Tension and POV

Writers and readers!

My friends, my colleagues, my enemies (enemies?): I need your help. It’s nothing difficult, it’s nothing dire, but it is simply my curiosity that I hope you will help appease or at least indulge, for a moment. I’m stumbled upon a conundrum in my writing that I would very much like your opinion on, now that I realize this is something that people can (obviously, now that I think about it) have wide and various opinions over.

As I’m sure you can guess, it deals with tension and POV.

Darryn’s story is a trilogy told through multiple POV. Some are through some minor characters. Others are major players. Originally, when I was writing the book, I didn’t have a real purpose for having so many POVs. It’s just how the story was in my head, so that’s how it translated onto the page. Then, as I started editing and paying more attention to the nuances of the story, I realized that I really enjoyed having multiple POV because of the tension that it created. By cluing the readers into what was going on with Erebus, our main bad guy, or the Solomonarii, our omnipotent creatures, with information that Darryn, our protagonist, wasn’t aware of but really needed to know, there was this tension created that everyone knew what was going on except for him. So you became angry at him when he would act a certain way or not do something because you know that X is happening right now and he really should be doing Y but he’s as ignorant as all get out, so he’s over here still doing A, B and C, and readers are just pissed because WHY AREN’T YOU DOING X, YOU IGNORANT BASTARD?!

Or, at least, so I hoped.

I received some invaluable feedback from a beta reader on this trilogy. I obviously have a lot more work to do than I originally thought I did. But one piece of feedback really stuck with me and surprised me, especially when a recommendation followed: having so many POVs took away from the tension because the readers knew what was going on in every character’s head, so there was no tension created due to not knowing what was going on. Instead, I should rewrite to only incorporate two POV: Darryn, our protagonist, and McKenna, our hero, in order to increase the tension.

I think you can see my dilemma here.

As I started to think about this, I thought about the books I love so much that incorporate multiple POVs: the works of Brent Weeks, Stephen King, George R.R. Martin, to name a few. And I tried to think about if I took some of those POVs, would I have been more invested, felt more tension, sat on the edge of my seat more than I already had? Of course, I couldn’t figure it out. When reading for pleasure, I’ve discovered I’m not analytical in the slightest. I just read and if I enjoy it, I enjoy it, and if I don’t, I don’t. Usually, I don’t really understand the reasons behind my emotional responses until I start writing the book review. And in this case, I’m already familiar with how these authors have written the books that own my heart and I already love them to the point where I can’t figure out which version would be more powerful and create more tension.

That’s where you come in.

I’d love to hear what you think on this matter. I’m not even looking for an answer for what I should do with my own work (though these answers will definitely be in the back of my mind whilst I’m editing, with my beta’s feedback in the forefront). I’m mainly really curious to get your opinion as to what you think the best relationship is between tension and POV, particularly multiple POV. Any and all comments, thoughts, musings or ideas would be so appreciated! Please leave them below so other readers can see what the masses are thinking and perhaps we can get a dialogue going!🙂

Thank you in advance for your time and feedback! And please, feel free to share this post, if you’d like!


A Needed Reminder

Today, I ran two miles.

I know that probably isn’t a big deal to a lot of people. For this second-helpings-loving curvy woman, it was a major deal, because I know how beneficial running is and I have always wanted to improve myself physically, even if that shaped up to be me living a healthier, more active lifestyle yet staying at the same weight/body shape I am now. I’ve always just wanted to be active so that if someone invites me to come play a pick-up-game, I know I can. If I want to study abroad and walk everywhere, I won’t be afraid that my body won’t make it. And if I want to eat good food, I can, without guilt. I’ve always wanted to make that transition, but I never have. I always talk myself out of it. Today, I knew that I wanted to go for a run when I woke up, even though I hadn’t planned on trying to start any new workout routine. I almost talked myself out of it and I’m not even sure what switched and caused me to throw on some tennis shoes and go instead of climbing into the shower like I was inching closer to every passing minute. But I went out there and I ran and it felt awesome, even though my body is now sore and it hurt to walk up the stairs on my way to work and I still find myself struggling to breathe slightly because I’m just that fit, friends.

