Category: Story

Mar 16 2015

The Shameful Story of Galactic Strife

Since I’m winding things down with the Tico series, let’s spend a little time talking about its embarrassing origins. I made a reference to my painfully derivative era when I was a middle schooler in my post about the utility of creative larceny. After the completion of Mesozoic World, my Jurassic Park rip-off, I started in on a sci-fi that would rip off not only Star Wars but Star Trek as well. (How’s that for resolving the fandom rivalry? A malformed amalgamation birthed in the mind of 12-year-old.) The name of this creation was Galactic Strife. (It was some time before I came to realize that raiding the thesaurus did not in fact constitute originality.) I don’t actually have the original documentation, so trying to remember the details is difficult over 20 years later. I know at very least Matt Harold and Ibrahim Mfume got their origins here. (Mfume was originally a white guy named Abner Sanford, believe it or not.)

I remember the next project better, a supernatural thriller borrowing a lot of from the vibe of Aliens called The Phantom Tower. While I never actually wrote anything for Galactic Strife, I did write The Phantom Tower, though there is no extant copy and the preliminary sketches and notes were all destroyed. In this story, a joint task force of Green Berets, Navy SEALs and Marines were tasked with investigating this skyscraper subject to bizarre occurrences. (I think the supernatural angle ended up being a fake-out to act as a distraction while a coup was launched to overthrow the US government. It was just a touch convoluted.) Jack Grisson and Ally O’Connor got their origins here as Marines in the task force and I believe Jeff Wallace was part of the technical support crew as a reworking of the Dennis Nedry expy Dennis Johnson from Mesozoic World. Miranda showed up as a Space Marine in the sequel, which tried to rehabilitate some ideas from Mesozoic World in space, blending elements of DOOM and the lesser known FPS Blake Stone (which happened to be on the shareware CD I made so much use of). No actual writing was done on the sequel, I don’t think, and though I think I wanted to have a third book, I’m pretty sure no major work went into it.

Though all the materials related to Galactic Strife and the Phantom Tower series were destroyed beforehand, I wound up recycling some of the character when I began work on what would grow into the Ticonderoga series after completing the initial conceptual work for Knight of Gladius (or Warriors of Swordtree as it was known back then, circa ’95, I believe). However, I think I’ll save a discussion of Version 1 of the series for another time. You know, unlike the KoG series, which is now in its seventh version, there are only four versions of the Tico series, possibly because I’ve only been through the thing once. Will it see ten years of changes like KoG has? Who knows? Stay tuned.

Dec 21 2014

Why Arthur?

I’ve just posted the teasers for my Arthurian Cycle and it’s been a while since my last commentary post, so now’s as good a time as any to address the question: Why Arthur? Arthurian legend has been tackled countless times, so what exactly do I think I can bring to the table? Well, it’s not so much a matter of me doing anything particularly newer and better than it is the fact that my work has always been tied to the various myths and legends of the world. Raiding the public domain for ideas isn’t a bad thing, mind you. That’s what it’s there for, a big communal pot of ideas you can freely draw from.

Specifically, the backstory of The Brothers Pendragon was tied to Arthurian legend from the beginning and I steadily began to expand on those ties to the wider Tellus Arc. It eventually reached the point where I wanted to detail this backstory in full. This led me on a grand journey, blending the English, Welsh and French traditions of the Arthurian legend with real-world history and the overarching plot of the Tellus Arc. I’ve only just begun, but there’s a lot to tell and I’m eager to tell it.

Will my own twist on Arthurian legend appeal to everyone? Of course not, but for the people who already like my work and are invested in the lore of my stories, I think it should do well. When I actually start serializing these stories is anyone’s guess, but it’s something to look forward to.

Jun 29 2014

The Hero’s Journey and Knight of Gladius

I haven’t been doing much writing lately (or at least, not much writing that’s relevant here), but the poor blog is looking mighty lonely, so I’m whipping up this special post.

