brightwanderer: Guardian Sol from Celestial Chronicle (Default)
2017-01-12 02:32 pm
Entry tags:

The Last Guardian (go on an adventure with your cat!)

 This week I have been playing "The Last Guardian", aka "How To Train Your Mousebirddragon", a semi-sequel to "Ico". Both games are an eerie surreal puzzle adventure through a massive, beautiful, bizarre landscape of ruins and mechanisms, accompanied by a companion with whom you need to cooperate to progress. "Ico" had Yorda, an ethereal glowing girl whose hand you had to hold a lot. "The Last Guardian" has a creature called a Trico, the mousebirddragon of my preferred title, and ohmygosh seriously look at this cutie:

A picture of Trico being petted by the game's main character

It's a lovely game and I really recommend it. Especially because it's full of moments of gentle hilarity as you and Trico try to understand each other.

The main character trapped in a cage while Trico looks on puzzled

"Human. Human. Explain?"

(There then followed ten minutes of Trico trying to figure out how to open the cage, while I did the same thing from the other side of the screen, although my puzzle solving involved less nose-bumping...)
brightwanderer: Guardian Sol from Celestial Chronicle (Default)
2017-01-08 06:05 pm

Journal Access and Personal Update

So basically all the health stuff has continued, with a big dose of other things (including depression, hooray! I totally needed that on top of the fatigue!) With the new year I'm determined to get back onto updating Celestial Chronicle regularly. I'm also planning to try and use this journal more, to talk about writing and to connect with other people.

On that note, for the time being I've gone through my access list and taken everyone off it, because at the moment my plan for how I will use this journal does not involve friends-locking any posts. If that changes I'll want to set up the access rules from scratch again anyway. I'm not sure if people get notified when I remove access, but if so, it's not because I don't want you to see things - it's because there won't be anything to see, at least for now. :)

Also, here is an illustration I did for Celestial Chronicle, and then totally failed to really do anything with except stick it on an obscure corner of the website. You get a cookie if you recognise the blatant copying homage. :)

Sol, Luna and Kestrel on the shore of the sea under a full moon

brightwanderer: "In a different world we might be lovers." (Alterniverse)
2016-09-06 09:33 am

Ep 14 delay

Just a quick note to explain what's going on: for the last year I've been trying to continue working at my job despite chronic fatigue. However, even with reduced hours and a generous schedule, it's too much, and I've come to the difficult decision to quit. The temporary bad news is that the process of handing in my notice etc is taking all my energy and attention for September, so I'm going to skip updating this month. The good news, hopefully, is that I may be able to go back to updating CC every two weeks instead of monthly once I'm not working. And might be slightly more of a human being, which would be nice...
brightwanderer: Guardian Sol from Celestial Chronicle (Default)
2016-06-04 08:21 pm

Celestial Chronicle & general status update

Okay! So! You know that thing where you know you ought to tell people why you've suddenly dropped off the face of the earth, but you keep thinking "oh but I'm going to get back on track any day now so it would be silly to say anything"?

Yeah, that's how six months go past without an update to your story. Sorry!

Some context (not too personal or detailed but I guess minor content warning for discussion of chronic illness - nothing terminal!). )

I'm changing my update schedule to monthly for now, with the hope that as things continue to improve (or, like, I win the lottery and can devote all my time to writing) I will be able to get more frequent again.

I'm also going to be more upfront about any delays with posting/health issues, here and on Twitter, so keep an eye on this space.
brightwanderer: Ariel from The Little Mermaid (Ariel)
2016-04-06 05:10 pm

Skepticism: yr doin it wrong

So I'm listening to this really awesome podcast called The Black Tapes. If you like paranormal/horror stuff, I highly recommend it. One of the characters is in the habit of investigating paranormal reports from the point of view of disproving them, and has a "normal" explanation for everything he comes across. He's also massively condescending, which often goes hand in hand with that sort of mindset. He is often referred to as the foremost "paranormal skeptic" in the series.

Here's the thing: he's not actually very good at skepticism. People use skeptic to mean someone who automatically disbelieves something that other people believe. Tell a skeptic a ghost story, describe a miracle, or express your belief in the immortal soul, and the skeptic will tear your narrative to shreds with cold, sarcastic logic.