I wanted to run for 30 minutes. 30 minutes sounded like an achievable goal that would also be an achievement, in my eyes, if I ran the entire time. I made a playlist with seven songs that matched my time goal and anytime I felt myself wanting to quit, I would whisper, “C’mon, one more song. You can do one more song.” Granted, my pace wasn’t much faster than a snail, especially after the first song came and went, but I still did it and that’s all that matters. Regardless of how fast I ran, by the time I reached song five, my pace had dropped even slower and I’m pretty sure a snail did lap me, laughing as it passed. And even though I knew I was too stubborn to give up after I started, I was struggling. My diaphragm had started cramping up and my body was starting to feel the affects of actually being purposefully active for the first time in months and I knew the last two songs were going to drag and it was going to be miserable, the endorphins I had released when I started dissipating as my brain took over, derailing my heart.

And then I saw it. Brushstroke Monarch No. 7 ... Original by KathyMortonStanion:

A monarch butterfly launched off from where it hid amongst the trees and flew over my head, accompanying me for a few steps before flying back into the trees.

You may not realize how powerful of a symbol this was.

Monarch butterflies have a very special meaning to me. They represent hope. They represent the beauty in life. They represent perseverance. They represent God and the reminder that while life can get hard sometimes, I’m doing pretty darn okay. They have this association because of my Grandmother, who was given hope during a rough time when she was undergoing chemotherapy when a monarch landed on her steering wheel after an appointment. Ever since then, any time I see a monarch, I have a weird association that I saw that butterfly purposefully; that I was meant to see it in that moment, that I was meant to be reminded that no matter what, I got this. Perhaps that’s a silly association. But it doesn’t change the fact that every time I see one now, my spirits are lifted and I offer a small prayer of thank for that reminder; for that representation of faith and hope and strength showing up at the times I need it most.

Today, I also ran just a little bit faster.


A Sliver of Peace

Overthinking, friends, is a bitch. It’s a bitch that I’ve been dealing with a lot, lately. I won’t bore you with all the fine details, but needless to say, I’ve been overthinking certain aspect of my life lately. A lot. Needlessly. Pointlessly, as there is no point in overthinking all of these things when most of it is out of my control anyway and I should ignore the voice in the back of my head whispering lies and instead just trust that things will work out the way I hope they will; that I’m a person that deserves happiness and is capable of achieving happiness. I know this. I am so totally aware that I am overthinking. Friends, family, both have called me out on it.

Yet I can’t stop.

And today, at work, with the quiet buzz of students working and nothing but a six hour shift to distract me, it gave those worries and anxieties power, as I felt trapped. So much power that I physically felt the stress I was causing myself due to a situation that is partly out of my control. I couldn’t focus on anything. The first hour of my shift was spent looking at everything I needed to do or should be doing–or hell, even wanted to do–yet my body was so pent up with anxiety and worry and fear spawned directly from thinking too much that I was left without an outlet. I was stuck at work, in a public place. I couldn’t escape anywhere else. I couldn’t slip into bed and hope tomorrow I feel better. I couldn’t hide in the shower and let hot bullets of water pelt into my back as I attempt to release my worries through tears safely shed in the comfort of my own home. I couldn’t even go on a run and try to physically rid myself of all this pent up ridiculousness that I shouldn’t be feeling to begin with but can’t help it because I’m so insecure and don’t know what I’m doing. 

Except, there was an outlet. One shiny, glorious and downright surprising sliver of peace: writing a pitch.

On my To-Do list was writing a pitch for THE RESISTANCE, the novel I’m pitching next week to the Pitch to Publication contest. I opened a document to start writing this pitch at the beginning of my shift, but gave up on it because of the knots in my stomach and the stress caused by overthinking things I shouldn’t be overthinking (which is only made worse being hyper aware that your worries are for naught yet they still exist within you anyway). I ate dinner during my break and came back and opened the blank draft again. And I stared at it for a bit. Eventually, I got a sentence down. And then another. I pushed and wrote and focused on the always difficult task of trying to sum up an entire novel into three paragraphs that make it sound enticing, unique and make you want to figure out the end, while also making sure the hook, the stakes, the characters, the genre, the age group and the word count are all included. And then I finished a draft of the pitch and reread it. And reworked it.

