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Author: mephestopheles

I WON NANOWRIMO

I am so excited, I pulled this win out of the ether with twenty minutes to spare. I became a rebel halfway through this month to finish up a fanfic I’ve been working on since May. It needed so much restructuring and I had to rewrite at least 40% of it. 

So all tolled, I wrote maybe 4k for Off the Grid, I wrote a blog post, and I wrote a bunch of world building stuff for the universe that Off the Grid is set and then started looking at Drifting Sands to tidy it up. 

And found it was a mess. 

Not unsalvagable but holy shit the one tiny change I made in the beginning of the fic for the location created it’s own butterfly effect. So I had to rewrite most of chapter two, add a bucket of things to chapter three and four. And rewrite most of five, and all of six.

Now, I’m exhausted, I have some last minute editing to do and I work backshift tonight. 

I’m trying something new this month, I’m going to see if I keep up daily blog here while I do some writerly things and more creative pursuits. Just of the cuff, nothing really edited or article-esque at this point. 

I’m also participating in Worldember over at WorldAnvil. If you want to see what I’m writing and what I’m doing there you can watch the progress here or follow my worlds over there. Would love to see people. 

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Nano Survival kit


It’s Nano time! If you’ve found my blog you know what nanowrimo is and what you need to do. Have you’ve decided to join in the candy fueled demonic competition to get fifty thousand words out of your brain and spewed haphazardly into the word document program of your choice?

If you have I have some handy tips and a collection of stuff I use to survive the careening death race that is nanowrimo.

Let’s get Physical

Olivia Newton John video let’s get physical

Thing one! Something to write with, be it a notebook or laptop or tablet with a keyboard, you and I need something that can and will keep up with the fury that comes with the screaming hellfires called upon by dark magicks to unleash the words deep within your soul.

Or ya know, you need a place to keep that shit.

Even if you’re not using a notebook to write the depths of your feelings, I highly recommend one for the ephemera that collects around writing. Outlines, character notes, the half mad ramblings that might strike you in the depths of the night when you’re alone with your chittering thoughts.

Also it’s great if you decide to write a sequel to know who has green eyes or what not even if the casting department of.your future movie franchise fuck it up in the most spectacular way and the editing department drops the ball in colour correction.

The next thing you’re going to need is somewhere to write. This could an office, your bedroom. Under the bed, deep in the nether realm whilst the demons torment you upon their wicked torture devices.

Starbucks is also good.

Starbucks pumpkin spiced latte surfing in space

Just find a place where you can cut the bullshit and write. It’s 1667 a day until November 30th and there is no time whatsoever for fucking around. 

On top of a laptop/notebook, I’ve got my writing bullet journal, a pencil case with some of my favourite pens and mildliners, and a messenger bag to make it easy to travel to the coffee shop or library when necessary. 

Onto the apps

Bruce Almighty Jim Carrey typing gif

So you’ve either got your phone or a laptop and the next step is what the hell program am I going to use? Lots use Scrivener, I’ve tried, several times, I own the program. The problem is that while the MAC version might be a program sent from the heavens, the windows version is the bastardized love child cobbled together with twine and bubblegum with arcane and demonic sigils in it’s inspector. 

It’s not what I’m used to and I’m on the tail end of millennial crowd so I’m kind of straddling the get off my lawn divide when I find a new app. I like Word, it works on my computer and it doesn’t die a horrible death and I don’t spend hours trying to figure out what thingy does what.

That being said, 4thewords.com is fan-fucking-tastic. I’m easily entertained and I like constant validation to keep me fed and happy and not terrified of the inevitable grim parade of my gradual and permanent obsolescence as time ever marches forth. 

I use a combination of Spotify, Google Music, and youtube for music and videos and anything that keeps the silence at bay. Atmospheric Sci-fi playlist is what I’m using to get me in the mood for my nano novel. Anything instrumental generally. 

Focus apps work for some, I usually pick a monster on 4the words and whinge while writing the first 15 minutes until the muse finally shows up and helps with the ideas. 

Please don’t forget to eat

Patrick from Spongebob eating and drooling

Hey, do yourself and me a favour, have more than a passing relationship with a vegetable during this month. Fastfood and quick meals are all well and good, but your body will thank you when you don’t come down with the after effects of a con plague and scurvy form a demonic pact to use your lungs as a five star hotel for it’s weird assed children. 