That person is failing at being skeptical. )

(... but seriously, go listen to The Black Tapes. Just... possibly not right before you go to sleep.)

Edited to Add: Re-reading, I feel like this topic should come with a "full disclosure" type statement, so: I do not believe in gods and I do not believe in ghosts. I am absolutely the person who in my head is responding to ghost stories with "Ooh! Sleep paralysis! The Cotard delusion! That weird thing where staring at your face for too long messes with your brain! The permeability of memory and the astounding ability of the brain to hallucinate convincingly!". Which is why this particular characterisation bothers me, I guess. I don't see why anyone has to be an asshole about it, and besides, we're always learning new things that would have sounded crazy a few years previously!
brightwanderer: blood on crystal (Arellia)
2015-11-06 10:29 pm
Entry tags:

this is how blizzard get my money


spoilers )
brightwanderer: blood on crystal (Arellia)
2015-10-31 05:50 pm

Dear horror/mystery games, please figure out how blood works

(Discussion of blood and gore in video game context below cut!)

Seriously this is ruining my immersion. )
brightwanderer: "In a different world we might be lovers." (Alterniverse)
2015-10-27 10:38 am

All aboard the bad ideas train


Seriously as fandom rabbit holes go it is basically this:

By Stefan Krasowski from New York, NY, USA (Gates of Hell 015) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
brightwanderer: Guardian Sol from Celestial Chronicle (Default)
2015-09-26 11:27 am

Celestial Chronicle Episode 7!

... is up. I have a lot of feels about this chapter! Mostly about how I want to rush off and write an AU where the adorable-schoolboy-romance-that-never-was actually worked out, and another one where Akemi never had to feel sad about anything, ever.

Read it on the Website or AO3.
brightwanderer: Guardian Luna from Celestial Chronicle (Guardian Luna)
2015-09-18 01:01 pm

Angst, apparently

Me: I think this next chapter should be a bit of a breather. Let's catch up with normal life for these kids and deal with the Revelations of the previous chapter in a sensible...
Me: Er...
Me: ... well, I mean, okay, a bit, yes, but...
Akemi: Hey, I found this ball labelled "angst" in my bag, any idea what that's about? Do you think Shoichi dropped it? Also have you seen Hana lately?
Me: ... I guess this is what we're doing, then.

EDITED TO ADD: Website for the series is now mostly operational, with character illustrations! We're up to Ep6 at this point.
brightwanderer: Guardian Luna from Celestial Chronicle (Guardian Luna)
2015-09-11 11:41 pm

The hazards of artwork

Gah. I am doing a character portrait for Satoru. It is making me slightly weepy. SATORU HONEY, EAT SOMETHING. GET SOME SLEEP. GET A HAIRCUT. HUGS.
brightwanderer: "In a different world we might be lovers." (Alterniverse)
2015-09-07 05:43 pm

On writing

Sometimes I hunt stories down, and sometimes I gradually piece them together. Sometimes I dream them and fill in the gaps with waking logic. Sometimes I find one somewhere else but I wish it was a different colour, so I repaint it. Sometimes I spend a long time building an elaborate series of ramps, strapping wheels to the story, and then pushing it off the top to see what happens.

And sometimes the story rushes out of the darkness and seizes me by the throat and shakes me until I get every last word down. (And then I'm like, where did Monday go?)

All of which is to say: Episode 5 of Celestial Chronicle went up on Saturday. It was a week late, because I was on my honeymoon (I felt this was an acceptable excuse). I am hoping to get Episode 6 up this weekend to return to schedule, but I just lost my Monday to 5,000 words of angsty fanfic so I can make no promises.
brightwanderer: Guardian Luna from Celestial Chronicle (Guardian Luna)
2015-08-15 01:25 pm
Entry tags:

CC E04 - The Rising Moon

Episode 4 is now up! Shoichi finally joins us. He's not sure how he feels about it.
brightwanderer: Guardian Sol from Celestial Chronicle (Default)
2015-07-31 03:23 pm

Celestial Chronicle update

Okay! Here we go again. I am pretty happy with the rough outline and detailed backstory I have now, so there should be no further rewrites.