It wasn’t until I was tweaking a third read-through that I realized my chest didn’t feel so tight anymore; my muscles not to tense; my mind not so panicked. Granted, all those emotions are still lingering and fighting their way back to the forefront of my mind, even as I write this post, but for a moment there; for a solid 30 minutes of work, I was able to escape it all when I thought there was no outlet available to me, through crafting a pitch about my writing. Something that I normally loathed to do, because I suck at it. Yet in this instance, it gave me peace, even if it was short lived.

Life can get hard, sometimes. Living with insecurities and anxiety and depression and self-doubt and being a worrywort and an overthinker makes life harder than it probably should be, at times. Being aware of that makes it even worse. And there are so many aspects of my life that I don’t have control over; that I have to trust others with, knowing that things might not always work out, even if I desperately want them to. But I take a lot of comfort in knowing that no matter what life throws at me or what I go through (or sometimes put myself through) emotionally, there is one constant, one comfort, I can always count on in my life: my writing. I may never get published, but that’s not what I mean here, when I talk about my writing. My dream of being an author may never come true and a lot of that I have no control over. But that won’t stop me from writing. I’ll never run out of stories I need to pen or the desire to write. And I don’t think life will ever grow too difficult that writing won’t give me an escape or a chance for peace. I will always have that.

And thank God for that.


Coming Full Freakin’ Circle

Just a few days ago, I got a nice sucker punch to the gut that was oh so very necessary. It came in the form of feedback over my earliest completed story–Darryn’s trilogy; particularly the second book in the trilogy, that no one else has read. You know, the same trilogy that I’m pretty sure a few blog posts ago (or many blogs ago, as I have been absent for quite some time recently and I apologize profusely for that), I was bragging that, after completing another round of edits, I thought were close to being ready for publication.

dreamworks how to train your dragon toothless hiccup berk

A ha.
Ha ha ha.

Let me preface this to say that while receiving this feedback felt like a punch in the gut, it was a necessary punch in the gut. And it was delivered thoughtfully, respectfully, professionally and coming from someone who I admire a very, very, very high amount. She could have said she hated my work (which she didn’t) and I would still think so highly of her and value her opinion. But hearing that your work isn’t ready yet when you thought you were close and have been working for years is never an easy pill to swallow.

But even more so, this time around, it was an eye-opener.

Some of the major points of advice I was given include (amongst other things, but no one needs to see my six total pages of notes, suggestions and ideas):

  • Characters and their desires/motivations/goals aren’t clear
  • Chapter endings don’t end in the most natural spot
  • Doesn’t feel focused
  • Really consider which POVs are necessary
  • A lot scenes are there simply to include worldbuilding elements that aren’t actually necessary in that moment
  • Would that character realistically do that? Why didn’t they do THIS?
vikings dreamworks how to train your dragon toothless

Obviously she was super nice about telling me all of this and it didn’t feel like this moment at all, but any moment when I can use this GIF is a moment I can’t pass up.

Granted, I have some ah, some work to do.

And that’s work I’m putting off for a while. I got new stories I want to write and the amount of revision this one is going to undergo is a bit more than I can swallow at the moment (but I promise you, I’m not giving up on this story; no way in hell). But about halfway through our phone conversation, I had that moment; that eye-opener; that a-ha; that moment where everything suddenly came:

Image result for olan rogers full freaking circle

Thanks, Olan!

Almost every thing that was pointed out in my work that could be improved? Those are the elements that I am most nitpicky about when editing others works, whether it is the one client I’m working with or simply beta reading for some friends. How worldbuilding is incorporated, realistic dialogue, characters making rationale choices that match with their personalities and chapter endings are elements I almost always comment on and ask writers to amp up in their stories. But did I ever think to look at my own writing and see why those elements stuck out to me so glaringly?

I think you know the answer to that question.