Kimmy schmidt gif of the titular character in a candy store exclaiming I’m having Candy for Dinner

Sure candy for supper sounds like a great idea, and I have in fact done it. It’s awesome. Not more than one night in a row. Order hello fresh if you can afford it, find a place in your home town that does kitchen meals. Where I’m from we have a place called skip the kitchen it’s a great bit of homemade style meals that are actually healthy. 

Have a salad, go for a walk. Do not forget to clean things. Your brain, your family, and your life will thank you. 

Also laundry, trust me. 

Reward yourself with things 

a hot cup of tea on a desk with steam curling from the mug

Reward yourself, nothing big, but create a system where you celebrate every single victory you can drag from unholy grip of the hellbeasts that control this month. Hit 5k? Celebrate with a cup of your favourite tea and your favourite game. Hit 10K buy yourself something. Go to a movie. DO SOMETHING NICE FOR YOURSELF. 

Let me repeat that. 

Writing is fucking hard. It’s fucking work. 

Anderson from BBC sherlock collapsing in a pile of horrible plot contrivances and shitty writing

You need to reward yourself for the shit you do. There is no later, there is no next hill. Or rather there’s always another hill, a bigger acheivement. Just celebrate them now.

Okay that’s it I’m out of here! My roommate mutated the con plague she got last week and now has decided to give it to myself and her husband, anyone have any good remedies to kick a sinus thing in the ass before it takes me out? I always get a shitty November chest infection and I’d like to avoid it this time around.”

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3 Essential World Building Questions

World-building is that part of writing people either love or absolutely hate with a fiery passion. All fiction requires some worldbuilding, but the contemporary modern day slice of life novel requires less alteration of our current set up than say a second world fantasy novel set in a post apocalyptic waste land, that spends it’s time being introspective and nostalgic for the simpler times of long ago.* I’m here to give fellow writers a bit of a hand. When writing fantasy, or science fiction specifically, the breadth of world-building can be daunting, so I’m going to start you off with three essential questions that will get you started. These questions will open up the necessary avenues for what you’ll need in your fictional universe to set things in motion.

Who Runs the Show?

Who rules your world? This is give you so much information right here. Are you dealing with a small kingdom run by an aged king where the true rulers is the advisor behind the scenes. Are you dealing with a science ficion update to the United Nations? Who owns the keys to kingdom will inform everything else on the way down. It will give you access to the rules available to that governmental system whether it be feudal society with a system of petty kings oweing their allegiance to a high king. Or if they’re a democratic hegemony with a secret cabal of voters that determine the outcomes of a society for them. The choices here are endless, but once you decide who runs the show on your plan, or how many run the show depending on how big your world and plot are, it will get you moving in the right direction.

Who has the Money

This might seem to go with the first one, but it’s not necessary. The king might have empty coffers and be completely dependent on two or three of his cadre. This will convert to some power imbalance, but it’s possible for someone to have a lot of personal or social power without access to the money. Here you want to find out who runs business, who makes the money and how do they make it. Is this captialist structure with a free market or a socialist structure where people control the means of production.By looking at the economic structures and development of your world you can see the stress marks. Does your world deal with a complex barter system that requires an identifiable pricing system for products and for labour? Where does these rules fall apart? Is the money tied in with the government? Generally this is going to be a yes obviously kind of answer, especially in western analog worlds. Either with a similar lobby system like the US where corporations that control much of the money use that to influence government decision making. Or it could be a very strict system where money cannot be exchanged for favours in either government or elsewhere.

Who Suffers?

The two above questions will inform this one. Where are stress marks? Who doesn’t have the money and doesn’t have access to government? Where are the outsiders and outliers. The ones society has forgotten or ignores, vilifies? Utopias are pipe dreams, and everyone wants them to exist, but in fiction they are boring. Not because everyone being good to each is bad or that kindness is boring, but story is derived from conflict. Two or more opposing views clash and come away changed. So even in a utopia there are stress marks, fractures where the individual and the whole create friction and don’t mesh. These three questions will get you started and in a first draft of you’ve answered these three you will unlikely need much more. Yes of course you’re going to require setting information, but if you’ve answered these you’ll have a better idea of whether your world supports large cities or if it’s a small collection of townships, just based on the government size and style. This kicks off an off and on series I’m starting for world building in fiction. If you’re interested in seeing more, follow my email list, or comment here. I love talking about writing and can’t wait to see you. *Lord of the Rings Leave a Comment

Fourth quarter and a look back

So I had a lot of ideas at the beginning of the year, especially regarding knitting. That tends to happen when I start looking at projects and am in the middle of a knitting high. The problem with that is I spent December knitting socks and gave myself carpel tunnel.

