I Don’t Learn

This is hell.

Letting down everybody. Ruining my future. The pressure and anxiety killing my head.

I just, I don’t know what to do about this. I don’t react. Yet at the same time I just…. I…  Sigh.

I don’t recall ever being in such a precarious situation.

Yet I still don’t feel a breaking point. It’s maddening that I do this and don’t feel much.

On Fan Fiction – Part 2

(These thoughts on Fan Fiction were written in 2011, i’m publishing them almost word for word -just a few grammatical errors corrected- for fun.)

In this one I’m going to talk about some fan fictions, making a more contrasted example of how a story keeps its pull and how one loses it.

Dreaming of Moons

This story has that almost perfect beginning; witty and fluid dialogue, spot on characterizations, weighty yet appropriate vocabulary and a plot that showcases the best points of the characters.

The highlight of the story is probably the 3000 or so words before the sex scene. The leading man and his lady have been with us for a while, we have seen them interact with the world and interact with each other.

All of it comes to a climax(no pun intended) in the sex scene, which is not romanticized and feels very in-character. After that point and up to his birthday gift, the story is not at it’s best point but it’s still very darn good.

It is when Balthier and Fran arrive at the Tomb of The Forgotten Lady that this tale loses it’s luster and starts to spiral down. I won’t go into detail, there’s no need.

The story ends on a good note, though wrapped up in too few words. But that mediocre plot twist took the story’s overall greatness away.

Now, the beginning two thirds of the story have undeniable greatness, and are a clinic on characterization. But the last part of the story just can’t keep up the excellent pace and isn’t interesting enough to keep this story in hallowed air.

Now let’s “try” to rate it.

I’ve never rated a story numerically before, so there.

Prose: 4

Shrewd dialogue, engaging observations/thoughts and no mistakes seen at a glance.

Characterization: 4.5

Balthier is nigh impossible to fault, and since we experience the story through his point of view, it’s not for a lack of exposure.

On the other hand, while Fran is mostly pretty good, there are some smiles and attitudes that feel out of place.

Plot: 3.5

Before the Tomb: 4

After the Tomb: 3

Nothing to be said….

Arcana(feeling, prime/climax, structure, etc….): 3.8

Really, apart from that lull later on… this story is pure greatness. The feel and essence of it once it ends…. the way the plot fit into the characters, the characterizations and the excellent dialogue.

Man, this is a very good story. But falls just short of greatness.

Overall: 3.95

Now, let’s compare this to a story that is indeed pure greatness, one that feels not like a story but a tale.

My Sister Rosalie

Prose: 4.5

I am partial to mid 1900’s English… so that may be unfair.

Plot: 4

Rosalie kidnaps Bella and they are living on a cabin, in the middle of the woods, on winter with only the two of them. It’s been like this for almost 40 chapters.

And it hasn’t been boring One. Single. Time.

Every little thing moves us forward, or gives us a better look into the past. The happenings, the…. let me just stop and get to the main reason why this is pure awesomeness.

Characterization: 5

I’m not going to use hyperbole, but it hard not to.

This is the gold standard.

Bella circa 1930’s couldn’t be more Bella if she tried. She just does it, and it’s not all up on your face… it’s an understated greatness.

And then there’s Rosalie.

Nothing understated about this bad bitch.

She is just…. ok, let’s stop. I can’t come close to explaining at this time of night. Let’s leave it at:

Top 2

And she may be the number one character i’ve read on fanfiction.net

I’m saying Top 2 because I don’t want to discard all possibility and call her perfect. But I can’t recall a character being this her own and not the writer’s.

Which is close to the highest level you can take a character to.

Arcana: 4.5

Not even going to bother, this shit hits prime at about chapter 13 “Haute Couture” and does not stop. And let me remind you it’s now at chapter 56…. so there.

Feeling you ask?  -.-

Structure? -.-‘

Let’s just move on with this.

Overall: 4.5

I’m not going to tell you to read it. I don’t have to. Just… yeah.

On Fanfiction – Part 1

(These thoughts on Fan Fiction were written in 2011, i’m publishing them almost word for word -just a few grammatical errors corrected- for fun.)

So I’ve been in fanfiction.net for a few years now. In that time span, I’ve found some stories that have been able to leave an imprint on me.

Some of them have had memorable plots, others have had memorable characters, but all of them have had that curious quality that separate them from the great stories not on my “favorites” list; They have the ability to get me involved.

While you are searching for stories, you have in your mind certain things that a story has to have for you to even give it a chance. It may be a certain story length, it may be a certain time line that the story must be in, or most commonly; it has to be a certain pairing for you to even pay it any mind.

Once you find a story that meets your criteria, you find a summary that interest you and start reading. Now, either you force yourself to read, with the belief that later on you will start to like it and it’ll get better… or the story pulls you.

When a story pulls you -in any way- you’re on the right track. Now, here’s the tricky part. The thing that pulls you in the beginning, it doesn’t always keep the pull, or in the case of a character; it may make a decision you don’t agree with, it may act or treat other characters in a way you can’t tolerate… or in the case of a plot, it gets stale.

A great fan fiction story not only keeps the attraction throughout the length of the story, it almost always has different kinds of pulls. For example, a story like Entwined, by Metal Dragon Kiryu, initially starts off excellent. The pulls in the story are the plot and Hermione.