So, massive facepalm moment later, my lesson has been learned, my thoughts on my own writing humbled and my determination has hardened. Despite every punch, every moment when I think I’m ready but I’m not (and when I think I’m not ready yet I am), despite every flair of fear or doubt, I’m learning. I’m growing. My writing is improving. And though I’m not sure when I’ll return to edit my most precious of stories, I will be editing them and you will be reading them one day. And we’ll all look back at this moment, this lesson, and laugh. And we’ll be thankful for readers willing to deal out the hard truths and writers who refuse to give up.



I struggle with this concept so much, but never more than when I’m prepping to query. Whether I’m stalking agents on Twitter, perusing agency websites, utilizing the fantastic and wonderful Manuscript Wish List or just trying to craft my query in general, it never fails that this topic is brought up and I’m stuck with these hidden emotions that I wish I could describe, but I’ve always been so scared to say, because I don’t want to be disrespectful or appear ignorant. I am genuinely curious. My question regarding originality keeps nagging at me and the itch to talk about this is still here, so the secrets out, friends:

It irks me a little bit when someone asks for something “new” or “original,” not because I think we shouldn’t want these things, but because I don’t have any idea how the hell to achieve said things.

Because what is more original than sending out something I’ve written; a person you’ve never read before, with characters you don’t know, even if aspects of the plot or tropes are familiar?

Granted, I’m sure if some professionals in the publishing business read this, they’d be rolling their eyes at me. I don’t mean to sound inconsiderate or disrespectful or rude or anything aside from actual curiosity. I totally understand why agents have to be picky (while starting off securing an agent may be a dream come true for writers, it is a job for agents and they obviously have to be cognizant of that when choosing authors to represent, amongst a variety of other factors) and that they each have their own personal tastes. One agent is completely tired of vampires while another isn’t interested in angels. Another wants both.

I totally understand that and respect it 110%. So please don’t get the wrong idea. I just don’t understand what they are asking for when they ask for something original. Because what it is original? Is that even possible?

I know my stories aren’t breaking any new ground. I do things that have been done before. I also am fond of twisting a lot of traditional tropes, building up expectations only to disappoint and surprise my readers later on when the story takes a different turn. And as I grow as a writer, my stories have also grown in complexity and in creativity. My first trilogy is so filled with tropes (though that did inspire my latest project, which I’m arguably most excited about) and is the only one that I’ve queried so far, so I totally understand why it has only been rejected (especially when you factor in that I queried it before it was truly ready and my query could have been improved tenfold). And though I have moved on and written other works, some which still have tropes, some that don’t, I still work on this story and I still hope it can get published one day and be enjoyed by readers, even if it isn’t original.

Yet isn’t it?

I guess it’s not agents requesting that they want to see something original that irks me slightly, it’s that my work, because it’s been “done before,” it isn’t considered original. Yet how original can you be? Can you do anything completely and totally new? There are always going to be elements that you draw from, inspiration, works that mirror yours, tropes that you incorporate and twist.

And I guess, writing this, I realize that my goal for my books isn’t for them to be the most original books you’ve ever read. If that ends up being a side-effect, fantastic! I just want to write the most enjoyable and fascinating stories that I love, in hopes that others might love them, too. If they are never labeled as original or unique, but you enjoyed them nonetheless, then I think I could be okay with that.

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear other opinions about this, especially from any agents who impossibly stumble upon this post: what is your definition of originality? Can it still be achieved in writing? Has everything been done before? Does writing your own work hold any originality organically simply because you wrote it?



Liebster Award!

Y’all know R.K. Brainerd, right? The amazing writer and fantastic human being over at Awake Dragon? I’ve bragged about her before and will prolly brag about her numerous times as our careers explode in the best way possible and we take over the world using puppies, goats and straw houses  we work our asses off and get published.

Anyway, recently she got nominated for something called a Liebster Award. Her responses were glorious, hilarious and down right awesome. Naturally, as with any of her posts, I read through it with an unhealthy fervor, excited to learn so many new and interesting things about someone I look up to and a good friend who I’ve actually never met, but that doesn’t matter, because I love her anyway. Then, I was pleasantly surprised when she nominated me for the same award, which basically means you get a free pass to write about yourself and tell other people to write about themselves and so-on and so-forth.