I tried to knit for a while into January and had a decent start on the find your fade shawl, but my hands were hurting all the time and I really couldn’t get as far as I wanted. So I had to put the needles down.

It didn’t help that when I did pick the needles back up again I lost my place and screwed up the count on my stitches so horribly it was a more humane death to rip it out and start something new.

That doesn’t mean I’ve done nothing just that my work has been sporadic. I’ve picked up writing again and I’m working on two projects one for nanowrimo and a fanfic set in the MCU.

I’ve also been drawing some. I’ve worked on some multimedia things, I’ve picked up and set aside a bullet journal on two occasions this year. I’ve tried watercolor and really like it. And I’ve decided to take my spinning wheel apart to clean and stain it.

With nano 2018 happening soon I’m taking October to do the preptober challenges that are hanging around on Instagram. Feel free to check that out. When the month ends I might collate all photos and do a full post about it. I’m trying to get into the habit of using this again and not depend on other social media outlets to be my only visibility.

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2018 Knitting Queue

Knit Queue

Well, 2018 is here and I’ve spent the last year with a whole lot of plans to get this site off the ground and ended up doing very little to even try. So instead of focusing on writing specifically this year I’m going to just focus on personal blogging and get something written for a change. Figure I would start the year off with my knitting plans and then go from there.

Find Your Fade

First up is Find your Fade by Andrea Mowry. Asymmetrical triangle shawl that uses colour melting to blend yarn colours to get a fade from one shade to another. My plan is to shift from red through oranges then blues to purples. I’m using mostly stash yarn and I was happy to find not only stash I really wanted to use but a colour shift I was happy with. The Deep red Diamond Luxury Yarn is a discontinued line of Soxy, in cranberry, I have about a skein left from when I bought it ten years ago. I’ve tried using it a couple of times but ending up frogging several projects.

Next colour is another discontinued brand, Waterloo Wools, an indie dyer from Ontario, who had some gorgeous gorgeous colours. The colourway is Santa Fe and it’s much oranger than the bottom left picture shows, I couldn’t find a decent colour and I lost the band years ago, I think it’s Algonquin, which is a silk merino blend. Next up, playing up the orangey reds in the Santa Fe is Fleece Artist Blue Faced Leicester Sock yarn in a special colourway from Baadeck Yarns called Baddeck Sunset. It’s orangey with pinks and reds sprinkled through. That weird yellowing filtered pic is a shitty approximation, once I get to that colour I will start taking pictures.

The next sock yarn is Opal Sock in the Van Gogh colour ways, the street cafe that has a lot of oranges but brings in some deep blues and greys. This colour is the transition from the reds into the cooler tones and I’m so excited to see how this shapes up. The next colourway is Malvin in Manos Del Uruguay Allegria, followed by Sheepy Time Knits on Sheepy Feet In Oncoming Storm. The Oncoming storm colour is too blue to transition nicely into the Araucania Ranco Sock in purples and pinks pictured bottom right so I a possible one with the Tannat from the Allegria line, but I knit a sock in that variety and think it’s way too red to do the right colour shift, so I’m waiting to pick up a colourway from My Fair Ladies in a few weeks achieve the right shift.

The next batch don’t require as much typing, holy crap.

Entrechat is a gorgeous little sweater for my cousin’s two little girls. I have the bottom colourway all ready to go. It’s Cascade 220 superwash Wave in Spring. The colourshift is much nicer than the picture appears and it’s a self striping but a slow one. I’m torn between the light and dark purple for the older daughter.

Braken By Ann Rowden is a bulky weight child’s sweater that I’m queuing up to knit for another cousin’s two boys. I’m thinking of doing this in Cascade 220 speckled, but the jury is still out and I’ve got a few other colours and yarns to look at before I get there.

Wurm by Katushika is a slouch style hat. The planned yarn is Sugar Bush Bold which is thicker than the suggested yarn so there is some math to figure out but it’s a quick knit and really gorgeous. These hats are going to be for my roomates.