Rather than posting chapters here, I'm going to put them on Archive of Our Own, as I've checked with the mods that it's okay to do that with original fiction as long as I'm not making money off it (and it's "fanfic style", which... very yes). It makes it a bit more visible for people to stumble upon (hopefully). I've also got a website in construction but it's not quite finished yet, I'll link it when it's done.

Episodes One and Two have been somewhat rewritten to accommodate changes I've made to the backstory.

Episode Three has been completely reworked (no Shoichi yet, I'm afraid) as I felt I was rushing too fast to get through the setup. Also because I <3 Akemi.

At the moment I'm planning to update every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month. Episode 4 is nearly done already, so that's encouraging.
brightwanderer: Ariel from The Little Mermaid (Ariel)
2015-05-31 08:20 pm
Entry tags:

Discworld Reread: 3. Equal Rites

3. Equal Rites

I had a vague memory that I hadn't liked this one much, but I was pleasantly surprised when I re-read it. I think potentially I didn't like it when I was younger because the feminist message seemed "too obvious" to me (a child who had long perfected the art of inserting a female action hero into whatever narrative she wanted to take part in if there wasn't an appropriate one already there... I was Indiana Jones's sister more times than I can count). I recognise now that Pratchett was challenging not just sexism in the general sense but a whole vein of "how magic works" that runs through most fantasy - wizard magic is Intellectual, Important and Powerful, whereas witch magic is grubbing around in the dirt doing nasty things to people. To my delight I discovered this week when I was reading "A Slip of the Keyboard"* that Pratchett actually elaborated on that whole theme in an essay, which gives the book even more perspective. Said essay made me realise that "Equal Rites" is as much about girls in STEM as it is girls wanting to be wizards.

Anyway. Again things are a bit off, Granny Weatherwax isn't quite in focus yet, although the only really OOC moment for me is when she gets into a showy wizard duel with the Archchancellor, making the situation drastically worse, which is something Granny always normally knows better than to do. The Disc continues to feel more wild than in later books, there's some wonderful snippets about why caravans are a thing in a world where you have to travel between oases of safety.

I find it interesting comparing Esk to Tiffany Aching (especially since they end up meeting): they're really quite different characters despite similar concepts lying behind them. I see another solid brick in the Wall of Discworld Truths being laid down here: part of knowing how to use magic is knowing when not to use magic. I also now recognise Simon's brand of not-using magic as the equivalent of quantum theory, which I think went over my head when I was younger. :D I particularly love the exchange between two senior wizards in which they admit that honestly they have no ability to explain what it is he's discovered, but when he's talking about it, they are absolutely certain that it's super important and existential.

Again, I'm struck by imagery. Granny and the Archchancellor in the storm, finding the spreading film of ice from the staff really stays with me. And we get our first really good glimpse of the dungeon dimensions, which I've always liked for their Lovecraftian cosmic horror. And, of course, the Librarian makes his first proper appearence post-Orangutanformation.

Definitely a book that works better as an adult, for me.

*"A Slip of the Keyboard" is a collection of Terry Pratchett's non-fiction writing, including articles, essays, and speeches spanning his career from the 80s through to his diagnosis with PCA in 2006, and beyond. It's absolutely wonderful and I think everyone should read it, especially if you are a Pratchett fan. It's illuminating, inspiring, and very funny, and it made me cry, occasionally while still laughing. We miss you, Sir Terry.
brightwanderer: Ariel from The Little Mermaid (Ariel)
2015-05-06 10:21 pm
Entry tags:

Discworld Reread: 1.The Colour of Magic & 2. The Light Fantastic

I started randomly re-reading Discworld books recently, and then I thought, why don't I do this properly and start from the start?

1. The Colour of Magic and 2. The Light Fantastic

I think pretty much everyone would agree that the first few Discworld books suffer from what TV Tropes would call Early Installment Weirdness. It's not that they're bad (in fact I will argue vehemently in the other direction) but they don't quite fit in with the rest of the series. Places and people haven't taken shape, or are characterised oddly compared to the later norms, and the whole vibe of the series is different. Opinions probably vary on when it hits its stride - I'd say "Guards, Guards", myself.