Image result for you just gestured to all of me gif

*cracks knuckles*

Here are the rules:

  1. Share 11 facts about yourself.
  2. Answer 11 questions from the blogger who nominated you.
  3. Nominate up to 11 bloggers and write 11 questions for them to answer.
  4. Bonus Rule, added by yours truly: wonder about the significance surrounding the number 11.


  1. I’ve had surgery three times. Once when I was two and they removed some weird people skin from my face (still dunno what that was), leaving a scar on my cheek. Second was when I was seven and broke my elbow in half, leaving a scar on my joint where the screw holds it in place and causing my body to adjust and now both elbows are double-jointed. And last on my tongue when they had to shorten the part that connects your tongue to the lower part of your mouth, leaving four X-shaped scars from the stitches that dissolved.
  2. My undergraduate thesis was a page-turner (*snorts*) about how you could read Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings as an environmental warning for what is to come, comparing New Zealand to the Shire, England to Isengard and industrialization to Mordor. It was 47 pages long and spoiler alert: we’re not listening and it’s a war we’re losing.
  3. Brevity is not my strong suit.
  4. I have veins on my right leg that form the number 12.
  5. I struggle with depression and anxiety, the former which is directly tied and associated with my weight or body size.
  6. The current series I’m working on, The Adventures of Artemis Smith, was directly inspired by my frustration at not getting published, so I wrote a character who couldn’t get published (yet has kept writing and persevered into almost his seventies) and was forced to live through troped stories as an actual character, only able to escape and move on to the next story if he was able to figure out a way to break, twist or revert the trope he was currently stuck in to make the story unique and publishable. Only one book down out of nine, but I’ve learned so much more than I ever imagined possible and I am so grateful to him, and can only pray I am just as positive and stubborn with my writing.
  7. I read War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy for a project in high school history because our teacher said no one else had ever read it for that project, always scared by the length. I read it in three days and wrote the paper the night before, receiving a 97% (I’m ridiculously proud of this, for some reason).
  8. In films, books, TV, whathaveyou, you could kill every character I have ever loved and I still won’t cry as much as if you kill or harm an animal (especially a dog).
  9. Though I claim that my biggest dream is to be published, I think my “real” dream (as if you can’t have multiple) is to find a man to love me unconditionally, without me needing to lose 40 pounds or becoming “cool” to do so. Yeah, I really, really want that.
  10. I’m really excited to get a home with a yard so I can get dogs. Yes, plural. I plan to name them after my favorite dragons.
  11. I have four tattoos and plan to get a sleeve on my left arm, comprised of three “sections,” if you will: Lord of the Rings, writing and my favorite video games. If anyone wants to fund this, I’m always taking donations.😛

Questions for Me: 

  1. What’s your biggest regret? (We’re starting off deep here, apparently)
    1. Hating myself for so long, particularly physically (we’re going real deep here too, apparently). Especially considering I judged my worth as a human being based on the opinions of others or what size jeans I wore. Worse, I’m still working on switching this mindset. But my regret is taking so long to realize and admit that I was wrong.
  2. If you could be any animal, what would you be?
    1. Dragon. No pausing or consideration about it.
  3. What’s your dream writing space?
    1. I’ve always wanted to live in a small house with a turret that held my spiral library with a secret door into my writing space. Within the writing space would be my Tolkien collection. This place would be in the woods, far enough away that I can’t hear the cars but close enough that I can run and get ice cream when I need it (especially after I kill my darlings). Also, if we’re talking dreams, I’d be able to visit the ocean whenever I wished, because I also lived close enough to that. This location, if possible or real, is probably in New Zealand.

      So, really, my dream writing space requires me to become a Hobbit. I am totally okay with that.

  4. What author are you currently learning from/being inspired by?
    1. Christopher Husberg, author of Duskfall. On his blog, he catalogs his writing journey, amongst other events going on in his life. Not only was Duskfall the best new book I read this year, but reading Chris’s advice, his publishing journey and his musings about writing has resonated with me.
  5. What’s your biggest writer goal you’re working on right now?
    1. Editing is the hurdle I am battling. I have quite a few books under my belt, but none of them are ready to query just yet. I’m itching to query. So I’m trying to be patient and give my work the attention it deserves, while also trying to balance writing new material and ignoring the plagues of self-doubt that constantly berate and belittle me.