Entwine is a super chunky ribbed scarf in Cascade Magnum. I’m making three, they take about two balls of Magnum to get a decent length, although for Dennis’ scarf I might need two and half because he’s so fricken tall.

Persian Dreams by Jenise Hope, this is one of those things I want to pick at and just pick random colours from the Knit picks palette I have lying around. I will probably need more white at some point for the edge, but I’m not looking at dealing with that until I’m near putting them together.

Flax by Tincanknits is a worsted weight sweater with a garter stitch decoration at the arms. I’m planning on using Brown Sheep Company in Lanaloft Solid, Botanical Gardens. I bought four cones of it a few years ago for my dad’s sweater and only ended up using a cone and a half for his sweater.

Usonian By Dee O’Keefe is a triangular shawl with a simple lace pattern showing off the stunning colours. I’m planning on using Manos Del Uruguay Fino a silk merino blend single in Brass Button and the mini skein set called Augusta which includes Silver Tea Set, Watered Silk, Storm Glass, Peacock Plume, Mourning.

Fallston By Dee O’Keefe another colourwork shawl in Manos Del Uruguay, this time in the colour collection Georgiana, which includes Damas, Peacock Plume, Velvet Pincushion, Brass Button, and Poison. This is only 450 metres, about 492 yards, and I’m still missing about 200 yds. If I finish Usonian first, I can add what colours I don’t use from that into this. I have 1390 metres of Fino, that gives me 690 metres per pattern. This pattern requires at most 613 metres, and the other is 622 metres. I might have to play yarn chicken with a couple of colours but hopefully I’ll be good.

Ranger Cowl By Michael Vloedman is a glorious architectural hooded cowl with a description so funny and fantastic I needed to purchase it. I’m looking at using Ashford Tekapo held double in either of the three colours pictures, or whatever I have in my stash at time.

Redford by Julie Hoover is a bottom up fingering weight sweater with garter stitch side panels and it looks gorgeous and I can’t wait to knit it Knit Picks Palette Victorian Love Letter Sampler I picked up last year.

I have three WIPS as well, Caledonia, a circular shawl I’m designing, and the Baby Surprise Jacket. Hopefully I will be able to keep to this plan. I’ve rejoined a few forms on Ravelry, the Anhk-Morpork Guild Wars, and The Lord of the Rings Stash Quest. With the exception of the hats and the four baby sweaters, I don’t have to purchase outside of my stash. The baby sweaters require superwash, they’re for children under the age of eight.

Overall this is good start on my stash, and hopefully once I catologue it and figure everything out I’ll have a better idea.

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Hal-Con: 2017

On Thursday of last week, I travelled up to Halifax for their annual fan convention, Hal-con. This was my second year attending and I’ve had a blast each time. The Convention runs from Friday to Sunday, with a meet and greet on Thursday evening kicking off the weekend-long geek fest. I had my schedule set up to take in as many writing panels as possible, see as much as I could and enjoy the experience.

We arrived in time for the door opening on Thursday, the lines weren’t terrible and once it started moving it picked up quickly. The heat in the venue was unbelievable with so many crammed into the main entrance. We were early enough that we scored early entry bracelets and our swag bags, the highlight of which is the hello fresh trial. Dennis received one as did I, so we’re going to see if it’s possible to combine them and give the thing a try.

Thursday night was Speed Friending at The Old Triangle, so we went down there, ate supper and went upstairs to join the group that was meandering in from the convention centre. I met some really great people, the hosts put on some nice icebreaker games to get people talking. I didn’t end up running into anyone I met at the speed friending, but it helped in its own way.

Narrowing down my fandoms for the little name tag was difficult, but I did meet several LOTR fans. It was a nice precursor to what the con was going to be like, a whole bunch of geeks and nerds in one place, various stages of awkward to outgoing depending on their comfort level with crowds and Halcon in general.

We stayed with friends in Sackville and they were absolutely wonderful and lovely.

Friday was the first day of the convention and arrived early enough that the lines were less bothersome. Dennis cosplayed dapper Deadpool to great effect. I didn’t cosplay this year, it’s not something I’m comfortable with just yet. I have trouble sometimes with dysphoria, mostly around my chest and it makes for awkwardness at the worst times. Case in point there is exactly one picture of me for the entire con and that was only because Dennis was kind enough to suggest it quietly so I could refuse if I felt too uncomfortable.