Although I don’t list George Lucas among my Three Pillars (more on the Three Pillars in a future post), the influence of Star Wars on me is undeniable. (Honestly, it’s almost impossible to imagine someone of my generation who isn’t strongly influenced by Star Wars.) Now, one of the things that made the Original Trilogy in particular so effective was how well it tapped into the monomyth. Those of you with even a passing familiarity with the creation of Star Wars is aware of the strong influence of Joseph Campbell on Lucas and how closely the original story follows the archetypical Hero’s Journey as detailed in The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Now, you may find this hard to believe, but I actually haven’t read Campbell myself and I certainly wasn’t making a deliberate effort to follow the formula of the monomyth when I set out to write the Knight of Gladius series, but the way the story hits the notes is uncanny. Bear in mind that there’s nothing wrong with the monomyth formula. It’s a common thread of myth and legend transcending time and culture for a reason. If you believe in things like genetic memory and collective unconsciousness, I’d say the monomyth taps into them. Unless you’re a particularly gifted storyteller, sticking to the mold is actually strongly advisable. It doesn’t mean your story has to be stale and boring but rather that it meets certain expectations that connect with the audience. There’s still plenty of room to make the story your own and still provide a unique experience. You shouldn’t seek to be different just for the sake of being different. Tell a good story. Everything else worthwhile will follow.

Now, let’s get to the comparison of Knight of Gladius to the monomyth. By the by, this post is going to assume you’ve read the books, so if you haven’t, you may want to pick this up at a future date because there will be spoilers. We start with the ordinary world. KoG doesn’t actually show the ordinary world prior to the start of the adventure. Mark has already set out when we began. However, he spent eight years as a monk prior to the events of the books and this all tied into his primary denial of the call to adventure. You could argue that Mark has two separate hero’s journeys in the course of the series. The first occurs in his fight against Kyrios in Byrn ten years prior (as detailed in the Quest for the Pendants portion of KoG2) and the second is his return to Gladius and ultimate confrontation with Randwulf in KoG1 and 3. Note that I said Mark’s primary denial of the call because there’s a second layer to it as well. Most heroes in the monomyth are reluctant. For one reason or another, no matter how much they seem primed for adventure, when the time comes, they shrink from it. In KoG2, Mark doesn’t hesitate to seek out King Abdiy to have him account for the Dragon Guard’s attack on Tiberius. However, his experience that follows causes him to withdraw from fulfilling his potential as a hero, hence him retreating to the abbey. However, these stories can’t happen unless something pushes the hero onto the path. In Mark’s case, it’s years of yearning for his lost family and homeland rather than something as dramatic as stormtroopers razing the family farm. In Star Wars, Luke is cut off from his ordinary world, giving him nowhere to go but forward on his journey. In Mark’s case, his own actions sever his ties to the ordinary world as he’d already taken his permanent vows and breaking his vow of stability cuts him off from his order. Might he have returned to the abbey if he knew it was waiting for him? Probably not, honestly, but it probably would’ve increased his reluctance. (Part of me almost wishes Mark began his venture to Gladius still as a full-fledged monk and then is forced to take up the sword as circumstances demand. Perhaps there’s an If Arc story in there.)

Usually there’s a mentor figure who shows up to guide the hero in the early stage of the adventure. At first, Shadowstryke appears to be this, but he simply accompanies Mark on the way to Stormtree, where he was already headed (though, admittedly, he had gotten himself a bit lost in the Ancient Forest). Shadowstryke actually does a lot of work putting the pieces in place behind the scenes, but you see little of it in the story proper. He appears in Chapter 1 of KoG1 and doesn’t return until late in KoG3. Felix is closer to the archetype, showing up as Mark enters the second phase of his journey. Again, the monomyth doesn’t require you to slavishly hit every single point in exactly the same way. There are just common threads that come together over the course of the narrative.

You can argue that Mark crosses the first threshold when he leaves Byrn. Alternatively, you could call his entry into Stormtree the first threshold. Either one would make sense. From here we begin to acquire and test allies and enemies. In KoG1, the party is steadily assembled as Mark travels through the kingdom and he picks up a minor antagonist in the form of Harald Svenson, as Randwulf himself is off in Byrn trying to seek out the Eagle in the East two steps behind the game. The time in hiding after Mark’s rescue from Corinth is an especially nice bit where the party’s relationship is cemented.

I mentioned before that Mark’s denial of the call to adventure is two-layered. This is because you can argue that his overarching journey through KoG1 and 3 are actually two separate ones. His first denial involved him remaining in Byrn and the second was his refusal to fight in the rebellion against Randwulf. The arc of KoG1 brings him to the point of being ready to fight against Randwulf, which is then brought to completion in KoG3. In this sense, Felix better fits the mentor archetype for this second journey. (We also have the introduction of new allies in KoG3, with Catherine, Stefan and Ignatiy tying in KoG2 and Adrienne and Giles providing the connection to Randwulf’s side.)