      So, just trying to be your average writer, at the moment.😛

  6. What’s your biggest life goal you’re working on right now?
    1. Definitely loving myself wholly and fully. And figuring out how to pay freakin’ bills.
  7. If you could change your eye color, what would you want it to be? Strange colors totally allowed.
    1. Actually, I think I’d want it to change based on my mood (I know, that’s cheating). I love my blue-green eyes, but how cool would it be for them to turn pitch black when you piss me off or a crystal blue when you’ve wooed me or yellow when I feel threatened?
  8. Who’s your current/favorite book boyfriend/girlfriend?
    1. I love this question. But how does one choose?

      We got Mr. Darcy.

      Image result for Mr. Darcy

      Oh my Lord.

      Image result for mr. darcy pride and prejudice and zombies

      Definitely swooning.

      We got Murtagh.

      Image result for murtagh

      I don’t care that the film was shite. This man.

      We have Jon Snow.

      Image result for jon snow

      No caption necessary.

      We have Aragorn.

      Image result for aragorn

      I would follow you, my Captain.

      We…have a type, apparently.

  9. If you could get one material item right now without having to pay for it, what would it be?
    1. Do airplane tickets count?
  10. Outside of writing, what’s your dream job?
    1. My dream job isn’t actually possible within the realm of reality, so we’re going to roll with that, because I’d basically wanna be a rip-off of Tarzan. I’m a sucker for animals, particularly exotic ones. I’m the moron that recognizes that a tiger wants to eat me but still want to pet it because look at those paws. So my dream job would be opening up a wildlife sanctuary, like a zoo, but nothing is enclosed (so, basically, owning my own island specifically for all animals) and none of the animals want to eat me, so I can love on them all the time.

      Image result for baby tiger gif

  11. Finally, any exciting book release/promotion stuff going on? And if you’re still wandering in unpublished land like me: what’s a recent writing/life epiphany you’ve had?
    1. The biggest epiphany I’ve had in the past year is that I can actually put writing first in my life and life will still move on. I can write every day and make time for it. I can give it importance, because it’s real and it matters. There are prices to pay for that, of course, but with the output and the growth that I’ve had, it is totally, completely and utterly worth it.

Questions for Victims: 

  1. If you could choose one author to be your best friend (we’re talking giggling at sleepovers and having brunch on Sundays to talk about the latest tabloids kind of best friend), who would you choose and why?
  2. Favorite kind of cheese?
  3. This is a choose-your-own-adventure kind of question. Path A: What book series should be adapted into a video game and why (I’m thinking a la Witcher here)? Path B: If you don’t play video games and thus can’t travel down Path A, please tell me how you function without such soul-sucking enjoyment in your life?
  4. If it were my birthday and you were buying me a puppy, what kind of puppy would you get me (pictures preferred)?
  5. What are you most excited about writing wise right now?
  6. What is the plot of the ultimate dream story you want to write (or have written or are too afraid to write)?
  7. How do you plan to better the world?
  8. What “rule” do you break in writing (purposefully or otherwise)?
  9. Which fictional characters make you question whether you’re actually fictosexual, i.e., who can I swoon over? (Also, adapted this one from R.K. and I don’t apologize for it).
  10. What fictional language do you wish was actually commonplace?
  11. Lurtz (see below if you’re not on a first name basis) is about to kill you. What do you do?