The key thing to a great con is awesome friends.

I picked up a nice bunch of swag, paying attention to smaller artists instead of the bigger shops. Bought several books that were subsequently autographed on later days, and then went for a walk around the entire convention hall. Bought my ticket for Jim Beaver autograph and waited for the first panel.

I have to say I had three favourite panels over the weekend. Friday’s panel was Urban Fantasy featuring Tanya Huff and Nicola R. White. Tanya has been writing in the genre since the late 80’s trust me if you haven’t read her, take it from someone who’s recently discovered her work, read them. I’ve started with the Keeper Trilogy and I’m hooked.

The panel discussed the recentish trend of fantasy taking on a more urban setting and the rise in magical realism and as Tanya put it, ‘our world a little to the left.’ There was talk about mixing genres and the rise in science fiction and slipstream fiction. Overall it was an interesting panel and the discussions were active and engaging.

Saturday’s favourite panel was Women in Media, Margarita Gakis and Tim Hanley were fantastic, the panel was engaging the audience was polite all the while making great points and bringing up a lot of issues that face women in the media. There was a lot of discussion of feminism and the current media representation is white feminism and that it’s struggling to include all voices when the subjects are very complex.

Dorks in Dungeons Presents: Geeks in Galaxies, put on a brilliant show. An improv sci-fi adventure where every decision is made by the role of a dice. Funny enough on its own, the audience has a chance to get reroll tokens which let us effect the story. We’re an evil audience, sometimes we were nice, other times we wanted to watch them fail and fail hard. It was a hilarious adventure and great fun.

I went to two panels on Sunday and both were very interesting, with Tamora Pierce hosting a panel on Believable Evil and creating villains, using influences from your life and how to tie them back to being real people. Writer Tips was the final panel I went to for the weekend and the authors once again offered some nice tips and tricks for handling my overemphasis on world building.

Although I didn’t get to see it happen, there was another contest I had been interested in and on a lark entered. It was the Love Letter contest. This year I entered because why not, what’s the worst thing that could happen, they don’t pick mine. So I took about a half hour and wrote something out in my bullet journal and copied it over editing as I transcribed and then set it off on its merry way.

I received an email on Tuesday evening of this that my letter had been selected, the princess loved mine the best and I won a copy of the Love Letters’ game. It’s also the first year a serious letter has one. So I was super excited. I’ve been waiting for them to put the letter up on facebook since they have the cleaned copy but I haven’t seen anything yet.  So instead of waiting I’ll see if I can remember my edits from the rough draft I still have.

 

My Dearest Love,

Please forgive the hasty scratch of my pen upon paper. It is a poor substitute for the feelings I wish to convey.

Better than I have made manifest the glory of your astounding presence. I am but a poor wordsmith, pouring my deepest emotion and most private thoughts into the crucible in the hope they shall be fired to brilliance and tempered by your love.

I write to thee in the vain and piteous hope that my poor, ineffectual words may one day find your heart. That my heart may join with yours, our minds together no longer drifting alone in the vast reaches, having met and found that which makes them stronger.

You do not complete me, my dear. Nor I, you. You, you are wholly your own as am I, but you give me the strength to follow my path and accept the things I have struggled against. It is my hope to be that for you. Not an anchor tying you a single port, but the sails to carry you further.

For you, my dear are my stars.

Yours F.

 

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Armchair Meta: Beauty & the Beast, Trope subversion and Disney

In 1991, Disney released Beauty and the Beast to worldwide audiences. It catapulted the Disney renaissance that The Little Mermaid set in motion in 1989. As with many of their properties, Disney sought to update classic fairytales to a modern audience. Adaptation is a necessary part of retelling these stories and Beauty & the Beast is no stranger to adaptation.

The particular story we’re most family with was written late 1700s France by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve and then rewritten Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont. In turn, the story is a possible retelling of the Eros and Psyche myth, and there is a 2nd-century Italian fairy tale and the Wikipedia article claims there are possible proto examples going as far back as 4,000 years ago. This story is well-worn and familiar concept and there are some fairly ridiculous tropes associated with it depending on the version. Damsel in Distress (Beauty), Shapeshifting, Eros and Psyche (trope), and depending on the version the awful trope of Noble Savage. Not all tropes are good, yo.

