The Reality Of Millennial Life

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I have found, yet again, another anti-millennial video making the rounds on Facebook. It seems like an entire genre of op-eds somehow manages to sustain itself on boomer antipathy alone. This content is usually shared with a certain hubris, a “speaking truth to power” attitude which flies in the face of the actual power that millennials have in comparison to the economically entrenched boomers and Gen X.

I could, in theory, attract quite an audience by catering to this mindset. I could crib notes from op-eds all over the internet since they all blur together anyway. I could even sell it and say “just add ‘entitled'”. But, because I want to write articles that are informed and not merely masturbatory in nature, perhaps I can shed some light on the reality that underlies the life that millennials face in the United States.

Millennials are not dealing with an attitude problem, they are dealing with a wealth of sociocultural and economic factors that are making it difficult just to get started.

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Every Tear

Attribution Coming Tomorrow, Currently Mobile

My experience with Final Fantasy XV is slowly, but surely coming to a close. I had to start over so I could try once more with a steadier supply of gil and items. I have much to say on the game itself, more than a single article could possibly contain.

But, since I previously wrote about the soundtrack I figured it would be the best approach to start, because it is also the part of the game that I have the most positive things to say about. Not that I had a negative experience with the game as a whole, but if there was any element worthy of praise in my eyes, it would be Yoko Shimomura’s soundtrack.

I have heard some people describe the soundtrack as “disjointed”, and I think that has to do with the fact that the music’s intensity does not match the narrative’s intensity (though I think that has to do with the way the narrative is delivered in the game rather than anything that Shimomura did). However, when viewed as a whole product, I am pleased with how it turned out.

The soundtrack was quietly released on iTunes. I took the opportunity to snatch it up and give it a listen. Even though “Somus” is the main theme of Final Fantasy XV, the song that was played the most during Final Fantasy XV and the time it spent as Final Fantasy Versus XIII was “Omnis Lacrima”.

The best music in the soundtrack is built around the tone that Omnis Lacrima sets. The sweeping orchestral score, complete with choir, is excellent for conveying intense combat scenes in the game.I remember it being most effective when I confronted the Adamantoise (it seemed like a good idea at the time).

Another particularly noteworthy track was “Invidia”, which plays during the battle with Aranea Highwind. “Premonition” and “Nox Divina” are also tracks of a similar vein, which play upon summoning an Astral. When Shimomura is given the instruction to work with intensity, it brings out the best in her music. “Valse Di Fantastica” conveys a sense of triumph and adventure that

Where Final Fantasy XV’s music falters is that the other side of the emotional palette,  moments of extreme sadness, are not present. Though I fully believe this is within Shimomura’s capability to produce, the tracks that are meant to convey sadness don’t quite reach the levels that say “Aerith’s Theme” from Final Fantasy VII does.

“Sorrow Without Solace” feels too subdued, as does “End of the Road”. It feels like the listener is kept at arm’s length from really experiencing the sadness that the scenes are supposed to convey.

I think Shimomura’s talent for conveying emotion is clearly there, but I wish I could have seen the other side more clearly. While I love the intensity of tracks like Omnis Lacrima and Invidia, I also like the somber tracks that arouse a sense of deep sorrow. Somnus is the closest to get to this point, but it still doesn’t feel as impactful as Uematsu’s work. Perhaps in an another time, Shimomura will showcase that aspect in a different soundtrack. If she has produced this work already and I am not aware of it, please link it to me in the comments, because I would love to hear it!

Fifty-Thousand Words of Mist

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As of the time of this writing, I have officially come to victory. I have finally made the 50k word mark, bringing NaNoWriMo to a close. In exchange, I will be donating a sum to the organization and sending the manuscript to an editor for revision. I am taking every measure to make sure this gets published.

While my word count is sufficient for NaNoWriMo, I am approximately halfway through the book itself. The recommendations for such a young adult novel have been presented to me as between 55k and 90k. While there’s no hard limit, I want to work firmly within that guideline for reasons that I will make clear later on.

This is my third attempt at NaNoWriMo and so far my only success. My previous attempts were “Cloudrunner” and “Dissolution”. In both cases before, both books quickly ran out of material before I long. I found that I was unable to write not because I had writer’s block or something similar, but because there was literally nothing left to write about.

One Hundred Days of Mist came about as a merger of a bunch of incomplete projects. In truth, it began as a horror screenplay called “Eternal Candle: An Unseen Light”.  The protagonist of One Hundred Days of Mist, Dan Hathaway, is an evolved and fleshed out form of the same Dan Hathaway in that screenplay. Some character aspects have remained unchanged, but the setting is very different.

In Eternal Candle: An Unseen Light, the plot reads as a combination of the video game “Silent Hill 2” and the TV show, “Lost”. I had successfully completed the first draft of those screenplays but I never went anywhere with it.

However, many years later, when I was trying to communicate what depression was like to my friends, I created a text adventure that bears the same name as the novel I am currently producing. It was much closer to my actual experiences and took virtually no liberties.

But I was at a crossroads at a certain point, I needed to solve a very specific problem. I had to make an engaging to explain complex cognitive processing that the main character was undergoing. One of the things that I learned in psychology class is that our brains actually process a lot of information while we sleep. So I created the concept of “Nightmare”, a persistent dream state that is influenced by the protagonist’s waking life.