    Image result for uruk hai lord of the rings

    ^^ Lurtz


  • Marie over at Light A Fire Instead: A great friend in real life who recently brought back her blog and got into writing again, despite real life trying to get in the way. You’ll want to support her and know her before the rest of the world (inevitably) will.
  • Rob over at Robert F Nugent: Discovered this gent through his blog and then started creeping on him on Twitter. Makes awesome armor, writes really amazing medieval stories I can’t wait to get my hands on and an all around person-you-should-already-be-social-media-stalking.
  • Philip over at Phil Charles R: A gem amongst stones, this man is. Loved his first book and can’t wait to see how he raises the stakes. Also, great guy and so encouraging. So happy that we’re friends and going to take over the world writing books (if you’re jealous, go say hi).
  • Ana over at AZ Pascoe: There aren’t enough words to explain how fantastic of a person Ana is, how lovely her blog is and how awesome her writing is. The only question is: why aren’t you friends yet?
  • Drew over at The Tattooed Book Geek: The Book Review King, in my opinion. I absolutely love reading his reviews and he is so sweet to take the time to read mine, even though my site is still young. Go find your next favorite book (and reviewer) over on his site.
  • Joyce over at The Writes of Passage: One of the most encouraging souls I’ve ever met on the interwebs. This woman is going places, but she’s making sure none of us are left behind in the process, either. I adore her.
  • Tanna over at TeaPunk Noveling: My kindred spirit. My dragon-soul-sister. My INFJ twin. A fantastic writer, human and friend. You need her in your life. (Also, advertising now: our book series, both featuring dragons, will have a dragon tour across the world, taking place in a cave near you, years from now.)
  • Jessica over at Elldimensional: I have never had such thoughtful, well-spoken and kind thoughts commented on my blog than the ones written by Jessica. Consistently. Honestly. I support her indefinitely and I hope you do, too!
  • A.Z. over at AZ Anthony: Just stumbled upon this blog and human during #WIPJoy. I love making new connections and this one is pretty rad. Stoked to see where his writing takes him.
  • M.A. over at M.A. Crosbie: Though we’ve never met in person, I advocate for this human so much. So caring, so sweet, so genuine, so driven. I cannot wait to see where life takes her and what she does.
  • Sione over at Sione Aeschliman: An inspiration if I’ve ever known one. A mentor who I’m not sure wants to be labeled a mentor. A knowledge mine that explodes every time I ask a question that leaves me scrambling to absorb all of the information and less of the debris from the ground (I’ve read that analogy three times and I’m still not sure if it works. I’m sticking with it). If you ever dream of succeeding as an author, this is a soul that you need in your life. I promise.

Thanks for the nominated, R.K., and thank you for reading way too much info about this stubborn artist. Stoked to read your responses (if I didn’t tag you and you still want to answer my questions, GO FOR IT).


Mass Effect


I spent this afternoon frantically killing Saren/Sovereign before I had to go to work tonight. Last night, I stayed up until four in the morning, hyped up on adrenaline, as I fought in Virmire (dammit, Virmire). Even though I knew what was coming as it happened, after beating the game, I sat still, listening to the end credits song, wiping the remnants of threatening tears from my eyes.

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Virmire looks like paradise, but don’t let it fool you. It sucks.

BioWare is by far my favorite gaming studio. Mass Effect is one of my favorite gaming series of all time (right up there with Dragon Age ((also BioWare)), Skyrim, Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, etc. etc.). Yet until this play through, I didn’t even realize what I had been missing!

Hint: a helluva lot.

You see, the first time I played Mass Effect, it was the first game I had ever played where a gun of some sort was your primary weapon. I had absolutely no idea how to aim a gun in a video game, let alone do it with accuracy and kill people. The amount of times I was taken to that red spinning screen with that damn music after I’ve been killed (you know what I’m talking about gamers) drove me nuts; almost to rage quit levels.

And this level of inaccuracy lasted throughout the entire trilogy.

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Yeah, try fighting that ^^, a freaking Reaper, when you suck at fighting. It sucks.

Obviously, I got better, as I beat all the games. But I knew, especially in regards to the first one, that I wasn’t playing them to their full potential. I rushed through them, falling so desperately addicted to that story and those characters that I just wanted to find out what happened next. After I beat them all (and went through all the Kleenex in my house), I knew I’d have to go back and replay them, so I could truly appreciate what I missed due to my own ineptitude and impatience.