I had to bring in this “two journey” concept before we move to the innermost cave. In KoG1, its a literal cave in Mount Vulcan where Mark’s party is captured by the Inkari Tribe and he then fights Mar Kurin to reclaim the gear of the Guardians. The supreme ordeal that follows results in the “death” of the pacifistic monk and Mark’s rebirth as a warrior. He then grasps the sword, both literally by taking up his father’s sword and figuratively by claiming his heritage as the Guardian. The road back takes him to Darkwall and the Battle of the Crimson Field, but this is an indecisive conclusion, which forces him to start over on a second journey. Pegging the innermost cave in KoG3 is a little trickier. Part of me wants to say it’s the Warrior’s Triad, but I’m more inclined to say it’s Darkwall. The supreme ordeal here is Mark’s confrontation with Randwulf, resulting in his “death” when Showblight destroys the keep and his rebirth having overcome his original quest to uncover the truth about the fate of his family. Rather than a sword (literal or figurative), we’ll say he’s claimed an “elixir” in this second journey, which allows him to assume his role as a leader in the new kingdom formed after Randwulf’s defeat.

It’s perhaps fitting that my first story would be the most archetypical. I suppose I could do the same with my other stories, but I imagine it wouldn’t fit quite as neatly. For instance, in the Tico series, Matt is effectively the protagonist, but it really isn’t his story alone. Perhaps each of the main characters have their own hero’s journey but Heaven help me if I’d try to pin all that down. Anyway, I hope you found all this interesting. Now let’s see if I can get back to doing some story writing.

Mar 08 2014

WIP Update – 07 Mar 14

Arthur Mania just won’t quit. In fact, this update comes so late because I was up till 0530 working on it, woke up around 1300 and picked things right back up. It’s been a while since I’ve been this consumed by my work. I’m mildly concerned about the potential consequences, but I suppose the only solution is to just keep pushing and get to a place I feel I can leave it.

I’ve been a lover of myth, fable and legend ever since I was a child. This should come as no surprise given that I’m an SFF author, but I’m also big into history. In fact, my minor was in history. I could easily have made it my second major, but I was getting a little weary of school by that point and was eager to begin my adventures in the Orient. One of the great things about the Arthurian mythos is that it blends the historical, pseudo-historical and the fantastic all into a single bundle, much as I’ve tried to do with my own story canon.

I was still in high school when I sketched out the first ideas for what would become The Brothers Pendragon. I wanted to use Excalibur, so it naturally followed that I would adopt the Pendragon name. I had the patriarch call himself Adam in the pretention that he was starting a new humanity. Of course, naming your two sons Cain and Abel is just asking for trouble. Going back to Excalibur, though, I envisioned this Adam Pendragon as a forgotten castoff of Uther Pendragon’s excessive womanizing who fancied himself as Uther’s true heir, seizing the opportunity he had long been seeking at the Battle of Camlann. When Bedivere goes to cast Excalibur back into the Lake, Adam (who I’ve recently decided to call Lother prior to his arrival on Tellus) intercepts and kills him, but he and his followers are transported from our world. Ever the pragmatist, he conquers the new land just as he intended to do with Britannia.

I won’t deny being rather strongly influenced by the ’98 Merlin mini series. (No, I haven’t really watched the more recent series, just caught some glimpses as my roommate was watching it.) The inclusion of Mab in the mini series had a bit of a domino effect for me. Mab happens to be involved in The Trident War Chronicles. She’s bound by Rowland in TTWC3 and forced to serve the Promethean Alliance. You remember that barrier around Maximilion that drove out the Third Legion back in Cronos’ section? Her work. Anyway, certain things are going to happen with her that I’m not going to spoil. If you’ll recall, I did a big shift of the timeline of the Tellus Arc not that long ago to resolve an issue relating to this very spoiler item. I will reveal that it’s related to the Arthurian mythos. Because the Earth and Tellus timelines are synched up (though time flows more slowly on Tellus, similar to how time flows faster in the Fairy Realm, a.k.a. Avalon), there were fixed events I couldn’t wiggle around. I originally resolved the problem with chronomancy, sending the character in question 20 years into the past to make things work. Much like Old Joe in Looper, I don’t like messing around with time travel too much, so this bit of juryrigging never did set right with me. (Speaking of time travel, there were two projects in pre-production I scrapped because of my decision to adopt a “no time travel” rule. Maybe I’ll tell you about them one day.)