However, I've always loved the Colour of Magic and the Light Fantastic (which really have to be paired as they are essentially a two-book story) and rereading them was more strongly nostalgic than I expected. The feel of the Disc is very different in them. It's a deliberate high fantasy pastiche, and part of why I loved it when I first read it is that The Colour of Magic, particularly, is a series of vignettes making gentle fun of the specific books I read and loved as a teenager. There's the City of Adventurers at the start, then a Lovecraft homage, then the Dragonriders, and finally we get into Lost Civilisations That Want To Sacrifice You. The Light Fantastic gives us a good old standard end-of-the-world scenario (and Cohen the Barbarian), and then turns it all on its head in a wonderful way, and gives us the first example of Pratchett's trademark - ordinary people showing real courage, as opposed to Brave Heroes Being Brave.

One thing that really struck me was that the whole time he's playfully skewering fantasy tropes, Pratchett is nonetheless throwing out a lot of striking and beautiful imagery. Descriptions of the Disc itself, Cori Celesti, and the Rimfall are among the things that stay with me. There's no hiding the down-to-earth-ness of Pratchett's tone, but his writing is much more lyrical here than in most of the later books. (Actually, that's not entirely true. One of the things I have always loved about his writing is his ability to throw in a beautiful passage out of nowhere.) In some ways it made me a little bit sad. I wouldn't trade the Discworld series we got for anything, but I find myself wondering what the version that stayed in this mold would have looked like. The Disc is wild and magical and untamed at this point, and there are so many random little wondrous things that are never mentioned again (e.g. the dryads, the Wyrmberg, Tethys the sea troll from another world, and the idea that the Unseen University opens onto many worlds), or become codified into "normal parts of life" (the trolls we meet in TLF, the wizards of UU, Ankh-Morpork itself, the description of Death's realm). What happened to Bravt and the Weasel? They wouldn't have fitted into the new Disc that came later.

There's also the fact that the timeline doesn't really work - how do we go from the medieval city led by a non-Vetinari Patrician to the world we're seeing by the eighth or ninth book, while Rincewind and Cohen are much the same age? Fortunately Thief of Time gives us a wonderful excuse for that: there was clearly some heavy history patching going on there, right before Ankh-Morpork hit its modern age.

But overall, the only thing that makes me wince slightly is Death, who in TCOM is rather vindictive and spiteful. You can already see the "real" Death coming through by TLF though. And I'd forgotten that Ysabelle got such an early cameo!

I find it interesting that Rincewind is a sort of proto-Ponder Stibbons at this point, too, looking for science in a world of magic - I don't remember that being a strong trait in him later. But it leads to a passage I love, and that I think gets to the heart of Pratchett's take on magic, which I'll quote here as a finisher.

[The Law of Conservation of Reality] demanded that the effort needed to achieve a goal should be the same regardless of the means used. In practical terms this meant that, say, creating the illusion of a glass of wine was relatively easy, since it involved merely the subtle shifting of light patterns. On the other hand, lifting a genuine wineglass a few feet in the air by sheer mental energy required several hours of systematic preparation if the wizard wished the prevent the simple principle of leverage flicking his brain out through his ears. - The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
brightwanderer: Guardian Sol from Celestial Chronicle (Default)
2015-05-06 10:18 pm
Entry tags:

General note

There will be more CC shortly. I unfortunately had some health problems over the winter which have had various knock-on effects, plus I realised I needed to rework the story a little before proceeding (and then that took ages thanks to being unwell).
brightwanderer: Guardian Luna from Celestial Chronicle (Guardian Luna)
2014-11-29 09:17 pm

Celestial Chronicle cover art

So this is what I meant by cheating my way to illustrating things:

Celestial Chronicle (series cover) by Atalan on deviantART

I created models in Daz3D, posed them with expressions etc, and then rendered it and pulled the bitmap over into Inkscape. From there I could part-trace, part-draw in anime style. (New icons are from another picture of all five guardians that I'm not quite ready to put up yet.) I really like how it's come out, though I'm going to have to stop always making Luna look bemused...