Here the highlights of Round Two:

Vanguard Versus Soldier:
I played as a Vanguard this time instead of a soldier, giving me some biotic abilities like Warping, Throwing and Lifting my enemies. I’m so glad I tried this out (I absolutely love the Lift ability), instead of sticking to what was familiar, like I usually do in repeat playthroughs. I also actually learned to do more with my weapons and abilities, trying things out, instead of frantically shooting everywhere and hoping I managed to nick a geth in the process before getting one-shot-murdered by a rocket launcher; or charged by a Krogan Warlord unexpectedly, screaming in surprise and dropping my controller; or panicking whenever those f-ing husks showed up and also dropping my controller, thus resulting in death.

(Thank goodness I got better.)

Paragon Versus Renegade:
I have this annoying habits in video games where I try to align my character’s moral compass as close to my actual moral compass as I can. So I was a full-fledged Paragon my first playthrough, flinching any time I stumbled upon a Renegade action. This time around, I wasn’t fooling. While I still maxed out as a Paragon, I wasn’t afraid to call people out on their shit. Take that, Udina! Piss off, deaf Council! (<– I was so tempted to not rescue them with the Alliance; damn Paragon mentality.) It was kinda fun, not going to lie. And I am stoked to rip Cerberus a new one in Mass Effect 2.

Hidden Gems:
I’m really bummed I can’t remember more of these as I was playing, because I know there were multiple times when I was like, “Dude, how did I miss that the first time!?” The best example was definitely during one of the infamous elevator rides before I had unlocked everything for Rapid Transit, and the Announcer-Dude over the intercom made a mention of a production of Hamlet to be done by the Elcor.

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Genuine excitement, I laughed so hard after hearing that. Honest confession, I would pay so much money to actually see that happen. Like, holy shit.

Also, in one of the numerous quests that I didn’t realize existed (see below), I discovered an asteroid where I had a view that actually took my breath away. Lit-er-al-ly.

I was so floored, I took a picture and posted it.

All the Quests!
So, based on all the quests that I completed this time around (hint: all of them) and how many I couldn’t remember or had no recollection of whatsoever, obviously I just flew through the main quest without realizing there were side quests to be had. That also explains why I sucked so much the first time at killing things–I didn’t have any practice! And also explained why I absolutely sucked at driving the Mako (I impressed myself by actually decently steering it throughout this playthrough).

Plus, my frantic rushing set me up poorly for the next game. My hatred for and familiarity with Cerberus hadn’t been properly set up, given I hadn’t realized they existed (don’t worry, I hate them with all my core, now). I didn’t talk with my companions enough, so a lot of backstory (like the genophage, for example) was lost on me. I genuinely missed out on so much, simply because of my own mistakes! I’m really glad I went back and played it, as it was totally worth it (and I finally found all the damn Keepers).

All the Feels:
What I love most about BioWare and their games is the way they make me feel. Like, down to my core, feel. I’m so emotionally attached to these characters, this world, my choices, the outcomes; it is probably unhealthy. The first time I played, when it came to the choice at Virmire, I froze. Literally, clutching my controller and staring at the screen like, “Why the HELL would you be asking me to do that?” The first time, I killed Ashley. I was in love with Kaidan (so much for that, the asshole, refusing to barely even talk to me the entire time during ME2 and almost all of ME3! <– I’m still utterly bitter about this). This time, I had to switch it up, even though I was so bummed about it (but I’m going after Garrus romantically and I know if Kaidan was alive, I’d fall right in love with him again, being a creature of habit as far as video game playthroughs go). When Anderson punched Udina, I was elated and fist pumping all over again. When Shepard climbed out of Sovereign’s wreckage, I teared up a little.

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^^ BAMF. ^^

I just absolutely love this game.

The Score:
I knew the score was awesome the first time around. It’s still fantastic. It just deserves its own section to make that point obviously known.

Basically, I loved replaying this game (would have loved it even more on a PS4, too *nudges BioWare*). I am ashamed at how much I missed the first time around, but stoked that it provided a playthrough that was both familiar and new. Only a few more hours until I get off work, slip into my PJs, grab my ice cream and my weekend starts. And I’m sure you know what’s going down.

I’m coming for you, Cerberus.