Perhaps it’s that recent edit to the timeline that got me thinking about what little I’d already put down for an Arthurian story I was considering. Whatever the case, I’ve pulled out all the stops and this obsession is going to continue until I pretty well have the peripheral materials settled. Sorting through the fragmentary and often contradictory stories can be a pain, but it’s like solving a puzzle. The link to my own canon restricts my freedom of movement a little, but I’m coming up with some innovative solutions. I believe I’ve mentioned before how the already tangled genealogies of the major characters have been tangled further thanks to my love of interconnectedness. I honestly think I’ll have a hard time finding someone who isn’t related to one degree or another. Royalty!

I’m trying to find a balance among all the English, Welsh, French and Latin and it’s a little tricky to say the least. I want it to be accessible but not too anachronistic. I still have time to settle things but it’s a bit of a pain. I’ve actually taken to drawing up my own map of the British Isles rather than sifting through a couple dozen at a time to find this or than ancient and/or mythical border or feature. Learning a fair bit of British geography this way. ^_^; It’s a wonder just how much is packed into so little space. The world really was a bigger place back then.

Speaking of back then, I’ve got to curtail how far I venture into the timeline in either direction after the timeframe of the stories. I really don’t have any business going further back than the 4th Century or further forward than the 7th, but the urge to fill out the chronology is strong.

Okay, that’s enough rambling for now. There’s plenty more work to be done. Away!

Jan 09 2014

When Saying No Isn’t Enough

Warning: Spoilers for the short story “Happy Little Family” ahead.

I was terribly reluctant to put up “Happy Little Family”. To call the subject matter touchy is a wild understatement. I know there are many people out there who use dark elements like rape and the varying degrees of sexual assault for nothing more than cheap exploitation. If the statistics I see have any truth to them, you don’t have to look far to find someone directly affected by this sort of abuse. While I don’t consider myself to be politically correct, I don’t make a point to offend just for the sake of offense. I also don’t want to needlessly inflict further pain on those who have already suffered.

I certainly don’t speak from first-hand experience on this subject. I’ll readily admit that I don’t truly know what it’s like. You might ask why I put Lydia through the experiences alluded to in “Happy Little Family”. Lydia has a lot of psychological damage, that much is readily apparent from the main series. When I thought on what would break a person so severely, I looked at her situation: a deceased mother, a father who is a Special Forces officer, a sister with her own military career, an entirely disconnected extended family. What would happen to this little girl during her father’s many deployments? He had little choice but to turn to the other families on post. Most of the time, it was fine, but not always. There are many disturbed people out there who only need the opportunity to become monsters. Naturally, if a man like Luka Han found out, the offenders would be a pile of hamburger and decorated officer or not, murder isn’t a rap you can beat, most generally. Even as a child, Lydia knew this much and that’s why she didn’t speak up. However, this isn’t something you should bury, no matter who the perpetrator is. I know that’s easier said than done, but no form of abuse should be borne in silence. Unfortunately, you can’t always count on the authorities to come through for you, but you have to try. Also, though I personally don’t have much positive regard for the psychiatric profession, I recognize that there are some therapists and other specialists who can help with coping and healing. I certainly don’t mean to portray Lydia’s approach as the correct one, though at least for a time she found the willpower to stop being needlessly self-destructive in lieu of facing her problems.

I doubt I’ve acquitted myself well to any critics who may emerge, but I did make use of a beta reader–a woman–to judge whether or not the story should be made public. I recognize it’s a miniscule sample population, but I did want a female’s perspective. No, I don’t intend to approach special populations as a supplicant seeking approval before I even blow my nose, but sometimes it doesn’t hurt to get the perspective of someone who might be unduly affected by your work.

Oct 22 2013

Good Writers Borrow, Great Writers Steal

The title for this entry isn’t in quotes because a little research turns up that it’s derived from a misquote more than anything else. When I was in the CW program at my university, the above was attributed to Stephen King. As I was trying to confirm it, I was pointed to TS Eliot. Digging into it further, I found what was claimed to be the actual quote and I decided just to dispense with the whole deal and waste a paragraph telling you about it.

