN HAS BOXER VS. YELLOW! I SENSE A SET-UP!

Well, enough of that incomprehensible stuff. I think I shall probably go to sleep now or something - tomorrow is going to be a really busy day, especially with all the cleaning up to do. Gawd, why do I have to do so much cleaning up~~ It be a plague, a plague I say! Upon the innocent, unspoilt mind of a creative child~ Oh, the humanity!

Ah well...not like that beautiful mind is being used on any useful endeavors. Not yet, anyway.

Monday, October 12, 2009


5 for Language Arts results in emo.

What else can you expect?

At least I got 7 for Geog.