It was around this time that I realized that Eternal Candle: An Unseen Light and One Hundred Days of Mist were very similar in terms of the story, and because I don’t like telling the same story twice I merged them together.

My recommendation is to save your old, incomplete work. Even if you never finish it you can still take pieces of it and put it into something new.

But there are several reasons I also believe that things worked out better. The first is that I had experience writing short stories before for one of my writing classes. Getting used to writing a story with a clear beginning, middle, and end and completing it was a good experience.

Additionally, Dungeons & Dragons has instilled me with an interesting storytelling methodology. The game is highly improvisational, so I often only plan a single session in advance and keep it in broad strokes because I have no idea where it’s going to go. As it turns out, this is easily transferable to novel writing. I keep an extremely vague idea of what I want to happen throughout the novel, but each scene is built one after the other instead of being plotted out meticulously. This solves one of my old problems, which consisted of transitions between scenes.

Most importantly, though: I cheated. I spent several days in advance writing. There was a good reason for this. In previous attempts, I followed the rule to the letter. I would not start until the very day. This was a mistake.

Why? Well, because life doesn’t stop when you begin NaNoWriMo you inevitably lose a day. I’ve observed that if you don’t have a cushion your brain subconsciously slides into apathy. After all, you missed one day, what’s one more gonna do? Having a cushion that you can go back to once life inevitably comes up is invaluable. This is doubly so for students like myself.

Momentum is extremely important. You need to build yourself up into a rhythm, this means writing whenever you can. Make your word count, exceed it when possible.

Some people can work well alone in their room. I actually find that this is a pretty terrible idea for me. I have too many games, too much stuff to distract me. I found my refuge in Starbucks, surrounding by other people who were working. Additionally, I joined a local writer’s group, giving me a collaborative atmosphere.

Also, make sure your friends and family are behind you with this. It’s very encouraging to have them read your work and give a thoughtful critique of it. Make sure one of them belongs to your target audience.

When you do sit down to write, make sure you are prepared to not interrupt that time. That time is blocked off and you will not have it interrupted. What this really means is taking care of time-sensitive obligations in advance.

With NaNoWriMo, you always move forward. Never go backward or otherwise, you’ll be stuck tweaking something. Save that for when NaNoWriMo is over.

Taking a critique is hard for me. Not because I can’t take it, but because I take it too hard. Someone points to a mistake and my immediate reaction is “nuke manuscript”.  But this is a bad move.There are several little things that made writing all the more worthwhile. The first

There are several little things that made writing all the more worthwhile. The first of those things was when my manuscript got too big to be stapled. The second was when someone told me that they could relate to what was happening in the story.

Don’t be afraid to really feel the things that happen in your novel. There were several scenes that I wrote that made me tear up, and I’m glad that they’re included.

I was able to juggle my school life, my social life, and writing this book fairly well. I did , however, end up doing one thing that so far I haven’t heard much discussion about. I spent a lot of money.

I got some books about writing, which is a good idea. However, I made the mistake of purchasing them shortly before NaNoWriMo, meaning that I would only have time to read them after I finished.

But what I spent enormous amounts of money on is food. One of my flaws that I will spend the next month trying to correct is that I’m really bad at making meals in advance. I can cook, but often I only do that when I’m about to eat. I don’t do advance meal preparation well at all. This meant eating at fast food that was nearby. Food and dining totaled $459 according to my budgeting program. It also left a -$271 cash flow on my account, necessitating dipping into savings.

Those who have followed me for a while will also connect the dots about this. All of the work that I did getting my weight down has been undone. The next month will likely be about fixing that.

However, all things being considered, I consider it invaluable for not only the experience of writing something as long form as I did, but also it taught me about the soft skills that I learned that made this possible when in previous years it didn’t.

Now begins the long journey to finishing the novel itself. I have made it halfway and after a short hiatus, I’ll be back in the saddle. Everything seems to work out, somehow.

A Number of Things

 

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Photo by alice10 @ Morguefile.com

What’s this? A post on Election Day that isn’t political? Don’t fret, there will be one tomorrow once the results are in! In the meantime, however, I will leave you with a somewhat humorous and interesting anecdote. I decided to get this out of the way before I chug on my doubleshot Espresso and hunker down in order to crank out words for NaNoWriMo. Luckily, I am four days ahead, so this is not something that requires urgency.

 

Let’s talk about numbers. Numbers are fun stuff. No, you don’t need to be a math major to enjoy this post, there’s something for everyone here!

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The Apathy of Mighty No. 9

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As with many game releases, I often hold back for a while in order to get a more accurate and less charged point of view. I had heard of the infamous “Mighty No. 9”, helmed by Keiji Inafune. While he was not the creator of the Mega Man franchise as is often believed, he certainly was a major part of it.

There is a certain element of modern folklore to Mighty No. 9’s development history. Indeed, many can easily recount Mighty No. 9’s rise and fall.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Capcom virtually demolished the Mega Man franchise after Keiji Inafune’s severance, relegating the property to cameo appearances (which varied from extremely unflattering to being fairly well-received) and an abysmal mobile game with gameplay so stripped down that it was easily replicated within 24 hours, minus the card game aspect.

So fans were eager to back Inafune’s Kickstarter, the spiritual successor to Mega Man known as Mighty No. 9. But how was that going to play out?

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