I’d been crafting stories for about as long as I can remember. When I was 10, I was brainstorming an intergenerational epic about a bloodline that kept on crossing paths with the assassins of US Presidents. At 11, I started several stories that were terribly derivative (titles like Mesozoic World and Galactic Strife, still cringeworthy over 20 years later). I would, of course, swear up and down about their uniqueness, coming off much like a pint-sized Oglethorpe from Aqua Teen Hunger Force. (“Jurassic Park uses velociraptors. I use deinonychus. It’s totally different!”) I ultimately realized that these early efforts really weren’t so unique, so most evidence of their existence is restricted to the inside of my skull.

I became obsessed with originality after that, even though I continued to do a lot of rather generous borrowing. Though not terribly obvious now, the Quest for the Pendants arc of KoG2 was heavily inspired by A Link to the Past. You can still see some resemblance to the map of Byrn and that of Hyrule, though this will be less apparent once I reorient the map so that north points up.

I eventually came to see the vanity of my quest for pure originality because it doesn’t exist. No matter what conscious efforts you might make, the multitudinous influences you assimilate will unconsciously shape your product. “Nihil novum sub sole” became the motto that checked me. From then I opted to embrace my influences and be as conscious about them as I could. I won’t hide any influence I’m aware of. For instance, Sonia’s character design is a mix of Charlotte from the Samurai Spirits series(or Samurai Showdown as it’s known in the States), Pirotess from Record of Lodoss War, and Tsunami from Tenchi Muyou. I have to admit, Nobuhiro Watsuki of Rurouni Kenshin fame has perhaps helped me along this path with his own notes making no bones about his inspirations. Really, I don’t see anything wrong with it so long as we’re honest with ourselves about it. If anything, we should get a laugh out of it. (In the Tellus Arc finale The End of Times, the introductory premise bears no mere passing resemblance to that of Stargate and I don’t hesitate to lampshade it for a chuckle from the reader.)

This is quite the roundabout way of getting to my actual goal for the post and that’s a little background on It’s a Sunny Day for a Bank Job. You see, I’m a fan of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Seeing numerous references to it on TVTropes and the rise of the Brony phenomenon piqued my curiosity, so I checked the series out and it hit all the notes I look for in a show: clever writing, appealing character design, interesting characterization, etc. (It also doesn’t hurt that it’s a way for me to bond with my niece.) I’m not an active member of the fan community, but I do peruse a sampling of fanworks and the FiM fandom is quite the prolific one. I’ve enjoyed abridged series, such as hbi2k’s rendering of Berserk and Team Four Star’s DBZA, so I started looking into the abridgements of FiM and my hands-down favorite is Greg Hoffman’s Mentally Advanced Series. Sure, the first few eps were rough, but the charm was there from the start and from Episode 5, things really took off. This led to the Rainbow Dash Presents spinoff, a sort of Fractured Fairytales take on various pieces of fanfiction. In “RDP: Haunting Nightmare”, a commenter said that there should be a heist story with the MAS characters. Cue the lightbulb moment.

Back before Episode III came out, there were a lot of rumors about what might cause the break between Anakin and Obi-wan. One theory was a love triangle with Padmé. This idea resonated with me and you can see some evidence of it in the film, but it wasn’t really developed into much of anything. It mostly just comes off as Anakin’s hypersensitive jealousy as he goes coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs on the Dark Side. Well, it was a shame to see such an intriguing premise go to waste. I then reminded myself, “Hey, you’re a writer. Write the story yourself.” The basic premise then went on to become the basis for the Brothers Pendragon prequel Broken Vows. I’m telling you all this because that selfsame reminder came to me when the idea of an MAS heist story was proposed.

Now, Sunny Day is still a long ways from even being considered for a serial run, but it’s very much becoming its own beast. The influences are there, of course, and in-jokes abound. Although it would’ve been interesting to retain an all-female main cast, I did do some gender-flipping so that the makeup of the cast more closely resembles the conventions of the heist subgenre. (There’s something to be said for breaking with convention, but it’s good to be judicious about adherence. Play up some of the audience’s expectations so your surprises have all the greater impact.) It should be accessible to general audiences with just the right amount of fanservice for fellow MAS fans. We’ll see.