The original versions held that Belle’s father returned home and if one of his daughters didn’t agree to go live with the Beast, he would be killed. She is damseled in Beaumont’s and Villeneuve’s versions as they’re both a treatise on accepting arranged marriages. The original tale is less about female independence and more about accepting one’s lot in life and maybe it won’t turn out so shitty. Rantasmo has two great videos on both the 1991 animated version and the 2017 remake. Check him out, he’s awesome.

To continue, and if you haven’t fallen down a pit of tvtropes (I apologise if you have), the 1991 animated version needed to change. There are too many characters in 1946 film and even more in the French stories including several sisters and brothers, longer back story about the father being a failed merchant, and in the Villeneuve version there is even more back story of Fae involvement and apparently both Belle and the Beast are half Fae, it’s weird and Disney needed to cut things down, trim the fat from the plot and keep it to a 90 minute run time. They also couldn’t espouse the joys of arranged marriage, it was the 90s and they needed more traction with kids these days. So the protagonist has to change and it’s no longer Belle accepting her fate, it’s Beast’s journey. He’s given more of a POV and as such we see his character arc.

What Disney did in this movie was turn Belle’s outward seeking acceptance of fate plot and turn it into an introspective one where she is bookish, kind, but slightly odd, she is an outsider in a provincial French village, aside from Gaston, and some ‘well she can’t help it’ from a few of the more forgiving villagers, Belle is as much an outcast as Beast. And let’s get one thing straight, Gaston’s ‘acceptance’ of her is only insofar as she is physically beautiful enough to be a good possession. In the 1991 version, he still thinks she’s weird and reads too much and he plans on changing that.

Belle starts the story off curious, odd, bookish, and firmly aware of who she is, this is not a self-discovery mission for her, nor is there any change outwardly from beginning to end. She is still a compelling character. The plot doesn’t always have to change the character, her arc is based on events, her father goes missing, she goes to find him, he’s trapped by a beast in a castle, she takes his place, she tries to leave, decides to rescue the Beast after he saves her life, she goes to rescue her father Gaston and then she goes to rescue the Beast from Gaston.

DISNEY GAVE BELLE THE GODS DAMN PRINCE’S CHARACTER ARC!

No really look at it again.

Now compare this to The Prince from Snow White, or Prince Phillip from Sleeping Beauty, hell even Eric from Mermaid has a traditional Prince story arc. They don’t need to be changed by the narrative, they’re complete from the beginning, they are proactive and do the rescuing. In an effort to give more sympathy and pathos to the Beast they subverted the damsel in distress trope.

Beast starts the story off as a neglectful selfish prince. He’s cruel and unkind to his staff, turns those in need away, and he’s vain and puts too much importance on appearance. He’s cursed by an enchantress and trapped in his castle. Depending on the version he might be able to move about freely but his appearance is met with terror or violence, so he becomes bitter, lonely, and angry. He lashes out to those who stumble upon his home because they risk his safety.

Belle comes into his life and although she is scared of him at first, she doesn’t hold his appearance against him, she demands he treat her with respect. The biggest moment where he runs after and fights off the wolves is one of my favourite scene. She’s been terrified of him and his reaction to her going near the Rose, he regrets his actions and goes after her and protects her from the wolves, risking his life in the bargain.

She has the chance to leave, free and clear. The wolves are gone, he’s fought them off, but now he’s vulnerable and could be hurt further if she leaves. Possibly die. No matter how scared she might have been before, she can’t leave him there alone. So she saves him, takes him home and helps patch him up. In fanfiction te, ms we’re knee-deep in hurt/comfort territory here, and if you think you can’t make an entire book out of it,  AO3 would beg to differ. This is the turn in the relationship and it’s wonderful. She’s no longer scared while Beast most certainly is. He has no frame of reference for this treatment. She’s taking care of his wounds and scolding him for his temper.

At this point Belle is there entirely by choice. Beast would not stop her if she walked out the door, the climactic act where he releases her is at that point a formality, a necessary one in which he needed to vocalize she was no longer a ‘captive’, but it was a formality.

Beast is transformed by her, far more than any spell, she fights with him treats him as an equal, understands him and offers him kindness, spars with him verbally, and in the remake both of them share a love of reading and romance and being taken to far off places. I love the updated version so much because we get so much more of their interactions and more of Beast’s personality.