Once Fleur get’s to Hogwarts, and she gets together with Hermione, that problem or part of the plot is settled, so while the author sets another plot point or storyline, we are left with the characters and their interactions to tide us over.

This is where this story get’s stale, and, loses any chance at becoming great.

The lull in the plot lasts a while, and the titular characters suffer for it. Too many chapters are filled with fluff and other irrelevant interactions, which brings down the overall quality of the story greatly.

A story that managed to offset the lull that follows normal stories, after the fulfillment of a plot point, and was able to keep it’s amazing quality is The Sorcerer’s Heart, by Andwick.

That particular story, even though the end hasn’t been given, maintains a level of excellence through every chapter. The characters don’t ever lose their pull, though that has to do with the fact that the cast of Marimite is inherently great, and there are so many ways to work with them that it’s kind of hard for a good to great author to bore with them, maybe on purpose, but if they’re really trying…..

The plot of the story, oh gods…. it was so awesome! The relationship between Sachiko and Yumi is so developed from beginning to end, that it’s kind of befuddling that I didn’t have it on my favorites list from the very start.

But of course, that’s not the main point of the story… even though it probably is it’s greatest pull. The voyage to the pilgrim site, the frigging’ fight with the demon, it’s all part of a very god plot. And of course, we come to the point that he didn’t even finish the story!

Oh well, I’m not even going to be hung up about that.

Maria-Sama Ga Miteru: Thoughts on Volume 30.

It was that volume that made it an all-time great.

Clearly, even without it, Marimite would’ve gone to my hall of fame as soon as i finished the penultimate chapter of Hello,  Goodbye.

But it was that volume that made me elevate it to all-time great with 3 more entries left.

I’m talking about Marimite 30; Twinkle, Twinkle.

It starts interesting with the arrival of Sachiko and Kashiwagi.  The car part was pretty good and unexpected. But of course, it isn’t until they arrive at the amusement park in less than a stellar mood that the chapters start switching to the other couples. Which is the key to this chapter’s greatness.

We see the reason for every characters foul mood, we see how they try to either ignore it and plunge ahead, or pretend that is not happening and take it easy.

The two most interesting pov’s are the Yellow Rose sisters (Yoshino, Rei), and Tsutako and Shouko.

The interactions(or lack thereof) between them are amusing, finding the cause and seeing how raw they get is troubling…. but then their overall demeanor during the day just pulls me in and makes me want to know more about them, hear more from them… See more.

It settles with Yoshino realizing the root of the problem during an incredibly rare walk and talk with Sachiko.

They talk about the problem sensibly, though a little bit hesitant on Yoshino’s part. But the way they solve it, the beauty of them two interacting… it’s just a moment that stands out as one of the best from the whole series.

Tsutako’s dilemma was more into herself, she had the challenge of not using the camera the whole day, as agreed with her uncle.. And while she and Shouko were amiable enough (with Shouko adorably trying to put up topics to not let Tsutako get bored), it isn’t until Tsutako opens up about the joy she feels from Yumi and the others forgetting all about her camera that their pov starts to shine.

This part just finishes fleshing out Tsutako for me. She was the cool girl with the camera, and nothing deterred her or shook her. But by opening up her insecurities to the incredibly adorable Shouko, i finally let her in, and came to love her. That hit home, her describing the joy of Yumi seeing her and inviting her as a friend, not as a girl with a camera.

The ending chapter is masterful. It’s an all-time great chapter. It’s name:

Amongst the Stardust.

This is the pinnacle of Oyuki Konno’s writing. Her prose, her feelings, her everything is swirled together in this chapter in a way that brings out extreme emotion from anybody who’s come to love Marimite.

The first part is about Yumi and Sachiko mounting a carrousel. Yumi is in the horse behind Sachiko. I can’t describe the feelings the last few lines brought on. Sachiko happy, full of visible joy, turning back to look at Yumi and calling out to her, and Yumi capturing the sight with her mind, and with her heart. Incredible.

The last part is where it all comes together, all the arguments have been settled or are settled. The happiness from being with each other is engulfing, and the wonder of the fireworks fills them with emotion.

There they are, standing on the shore of the lake. One as a group, one as friends, ones that love each other.

Tsutako and Shouko framing the sky with their fingers, Noriko and Shimako holding hands, Sachiko amiably agreeing to let Kashiwagi drive them back, Yoshino lovingly telling Rei “Your mouth is open”. And Kanako and Yuuki standing near the starstruck soeurs, Yumi and Touko. Holding hands, smiling, filled with wonder. Masterful, emotional, sublime moment that is made all the more sweeter after 29 volumes of tears, laughs, and joy with these characters.

And it ends, with this:

“Shine, shine. Sparkle.

The firework’s brilliance was just a moment in time.

But they’d never forget it.

Everyone was smiling.

All sorts of things had happened, but everyone would carry with them some happy memories.

Undoubtedly.

Eternally.”

Close to breaking point.

8 hours of sleep in the last 2 and a half days? Have worked only 11 hours but i have had to content with the pressure of the articles y de quedar mal… Also. That other thing witch i was supposed to stop. It has won this batte. I have to regroup and see if i can finally stop, just… Stop. Give myself a chance at least.

I am at such a low point right now, i keep putting myself in this pressuredized situations where there are only two outcomes. To barely squeeze out an ok work, or to fail completely.

I need a reset. I need change. I need sleep. I need no more guilt. I need a therapist. I need… I don’t know anymore.