Another thing about the story is that I’m using a first-person perspective contrary to my usual narrative practice, centered on MAS!Twilight expy DC. I don’t know if I’ll succeed in this endeavor, but my central challenge is to craft a real jerk who the reader can still sympathize with in spite of all his jerkiness. In MAS!Twi’s case, she’s so abrasive because she has no real concept of how healthy social interaction operates having lived her life under the iron hoof of a tyrannical psychopath. I imagine it’s very much a YMMV deal with a lot of viewers and I imagine much of what I’m trying to do in Sunny Day will be the same way. It’s a very different beast than almost any of my other stories, but therein lies its special charm for me. Also, a transformative work of a transformative work with a bevy of other transformations grafted makes for all sorts of incursive knotting that it’s bound to tickle someone’s metacognitive funnybone, even if that someone is me and me alone. Of course, I write for myself first and just hope other people will enjoy it too.

Well, it’s been a while since my last good commentary/rambling piece, so I hope you enjoy it. Maybe I can remember to hop on some of those other things that need doing. Until next time.

Aug 08 2013

Chronicling the Trident War

My relationship with The Trident War Chronicles has been a complicated one. Its origins lie in a PnP strategy game I attempted to design back in high school. It was loosely based on Ogre Battle (or rather, what I could gather from articles on the game in Nintendo Power, as I wouldn’t actually play a game in the series until Ogre Battle 64, which came later). However, back in those days I wasn’t as meticulous an archivist as I am now and I wound up destroying the original materials in a fit of pique. (I’m glad I was so attached to the KoG and Tico series or I might have lost their original documentation as well. The rocky road of my canon formation will be the subject of a future entry.) Even with the materials having been destroyed, the premise of the scenario and most of the characters remained in my head and I later resurrected the concept, though without the strategy game mechanics. (I have, however, drawn up a prototype game design document for a turn-based strategy game based on the TTWC series, though I don’t plan on developing it further at this time.) I believe its relation to The Brothers Pendragon developed later on in the process, as I seem to recall adjusting some dates in the timeline to fit everything together more snugly.

A lot has changed in the course of revisions (though TTWC is only in Version 3, as compared to KoG being in Version 7), but almost as soon as I revived the series, I developed the core conceit of telling the story through short segments devoted to major characters from each of the three factions. In Version 2, I was going to have everything together in a single massive tome, but by Version 3 I realized each faction had more than enough material for their own book. This decision forced me to make further changes to standardize things. You see, originally I had as many characters as I found interesting with as many chapters as I deemed necessary to tell that character’s story. When I made the decision to break TTWC up into three books, I realized how unbalanced everything was.

From the beginning, I had this chess conceit, but I wasn’t as thorough as I should’ve been back in V2. I had too many characters on the Alliance side and too few for the Zephyrians. This had to change (and led to some interesting story developments as I rebalanced the cast). Then there was the matter of the number of chapters devoted to each character. The Dominion fared the worst with comparatively few chapters devoted to their characters. To be honest, they didn’t really interest me that much (except for Sir Caligo). I then reminded myself, “You’re the author. If these characters aren’t interesting, make them interesting.” And so I’ve been working toward that end and the Dominion’s charas are making significant progress toward being compelling enough to carry their own book.

Another part of the standardization process was to give every character an equal share. As I mentioned before, a lot of the Dominion charas had very few chapters for their segments while some others had quite a lot. I decided to average it out with five chapters in the main storyline, plus a prologue to establish their background and an epilogue for their final fate (or a closing note if they’re lucky enough to survive). This streamlining also prompted me to cut back on redundancy. There were a number of events I told from two or three different perspectives. Besides letting you glimpse into that particular character’s head, it didn’t add much if the two charas in question were on the stage together most of the time. Now you really have to take in all the characters’ accounts to absorb the whole story.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m particularly fond of TBP (and the fact that the first thing I put out was the TBP prequel short “The Stranger” should tell you something) and this kinda makes me feel some resentment toward TTWC because I feel it has to be told before I can get to TBP. (Of course, if I’d just buckle down and commit to, say, 1000 or even 500 words a day, I’d be where I need to be sooner than I’d think.) It might actually be a good thing, though, because it seems like I’m pushing myself to make TTWC worth my while and if I’m working that hard to make it worth my while, I’m sure it’ll be worth your while too.

Well, I think that’ll do for now. Just thought I’d share some perspective on this somewhat maddening series of mine. I really get into this sort of commentary, so I need to make it more of a habit. On a good week it can complement story progress and on a bad week it can offset the lack thereof. Stay tuned.