The 1991 version was heavily influenced by Howard Ashman. There are many articles about this and how he took the magical curse Beast suffered with and used it as an allegory for the AIDS epidemic during the time of the film. Broadly speaking the movie both 1991 and 2017 are about two outsiders that find love and understanding in a each other in a world that doesn’t accept them for who they are.

Beast is given a more traditional damsel in distress role, the actions happen to him. He several moments of agency throughout the films, but he is prince locked in a tower the princess must rescue. Beast’s first moment of agency is when he risks his physical health to save Belle from the wolves. He puts himself in harm’s way and learns that he can trust Belle. She doesn’t leave him to die in the woods, she’s concerned for his safety. This is new territory for him. There are small pieces of him making choices and trusting her more. Giving her the library, opening up to her over the course of the movie and them seeing more in each other. His next big choice is when he releases her from captivity. I believe he has already made this choice unconsciously after giving her the library, but I think he’s even surprised by it when he lets her go.

But the choice while difficult is the only one he could make. He knows this. Belle worried for her father, and he’s hurt, she needs to go see him and make sure he’s okay. The original stories have it that she is given only 3 days and must return, but Disney removed the time restriction and in doing so give Beast more agency. He knows he’s sacrificing himself in this moment. It’s more explicit in the 2017 version — thank you Menkin for giving me Evermore, I adore this fucking song — but it’s still there in the 1991 version. At this point I could argue the curse could be lifted. If she came back into the room and told him she loved him, it might have worked, but I don’t think he’s changed enough.

He’s been changed by her, and he feels it, but he hasn’t really shown it. Narratively speaking his changes are too internal and since we don’t much from his POV aside from Evermore, and a few brief moments in the animated version, so we need something more. The last moment the biggest one that I think cements him earning the removal of the curse is when he doesn’t kill Gaston.

He is physically powerful, he could easily outmatch Gaston, even with a gun or torch. He doesn’t wish to fight anymore here. He doesn’t believe he is worth saving and his heart is broken because Belle is gone. He is surprised, but fends off Gaston, sparing the man’s life because he doesn’t wish to kill. Him not killing Gaston, choosing instead to spare his life and turn his back on his old habits is the last step needed to make sure that Beast is fit for having the curse removed. He will no longer use his power, prestige, or physicality over others. He has not only learned to love someone, but he has learned to treat others respectfully.

Whether we as an audience agree with the move to spare Gaston, it would have been a very different ending and I don’t think it would have went well in the end. Beast needed to do this to show that he had been changed by Belle and he had learned the lesson of the enchantress, not only as it applied to Belle, but also how it applied to his staff and his subjects.

Disney, created a wonderful update to this classic, gave a princess the heroic journey, and damseled the prince. Now all it needs to do is give me the super gay version. I swear I need the version where the outcast peasant boy rescues the lonely prince in his tower. Will also be happy with peasant girl rescuing princess, and other variations on gender and sexuality. Give them all to me.

This has been Armchair meta.

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Beauty and the Beast 2017 Movie Review

One snowy night in December of 1991, my parents took my brother and I to the Vogue theatre. It was a quiet night and I don’t remember the theatre being crowded. I remember the smell of the popcorn and licorice. I was enthralled with the movie as it unfolded. I remember that night vividly, the snow as it drifted through the air, how the city felt muffled and as if we’d stepped into a fairy tale as we left the theatre. I wanted to go back, I wanted to watch the movie again and again. I wanted to run away into that fairy tale and find my own adventures.

 I adored it so much.

Naturally, when I found out they were remaking the film for live action I was immediately excited, and became progressively worried until I absolutely dreaded it’s release. I had been trying to find other versions of the myth through out the years and none of them captured the same feelings I had watching it in that theatre when I was ten. There have been some absymal remakes through the years and none of them had the same disney touch. To have this movie happen now, twenty-six years later, I was sure there was going to be some flaw that would stand out and ruin it. 

News surrounding the movie didn’t help. 

Disney’s proud delcaration of an ‘exclusively gay moment’ and the backlash from both LGBT+ community and the christian right spun around the movie. Depending on who you were paying attention to, either Disney went too far and was trying to convert kids to that gay lifestyle, or they didn’t go far enough and had the audacity of using the slapstick villian sidekick as the gay character as a copout. 

After having seen the movie, I’m not sure you could even call what was on film an exclusively gay moment, it was subtext at best and retreading tired and old fashion jokes about cross dressing to highlight the hey it’s good to be gay. Disney was barely acknowledging the subtext that was in the 1991 film and decided to add a half second dance blink and you’ll miss it at the end. 

Disney wasn’t going to win this one, people were going to be angry and they tried to curry favour while keeping the text to the absolute minimum. In a story about outcasts finding love and companionship they really could have done so much more. Lumiere and Cogsworth could have been the relationship of choice, still subtle but a definite decision in the right direction. One day I will get my lonely outcast young man who runs from the village and discovers his prince. But it wasn’t this movie. 

That being said, I adore this movie. It has all of the story beats necessary to maintain my nostalgia bug, it has some extras that expand the narrative and fill some of the odd plotholes in the animated version. Belle is more active and proactive throughout the movie. The Beast (we’re going with Adam until someone can tell me a better name ) given more opportunity to be a well rounded character, bitter and angry yes, but as he opens up to Belle he shows his romantic side, how kind he is, and a fantastic degress of trust in her. 

I nostalgia cried through this movie. I loved every minute, every new song and additions to the story. I even like Josh Gad’s La Fou, he’s not the slapstick sidekick from the original and he is more rounded even if I don’t think the “exlcusively gay moment” was anything more than media attention.

I rented it two days ago and have watched it four times. I feel like that kid yelling ‘again again’ everytime I rewatch it. This likely won’t go away very quickly since the last time I felt like this for a movie it was The Hobbit Trilogy and I rewatched those to the point I can quote them. If a movie hits that part of my brain where I need to rewatch it repeatedly I lose all objectivity . 

There is also the writer part of my brain that is dissecting all of it and trying to rework and adapt and find places where there could be more story or more interesting stories to tell.

I understand there is a very good criticism of Disney movies in general that once the princess kisses her prince her story is over, and that Belle is used as a specific example of her ‘wanting so much more’ and then falling in love and her story is over. But Belle’s journey is introspective, her finding that there is more beyond the confines of her small village and finding someone like the Beast who shares her interests and understands her. The same way she offers him understanding and calls him on his shit. 

If I add a B&B or Eros and psyche Retelling to the list of things I want to write, I’m quite sure that Strife will arrive on my doorstep to hit me with a fish. 

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Daily Blogging: Prompt Make a List of What I want to do this summer. 

Hi again. 

I’m going to try and do this daily Blogging thing and see how it goes, kay? Kay. The prompt I found for this is list your summer want list. Not sure how much this fits into a theme I have but hey it’s words, so it’s going here. 

Outdoor Activities

  • cook out on the beach
  • take the dog to the beach
  • Gypsum Quarry trail
  • Skyline trail 
  • Louisburg and a picnic
  • Pride week in Halifax 

Painting

  • Finish three paintings 
  • learn more skills for water colour
  • Develop more of a sense of drawing and seeing shapes

Writing

  • Re-draft Interludes — likely retitle as well
  • write more flash fiction

    Other things include hanging out with friends, barbequing and setting aside from money for Hal-con in September. That’s all for now. This blog though 21 minutes late for Tuesday, counts as Tuesdays blog. 

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    Wonderwoman Review

    I need a nickname for my readers. Night Owls? Anyway, readers! I saw Wonder Woman last night and I am still excited. I am so excited!!!! This movie. Oh my gods, this movie. Patty Jenkins needs to direct more DCU. I’m totally useless at movie reviews. In short, the movie is everything I wanted for a superhero movie, the director, the cinematographer, amazingly, even the writers created a developed, engaging movie that builds the mythos and created a set of compelling characters and distilled the comic version of Diana into a fantastic movie.

    And trust me I kind of want to glare at Snyder, but perhaps Heinberg and Fuchs kept him on task — or more likely, Snyder can write a compelling narrative, but it takes another director to helm the project so it doesn’t go off the rails.

    Would I watch this again? Hells yes. I would have watched it twice last night if I could have. I’m going to see this at least once more in the theatre before it leaves, if not twice. I now want a five season series with HBO production values for Diana. Just, give me all of it.

    If you’re on the fence at all go watch this movie, trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

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